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.
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.