the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Warnings

Posted by Jeff Id on December 5, 2010

Ok, I’m not a natural book reviewer.   I am a prolific reader however, and simply can’t stop trying to entertain or educate my overworked ganglia.  It is a curse when a book can take hours of  your life yet you can’t stop reading.   Recently Mike Smith sent an email saying he wanted to send me a book.  The title of the book was “Warnings – The true story of how science tamed the weather”.    On getting a few minutes to my self I began reading it, unaware that I was about to shoot the whole day reading a book on weather.  Unfortunately besides the hundreds of climate papers I’ve now read, meteorology isn’t in the repertoire. Honestly, I’m not nearly as interested in the weather as I should be to have a climate blog! The story however, was educational but it was also a heck of a lot of fun.  From the first prediction of  a tornado, to development and deployment of doppler radar, the state of weather understanding both then and now is laid out in non-technical detail in the context of personal stories from both Mike and other meteorologists.  Both the tragedies and triumphs are described.

Were you aware that the official US government policy as recently as the 1950’s  was that weather reports were  banned from issuing alerts about known tornadoes.  Imagine the angst of being a young weatherman with a known massive tornado bearing down on a huge population and not being able to report it.  Imagine the story when personal accounts are told by those who gave the first public warnings in the face of the law, with the full knowledge that there could be consequences to their careers.  It was one interesting story after another and I ended up ripping through the entire book in a day.

Mike Smith does an excellent job telling what turned out to be an exciting story of when the weather met science and technology.  If you are interested in the history of predictions of severe storm weather, or enjoy reading about severe weather events, you will very much enjoy this read.   Mike’s book cost me five or six hours, in exchange for which I was thoroughly and completely entertained and perhaps a little more educated.

The book 270 pages and it has a large number of color photos in a center section.  I definitely recommend it.  Click here for Mike’s own site containing a number of more qualified reviews, and links of where to purchase.


131 Responses to “Warnings”

  1. curious said

    Sounds like a good read. Does it cover the distinction between weather and climate? I’m of the opinion climate is the statistical classification of weather and I wonder if that’s reasonable and, if so, where one finds the appropriate list of standard metrics and their definitions and bounds.

  2. WhiteRose said

    Yes, it does sound like a good read. Who would have thought reading a book on weather would be interesting.

    Might review another book I read about Americans taking a stand against tyranny. It’s a great read.
    ( http://www.booksbyoliver.com ). I liked it cause it’s about some real people & events.

  3. Warning: World leaders in Cancun may feel trapped by the rapidly crumbling falsehood of global warming.

    It will be dangerous to us all if they will not admit AGW’s dark past.

    This National Public Radio news story suggests delusional thinking in high places as “Climate Groups Retool Argument For Global Warming”.

    http://www.npr.org/2010/12/05/131780926/climate-groups-retool-argument-for-global-warming

    Arresting the founder of Wikileaks will not reverse damages of leaks to the reputations of world leaders who fled to the Cancun Climate Conference.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/2460

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-us-manipulated-climate-accord

    As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow concluded in his Christmas carol, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” on December 25th 1864:

    “God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
    The Wrong shall fail,
    The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men!”

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Science Blog News, C Jenkins. C Jenkins said: Warnings http://goo.gl/fb/KfaTK […]

  5. Eric Steig said

    ‘Curious’ wrote “Does it cover the distinction between weather and climate?”

    Well, I have not read the book, but if you watch the video the author links to on his web site, you’ll find he uses the same lie that Lindzen does “If you can’t predict the weather 5 days from now, how can you be confident in a forecast 100 years from now.” Hello, these are completely different concepts. No one is claiming they are predicting *weather* 100 years from now (or even 10 years from now!).

    Mike Smith may be a good meteorologist, but he evidently hasn’t learned this very basic difference yet. Either that, or he is a very dishonest person.

  6. Leonard Weinstein said

    Eric Steig,
    What evidence do you have that climate is less a chaotic process that weather? It is true that we have seasons, but these are not weather. It is true that long term planetary tilt and orbit changes are somewhat predictable, and do drive trends. However, I have seen nothing showing skill at long term climate prediction. The models don’t even agree within a factor of 2 with each other, and all make several basic assumptions that are not physics based, but crude plug models (including long term ocean circulation effects, detailed cloud response, solar direct and indirect effects, etc.). Even the so called positive feedback effects are NOT settled. For example, see:
    http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/WaterVapor.htm

    and:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AeZfEkgmBH37ZG5jNDl4el84N2R2ZjNic2M0&hl=en

    and for a general refutation of AGW, see:
    http://www.palisad.com/co2/eb/eb.html (George White refutation of AGW problem)

  7. curious said

    5 Eric Steig – Setting aside your characterisation of Prof. Lindzen as a liar and Mike Smith as either someone who hasn’t learned a “very basic difference” or is dishonest, please can you give a definition of what this very basic difference between weather and climate actually is? How, and where, is it defined in quantifiable terms? Thank you.

  8. curious said

    5, 7 Eric – if you do come back to discuss the very basic difference between weather and climate (forecasting) I’d appreciate your comments on the work and views of Demetris Koutsoyannis:

    http://itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/923/

    http://itia.ntua.gr/en/docinfo/850/

    http://itia.ntua.gr/dk/

    Thank you.

  9. Mark T said

    You’d think, after using such language and arrogance with Jeff, then getting publicly embarrassed as badly as he has regarding the very things with which he exhibited such arrogace, that Steig would have learned his lesson. I guess a PhD does not imply a high level of common sense. Of course, neither does teaming with Michael Mann for PCA work. He should go chat with Ed in the other thread while there remain a few die hards with similar blinders on.

    Mark

  10. Eric Steig said

    I’ll ignore the insults and simply point out that I never said “climate is less chaotic than weather” or anything remotely like that. The point is simply that the lack of our ability to forecast weather over a few days has little, if any, bearing on whether or not we can predict climate. Lindzen knows this. Therefore when he uses the sort of statement that I was referring to he is being disingenuous.

    I am also 100% sure that the proprietor of this blog can explain the point I was making, and more generally the difference between climate and weather, and indeed I would encourage him to do so.

  11. curious said

    10 Eric – so no comment on Koutsoyiannis’s work then? No comment on the difference between weather and climate? And just for the record – you arrived at this thread with two insults to others.

    Jeff – looks like it’s over to you to do Eric’s work for him. Oh, no change there then…🙂

  12. Jeff Id said

    Eric,

    “I’ll ignore the insults”

    You have to do that in blogland, my experiences at RC are similar. While I agree with the point that the 5 days comment isn’t a good substitute for climate predictions, there is more than a grain of truth in the comment. A 30ish year record isn’t enough to predict for the next 200. Our current ocean knowledge is garbage and it makes up most of the 150 year record we work from. I doubt many would be surprised if we were actually a quarter (or even half) degree off for global temps in 1930.

    I am sure that you wouldn’t find Mike Smith”s book objectionable, it is non-political non-climate driven and simply a discussion about weather prediction.He’s got a few positive skeptic reviews but you shouldn’t interpret that as having come from the message. It is absolutely a weather book not a climate book.

  13. curious said

    12 Jeff – Agreed one has to ignore the insults in blogland and generally I’d say it’s best not to start putting them about in the first place. Also I agree there is more than a grain of truth in the notion that climate forecasts are unreliable. And as Eric has passed the buck to you – do you have any views on Koutsoyiannis’s work?

  14. Jeff Id said

    “I am also 100% sure that the proprietor of this blog can explain the point I was making, and more generally the difference between climate and weather, and indeed I would encourage him to do so.”

    I didn’t finish reading your comment before I wrote.. Just woke up from a long nap.

    I suppose you are right, there is a difference in the fidelity of prediction between weather and climate that on an intuitive level would appear to make climate easier to predict. This is perfectly sensible and based on sound reason IMO. But easier, doesn’t mean it is known.

    Personally, I’ve been often proven wrong in my career on intuitive matters by the god of physics. Perhaps I’m a lousy engineer or perhaps the physics escapes me too often.. My opinion is that there isn’t enough feedback from the god of physics in climate science to teach the humbleness of being wrong. It seems to me that climate scientists in bulk are far too certain of their knowledge of the future. Future predictions have been going on as long as humans have existed, while climatologists may be the first to get it right, they aren’t the first to claim they were right well ahead of time!

    Still, some people harp on the inability to predict weather in a week as evidence for the inability to predict climate. They are different problems, with different limitations, but both still have limitations.

  15. curious said

    13, 14 Jeff – sorry posts crossed but if you have any thoughts on definitions of climate including the key variables and their ranges that’d be good too.

  16. Mark T said

    Yes, yes, Eric, you’ll ignore the insults yet, somehow, you don’t mind dishing them out – in the very same thread no less. Do you ever put your own statements into the context from which you make them?

    Hint: you won’t look like such the hypocrite if you clean up your act a bit and try to be a bit more consistent. You would also do wise to drop the arrogance because a) you aren’t the only person in the world with a PhD and b) it’s not as embarrassing to be wrong when you start out humble enough to admit it. Spinning it just makes it worse in the long run.

    Mark

  17. Howard said

    Eric:

    Common sense tells many people that the complex and uncertain nature of weather is also true for climate. It is my elementary understanding that weather and climate are manifestations of the same global-scale processes that are evaluated over different time scales. It also seems that there are multiple scales of climate where the 30- or 300-year climate scale could be considered “weather” when compared with ice-age cycles.

    JeffID mentions the ignorance of ocean circulation mechanisms. Since the atmosphere (low thermal mass) lags behind oceanic changes (high thermal mass) this makes weather and short-term climate predictions relatively more certain. This year, for example, the prediction for La Nina and the falling SST preceded the predicted falling air temperature anomaly and generally associated regional weather patterns that follow. In the case of climate, it is impossible to predict these ocean circulation patterns at the climate scale. It seems natural that climate would be significantly more difficult to predict than weather.

    I am interested in hearing your logical arguments based on geologic history and physics on why this impression is wrong.

    Thanks

  18. Jeff Id said

    Curious,

    Unfortunately I don’t recall ‘Koutsoyiannis’s’ work. Is there a link you could provide?

    I may have read it but while I do alright with subjects I’ve studied, some of you guys are more educated on these other topics. Both my knowledge and interests have holes.

  19. Jeff Id said

    Eric,

    One more comment, I do believe that climate has an advantage for longer term predictions. Both weather and climate attempt to predict complex flow mechanisms on different timescales. Both have indeterminate noise in them as well as estimated and unknown properties. But how do we know if we’ve accounted for this natural variance?

    I hope you don’t put much faith into multi-proxy stuff, it cannot represent the variance adequately. Multi proxy regressions are for believers – not for scientists. No reply is expected.

    I don’t know the future, AGW guys may be right about warming but the data isn’t there yet. If AGW guys are right, the alleged solutions presented are demonstrably wrong and that’s from a guy who owns and runs a ‘green’ company.

  20. Carrick said

    The big distinction between climate modeling, e.g. studying the effects of e.g. anthropogenic CO2, and weather prediction, is what you are trying to do in the former (climate modeling)_ is obtain an estimate of the difference in temporal averages of quantities like mean global temperature, mean global precipitation, etc with and without the additional forcing. With the latter (weather prediction) you are trying to generate accurate patterns (usually on a local scale) of the same basic variables, but not temporally nor (particularly) spatially averaged.

    Obvious climate modeling is certainly an easier task in some sense, it is certainly impossible to do climate prediction as an extension of normal meteorology, since the future forcings are unknown. and in general unknowable.

    That said, I echo Jeff’s comment that simply because it can be done properly, is no guarantee that it has. Jeff knows that I am particularly concerned about the confounding effects of natural short-period climate variation: In part because, to the extent that climate variation leads to differences in forcings, it is easy to show that it contributes to the net foricngs. E.g.,

    1/(f_0 + f_spc) = 1/f_0 – f_spc/f_0^2 + f_spc^2/f_0^3 + …

    Here f_0 is the static feedback (which includes secularly varying terms like changes in CO2 foricngs) and f_spc is feedback from “short-period climate”, with < f_spc > = 0.

    Take the mean of this and you end up with terms like < f_spc^2/f_0^3 > that survive the averaging process. It is inevitable that short-period climate fluctuation must influence long-term climate.

    The “wrench in the machine” here is the likelihood that increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gases leads to increases in the amplitude of variations of f_spc. So until we understand short-period climate fluctuations better, and their relationship with energy transport and especially for this exercise the relationship between changes in anthropogenic CO2 and < f_scp >

    (To launch into one more technicality < f_scp(0) > = 0 can be true… where the (0) signifies “unperturbed” and you can still get a non_zero < f_scp > due to baseline shifts. Since this can have either sign, it is not a slam dunk that the influence of SPC will necessarily be to increase the net forcings.)

  21. Carrick said

    Um… late at night … replace the above expressions mutatis mutandis with e.g.,

    1/(f_0 + f_spc) → 1/(1 – f_0 – f_scp)

    Basic conclusions don’t change, Sorry for that sloppiness.

  22. curious said

    18 Jeff – a couple of relevant and accessible links, IMO, are in my comment 8 above and Koutsoyiannis’s work has been discussed at CA, ie:

    http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/20/demetris-koutsoyannis-on-statistical-climatology-meeting/

    http://climateaudit.org/2008/05/10/koutsoyiannis-2008-presentation/

    http://climateaudit.org/?s=Koutsoyiannis

    I think he is saying something interesting on prediction certainty and the relationship between weather and climate. I’m certainly no expert on the stats he discusses but I read his “toy model example” in the Random Walk on Water paper (the first link in my no. 8) and it has stuck in my mind as demonstrating (some of) the problems with long term prediction.

  23. curious said

    22 Hmmm, not sure what happened there – last line should read …”the first link in my number eight”…

  24. boballab said

    Looks like Koutsoyiannis has just come out as one of the authors of a new paper dealing with models:

    A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data

    G. G. Anagnostopoulos, D. Koutsoyiannis, A. Christofides, A. Efstratiadis & N. Mamassis

    Department of Water Resources, Faculty of Civil Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Heroon Polytechneiou 5,
    GR 157 80 Zographou, Greece
    a.christofides@itia.ntua.gr
    Received 10 April 2009; accepted 10 May 2010; open for discussion until 1 April 2011

    Abstract We compare the output of various climate models to temperature and precipitation observations at 55
    points around the globe.We also spatially aggregate model output and observations over the contiguous USA using
    data from 70 stations, and we perform comparison at several temporal scales, including a climatic (30-year) scale.
    Besides confirming the findings of a previous assessment study thatmodel projections at point scale are poor, results
    show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor.

    Paper is here: http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/919621__928051726.pdf

  25. Climate Changes Are Long-Term, Like the Fate of a Twig in a Stream

    Skeptics have fallen into useless arguments about relatively unimportant climate drivers identified by government scientists working for Al Gore and the UN’s IPCC. The debate has become like children arguing about the fate of a twig in a rapidly flowing stream of water.

    Trying to predict weather or long-term climate change is like trying to predict the eventual position of such a twig in a rapidly moving stream.

    Imagine a group of government scientists and world leaders saying that they can accurately predict the eventual position of a twig in a fast flowing stream without regard to the rate of water output from the spring upstream or the direction of water flow!

    Sound absurd?

    That is like the government scientist who claimed to have complicated computer models that can predict the eventual position of the twig by the influence of each eddy current, whirlpool and surge acting on the twig.

    The zig-zag path of the twig is indeed irregular, changing directions with each surge or eddy current encountered as it twirls downstream. But the eventual fate of the twig depends far more on the direction of the stream’s flow than on detailed information about each whirlpool, eddy current and surge – even if those could be accurately estimated by computer models.

    Climate skeptics found errors in “consensus” government estimates of each force, but the more important error is the failure of government-funded “consensus” climatologists to consider the overall direction of stream flow!

    It has long been known that the heat source “upstream” that drives the climate of planet Earth – the Sun – is a variable star. However, Nobel Laureate William A. Fowler identified two serious problems [1] in our understanding of the Sun in 1988 that had to be solved [2, 3] before we could finally see which variations in Earth’s climate might be caused by our variable Sun [4-12].

    The two problems that Professor Fowler identified in 1988:

    “Indeed there are details to be attended to, but they are overshadowed by serious difficulties in the most basic concepts of nuclear astrophysics. On square one, the solar neutrino puzzle is still with us (chapt. 10), indicating that we do not even understand how our own star really works. On square two we still cannot show in the laboratory and in theoretical calculations why the ratio of oxygen to carbon in the sun and similar stars is close to two-to-one (see chapt. 7). We humans are mostly (90%) oxygen and carbon. We understand in a general way the chemistry and biology involved, but we certainly do not understand the nuclear astrophysics which produced the oxygen and carbon in our bodies.”

    The two puzzles were solved with nuclear rest mass data that show neutron repulsion generates most of the Sun’s energy [2] and with neutron-capture cross sections that show O/C ~10 inside the Sun, as expected from laboratory and theoretical calculations on He-burning, but O/C ~ 2 at the top of the Sun ‘s atmosphere as expected from solar mass fractionation [3].

    Only after the dense, highly compact nuclear core had been identified inside the layered Sun did it become possible to understand why cyclic changes in solar inertial motion (SIM) are the primary driver of climate change [4-5].

    Orbital motion of planets cause the Sun to be jerked, like a yo–yo on a string, about the constantly changing centre-of-mass (barycentre) of the solar system [6].

    Thus, differing planetary masses and distances from the center-of-mass of the solar system (the barycenter) cause the barycenter to change position relative to the compact center of the Sun; just as differences in the masses and positions of wet laundry from the center of a spinning washing machine, cause it to be ‘out-of-balance’ by differing amounts [4-6].

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

    References:

    1. W. A. Fowler, “We do not even understand how our own star really works”, in Cauldrons in the Cosmos: Nuclear Astrophysics by Claus E. Rolf and William S. Rodney (David N. Schramm, series editor, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, USA, 1988) pp. xi-xii.
    http://www.omatumr.com/Fowler1988/CaldronsCosmos.pdf

    2. O. Manuel, E. Miller, and A. Katragada, “Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source”, Journal of Fusion Energy 20 (2003) 197-201.
    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2003/jfe-neutronrep.pdf

    3. O. Manuel, W. A. Myers, Y. Singh and M. Pleess, “The oxygen to carbon ratio in the solar interior”, Journal of Fusion Energy 23(2005) 55-62.
    http://www.omatumr.com/abstracts2005/Oxygen_to_Carbon_Ratio.pdf

    4. J. D. Jose, “Sun’s motion and sunspots”, Astron. J. 70 (1965) 193-200.

    5. R. W. Fairbridge and J. H. Shirley, “Prolonged minima and the 179-yr cycle of the solar inertial motion,” Solar Physics 110 (1987) 191-220.

    6. O. K. Manuel, “Earth’s heat source – the Sun”, Energy & Environment 20 (2009) 131-144.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

  26. ArndB said

    #12, Jeff Id said December 5, 2010 at 10:52 pm
    “Our current ocean knowledge is garbage”

    Because that is through and through correct, we have this not ending discussion on the reliability of short weather prediction, and the reliability of longer “average weather” prediction. It is one and the same problem, and completely related to the very incomplete knowledge of the ocean, and the lack of a ocean observing system that is at least in some way comparable with the meteorological system, taking into account the potential of seawater, in the temperature ration to 3 cbm sea surface water to 10’000 cbm air-column. But there are many other ocean components that dominate many other atmospheric processes and components to such a high degree that it is reasonable to say that:
    “Climate is the continuation of the ocean by other means”.

    Although Jeff you kindly gave me the opportunity twice (Nov.2009 & July 2010) to express my opinion on the very questionable use of the layman’s terms “weather” and “climate” by science, it seems I failed grossly to present that convincingly enough, and therefore abstain to provide any reference today, but acknowledge it gratefully.
    Best regards Arnd Bernaerts

  27. curious said

    18 Jeff – I just saw Anthony has a current post on Koutsoyiannis too:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/05/new-peer-reviewed-paper-shows-just-how-bad-the-climate-models-are/

  28. BarryW said

    If you haven’t read it, I would recommend “Issac’s Storm” by Eric Larson about the 1900 Galveston hurricane. Arrogance by the Weather Service played a role in the tragedy.

  29. Andrew said

    5-“you’ll find he uses the same lie that Lindzen does”
    10-“Lindzen knows this. Therefore when he uses the sort of statement that I was referring to he is being disingenuous.”

    Two honest questions. In your first post, you give Smith the benefit of the doubt, to some extent, while clearly leaning toward the idea that he is lying (since you can’t bring yourself to believe that he is likely to be that ignorant?). My question is, why is it that Lindzen “knows this” and does not get a similar partial benefit of the doubt? I actually would be curious to know why you judge their knowledge of this “fact” differently. My second question: can you give an actual example where Lindzen has made such an argument? I am not aware of it but it sounds like you have a particular incident in mind. Care to share this information? It would help us understand where you are coming from.

    As an aside, you really like the word “disingenuous” don’t you? Given the context in which you last used it, you’ll forgive me for thinking that when you use that word that I should reach for my wallet…

  30. kim said

    Disingenuous
    Or ignorant, Steig ’09,
    Wonder we one day?
    =============

  31. Jeff Id said

    I know it is tempting to return the namecalling but one of the things this blog is known for is having a better than average tone for being unmoderated. Ed on the other thread drives me nuts, as did Frank a few days ago. Disingenuousness just plain ticks me off but we shouldn’t let that get our goat.

  32. Stilgar said

    Eric 5 and 10
    Jeff 14 and 19

    No one has answered the question as to why a person is wrong to compare the weather models with climate models (I want to know why it’s wrong before jumping to a conclusion that someone is a liar).

    I have read enough here and on other sites to know there are differences between weather prediciton and climate prediction, however that is on the detailed level. Are there not any similarities between the two to make a valid comparison? I see quite a few which is why I wonder if either I am mistaken or if Eric is a bit too close to the subject to see clearly (can’t see the forest for the trees).

    Are they not both computer models generating output based on scientific knowledge of the atmosphere? Sure the details of what they are doing are different, but who said Lindzen is comparing the details instead of the concept itself?

    You have people claiming we need to change the way the world operates based on computer models. Those models are claimed to predict/project the climate into the future. People talk like those predictions/projections are a near certainty (we must act now to prevent disasters). Why is it wrong to remind people that those climate predictions/projections (which people have very little knowledge of) are similar in concept to weather forcasts (which people do have knowledge of)? Why is it wrong to remind people that dispite the best knowledge of the atmosphere, things don’t always go as computer models predicted/projected?

    I could keep going but I think I have made my point. Could someone now please tell me how I am wrong?

    BTW Eric, if someone calls another person a liar without any proof backing it up, why would that someone not expect others to stoop to that same someone’s level and call them names in return? Complaining about insults when you yourself were the first one to post them is something I would expect of an elementary school student, not a learned scientist.

  33. Mike Smith said

    Hi Everyone. I thought that instead of Mr. Steig hurling accusations about me and everyone speculating as to my positions, I would make a few comments and clear the air.

    First, there is NOTHING about global warming or climate change in “Warnings.” The book has received excellent reviews and I am very proud of it. I believe that any of you who might chose to read it will enjoy it as much as Jeff did. I certainly appreciate him posting the review.

    Mr. Steig says, “No one is claiming they are predicting *weather* 100 years from now (or even 10 years from now!).” I suggest, he read p. 118 of the 2009 National Climate Change Assessment. It makes a WEATHER forecast for the number of heat waves to occur in Chicago during the period 2070-2099. The is just one of the few weather forecasts in the document (i.e., a weather forecast is a forecast of specific conditions at a specific place and time). Here in Kansas, there are various predictions made about drought and reservoir levels on a sub-state basis in 2050. It is factually incorrect to say that “no one” is making weather forecasts decades into the future.

    I am very well aware of the differences between weather and climate. The assertion that we can forecast climate decades into the future depends on climate models being unbiased, the errors averaging out, and their ability to forecast volcanic eruptions and changes in solar energy as as other non-atmospheric inputs. No skill (other than in hindcast mode) in any of these areas has been demonstrated. Here is a new paper on the subject: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/section?content=a928051726&fulltext=713240928 From the abstract: “Besides confirming the findings of a previous assessment study that model projections at point scale are poor, results show that the spatially integrated projections are also poor.”

    Finally, I don’t understand the need for pejoratives like “liar” and “dishonest.” We have never met and, to my knowledge, have never had a conversation. While we may disagree on these points, I do not doubt Mr. Steig’s good faith. I wish he would have given me the same benefit of the doubt.

    Mike

  34. John M said

    Mike Smith

    “Finally, I don’t understand the need for pejoratives like “liar” and “dishonest.””

    You are simply misunderstanding climate scientist’s new efforts to be better at PR and to more effectively “frame” the issues.

    They can’t help it if this is the best they can do.

  35. Mark T said

    Steig starts off nearly every post with an insult then makes a sly comment regrding others insulting him. Straight from the team dictionary, get used to it, or, as I prefer, just continue to harp on his obvious deficiencies.
    Mark

  36. Carrick said

    Mike Smith:

    First, there is NOTHING about global warming or climate change in “Warnings.” The book has received excellent reviews and I am very proud of it. I believe that any of you who might chose to read it will enjoy it as much as Jeff did. I certainly appreciate him posting the review.

    Thanks for your comment. I have ordered a copy of your book already based on Jeff’s recommendation.

    Eric is a funny egg is all I’m gonna say about that (he gives as good as he gets in the insult category). But he is correct that you misunderstand an important aspect of climate modeling, which is to say it’s not so much about actual forecasting of climate, but forecasting (if you want) e.g. the difference between a climate with added CO2 and one without the extra CO2.

    There is of course no way to do an actual climate forecast because it involves knowing future values of quantities like economic productivity, volcanic and solar activity, none of which are knowable. However, for policy-type analyses, forecasting the difference in climates with/without the added CO2 might well be sufficient. (This differencing method is an old physics trick.)

  37. […] at The Air Vent, Jeff reviewed the book “Warnings” by CCM Mike Smith.  This is a book about weather, weather forecasting, severe weather events, and […]

  38. hr said

    I’ve no doubt Eric Steig has interesting contributions to contribute to the climate debate, but his comments would carry more weight if he refrained from making gratuitous insults. Insulting behaviour may be the norm in extremist settings such as the Real Climate blog, but in more civilised surroundings such as this blog are off-putting and serve only to deflect the reader’s attention. Eric, if you want to be listened to, please moderate your language when you visit other blogs. This is not Real Climate.

  39. I am reminded of Mike Mann’s email. (unfortunately available for the public to read).

    “We’ll use our best discretion to make sure the skeptics dont’get to use the RC comments as a megaphone…”

    One should append a “We’ll use our best discretion to make sure we use the skeptics’ comments section as a megaphone…”?

  40. dl said

    I suppose the real issue is that climate scientists cannot help themselves. They study climate but they inevitably have to justify their research by making weather forecasts based on their results.

    I may ‘dishonest’ and a ‘liar’ but I cannot see how climate scientists can not do this. They need to test their climate predictions and they can only be tested by comparison to the physical manifestation of climate which is weather. They do this with hindcasts but these tests raise valid concernsa bout model tuning. So they must do forecasts or predict current situations such as the tropospheric hot spot that we read so much about. I’ve read that these are ‘good’ at global levels but ‘not so good’ at continental scales. I’ve rad things from Realclimate and eslewhere that the bad fit of these models is not due t the models but to the paucity of quality data.

    So I find it very puzzling, in a way, if climate scientists, wax indignant about questions about the utility of their models in predicting weather. It is a necessary part of the scientific process that they do so so that they can be falsified.

    So of someone asks me what the difference between weather and climate is, I tell them that weather is what is used to test our ideas about climate. I so not see how this could make me ‘a lair’ and ‘dishonest’

  41. David Holland said

    A number of people seemed to have missed an important statement made by the Met Office Chief Scientist, Julia Slingo, to the House of Commons Select Committee on Science and Technology on 1 March 2010.

    Towards the end of her reply to Graham Stringer’s Q209 she replied,

    If you think about the sorts of codes that we use in climate modelling, we are literally talking of hundreds of thousands of lines of code—I know because I have written some of them—and of course, there will be errors in them. At least for the UK the codes that underpin our climate change projections are the same codes that we use to make our daily weather forecasts, so we test those codes twice a day for robustness.

    Q210 Graham Stringer: You do not always get it right though, do you?

    Professor Slingo: No, but that is not an error in the
    code; that is to do with the nature of the chaotic
    system that we are trying to forecast.

    The full text is on page EV61 (Adobe page 66)
    here

  42. curious said

    Good quote thanks David – I suggest Prof. Slingo takes a close look at the work of Demetris Koutsoyiannis and his team. This comment is from Antonis Christofides in response to a commentator on the WUWT thread linked in my comment 27:

    Comment –

    If we are not able to model all factors and input all correct state data due to the complexity of the targeted physical processes, we will only have a training device

    Reply –

    Even if we are able to model all factors and input all correct state data, we will still be unable to predict the future. Let me repeat that: Even if we are able to model all factors and input all correct state data, we will still be unable to predict the future. See “A random walk on water” linked to above for an enlightening in-depth investigation of the issue, or the epilogue of my HK Climate site for an overview.

    Ref –

    Thread: WUWT New peer reviewed paper shows just how bad the climate models really are
    Comment:
    Antonis Christofides says:
    December 7, 2010 at 2:59 am

  43. Ric Werme said

    I’m quite happy with the concept that climate prediction is not weather prediction, the results are quite different. A weather model tries to get the timing right on storm formation, frontal passages, etc. A climate model has no need in getting the timing right on that, but does need a simulation that keeps the jet stream in about the right latitudes, has zonal and amplified flow about right, has about the right number of hurricanes in about the right areas within monthly time scales, etc.

    It must reflect reasonable changes given changes in the forcing – numbers and strengths of La Ninas and El Ninos, and predominant strength the NAO, AO etc. should show up. Longer term phenomena like the PDO and AMO likely need to be predicted well – if we’re looking to climate models to tell us what the global conditions will be in the first decade of the 22nd century then cycles with 60 year periods are damn important.

    Steig’s gripe is “‘If you can’t predict the weather 5 days from now, how can you be confident in a forecast 100 years from now.’ Hello, these are completely different concepts.”

    My gripe is that given the current models inability to model short and long term events that are critical to determine future climate, I’m unwilling to make trillion dollar expenditures to prevent their predictions, err, projections from verifying.

    And of course, I’m completely mystified how to handle water vapor and clouds. Something that is often on the brink of changing from a greenhouse gas to a high albedo cloud is quite enough to keep me programming file systems instead of climate models!

  44. kim said

    Archaic ruminations of kim:

    I think I’ve never heard so loud
    The quiet message in a cloud.

    and:

    One of these days Koutsoyiannis is going to make monkeys of us all.
    ==================================================

  45. stephen richards said

    Climate _ weather has and will always be an uncertain debate but we can make it rather more debatable if the climate scientist will tell us what are climate parameters and what are weather parameters. Then, they should be able to show the independent nature of these parameters for they must be independent if they are not the same things. The UK Met off announced some 2 to 3 years ago that their new climate model was their new seasonal model and therefore their new weather model and that because of it’s much higher resolution it would be able to forecast more accurately. Didn’t work did it?
    If they assume that the only important parameter in the climate is CO² (as one commenter here as suggested) then they should, at least, be able to prove that hypotheses. To date they haven’t!!

    Steig has failed completely to realise that he needs to find the words to ‘join’ the two papers such that the errors of the two ( those that are provable) can be realised and result in a paper that is so much better.

    First time here but I like your work Jeff.

  46. hunter said

    Hey, Eric: Bitter much?
    I hope you like the taste of your own foot.
    Happy Holidays,

  47. dl said

    If you think about the sorts of codes that we use in climate modelling, we are literally talking of hundreds of thousands of lines of code—I know because I have written some of them—and of course, there will be errors in them. At least for the UK the codes that underpin our climate change projections are the same codes that we use to make our daily weather forecasts, so we test those codes twice a day for robustness

    A few hundred thousand lines of code is quite small. There is an extensive literature and community in Requirements Engineering which will provide techniques and implementations to verify that this code is doing what it is supposed to do. These verify the operation of software in life critical applications

    I can see the problem that they have. it is just that it si a problem tht is routinely addressed and solved by engineers.

  48. hunter said

    By the way, Eric, a little word of reality you might not want to dismiss so quickly, while you continue to chew on your foot:
    Weather events are not not climate, but climate consists of weather events.
    Climate is experienced as weather. Your track record in that regard is really really poor.
    So far that makes your side look really, really….well I think your team’s actions speak for themselves.
    Loser.

  49. Vo said

    Mr Smith,

    would it not be fair to say that climate projections always operate with the condition “all else equal”, and as such do not pretend to say something about actual future weather, but only about the underlying tendencies, or forcings?

  50. hunter said

    Carrick,
    Sorry but that defense of Eric and his ilk does not hold up.
    The plain reality seems clear: climate scientists involved with guiding policy makers have offered worthless ideas at great cost for many years.
    Eric is one of the leaders of that movement.
    His analytical skills seem as well founded as his shrill, fact free spew on Mike Smith’s book.
    Why are tax payers supporting bloviating twits like this guy in the first place?
    Why is anyone paying attention to anything this transparent blowhard has to say in the second place?

  51. AGW-Skeptic99 said

    My belief is that the Hockey Team represented by Eric Steig and others on the RC site is an attempt at using aggressive offense as a defense against their own shortcomings. They have misrepresented the results of their own work (lied) and believe that by name calling they can distract attention from their own shortcomings.

    The constant reference to well organized and well funded skeptics is just more of the same. They are extremely well organized and well funded, and they hope to maintain their funding by defending their shoddy work from the exposure it will eventually get.

    Each year that they can keep this global scam going is another year for themselves and like minded folks to further line their own pockets.

    CO2 may or may not make a significant difference in the weather or the climate, but they don’t know the extent of the difference and they know very well that they don’t know. Hiding their ignorance is essential to maintaining their undeserved professional esteem and their sources of money.

  52. Phillip Bratby said

    Are we sure this is the real Eric Steig posting here? Surely the real Eric Steig wouldn’t make himself look so stupid and arrogant and supercilious, would he?

    Has his work taken a beating lately?

  53. Jeremy said

    Re #20

    Carrick said
    December 6, 2010 at 2:51 am

    …Obvious climate modeling is certainly an easier task in some sense, it is certainly impossible to do climate prediction as an extension of normal meteorology, since the future forcings are unknown. and in general unknowable.

    That said, I echo Jeff’s comment that simply because it can be done properly, is no guarantee that it has. Jeff knows that I am particularly concerned about the confounding effects of natural short-period climate variation: In part because, to the extent that climate variation leads to differences in forcings, it is easy to show that it contributes to the net foricngs. E.g.,

    This seems very logically inconsistent for me. You seem to be saying that long-term climate is influenced by short-term climate forcings, which I agree with. This implies a random-walk function for climate, something that really cannot be predicted without knowing all future local and global forcings that will manifest. But at the same time, you seem to be saying that climate prediction “can be done properly”. This doesn’t make sense to me. Either climate isn’t responsive to local or short-term forcings and is predictable with few forcings known; or it isn’t predictable. In my mind, you can’t have it both ways. But I’m willing to be proven wrong here.

  54. curious said

    53 Jeremy – I suggest you check out Koutsoyiannis et al “A random walk on water”. As per my 42 Antonis Christofides comments:

    “Even if we are able to model all factors and input all correct state data, we will still be unable to predict the future. Let me repeat that: Even if we are able to model all factors and input all correct state data, we will still be unable to predict the future. See “A random walk on water” linked to above for an enlightening in-depth investigation of the issue, or the epilogue of my HK Climate site for an overview.”

    From comments elsewhere it is clear that DK is a strong proponent of open science, so if there are critiques of their work I’m sure that they would be pleased to hear them and respond accordingly.

    ok – enough from me on this one.

  55. I went to Amazon and read as much of Warnings as allowed; as an ex CPS90 operator from 1961-64 I can’t remember looking for any hook shapes but being in Panama City, Florida, I did see my share of ordinary thunderstorms.

    I’m tempted to buy the book but as I just got out of the hospital, funds are short and I may have to bug my local library.

    Mr. Steig sure seems like a nasty sort or perhaps he just suffers from occupational dyspepsia, either way, he ought to read the book as well.

  56. Mark T said

    I never said “climate is less chaotic than weather” or anything remotely like that. The point is simply that the lack of our ability to forecast weather over a few days has little, if any, bearing on whether or not we can predict climate.

    There’s an interesting contradiction with this statement that nobody has picked up on (neither did I, for that matter, till just now.) If Eric is truly claiming that climate is NOT less chaotic than weather, then by definition, it will be “harder” to predict. For that matter, if he is simply admitting that both are chaotic, then he is also admitting that neither is predictable in general anyway, without full knowledge of all of the perturbations that may occur (which is impossible since some are random, some are unknown.)

    Otherwise, if he is claiming that climate is more predictable than weather, then he is indeed claiming it is less chaotic (whatever that means) in spite of his claim to the contrary.

    Mark

  57. Carrick said

    Jeremy:

    This seems very logically inconsistent for me. You seem to be saying that long-term climate is influenced by short-term climate forcings, which I agree with. This implies a random-walk function for climate, something that really cannot be predicted without knowing all future local and global forcings that will manifest. But at the same time, you seem to be saying that climate prediction “can be done properly”. This doesn’t make sense to me. Either climate isn’t responsive to local or short-term forcings and is predictable with few forcings known; or it isn’t predictable. In my mind, you can’t have it both ways. But I’m willing to be proven wrong here.

    Nothing logically inconsistent here, like I said standard science methodology: It’s about relative magnitude. If, as is thought in some quarters, the increase in driving from doubling CO2 is large compared to the driving from short-period fluctuations, it’s easy to (in an statistical sense) pluck the climate signal from anthropogenic activity from the natural forcings.

    Imagine you do 100 runs with the scenario of increasing CO2 and 100 with the scenario of constant CO2. Even though both have internal variability, the difference between the two ensembles should be measurable (and become more and more measurable as you inject increasingly larger quantities of CO2 into the atmosphere).

    The thing a lot of people don’t get is the IPCC is not claiming that there are no natural sources of climate variability, rather just that the CO2 forcing over the next century will be large compared to the natural climate variability expected for the same interval. And it’s the impact of that additional forcing (whether large or small) that needs to be addressed from a policy perspective, not the exact state of climate in e.g. 100 years from now.

    (That’s why they talk about things like “expected change in precipitation rate”, not absolute numbers.)

  58. Carrick said

    Hunter:

    The plain reality seems clear: climate scientists involved with guiding policy makers have offered worthless ideas at great cost for many years.
    Eric is one of the leaders of that movement.

    Sorry my bullshit meter just went off.

    Can you point to one example where Steig has acted as a “leader of that movement” that is pushing “worthless ideas at great cost for many years”?

  59. Jeremy said

    Carrick said
    December 7, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    It’s about relative magnitude. If, as is thought in some quarters, the increase in driving from doubling CO2 is large compared to the driving from short-period fluctuations, it’s easy to (in an statistical sense) pluck the climate signal from anthropogenic activity from the natural forcings…

    So, I would take it that from your perspective, the known forcings (being whatever magnitude they are) are enough to properly predict future climate?

  60. “leader of that movement” that is pushing “worthless ideas at great cost for many years”?

    The last bit would be slightly difficult. S09 has been published only a year now. The first bit would be difficult too, provided hunter actually said what you put in quotes. But I guess he did not.

  61. hunter said

    Carrick,
    If I am getting this too heated up, I will be more than happy to tone it down. But please respond to this:
    Steig is a leader in promoting climate fear by publishing claims that allegedly show a CO2 caused climate catastrophe.
    Is he not a leading climate scientist?
    Are climate scientists not funded by tax payer dollars and seeking to influence public policy?
    I am not a good BS’er. I leave that to the promoters of climate crisis.

  62. Al Gored said

    52.Phillip Bratby said
    December 7, 2010 at 11:44 am

    “Are we sure this is the real Eric Steig posting here? Surely the real Eric Steig wouldn’t make himself look so stupid and arrogant and supercilious, would he?

    Has his work taken a beating lately?”

    Just in case anyone missed it, yes it has:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/01/skeptic-paper-accepted-on-antarctica-rebuts-steig-et-al/

    No wonder he is so cranky.

  63. Carrick said

    Hunter, I’m just asking for an example of where Steig has behaved as a “leader of the movement”.

    It is certainly fair to point to Hansen as an activity and probably to Mann too (esp. since his WaPo editorial), but what “offense” has Steig done besides promoting his scientific views?

  64. Carrick said

    shub:

    The last bit would be slightly difficult. S09 has been published only a year now. The first bit would be difficult too, provided hunter actually said what you put in quotes. But I guess he did not.

    You can’t read? Happy to help.

    Here’s the quote:

    Sorry but that defense of Eric and his ilk does not hold up.
    The plain reality seems clear: climate scientists involved with guiding policy makers have offered worthless ideas at great cost for many years.
    Eric is one of the leaders of that movement.
    His analytical skills seem as well founded as his shrill, fact free spew on Mike Smith’s book.
    Why are tax payers supporting bloviating twits like this guy in the first place?
    Why is anyone paying attention to anything this transparent blowhard has to say in the second place?

    What’s the complaint? Even S09, albeit flawed (I suppose you are perfect and everything you write is perfect), doesn’t live down to this standard.

  65. Bad Andrew said

    I think Carrick is having difficulty recognizing that the bad science of AGW directly enables the bad politics of AGW.

    Andrew

  66. RB said

    I’d appreciate somebody directing me to the right source on this question. Isn’t it true that chaotic pattern could be bounded? For instance, the limit cycle in a bang-bang control loop shows a chaotic dither pattern, but that just means that it is not periodic, it does not mean that it is unbounded. You can relate the bounds to the delay in the loop.

    The way I understood how climate is different from weather is that it is a boundary condition problem i.e., when you put in a step change in the level of CO2, the mean temperature anomaly will dither around a new global mean. If my interpretation of chaotic patterns allowing for boundedness is correct, you’d have to say something about chaotic patterns introducing amplitude fluctuations on a degree-plus scale.

  67. Mark T said

    That seems to be the same as saying the noise in climate is chaotic, not that climate itself is chaotic.
    Mark

  68. Robert Burns said

    Carrick said “I’m just asking for an example of where Steig has behaved as a “leader of the movement”.”

    Here is one possible example from RealClimate.

    The current permanent contributors to content on this site [Realclimate] are:

    * Gavin Schmidt
    * Michael Mann
    * Caspar Ammann
    * Rasmus Benestad
    * Ray Bradley
    * Stefan Rahmstorf
    * Eric Steig
    * David Archer
    * Ray Pierrehumbert
    * Thibault de Garidel
    * Jim Bouldin

  69. Mike Smith said

    Hello again, everyone,

    Thank you for the supportive comments. Rather than try to answer all of these, I do have a blog where I talk occasionally about energy and global warming but is primarily about weather and science. It is here: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/

    If anyone is interested, I’m having a book signing in Wichita tonight at 7pm at the Great Plains Nature Center.

    I have one Sunday in Kansas City at the Plaza Barnes & Noble at 1pm.

    And, if you would like to get an autographed copy of “Warnings” as a gift for someone (or yourself) for Christmas, go here for details: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2010/11/read-chapter-of-warnings-online.html

    Thanks again and happy holidays!

    Mike Smith

  70. “You can’t read?”

    I like it when this happens.

    hunter said Eri Steig is one of the leaders of the movement. Steig is.

    Some of us pay careful attention to the rhetorical implications of press statements and the way scientific conclusions are framed in climate science. Steig’s Antarctic paper fails in this regard.

  71. Jeremy said

    I’m still interested in what you have to say about climate modeling being capable of being done properly Carrick. How do we define properly? For me it goes something like this: When aerospace engineers are modeling a new wing, they know everything they need to to make a wing that gives enough lift, takes up just enough space and weight, and holds enough fuel to be useful to the plane its going onto. Their modeling skills generate a prediction which goes into a flight simulator to train new pilots. These pilots of the new aircraft then get a chance to feel how a plane responds before it is even built. That is the power of computers, taking relatively low-order but deterministic equations and giving us a good enough result that we can know what will happen if we do something. I consider this proper use of modeling. It has to be proper, or people die in planes that fall from the sky.

    I don’t agree that climate modeling can be done properly, certainly not to the standard in the example I just gave. As you’ve discussed, we simply cannot know all future forcings. I would also argue that our picture of history is incomplete and we do not understand many local and/or persistent forcings that shaped the path climate took to today. So, to my perception, determining the signal of a single forcing on top of an unknown number of unknown forcings of past and future, is impossible. To this end, I consider climate modeling an exercise in computer software only. It is not unlike the task of predicting earthquakes, to my mind, the googleplexes of data required to test any such model simply do not exist (forgive the hyperbole there).

  72. David S said

    Carrick
    I have great respect for your scientific knowledge, but when it comes to politics it is clear that Hunter’s statement is correct. Steig’s involvement as a core member of the RealClimate team entitles him to share collective responsibility for all the bs that site has tried to impose on the rest of us. As everyone knows, it was set up explicitly to peddle the “consensus” message on climate change, which is that there need to be rapid and dramatic reductions in carbon emissions, regardless of the economic cost, to avoid catastrophic warming. As recently as yesterday it was in full “act now” mode – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/losing-time-not-buying-time/#more-5494
    and for anyone else who wants to increase their visitor numbers there are reams of such stuff, all shielded from debate by a brutally aggressive moderation policy.

    As well as this, of course, there is S09 which inflated the degree of warming in Antarctica and was trumpeted as further evidence that rapid CO2-driven global warming was beyond debate. Guilty as charged, in my view.

  73. hunter said

    Carrick,
    Eric Steig is an opinion leader of the AGW consensus that CO2 is causing dangerous changes to Earth’s climate. He posts at the most influential blog, Real Climate. He publishes papers on climate to prove the idea that COs is dangerously changing the world cliamte. He is actively teaching the same:
    http://earthweb.ess.washington.edu/~steig/
    Since the best estimates I am a aware of are that we have spent over $50 billion on AGW studies meetings and research. We have received little of value about the reality of the problem, its scope and its solutions and I think it is fair to point this out. And the 16th meeting at an expensive resort (Cancun) to create a world response based on the conclusions that Steig et al have promoted is coming to the same end as all the previous meetings: nothing. So it is fair to say that Steig and pals have received a great deal of money and have done very little with it that is of any value at all, except to themselves. The little of bit of arrogant uninformed spew that he left here represents to me a nice example of the sort of critical thinking that climate science uses.
    Do you have a problem with this?

  74. DeWitt Payne said

    Re: RB (Dec 7 15:28),

    Calling Tom Vonk.

    You could try reading some of Koutsoyiannis’ papers. He invokes Hurst-Kolmogorov statistics for things like river flow and temperature time series. I think H-K is a form of ARFIMA. Fractionally integrated noise is stationary and bounded, but it can wander around a lot within rather wide bounds. I don’t think anyone really believes that the climate is a random walk. But you can seriously underestimate the process variability using classical statistics on short length time series.

  75. RB said

    Dewitt,
    Thanks — I will take a look at Koutsoyiannis’ papers and see if I can follow, I actually have very little understanding of chaotic phenomena. I guess the crux lies in quantifying the magnitude of the variability for the global mean anomaly. I’m not sure if the analysis of individual cities in the second of Curious #8’s references is surprising in light of already what is known – that models are poor at regional analysis. When there was a paper describing how Ethernet traffic is self-similar and that this was going to change router design, I’m not an expert on this but I don’t believe this discovery had much impact on how routers were being designed. As a rule, I always find myself starting off being skeptical when a claim is being made about how neglecting long-range dependence is going to result in materially incorrect analyses.

  76. Carrick said

    Robert Burns and others, blogging doesn’t make you a “leader” of any sort, even blogging on Real Climate. All respects to Jeff.

    This all just hyperbole and you guys should know better.

  77. Carrick said

    Jeremy, I am a pretty experienced modeler in the physical sciences myself (among other things).

    It seems like you are stating an opinion when you say climate modeling is not capable of being done properly, and asserting your experience in aerodynamics as “proof”. That doesn’t exactly fly with me, sorry.

    When one models, one states up front what the point of the exercise is. In the case of climate “forecasting”, it is to evaluate the risk of e.g. doubling the atmospheric CO2 concentration, and not to provide a detailed description of the actual future climate of the Earth.

    What I have pointed out is you don’t actually have to know the detailed future forcings (which as we both admit are to a large degree unknowable) in order to evaluate the incremental effect associated with doubling the CO2 level.

    The models would only be “incapable” of evaluating this risk if the effect of CO2 increase on atmosphere were very small (compared to other forcings). If the effect of CO2 were relatively large, as is thought, (e.g., 4°C/doubling), then compared to natural forcings, we can estimate the risk associated with CO2 increase, even without knowing the other forcings, since it only involves modeling the difference between expected the climate change with and without the CO2 increase.

  78. Carrick said

    David S:

    As well as this, of course, there is S09 which inflated the degree of warming in Antarctica and was trumpeted as further evidence that rapid CO2-driven global warming was beyond debate. Guilty as charged, in my view.

    I don’t see this as serious a thing as you seem to think it is. Yes it appears to be in error (though if Steig is correct about the implications of the extra warming of the peninsula, his underestimating the warming there is a much more important error).

    How “smearing” temperature by including too few PCs makes you “one the leaders of that movement” is somehow beyond my ability to comprehend. Here I thought Steig was publishing a scientific paper in a respected peer reviewed journal, not marching on a coal mine or making an address to the Congress of the United States of America.

  79. Mark T said

    Yeah, while certainly Steig could be called a representative of the field, and most certainly a representative of “The Team,” referring to him as a leader is something I would guess even he would disagree with. Why it would matter is beyond me either way.
    Mark

  80. Bad Andrew said

    “Here I thought Steig was publishing a scientific paper in a respected peer reviewed journal, not marching on a coal mine or making an address to the Congress of the United States of America.”

    Carrick,

    Do you understand that concocting and publishing bad science and pretending it’s good is political behavior?

    Andrew

  81. Carrick said

    Bad Andrew:

    Do you understand that concocting and publishing bad science and pretending it’s good is political behavior?

    The technique he developed for his paper is probably above what you are yourself capable of developing on your own (at least yet), but that doesn’t make him immune from you from assuming the motives for why he made errors in his paper, does it?

  82. Al Tekhasski said

    Carrick (#77) wrote: “When one models, one states up front what the point of the exercise is. In the case of climate “forecasting”, it is to evaluate the risk of e.g. doubling the atmospheric CO2 concentration, and not to provide a detailed description of the actual future climate of the Earth.”

    I wonder how could you “evaluate the risk” of a change in a parameter if you cannot evaluate the state of the system for appropriate time span even without change in any parameter? And you cannot evaluate or validate your model simply because you don’t have long enough (and accurate enough) data to compare against, in strike contrast with other objects of Computational Fluid Dynamics which you said it doesn’t fly with you.

    Climate is an average of weather. Weather is chaotic, but you have no idea what its “true” invariant measure is. More, since the target of your “point of exercise” is in far distant future, the long-term evolution of averages would be critically dependent on very finest features of the weather attractor, which you have no clue how to measure nor characterize, nor had enough time to explore all corners of its phase space. Also, what makes you think that you need any “forcing” at all to have substantial swings in the trajectory of averaged weather? Apparently not you nor other climatists have any foggiest clue about mathematics of the subject and its complexity.

    The entire “climate is not weather” mantra is based on a naive belief of climatists in existences of some magic “equations for climate” that would be much simpler than Navier-Stokes Equations for global atmospheric circulation. Poor people of climatology, they call anyone a liar who does not share this naive belief.

    And I love the expression from Hunter (#50)– “bloviating twits”. This is a pretty good characterization of most members in the AGW camp.

  83. “Mr. Steig says, “No one is claiming they are predicting *weather* 100 years from now (or even 10 years from now!).” I suggest, he read p. 118 of the 2009 National Climate Change Assessment. It makes a WEATHER forecast for the number of heat waves to occur in Chicago during the period 2070-2099. The is just one of the few weather forecasts in the document (i.e., a weather forecast is a forecast of specific conditions at a specific place and time).”

    Well, I looked that up. What they actually said, in the caption on p 118, was:
    “Over the last three decades of this century, heat waves like the one that occurred in Chicago in 1995 are projected to occur about once every three years under the lower emissions scenario. Under the even higher emissions scenario, such events are projected to occur an average of nearly three times a year.”

    It’s very clearly a climate forecast, not a prediction of weather at a specific time and place.

  84. David S said

    Carrick
    While RealClimate may not offer “leadership” in the way that Al Gore, Chris Huhne, or Rajendra Pachauri do, by acting as a conduit for an extreme view to find its way into global political decision making, it is nevertheless influential both directly and indirectly and was always intended to be. It is not unreasonable to call this a leadership role.
    Perhaps I am being unkind to Dr Steig, as I do not know what his motive was for taking very rapid warming in a small area of the Antarctic and construing it as less rapid warming over a larger area, but regardless of the complexity of his model it strikes me as sophistry. There was simply no evidence that areas outside the peninsula were warming, yet Steig produced a model that generated this spurious finding. In my professional life I have come up against both financial VaR models and RMS’ catastrophe models, both of which are probably beyond my ability to replicate; however I know they are wrong because I can identify demonstrably false assumptions and/or clear failures of logic. So whether or not Bad Andrew could build one is irrelevant – you don’t need to be able to build a model to spot flaws if they are there.
    Jeff can Carrick have a spot here to show us why the effect of CO2 is 4C per doubling – looks like about 1.8 max from the overall temperature records assuming there was modest natural warming as we left the LIA.

  85. Mark T said

    Really, really thick, Nick. It’s people like you that will look the worst in the end, if only because you’re smart enough to know better.
    Mark

  86. RomanM said

    #83: Nick

    Suppose that the caption had read (my additions to the text are italicized):

    Over the last three decades of this century next three years, heat waves like the one that occurred in Chicago in 1995 are projected to occur about once every three years under the lower emissions scenario. Under the even higher emissions scenario, such events are projected to occur an average of nearly three times a each year.

    Would that be a “climate forecast” or a “prediction of weather at a specific time and place”? I tend to lean towards the latter. The fact that the specific projections refer to the last three decades of the century should not alter the interpretation of the statement.

    Predicting (or projecting) weather events at a specific place and a specific time period is indeed a weather forecast. If they had said “heat waves will be more frequent in the last three decades of the century” or even, “heat waves will be more frequent in the last three decades of the century in the Chicago area”, I might buy that as being a climate forecast. However, by including very specific numeric descriptors regarding frequency, it becomes a weather forecast – similar to statements such as “the chance of rain tomorrow in the Chicago area is 60%”.

  87. Re: RomanM (Dec 8 08:42),
    “Suppose that the caption had read…”
    But it didn’t.

    Suppose your TV forecaster were to announce that the weather in Montreal from 2015 to 2025 will include heat waves, snow and howling gales. Would you accept that as a weather forecast?

    You elided from “a specific time” to a “specific time period” (of 30 years). Most people want a bit more specifciity in time than that in a weather forecast.

  88. RomanM said

    Sigh… As usual, you missed the salient points!

    The point of changing the text was to indicate to you that a prediction of weather events 60 + years in the future is not materially different from predicting them three years in the future.

    If the TV forecaster were to announce “blah, blah ,blah (substitute what you wrote)”, that is not a weather forecast. If the same announcer told me there would be three heat waves, seven snowstorms and eighteen howling gales, then it would. Can’t you see the difference in these two types of pronouncements?

    Whether you appreciate it or not, all short term forecasts involve a “time period” and not a “specific time”. When is the last time you heard a forecast which said “rain will commence at 1:37 PM and last until 8:16 PM” as opposed to “the rain will start in the early afternoon and end in the early evening”? I usually try to be accurate in my choice of words when discussing a concept. Nevertheless, the original prediction was ten such weather events under the first scenario in the aforementioned three decades and ninety under the second. Can’t you do the arithmetic?

    Yes, most people “want a bit more specificity in time than that in a weather forecast”. However, that is because the only forecasts that are of value to them are the short term detailed ones. Nevertheless, as far as I can see, “what people want” does not seem to be part of any definition of what differentiates a “climate prediction” from a “weather prediction”… but maybe I have lead an overly sheltered life…😉

  89. Bad Andrew said

    “The technique he developed for his paper is probably above what you are yourself capable of developing on your own (at least yet), but that doesn’t make him immune from you from assuming the motives for why he made errors in his paper, does it?”

    Carrick,

    The technique for his paper is surely above my head and I am content to leave it that way, because the is no value in it.

    And David S is right. Analogy Time – I don’t need to know how to build an entire automobile to see a flaw in an automobile. If the automobile has no gas tank or no engine…? It would only look like an automobile, ’cause it’s not mobile in the accepted sense of what a working automobile is.

    I observe a fatal flaw in the AGW hypothesis daily and I have for the last decade. The data, the numbers used, are unverifiable. You are drawing a picture of a climate that only exists in the imagination. The globe could be cooling, warming or remaining unchanged and you couldn’t know the difference.

    Andrew

  90. Carrick said

    Bad Andrew:

    The technique for his paper is surely above my head and I am content to leave it that way, because the is no value in it.

    “no value in it”? You obviously are clueless.

    I observe a fatal flaw in the AGW hypothesis daily and I have for the last decade. The data, the numbers used, are unverifiable. You are drawing a picture of a climate that only exists in the imagination. The globe could be cooling, warming or remaining unchanged and you couldn’t know the difference.

    This is starting to resemble religious rantings now. What complete dreck.

    “Couldn’t know the difference?”

    Let’s see cooling … 1 mile of ice above Chicago, warming … Northern polar ice becomes intermittent.

    I think we can notice. We can even tell the difference between climate now and 1850…it has warmed…without nearly as drastic of changes in climate. It’s been warming for the last 150 years or so, and it’s obvious to anybody with any modicum of sense.

  91. Bad Andrew said

    “1 mile of ice above Chicago, warming … Northern polar ice becomes intermittent.”

    Carrick,

    Now you are changing the subject. What happened to the numbers we were talking about?

    Anyway, Chicago and the North Pole are localities, and I suspect we could see variations in these places, Global Warming, Cooling or We Can’t Tell.

    Andrew

  92. Carrick said

    At this point Andrew, we’re into the whatever you like to think is fine with me territory.

  93. Bad Andrew said

    Carrick,

    Well, it was fun while it lasted.😉

    Andrew

  94. jak said

    Carrick,

    You are a little bit of an odd duck. In the “Doing It Ourselves” thread, you extravagantly claim: “I’ve been in rougher disputes than Steve M”. (Really? You have been in disputes that resulted in congressional hearings, front page stories in the Wall Street Journal among many other newspapers, countless editorials and oped pieces plus the convening of a NAS panel?). Then you take strong self-righteous issue with the claim that Eric is a leader of the climate movement saying your “bullshit meter just went off”. I think that meter is working overtime.

  95. Carrick said

    Jak, I challenged the statement that :

    The plain reality seems clear: climate scientists involved with guiding policy makers have offered worthless ideas at great cost for many years.
    Eric is one of the leaders of that movement

    You agree with this statement? Fine with me. Live a good life.

  96. jak said

    Carrick,

    I never said I agreed with the statement. I agree it is somewhat hyperbolic. But certainly no more than your own extravagant claims.

  97. Mark F said

    probably “hyperboleic” would do

  98. Ryan O said

    Hyperbolific.

  99. Mark F said

    hyperbullemic?

  100. Carrick said

    Jak:

    But certainly no more than your own extravagant claims

    In terms of the other, you yourself are engaging in mucho hyperbole when you stated:

    < Really? You have been in disputes that resulted in congressional hearings, front page stories in the Wall Street Journal among many other newspapers, countless editorials and oped pieces plus the convening of a NAS panel

    This dispute mostly involves Michael Mann, not Steve McIntyre. McIntyre plays the role of a critic, and not a martyr.

    My own issue did make front cover too (including the NY TImes, several times), including a letter to the Los Angles Times from Dick Feynman disputing my groups work on a substantial number of issues. (He was wrong on all but one, and I was aware of that further issue.) Interestingly, like with Mann (but unlike with McIntyre) a number of my private emails were provided to reporters without my prior consent, the contents of some were published [a few made it into a published book].

    Don’t assume people are lying or exaggerating without knowing any of the backstory.

    Finally, if you’re going to attack something I’ve said, it is ethical behavior to quote the material and provide a link for context. And not just paraphrase it in your own words.

  101. Howard said

    Hyperdoltic!

  102. jak said

    Carrick,

    What are you talking about? Where did I ever say McIntyre was a martyr? Why do you raise the strawman concept at all? I said that McIntyre was in a dispute “that resulted in congressional hearings, front page stories in the Wall Street Journal among many other newspapers, countless editorials and oped pieces plus the convening of a NAS panel”. I am mystified how you can dispute this. He testified to Congress (check), he testified before the NAS panel (check), the dispute was discussed on the front page of the WSJ (check), McIntyre was mentioned (check), McIntyre has been profiled in an oped in the WSJ (check). So what exactly are you disputing?

    Your attempts to self aggrandize yourself just make you look foolish.

    And please can you provide some more background to where I supposedly violated your pet rules for blog etiquette.

  103. RB said

    Robert Lucky, a signal processing expert, on how Gaussian statistics has proved adequate for engineering design despite the world being mostly ruled by the “dreaded power law.”

  104. Carrick said

    Jak, your words were:

    You have been in disputes that resulted in congressional hearings, front page stories in the Wall Street Journal among many other newspapers, countless editorials and oped pieces plus the convening of a NAS panel

    What the hell is this supposed to mean, if you meant something other than McIntyre played a somewhat peripheral role in a dispute primarily dealing with Michael Mann and his work?

    And I’m self-aggrandizing nothing, just stating my own past experience.

    You are acting like a petty asshole.

  105. troyca said

    Jak:

    “Your attempts to self aggrandize yourself just make you look foolish.”

    Come on now, that’s unfair. You challenged his claim that he’d been in “rougher disputes than Steve M”. When he tried to provide evidence that indeed, he has been in a rough dispute, you call it “self-aggrandizing”.

  106. Carrick said

    Troyca:

    Come on now, that’s unfair. You challenged his claim that he’d been in “rougher disputes than Steve M”. When he tried to provide evidence that indeed, he has been in a rough dispute, you call it “self-aggrandizing”.

    Thanks indeed for the reality check. Jaq is obviously just in a mood to be pissy, but still.

    Notice I’m not even claiming primary authorship (that was my mentor, as I commented on my experience in the previous thread that Jaq is attacking for having the temerity to mention). I was a grad student at the time. And there were certainly many others involved in the followup work, I am just fortunate and even humbled to have been part of it.

  107. Howard said

    Carrick: I’d say going toe to toe with Feynman and not getting all your lunch money taken is impressive. But… arguing with crack-heads does make you look foolish .

    Back to climate models versus weather models…

    You stated that climate model output was mean global precip, temp, humidity, pressure etc. That is just one level of output. These climate parameters are also calculated for the individual grid-squares or finite elements as well, right? In the hind-casts, the local and regional results are very poorly matched while the overall global means are closer to some of the averaged data sets.

    Therefore, it seems that climate models are touted as robust by climate leaders, such as Eric Steig😉 , because they perform adequately to a very low standard and are of limited utility.

  108. RB said

    Carrick left enough hints in there to see what this is all about and yes, it does look like a rougher scientific dispute for Carrick and coauthors than for McIntyre testifying against Mann.

  109. Carrick said

    Howard:

    Carrick: I’d say going toe to toe with Feynman and not getting all your lunch money taken is impressive. But… arguing with crack-heads does make you look foolish .

    Ouch! Point worth taking.

    You stated that climate model output was mean global precip, temp, humidity, pressure etc. That is just one level of output. These climate parameters are also calculated for the individual grid-squares or finite elements as well, right? In the hind-casts, the local and regional results are very poorly matched while the overall global means are closer to some of the averaged data sets.

    From my view and understanding, the more regionalized you try and make the forecast, the less likely it is to be reliable. (I believe there are formal reasons to expect this, beyond just the obvious ones.)

    Therefore, it seems that climate models are touted as robust by climate leaders, such as Eric Steig , because they perform adequately to a very low standard and are of limited utility.

    I guess I would agree with this. I don’t think that, even if you were given the exact forcings, the models would do a very good job with much at except a very regional scale prediction. The level shown on the IPCC looks OK (they look at things like Northern versus Southern hemisphere, global land etc).

    What is your feeling as to why the models fail at a smaller scale resolution?

  110. Mark T said

    RB: relevance of the Gaussian noise article?
    Mark

  111. RB said

    Probably not at all relevant, but it was in addition to my post #75 about whether one could neglect Hurst phenomena and still obtain robust engineering designs ..

  112. Howard said

    Carrick:

    What is your feeling as to why the models fail at a smaller scale resolution?

    Your assumption of a “feeling” is exactly right. My feeling is that the models are constructed with a coarse grid, they don’t simulate clouds well and they do not simulate ocean current cycles. In addition, I suspect the maths employed may not be up to the task of solving these problems. It’s a huge problem and task to solve. I don’t doubt that the folks working on this are hard working and sincere….. however………..

    Without getting the small stuff right, it is hard for me to accept the concept that the results are useful except to be used as a stepping stone to develop more advanced models. My feeling is that the current state of the art is at the Ptolemaic stage of development.

  113. Carrick said

    Howard, I generally agree with your comments here. I think the only difference in focus between us is I see the role of climate models as computing the difference in climate with and without the added CO2 forcings. One may wish (quixotically in my view) for them to provide much more information, but as they stand right now, this is about all one can really ask of them.

    In essence they are adequate (I dread using “robust” here) because “they perform adequately to a very low standard and are of limited utility,” but that limited utility is what is principally needed for AGW policy making.

  114. Howard said

    Carrick:

    OK, I’ll agree with that with a stipulation:

    The degree and costs associated with proposed policies should be commensurate with the robustness and skill of the models. Low skill = low-hanging fruit policies with other benefits besides climate as suggested by Ramanathan and Victor:

    Unfortunately, the climate science leaders are very much against this approach:

    Frankly, I’ll start taking CAGW seriously when Gavin Schmitt and Jim Hanson go before congress and beg for a nuclear power Apollo-type R&D program. Until they *get real*, it is hard to accept their conclusions and recommendations at face value.

  115. Howard said

    Link tag moron… I Give Up:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/opinion/28victor.html?pagewanted=all

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/12/losing-time-not-buying-time/

  116. RB said

    OK, now you’ve got to join Hansen’s team

    http://the-redpill.blogspot.com/2008/08/james-hansen-on-charlie-rose-nuclear.html

    I know he has to go to Congress and all that but still ..

  117. Howard said

    RB:

    Thanks. That was a very interesting interview. I agree with 4th gen nukes and efficiency gains. Dr. Hansen comes off as much more reasonable than I have seen him in other situations. Charlie Rose does a good job, as usual, in making his guests comfortable to speak their own mind.

    Also, I have flagged some Hurst sites for later reading. My feeling is that the black swans are more significant in natural systems than engineering problem solving.

  118. jak said

    Wow, I just picked up the conversation again and see that I have been called a “petty asshole” and “crack-head”.

    Carrick, you misquote me. You left out the question mark at the end of my sentence which changes the meaning. I am at a loss how you can respond: “What the hell is this supposed to mean, if you meant something other than McIntyre played a somewhat peripheral role in a dispute primarily dealing with Michael Mann and his work?”. Peripheral? Peripheral?? Where is that anywhere implied in my statement? Where is that anywhere implied in the factual record, for that matter? If you were to name one person who is regarded as the chief critic of Mann’s hockey stick, who would it be? (Clue: what did the founders of RealClimate give as their justification for creating the site?). Without the MM paper, do you think there would have been congressional hearings, the Wegman Report and a NAS panel? I am mystified why you feel the need to minimize McIntyre’s role. I think we disagree as who is really being the “petty asshole”.

    You are in no position to accuse someone else of being pissy – you started off of by claiming your “bullshit meter just went off”. You also accused me of hyperbole for stating what I think most people would say are factual statements.

    I do however join Howard in congratulating you in besting Feynman. That is truly impressive.

  119. RB said

    Howard,
    As I said, I don’t know much but the key question appears to how much could the variability due to chaotic behavior be? There are some interesting comments by raypierre and Isaac Held at #37 and #58 respectively here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/11/chaos-and-climate/

  120. Bad Andrew said

    jak,

    Just an observation:

    Carrick appears to have some personal interest in defending the institutional Climate Science status quo. That’s why he starts mud slinging, misquoting and resorting to logical fallacies (like appealing to authority) and becoming non-responsive when pushed in a direction ‘e doan like. 😉

    Andrew

  121. Carrick Talmadge said

    Howard:

    Dr. Hansen comes off as much more reasonable than I have seen him in other situations

    The notes he posts on his website is usually pretty reasonable too. Not all of the climate scientists are ecowackos (though Hansen resembles one when he starts talking about “death trains” and such).

    I can feel that “great sucking feeling”… like this thread just wound down. I’ll leave it to posters like Andrew to finish up properly with a few more troll droppings. Laterz.

  122. Howard said

    RB: I think this thread proves there is chaotic behavior on blogs. Small meaningless perturbations result in much sound and fury signifying nothing (do I need to cite WS when I shamelessly rip him off?)

    Took a quick glance at the 5yo RC thread. Before my day, but it is interesting to see Pielke Sr debating with Wiki Climate. What is amazing is how the responses are skewed by the personalities. There is a lot of bad blood that makes it difficult to see the forest from the treerings.

    Based on my familiarity with Holocene depositional environments, it is very difficult for me to think that the last 10K years has been stable. My feeling is that an accurate and well vetted paleoclimate picture is key to understanding the future with the CO2 cherry on top. Unfortunately, I think these guys actually believe the flat handle of the hockey stick.

    These two posts got me hooked on SOD

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/11/22/temperature-history/

    http://scienceofdoom.com/2009/12/19/is-climate-more-than-weather-is-weather-just-noise/

  123. Jeff Id said

    I vote this for strangest tAV thread yet. The book was a lot of good reading tho.

  124. Al Tekhasski said

    RB (#119) said:

    “the key question appears to how much could the variability due to chaotic behavior be?”

    Could be pretty much all of it.

    And what did you find interesting in the dilettantish comments #37 and #58 at RC? I would rather suggest to pay more attention to what their reader “Sashka” said.

  125. Carrick said

    The novel The Sound and the Fury was written by William Faulkner. And as one of those early 20th century stream of conscious missives, it deserves mention on this thread.

    The title of course was grabbed from the Bard, and spoken by his character MacBeth,

    Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
    To the last syllable of recorded time,
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
    Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  126. hunter said

    Carrick,
    Sorry you are leaving so soon.
    If you were to stick around to discuss further my point about worthless advice, perhaps you could enlighten us with some of the excellent advice climate scientists promoting the idea of CO2 and global climate disruption have actually given?
    I am pleased you like Faulkner. I also enjoy his stream of consciousness approach to literature.
    The reference to sound and fury seems most appropriate when considering the actual impacts of climate science: much sound and fury signifying nothing, indeed. As a former southerner I should have noticed the relationship long ago.

  127. Bad Andrew said

    How bout To Thine Own Self Be True?

    Andrew

  128. hunter said

    Or,’Through the breech’?
    Although I think ‘Hide the decline’ will end up being a classic….

  129. kim said

    Tears fell like rain grade
    In Bruce Quantic’s cloud chamber.
    Rhyme in time saves nine.
    ============

  130. […] of denialists (Pielke Sr. and Jr, Thomas Fuller). How unfortunate though that the book author leaps into the fray at a review of his book with a pretty straight-forward attempt to misrepresent climate predictions […]

  131. curious said

    5 – bump re:insults

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: