William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Heartland conference: day 3 and wrap up

Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus started off the day with a rousing speech. I hadn’t known he was an economist, but it was obvious quickly through his use of phrases like “maximize their personal utility function” and “is there statistically significant global warming?” This was not a standard political speech.

He joked that certain people “want to stop economic growth [in Europe]; though, not their own,” particularly in developing countries. Klaus was most authoritative by reminding us of living under communist rule which featured “central planning of all kinds of human activity.” Communists, and the socialists like them, “believe in their ability to assemble all relevant data” and to give instructions to millions of people. He talked of how some enlightened folks want a return to this type of control because, of course, they are experts and know what’s best for everybody. Sound like academia to anybody else?

I believe his speech will eventually be made available on the Heartland website.

Bill Gray went next, but started off with what I felt was an unfortunate comment. He said that model climate modelers “don’t have much background on how the atmosphere ticks.” The statement is strictly false, and even ridiculous. It was offered in a friendlier spirit than it reads: more of a “weather weenies” (yes, this is what we call them) versus “climate modelers”. The former are the day-to-day weather forecasters, the guys who memorize the pressure, vorticity and CAPE of each storm back to 1965. The later are the guys who sweat over partial differential equations and, obviously, write computer code. There is always a tension between the two groups, but a good natured one.

But some people won’t understand the “inter-service rivalry” undertone. All they’ll hear is that Bill Gray said climate modelers don’t know how the atmosphere “ticks”, which will cause them to then trot out the qualifications of some climate modelers saying, “Look here. This guy has a PhD and 82 papers and can integrate you under the table.” And they’d be right.

It’s understandable for some people to want to score some points against the more outrageous claims of the “other side”, but I think it’s best done through plain writing or through humor. Public petulance and overstatement just will not work except against you.

If you’ve ever been to a science conference you’ll know that much of the best stuff happens out in the halls, which is where I spent the rest of my morning chatting with Jennifer Marohasy, Craig Loehle, Willie Soon, David Legates, Joel Schwartz and others. We talked mostly of work and upcoming papers and went through the standard ritual of griping about journal editors and the ridiculous hoops we sometimes have to jump through to get papers published. But some of the guys had absolute horror stories of what happened to them when they tried getting papers published that explored non-“consensus” views. Really outrageous and unethical behavior on the parts of some editors. I was shocked. I’d like to be able to tell some of these stories, but they belong to their owners, and I’ll let them do it.

Lord Monckton joined our group and said that he was off to, inter alia, the University of Rochester to talk about his climate sensitivity work. He’ll be writing it up soon and working with some scientists there to better quantify some of the ideas. I look forward to this because it is an excellent opportunity to not only get better point estimate of the quantities involved, but to also quantify their uncertainty. Specify error bounds, if you like, which is something that is almost never done!

Monckton also spoke on Glen Beck‘s radio show this morning and had some words to say about Jim Hansen who, as a government official, “condemned” two of Lord Monckton’s speeches. The transcript of the Beck interview is here. Here’s a blurb

So I wrote to the administrator of NASA and I said, [Hansen’s] conduct is not acceptable; I want it investigated and I think there are financial irregularities behind the conduct of your people in this matter and given that they have financial links with Al Gore. And so they are, in fact, now investigating it. It was referred to the inspector general of NASA who is their internal affairs officer, and he is now looking at this. And if they don’t come back to me very soon and say that they have disciplined this man for making unscientific statements when he’s a paid public official against a private citizen — that’s what he did — then I am going to refer this case via diplomatic channels to the U.S. attorney general’s office because they are the only office who are allowed to refer investigations to the Securities & Exchange Commission.

Oh. I also asked if his “stellar solar scientist” remark from yesterday was a planned pun. He said, with body language indicating the opposite of his words, “Well, of course it was.”

I had to get back by noon and so missed the wrap up talks, including one by John Stossel which I would have liked to have heard.

Though there was the “Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change”, which can be found here. This was circulated late this morning and people were asked to sign in public or anonymous support. Go and read it and see what you think.

The natural question is: Was the conference a success? To answer that requires time and waiting. For me it was successful because I got to meet some colleagues that I had only previously corresponded with. I got some work to do out of it, too. Plus, I was able to learn about some of the political aspects of the debate, though I am still abysmally ignorant here.

16 Comments

  1. Dr. Briggs:

    Your last sentence is telling. And the forcing issue behind the problem Lord Monckton is trying to get resolved. Follow the money, the transfer of which is enabled by the politics. It’s not about the climate in the end, it’s about control and who gets richest from it.

  2. I enjoyed your presentation at the conference (although the math was a bit deep or quickly presented for me to follow–(BTW, could I make a suggestion? The hurricane basin plots would be more meaningful if they included some indication (vertical line?) of the size of a standard deviation))–would have liked to talk to you, but you seemed always to be mobbed.

    Also, I thought one notable thing about this conference was it shows that the internet is actually making an impact on science, McKitrick, Watts, you, and several others came to climate science publication through blogs or other internet sites. We may be seeing a paradigm shift in the structure of science, albeit probably a minor one.

    Hope we can correspond more…

  3. Hi Matt,
    It was so good to meet you at the conference – to put a face and a voice to the famous blogger.
    I really enjoyed your paper on Monday and as I said it was very complementary to the paper by Stan Goldenberg from NOAA. Dr Goldenberg went into the detail of data collection on hurricanes and you went into the statistical analysis. You both concluded that there has not been a global increase in either number or intensity of hurricanes/cyclones.
    I’ve posted a picture of you at the breakfast here: http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/002816.html . Sorry you are in the background. I’ve more picture which will be uploaded soon.

  4. Briggs

    March 5, 2008 at 6:11 am

    Mr Physics,

    Thanks for the tips and sorry I didn’t get to meet you in person. Actually, I started out in meteorology and applied (statistics) climate. I was even a forecaster in the National Weather Service on the border of the Great White North! I went the opposite way: publishing first, then blogging.

    Jennifer, great to finally meet you. Good thing the picture shows me in the distance, else people would quickly learn why I use a cartoon for my image (on my resume page).

    Everybody else, if you haven’t seen Jennifer’s blog, as well as her employer’s web pages, go on over and check them out.

    Briggs

  5. Already the same crowd who posts stuff on Kos/etc are on other blogs (e.g. Revkin dotearth at NYT) talking about the lack of credible scientists, mirroring the RC people. The RC/Kos crowd is very big and very vocal.

    When you have Dr X (pick a PhD alarmist) who is supported by N others just like him at IPCC and you have the likes of John Stossel rebutting them, about the only thing they can’t spin is that Stossel works for Exxon. They won’t mention anyone with a credential, and if they do, it will be accompanied by a snipe intending to show that the credential is undeserved.

    Thus I don’t know if this conference solves much; what it does seem to do is amplify the echoes in the echo chambers. The test will be to see if the public even notices, which it probably won’t if it’s not written about in mainstream avenues.

  6. Mr. Briggs,your criticism of Bill Gray’s comment about climate modelers is off the mark, I’m afraid. Your description of them as “the guys who sweat over partial differential equations and, obviously, write computer code” says it all. They don’t understand climate, so it’s a case of GIGO.

  7. By the way — one thing I’d like to see you address is the simple fact that climate models are designed as ways to test CO2 effects…. so if interpreting the model’s output one eventually concludes that CO2 is having an effect, this ought not to be surprising.

    To me (software engineer) this seems to be self evident that a computer model is a tool just like a hammer is a tool, so from the perspective of a hammer, it sees any and all problems tossed it’s way as a nail.

  8. Don’t think for a minute that the public hasn’t taken notice of this conference. Or at least some of us. Mainstream avenues aren’t what they used to be.

    As a private citizen who took to the web on this subject 5 years ago, I applaud all of you for your efforts. I sincerely hope this is just a first step, as I’ve been waiting around for some kind of collaborative effort to bring rational thought back into the discussion on climate change.

    Don’t be discouraged about cheapshots from Daily Kos and the like. They may have a mile-wide Soros bankroll behind them, but their agenda is obvious: climate change is a vehicle for political change (in their case, radical change). They can be overcome with facts and rational discussion, no matter how much money they have behind them.

    Most people are rational and can be persuaded with facts. The only issue is getting the message out.

    I hope each & every one of you who attended & participated in this conference take your point of view to the internet and combine your efforts, network amongst your websites, and most importantly, educate people and invite them to participate. I’d really love to see a united effort because I think that’s what’s been missing. Just my opinion.

    Besides, my kid will hit kindergarten in 3 years. I’m going to be fighting with any teacher who pushes this irrational thought on her, which means I’m going to need help from scientists, statisticians, whoever…to back me up. So the more work you do, the more research & studies you publish on the web, the better.

    Thanks again for your efforts.

  9. Just to echo the previous comment, I’m a high school teacher and I check junkscience.com daily during my lunch. The information available online allows me to teach the opposite of the line being pushed by the education department (that AGW is a fact). I have a colleague in curriculum development who is working on developing a unit on GW, and I’ve influenced him to not only include both sides, but he’s now thinking that it may be a waste of time to develop the unit at all. Furthermore, I write a weekly column in our local paper, where I often present the new information pouring forth against AGW. I can also tell you that young people in my science classes are, by large majorities, doubters of AGW claims. So don’t give up hope, and don’t stop broadcasting the truth. We’re all going to be saying “I told you so” before much longer.

  10. There is one thing that all the AGW climate modellers have wrong and that is the limit of the amount of energy radiated by the Earth in the bandwidth that can be contained by CO2, and the fact that over 85% (likely 90%) of this has already been contained by the current atmospheric concentration of CO2.
    This limits the possible warming from increases in CO2 to less than 1?C regardless of how much CO2 increases, and all of the IPCC models show a minimum of 1.5?C for just a doubling from the pre-industrial level of 280ppmv.
    What would the models show if this actual physical limit were imposed instead of the contrived limit that is currently input into these models?

  11. http://climatejokeawards.blogspot.com/

    if you have humor go look. it is about VACLAV

  12. http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html
    DB, if you have a brain, go look. It’s about SCIENCE.

  13. Thanks for the link, Bruce. What an amazing tale! An atmospheric physicist reducing the unmanageable complexity of the subject down to terms most of us can understand.

    If you look at his bio, you’ll have to also agree he also has a great sense of humor.

    The global warming freaks will undoubtedly dismiss him as a fringe lunatic… the typical reaction of science illiterates. I’ve read so much cut-and-paste plagiarism cherry-picked from junk science by the global warming hysterics, I could write a book entitled, “How the world’s average I.Q. has dropped to the level of a banana plant”.

    Thanks again for the link to http://www.middlebury.net/op-ed/global-warming-01.html

    Herk

  14. Great! Glad you liked it. I think his experience with the whole AGW issue is similar to many, including myself. I believed it (but did not advocate in any way), simply because it was all I heard. Then, over a year ago I started actually researching it, as I wanted to do a rebuttal to some anti-AGW letters (fairly political, as I recall) I’d seen. The more I looked, the more I saw that the whole AGW hypothesis was false, and worse, people were lying about it, smearing anyone who dared disagree, and preparing to (and beginning to be successful) cause great economic hardships, and even starvation (by diverting food into fuel). I was shocked, horrified, and yes, enraged by what I saw. I’ve been writing letters to the editor to my local paper (The Concord Monitor) as my own effort in this war, and will continue to, despite the fact I usually get several in response full of ad hominem attacks, and AGW propaganda (although there was one in support recently).

  15. Dr. Gerhard Loebert

    March 11, 2008 at 3:32 am

    A Compilation of the Arguments that Irrefutably Prove that Climate Change is driven by Solar Activity and not by CO2 Emission

    Dr. Gerhard L?bert, Otterweg 48, 85598 Baldham, Germany. March 6, 2008.
    Physicist. Recipient of The Needle of Honor of German Aeronautics.

    I. Climatological facts

    As the glaciological and tree ring evidence shows, climate change is a natural phenomenon that has occurred many times in the past, both with the magnitude as well as with the time rate of temperature change that have occurred in the recent decades. The following facts prove that the recent global warming is not man-made but is a natural phenomenon.

    1. In the temperature trace of the past 10 000 years based on glaciological evidence, the recent decades have not displayed any anomalous behaviour. In two-thirds of these 10 000 years, the mean temperature was even higher than today. Shortly before the last ice age the temperature in Greenland even increased by 15 degrees C in only 20 years. All of this without any man-made CO2 emission!

    2. There is no direct connection between CO2 emission and climate warming. This is shown by the fact that these two physical quantities have displayed an entirely different temporal behaviour in the past 150 years. Whereas the mean global temperature varied in a quasi-periodic manner, with a mean period of 70 years, the CO2 concentration has been increasing exponentially since the 1950’s. The sea level has been rising and the glaciers have been shortening practically linearly from 1850 onwards. Neither time trace showed any reaction to the sudden increase of hydrocarbon burning from the 1950’s onwards.

    3. The hypothesis that the global warming of the past decades is man-made is based on the results of calculations with climate models in which the main influence on climate is not included. The most important climate driver (besides solar luminosity) comes from the interplay of solar activity, interplanetary magnetic field strength, cosmic radiation intensity, and cloud cover of the Earth atmosphere. As is shown in Section II, this phenomenon is generated by the action of galactic vacuum density waves on the core of the Sun.

    4. The extremely close correlation between the changes in the mean global temperature and the small changes in the rotational velocity of the Earth in the past 150 years (see Fig. 2.2 of http://www.fao.org/DOCREP/005/Y2787E/y2787e03.htm), which has been ignored by the mainstream climatologists, leaves little room for a human influence on climate. This close correlation results from the action of galactic vacuum density waves on the Sun and on the Earth (see Section II). Note that temperature lags rotation by 6 years.

    5. From the steady decrease of the rotational velocity of the Earth that set in in Dec. 2003, it can reliably be concluded that the mean Earth temperature will decrease again in 2010 for the duration of three decades as it did from 1872 to 1913 and from 1942 to 1972.

    6. The RSS AMSU satellite measurements show that the global temperature has not increased since 2001 despite the enormous worldwide CO2 emissions. Since 2006 it has been decreasing again.

    II. Physical explanation for the strong correlation between fluctuations of the rotational velocity and changes of the mean surface temperature of the Earth

    Despite its great successes, the gravitational theory of the great physicist Albert Einstein, General Relativity, (which is of a purely geometric nature and is totally incompatible with the highly successful quantum theory) must be discarded because this theory is completely irreconcilable with the extremely large energy density of the vacuum that has been accurately measured in the Casimir experiment.

    Seaon Theory, a new theory of gravitation based on quantum mechanics that was developed eight decades after General Relativity, not only covers the well-known Einstein-effects but also shows up half a dozen post-Einstein effects that occur in nature. From a humanitarian standpoint, the most important super-Einsteinian physical phenomenon is the generation of small-amplitude longitudinal gravitational waves by the motion of the supermassive bodies located at the center of our galaxy, their transmission throughout the Galaxy, and the action of these waves on the Sun, the Earth and the other celestial bodies through which they pass. These vacuum density waves, which carry with them small changes in the electromagnetic properties of the vacuum, occur in an extremely large period range from minutes to millennia.

    On the Sun, these vacuum waves modulate the intensity of the thermonuclear energy conversion process within the core, and this has its effect on all physical quantities of the Sun (this is called solar activity). This in turn has its influences on the Earth and the other planets. In particular, the solar wind and the solar magnetic field strength are modulated which results in large changes in the intensity of the cosmic radiation reaching the Earth. Cosmic rays produce condensation nuclei so that the cloud cover of the atmosphere and the Earth albedo also change.

    On the Earth, the steady stream of vacuum density waves produces parts-per-billion changes in a large number of geophysical quantities. The most important quantities are the radius, circumference, rotational velocity, gravitational acceleration, VLBI baseline lengths, and axis orientation angles of the Earth, as well as the orbital elements of all low-earth-orbit satellites. All of these fluctuations have been measured.

    Irrefutable evidence for the existence of this new, super-Einsteinian wave type is provided by the extremely close correlation between changes of the mean temperature and fluctuations of the mean rotational velocity of the Earth. (see the figure referred to in Section I.4). Einsteinian theory cannot explain this amazing correlation between two physical quantities that seem to be completely unrelated.

    While the rotational velocity of the Earth and the thermonuclear energy conversion process on the Sun react simultaneously to the passage of a vacuum density wave, a time span of 6 years is needed for the energy to be transported from the core of the Sun to the Earth’s atmosphere and for the latter’s reaction time.

    As can be seen, super-Einsteinian gravitation reveals the true cause of climate change.

  16. Cobb, Nelson.

    The simple calculation of energy that CO2 can absorb disregards the non-linearity. You cannot multiply 8% (the theoretical maximum absorption by CO2) with 380 ppm to reach its current impact. The first few molecules added has a very large impact but as more and more is added each incremental increase means less and less added heat resistance.

    What is not shown, neither in the middlesbury piece nor by the IPCC is the actual effect in terms of forcing of a doubling of CO2 from its current level. For that you need to integrate across the globe (spatially) and over time (temporally) as temperatures varies significantly over both time and place. Furthermore you need to assess how much water vapour there is over the current place to see if CO2 is a limiting factor, and you need to adjust for latent heat (evaporation) and convection n the over all thermal resistance. Astonishingly, the IPCC have failed to do this.

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