the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Questions for the Enlightened

Posted by Jeff Id on September 10, 2009

Link added per Grumbine request.

http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-fields-are-relevant.html

I’m sick of being grumpy. There is only so much of this garbage you can take before you loose your sanity. I read on another blog about some sort of credibility pyramid where the climate dude claims you can only determine things about climate from the most credible sources. The credible sources are listed in order of university degrees rather than ability or actual data. I’ve decided not to reference the blog because I’m sick of blogwars. If the blogger requests it, I will put a whole post just to link to this graph. In the meantime, I’ve got very little idea of the history of this particular blogger and very little interest in finding out. He is some kind of climatologist who has created a plot for the ignorant to follow climate. By ignorant, I mean people who haven’t the will or wherewithal to actually look at data. You know the type, hurricanes are wrecking the world because of global warming and such. If those particular statements piss you off, you have come here for the first time and I implore you to become less ignorant.

In his post which garnered some support from well known leftists in blogland, he put a graph of credibility related to the question of ‘is man changing climate?’. Shown below:

field_relevance

Climate Credibility Tower

The problem I have with this pyramid (besides the obvious scatology factor) is, why can’t an aeronautical engineer figure out if climate is warming because of man.

Why is it so tough?

Am I not smart enough?
Am I unwilling to learn or study?
Is it simply too complex for my ability to understand?

The theory of global warming makes sense, it is certain that more outgoing radiation will be captured by increasing CO2.
The data shows increasing CO2.
There will be some warming.
How much?
Dunno…

I’ve read papers.

I’ve plotted paper’s data.

I’ve done reconstructions.

…………………………..What’s wrong?

What’s the problem with my ability to understand?

Why is it so difficult for a non-climatologist to figure out?

I figured out relativity. That ain’t simple but I could blog for months on it.
I figured out microwave ovens, rockets, planes, cars and even interferometery.
I figured out programming, computers, lasers, engines, batteries, TV’s, stereo’s …….
I figured out math, physics, electronics, fluids and light within reasonable bounds of the known…
I even figured out business, manufacturing and accounting although the Chinese version still has me baffled.

Why is it automatic that I can’t figure out climatology?

====================================

What is the amazing level of difficulty which is so obvious to the enlightened priests of the environment?

Why does a a pyramid of the climate enlightened even exist?

Why isn’t there a pyramid of the enlightened for physics?

Is there a sacrificial altar at the top of the pyramid???

Are Cows the preferred sacrifice to climate gods?

If it’s cows and fire, I’m signing up today!


73 Responses to “Questions for the Enlightened”

  1. Mark T said

    By his logic, when a climatologist is making a claim about a statistical relationship, the climatologist is on one of the lower tiers of the pyramid. Therefore, the climatologist should not be trusted as highly as people like statisticians and statistical signal processing engineers that have the best degree for the job.

    Silly blogger.

    Mark

  2. Terry said

    What pompous idiot. I assume the author is a Climatologist. It is also very interesting that he put Mathematicians and Computer scientists at the bottom. I wonder what Gavin Schmidt would have to say about that.

  3. gt said

    This type of unfounded hierarchy is just a silly “appeal to authority” attempt in order to stifle debate… although on that note, I have no problem listening to Dr. Roy Spencer, Dr. John Christy, Dr. Richard Lindzen and Dr. Piekle Sr. over Dr. Schmidt, Dr. Mann and “Tamino”, any given day.

  4. timetochooseagain said

    Why the F*ck are Civil Engineers above Aerospace? That doesn’t make sense in any hierarchy unless it’s “engineers in order of how big of assholes the are from most to least” in which case it never gets past the dang leeches.

    That positioning alone tells you a whole lot. This hierarchy is like every leftist order of who’s important I’ve ever seen-it literally goes from the unproductive class to the productive on down. And believe me, building a damn bridge to Sarah Palin’s house because Ted Steven’s wanted it ain’t productive. Civils are literally higher on the hierarchy because they are generally liberals that suck at the public teat.

    And where in His name is Geology? I see “Geomorphology” but that’s…I don’t even know what that is.

    God forbid that a Computer Scientist might understand how climate models are programed.

    God forbid that that MATHEMATICS wouldn’t be useful in OH I DON’T KNOW, EVERYTHING?

    God forbid they forget to add “dog catcher”.

    See, this is why science is not hierarchical. Because inevitably some jackass says “I should be on top!”.

    That person is usually the stupidest, poorest scientist in the room.

  5. timetochooseagain said

    One more thing-“TV Weather Forecaster” Uh, that’s the same thing as a meteorologist! You don’t think they have to know what they are talking about? What a moron!!!

  6. Jeff Id said

    Why is there a science that is beyond understanding?

  7. wattsupwiththat said

    I note that “politician” and “former vice president” are not listed.

    There’s hope yet.

  8. Charlie (Colorado) said

    Can you say “appeal to authority”?

    I knew you could.

  9. Amabo said

    As a civil engineer, I demand to be at the very top of this pyramid!

  10. DJA said

    Above Climatology are lawyers, used car salesmen and politicians.

    The diagram is upside down (speaking as a lowly research chemist)

  11. j ferguson said

    I’m not so sure this is completely nuts. Maybe there shouldn’t be a pyramid though. As Jeff suggested a day ago, How many of you have read all the literature? Is there no chance that someone is publishing reasonable stuff in this area that no-one here has seen?

    As to the studies which are readily defrocked here, at Lucias, and CA, many fail from junior high school level sloppiness, or failure to ask enough (or even the right) questions of the data.

    So maybe a junior high school certificate should be at the apex.

  12. Bob H. said

    Aren’t “computer scientists” the same people who create the climate models? If they can’t be trusted to figure out whether the world is burning up, and the climatologist takes his predictions from the models the computer scientist creates, then who is dumber, the guy who takes his predicitions from an incorrect model, or the guy who tries to figure it out on his/her own? BTW, I fit in several of the lower level categories listed as well as the ever so slightly more exaulted category of civil engineering.

    What a joke. Just remember, an expert is someone who knows almost everything about next to nothing.

  13. Jeff Id said

    It’s an odd reality where smart people must go to the ‘correct’ school to understand a graph. I wouldn’t claim to be a climatology expert even if I did have a climatology PhD. There’s too much unknown at this point. When the statistical datamashers so regularly abuse the process and pass absolute garbage like the Arctic hockey stick through peer review, the little pyramid has a bit flatter top me thinks.

    Tammie, wouldn’t even let me comment about this rubbish paper on his recent thread.

  14. lweinstein said

    Ex is a has been and a spurt is a drip under pressure

  15. timetochooseagain said

    9-I dislike you. Nothing personal, just throwing that out there.

    Sigh. Apparently engineering students don’t even merit an honorable mention. Never mind how capable of reading and understanding the science they are.

    Incidentally, where does the lil girl fit on her own pyramid?

  16. Antonio San said

    I sadly notice journalists are not at the top of the credibility tower…
    George Monbiot… LOL 😉

  17. Hank Hancock said

    Looks like a monument to me.

    On the lighter side:

    “Your highness, the AGW hypothesis is bankrupt. You can either provide evidence, direct correlation, and other meaningful science, which will benefit all the subjects in your kingdom, or build vast monuments celebrating your greatness and eternal glory.”

    Click

  18. Eric Steig said

    Jeff,

    Thanks to our friendly exchanges by email, I now read your blog once in a while. I don’t usually agree with you, but have to say that I entirely agree with this particular rant of yours. I do hope you realize that we mainstream academic scientists are not all like your pyramid-building lunatic (I hope it’s no one I know!).

    Best,

    Eric

  19. Too bad nobody was willing to comment on the article, or, apparently, even read it. You’re still welcome to do both. Also too bad that our ranter here failed to link to his source, and failed to note that there’s a different graphic added that I said was better.

    As was noted in the article, and again in comments, what groups are mostly likely to have studied a particular topic most depends on the topic. It’s fascinating to me that this strikes you all as such an outrageous statement or principle. Do you go to your car mechanic when you’re sick, a plumber when your car needs work, and and oceanographer when you need some plumbing fixed? If so, at least you’re consistent. If not, then you’ve applied your own version of a pyramid of relevance to your life.

    Noted in the original article is that it’s entirely possible for someone farther down the sequence of probability to study enough to become seriously knowledgeable. It’s also likely, however, that someone who has spent 20 years becoming seriously knowledgeable about one field, is not as knowledgeable about a second field as a person who spent all 20 of his years studying that other field.

    Or did I miss the part in earning my degrees where the fine print said it was a certificate of universal skill and knowledge?

    @4 Civil engineers, I think, are more likely to know more about climate, and do more with climate, than other sorts of engineers, hence their higher listing. Aerospace engineering proceeds just fine regardless of what the climate is — their products only have to deal with weather. Civil engineers (taking the old division that mechanical/aerospace engineers design weapon systems and civil engineers design targets) deal with climate. Their structures and systems should survive for 30 years and more — climate time scales.

    If you were to read the actual article, and the comments, you’d find most of your other field comments addressed.

    To the original: ‘well-known leftists in blogland’? Who are they? I expect that John Mashey is well-known, but I thought he was a well-known computer scientist. Who else is well-known?

  20. Andrew said

    Eric-we all appreciate your willingness to engage. The good news is that I don’t think this was made by a scientist, but a wee lil pundit:

    http://www.climatesight.org/2009/04/11/the-credibility-spectrum/

    19-Civil Engineers might know about building structures to withstand a lot of weather, but there is no civil engineer I know of that knows more about this issue than I do. And I’m not even professional Aerospace, I’m a dang College Freshman!

    And if my plumber spent as much time studying medicine as I do this, I’d at least ask him “Does this look infected to you?”. Going to the doctor is expensive, if I can get a preliminary assessment for free, I’ll ask anyone. Heck I go to my Mother with a medical issue before a doctor.

  21. Layman Lurker said

    Wow, three notable posts in a row, Dr. Steig, Robert Grumbine, and Megan Fox. Since Dr. Steig is now on record as being open to expertise from outside his field, maybe he should interview Ms. Fox as a potential research assitant. 😉

  22. Kenneth Fritsch said

    I’m sick of being grumpy. There is only so much of this garbage you can take before you loose your sanity. I read on another blog about some sort of credibility pyramid where the climate dude claims you can only determine things about climate from the most credible sources.

    Jeff ID, the construction of that pyramid is pure silliness and the construction of it deserves a chuckle or two and then moving on. It says nothing about climate or climate scientists.

    Remember when you incorrectly assumed an age of a blogger recently. We could have a similar case here.

  23. bbeeman said

    Climatology is a science major for those who are bad at math. That’s why they are at the bottom of the scientific food chain.

    You don’t have to be a farmer to know when you have a rotten egg, and climatologists have laid a few of those.

    Good blog, Jeff.

  24. lucia said

    Too silly. I guessed the author, googled and found the post in my first try. 🙂

    That guy writes many, many silly things!

  25. Antonio San said

    #19, Alfred Wegener was a meteorologist and was able to open the eyes of many geologists…
    Having a brain and knowing how to use it is the key factor. We all know in our respective professions that the proportion of truly competent people barely exceeds 50% of the field and I know people who would be less generous… Yet the incompetent crowd have studied too, are spending weeks on figuring out things just to fail. They are still in business often because they do not challenge authority, they present the stuff their managers feel they can understand. So in the end, the best brains win and usually they can get the background faster tahn most.

  26. chris y said

    I wrote a letter to the editor early this year (which was published in its 700 word entirety) that described my version of a growing climate pyramid.

    “The Carbon Pyramid-

    The threat of man-made global warming is based on the working hypothesis that increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations will drive up global surface temperatures at supernatural rates, perhaps reaching climate tipping points that will result in catastrophic, irreversible changes to Earth’s biosphere. This unconfirmed hypothesis is the tip of a colossal inverted carbon pyramid. The pyramid contains billions in research funds for scientists to study ‘settled science’, millions of ‘green’ jobs, thousands of political appointees and staff salaries, carbon market traders, carbon offsetters and doomsday prophets.”

    “Here comes the surprise. This hypothesis has yet to be experimentally verified…”

    “The problem with an inverted pyramid, of course, is its inherent instability. If the pyramidal tip’s hypothesis should ever come into question, the entire structure crumbles. This is the tipping point about which climate alarmists should be acutely concerned. A principle function for AGW ‘pre-cogs’ involves buttressing the pyramid’s apex, no matter how comical the claim.”

    “And so the endless climate calamity claims continue, although…”

  27. John M said

    Obviously, only ivory tower experts can contribute anything to a complex subject.

    Lindbergh studied the problem and quietly went off to the Princeton University glass blower. Two weeks later he came back with his own blood pump. Carrel was delighted and invited Lindbergh to continue work in his laboratory.

    Lindbergh did. He produced a series of pumps that didn’t quite work. In 1935, after his son was kidnapped and murdered, he finally produced a working blood pump. He also produced a lot of the supporting technology. He’d made a centrifuge to separate blood plasma without damaging it.

    http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi318.htm

    Like Heinrich Schliemann, the businessman who discovered the site of ancient Troy in the 1870s, and Michael Ventris, the architect who deciphered the written language of Minoan Crete in the 1950s, the 57-year-old Bittlestone is part of an honorable tradition of inspired amateurs who have made extraordinary discoveries outside the confines of conventional scholarship. “Bittlestone’s insight is brilliant,” says Gregory Nagy, director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, in Washington, D.C. “He has done something very important. This is a real breakthrough convergence of oral poetry and geology, and the most plausible explanation I’ve seen of what Ithaca was in the second millennium B.C. We’ll never read the Odyssey in the same way again.”

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Odysseys-End-The-Search-for-Ancient-Ithaca.html

    In 1990, amateur fossil hunter Susan Hendrickson, working in the South Dakota Badlands, discovered the preserved bones of a T. rex.

    http://animals.howstuffworks.com/dinosaurs/tryannosaurus-rex-behavior-info.htm

    In the 1930s Reber applied for jobs with Karl Jansky at Bell Labs and with astronomical observatories to study cosmic radio waves, but none of them were hiring at the time, since it was in the middle of the great depression. Reber decided to study radio astronomy on his own.

    The telescope was constructed by Grote Reber in 1937 in his back yard in Wheaton, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago). He built the telescope at his own expense while working full time for a radio company in Chicago.

    http://www.nrao.edu/whatisra/hist_reber.shtml

    Of course, climate science is “different”, which actually, I would agree with.

  28. stan said

    Given the extraordinary level of incompetence demonstrated by many of the “climate scientists” at the forefront of AGW politics, I have come to associate the term as worthy of derision (along with “peer-reviewed”). Obviously, there are honest scientists in the climate field who rigorously follow the scientific method and eschew the sloppiness and histrionics which have engulfed so many others. Their rarity is regrettable.

    Climate scientists were the ones who forgot to check their thermometers before making grand pronouncements about their studies. They are the ones who never got around to learning if their instruments had ever been calibrated. Not only did they fail to check the quality of their data, they also failed to check the quality of the revolutionary studies which they adopt as gospel. What kind of fool, when presented with a study using strange methodology and making bizarre claims, simply accepts the conclusions without question? Few normal people would, but climate scientists make it a regular habit.

    Too often, “climate scientist” is a term which denotes a politicized hack devoid of common sense and bereft of a skeptical impulse. Too often we are left to wonder if the shoddy work is the result of intellectual corruption or scientific incompetence. Either way, they don’t inspire the kind of confidence which would place them at the top of the pyramid. At least not a pyramid based on integrity and quality.

  29. Kenneth Fritsch said

    As was noted in the article, and again in comments, what groups are mostly likely to have studied a particular topic most depends on the topic. It’s fascinating to me that this strikes you all as such an outrageous statement or principle. Do you go to your car mechanic when you’re sick, a plumber when your car needs work, and and oceanographer when you need some plumbing fixed? If so, at least you’re consistent. If not, then you’ve applied your own version of a pyramid of relevance to your life.

    Robert Grumbine, I think you have the evaluations of a job and who does the job confused. I’ll let the plumber attempt to fix my problem (on the rare occasion when I hire one) but still I remain the one who will evaluate her work. I will not place my evaluation of her work as though it were faith based and from the perspective of “who am I to judge her work”. All plumbers (climate scientists) do not necessarily do good work. Even the good ones might not comment on the poor work of the poor ones.

    Noted in the original article is that it’s entirely possible for someone farther down the sequence of probability to study enough to become seriously knowledgeable. It’s also likely, however, that someone who has spent 20 years becoming seriously knowledgeable about one field, is not as knowledgeable about a second field as a person who spent all 20 of his years studying that other field.

    Robert, again I think you are over simplifying in your haste at defending a faith based science view. One only needs to have a general understanding of the science and other fields like, for example, statistics from which tools are borrowed to make judgments. In fact, the more specialized you make these fields appear, and thus impervious, the more likely I might suspect that specialists when borrowing from other specialized fields are going to make mistakes.

    Finally, the existence of specialized fields within climatology that would require a faith based acceptance would appear to imply that the climate scientists’ consensus we hear about and requires some kind of integrating knowledge across specialized fields might also be faith based.

  30. Dave said

    My guess is that TV weather forecaster was thrown in there as a jab at Anthony Watts, although it is listed above me. Bottom line, good scientists in any field can, with a little effort, recognize bad science in another field.

  31. Kenneth Fritsch said

    Jeff ID, do not be too hard on this blogger as his audience evidently, like the young lady with whom you previously had exchanges, would not necessarily be in positions to judge for themselves or at least not be so inclined.

    More Grumbine Science

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/

    I’ll be trying what seems to be an unusual approach in blogs — writing to be inclusive of students in middle school and jr. high, as well as teachers and parents (whether for their own information or to help their children).

  32. Jeff Id said

    Robert Grumbine

    As I said in the article, I did’t want to start blogwars again. I actually was at your site because I’m looking for honest AGW blogs to put in the sidebar. RC is still my favorite but it isn’t honest in handling its comments. In perusing your article, which I did read, I ran across the following paragraph:

    For now, though, if you’re not an expert on climate yourself, I’ll suggest that if the source is in the first two tiers, there’s a fair chance that they’ve got some relevant background. If they’re in the bottom 3, almost certainly not — skip these. And the third level, is probably to skip but maybe pencil them in for later study, after you’ve developed more knowledge yourself from studying sources on the first two levels.

    While I’ve never told anyone to trust me over anyone else in climatology, the whole concept that a person cannot learn on their own was what bothered me. Also, the concept that a layperson can’t listen to those outsiders who have studied climate privately is a common theme in blogland.

    Anyone skeptical is automatically labled denier and tossed in the pile. In some places I can’t even post the ‘sky is blue’even though I don’t deny warming. It’s important because your post is a continued expression of a theme designed to discredit smart people who may have a less controlled viewpoint than those who must make money and work together in the field.

    I’ll stop by again and read more to see what it’s like. Also, I’ve added a link to your post as I said I would. My intent wasn’t to bash you as much as it was to point out this all too common theme in climate and that is the only reason it was left off.

    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-fields-are-relevant.html

  33. Jeff Id said

    Dr. Steig,

    Thanks for the cooperation on your paper also. Of interest, Ryan has now been able to replicate your results to a much better accuracy. I’ve not done it myself yet but he said that the PCA was done on a covariance matrix (I beleive) prior to RegEM. This made the match to your 3PC’s and final results almost perfect.

    I’m still battling with a positive matrix factorization method which I’ve tweaked again to try and improve the result. Perhaps I’ll have something this weekend but it takes forever to run.

  34. enough said

    In the beginning their were civil engineers. To pay for an education they sold themselves to draw topographical maps.

    Then came along the Corp of engineers, they ponited to lines on the map and said this is how bad it can get.

    Then came the government saying you need flood insurance.

    Then came the local politician that said I have never seen it that bad.

    For fear of being run out of the country the government said let there be a 100 and 500 year flood plain knowing full well that they were only for 10/50 year floods.

    Life was good for 50 years.

    Then came the floods.

    The green left then said this must be man’s fault.

    Afraid of being blamed for the fiasco, the government said “let it be AGW”

    In dedication to the first real climate blog I read, someone was complaining about having to get a real job in flood plain managemnent.

  35. TerryMN said

    I guess I need to do what the Andrews did on Lucia’s blog – add in a state qualifier. Anyway – keep up the fight, Jeff – the bs has been exposed, and the cries are getting more and more desperate. Kind of fun to watch, in a schadenfreude kinda way. 🙂

  36. MikeN said

    Andrew, that blogger is a she and a wee lil one, but what you saw was a link to someone else’s chart.

  37. Chad said

    Hey Jeff, sorry I didn’t respond to your comment sooner. I was knocked offline for nearly two days. It was a nightmare, but now it’s over. I’ve posted a response.

  38. Adam Gallon said

    “TV Weatherman” = “Practical Climatolgist”?

  39. Adam Gallon said

    Bugger, missed out an “o”! Climatologist!

  40. stumpy said

    Well at least Civil Engineer comes above Nuclear & Particle Physics, Doctors and Aerospace engineering (am a civil engineer) which makes me feel a little better, but obviously we are all to stupid to understand climatology unless we have a piece of paper saying we are a climatologist. And I just thought they we glorified computer programmers / modellers

    Most big breakthroughs in science normally come from someone outside of the field as they are thinking “outside of the box” so to say anyone is more skilled than anyone is just silly!

  41. John F. Pittman said

    To show the problems with simplifying, a problem for many, such as the IPCC, or your local skeptic, consider both the inverse pyramid of commenter jg and the other pyramid. I am a chemical engineer and biologist. As a chemical engineer on the inverse pyramid, I studied radiation, modeling, thermodynamics including chemical thermo, statistics and isotope analysis, geology, chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, physics (astronomy is usually considered a sub branch), electronics, writing, and teaching. Also, I took several courses on, or using FORTRAN. All of these I have one or more college courses passed at a recognized major US university. I got my degree before the internet, but I do know how to use a library, which you did not include! Yet on the pyramid I am at the fifth level.

    From a University that offers a Climatology Masters
    Core Requirements for climatology
    •A course in global climate. This course is currently under development and, until it is approved, it will be replaced by Geography 520 (Climatology) for those students without equivalent knowledge.
    •Competence in computer programming using at least one multi-purpose programming language (e.g. FORTRAN, C) to a level necessary to write algorithms in this specialty area and to undertake Master’s research work. No specific course is recommended for this requirement. Students may enter with this knowledge or acquire it as part of their program from courses chosen in consultation with their advisor.
    •Geography 622.01 (Boundary Layer Climatology)
    •At least one 800-level seminar in Atmospheric Sciences or Climatology.
    Additional Requirements for Climatology
    •Geography 623.01 (Synoptic Analysis and Forecasting).
    •At least two courses from the following list:
    ◦Geography 620 (Synoptic Meteorology Laboratory)
    ◦Geography 622.02 (Microclimatological Measurements)
    ◦Geography 623.02 (Severe Storm Forecasting by Radar and Satellite)
    ◦Geography 820.01 or 820.03 (Seminars in Physical Geography, various topics offered)
    ◦Geography 821 (Dynamic Climatology)
    ◦Geography 822 (Microclimatology)
    ◦Geography 823 (Applied Climatology)
    ◦Atmospheric Sciences 631 (Atmospheric Thermodynamics)
    ◦Atmospheric Sciences 637 (Dynamic Meteorology I)
    ◦Atmospheric Sciences 638 (Dynamic Meteorology II)
    ◦Atmospheric Sciences 881 (Atmospheric Sciences Seminar)
    Additional Requirements for Atmospheric Sciences
    •Mathematics courses to the level of differential equations. This requirement may be met by undergraduate work or is satisfied by enrollment in courses in the Department of Mathematics.
    •Atmospheric Sciences 631 (Atmospheric Thermodynamics)
    •Atmospheric Sciences 637 (Dynamic Meteorology I)
    •Atmospheric Sciences 638 (Dynamic Meteorology II

    Let’s see not only did I do DiffyQ’s, I did numerical methods as well. And, darn, just look at all those atmospheric and meteorology courses and where are TV weather forecasters, many who are degreed meteorologists, on the pyramid? Right there with chemical engineers.

    I would go on about my biology degree with math minor that I also obtained, but perhaps you get the point, the misconceptions are more telling than the pyramid. Oh did I fail to mention I have proprietary nuclear publications? You will not find them on the internet or elsewhere. The jab at Steve McIntyre also shows the limits of being able to view in an unbiased manner versus an appeal to authority. Did I fail to mention the 30 successful plant designs in heat and mass transfer, and environmental I did? You won’t find them published on the internet either. Just where do successful scientists actually fit in these pyramids? SteveMc, JeffID, RyanO, Lucia, etc, show us excellent work in analyses. Is this somehow less science because it is more about the analyses and not the peer-reveiwed capability? Is science so limited, or are those who appeal to authority so limited in their arguments? Thankfully, Dr. Steig did not consider himself somehow limited, or we would have all been poorer for it.

    So let’s do the pyramid. Had course(s) in geology (paleontology and hard rock as well), physical chemistry, mineralogy, statistics, mathematic analysis of several types, took civil engineering, organic, evo bio and eco bio, micro, algebra- vector-calculus math, mechanical/ electrical engineering, computer science, have a biology degree, and my father was a veterinarian that I helped with surgery, etc. Most of these were required for my ChemE degree, but ChemE’s were put in 5th level. Though my Biology half dislikes the slight to flora, invertebrate, and vertebrate courses, since it would be appropriate for the vaunted climatologists to consult biologists if they are going to claim such things as a linear relationship to temperature for their proxies.

    Note that about the only thing the vaunted climatologists have different than a ChemE, according to the curriculum, is their climatology courses. But they do not even necessarily have the general science that is expected of a ChemE. The long and short of the pyramid is that it is a circular argument bowing to an authority.

  42. Geoff Sherrington said

    The Pyramid is correct but the interpretation is wrong.

    The people in the lower tiers are the ones most needed to help the ones above. The ones high up need more help than the ones low down.

    It’s so logical when you look at it this way. Do a practiacal test when you next have a severe toothache.

    In a way it’s related to the (unpublished) Sherrington Postulate 1991 that goes “The personal remuneration of a professional is in proportion to his/her ability to relieve immediate pain”. This pyramid ranking has similarities.

    Climatologists, who produce mainly pain, logically sit at the top of the pyramid.

  43. timetochooseagain said

    EW! What is with all you Civils anyway?

    35-Lucia gave us the idea and it worked out pretty well, eh?

    (I am Andrew_FL)

    36-I figured that out a while after I posted, but mistakes are forever.

    I have got to learn to stop linking things without reading them…

  44. Jeff:

    ‘for now’ in the paragraph you object to meant ‘while you are not an expert’. Given my nominal target of middle and jr. high school students, it seemed fair to assume that they are not already experts, and it’ll be a while before they become so. In the mean time, they need to focus their learning.

    My purpose in writing the blog includes trying to provide some tools, and interesting examples, for non-experts to become expert. I’m aiming at the early stages of the process, not the later. Laymen can certainly learn things, and I’m attempting to help that happen.

    Your complaints about ‘anyone skeptical’ … certainly I’ve seen places like that. Also places that label folks who think temperature has gone up in the last century as ‘part of the liberal conspiracy’. And worse on both sides. My own sentiment is to not use such labels at my blog:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/08/labelling-instead-of-thinking.html

    As to linking to me or not, I just think (see my link policy) that if you’re going to bash something, and you’re a science-minded type, it’s a good and fair thing to provide the link so that readers can see the full thing in detail. So when I knock the OISM petition, I link to the original site, c.f. http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/07/petitioning-on-climate-part-1.html

    As to blogrolling my site, you probably won’t want to. My comment policy is much more restrictive than realclimate’s, as it must be for my nominal audience. (on main page). Some articles to get a sense more quickly as to whether your sentiment is a more general like or, seems more probably, loathe:
    Science side:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/08/what-is-climate-2.html
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/12/how-to-decide-climate-trends.html
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-not-to-analyze-climate-data.html

    More general:
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/10/pielkes-poor-summary-of-sea-ice.html
    http://moregrumbinescience.blogspot.com/2008/12/who-can-do-science.html

    Pielke himself said he appreciated the article and tenor of comments.
    The prejudices you and readers have shown about what I think might give you coronaries if you read the ‘who can do science’ note.

    @25 Antonio:
    quotes from my actual article:
    Third tier, … some have made their way, at least, from those fields over to studying climate.
    The extremely rare exception does exist — Judith Lean has come from astrophysics and done some good work … regarding solar influence on climate. Milankovitch was an astronomer/mathematical analyst who developed an important theory of the ice ages.
    I do know a couple of nuclear physicists who have moved to climate-relevant studies. But they essentially started their careers over with some years of study to make the migration. In this, it’s more a matter that they once were nuclear physicists. After some years of retraining, they finally were able to make contributions to weather and climate. At which point, really, they were meteorologists who happened to know surprisingly large amounts about nuclear physics.

    It’s no surprise at all to me that people can and do change fields, and make contributions outside their original fields. I gave examples myself. Depending on how you choose to slice it, I’ve done so several times myself. Hence, also, that I described the approach — to the young would-be scientists and science-interested — as merely ‘the way to bet’. Not an infallible rule.

    Wegener is a very interesting guy, and maybe I should write this up at greater length (probably will) at my blog. I strongly recommend reading his book, which is available in English translation inexpensively from Dover: The origin of continents and oceans by Alfred Wegener, translated by John Biram (it’s a translation of the 4th edition, 1929, last edition that Wegener wrote). It’s not interesting here that he made a contribution outside his original nominal field (fields were not nearly as far apart in when he was writing as they are today either, which also changes things); I mention examples of that myself.

    More relevant is what he did in putting forward his ideas. Namely, he did not go forward on a basis of ‘you morons never noticed that South America and Africa’s coasts line up!’ (rewrite with ‘urban heat island’ for the climate example). Nor did he complain about ‘conspiracy to suppress my ideas’. Rather, he comments in the book about how seriously he was taken by so many. Nor did he ignore, avoid, ridicule, etc., the professionals in relevant areas. Instead, he published his ideas in the professional geological (and others relevant to the data or theory he was discussing) fields, not meteorological, inviting comment from them about what they saw as flaws. And, when they did so, he attempted to address them, not complain more about the conspiracy against him. Had he not died in 1930, he might have been able to produce a useful response to Jeffrey’s thorough demolition of Wegener’s mechanism for continental drift (also published in 1929 — Jeffreys’ book The Earth). Continents drift, but in nothing like the fashion that Wegener said.

  45. Stevo said

    “Why is it so tough?”

    Because while everybody confidently asserts that there is masses of evidence, nobody seems willing or able to present it, in a straightforward, complete, uncontroversial exposition moving from basic physics to the conclusion of dangerous anthropogenic climate change.

    It’s tough to understand because nobody will stop and explain it.

    “The theory of global warming makes sense, it is certain that more outgoing radiation will be captured by increasing CO2.”

    A perfect example! That isn’t how the greenhouse effect works. The basic physics is wrong. And yet, even after having studied the question for 20 years, climatologists still present this simplified, primary-school version of the effect to the public as ‘the greenhouse effect’. (At least thank god they’ve finally stopped saying it works like a greenhouse.) Ask questions, and you get more complexity, but it’s always incomplete. There are always more layers. How can anyone hope to judge it rationally if they’re never given enough of the science to be able to follow the argument? Faced with such a shell game of ‘onion explanations’, naturally people must fall back on Argument from Authority.

    Personally, I find evasive or incorrect explanations combined with appeals to authority to be highly suspicious, especially coming from someone claiming to represent Science, and my default position tends to be rejection of their whole thesis. But it is a difficult question – on what basis are you supposed to judge if you’re not a scientist? Scientifically, you shouldn’t draw any conclusion, one way or the other, but politically you might have to. It’s supposed to be the end of the world – you’ve got to take a side on that. So in such circumstances, isn’t even an evasive Authority your best bet? I genuinely don’t know what to advise.

  46. Hm. My morning attempt seems to have failed to appear. Retry with some rewrites.

    Jeff:

    ‘for now’ in the paragraph you object to meant ‘while you are not an expert’. Given my nominal target of middle and jr. high school students, it seemed fair to assume that they are not already experts, and it’ll be a while before they become so. In the mean time, they need to focus their learning.

    My purpose in writing the blog includes trying to provide some tools, and interesting examples, for non-experts to become expert. I’m aiming at the early stages of the process, not the later. Laymen can certainly learn things, and I’m attempting to help that happen.

    Your complaints about ‘anyone skeptical’ … certainly I’ve seen places like that. Also places that label folks who think temperature has gone up in the last century as ‘part of the liberal conspiracy’. And worse on both sides. My own sentiment is to not use such labels at my blog:
    /2008/08/labelling-instead-of-thinking.html

    As to linking to me or not, I just think (see my link policy) that if you’re going to bash something, and you’re a science-minded type, it’s a good and fair thing to provide the link so that readers can see the full thing in detail. So when I knock the OISM petition, I link to the original site, c.f. /2008/07/petitioning-on-climate-part-1.html

    As to blogrolling my site, you probably won’t want to. My comment policy is much more restrictive than realclimate’s, as it must be for my nominal audience. (on main page). Some articles to get a sense more quickly as to whether your sentiment is a more general like or, seems more probably, loathe:
    Science side:
    /2008/08/what-is-climate-2.html
    /2009/01/results-on-deciding-trends.html
    /2008/12/how-to-decide-climate-trends.html
    /2009/07/how-not-to-analyze-climate-data.html

    More general:
    /2008/10/pielkes-poor-summary-of-sea-ice.html
    /2008/12/who-can-do-science.html

    Pielke himself said he appreciated the article and tenor of comments.
    The prejudices you and readers have shown about what I think might give you coronaries if you read the ‘who can do science’ note.

    @25 Antonio:
    quotes from my actual article:
    Third tier, … some have made their way, at least, from those fields over to studying climate.
    The extremely rare exception does exist — Judith Lean has come from astrophysics and done some good work … regarding solar influence on climate. Milankovitch was an astronomer/mathematical analyst who developed an important theory of the ice ages.
    I do know a couple of nuclear physicists who have moved to climate-relevant studies. But they essentially started their careers over with some years of study to make the migration. In this, it’s more a matter that they once were nuclear physicists. After some years of retraining, they finally were able to make contributions to weather and climate. At which point, really, they were meteorologists who happened to know surprisingly large amounts about nuclear physics.

    It’s no surprise at all to me that people can and do change fields, and make contributions outside their original fields. I gave examples myself. Depending on how you choose to slice it, I’ve done so several times myself. Hence, also, that I described the approach — to the young would-be scientists and science-interested — as merely ‘the way to bet’. Not an infallible rule.

    Wegener is a very interesting guy, and maybe I should write this up at greater length (probably will) at my blog. I strongly recommend reading his book, which is available in English translation inexpensively from Dover: The origin of continents and oceans by Alfred Wegener, translated by John Biram (it’s a translation of the 4th edition, 1929, last edition that Wegener wrote). It’s not interesting here that he made a contribution outside his original nominal field (fields were not nearly as far apart in when he was writing as they are today either, which also changes things); I mention examples of that myself.

    More relevant is what he did in putting forward his ideas. Namely, he did not go forward on a basis of ‘you morons never noticed that South America and Africa’s coasts line up!’ (rewrite with ‘urban heat island’ for the climate example). Nor did he complain about ‘conspiracy to suppress my ideas’. Rather, he comments in the book about how seriously he was taken by so many. Nor did he ignore, avoid, ridicule, etc., the professionals in relevant areas. Instead, he published his ideas in the professional geological (and others) fields, not meteorological, inviting comment from them about what they saw as flaws. And, when they did so, he attempted to address them, not complain more about the conspiracy against him. Had he not died in 1930, he might have been able to produce a useful response to Jeffrey’s thorough demolition of Wegener’s mechanism for continental drift (also published in 1929 — Jeffreys’ book The Earth). Continents drift, but in nothing like the fashion that Wegener said.

  47. John F. Pittman said

    Stevo said September 12, 2009 at 5:39 pm “”Authority your best bet? I genuinely don’t know what to advise.””

    There is another measurement you can make and it will genuinely tell you what to do and advise. The measurement is tabulating efforts “”to preempt””. To preempt comes from bridge.

    From Wiki:
    Preempt (also spelled “Pre-empt”) is a bid in contract bridge whose primary function is to take up bidding space from the opponents. A preemptive bid is usually made by jumping, i.e. skipping one or more bidding levels. Since it deprives the opponents of the bidding space, it is expected that they will either find a wrong contract (too high or in a wrong denomination) of their own, or fail to find any.

    Preempting is often made with the aim of a sacrifice, where a partnership bids a contract knowing it cannot be made, but assumes that (even when doubled), the penalty will still be smaller than the value of opponents’ bid and made contract.””

    The reason the alarmists say “the science is settled” is to deny bidding space. Understand that “bidding space” in contract bridge is communication between partners who can not direcly reveal (ascertain in our case) the best fit (in our case, best advice).

    That this is part of the AGW alarmist approach is not even deniable. There was a study conducted by the UK in about 2003 as to why their AGW push was not succeeding as well as they thought it should. The UK hired consultants. The consultants stated that in order to marginalize sceptics who were undermining the AGW message, this preemption tactic of not even admitting a different conclusion to AGW was advisable. It should not suprise you that these were not advertising consultants, but rather a group that advised advertising agencies about their mistaken market advertising efforts. Indicating to all but the beleivers and the brain dead that the UK was already in the business of advertising AGW.

    From their point of view, the sacrifice is to sacrifice scientific procedure and accuracy in order to achieve the desired goal. The goal incorporates two interesting facets.

    The first facet is the belief that the sacrifice is justified. Not that your bid is necessarily right, but the cost is justified. As in bridge, where the cards are not shown such that each person at the table is dealing from a position of ignorance, your onion comparison indicates the lack of knowlegde in climatology; and it may extend, and probably does, to all parties.

    The second facet concerns two aspects that appear similar to the first but are different. As in bridge, there is an order of play. In preempting, the preemptor both has to “play”, but also has to “believe” that it is a good communication and “believe” the sacrifice is worth it. In the AGW case, the strident “it is worse than we thought” and “the science is settled” are the play (former) and communication (latter). At this point, note that since “each person at the table is dealing from a position of ignorance” one cannot tell just what is true or not. It is a matter of belief…that is what the disruption of communications is all about after all.

    The second aspect of the second facet is that the play and communication are path dependent both in bridge and in the IPCC AGW induced alarmism. Humans are quite good at determiing this measurement path dependency. Has your BS-o-meter been going off as you peeled the onion? As if you could not tell if it was even 1.5C for a doubling of CO2, then it was 3C, then 6C, then 10C?

    Why in the midst of static or near static temperatures and decreasing rates in temperature increase and sea level rise are more and more articles (peer-reveiwed, no less) coming out with “it is worse that we thought”? The excuse of 30 years rings hollow in that the path was set when Hansen took ten years to make his case. Moving goals = increased preemption…it is about communication, and who controls it. That is the nature that your BS-o-meter is telling you. The AGW alarmists are the ones who moved the 10 years to 30 years, the 1.5C or 3C to 10C. It is path dependent. It is undeniable that they have made these claims in the midst of contrary evidence.

    Do a sanity check. Ignore the “we have moved on” or “it is settled”; that is a preemptive effort to reduce your ability to gain knowledge. The “onion” in your post. Note that this is the pinacle of the argument I made above. The purpose of disrupting communication is to reduce knowlege, not increase it. That knowledge is given to the opponent, is a neccessity, not a desire. Why else do they publish these inferior papers and then claim to haved moved on?

    The humorous aspect is that so much of the AGW alarmists’ approach is necessitated by belief, not science. Science is a deliberate attempt to ascertain knowledge and communicate it. Predictability in a decidedly complex and unknown situation is for what science strives to determine.

    IPCC and alarmists use belief, and the methodology of belief (preemption) rather than science. Their preemptive methods prove this. Please do not blame me that they use a method that raises a person’s sceptism. It is simply a fact that they do.

    SteveO, the fact that they do use preemptive tactics should make it easy as to what you would advise. That is assuming you understand the unsupportable assumptions endemic to the “precautionary principle”. Give you a hint, logically (reductio ad absurdum)it can be shown that only if you have either knowledge (precluded by the precautionary part), or that there are no, and I do mean that in an absolute sense, no opposing arguments as to the probability, efficacy, worth, etc, of the precaution, can one employ the precautionary principle. Consider Africa.

  48. Oh, afternote: I’m not a climatologist myself. My original background is engineering. I tend to call myself an oceanographer these days. But most of what I actually do is engineering (as I think of the field, at least).

  49. John F. Pittman said

    Robert Grumbine said September 12, 2009 at 8:21 pm “”As to blogrolling my site, you probably won’t want to. My comment policy is much more restrictive than realclimate’s, as it must be for my nominal audience.””

    Is this truly necessary considering you stated “”Given my nominal target of middle and jr. high school students, it seemed fair to assume that they are not already experts, and it’ll be a while before they become so. In the mean time, they need to focus their learning.””

    If it is communication that educates, and truth that enlightens, why would you preclude certain arguments? Or facts?

    Your example of Alfred Wegener indicates that you know of the prpoer procedure for correct communication (education). I maintain that the correct procedure, as you indicated, is good for you, me, realclimate, NAS, IPCC, tAV, and climatologists. If you disagree, you invalidate you post of 08:21pm, and perhaps much more.

    Your students, as are we, are on a path dependent road to the future. The question, any teacher has to answer, is whether they will pave the road with truth , unknowns, or lies. It seems a bit contradictory that someone (a teacher) would be teaching unknowns. Thus, assuming you will not teach lies, why are you restricting your students? Are they stupid, are they incompetent, just why would you predetermine the “truth”.

    Your comment “”Your complaints about ‘anyone skeptical’ … certainly I’ve seen places like that. Also places that label folks who think temperature has gone up in the last century as ‘part of the liberal conspiracy’. “” Jeff has not been denying that temperatures have gone up. Quite the opposite, he has posted that temperatures have increased since the Little Ice Age (LIA).

    For the record, I note that you use the strawman of comparing JeffID with with the places that label folks as part of the liberal conspiracy. Show me where JeffID has specifically labeled “”folks who think temperature has gone up in the last century as ‘part of the liberal conspiracy’.””

    Jeff actually has been arguing just how much Antarctica has increased, if any. Not a “liberal vs conservative”; but a confidence vs confidence statistical exercise.

    Perhaps you do not wish to exercise your young charges’ intellect? As an example, consider my September 12, 2009 at 8:07 am post. Note my qualifications versus your pyramid. Not as an appeal to authority, but rather, why would you PRECLUDE my input on climatology since I showed that I have more general knowledge than is required for a masters in climatology that you put at the pinacle, and the climatology courses left are, in effect, a circular argument with repsect to your pyramid?

    In essence, I have shown, that, according to you, if you are not a climatologist, you do not count. My general quaifications are far more than the Masters level climatology except climatology courses. That you do not seem to realize that this is a circular argument of this sort, that you, yourself admitted: 1.) Climatology relies on a multitude of disciplines; 2.) there are many scientific disciplines that require general knowledge; 3.) Climatologists are required to have this interdisciplinary education; 4.) curriculums show that climatologists do not have this interdisplinary approach as much as chemical engineers do; therefore 5.) you resort to a strawman about liberals versus conservatives to answer JeffID’s complaint, rather than admit that climatologists fail the criteria that you, yourself, set up in comparison to at least chemical engineering (which you ranked low indeed compared to climatologists.)

    You state “”More relevant is what he did in putting forward his ideas. Namely, he did not go forward on a basis of ‘you morons never noticed that South America and Africa’s coasts line up!’ (rewrite with ‘urban heat island’ for the climate example). Nor did he complain about ‘conspiracy to suppress my ideas’. Rather, he comments in the book about how seriously he was taken by so many. Nor did he ignore, avoid, ridicule, etc., the professionals in relevant areas.””

    The truth is that in science it would not matter if he was obnoxious or not. It is whether he was correct in the science or not. That you do not recognise the distinction, I personally find unsuprising. That you would would teach the scientific method falsely, I find disheartening. Wegener was accepted not because he did or did not complain, but that he did the science correctly. That is his legacy.

  50. Raven said

    One thing that gets lost is there is specialization among people who call themselves “climatologists” and that means they are often less qualified to comment on aspects of the science (i.e. the usefulness of the climate models) than people who use the same tools in different fields (e.g. aerospace engineers). Yet that does not stop them from waving around their “climatologist badge” to shut down critics.

  51. timetochooseagain said

    Social engineering doesn’t count as Engineering. It’s worse than Civil.

    Sorry, I just assumed based on things you’ve said that the innuendo was meant to imply that you consider yourself someone who engineers people’s lives-particularly young minds.

    God, if I had ever let anyone “focus” my learning.

    Heaven forbid we should believe in free minds.

    You know, in my nominal religion-I’m non practicing, for a variety of reasons-the age at which you can understand the rituals and the other stuff is seven. Evidently the climate book of canon law is tougher than the Catholic…

  52. Jeff Id said

    Robert,

    I don’t clip posts here with very very few exceptions. You message was caught in the spam trap and I was at a trade show selling green products, that’s all. In the meantime, too many links are always sent to the spam filter by wordpress without any input or intent from me.

    I’m sorry now that I didn’t link to your blog. This is the first time I haven’t done so as a reference and it was done because I wanted to make a point about climatology in blogland’s appeal to authority line without bashing you directly.

    Your point to people in junior high that they should only listen to experts, is no different than saying the same thing to any ignorant adult. It’s quite surprising that you chose youth and assumed ignorance as your excuse. I regularly trash leftist(don’t think for yourself) type blogs here and was not intending to do so this time, however despite the reasoned tone with which you write, your conclusion is pure crap.

    By telling alleged junior high students (which I note very few of in your comment section) that they shouldn’t discuss climate with anyone except a climatologist, you are automatically assuming their minds are too small to determine who to listen to. What’s more, you are further assuming they shouldn’t even consider listening to those they trust and learn reality on their own. By your reasoning, my own son should not listen to my advice on climate or even his own mind— consider that next time you try to use an obvious cop out excuse for appeal to authority.

    Also, publication frequency is not proof of credibility and does not excuse the pyramid either. There exists confirmation bias as well as deliberate obfuscation of results in climatology for which I have top quality inside information. The field is highly politicized both by basic structure of grants and by intent, this means that climatologists in general do not deserve the top spot on even this pyramid, although I agree they are the most knowledgeable.

    We are getting close to a paper on the Antarctic which points out several flaws in Steig et al and improves on the result. Despite superiority in math and due diligence, I fully expect a vigorous attack against it (not all from the authors) as it does not show the same levels of warming. If it clears review, I will be eating crow quite happily around here with a great deal of satisfaction that the situation is slightly less bad than I fear. Dr. Steig’s paper has been more entertaining and interesting than any I have run into in climate science. It’s a very cool idea and a difficult problem due to the noise levels. The more we have played with it, the more difficult a good answer truly is. Dr. Steig’s work in this case was very difficult so my opinion is that the authors had a huge uphill battle to get close to a result. Also, my opinion is that they should have used simple methods without sat data as verification.

    Your comment about the lack of publications by SteveM is quite strong proof of my point that appeal to authority is crap. He’s submitted several papers for publication which have been rejected. These papers have in every single case been far superior in openness and result to the papers being rebutted and yet they are rejected by the political class of climatology. The very fact that climatology has not fully rejected Mann98 and 08 are absolute unequivocal proof of my words.

    In the future, perhaps long after this blog is gone, I have absolutely no doubt that Michael Mann and other proxy temperature, ice and other reconstructions will be recognized as the some of the worst and most disingenuous science of our time in any field including medicine and tobacco. It is my great hope that we will see the day soon.

    In case your junior high student reader stops by, Michael Mann is a climatologist — never, never, never listen to him.

    or Santer.

    or Tamino.

    ever.

  53. timetochooseagain said

    49-“The truth is that in science it would not matter if he was obnoxious or not. It is whether he was correct in the science or not. That you do not recognise the distinction, I personally find unsuprising. That you would would teach the scientific method falsely, I find disheartening. Wegener was accepted not because he did or did not complain, but that he did the science correctly. That is his legacy.”

    Yes. Have you ever read stories of how vindictive Newton was? “The shoulders of Giants” was as much a shot at Hooke, who was short, as anything. And yet…

  54. Mark T said

    Isn’t Tamino a mathematician?

    Mark

  55. Jeff Id said

    #50, Raven has a good point also, is an ice specialist an AGW modeling specialist? Certainly I believe they may be but often a particular position is taken for other reasons than a complete and thorough understanding.

    Steveo,

    “The theory of global warming makes sense, it is certain that more outgoing radiation will be captured by increasing CO2.”

    A perfect example! That isn’t how the greenhouse effect works. The basic physics is wrong.

    I’m interested in how this particular aspect of AGW is false. The spectra of a grey/blackbody radiator is well known. The absorption spectra of CO2 is reasonably well known although if anyone can give me a link to a good set of complete wavelength absorption at different temps and pressures, it would be appreciated. Since CO2 has higher absorption in the lowest frequencies and low temps are so heavily weighted in the low frequencies of emission while high temps from incoming sunlight are not, the greenhouse effect to me seems very real.

    However, the fact that it works does not imply the magnitude. In fact, it wouldn’t startle me to find out that the total contribution of AGW to climate was 0.001 C/Decade. How do we know? I’ve seen the log equation and it has some very serious assumptions in it. Feedback is always assumed to have a positive influence and there is very little evidence for it that I have seen. The large delta magnitude of radiation capture has a weak foundation IMO.

    Certainly climatology is all messed up, but he basic premise makes sense.

  56. Jeff Id said

    #54, Tamino is a socialist advocatition.

  57. Stevo said

    Jeff,

    You can find a better explanation than I can probably manage in [1], but I’ll try to go through it quickly. Apologies if you already know bits of this.

    The grey body calculation indicates that the temperature the Earth should radiate at should be around -24 C. However, the temperature of the atmosphere varies from about +14 C at the surface to -54 C at the top of the troposphere in a more-or-less straight line. (Numbers from the International Standard Atmosphere.) The straightness of the line indicates that the mechanism by which the surface is warmer than -24 C is the same as the mechanism by which the top is colder. But you cannot explain part of the atmosphere being colder than the heat-balance equilibrium by heat being “trapped” in it. Since we define “the greenhouse effect” to be the difference between the actual surface temperature and the calculated grey body effective radiative temperature, this means the greenhouse effect likewise has a different mechanism.

    The effect is a combination of two factors – the existence of an adiabatic lapse rate in a convective/turbulent atmosphere, and the fact that the average altitude of radiation to space is non-zero.

    The adiabatic lapse rate is the mechanism by which the surface is warmer than the air above. Basically, it is a result of air getting hotter when it is compressed, and cooling as it expands. The variation of air pressure with altitude compresses/expands convecting air, increasing its temperature near the surface. Note, no heat input is required to do this – that’s what the word ‘adiabatic’ means.

    However, the lapse rate only sets the gradient of the straight line, the intercept is determined by the average altitude of radiation to space. Seen from space and considered as a grey body, the temperature of the Earth’s surface should rise or fall until the heat it radiates equals the heat input from the sun (which we assume here for the sake of clarity is constant). But seen in the infra red, the Earth’s ‘surface’ is not the solid surface, but part way through the fuzzy layer of water vapour and other gases. It is this surface that settles at the grey body temperature of -24 C. Because of greenhouse gases, it is about 4 km up, and the pressure difference between 4 km up and the surface is what keeps us warm.

    More greenhouse gases mean a thicker fuzzy layer, which means the -24 C point is higher above the surface. Soden and Held say (and I can’t vouch for their accuracy) that doubling CO2 raises the average altitude of emission by about 160 m, which increases the surface temperature by about 1.1 C, other things held equal. Radiative transfer plays a large part in the calculation of that 160 m number, and trapping of radiation certainly occurs, but its influence on average surface temperature is at best indirect.

    (Actually, significant radiation to space occurs from the surface throughout the bottom 8-10 km of atmosphere [2] (where the water vapour is) but the average, in a 4th root of mean fourth power sense, being -24 C is a simplification that lets you act as if it was all being emitted from a thin layer at a particular altitude. And of course there are further simplifications in that the lapse rate and water vapour are not globally constant. And all of that is before we even start on feedbacks, or the influence of clouds and oceans. I should also probably note that radiation is significant for temporary, local non-equilibrium effects, like the day/night effects of clouds.)

    In theory, it would be possible for a hypothetical alien planet to have a greenhouse effect without any greenhouse gases at all. If you had a thick Nitrogen atmosphere (say 100 bar at the surface), and high clouds about 50 km up that absorb/emit most of the radiation, letting just enough through to drive convection, then the clouds would settle near the black body temperature, and 50 km of atmosphere below at a lapse rate of 10 C/km would give a surface temperature 500 C hotter, simply by compression. Even if the clouds were entirely transparent at the wavelengths the surface emitted at, if the average altitude of emission to space is non-zero, you’ll still get a greenhouse effect.

    The idea isn’t new. I saw a paper by Carl Sagan from the 70s somewhere on the atmosphere of Venus based on the lapse rate the mechanism. They didn’t know what the surface was like back then. But for some reason the idea that Venus is hot because of all the CO2, rather than high clouds and a 92 bar atmosphere, seems to have taken a firm hold. I’m afraid I find it irritating out of all proportion.

    [1] Soden, Held, Water Vapour Feedback and Global Warming, Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 2000, v24, p645-661.

    [2] Manabe, Strickler, J Atmos. Sci, 21, p373, 1964.

  58. DeWitt Payne said

    Jeff,

    The HITRAN database is where you find the spectral data for CO2 or any other greenhouse gas. The number of lines are on the order of 10E5 for each molecule. They also have the data to calculate line broadening with pressure. Line broadening is tricky, because at higher altitudes you shift from pressure broadening to Doppler broadening, so it’s probably better to use the Voigt profile which will do both. It’s possible to write your own line-by-line radiative transfer model, but it’s a lot of work and takes a fair amount of computer horsepower. It will still be limited by how well you know the various atmosphere profiles. Look for posts by cba in the older Unthreaded threads on CA for discussion of his attempt. He didn’t use the Voigt profile, but the real problem, IMO, was that he tried a shortcut to calculating absorptivity that was problematic when the line profile was smaller than his spectral resolution. It’s a computer power thing. You could avoid the problem if you set the resolution fine enough, 0.001 cm-1 say, but then you would need a supercomputer to do the calculations in a reasonable amount of time. He also didn’t include continuum absorption for water vapor which gets to be important at longer wavelengths. Continuum absorption is thought to be the result of collision induced absorption and it’s still semi-empirical at best as opposed to the line spectra resulting from known rotational and vibrational transitions that can be calculated more or less ab initio.

    Then there are clouds, which are even more problematic.

  59. Andrew said

    57-Your description of how the greenhouse effect should work reminds me of something. Increasing GHG’s imply a warming of the characteristic emission layer. So the question is, how does that relate to surface warming? The relation in models appears to imply, when compared to radiosonde data, that the warming aloft is far to small for the surface warming to be due mostly to CO2.

  60. Joseph said

    “The theory of global warming makes sense, it is certain that more outgoing radiation will be captured by increasing CO2.”

    Jeff, when you say this aren’t you assuming that there is upwelling IR from the surface that is escaping completely through the atmosphere to space, and that adding more IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere will capture this escaping energy?

    What if, instead, the upwelling IR is already fully absorbed by the atmosphere? What effect would adding more IR absorbing gases to the atmosphere have? Any?

  61. Stevo said

    59. Many of the models claim that the moistening atmosphere will reduce the lapse rate (look up ‘moist adiabatic lapse rate’), meaning the upper atmosphere will be less cold. At the same time of course the increased water vapour raises the average emission altitude. They have opposite effects on the surface, but combined warming effects at the top of the troposphere. How these two trade off depends on the model. I’m afraid I don’t know the details, though.

    The lack of a hotspot isn’t an argument against the CO2 greenhouse effect generally, but it does run counter to the water vapour feedback being so strongly positive. But some of the data is iffy, so it’s not something I’d venture any definite opinion on, though.

  62. rafa said

    Dear Jeff, I noticed the comment from Dr. Steig, and I appreciate his courtesy. Would it be possible a post from both of you altogether, summarizing discrepancies and agreements about Steig et al.? (the Nature Antarctic paper?. I do share your thoughts about the pyramid.

    best

  63. Jeff Id said

    #60 No, there really is no 100% saturation point although there is an asymptotic limit to 100% CO2. As we add more CO2 there will be more heat capture. Don’t worry though because I haven’t seen a good calculation for the amount of the heat captured. DeWitt’s point on that is also a correct one.

    DeWitt,

    I would like to do one without clouds by FEA to handle the geometry and see what can be captured. The spectral peak width doesn’t seem like a serious problem because we can simply widen the curves against a blackbody radiator which is smooth. I’m not sure how to handle the convection and reemission energy and spectra of individual molecules though. I need to do some reading.

    Anyway, if we were to have reasonable path lengths per photon, capture and random direction re-emission assuming no water feedback, I’d like to know how much temp rise would the truly miniscule amount of CO2 create.

    Rafa,

    Dr. Steig would be welcome to post here any time on any topic, however he has the RC forum which is far more controllable and has a much bigger audience. We will do some summaries of the differences soon though 😉

  64. Jeff: Per my note today Intro to peer review, I’ll ask you to take down the graphic.

    General: It was odd to see the locals objecting to my Wegener example. His approach is a strategic example you could choose to follow. It worked pretty well for him — until his death his idea was widely accepted. Newton was indeed an obnoxious character. If you’re as smart as him, you might be able to follow his strategy successfully. Still, consider your reactions to me, and I was not calling you morons or ridiculing you.

    To the greenhouse question: An undergraduate introduction is Grant Petty’s A first course in atmospheric radiation. Order it from the publisher directly, http://www.sundogpublishing.com, for a large discount over the amazon price. You’ll only need calculus and elementary thermodynamics as background. Wouldn’t hurt to know something about differential equations and quantum mechanics, but not required. It’s quite readable, and, I think, suitable for teaching yourself the subject.

    Back to general: Engineering, imho, is the business of doing something useful with your knowledge of science. Most of the time, I do useful things regarding sea ice/polar oceanography. Some of the time I do science on those areas. That’s changing as I acquire new responsibilities at work. So some science and engineering of other things will show up.

    Quite odd on two counts to see you complaining about me applying ideological purity tests. First, almost every comment to the post y’all object to was disagreeing with me. Disagreeing with me is not one of the things that gets a comment rejected. Second, it’s y’all who are talking about leftists, socialists, ‘social engineering’, and the like. Not me, either those terms or any others. Your complaint, instead, looks like you object to me not applying ideological purity tests, and the purity not being applied is yours. Since I won’t do the former, you can’t have the latter.

  65. DeWitt Payne said

    Jeff,

    There are several tools available on the web that helped me a lot. One is the Archer MODTRAN interface. There you can calculate atmospheric emission spectra and view them from any altitude looking up or down using a moderate resolution approximation. The underlying tables can also be saved and copied. Another is the gas cell simulator atSpectral Calculator. That’s a viewing interface for the HITRAN database that lets you do some limited operations for free.

    You can vary CO2 all over the map in the MODTRAN interface and see that indeed, a little bit goes a long way. One thing to try is look down from 100 km, look at the total emitted power in the graph. Now change the CO2 concentration and adjust the surface temperature offset until the emitted power matches the original baseline. You can then vary the humidity setting from constant pressure to constant RH and see how much difference that makes. You can put in various types of clouds, but I think clear sky lets you see how things work better. The atmospheric conditions make a lot of difference too. Sub-arctic Winter is very different from Tropical Atmosphere.

  66. DeWitt Payne said

    One additional note on the Archer MODTRAN, the full spectral range is not calculated and integrated so the total power is a few percent less than would be calculated from the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. You can see this by setting the viewing altitude to zero and look down. That’s the gray body emission spectrum of the surface. The low and high frequency ends of the spectrum are still well above zero emission. The calculations are based on an emissivity of 0.98, but the total power makes it look like the emissivity is ~0.92.

    If you’re even more serious, I recommend A First Course In Atmospheric Radiation by Grant W. Petty.

  67. Andrew said

    Your statement mission is to indoctrinate children. Sounds like social engineering to me.

  68. lucia said

    Robert,
    Why in the world would “peer review” translate into Jeff Id being obligated to remove your silly graphic from his blog?

    You posted the ill-considered thing on your blog, advanced a silly argument and he commented on it. You don’t like his comments. But what in the world does your request that he not show your silly graphic when criticizing you have to do with peer review? That’s nuts.

  69. Jeff Id said

    Robert,

    Thanks for the reference, DeWitt recommended the same one. Fortunately non-imaging optics is my job right now and in reviewing the chapters of this book on line, I already am familiar with most of this. It does look like a good reference for the equations though.

    I’m not sure what to do with the crazy pyramid now, I didn’t reference your blog because I wanted to make a point of the all too often stated assumption that non-climatologists are not credible. Your response about my question on SteveM was an eloquent example of my purpose. You used the one publication example to imply his lack of credibility. I regularly read there, not today yet b/c I just got back from a trade show and 6 hour drive, but his work is fully open and I’ve as yet never seen a good criticism of any of it, — ever. And I can tell the difference between good and bad work so I question your rational for this assumption. Imagine the accuracy level to do one post after another and keep hitting the mark, how is that not a strongly credible source?

    This post therefore wasn’t a direct criticism of your post as much as a criticism of the faulty thinking so prevalent in blogland and online newspaper commentary, the non-reference was intended to give an anonymity to your POV and not start a battle. I think tAV is getting too big for that though.

    Lucia,

    I fear he’s preparing to take the next step and say peer review is the threshold of credibility which whould also be entertaining. The Arctic paper is a fun example.

    I’m tempted to take it down either way b/c I don’t care anymore but also I don’t really care if I leave it up either. Frankly, it might teach people not to pull this kind of appeal to authority rubbish.

    Every lawyer I’ve ever worked with needed to be managed through understanding, the same is true for MD’s. They both are smart people with more knowledge than myself in their fields, but I have prevented many a disaster through self education and management in both cases. Why would anyone accept an opinion based on blind faith authority….ever?

  70. lucia said

    JeffId–
    I’d be inclined to keep it up. Grumbine posted it along with his oddball theories about even creating such a weird pyramid or trying to pigeonhole who understands what based on his weird notions about who studies what.

    If he wants people to review his ideas privately so he can revise before disseminating the publically, he should circulate his ideas privately. But if he posts idiotic stuff, I don’t see how his theories about incorporating peer reviewers comments means other people have to un-write their reactions to his blog posts.

    Your current post won’t make much sense to future readers if you remove the graphic. They won’t realize just how bizarre the whole notion was.

  71. Jeff Id said

    Ok Lucia, you made the decision for me. The post wasn’t intended to document Robert’s opinions but he’s made them clear along with additional links to improve the clarity of his position which I encourage others to read and comment on at his site. That should be enough.

    I’ll check back over there at times to see if he does what I expect on peer review.

  72. Graeme said

    It’s the wrong shape – should be a sphere. The Climatologists go in the middle where the “most dense” matter is.

  73. William said

    It’s modeled after our government. The president is the smartest guy in the land surrounded by real smart advisors who tell the smart legislators and judges what to do to keep us mindless sheep pacified.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: