the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

The Solution is the Problem

Posted by Jeff Id on April 1, 2010

Willis Eschenbach asked a number of questions of climate scientists at this thread on WUWT. I’m not a ‘climate scientist’  but the questions are fun, and those of us who are not climate scientists can form informed opinions on these.  On the WUWT thread, climate scientists are invited  to answer, here, anyone who considers themselves to have an informed opinion can answer.  Or just pick one and let it fly.

My guess is that the advocacy crowd will be a bit surprised by our makeup. Feel free to ignore my answers and put down your own.

Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

— I don’tlike the word environmentalist because it’s been co opted by people with political agendas that go against the good of humanity and the environment.  Of course I understand and support the need for minimal human impact, however our policies have gone way past reasonable in far too many instances.  Forest management policies which end up promoting vast wildfires are a great example.  I own a green company and spend more time outdoors than most.   Our favorite vacation is camping — rustic tent style — where we spend our time having a minimal impact on the environment around us.

Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?

Skeptic – I’m skeptical that there is enough information of high enough quality to answer the key questions about man’s influence on climate.  I lean toward a denier of measurable man made change as of late primarily because of the corruption of the science seen here and elsewhere over the last year and a half.

Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

An odd question in my opinion,  it has two separable parts.  The answer to the preferred temperature portion is no.  There is no preferred temperature for earth.  There is a preferred temperature for humans, and a preferred temperature range for economic success.  The most disasterous thing that can happen to the Earths environment is another ice age and it’s not a question of will it happen but when will it happen.

Part II is more interesting, it discusses active maintenance – of course active is a term of art for engineers so I read the question as— is there an active feedback loop.  Does some part of the climate system actively respond to an increase in temperature with a negative feedback?    This is a difficult question.  In my opinion it only makes sense that this mechanism must exist because the Earths climate is far too stable for too great a time to be an open loop zero feedback system.  However, my belief in the likelihood of this (and belief is the right word)  is based only on the fact that nothing in nature happens by accident.  It’s odd to find a round rock perched on the side of a hill.  Quantum physics is defined by probability yes, but by accident no.

If I answer is just cold and scientific, nobody really knows the magnitude of the feedbacks that exist.

Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

NA – Willis’s answer is fine.

Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

I’ve seen no evidence to support that temperatures are outside of normal variation in any way whatsoever.  I’ve seen no evidence that temperature changes have affected any portion of the environment in an unusual manner whatsoever.  In the past these claims were fun, now it disgusts me when we see news reports of one disaster or another.  Attributing Katrina to AGW is a great example.

Question 4. Is the globe warming?

This is a funny question,  sure the earth did warm in the last 30 years.  The frame of the question implies that we know what next month or next year’s temperature might be.  We don’t know what next year or the next decade will bring.

Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

The ugly bit about global warming is that there is validity in the ability of CO2 to capture heat.  The problem is that it ain’t very much heat and nobody knows how feedbacks will respond to it.Humans therefore necessarily cause some warming, it could be vanishingly small though, especially if the feedbacks to temperature changes are actually negative.

Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

Beyond a few instances of local changes, we don’t know how the climate is being affected.

Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

Nobody knows.  Again, it’s not possible to tell given the young nature of the science and poor quality of the data.    Climate science in genereal is in its infancy of understanding.  Currently it’s having a great deal of difficulty progressing due to the pollution of the science by the global wealth redistribution political movement. When someone tells me that they know the answer to this question, my first response now is — bull.

It’s unnecessary to even begin discussing the literature on this.  There are simply too many unknown and unquantified factors.

Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

Willis answered this well also.  Climate models only show potential explanations for a climate system as imagined by modelers.  The biases of the modelers are naturally included in the models. Therefore models are not evidence of anything, however to the IPCC, the right models are the golden gooses.  Yes they are useful, but a model which is unproven is completely useless for predicting the future climate.

Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

Not a chance. Scientists make the claim that models of climate are more accurate than models of weather due to the averaging nature of the bulk effects.  On some levels that is potentially true.  However, there are far more confounding factors in a climate model than a weather model.  The effects of ice melt albedo on the oceans, permafrosts, ocean currents, solar output and such.  With only a very short record of temperatures currents and other factors, the assumption that climate models are better, is nothing more than a wild-assed-guess.

Not that there aren’t plenty of things to learn from climate models but as McIntyre’s Santer rebuttal, Lucia and Chad at treesfortheforest have all shown, the models aren’t even working over the short period of time shown in today’s data.

Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

Not to a statistically demonstrable degree.

Question 11. Is the science settled?

Of course not.  Physics and Math have been around far longer, are far more defined, and have higher quality experts in them.  They are still not settled.  We can’t even tell you what light really is.  Settled is a political mantra designed to make us jump into world govenrments and cap and trade fiasco’s.  Those who make this claim are advocates who would trick you out of your money for their own best interests.

Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

Climate science has been corrupted to the point where it is  a mash of true science and belief in an appropriate course for human politics.

Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

Here, many of you will disagree with me.  The peer review system is not the problem in climate science.  The problem is that govenrrment money has corrupted the whole process.  The government funds have created a necessary outcome for the science and the scientists locked in this system are acting according to their best interests – on average.  Not every scientist follows lock step with the intended policy but those that do are those who have percolated to the top.  Not ever air molecule has the average room temperature, but in bulk they add exactly to room temp.

Therefore the only way that the peer review process will ever be corrected is to remove the driving monetary incentive to a pre-determined conclusion. Any other proposal looks like mental masturbation to me.

Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

You all know my opinion on this.  We don’t have the technology to do anything about CO2 output.  We cannot change the output of CO2 without violent destruction of our society.   Politicians (who have their own motives) therefore prefer moderate money theft and redistribution according to personal preferences.  While party scientists prefer more government regulation of industry.  These are nothing but political preferences which run directly counter to the development and production of working technology to counter the problem. These though, are the foolish solutions which they present.

It’s clear to me that the solutions are more important to them than the problem, therefore as the title says, the solution is the problem.

——-

Lets hear your answers though.  Leave them here or at WUWT.  I think there are plenty of reasonable positions which can be had on these points.


28 Responses to “The Solution is the Problem”

  1. Alan said

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

    Insofar as it might mean anything sensible, hell yes.

    Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?

    Interested – not decided, though I believe we are warming the earth, how much and how are good questions.

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

    No. We humans probably have a small range we can tolerate. I can’t see why the earth would care.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    Seems to me it depends on the question being tested.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    If we had a null hypothesis and good data I might be able to answer that.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?

    Looks that way recently. But the data is REALLY crappy.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    Insofar as it exists, sure, in a lot of ways. Is it CO2 to the degree being argued? Seems less likely to me.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

    Surely agriculture! Growing our population! Cutting down forests! Lots of other things. And yes, likely CO2 but also building cities, dams, all the crazy things we do to make ourselves have good lives during our short time on the planet.

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

    Nobody knows. And anyone who suggests otherwise is so dishonest as not to be considered a scientist.

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    No. The models are useless at predicting almost anything testable.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

    No way, Jose.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    No.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    Not among real scientists.

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    It’s mostly political science now. There could be physical science in a couple of decades.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    The peer review system is fundamentally political and always has been. What turns out to be true in 50 years will not be determined by today’s gatekeepers. That much faith I do have in science.

    And the sad fact is there are gatekeepers and their story is not a pretty one.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    Start trying to make good guesses at who is vulnerable and start investing in defending them.

  2. Alan said

    Now I feel a bit confused; should I have so responded here or over at WUWT?

  3. Jeff Id said

    Here or there is fine. Anthony probably won’t notice the difference in traffic. They did ask for only climate scientists at WUWT – whatever that means.

  4. Alan said

    I think the data is useful for non-climate-scientists following the threads. They need a Boolean – I am not a climate scientist, more like McIntyre, a retired guy with time on his hands. But hose climate scientists, so to speak, are not showing well.

  5. Thanks, Jef and Willis, for posting the questions here.

    [I have been banned from posting on WUWT because of my persistent and enthusiastic comments on the Sun as the unstable remains of a supernova that is heated by neutron repulsion in the solar core. That is, in my opinion, an empirical fact based on 50 years of research observations and experimental measurements, but I also understand and regret that my comments have so annoyed Anthony Watts.]

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

    Yes.

    Preface Question 2. Describe your position on climate science?

    Science is one path to truth (God). Climate Science has been corrupted and used as a propaganda tool by power-hungry tyrants to establish a tyrannical world government.

    Question 1. Does Earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

    No.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    Willis’s answer is fine with me too.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    NAS and NASA’s refusal to consider empirical data on Earth’s heat source – the Sun.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?

    We don’t know.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    No.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

    – – –

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

    Probably none or a negligible fraction.

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    No.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

    No.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    No. They ignore Earth’s highly variable heat source – the Sun [“Earth’s heat source – the Sun”, Energy and Environment 20 (2009) 131-144] http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    No. The goal is settled: A tyrannical world government

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    Not while it is controlled by the powerful international alliance that is using science as a propaganda tool to control the public with a totalitarian world government:

    Former Vice President Al Gore, the UN’s IPCC, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee, most of the world’s political leaders, the US’s NAS and other national academies of science, research groups and funding agencies (NASA, ESA, CERN, Los Alamos, BNL, ANL, DOE, EPA, NOAA, etc.), research societies (RS, AGU, AIP, IOP, ACS, APS, AAAS, etc.), research journals (Nature, The Astrophysical Journal, Science, American Scientists, Scientific American etc) and the news media (radio, TV and news papers).

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    No. Establish transparency. Eliminate anonymous reviews. Make the reviewer sign the review. If the author is willing to pay to publish the paper with the reviewers’ comments, do that. That practice would quickly end decades of deceit and corruption in science.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    Take budget review authority over federal research agencies out of the hands of NAS – private, self-perpetuating group that led the corruption of science.

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Emeritus Professor
    Nuclear & Space Science
    Former NASA PI for Apollo

  6. Mike J said

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

    Not actively. I recycle – does that count?

    Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?

    Skeptical.

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

    It seems to be relatively stable, in a haphazard sort of way. “Actively maintained” implies intelligence, which is a belief system to which I do not subscribe.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    The scientific conclusions of climate science regarding human effects on climate are so far null.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    That is the trouble – lack of observations.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?

    Crappy data. Probably warming since LIA. Probably not warm enough for me yet. I live a few miles inland, so a sea level rise of 40 or 50 feet would be nice, thanks. That would mean I can launch my boat without having to register my boat trailer. Also, these pesky winters with snow and frosts are a drag. Would like to grow a few palm trees instead of pines.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    No – humans are completely irresponsible.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

    By irresponsibly changing land use / land cover. Maybe as a result of irresponsible nuclear bomb testing. Generally though, I don’t think that a few trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide are going to give me my palm-fringed sandy beach in the back yard.

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

    Maybe a little. Who knows? I would guess at less than 10%.

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    No.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

    No.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    What observations? So far they have only produced models.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    Yes. Absolutely. No need to do any more research. Stop all the grants.

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    More closely aligned to computer science. Driven by political science.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    The pal review system is working just fine, thanks. Also, the quid pro quo system of co-authorship. (I’ll add your name to my paper if you add mine to yours).

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    Start trading in carbon exchange futures. There is nothing we can do about the climate, so might as well try to make some money out of these idiotic schemes before they collapse. If we are lucky and make a profit, it might offset the huge increases in costs of living brought about by carbon tax.

  7. Doug Proctor said

    Rather than repeat all the questions, I’ll answer as point form.

    P.1. Environmentalist. Not preservationist. Change is normal, natural and needed. The status quo of the biological world, paradoxically, is not stable. We need to allow for change, not stop it, work with it, not fight it.

    P.2. My position in one word: distrustful. The dangers appear within the range of “corrections”. A pessimistic bias seems in place: the precautionary principle applied to each step of the process.

    Q1. Preferred Temperature: one in balance with conditions. Runaway is NOT a preferred state; feedback mechanisms exist to mitigate changes in individual varying factors. The records show that life adapts and blossoms when conditions changed, if allowed, meteorite impact and gross over-harvesting of resources excepted.

    Q2 & Q3. The Null hypothesis for AGW is not possible within a reasonable time-frame, even 20 years. Only refutation of model predictions, as they show large effects in 5-year increments are possible. It is the modeling that is refutable as it attempts to be predictive towards a catastrophic end.
    Q4. The world is warming still, from the Little Ice Age/Dalton Minimum. Oddly, while the warmists agree that AGW effects start in either the 1950’s (UK) or the mid-1970’s (NAmerica), the temperature changes are often quoted from 1880 or 1900, magnifying the alleged AGW effects while contradicting the time-period man’s influence was said to be important. A classic cake-and-eat-it-too problem set to make Gore a billionaire.

    Q5. Yes, AGW is to a small extent, true, especially if you are a city-dweller. The UHIE is significant and recognizable to city dwellers. In the 1960s I recall the UHIE recognized on the radio each morning, as the day’s temperatures were discussed, saying that there would be about a 0.5*C difference between Ottawa and “The Valley”, where I lived. Globally, some impact of increased CO2 must be there, though it may be only 30% of the “observed” global increase. That is not a catastrophic effect on the environment, by the way.

    Q6. Our climate effects are principally through deforestation and agricultural policies that change heating and rainfall locally. AGW CO2 increases will improve plant growth more than cause environmental damage. Human life-activities and population growth cause far greater effects on the human-inhabited local climate than does AGW CO2.

    Q7. Since 1980 I suggest the human AGW effect is 30% of the temperature rise. With negative feedback by water vapour in the atmosphere, it may be less.

    Q8. Climate models as simple as a hand calculator, a human brain and the back of an envelope will show a temperature change of some extent inevitable. The expensive models provide no better predictive value than the man-with-a-pencil, as shown by 1988+ predictions because they are fundamentally descriptive, not predictive.

    Q9. Climate models are not predictive for 100 years because they cannot account for the hundred years from 1850, nor the 100 years prior to 1850. There are large external variables still going on that are not included which, even if dampened these days, would account most of the current warming phase.

    Q10 – Q12. Current theories drive the models, therefore an inability to explain the past through modeling cannot explain the present. They are sufficient, but not necessary: ideas that explain without predictive abilities are food for thought, but are not trustworthy enough for social engineering efforts. Climate science is a science as is geology and physics, but not as developed as they are. All sciences are subject to change, and often (at least in areas) radically. The political scene and environmental movements do not want climate science to be science, they want it to be as a production process is to engineering, a fixed, reliable way to make X into Y. We tried that with cloud seeding. We’re still not sure how often it works to produce rain, but is is certainly not a determined thing, and that is a simple task compared to globally understanding and managing the Earth’s climate.

    Q13. The peer-reviewed system is the best we have, but how much it is used, is another matter. Jones said that no one had ever asked for his data. That shows the weakness of the current system. But scientific studies should not be done in fear of attack: that is why Jones and Mann say that the skeptics should do their own work rather than publicly question theirs. Questioning or contradicting one’s work is sensed as an attack. Other work that contradicts previous work demonstrates only that other opinion, based on other information are possible, one which, in fact, you might find agreement. There is no personal blow-back for “being wrong”. Questioning and auditing of the warmists by skeptics are acts that embarrass even honest workers who go down the wrong track. The peer-review process is done in private, so no one is thus threatened. If done diligently, peer-review is the best. Our self-image and social respect are important, and can be the real drivers of much of our work to improve this world.

    Q14. Our global population and consumption pressures will overwhelm any attempts to “help the planet” by mitigation of CO2. Is that planetary improvement not what we want? CO2 focused attempts, and cash transfers from the developed to the less-developed for energy usage, misdirect our efforts from the real problems that threaten human societies. If there are no fish left in the sea, a pH change will mean nothing to us or the sealife. Without cheap, non-fossil fuel energy technologies, there will be no excess cash in the developed worlds to share with the less-developed. With no stabilization of governments and societies in the less-developed world, there will be no situations amenable to improvement. With no recognition that food resources, for one, are limited regardless of whether you walk on bare feet or in $300 Adidas, we will enter an age in which the “haves” become focused on their own needs at a national, if not sub-national level. The environment will then change as it will, for we will have no commitment other than to ourselves and the moment.

    A final word: Copenhagen in 2009 was supposed to be the place where a climate plan like the post-WWII Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe was drafted. It was actually more like Munich circa-1939, where Hitler gave the English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain a feel-good illusion of “Peace in our time!” while continuing his rearmament and expansionist plans. We need to focus on the main, not the peripheral problems. If we attend those of population growth, consumption and energy needs, the environmental issue of CO2 emissions will largely solve itself, if it needed solving solving at all.

  8. Derek said

    I will profer my answers here, as you have not specified scientists.

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
    I have not a clue what one is any more.
    Preface Question 2.
    Heretic.
    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?
    Seemingly the earth does stay within a narrow temperature range,
    How, by what, this could possibly be “preferred” by is beyond me.
    Does earth have a consciousness ?
    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?
    I prefer have man’s (claimed) effects upon climate been measured, as compared to what would of happened without his presence. NO.
    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?
    Do we actually have any reliable climate metrics, to try to answer from. ?
    Question 4. Is the globe warming?
    The answer depends upon the timescale in question.
    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?
    No. Natural processes dwarf human “contributions”.
    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?
    See 5.
    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
    Nobody knows. Globally I understand it to be very, very little, if at all.
    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?
    No, models are virtual reality.
    An assumed warming mechanism (Hansen) and after the fact (MET office) to give the “right” answer cooling factors.
    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
    Not a chance.
    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?
    No, hence sea level, artic ice, himalayan glaciers, global temperature, etc, etc, etc, are not doing as models “project”.
    Question 11. Is the science settled?
    What science. ?
    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?
    The subject is a true multi disciplinary area, or rather it will be..
    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?
    What peer-review process ? See climategate emails.
    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?
    We should have the courage to do nothing more than adapt to whatever nature decides to throw at us,
    whether it be hotter or colder, we should plan for both.

    One thing is certain, climate will change, it always has done, and always will do.

    I would also like to see some real research into the possibility of dramatic global cooling.
    This is not alarmism, look at the past temperature record. That tells us that
    more warming is not going to drastically happen (it never has this far into an interglacial),
    but global cooling, dramatic global cooling is a very real and probably “overdue” possibility,
    this has happened many times to earth before – WE KNOW THAT IF NOTHING ELSE.

  9. Derek said

    NB – I have just scrolled through the first 202 replies at WUWT on the appropriate thread.
    Not one of the replies answers all the questions, as 5 of the first 8 replies here have..

  10. Andrew said

    p1. No.
    p2. I’m a “denier” of the notion of any “problem”.
    1. In the absence of external “forcing” the system will tend to keep steady on sufficiently long time scales, I think. Over short time scales the system tries to get to equilibrium, but is constantly being either forced out of it or spontaneously experiencing chaotic internal perturbations that keep it away from equilibrium. But the reality is that there is no situation in which it will just stay at one temperature for any length of time-even over billions of years when the chaos should average out, the sun gets steadily brighter until it swallows us up.
    2. The appropriate null hypothesis is, as has been said, that variations are due to natural dynamics.
    3. The evidence necessary to reject the null hypothesis would consist of quantifying all natural influences and showing that the change resulting from them is significantly different than the observed change. It’s important to note that to date is has been seen as sufficient to estimate the quantity of some natural factors. Support of the null hypothesis would be failure to find such a significant difference.
    4. At this moment? I don’t think so. Right now half of the world is heading toward or is at it’s daily minimum, and half towards it’s daily maximum. Has it warmed? Well over what time scale? The last hundred years? Probably. The last thirty? Definitely. The last couple thousand years? I kinda doubt it.
    5. Some, perhaps, or even certainly, but all, even most? I think that’s doubtful, but not impossible.
    6. In numerous ways, through landuse, aerosols, and even GHG’s, among other things.
    7. Somewhere between all and none, I think. Some is likely natural and a non zero portion is probably GHG’s etc. But that rate of warming is completely consistent with it not being a problem or even a good thing.
    8. Models are hypotheses. A hypothesis is not evidence of anything.
    9. Not the present generation for certain, to be frank. Given perfect knowledge of the way our emissions will change in the future and the concentrations of gases, predicting climate over that timescale may be theoretically possible, although I think even then there is the issue of chaos and natural forcing.
    10. They can describe the observations they’ve been tuned to emulate. The do not explain those or other observations with which they are inevitably inconsistent.
    11. No. And it won’t be for a long time, but people will overstate our certainty forever, or at least until we pass legislation.
    12. There is some physical science, and a lot of garbage nonsense it carries around with it.
    13. Current peer review is too vulnerable to becoming a good ol’ boy network. The idea is fine, the problem is with anonymity and also the ability of authors to basically ask to editor for certain reviewers. I recommend the approach suggested by Michaels and Balling in their latest book Climate of Extremes.
    14. On the part of governments, less than nothing. Their focus should be on improving our monitoring and research capabilities and they should shut up about everything else. By individuals I can’t say what should be done, but if it were me, I’d do what is necessary to reduce my vulnerability to the existing climate and weather, since there are real risks associated with that-but with regard to change, awareness of the variability and history of the climate should allow people to prepare for the full envelope of possibilities and thus be resilient to the dangers inherent in the variable climate system.

  11. Jeff Id said

    #9 We have on average, a more experienced group here with many readers who cross over. I thought it odd that Willis only requested climate scientists to answer the questions. There are plenty of laypeople like myself who have more than enough grasp of the technical issues to have informed opinions.

    It’s always interesting to read the variety of opinions that stop by. Definitely noconsensus here. 😀

  12. GregO said

    Jeff,

    Great post – thanks for letting us non-climate scientists have a go at it. Willis asked some great questions. I am going to refer to my favorite answers and maybe add a little…

    PQ1: Jeff Id
    PQ2: Jeff Id
    Q1: Jeff Id and Alan
    Q2: Jeff Id/Willis
    Q3: Jeff Id and I would add that by simple observation we can see that AGW predictions have been fabulously wrong. Sea level rise; ocean acidification; deforestation; on and on; all manner of catastrophic AGW predictions have failed to come true and as far as I am concerned a theory that fails in it’s predictive powers is at best useless and at worst utterly wrong.
    Q4: I don’t know how to answer that question – but I feel like I am in good company seeing how much recent work has been going on auditing and just reconstructing the temperature record. Because to answer that question we need to know a lot about how the temperature is measured and the world is a big, dynamic place and what temperature measurements we have made seem, let’s say, less than adequate to the task. I would add to the part of Jeff’s answer “it could be vanishingly small though, especially if the feedback to temperature changes are actually negative.” Let’s consider that and do a little thought experiment. Can we measure man-made CO2 – qualified yes. Can we measure the amount of heating caused by the increase in said additional CO2 – qualified no considering we can’t even seem to measure global temperature to a level of resolution that would be usable to find the added man-made part. But wait – what if there is a negative feedback on the man-made added temperature … and that feedback (pick one; additional cloud formation; whatever)is also frighteningly difficult to measure on a global basis; then how would we ever know enough to answer this question?
    Q5: Mike J comment 6 – I wish I would have come up with that! Awesome.
    Q6: Can’t weigh in here – see Q4
    Q7: Jeff Id
    Q8: Jeff Id
    Q9: Jeff Id
    Q10: Jeff Id
    Q11: Jeff Id
    Q12: Jeff Id
    Q13: Peer review is inadequate. For what passes as climate science, I think the work done on skeptic blogs can be taken as a starting point for where I believe improvements to the review process can be made. Examples are WUWT and surfacestations.org where armies of interested volunteers photoed temperature stations and Climate Audit and there are many others too numerous to list. There is a huge and growing number of technically literate and highly motivated individuals that are happy to check and review climate science literature. Current peer review is too cozy and corrupt in climate science.
    Q14: Jeff Id

    Jeff, Thanks again for giving us amateurs a chance to weigh in.

  13. curious said

    8 – Derek: “I would also like to see some real research into the possibility of dramatic global cooling.”

    I agree. I think this is the otherside of the global warming coin and without a proper causal model it is just as likely. The trends IMO are nothing more than a diagnostic, a measure. AFAICS they are in no way a predictive. We could be just as easily on top of a maximum looking down as at a point of inflection looking up and getting caught with too little firewood is a lot less fun than having too much.

    Don’t misunderstand this to be a bring on the good times drill baby drill comment – I’m a strong advocate of energy efficiency and viable use and development of alternatives to fossil fuel. But the viable part needs to be just that – viable for all possible scenarios. So more research into climate SCIENCE and more r and d on alternatives whilst keeping a weather eye open!

  14. Layman Lurker said

    Preface Question 1.
    No. At least not in the political, activist sense. Concerned by legitimate environmental issues – yes.

    Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?
    Skeptic.

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?
    No. However, there are likely internal competing, offsetting, dynamic forces which tend to maintain relative stability over time scales which enable life on earth to adapt and evolve to changes in external forcing. I would offer the existence of life on earth in support of my view.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?
    Willis nails it.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    Support (more properly expressed as “fail to reject null”): evidence for existence of MWP; uncertainty regarding aerosol and solar forcings and feedbacks; uncertainty over cloud and water vapour feedbacks; uncertainty of climate metric data.

    Reject null: radiative physics; existence of positive feedbacks such as ice albedo.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?
    Yes for period defined by insturmental record. However warming has not been shown to be outside historical variability on century and millennial time scales.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?
    Not sure. No doubt that humans are contributing a positive forcing, but how the climate responds is yet to be completely understood.

    Question 6.
    N/A

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
    Not known.

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?
    No. Forcing and feedback parameters are unfairly constrained by backcasting against faulty paleo reconstructions.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
    Nope.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?
    Nope for AGW theories. However interesting, I do not yet have an opinion on Svensmark because I have not studied him enough.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?
    Not even close.

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?
    It is based on physical science but the proper model to guide scientific inquiry is still poorly defined.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?
    Yes. Public pressure based on legitimate scrutiny and exposure of shoddy science. While we all have our biases, I must say I have little respect for people who quickly latch on to poorly understood arguments for political reasons – on either side of the debate.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?
    None. How can costly action be justified if we can’t define the problem we are trying to solve?

  15. M. Simon said

    science settled?

    There are raging discussions among plasma physicists who are interested if Polywell Fusion is practical. There are raging arguments on even how it works – let alone if it can produce power.

    And the device is SIMPLE – 6 coils charged to 50,000 volts arranged in a sort of super Penning trap. And not only is the device simple – all the equations are known to 1 part in 10^6 or better. And Maxwell’s equations (with a relativity kicker)should be sufficient to describe everything. And Maxwell has been known since 1865 or so, 145 years.

    How could climate science in which some important factors are not known to within an order of magnitude work better than plasma physics?

  16. Leonard Weinstein said

    The vast majority of people calling themselves climate scientists are actually people with backgrounds as biologists, physicists, computer scientists, chemists, or several other fields, that moved into the fairly new area of “climate scientists”. Most of these people are very weak in much of the multi disiplinary areas (such as good fluid mechanics background) needed to be a real climate scientist. There are a few that have good understanding of fluid mechanics, chemistry and thermal science, along with atmospheric physics (very few), so that they are what I would call fully qualified in the overall area. Thus the “peer reviewed” reports from many of these narrowly specialized experts do not make them qualified to judge the CAGW issue (getting warmer for a while and CO2 rising does not make CAGW valid). Many of the responders on WUWT and this blog, with backgrounds in aerospace engineering, physics, chemistry, geology, meterology, etc. are just as qualified and often more so (by showing an open mind) to judge the data and publications and come to an independent conclusion as most of the so called climate scientists. Add to this several outstanding fully qualified climate science experts as skeptics and you get a stronger case against CAGW than pro, with the weaker AGW still a possibility, but likely not of major importance.

  17. Cement a friend said

    I should preface my answers by admitting some background. I am a chemical engineer with some experience in heat transfer (including convection and radiation)in combustion systems and other processes. I have made many gases analyses including air. In making measurements I always had an inner need for calibration and cross checking. The same applied for calculations such as efficiency determinations. I always checked everything from basic principles. I have found computer programs (USA origin) which had the wrong conversion factors and omitted important parameters. Heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid dynamics, kinetics, properties of materials, process control etc are chemical engineering subjects which have application to climate assessment. I also did an MBA with mineral industry emphasis ie I did a little geology. Now to answer the questions:
    PQ1 -Environmentalist? No but I care about nature. I have a bush block which has snakes, frogs, lots of mammals and birds. It is a good place to clear one’s mind.
    PQ2 Agree with Willis. Nearly all so called climate scientists do not understand the technology
    Q1 yes! there is a range of temperatures for all parts of the world. One can avoid some extremes by living underground.
    Q2 Natural variation is a reasonable selection for a null hypothesis
    Q3 Measurements showing that CO2 lags surface atmospheric temperature (SAT) which in turn lags solar radiation at the surface are a good indicator of natural variation
    Q4 Depends on the time frame. At present (2009-2010)there is no evidence of temperature increase.
    Q5 No! Q6 not available
    Q7 None
    Q8 No! the present models are all rubbish as they include CO2
    Q9 No!
    Q10 No!
    Q11 No!
    Q12 No!
    Q13 No! -Can be improved by open review on a website before an editor/reviewer makes a judgement on the merit of an article. (Note I am on the editorial board of an International Journal and have reviewed numerous papers)
    Q14 There is no such thing as CO2 forcing (in heat transfer the driver is temperature difference).CO2 lags temperature, so there is no need at this time to do anything about CO2. For climate change cycles eg drought and floods, there is a need to plan and adapt based on past records. Water needs to be well managed.

  18. ArndB said

    The well formulated questions by Willis Eschenbach, should presumably have started on the question: what is climate, as sufficient definitions are needed for research and discussion.

    CLIMATE still defined as „average weather“, which is a layman’s term. A “climate scientist” is therefore a scholar on average weather. But this section of science seems to be unable, or unwilling to come up with a reasonable definition for climate. It would , for example, require to say: what weather is, and how to include those subjects a listed by Willis Eschenbach under “Question 9”. In this respect the standard of today climatologists has not much changed from the view expressed by the late F. Kenneth Hare 30 years ago:

    “This is obviously the decade in which climate is coming into its own. You hardly heard the word professionally in the 1940s. It was a layman’s word. Climatologists were the halt and the lame. And as for the climatologists in public service, in the British service you actually, had to be medically disabled in order to get into the climatological division ! Climatology was a menial occupation that came on the pecking scale somewhat below the advertising profession. It was clearly not the age of climate.” (F. Kenneth Hare, 1979; „The Vaulting of Intellectual Barriers: The Madison Thrust in Climatology“, Bulletin American Meteorological Society , Vol. 60, 1979, p. 1171 – 1124)

    Now we have the age of climatologists with various backgrounds in aerospace engineering, physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology, etc. (# 16), but no CLIMATE definition which meets minimum academic standards. No wonder that many discussions on the state of the atmosphere and the risk of any anthropogenic impact had not been very fruitful during the last decades, while many climatologists made big careers, and influenced the general public and politics that very often was based on claims and research that had been hardly more than rubbish. Even the UNFCCC is an absolute failure in this respect, as discussed here at TAV, 13 Nov.2009; https://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/open-letter/ .

  19. The Earth said

    The Earth Speaks Out

    Question 1. Do you have a preferred temperature which you actively maintain by the climate system?

    Yes, I do, but my preferences change from time to time. Sometimes I like hot, sometimes cold. It’s a mood swing thing.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    The null hypothesis is that they should mind their own business and not go meddling in things they don’t understand.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    Observations? Is that what you call them? If you want to know about heat and stuff, it’s no good sticking thermometers at airports. I’ll give you a tip – try the sea and the land, that’s where I keep most it. The atmosphere is just like one gigantic fart.

    Question 4. Are you warming?

    Yeah, maybe a teeny bit, but nothing to brag about. I’m still getting over the last ice age, you know. I think I may have misjudged the length a tad, so I’m considering having another one soon.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    Ha! It’s always all about you, isn’t it? As if you puny little turds could have any meaningful effect.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

    You know, the funny thing is, there’s a helluva lot more ants and termites and fish than you people, but they never bother me with stupid questions like that.

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

    Enough, already! None of it, okay? I had a cooling spell for a few years, then a warming spell. It’s what I do. Have the socialists made a law against that too? They’ll be wanting money for it next.

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    I knew there’d be trouble when you got them there computers and somebody invented the spreadsheet. When they found out that you could start out with the result and work backwards to fiddle the input data, it was all over. It’s not evidence, it’s bragging fodder for schoolyard cheats and bullies.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

    You’re kidding me, right? I haven’t even decided myself yet, so how can some shitty model tell you anything? Tell them that when they can get the 3 day forecast right, it’ll be time to start on a week, and then gradually work up.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    The theories are of the same quality as the observations. F for Fail.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    Get back to me when you’ve got the Big Bang science settled and you know what women want, okay?

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    No, it’s closer to Domestic Science, but at least with that you end up with a nice cake and a new ill-fitting sweater.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    Have you ever heard a bunch of good old boys talking shit after they’ve had a few? Well, that’s what peer review is all about. If you ain’t one of the boys, you ain’t allowed in, and you could easily end up tarred and feathered.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    Absolutely nothing, because you’d be wasting your time and money. Just leave it to me, I’ve got everything under control.

    Yours faithfully,

    The Earth
    (aka Bob Highland)

  20. Basil said

    P1. Hard question for me to answer. Currently, I’m teaching an ecology class using Mark Bush’s generally excellent text. In it, he tells students that “ecology is a science,” but that “environmentalism is a concern,” and acknowledges that environmentalism often gets ahead of the science (though his chapter on “climate change” is too tied to IPCC’s TAR, and is in serious need of updating, and more balanced coverage). If “environmentalist” means “tree hugger” then no, I’m not one. I believe that environmental issues must be evaluated using a cost/benefit calculus, and that is not the general approach of “environmentalists.” FWIW, my academic background is resource (aka environmental) economics.

    P2. Skeptic works for me. But in the sense that all science should be “skeptical,” i.e. open to the possibility of falsification.

    Q.1 I believe that the earth is resilient, and is both homeostatic and hysteretic. I do not think there is a single “preferred temperature,” but there is a range within which the earth will maintain its temperature.

    Q2. I agree with Willis.

    Q3. Here I’ll go with Jeff’s response.

    Q4. Ditto Q3. But, I’ll add that (a) we do not know how much it has warmed over any recent period (data issues), nor do we know why it has warmed (e.g., how much is natural, or how much is LULC/UHI versus CO2/AGW).

    Q5. We do not know. But LULC/UHI is likely to be a significant factor, and more significant than CO2/AGW.

    Q6. See my answer to Q5.

    Q7. See Jeff’s answer, or my answer to Q4.

    Q8. See Willis’ answer, for a start. But I would add that while models are not evidence, they could be used to formulate predictions (hypotheses). But that is not how they are generally used in climate “science.” Rather than being used to generate falsifiable predictions, they are used to generate confirming evidence, and as such are completely unscientific. If you torture the data long enough, it will always confess, even to crimes it did not commit. If you tune a GCM long enough, you can get it to confirm any hypothesis you want.

    Q9. Let me rephrase Willis’ question slightly: Are climate models capable of predicting (not “projecting”) climate changes for 100 years? Yes, they are. Of course, the predictions may not pan out, in which case they were “falsified.” And even if they do pan out, it is not clear what that “proves” if multiple GCM’s with different input assumptions yield similar predictions (within some margin of error). I.e., while I think GCM’s could in theory be used to generate falsifiable predictions, they may be too complex to discern what is actually “proven” when the prediction is not falsified.

    Q10. Some are, some are not. What we are not even close to having is a “general theory” of climate. We know bits and pieces of the puzzle, but there are some huge pieces missing.

    Q11. See my answer to Q10. Of course the science is not settled. Not even close.

    Q12. I’m tempted to echo Willis’ “sort of,” but I’m not even sure of that. If I recall correctly, a generation ago (back when I was in school) it wasn’t called “climate science.” It was called “climatology.” And I think that is still what it ought to be called. Thus, it is no more a “physical” science than, say, geology. It would be more accurate, I think, to refer to it as a “natural” science. I think the term “physical” science should be limited to physics and chemistry. All the other “natural” sciences will, in varying degree, make use of physics and/or chemistry to understand the “natural” processes under observation. But in the other “natural” sciences, like climatology and geology, or ecology or biology, they are much more descriptive, and much less reducible to physical “equations.” So no, climate science is not a physical science, in the sense I think of physical science. But it is a natural science. Or at least could be. Lately, it is more of a social science.

    Q13. I think Jeff has generally nailed it on this one. The problem is the corruption of science by the whole grant system.

    Q.14 What Jeff and Willis said. The earth is more resilient than the alarmist camp gives it credit for. Our social systems are not, and the totalitarian impulse is too strong to use climate as an excuse to “do something,” even if the alarmism is innocent but ill-informed.

  21. PhilJourdan said

    Preface Question 1. Thanks to Layman Lurker in #14: – No. At least not in the political, activist sense. Concerned by legitimate environmental issues – yes.

    Preface Question 2. Skeptic

    Question 1. The “earth” does not. Most animal and plant species do. However the variety of animal and plant specicies indicates there is no concensus on what an “ideal” temperature is.

    If I answer is just cold and scientific, nobody really knows the magnitude of the feedbacks that exist.

    Question 2. Global Climate Change is a result of non-man made factors.

    Question 3. The history of Climate change indicates vast swings in the temperature even over the most recent millienium. The current changes are within the ranges shown for the past 1000 years.

    Question 4. Relative to what? last year? last Decade? last Century? A nebulous question. If the question is since the LIA, yes. if the question is since the MWP, no. If the question is since january, yes….at least in the northern hemisphere. In the last 30 years (why 30? An arbitrary number), yes.

    Question 5. No. We are responsible for polution, and deforrestation. But it remains to be proven that man is responsible for global warming, especially since there has not been any of significance for the last 15 years, yet the alleged cause has not disappeared but steadily grown over that period.

    Question 6. NA

    Question 7. it has not been quantified yet. There have been many allegations, but so far no empirical evidence of a cause and effect with quantization.

    Question 8. No. They are having problems even showing what the temperature should be. Until they can, with even a modicum of accuracy, predict the temperature trends, there is no way to start quantifying the components of the trend.

    Question 9. Not yet.

    Question 10. No

    Question 11. No.

    Question 12. Climate science, in theory, is an intersection of several physical sciences. So it has its roots in the physical sciences. However as practiced by climatologists today, it is not a hard science, but more on the level of psychology or even astrology.

    Question 13. No. Too few have absolute power over it. I defer to layman Lurker in #14 again for a well worded answer.

    Question 14. In statistics (which seems to be at the root of the climate scandal) there are 2 types of errors. Being an Econometrician, I err on type I. Until we know what is happening and what we are doing, we should not do anything. We risk making the situation worse through ignorance.

    That being said, fighting polution is another issue entirely. We do not have to paint all roofs white to understand we have to clean up the air and water. A simple visit to Shanghai versus Phoenix will show you the dangers of runaway polution. To that end, saner folks are doing a lot to control it, but the biggest problem children are getting a free ticket on it (and indeed even in Copenhagan they get a pass).

    Lungs, Fish, and animals do not care if the polution is American made or made in China.

  22. hunter said

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?

    Yes..

    Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?

    Intesnsely interested

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

    there is a prevalent range of temps, as seen in the historical record.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    The question is too vague. Humans are a part of the Earth environmental climate system. Of course we impact it. We have done so for millenia.
    But to reframe the question to today’s AGW-driven context:
    What is the null hypothesis is that CO2 is not causing a global climate catastrophe.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    The lack of anything approaching a climate crisis. The lack of weather patterns, which make up climate, doing anything unusual. the failed rate of pro-AGW predictions.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?

    Probably some. Nothing outside of the range of historical variability.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    If the range of change is not harful or unusual, who really cares?

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?

    By way of land use changes, vegetation changes, changes in water flows, urbanization, and ghg’s

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?

    why should we actually care?

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    We do not need climate models to show humans impact climate. See the above relevant answers.
    the models that purport to show that COs is driving the climate to a catastrophe are failed- see above.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?

    No.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    No.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    Only to the extent that it is not science.

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    Climate science, as represented by AGW, is to climate science what eugenics was to biology.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    The peer review system is very excellent, and as soon as cliamte scientists learn to use it, they and the public will benefit from its use.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    do things that actually reduce real pollutants, mitigates the impacts of pollutants, improve land use, agricultural practices, and stop worrying about CO2. Work to mitigate the impact of climate changes on habitat and people.

  23. Duster said

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
    We’re all environmentalists of some type. The type varies with the preferred environment. Feinman preferred topless bars.

    Preface Question 2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?

    Waiting. I’ve yet to see much science. Models are mathematics and as such, creative works of art.

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?

    Possibly. Lovelock made observations that lead to the original Gaea Hypothesis and the observations aren’t wrong, even if the interpretations has some issues.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?

    One assume that the “null hypothesis” is that there is no evidence of human effects on climate. It has already falsified. UHI, AHI, effects of agricultural changes on rainfall and regional temperatures are all effects. They just aren’t global.

    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    See Q2.

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?

    Depends upon the time scale in which the question is framed and how reliable the data really are. Since the Pleistocene, yes. Since the Early Holocene, no. Since the Medieval Climate Anomally, no. Since the end of the LIA, probably.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?

    There is no means at present to separate a human “signal” from natural “signal” in climate data. AGW argues from a putative correlation, but correlations are not causality.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate? Not with CO2. It is possible that the cumulative effects of urban heat islands, land use changes, clear cutting of forests, etc., may have a global influence, but it has not been investigated.

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
    How can this be tested, let alone proven?

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?

    Models do not yield evidence or “data,” except as a scale to compare empirical data against.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
    No.

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    They don’t match observations so no, the models are erroneous.

    Question 11. Is the science settled?

    The science is not yet fully framed let alone settled.

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?

    It could be, but that would mean stepping back and avoiding “policy makers” who want talking points.

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?

    Current peer review is inadequate whenever an in-group self-selects its “peers.” Probably the best version is (or was) that of Current Anthropology where reviewers are not anonymous, and both reviews and rebuttals are printed at the end of the article. This has the advantage of “highlighting” cliques and agenda-driven feuds.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?

    Until there is a “first principles” based climate science that CAN predict weather and decadal to century-level patterns, we really don’t know what we are doing, nor is there a real science until predictions can be tested against empirical data without first “adjusting” or “correcting” the raw, empirical data.

  24. Mark T said

    In line with the comment I made in the other thread instead of here:

    P1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
    Why should it matter?

    P2. What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science?
    Bad.

    1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?
    Don’t know, though I hope the standard deviation is within the limits of human adaptability.

    2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?
    Climate happens.

    3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?
    None that I have seen reject it, everything we know about long-term history supports it.

    4. Is the globe warming?
    It might have been, and it may not be now. Does it matter as long as we can adapt to the changes?

    5. Are humans responsible for global warming?
    Why does it matter?

    6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?
    My answer to 5 sort of makes this one meaningless.

    7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
    I don’t know, nor do I think we have the ability to know… yet.

    8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?
    Climate models are not evidence.

    9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
    No.

    10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?
    Apparently not.

    11. Is the science settled?
    “Science” and “settled” should not be used congruently.

    12. Is climate science a physical science?
    It is likely an almalgam of several physical sciences, stitched together with the best of all lies (when improperly used), statistics.

    13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?
    Yes. I haven’t given solutions much thought. I come from a world in which peer review means something radically different (sit through a lengthy engineering design review and you’ll understand).

    14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?
    Adapt.

    Mark, the grumpy cynic.

  25. John F. Pittman said

    OT. JeffID, Steve McI may have just trashed my contention that Briffa was relatively innocent and instead supports, as you thought, the contention that he was the “smartest of the lot” here at http://climateaudit.org/2010/04/02/keith-should-say/ . In particular, when I was doing my reaserch, the sequence with “this message will self destruct in 10 seconds” recalling Mission Impossible caused me concerns, but I could not trace it. I see that is because I was interested in Yamal and not what lead up to the Yamal contention that Steve is probably more knowledgeable than any others in the world except the guilty.

    [REPLY: Yup, Steve did a job again that only he can do. ]

  26. Sera said

    PQ1: No, conservationist.

    PQ2: Auditor

    Q1: Yes- somewhere between 288 units Kelvin and our core temperature.

    Q2: I agree with Willis.

    Q3: Lack of data- can not answer.

    Q4: On what time scale?

    Q5: Yes

    Q6: Locally

    Q7: Lack of data- can not answer.

    Q8: Some models do, and some do not.

    Q9: Yes, the models can do whatever you want them to do.

    Q10: Unsure- have not read and audited all current climate theories.

    Q11: Science has not, nor will it ever be settled.

    Q12: It should be: chemistry, physics, fluid dynamics, SA, QA- everything fun!

    Q13: Yes- but can be improved. Increasing the number of reviewers (online?) would help.

    Q14: At this point, do nothing- or rather ‘do no harm’. Adapt where neccesary.

  27. Sera said

    Oops- shb 255 units Kelvin.

  28. Robbo said

    Preface Question 1. Do you consider yourself an environmentalist?
    – I am a part of nature too, and I want nature to remain hospitable to me, and to maintain its glorious variety, but I associate the environmentalist label with people who elevate that concern out of proportion.

    Preface Question 2.What single word would you choose to describe your position on climate science? – Critic. Too much just ain’t science

    Question 1. Does the earth have a preferred temperature which is actively maintained by the climate system?
    – Since weather / Climate is a chaos system it does not actively maintain any specific set point. My view is that the system oscillates around, and sporadically switches between a number of set points – eg Ice ages vs Interglacials. And of course the ‘snowball earth’ is likely a fairly stable scenario. The relative stability over the long term means to me there must be negative feedbacks which act to damp the effects of extraneous shocks, astrophysical, geophysical, and biological in origin.

    Question 2. Regarding human effects on climate, what is the null hypothesis?
    Question 3. What observations tend to support or reject the null hypothesis?

    These questions are evidence of muddled thinking. What matters is, 15. Is the climate changing in such a way as to threaten civilisation ? and 16. If the answerto 15 is ‘Yes’ What steps should be taken in prevention or mitigation ?

    Question 4. Is the globe warming?
    – Over the last 200 years, yes (we have emerged from the little ice Age). Over the last thousand, no. Over the last 12,000, yes, etc.

    Question 5. Are humans responsible for global warming?
    – The central characteristic of a chaos system is that you cannot analyse it into subcomponents to make cause and effect relationships. The whole of the next state of the system is determined by the whole of the current state of the system. You can’t say that one or other feature of the current state caused one or other feature of the future state. If the climate warms, it will not be our fault.

    Question 6. If the answer to Question 5 is “Yes”, how are humans affecting the climate?
    – It is literally impossible to say because it is a chaos system.

    Question 7. How much of the post 1980 temperature change is due to human activities?
    – Impossible to say

    Question 8. Does the evidence from the climate models show that humans are responsible for changes in the climate?
    – No.

    Question 9. Are the models capable of projecting climate changes for 100 years?
    – Yes, that is what models do, they project. Will reality follow the projections ? No – it’s that pesky chaos, it won’t be pinned down by calculations

    Question 10. Are current climate theories capable of explaining the observations?

    No

    Question 11. Is the science settled?
    – No. There are still ‘unknown unknowns’ out there

    Question 12. Is climate science a physical science?
    – It’s not really science. It is a study which uses – or should use – a number of sciences (physics, statistics, data management, computing, biology, astrophysics, etc)

    Question 13. Is the current peer-review system inadequate, and if so, how can it be improved?
    – I agree with Jeff id, it isn’t peer review per se that is the problem, but the monoculture caused by government funding of science, which has led to damage to peer review.

    Question 14. Regarding climate, what action (if any) should we take at this point?
    – Start building nuclear power stations again. Coal stations are horribly polluting quite apart from making CO2

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