the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Climate Science – A Field of Dreams

Posted by Jeff Id on August 4, 2013

Real Climate is still trying to communicate the message that climate science needs to communicate better, never realizing that the content of their message is their problem.  I mean, the first link on their page is to a Richard Alley presentation, where he flat says that there is no reason to adjust models.  He uses multiple paths like a straw man argument that critics of the models are only looking at one study.  He pulled up the example of the paleo-sensitivity plot where one recent study showed a lower climate sensitivity than the rest and complained about the amount of time he spent addressing that one.   The whole problem with his argument, which is conveniently brushed over, is that paleo-sensitivity papers are made of the least accurate and least trustworthy data and as we all know, the papers are quite often comprised of the exact same data.  Now he makes several other arguments, but the one he doesn’t make, is the one which holds the most credibility in the eyes of those of us who don’t collect government paychecks of a magnitude proportional to our climate activism —  comparisons of models to observations.

Lucia has some nice and very current work on the matter.  The chart below shows models from AR5 with their central trends and error bars in relation to GISS temperatures.  note that every single model is well above the observed GISS temp trend line and the very wide error bars still do not meet the GISS red line in most cases.   In a sane world, climate scientists should be very concerned about this, but instead we get piles of rubbish about how models are “pretty good” and a bunch of excuse making from Richard Alley’s of the world regarding ocean heat content.   But for those in the “know” there is one little detail – models are supposed to have heat content taken into account already.

rcp45_since1991

Why isn’t this a mainstream concern in a field that has become so dominated and enamored by modeling the addition of global warming gases to the atmosphere?    

It certainly would cause a scientist in ANY other field to step back and take note.  A person willing to step up and say that this result across every model is somehow “reasonable” or that there isn’t a problem, would be ignored in our drummed out of our fill-in-the-blank field with trailing guffaws, yet we are faced with a bunch of activist cheerleaders pushing for ideological “change” while ignoring the values on their instruments.  In the meantime, instead of addressing the blatantly obvious problems with the modeled results, they hold an entire conference on improving communication of climate doom to the public.

It gets better though.

There are 4 highlighted presentations in the Real Climate link above.    I couldn’t listen to the fourth one because it hurt my ears but the first three can be categorized as: 1 – argue that the science is still good and don’t present data to the contrary, 2 – Risk communication, more widely known as fear mongering, and 3 – Buzzwords, which perform the functions of the first two.

It isn’t an impressive plan when written out in clear English.

But what really got me going yesterday was the numerous news reports on two recent papers, which I don’t intend to read, where the scientists concluded that recent climate change IS TEN TIMES FASTER THAN ANY TIME IN HISTORY!  

From one article:

One study, from Stanford University, suggests that climate change is happening 10 times faster than it has at any time in the past 65 million years. The other study, from the University of Texas, suggests that Antarctic permafrost is now melting 10 times faster than in 11,000 years, adding further evidence that Earth’s Antarctic is, in fact, warming just as Earth’s Arctic is.

We who read papers know that historic data is proxy based, and that for various physical reasons proxy based data has a very poor time and magnitude resolution.   We also know that recent data is instrument based, and instrument based data has excellent time and magnitude resolution.   Essentially, the scientists know full-well that instrument data captures a higher frequency component than the historic proxy data can.    If today’s warming had happened and reversed at any time in the past 11,000 years, the event would be so short that it would look like a rounded imperceptibly small bump in the proxy based result instead of the clean high frequency response provided by modern instruments.

The “scientists” are fully aware of this, yet they make claims that are not just unsubstantiated, but they are known to be unsubstantiable with proxy data.   The claims are as disingenuous as you can be.  Now it is true that the equally activist media likes to exaggerate the claims further, but there sure isn’t a lot of correcting the record visible to those of us lowly CO2 producing readers.

If you wonder why people like myself, otherwise considered reasonably intelligent, would disagree with such a huge “scientific” consensus, you need look no farther than recent media for your answer.  

Warming rate and problematic effects of climate change are mathematically lower than what is being claimed.  Note the difference between that statement and the denialist meme Real Climate would write about skeptical bloggers like myself.   If the dreamers of Climate Science, want to affect change, they need to start with the quality of their own work.

34 Responses to “Climate Science – A Field of Dreams”

  1. Brian H said

    Logically incorrect and inconsistent conclusions contradicting their own data. Par for the course.

  2. plazaeme said

    Nicely put, Jeff. I guess you have no prob if I summarize it (and translate some parts) and use it in my blog, linking here.

    By the way. I also thought the funny 65 million years thing was a matter of proxies and resolution and so on. Is even worse:

    Quote:

    “Stanford climate scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least 10 times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years.

    For instance, the planet experienced a 5 degree Celsius hike in temperature 20,000 years ago, as Earth emerged from the last ice age. This is a change comparable to the high-end of the projections for warming over the 20th and 21st centuries.”

    REPLY: Sorry for the delay in getting this out of the spam filter. I don’t check it as often as I used to. I have the same policy for everyone – Feel free to copy any part of any post.

  3. Oliver Manuel said

    Theoretical, solar, planetary and nuclear physicists have been living in a field of dreams since WWII.

    Climate science is less “rigorous”, but farmers are smarter than physicists and quickly grasped that AGW was another pile of BS.

    I am traveling, but I can assure you conclusions in the message sent to the Congressional Space Science & Technology Committee are valid:

    See message sent to the Space Science & Technology Committee of the House of Representatives on 17 July 2013:

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

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

    Sent from my iPhone

    • omanuel said

      “Why isn’t this a mainstream concern in a field that has become so dominated and enamored by modeling . . . ?”

      Jeff, since 1945 almost every major field of study has been converted into a field of modeling:

      Stars
      Atoms
      Nuclei
      Planets
      Climate
      Cosmos
      Galaxies
      Etc., etc.

      Go back and look at the data plotted in Fig 1a, 1b, 1c of the above manuscript. Those data and conclusions do not fit “Standard Models” of atoms, stars, galaxies, etc., etc.

      What’s wrong? The data or the models? Is it a mere coincidence that models replaced observations in 1946, the same year George Orwell started writing Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)?

    • omanuel said

      While watching sunrise on another beautiful, but unusually cool, August morning I realized why mainstream science is dominated and enamored with modeling:

      Those who do not take time to personally experience the beautiful, benevolent surroundings that sustain life – instead, constantly living in an imaginary world between their own ears
      invent unrealistic models of stars, atoms, nuclei, planets, climates, universes, etc. and become progressively more isolated from reality as fellow-suffers exchange endorsements,
      awards, and research grants for advancing totally unrealistic models of Nature that make sense to others who live only in the ego-inflating space between their own ears.

      That would also explain why farmers and ordinary laborers are smarter than physicists !

    • page488 said

      Funny that you should mention farmers.

      A few weeks ago my local newspaper ran a huge opinion piece about the farmers who are in “denial” about CAGW.

      I think the title was something like, “Why don’t farmers believe in CAGW?” Followed by something like, “When are they going to wake up?”

      I read a few paragraphs and quit – it was the same old thing.

      I had to laugh, though – farmers know more about weather than anyone (their income depends on that knowledge).

      Anyway, I found it all sadly amusing.

  4. […] Climate Science, a field of dreams […]

  5. Layman Lurker said

    Commenter AJ linked to a very cool post and graph on Lucia’s about a month ago or so and shared his code as well. Clear patterns of cyclical natural variability which models fail to capture are obvious. Unfortunately, I have no time to play with Aj’s code.

    • It’s really just showing the much-commented apparent 60-yr cycle. It looks more impressive because each sustained trend period is turned into a triangle of color.

      There are similar plots here at higher resolution, but with start year on the y-axis instead of duration.

      • Layman Lurker said

        True Nick it looks damned impressive. Cyclical patterns on many frequencies not just 60 years. Even a consistent pattern which melds into the most recent 12-15 year temperature pause wouldn’t you say?

        • Hard to say. Each 30-yr half seems to start and end with a bang. There are colored bits that are hard to describe as periodic (what’s the period?). The resolution is low.

          Really the bottom level is just a color plot of approx derivative (so it amplifies cycles), and levels above represent increasing degrees of smoothing, not extra information.

      • DocMartyn said

        apparent?
        Didn’t Phil Jones have a Nature paper in 2010 showing a 60 year ocean cycle:-

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v467/n7314/full/nature09394.html

        Come on Nick, you love arguments to authority, this Phil, this is Nature.

        • Doc,
          No, That paper doesn’t mention a 60-year cycle. It’s about a single event in about 1970, which he thinks has a cause.

          But when you’ve only seen two, or maybe 3 periods, you can’t really call it anything but “apparent”.

          • steve fitzpatrick said

            Nick,
            What the paper says is that man-made aerosols don’t account for a drop in sea surface temperatures circa 1970.

        • NikFromNYC said

          The NOAA is a good authority too, namely their plot of the global average T and their AMO data:

  6. @Oliver Manuel’
    “Climate science is less “rigorous”, but farmers are smarter than physicists and quickly grasped that AGW was another pile of BS.”

    Great comment but surely you meant “climate scientists” rather than “physicists”? Some physicists are quite smart.

    Farmers are also masters of “Cost/benefit analysis”. They understand they get the cost while someone else gets the benefit.

  7. In defense of Richard Alley he is more approachable than most “Climate Scientists”. He actually replies to emails from the great unwashed including this camel while most of his colleagues “Lawyer Up” (e.g. Thomas Stocker, Jay Severinghaus and Michael Mann).

    He has an engaging personality and is quite capable of entertaining us with song. In my opinion he should hang on to his day job.
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/12/the-singing-climatologist/?_r=0

  8. steve fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,
    You should have some sympathy for the activist purveyors of doom. If they acknowledge that the models are running way too warm, then that means the model projections of extreme future warming are probably wrong…. and the demand for revolutionary change in how people live their lives becomes obviously silly. Of course, at some point the game will be over, because the models and reality will continue to diverge. There is great urgency to “improve communication” because the purveyors understand that “revolutionary change” can only be put in place before the voting public starts ignoring them. Their projections of rapid warming will soon be obviously wrong to all, no matter how rapidly Richard Alley waves his arms while talking fast. I give the whole ‘catastrophe’ fiasco another decade or two to play out, depending on who controls the US Congress and Presidency. We will know it is over when substantial reductions in expenditures for climate science are passed by Congress. Then a reasoned public discussion about what (if anything) to do about modest future warming can begin. The very real danger of economic damage from draconian laws on fossil fuel use ought to gradually decline, unless leftists/greens control both Congress and the Presidency…. in which case future economic growth, domestic and global, is going to be much reduced.

    • Jeff Condon said

      “no matter how rapidly Richard Alley waves his arms while talking fast.”

      Are you sure, because he seems to have quite a bit of energy. 😀

      A decade seems a reasonable guess at reality affecting climate dogma but the data dictates that it should happen sooner. As far as economic damage from draconian energy law, we are already suffering from it. It is hard to make the case to lefties that the economy would be better if… or the environment would be better off if we maximized our economy.

      It seems so obvious but so does the fallacy of sorting proxy scribbles for your favorite signal.

      • steve fitzpatrick said

        “Are you sure, because he seems to have quite a bit of energy.”

        Even if he flaps fast enough to get airborne, it won’t make any difference if the ‘divergence’ between models and reality continues to spread for much longer. Even dear Richard will at some point have to admit that the projections are just wrong; though he will probably be one of the last to do so.

  9. Gilbert K. Arnold said

    Did I miss something in my geology education? Permafrost in the Antarctic? There is not enough soil in Antarctica to have any appreciable permafrost.

  10. There are several reasons why. Doubling the amount of CO2 does not double the greenhouse effect. The way the climate reacts is also complex, and it is difficult to separate the effects of natural changes from man-made ones over short periods of time.

    • One of the key tenants of climate modeling DOOM is that high spatial frequency data is not accurately replicated by the models but global bulk behaviors are. The models are very much out of whack with observation and in a less politically motivated field, the models would already have been corrected. Instead we get “communication” conferences.

  11. Brian said

    The RC folks still hope to capture the hearts of the general public. They’ve always assumed and continue to assume people won’t realize that they know very little about climate science. I’m not saying they don’t know things just not enough to know if projections can be used to make predicitons and if any of it makes any sense.

    I still think this is the reason they like the consensus and don’t like people like Jeff, or Steve M and really don’t like Roger P. Sr.

  12. Phil Howerton said

    I am embarrassed to send this, especially after being a devoted reader of CA, Bishop, Judy, Jeff ID, etc. for probably the last seven or eight years, but it suddenly occurred to me, reading the post, that I don’t … although I think I know what “error bars” are … know how, for instance, to locate them on your or any other graph. I am just a retired old criminal court judge willing to admit my ignorance in order to get a little understanding. Can you take a second and explain this to me in simple language? Thanks

    Phil

    • Phil,

      No need to worry. The error bars simply indicate the uncertainty in trend knowledge due to the assumption that higher frequency components of data (fluctuations) are random. The center circle is the trend calculated, the tips of the bars are symmetric (in most presented cases) about the center circle. If the red GISS line falls outside of the error bars, then the random short term variations in data cannot account for the difference and the model trend is statistically different from the observed data.

      • Oh, and we can’t miss the fact the models are consistently statistically separable from observation – in the same direction.

        They call us skeptics and deniers, they are completely immersed in the field and hold a lot of understanding, but in the most critical elements of climate science, we are the rational ones IMO.

  13. To save mankind from nuclear annihilation, the scientific method was re-molded into a tool of government propaganda in 1945 in:

    1. “Hard” sciences like astronomy, chemistry, geology, nuclear, particle, planetary, solar, space and theoretical physics, and in

    2. “Soft” sciences like banking, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology.

    http://theinternetpost.net/2013/08/09/japan-enters-the-keynesian-twilight-zone-as-total-debt-crosses-¥1000000000000000-00/

    Fear and the instinct of survival triggered mankind’s relentless march to today’s worldwide insanity.

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/Creator_Destroyer_Sustainer_of_Life.pdf

  14. Anonymous said

    Nice article, Jeff.
    You wrote:

    We also know that recent data is instrument based, and instrument based data has excellent time and magnitude resolution. Essentially, the scientists know full-well that instrument data captures a higher frequency component than the historic proxy data can. If today’s warming had happened and reversed at any time in the past 11,000 years, the event would be so short that it would look like a rounded imperceptibly small bump in the proxy based result instead of the clean high frequency response provided by modern instruments.

    The “scientists” are fully aware of this, yet they make claims that are not just unsubstantiated, but they are known to be unsubstantiable with proxy data. The claims are as disingenuous as you can be.

    The following graph was used by Dana Nuccitelli in a recent Guardian article as proof that we are on a path to dangerous global warming.
    http://skepticalscience.com/graphics.php?g=88

    I think your choice of the word “disingenuous” is far too polite.

  15. omanuel said

    Society is extremely stressed now.  

    Government officials have been caught in deceit.  They are afraid of the public.

    The public is afraid of government.  This insanity could end if Congress requested the US National Academy of Sciences to fulfill its mission [1] by reviewing and publicly reporting on the validity of scientific evidence for two findings that have been hidded from the public since 1945:

    _ 1. Neutrons repel other neutrons [2]

    _ 2. Stars generate hydrogen

    This request could initiate actions today that would: 

    _ 3. Restore Constitutional government, and

    _ 4. End one-world government by deception

    http://tgrule.com/2013/09/18/the-lies-of-hiroshima-are-the-lies-of-today/#comment-15481

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

    [1] Mission of the US National Academy of Sciences
    http://www.nasonline.org/about-nas/mission/

    [2] Oliver K. Manuel, “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron Journal 19, 123-150 (2012) http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

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