William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Do You Believe In Global Warming Because Of The Seriousness Of The Charges?

Otter versus Man: The Final Battle

Otter versus Man: The Final Battle

An activist tells you, “Based on my theory of rampant, out-of-control global warming, otters, driven mad by the heat, will take to the streets and destroy mankind, just like apes do in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

Think on it. Crazed insane berserk sharp-toothed otters with murder on their minds! I don’t know about you (and don’t want to), but that’s scary.

Therefore—and this is the point—because his theory has forecasted an appalling bloody ripped-to-shreds otter apocalypse, and there is nothing worse than an appalling bloody ripped-to-shreds otter apocalypse, except perhaps for an appalling bloody ripped-to-shreds zombie apocalypse, the activist’s theory must be true. And if it isn’t 100% certain, then it is mostly certain. It is mostly or completely certain because it predicts the most horrible thing imaginable.

And thus something must be done to protect the children!

What’s that? You doubt? What are you, some kind of denier!? You must be in the secret pay of Mutual of Omaha! (Think about it.)

Now, that situation is asinine—I mean, believing somebody’s theory only because it predicts a gruesome fate. But it is no more asinine than believing in apocalyptic out-of-control rampant killer global warming because some tenured, well-granted professor has said his theory predicts a different kind of doom.

The things our grant-and-publicity-seeking scientist says will happen are, when summed, far worse than any mere otter apocalypse. Why, there are to be shark attacks, spider attacks, wasp attacks, prostitute attacks, pollen attacks, bacterial attacks, grasshopper attacks, even people attacks and on and on and on and on some more.

Surely all these plague predictions must logically imply that the theory which drives them, man-made rampant out-of-control global warming, must be true?

No.

And not only no, but if you are a leader you have to have bat guano behind your ears to claim it.

A theory’s predictions are not evidence in favor of the theory.

What is evidence in favor of a theory? Simple: verifying that the theory’s predictions have come true. This isn’t perfect, because a theory might get lucky, but that it has made successful forecasts is a high mark in its favor. That is says awful things will occur is absolutely completely wholly irrelevant to its veracity.

Yet many, and especially activists, do say that man-made rampant out-of-control global warming’s fell forecasts are a reason “to believe” in it. The seriousness of the charges is not—it is never—evidence. Instead, the accuracy of prognostications are what counts.

Next time a street activist stops you with the question, “Do you have a minute to save the earth?” remind her of this fact. Tell her that global climate models have not made skillful forecasts, that they consistently say it will be hotter than it turns out to be, and that this is evidence that the theory which drives these models is false.

As in not true.

What’s that you say? That the theory might not be true, like I say, but that because of the seriousness of the charges we should still do something just in case?

No, sir. We should not.

Don’t scoff about the possibility of an otter apocalypse. It is contingent, and therefore there is no logical reason why it couldn’t happen. Because it could happen, and because the outcome if it does is incalculably disastrous, we should therefore protect against it, right?

Because a Venusian invasion could happen, and that if it did the world would be destroyed, we should protect against it, right? Because a black hole might meander our way, and that if it did the world would be destroyed, we should protect against it, right? Because nanobots could turn nasty, and that if they did the world would be destroyed, we should protect against them, right?

You could go on endlessly listing potential Judgment Days, but in none of them are the scenarios of destruction evidence in favor of their occurrence.

Prudent precaution in the face of a theory which has a reasonable chance to be true is, of course, sane. But acting for the sake of acting because you like the act of acting rather than because there is good evidence the theory which drives you is true, is not sane. Or, in the case of politicians and bureaucrats, not honest.

If you truly enjoy believing in rampant, out-of-control global warming, first wait for scientists to create skillful predictions before acting.

103 Comments

  1. “wait for scientists to create skillful predictions”

    But they have created skillful predictions! There are several papers published in the peer-reviewed literature with “skillful predictions” in the title, so there’s an expert consensus that it’s true.

    “Skillful long-range prediction of European and North American winters”
    “Skilful multi-year predictions of Atlantic hurricane frequency”
    “Skillful predictions of decadal trends in global mean surface temperature”
    fore example.

    [Just don’t mention the 2007 paper “Improved Surface Temperature Prediction for the Coming Decade from a Global Climate Model” that predicted 0.3C warming from 2004-14. Or the fact that the lead author of that paper was also an author on 2 of the 3 mentioned above. OK?]

  2. Sander van der Wal

    June 30, 2014 at 8:39 am

    It works for Christianity, doesn’t it?

  3. Jim Hacker: “Yes, well this is serious.”
    Chief Whip: “Very serious.”
    Sir Humphrey: “Very serious.”
    Jim Hacker: “What could happen if either of them became PM?”
    Sir Humphrey: “Something very serious indeed.”
    Chief Whip: “Very serious.”
    Jim Hacker: “I see….”
    Chief Whip: “Serious repercussions.”
    Sir Humphrey: “Serious repercussions.”
    Chief Whip: “Of the utmost seriousness.”
    Jim Hacker: “Yes, that is serious.”
    Sir Humphrey: “In fact, I would go so far as to say, that it could hardly be more serious.”
    Jim Hacker: “Well, I think we all agree then: this is serious.”

  4. This appears, to me, to be an indication that people don’t know the difference between cost, risk, and uncertainty. “Mathematically”, risk is the cost times the uncertainty.

    Risk involves value judgments. The uncertainty of a coin flip remains the same, but my sense of risk changes depending on if I am flipping for a milkshake or the Millennium Falcon (the cost). If you have two Falcons in your garage, losing one may not be a burden for you. The subjectivity and context of evaluating costs is essential to the task, but that seems to be lost on the general public.

    Even in the Falcon example, you can’t account for it as:

    Risk = 1 Falcon x 50%

    because the value of “1 Falcon” will vary from person to person. The two-Falcon owner may view the cost as “half of my garage”, or have a different marginal utility for the monetary value than another person. A person with a gambling addiction may see no risk in gambling because they are really paying for the rush, and not for any monetary gains.

    This is all basic stuff, but it’s frustrating to me how often the distinction between risk, cost, and uncertainty seem to be blurred. I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or not, especially with Global Warming ™.

  5. La Longue Carabine

    June 30, 2014 at 8:52 am

    And not only no, but if you are a leader you have to have bat guano behind your ears to claim it.

    Behind my ears? Yeah, there’s enough room because my ears are quite large, but most other bats find their guano on the bedroom ceiling.

  6. “And thus something must be done to protect the children!”

    This is something, there fore this must be done!

    There in lies the problem, for this is the length and the breadth of their thinking.

  7. What happened to statistical validation? Don’t the model builders have to demonstrate that the predicted relative frequencies of the outcomes of the events underlying the model match the observed relative frequencies?

  8. Terry: Sort of. With extremely wide uncertainty bands and a tendancy to just ignore results that don’t fit, climate modelling does not really seem like other sciences. In all fairness, the actual academics will admit the models are flawed, tell you why, admit that models will contradict each other and why the models can’t predict because we can’t model at a high enough resolution. If you just read the news media and activists, you will never see any of this, of course. The academics may also lapse back into that “seriousness of the predicition” behaviour at times, also—like saying there “was” runaway greenhouse warming on Venus when there’s no evidence whatsoever. I guess it’s just too emotional for objectivity.

  9. I have to leave this here. The Sea Otter Apocalypse, 500 years in the future, while the Atheists war amongst each other over what Atheists should call themselves.

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/z95a6u/dawning-of-the-sea-otters

  10. How could you possibly be more wrong here? Let’s see what the “science says”:

    Sea Otters Fight Global Warming
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/sea-otters-fight-global-warming-12-09-14/

    “By controlling kelp-eating sea urchins, otters help the seaweed thrive and absorb more carbon dioxide, in a case study of the role of animals in the carbon cycle. Sophie Bushwick reports”

  11. According to Paul Erhlich AGW or climate change or something is going to cause mass cannibalism . Now that’s really frightening. Much worse than the attack of the homicidal otters. The good thing about his predictions is that he’s never been right about anything. He’s the master of skilless predictions.

  12. Ye Olde Statisician

    June 30, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    Science:
    Theory P predicts consequence Q.
    Q is observed.
    Therefore…. P?
    P→Q
    Q
    /.: P
    is the fallacy of asserting the consequence.
    One of the reasons science is famously fallible is that there is never just one theory the predicts Q.
    In fact, there are multiple hypotheses conjoined with P, often unspoken assumptions. So it is always:
    P1+P2+P3+…+Pn → Q
    So even if Q is shown false, which P has been falsified?
    But in fact there are always multiple consequences:
    P1+P2+P3+…+Pn → Q1+Q2+…+Qm
    Carnap’s positivism tried to say that if k of the Q’s have been verified, then the P has been supported with probability k/m. But I mention this only for Dr. Briggs’ agita.

  13. Sheri:

    Thanks for sharing. I posed the question having long ago discovered that IPCC climate models lacked a descriptions of the underlying events. Under this circumstance, comparison of the predicted to the observed relative frequencies was impossible because neither the relative frequencies nor the events existed.

    An ability to compare predicted to the observed relative frequencies was essential to the falsifiability of the claims that were being made by the models. Under the Daubert Standard of the federal courts, claims that were not falsifiable were not scientific. Thus, under this Standard, global warming climatology was not a scientific but rather was a pseudoscientific enterprise. Under the same Standard the IPCC testimony that resulted in the EPA’s “Endangerment finding” regarding CO2 emissions was inadmissible in the federal courts, presumably including the EPA’s. These hiccups were obscured when climatologists placed sole reliance upon the skill as a measure of model performance as they were prone to doing.

  14. Ye Olde Statistician:

    As you point out, there needs to be a principle of logic that limits the number of hypotheses to 1. Entropy minimization satisfies this requirement. This principle features a set of states of nature called “conditions” and a set of states of nature called “outcomes.” Under this principle, the descriptions of the conditions are varied within the set of logical possibilities. That hypothesis is adopted which minimizes the conditional entropy of the intersection of the outcomes and the conditions.

  15. Briggs

    June 30, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    YOS,

    Quite right, quite right.

  16. It would have been nice if you actually addressed the evidence, even just a little. There are quite a few very clear signs the global climate is warming, and only a small percentage of scientists in related fields believe the unprecedented pollution released by humans has nothing to do with it. It’s really just stupid on the face of it to believe otherwise. You don’t have to know the molecular composition of a boulder to know that you have to get out of it’s way when it’s rolling right at you.

    Now, as to what can be done about it, the answer is not much. The development of the East has been described as the West’s Industrial Revolution but ten times the size and a hundred times faster (or the other way around). They certainly aren’t going to slow down any time soon.

    But, we could get a jump start on the technologies of the future and we could do good things for the environment and economy by pursuing these new technologies. There are few downsides to that, and certainly nothing in comparison to the good it would do.

    I wouldn’t expect conservatives to care at all about any of that, though. The only green they care about is what’s immediately in their wallet.

    JMJ

  17. The interesting thing about the Vostok data is CO2 lags temperature. Hard to see if you don’t hold a straight-edge against the charts. Perhaps and instance of cause following effect.

  18. JMJ:
    What evidence would you like addressed? Yes, the climate (which was defined as “the statistics of weather” in my class) may be warming. If you use anomalies from a global average. Whatever that tells us. The evidence for humans having anything to do with it is very, very thin. Correlation does not equal causality. Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. So is water vapor, methane and several others. Want to guess which is the biggest contributor? Hint–it’s not CO2. The models can give opposite answers when data is fed in, which to me means problems in the model. As noted before, we cannot model clouds, ocean currents, etc. They do what is called “parameterization” (we called it fudge factors in the past). These factors very by huge margins from model to model. It’s no real surprise the models fail to predict. Then there’s the very important underlying assumption that humans can only live on a planet that is virtually static and that any changes will kill us all.

    We can’t “jump start” something we don’t have. Wind and solar will never replace fossil fuels unless we do reduce our lifestyles to 17th or 18th century level. Nuclear is the only adequate replacement and we’re scared of that.

    Sure, the conservatives only care about their wallets. Oh wait–Duke Energy took full advantage of tax credits on wind turbines while donating millions to the Democrats. And Al Gore, on principle, refused to sell his TV station to an oil nation—oh, wait, he did take that half a billion in dirty oil money. Plus, many liberals are wealthy people who got wealthy via oil and now they have theirs and you know what you can do. They don’t care a bit about you or the environment. Not a bit. One supposes it’s a nice fantasy, though.

  19. Sheri, the throw-up-your-hands-and-do-nothing approach, the conservative approach to everything except cutting taxes, is certainly not an answer to anything.

    JMJ

  20. We are still waiting for your evidence JMJ. You are aware that there has been no warming for about 17 years are you not? There is an old engineering principle to the effect that when you do not understand the situation doing nothing is the wisest approach. Take it to heart.

  21. Thanks Sheri, Scotian for taking up the cudgel…better phrased than I could.

  22. Hey guys (& Sheri), I have a modest proposal. Lots of heat thrown out by electronic devices–computers, tv’s, cell phones. I’m sure a good calculation would show that it’s more than that re-emitted by atmospheric CO2. (I can guarantee it!). Also the human body emits heat and CO2, let’s do a Communist China thing and limit families to one child; all illegitimate children will be disposed of immediately after birth. Should solve the global warming thingy in a couple of generations. And if not–who will be around to worry?

  23. Brandon Gates

    June 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    James,

    This is all basic stuff, but it’s frustrating to me how often the distinction between risk, cost, and uncertainty seem to be blurred. I can’t tell if it’s on purpose or not, especially with Global Warming.

    IMO, it’s particularly acute on the topic (C)AGW/CC because hard core alarmists/denialists are either deliberately or incidentally innumerate. And since it’s about the largest risk analysis and mitigation project in the history of humanity there are simply too much data running around for most people to wrap their head around even if they did go looking for the relevant figures. Then there’s the issue of whose data and calculations to trust?

    I’d look first to the insurance industry myself.

    DAV,

    The interesting thing about the Vostok data is CO2 lags temperature. Hard to see if you don’t hold a straight-edge against the charts. Perhaps and instance of cause following effect.

    The interesting thing about the Vostok data is that so many people think that it’s some sort of secret. As if the IPCC itself has never heard the “CO2 lags not leads!” rally cry. I bet someone’s looked at that data with a little more scrutiny than applying a ruler to the stinking graph.

    Scotian,

    You are aware that there has been no warming for about 17 years are you not?

    And where, pray tell are you getting your evidence for this? Certainly not the same thermometers that are only measuring urban heat island effect?

    There is an old engineering principle to the effect that when you do not understand the situation doing nothing is the wisest approach.

    What is it with engineers? First DAV and now you. The entire planet will not fit on a lab bench.

    Briggs/General,
    Regardless of what the real risks are, or are not, why must there be such a resounding din of silly arguments on this topic? Wake up and think.

  24. Gates,
    “I bet someone’s looked at that data with a little more scrutiny than applying a ruler to the stinking graph.”

    You are right they have. Here are two.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/23/new-research-in-antarctica-shows-co2-follows-temperature-by-a-few-hundred-years-at-most/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/01/03/does-the-effect-from-the-cause-affect-the-cause/

    Have you found any others? Have you looked?

    “And where, pray tell are you getting your evidence for this? Certainly not the same thermometers that are only measuring urban heat island effect?”

    An odd comment. In any case this is well know and accepted, even by the IPCC although they are trying to explain it away. It is shown in both land based and satellite measurements. Here is one reference and I am sure that you can find others.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/04/the-pause-continues-still-no-global-warming-for-17-years-9-months/

    “The entire planet will not fit on a lab bench.”

    Is this supposed to mean something?

    “Regardless of what the real risks are, or are not, why must there be such a resounding din of silly arguments on this topic? Wake up and think.”

    We will be sure to consult you in future before speaking. Wait, you haven’t actually contributed anything of substance. Well, I guess we are on our own then.

  25. Jersey: I am throwing my hands up. I assessed the science, considered risk and concluded we have insufficient knowledge to make a decision at this point. That seems to be the opinion of many conservatives–the evidence is just not there. If it were and there were reasonable ways of dealing with the problem…..I am for nuclear, which reduces CO2 emissions, in spite of the cost. It makes sense. Doing nothing when there is insufficient evidence to assess risk is prudent.

    Brandon: I did wake up, research, take a science based class and read and discuss and read and read. I still cannot find the evidence that this is a real phenomena. Looking at the data and the methods I cannot see the certainty of the conclusion.
    That is not a silly argument. Yes, there are some silly arguments, but I have not seen a lot of them here. Some problems in clearly stating things maybe, but not silly arguments.
    (The “no warming” should actually be no statistically significant warming, I think. Right now, statistically, there is no trend to the data, as far as I know. Perhaps calling it a “pause” is not terribly accurate, but since global warming people love calling it ocean “acidification” when it’s really a reduction in the alkalinity of the ocean, maybe you cut people a bit of slack.)

  26. Ye Olde Statisician

    June 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    Not very long ago, the cannons of Ft. Ticonderoga were shlepped across the frozen Hudson River to the succor of G. Washington’s army. Market fairs were held on the frozen Thames and ice skate racing was common on the canals of Holland. The famous Currier and Ives post cards the got everyone thinking that Christmas should be snowing date from only a little later. So clearly it was colder in the recent past.

    OTOH, not very long before that the Vikings were dairy farming in Greenland and wine grapes were being grown in Nova Scotia and Scotland. Medieval peasants were hauling in two harvests a year and growing seasons, per manorial annals, were longer. So clearly it was warmer in the recent past.

    The Modern Warm Period is actually cooler than the Medieval Warm Period, since we are not dairy farming in Greenland this time around. It appears that the Roman Warm Period was warmer than the Medieval, and the Minoan Warm was warmer than the Roman. Think of a long-period sine wave riding down a decaying trend from the maximum of the post-glacial.

    That the recent Modern Warm coincided with a Solar Grand Max is probably no coincidence. The Little Ice Age corresponded with the Maunder Minimum and the “Currier and Ives” period was the Dalton Minimum. There is astrophysical evidence that we are entering another Dalton-like minimum; and the solar magnetic field had darn near disappeared.

    In any case, cold is far deadlier than warmth, and we can only hope that the world is maintaining its post-glacial warmth and not following the pattern shown in the Vostok ice cores. It’s hard to compare the Vostok ice cores to those gotten from Greenland: about 125,000 years down into the Greenland glacier, you run out of ice and hit the frozen remains of forests and grasslands.

  27. Sheri, if nuclear energy were cost efficient and profitable, there’d be plants all over the place. Are you advocating government energy? Because that’s the only way we’d accomplish that.

    JMJ

  28. YOS,
    “That the recent Modern Warm coincided with a Solar Grand Max is probably no coincidence. The Little Ice Age corresponded with the Maunder Minimum and the “Currier and Ives” period was the Dalton Minimum.”

    A very interesting discussion on this very point over at WUWT:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/06/23/maunder-and-dalton-sunspot-minima/

    Certainly lsvalgaard doesn’t agree and now Eschenbach.

  29. JMJ, in France and Europe there are nuclear plants all over the place. the reason there aren’t that many in this country is because of government regulations, not because they aren’t profitable. You may regard the absence of nuclear plants as a good thing, but that absence is not because of economic considerations.

  30. Brandon:

    “I’d look first to the insurance industry myself.”

    That would be the last place I would look. Try reading this 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning series for investigative journalism on the Florida insurance industry.

    Florida insurers rely on dubious storm model
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101114/article/11141026

    How State Farm cashed in on a crisis
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101205/article/12051021

    The entire series
    http://cf.htcreative.com/insurance2/insuranceriskhome.html#

    Historic hurricane trends are dumped by reinsurers in favor of a new modeling approach that estimates a 30% increase in damages. Ten years later, average hurricane damages are down. Insurance rates in Florida, not so much. The banshee cries of increasing extreme weather events are up at least 30% though.

    I live in Florida and can attest to the accuracy of this information every time I open my home insurance bill. It is not entirely beyond the pale to believe the insurance industry supports just about anything that allows it to justify rate increases.

  31. The interesting thing about the Vostok data is that so many people think that it’s some sort of secret. As if the IPCC itself has never heard the “CO2 lags not leads!” rally cry.

    Rally cry? It’s rather indicative that the causal relationship between CO2 and temperature is reversed from the assumption (and a major one it is) used in the climate models. Why it has been ignored is beyond me. Data not fitting the theory therefore wrong perhaps.

    Yes, it has been around for some time — about 450K years going by the charts. The sad thing is Al Gore (starting at about 1:35) got the relationship backwards in his cinematic diatribe. What makes it sad, is that one of his advisers for the film was Lonnie Thompson — supposedly an expert in ice cores — who tacitly allowed Gore to state the wrong relationship that he must have known was wrong. More “convenient half-truths and lies” I suppose. AFAIK, all ice core data, regardless of origin, shows CO2 lagging temperature. Even the animated trace of the CO2 Gore used shows the lag.

  32. Sander van der Wal

    June 30, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    @Terry Oldberg

    Any theory that predicts all measurements known so far are logically valid. The one with the minimum entropy will predict no extra measurements. But then you won’t know how to design tests for even more stringent tests for these theories.

  33. JMJ:

    Should we do something when there is not a scientific basis for doing something or should we do nothing?

  34. Jersey Cow,

    “Sheri, if nuclear energy were cost efficient and profitable, there’d be plants all over the place. Are you advocating government energy? Because that’s the only way we’d accomplish that.”

    Nothing like a strawman argument. The FACT that there isn’t nuclear plants all over the US is due to environmentalists CONTINUOUS litigation blocking them the same as new refineries!! The cost of nuclear is also inflated by the over regulation even though there have been no deaths from civilian nuclear plants and no contamination of land. Remember the lurid Three Mile Island, the WORST nuclear accident in US history?? An absolute dud. Zilch, ZIP, NADA!!!! Nuclear containment vessels are designed so that if a core melts down it spreads out and cools. It will take a long time, BUT, unless you do something stupid like continuing to pump in water to cool it generating lots of hydrogen that then collects in the building and explodes, it is a riskless path.

    Right now there are several plants being planned, BUT, they could be blocked like previous ones if the courts do not fend off the envirowhacktards lawyers.

    http://www.energy.gov/ne/downloads/quarterly-nuclear-deployment-scorecard-april-2014

    If wind and solar were regulated based on their negative impacts on the environment they would not be viable even with the subsidies and price supports.

    Seriously man, try and bring something to the discussion other than PURE PROPAGANDA!!!

  35. Sander van der Wal

    Thanks for giving me the opportunity to respond to your important question. The question that you raise may be addressed through recognition of the fact that a model is a procedure for making inferences. On each occasion in which an inference is made, there are several candidates for being made. Thus the model builder is faced with the problem of how discriminate the one correct inference from the many incorrect inferences in deciding upon the inferences that will be made by the model that is under construction.

    In philosophy, this problem is called the “problem of induction.” It is the problem of how logically one can generalize. If you have observed three swans, all of them white, what can logically be said about the colors of swans in general?

    Half a century ago, a solution was found to this problem. The existence of this solution was a consequence of the existence and uniqueness of the entropy as the measure of an inference. It followed that the one correct inference could be discriminated from the many incorrect ones by an optimization. In this optimization the entropy of each inference was minimized or (depending upon the type of inference) was maximized under constraints expressing the available information. It followed that he principles under which one could logically generalize were “entropy minimax.” Well known models that satisfied entropy minimax included thermodynamics and modus ponens.

    Thus, it is not true that any theory that predicts all measurements known so far is logically valid for a model that does so does not generally satisfy entropy minimax.

  36. KuhnKat:

    Long ago, I held responsibility for much of the scientific research then being conducted by the world’s electric utilities on the methods by which the tubes of their nuclear steam generators were inspected. While occupying this position, I discovered a fallacy in an argument then being made for the safety of nuclear power. Twenty nine years later, the presence of this fallacy has not been adequately addressed by the nuclear power industry or its regulator in the U.S. Details are available at http://www.ndt.net/article/v04n05/oldberg/oldberg.htm. In my view, more nuclear plants should not be built until this issue is put to rest and due consideration should be given to shutting down the existing plants.

  37. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 12:27 am

    DAV,

    Rally cry? It’s rather indicative that the causal relationship between CO2 and temperature is reversed from the assumption (and a major one it is) used in the climate models. Why it has been ignored is beyond me. Data not fitting the theory therefore wrong perhaps.

    Yes, rally cry. It’s a good question, but has been addressed so many times by actual working climatologists that it’s gotten about as tired as Obamacrats blaming the economy on the previous administration. But it’s very seductive when you hear it for the first time — which for me was about 10 years ago.

    AFAIK, all ice core data, regardless of origin, shows CO2 lagging temperature. Even the animated trace of the CO2 Gore used shows the lag.

    None of which is in dispute.

    Since there were no humans burning fossil fuels 450K years ago, we wouldn’t expect those temperature cycles to be caused by human influences. Obviously a lagging indicator cannot be the cause of the leading one, so something else must have been causing those cycles. Because this hasn’t been ignored, that something is known — Milankovitch cycles, which bascially comes down to oscillations in Earth’s orbital eccentricity, obliquity, and precession about its own rotational axis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch_cycles#mediaviewer/File:MilankovitchCyclesOrbitandCores.png

    But, what’s to say that causality can only go in one direction? You know all about feedbacks, yes? Do you notice that the rate of positive temperature change is steeper than the negative temperature change over any given 100,000 year cycle?

    Look at the curve just above the benthic forams plot. That’s the net solar insolation at 65N, looking very much like a curve that we’d expect from a bunch of oscillators averaged together. That curve drives our cycle … it’s the main causal factor.

    Back to the temperature curve. Rates of rise tend to be faster than rates of decline. Why couldn’t that be due to CO2 being released more quickly coming out glacials than it is absorbed on the downward slope of the interglacials?

    If you’re still with me, why then couldn’t CO2 have its own effect if it were to lead temperature instead of lag it?

  38. Terry, there is far more science behind my position than yours.

    Bob, nuclear power in Europe is heavily subsidized and regulated just as much it not more than out own (If you have a particular regulation or more to point out, I’d love to see it). As things stand, nuclear power in on the wain in Europe. There is some building going on, but not the rapid expansion of yesterday. Just because something seems cool and “scientific,” does not make it an efficient energy resource. Maybe in the future. If so, Europe will be on the cutting edge thanks to public/private research and development – where the US used to be. Another downside to leaving such important matters too much to the markets.

    I do think nuclear power can be dangerous, with consideration of various geopolitical issues like radicalism, destabilization, and potential future instability. Regardless of national disasters, though to neglect that seems weirdly irresponsible.

    On the other hand, nuclear power is vital for a host of reasons, for the future, for the technologies, for sustainability, and on and on. I think in the future, if peace and prosperity can prevail for more people and places, nuclear could become a ubiquitous good.

    Kuhnkat,

    (I don’t know if I want to know where you got that moniker)

    You don’t know what you’re talking about. What you wrote is simply untrue. You seem like just a rabid frothing angry partisan, repeating rightwing talking points for the consumption of uneducated narcissists.

    JMJ

  39. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Tom,

    It is not entirely beyond the pale to believe the insurance industry supports just about anything that allows it to justify rate increases.

    Completely not beyond the pale. Of course if they mess up and get wiped out their shareholders wouldn’t be happy with them, would they.

    Of course, this kind of speculation about shareholder and BoD motivations cuts both ways. It’s not beyond the pale to believe that fossil fuel companies, not wanting their profits eroded by carbon taxes and demand for more expensive, smaller margin energy sources, are lobbying their friends in Congress, funding sceptical research, etc. etc. yadda yadda yadda.

    The title of this post should be, “Is Your Alarmist/Denier Belief Based on Everything Except Reading and Understanding the Science?”

  40. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 12:50 am

    JMJ,

    I do think nuclear power can be dangerous, with consideration of various geopolitical issues like radicalism, destabilization, and potential future instability.

    Coal power is dangerous right now. 10-30,000 deaths premature deaths per year in the US alone. 50 years of operating nuclear reactors have resulted in two major accidents, worst case projections are what? I’ll spot you 50,000 on the outside. One was an ill-designed reactor that nobody in their right mind would build again. The other one was a GE reactor that operates just fine when it isn’t built on a fault line, and with its backup generators in front of the tsunami instead of behind it.

    Nukes are on the wane in Europe because people are panicky and innumerate because radiation IS scary, but also because we’ve been on a steady diet of fear-based propaganda from the environmental lobby predicting nuclear disasters that simply have not happened after nearly a half-century of operation.

    Meanwhile, every year coal plants in the US kill nearly as many people who die in traffic accidents. It’s the everyday deaths people don’t pay attention to, and therefore are not afraid of even more people die every day than once in a blue moon. Like airline travel.

  41. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

    PS JMJ,

    … if nuclear energy were cost efficient and profitable, there’d be plants all over the place

    I can’t believe I just read that. Do you have any idea why it’s so hard to get a new fission plant built in the United States? You do know that there’s been a very active lobby against it in these parts, right? Lobbies do what …. influence government policy. Like regulations. Permit processes. Make red tape in other words.

    Meanwhile, as you sort of nod to, Europe has a lot of nukes. And they do. France has been doing it and doing it well. Why? They’ve only got 5 reactor types, cookie cutter style. That means they don’t have the same design/construction permitting process that we’ve got here. And yes, they did it all with a state owned utility. See, we’re stupid about nuclear power, and they are not.

    And again, the only reason their government is talking about early decommissioning some of their plants is because, like us, France does have some people who are stampeding herds of cows afraid of anything that goes bump in the night.

  42. Jersey McJones:

    Isn’t it important for arguments about the safety of nuclear power to satisfy classical laws of thought that include noncontraction and the excluded middle? Currently they do not.

  43. Brandon Gates:

    The NRC’s argument for the safety of nuclear power is, however, fallacious.

  44. Milanković cycles

    Just a quick glance at the Wiki image shows at least two places where the peaks don’t align well: -400K and -200K. Temperature is at a peak at -400K while insolation is low. The peak temperature at -200K is so-so compared to the one at -400K while insolation at -200K is higher than the one at -400K. From -250K to -200K insolation is relatively high while the temperature is dropping.

    It’s insolation that counts. All of the traces above it in the Wiki plot are used to derive it and the correlation between high insolation and high temperature doesn’t look all that good. So, while the Milanković cycles may be a driver, it isn’t particularly strong. Something else is happening as well.

    If CO2 is contributing at all or if there is mutual feedback you need to explain why (looking at Vostok) the CO2 levels remain essentially constant while the temperatures continue to drop from about -175K and -125K (~ 2 Milanković cycles). A similar situation is occurring today where the insolation is high, the CO2 concetration is almost double that of -125K (and increasing) but temperatures have stagnated and maybe even beginning to decrease.

    You also need to explain the 800 year lag between peak temperature and CO2 concentration peak. Why would CO2 keep rising while temperatures decline? Why did it rise at all? Why did it remain nearly constant from -175K and -125K?

  45. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 1:47 am

    Scotian,

    Have you found any others? Have you looked?

    That one is from 1990. It’s really very very old news. More research has been done since then, so it’s most certainly not being “ignored”.

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2003Q4/211/articles_required/Lorius90_ice-core.pdf

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v484/n7392/full/nature10915.html

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v412/n6846/abs/412523a0.html

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/318/5849/435.abstract

    http://icebubbles.ucsd.edu/Publications/CaillonTermIII.pdf

    And that’s just what I could find in 5 minutes. And yes, I’ve looked before. About a decade ago before, and I review it every time someone trots out the same silly argument as if it’s some kind of brand-new dagger in Al Gore’s heart.

    An odd comment. In any case this is well known and accepted, even by the IPCC although they are trying to explain it away.

    We don’t trust the data because it’s from a parking lot. But we do know that treemometers in Europe show it was hotter during the MWP than it is today, and it woudn’t be called Greenland if it hadn’t been green. But we know the oceans haven’t been warming because the buoys don’t have good enough coverage, and back in the 1800s they measured it with buckets thrown from ships. Hot summers are just weather, but cold winters are impending ice ages. (To be fair, alarmists do that one too, only in reverse.)

    [end satire]

    Basically, “sceptics” don’t trust the IPCC, but say hasn’t warmed in the past 15 years because for some reason they trust the modern instrumentation just enough to tell them what they want to believe. If a dataset confirms their belief, it’s God’s honest truth, and if it doesn’t confirm their belief it’s manipulation or “explaining things away”.

    Sceptics trust sceptic bloggers, but turn up their nose at the primary literature. Why? Where are the bloggers getting their information from in the first place? Could it be from the primary literature?

    [end sweeping generalizations]

    “The entire planet will not fit on a lab bench.”

    Translation: It’s not a simple system built to high tolerances, and cannot be treated as such.

  46. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 3:51 am

    DAV,

    Just a quick glance at the Wiki image shows at least two places where the peaks don’t align well: -400K and -200K.

    Understandable lack of precision I’d imagine. Noise in other words. What else would you expect from ice cores or any other paleo data?

    It’s insolation that counts.

    It’s universally agreed that heat does, in fact, come from the sun.

    Something else is happening as well.

    Well yes, that’s a given. Is there any doubt that such a massive system with so many circulating fluids and gasses would behave so chaotically as to look erratic? And keep in mind that those ice cores, and the benthic forams are limited samples in both time and space. If you go look up the Vostok data, the older it gets, the greater the time interval and the larger the error bars for both axes. I’m talking gaps in time up to 50 or even 100 years in some cases.

    If CO2 is contributing at all or if there is mutual feedback

    How could there not be mutual feedback, DAV? Are you asserting that if there were no GHGs in the atmosphere that we’d be in roughly the same temperature regime?

    You also need to explain the 800 year lag between peak temperature and CO2 concentration peak.

    Why is there a lag between when you put the teapot on the burner and when the thing starts whistling?

    Why would CO2 keep rising while temperatures decline?

    Measurement and sampling error. Limited geographical coverage, therefore local variations relative to global averages.

    All of the same internal variations we’re currently studying today, which we obviously don’t fully have a grasp on. Which variations we can measure with much greater coverage and precision today because of modern instrumentation that we’ll never be able to take back in time and use to measure the past.

    Albedo changes due to ice coverage, vegetation changes on land, major volcanic events … that’s about all I can retreive from memory. I spammed a bunch of links in my reply to Scotian which refer to the primary literature if you’d like to read up.

    Why did it rise at all?

    Which fizzes more, a cold can of Coke or a warm one? Similar thing happens in land areas, plus aerobic microbes in soils crank up sooner than green vegetation coverage as land area is exposed by retreating ice.

    Why did it remain nearly constant from -175K and -125K?

    I don’t know. There are a number of unanswered problems with Milankovic same as any other paleoclimate explanation. See again also large chaotic system with lots of internal variability, vocanoes, solar output variations, etc., etc.

    A similar situation is occurring today where the insolation is high the CO2 concetration is almost double that of -125K (and increasing) but temperatures have stagnated and maybe even beginning to decrease.

    According to the graph I posted, we’re past the last big peak in Milankovic insolation, heading into a rather flat area. What data are you looking at?

    There’s this, which overlays insolation with temperature over the past 250K years:

    http://www.climatedata.info/Forcing/Forcing/milankovitchcycles_files/BIGw02-milankovitch-and-temperature.gif.gif

    And FWIW treemometer data the last 2000 years:

    http://www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/paleo/2000yearsCO2large.png

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/moberg2005/moberg2005.html

  47. Sander van der Wal

    July 1, 2014 at 6:09 am

    @Terry Oldberg

    I’m a bit familiar with entropy in this context related to image reconstruction. But in the context of validating theories would you say that the best theory is one that makes the least assumptions, while predicting all the data known so far?

    Personally, I would only use this entropy method as a stopgap, and not say that that theory is true. But I would say that of all theories.

    Regarding the swans, generalizing to birds it is well-known that there are black birds too, the crow family comes to mind. So, while nobody has seen black swans, it is not a physical impossibility.

  48. Sander,

    Forgive me if am humourlessly missing your joke, but you know that all the swans here in Australia are black, yes?

  49. Gates,
    Some of your references are pay walled and thus of limited use. Also since my time is limited I will only examine the first which I assume that you are presenting as the best. This paper does not attempt to determine whether temperature or carbon dioxide change came first and says so bluntly. Correlation coefficients are calculated and causation is assumed. So we can scratch that one.

    “And that’s just what I could find in 5 minutes.”
    Does this mean that you haven’t read these papers?

    “some kind of brand-new dagger”
    How does the age of the argument make it wrong?

    “Sceptics trust sceptic bloggers”
    I trust carefully done science regardless who does it.

    “Translation: It’s not a simple system built to high tolerances, and cannot be treated as such.”
    This makes the advice more not less applicable.

  50. Brandon,

    “Basically, “sceptics” don’t trust the IPCC, but say hasn’t warmed in the past 15 years because for some reason they trust the modern instrumentation just enough to tell them what they want to believe. If a dataset confirms their belief, it’s God’s honest truth, and if it doesn’t confirm their belief it’s manipulation or “explaining things away”.”

    This is a perfectly reasonable position. It is in fact my position. I trust that they (climate science) can measure the climate, but I don’t trust they (the IPCC) can predict it with any useful degree of certainty. The error bands are so unknown and unbounded that they are essentially guesses based on expert judgment. When the models demonstrate prediction skill, it will be another conversation.

    And yes, I believe the IPCC and many climate scientists have an agenda, some quite overt. This agenda doesn’t vacate all their results and predictions, but it does call into question why, for example, there are essentially no models constructed that have low climate sensitivity. Imagine what it would look like if the only climate models tracking correctly now were low sensitivity models. For an area with such great unknowns, the diversity of the models is pretty poor.

    Examine the lists being circulated of “causes of the pause” and see how many of them entirely leave out “lower climate sensitivity” as a possible cause. This doesn’t even make the list as a possibility? That is politics, not science.

    Every climate scientists knows where the red lines are. And it has been demonstrated repeatedly (see RPJ and others) what happens when you step over that line. It’s the worst manipulation of science by politics I have seen in my life. This doesn’t prove the theory is incorrect, but it makes one more skeptical of what is already shaky science.

  51. JMJ: I am advocating more realistic approaches to energy. IF I have to have government energy, and maybe I do because of population stupidity or fear, I’d rather have nuclear that works than spinning bird killers and planted bird fryers that produce only part time. At least nuclear would give me my money’s worth. All alternatives fail and the government is the only thing keeping them on life support. Others have addressed additional problems with your question.

    How about sharing some of that science, JMJ?

    Wow, JMJ. You’ve read all the left-wing “insult the speaker books”! I’m impressed!

    Brandon: Feedbacks appear to be well documented. However, forcings are not. Also, feedbacks are long-term, some millions of years. So forcings are what make CO2 work differently now. I’m not 100% certain on this, but I can check it later on to be sure. Even if CO2 leads temperature, that is not evidence that it causes the rise—that is a valid hypothesis, but it has to have more than “it could cause it”. Thus far, we don’t have that. The hypothesis must be shown probable, and if correct, the models must match in their predictions.

    Someone should be daggering Al Gore. Not just for climate science.

    Can we have the actually studies and counts on how many people died from coal plants? Is that listed on death certificates or is that another model?

    “Skeptic trust sceptic bloggers” Really?????

    Terry: I will have to read through your link. May take a bit.

    Adding to Tom: It’s tough to trust any data set since virtually all have been “corrected”. So even if it fits the skeptic view, it’s still viewed with skepticism and it’s limitations noted.

    (posting not proofread so please ignore errors)

    The IPCC science document I think actually discusses lower sensitivity. (It’s quite long and I can’t pull the pages right of hand.) The policy statement is what the news media uses and in reality, it generally looks nothing like the actual science.

  52. Sander van der Wal

    July 1, 2014 at 10:21 am

    @Andew Brew

    I do, even saw them when i was visiting relatives in Perth. Unfortunately for these creatures they have become part of philosophical myth, so in that Platonic, Perfect World, their lot is to stay potent, and never become actual.

    😉

  53. ME: Just a quick glance at the Wiki image shows at least two places where the peaks don’t align well: -400K and -200K.
    BRANDON: Understandable lack of precision I’d imagine.

    No. It’s showing that using Milanković cycles doesn’t work well.

    ME: You also need to explain the 800 year lag between peak temperature and CO2 concentration peak.
    BRANDON: Why is there a lag between when you put the teapot on the burner and when the thing starts whistling?

    Because there is a continued application of heat with the teapot but the boiling stops when you remove the heat. Yet there are rises in CO2 in the Vostok data when the heat is removed. You don’t seem to be thinking about this at all.

    ME: Why would CO2 keep rising while temperatures decline?
    BRANDON: Measurement and sampling error.

    Almost the same question yet two different answers. Why does the teapot continue to boil when the heat is removed?

    Limited geographical coverage, therefore local variations relative to global averages.

    But wouldn’t that also apply to times where the correlation is good? You can’t have it both ways.

    ME: Why did it rise at all? Why did it remain nearly constant from -175K and -125K?
    BRANDON: Which fizzes more, a cold can of Coke or a warm one?
    BRANDON: How could there not be mutual feedback, DAV?

    Which doesn’t at all answer why CO2 would rise in the absence of heat.

    If temperature is causing the CO2 to rise and CO2 is causing the temperature to rise how do you explain the times when the slopes differ? What causes the CO2 to rise when the temperatures are falling? What happened to the mutual feedback during these times? What turned it off? The Milanković cycles don’t explain this and, well, neither have you.

    There are a number of unanswered problems with Milanković

    Yes, indeed. Some very large ones. Even your Wiki source listed them. So you would agree then that Milanković cycles are a poor explanation for the Vostok data given all these problems and using them amounts to hand waving?

    BTW: treemometers are a rather poor proxy for temperature for a number of reasons. Avoid them.

  54. Sander van der Wal:

    This thread originated with a comment by Ye Old Statistician in which he pointed out that many models are consistent with the observational data. How then can we select one for use? Entropy minimax is a set of logical rules for making this selection. Validation of the model that is selected in this manner is a separate issue.

    In the implementation of these ideas, one constructs the model in one sample that is drawn from the underlying population and validates it in a different sample. Sometimes the first phase is called “training” the model.

  55. Ye Olde Statisician

    July 1, 2014 at 11:57 am

    Why would CO2 keep rising while temperatures decline?

    There could be all sorts of reasons. It is a vanity of our age that we already know everything important. It is only recently for example that anyone discovered the magnetic tubes that sometimes reach out from the sun and touch the earth. What effect has this on the energy balance of the earth? No one knows yet. Even clouds, of which we have long been aware, are uncertain in their effect. The solar magnetic field when it envelops the earth will have an effect different from when the field weakens and fails to do so.

    It is well known that an increase in CO2 will lead to greater heat retention in the atmosphere. As in all physics, there are a number of simplifying assumptions, such as that the atmosphere is infinitely thick. How do boundary value conditions affect the model? But it is also known that the relationship is logarithmic: successive doublings of CO2 have progressively less effect on temperature, which is why the necessary alarming temperature increases require additional feedback cycles (always positive, seldom negative) that are less well established empirically.

    It is also well-known that plants eat CO2 and increases in CO2 lead to increased plant growth, absorbing at least a part of the excess. Further CO2 is soluble in water, so the oceans drink it up as well.

    Now comes the puzzle. CO2 leads to greater atmospheric temperatures, but we do not heat up a pot of water by blowing on the surface with a hair dryer. Underwater vulcanism is a better bet. But as water temps increase, the water can hold less CO2, so some of it comes out of solution. That is why CO2 rises come after temperature rises.

    All these systems have what is called “system viscosity.” The effects of inputs do not appear instantaneously in the outputs. That’s why the tides come after the moon’s passage, not when it is directly overhead, or why the day’s peak temp is in the mid-afternoon, not high noon, or why the ocean makes the night warmer than the land temp.

    I suspect that future scientists will look upon today’s GMCs rather as we look upon the Ptolemaic and Tychonic models of the solar system.

  56. But as water temps increase, the water can hold less CO2, so some of it comes out of solution.That’s why the tides come after the moon’s passage, not when it is directly overhead

    But we have at least one case where CO2 rose and remained nearly constant for 30-50K years while temperature was sharply falling. And there are times when CO2 concentration declined while the temperature rose. Milanković cycles do little to explain that or, for that matter, anything other than perhaps the temperature changes.

  57. DAV: This should indicate there is not a “single” causal agent for climate but rather many (or at least more than one). Milankovic explains one particular phenomena. This is a problem in climate science—models are composed of various single variables that taken on their own are “proper physics” but in combination have not been checked for interactions. As it was explained to me: We can build a circuit where each individual part of the circuit works, but we still do not know if the circuit as a whole will work.

  58. Sheri,

    All of what I said was in response to the claim Milanković cycles explain the Vostok data. I see it as a poor explanation.

  59. Sander van der Wal

    July 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    @Terry Oldberg

    If they are all alike in their predictions then you can use any of them. Given that they are all alike, it is not reasonable to favor one of them on non-physical grounds.

    These are after all all physical models, simplified, but physical. Therefore the physics must decide which one is best. And that is a matter of keeping track of how good they are predicting the future.

    I have no scientific problem with a particular model being picked as the preferred one to do the calculations with, as long as it is watched for digressions.

    Politically however, I believe that as soon as the scientist say they have a favorite model based on non-physics, the politics of the situation will result in more people saying that the science has been settled, so that the time for action is now. Which won’t be true from a physical standpoint. But nobody is going to listen to that anymore.

  60. DAV: I was agreeing with you.

  61. Sheri, sorry I read too quickly. Kinda busy today.

  62. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Scotian,

    This paper does not attempt to determine whether temperature or carbon dioxide change came first and says so bluntly.

    How much of the paper did you read?

    Correlation coefficients are calculated and causation is assumed. So we can scratch that one.

    I am not so eager to move ahead as you. We have the full text, it answers several of your questions, and supports my previous replies to DAV’s questions.

    The introductory remarks just below the list of authors is unfortunately worded, and a naive or agenda-motivated reader — like Al Gore, et al., ad infinitum, ad nauseum — would understandably (mis)represent that the authors’ intent was to bluntly ascribe causality for most or all historic climate change to varying levels of atmospheric CO2.

    The body of the paper does not support such a naive and/or overly-simplistic point of view. The paper’s main intent is to estimate climate sensitivity to various greenhouse gasses, not just carbon dioxide. The paper is replete with references to other “radiatively active gasses” such as water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.

    That discussion of climate sensitivity to GHGs begins in the first full paragraph in the second column of the first page of the paper — the paragraph just above Box 1, entitled “Equilibrium temperature, feedback processes and 2 x CO2 experiments”.

    On the third page of the paper (p. 141 as numbered) under the heading “Ice-core data and the theory of ice ages” the authors introduce the “astronomical theory” of ice ages and the “orbital parameters [of] the obliquity of the Earth’s axis (period of ~41 kyr) and the precession of equinoxes (periods of 23 and 19 kyr) [as being] the most important as they strongly affect the distribution of available energy between latitudes and seasons”.

    “The most important” refers specifically to “astronomical theory” of course, yet the authors are still not saying that correlation is causality, CO2-diddit, case closed.

    Further down in the same section:

    The observed changes in CO2 and CH4 imply modifications in their sources and sinks that probably involve very different processes such as ocean circulation and marine production for CO2 … and fluxes of emission from natural wetlands for CH4. The mechanisms behind these modifications are not yet fully understood, especially those involving CO2, but we note that the orbital frequencies are present in both of these Vostok series with, in particular, a strong precessional signal.

    Next sentence, the money quote:

    This suggests that the changes are in some way orbitally driven, even if the orbital forcing is not the only important effect, this supports the idea that orbital changes are one initial cause of the ice ages.

    Not the only initial cause, but one of some n-number of others.

    Next sentence:

    Further, the astronomical theory cannot easily explain the rapid events recorded in ice cores. Rather, although the mechanisms are still unknown, rapid changes could be connected to a flip-flop mechanism in the North Atlantic ocean, perhaps a turning on and off of the North Atlantic current.

    Skip down to p. 142 under the heading “Ice-core data and the greenhouse effect”, first paragraph:

    Using data on the direct radiative forcing associated with changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases, we derive information about the role of fast feedback processes. This does not require a solution of the ‘chicken and egg’ problem, that is, we do not have to address fully the question of causes of the glacial-interglacial cycles and of the sequence of possible forcing factors. For example, whether the temperature changes lead or lag the changes in CO2 or CH4 concentrations is not relevant for the study of fast feedbacks. There is, however, the important constraint that the planet must be in near radiation balance with space. This may require several thousand years and we therefore cannot use this approach to address the question of transients or rapid events, which may occur in a few decades. Within these limits, we may assume that greenhouse gases have contributed to the glacial-interglacial temperature change through their direct radiative forcing associated with fast feedback processes.

    Contributed, not caused. Ignoring the lead/lag issue because it isn’t strictly necessary to understand climate response to fast transients. Fast transients like the one we’ve seen since the dawn of the industrial revolution.

    The authors are using the Vostok ice core data as a control. They’re controlling for human presence and activity on the planet. Which is proper science as I understand it.

    Does this mean that you haven’t read these papers?

    Correct. I read only the abstracts for the paywalled articles.

    How does the age of the argument make it wrong?

    Context of the argument:

    DAV: The sad thing is Al Gore got the relationship backwards in his cinematic diatribe. What makes it sad, is that one of his advisers for the film was Lonnie Thompson — supposedly an expert in ice cores — who tacitly allowed Gore to state the wrong relationship that he must have known was wrong. More “convenient half-truths and lies” I suppose. AFAIK, all ice core data, regardless of origin, shows CO2 lagging temperature. Even the animated trace of the CO2 Gore used shows the lag.

    It’s rather indicative that the causal relationship between CO2 and temperature is reversed from the assumption (and a major one it is) used in the climate models. Why it has been ignored is beyond me. Data not fitting the theory therefore wrong perhaps.

    The argument that “CO2 lags temperature” has “been ignored” is patently false as the various links to literature I’ve cited demonstrate. The argument is further weakened when it also entails attacking Al Gore, a politician, and not addressing the science itself.

    I’ll pile on attacking Al Gore and other alarmists any day of the week for the silly, politically motivated crap they churn out on a daily basis. But I will not impugn the science itself over what some fat-cat politician says in ignorance or with venal, bald-face lies. Nor will I suffer gladly any argument which over-conflates the two at the expense of ignoring the actual scientific argument. That’s propagandizing and denialism, not scepticism.

    The long persistence of the argument in the face of ample evidence to the contrary makes it not only wrong, but lends it the quality of being nefariously misinformative.

    I trust carefully done science regardless who does it.

    So do I. The bugaboo for me personally is knowing if it’s carefully done or not.

    This makes the advice more not less applicable.

    I don’t understand, please explain.

  63. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    YOS,

    I suspect that future scientists will look upon today’s GMCs rather as we look upon the Ptolemaic and Tychonic models of the solar system.

    I whole heartedly agree with that statement in particular, and with your entire post. There is an important balance between being overly-certain about what we think we know, and overly-haste to sweep and entire line of inquiry under the rug because of poor empirical confirmation of theory.

    Theory does, and must, be the grounding principle for further AGW research. We don’t want to do nothing in our generation at the risk of negatively impacting future generations. Yet we don’t want to panic and act in haste, negatively impacting both current and future generations.

    Both sides of the polarized political fence clearly exhibit either the panicky haste or apathetic dismissal I speak of, and both are egregiously wrong for doing so. Like so much other political dysfunction in the US at present, this needs to stop.

  64. The argument that “CO2 lags temperature” has “been ignored” is patently false as the various links to literature I’ve cited demonstrate.

    Well, lets see:
    ME: The interesting thing about the Vostok data is CO2 lags temperature.
    YOU: The interesting thing about the Vostok data is that so many people think that it’s some sort of secret.
    ME: AFAIK, all ice core data, regardless of origin, shows CO2 lagging temperature.
    YOU: None of which is in dispute. … Because this hasn’t been ignored, that something is known — Milankovitch cycles,

    So far, I’ll you have only cited are Milanković cycles. I have shown why that is a poor answer, particularly since the cycles can’t explain CO2 concentrations at all which is what I was talking about. Your response to that is “CO2 lags temperature” has “been ignored” is patently false. Stating it doesn’t make it true.

    The long persistence of the argument in the face of ample evidence to the contrary makes it not only wrong, but lends it the quality of being nefariously misinformative.

    You haven’t provided any of that ample evidence that I can see. Was Milanković your best shot?

    I’ll pile on attacking Al Gore

    I didn’t attack Gore. He didn’t think this stuff up. He’s more a puppet bozo. He probably can’t help being a ditz Hell, you quoted me and still got it wrong. Read it again.

  65. Sander van der Wal:

    It seems as though we are the victims of a communications gap. I’m unsure of the cause but will take a stab at resolving it.

    To draw a distinction between “prediction” and “predictive inference” may assist us in resolving the gap. A prediction is an unconditional predictive inference. Conversely, a predictive inference is a conditional prediction.

    An example of a prediction is:
    The probability of rain in the next 24 hours is 70%.

    An example of a predictive inference is:
    Given that it is cloudy, the probability of rain in the next 24 hours is 80%.
    Given that it is not cloudy, the probability of rain in the next 24 hours is 40%.

    Cloudy and not cloudy are examples of states of nature called “conditions.” Rain in the next 24 hours and no rain in the next 24 hours are examples of states of nature called “outcomes.”

    Often but not always, a predictive model makes a single predictive inference. For simplicity, let us assume that the model under discussion does so. In building this model, the builder faces the circumstance that many different predictive inferences are consistent with the evidence. Only one can be used by the model. It is in selection of this predictive inference that the principles of entropy minimization and maximization come into play. Once this selection has been made, the builder of this model can proceed with testing of it. In a test the values of the predicted probabilities of the outcomes of events are compared to the corresponding observed relative frequencies. If there is a match, the model is validated. Otherwise, it is falsified. I’m glossing over problems resulting from sampling error.

    This process for construction of a model satisfies the probabilistic logic. This is the logic that is formed by generalization of the classical logic through replacement of the rule that every proposition has a truth-value by the rule that every proposition has a probability of being true.

    In building a climate model, a climatologist currently uses empirical rules of thumb called “heuristics” in selecting the inferences that will be made by this model. On each occasion in which a particular heuristic selects a particular inference, a different heurisitic selects a different inference. In this way, the method of heuristics violates the law of non-contradiction.; non-contradiction is one of the classical laws of thought. Entropy minimization and entropy maximization replace the method of heuristics by optimization thus avoiding violations of this law.

    A consequence from construction of a model under the principles of entropy minimization and maximization is for an optimal decoder to be constructed. It conveys the maximum possible information to the user of the model about the outcomes of events. A decoder with similar characteristics resides in your TV set.

  66. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Sheri,

    Feedbacks appear to be well documented. However, forcings are not.

    That’s a bold opener.

    Also, feedbacks are long-term, some millions of years. So forcings are what make CO2 work differently now. I’m not 100% certain on this, but I can check it later on to be sure.

    If you read this before you check, seriously consider why CO2 would work any differently in the past than it does now. That sounds an awful lot like Max Planck at his most epistemolgoically nihilistic: “We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.”

    Perhaps I’m not reading you correctly. But I assure you that if the laws of physics have changed between 450K years ago and present, all bets are off about us being here tomorrow, much less 50-100 years from now.

    Even if CO2 leads temperature, that is not evidence that it causes the rise—that is a valid hypothesis, but it has to have more than “it could cause it”. Thus far, we don’t have that.

    CO2 is recognized as both a forcing and a feedback. Plus, be careful about time periods. CO2 does not lead temperature on climatic timeframes in the paleo record. Over millenial timeframes CO2 lags temperature on the order of 500 years +/- 300 or so (just eyeballing the timeseries plots).

    As time periods become shorter and shorter, CO2 leads and lags. Just like we’re seeing today. But we weren’t there back then. That data, uncertain as it is, has the benefit of removing all of our variables from the system. That’s one of many reasons it’s useful — as a control for us and anything else we might be doing at present.

    The hypothesis must be shown probable, and if correct, the models must match in their predictions.

    They must show skill in their predictions. How much skill is required to make reasonable policy decisions is the rarely defined and ever-moving goalpoast in this discussion. As is what constitutes a reasonable policy. Both sides of this debate generally like to decalre the other side’s standard of evidence inadequate, and call each other’s (non)policies “stupid” without much further qualification.

    Enough of this already, sez me to everybody.

    Someone should be daggering Al Gore. Not just for climate science.

    What would really make my decade is to lock up all DC poltiticians in Gitmo, throw away the key, and start over with a fresh crop.

    Can we have the actually studies and counts on how many people died from coal plants? Is that listed on death certificates or is that another model?

    It’s a lotsa models. They’re from epidemiological studies done by the NIH and WHO.

    Read my comments on Eli Rabett’s blog for a primer:

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2014/05/on-june-3-pricing-carbon-becomes-more.html

    The 10,000 coal deaths per year figure can be found in these various links, as cited in my comments:

    Electrical power by source – http://www.eia.gov/beta/MER/index.cfm?tbl=T07.02B#/?f=A

    Deathprint – http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2012/06/10/energys-deathprint-a-price-always-paid/

    Also:
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2008/03/deaths-per-twh-for-all-energy-sources.html
    http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/lowering-deaths-per-terawatt-hour-for.html
    http://physics.kenyon.edu/people/sullivan/PHYS102/PHYS102F12Lecture15.pdf

    Further down another poster gave me this link:

    http://crosscut.com/2014/06/01/environment/120335/climate-barack-obama-politics-global-warming/

    Which puts the figure at 36,000 deaths in the US from coal per year. I tend to use the 10,000 so as to be conservative, but 30,000 showing a possible worst-case upper bound.

    The 36,000/yr figure comes from the NIH, and the full study is freely readable here:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2662950/

    “Sceptics trust sceptic bloggers” Really?????

    Yes really, and then “turn up their nose at the primary literature.” It’s getting so that the only science AGW sceptics trust is anything that doesn’t contain “peer reviewed” somewhere in its qualifications. See also “[end sweeping generalizations]” below the original comment.

  67. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 8:19 pm

    DAV,

    I didn’t attack Gore. He’s more a puppet bozo.

    You have a strange way of handing out compliments then.

    He didn’t think this stuff up.

    Just like he didn’t think up the Internet. Which started off as a military project. Speaking of:

    1945 US Office of Naval Research begins generous funding of many fields of science, some of which happen to be useful for understanding climate change.

    But it goes back even earlier:

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/timeline.htm

    1824
    Fourier calculates that the Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere. =>Simple models

    1859 Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of the gases could bring climate change. =>Other gases

    1896 Arrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2. =>Simple models

    1897 Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon exchange including feedbacks. =>Simple models

    1930s Milankovitch proposes orbital changes as the cause of ice ages. =>Climate cycles

    1938 Callendar argues that CO2 greenhouse global warming is underway, reviving interest in the question. =>CO2 greenhouse

    He probably can’t help being a ditz. Hell, you quoted me and still got it wrong. Read it again.

    I have. Like I said, you have an unusal way of giving a compliment. But so long as you’re talking about Gore, you’re not talking about the science. One wonders why a politician and scientific evidence would even be worth mentioning in the same block of text.

  68. Gates,
    “How much of the paper did you read?” All of it which is how I see that it does not live up to the hype that you give it and is not an example of the importance of considering the causal direction of temperature and carbon dioxide.

    “The paper’s main intent is to estimate climate sensitivity to various greenhouse gasses, not just carbon dioxide.” Which it completely fails to do since the authors do not realize the importance of cause and effect and even state that it is unimportant. For example I might notice that people go to the beach on warm sunny days but would be remiss to conclude that going to the beach produces warm sunny days. The vary act of estimating climate sensitivity is to assume a causal direction. Even assuming feedback is to assume that cause and effect can go in both directions. The authors must demonstrate this first which can be done with the data at hand but is not I suspect because that would produce the “wrong” result. Hence the dismissive attitude.

    “yet the authors are still not saying that correlation is causality, CO2-diddit, case closed.” They did that when they calculated climate sensitivity, not forcing which is a model calculation, but sensitivity.

    “Within these limits, we may assume that greenhouse gases have contributed to the glacial-interglacial temperature change through their direct radiative forcing associated with fast feedback processes.” Assume is the key word.

    “They’re controlling for human presence and activity on the planet.” How did they do that?

    “Context of the argument:” Are you reading between the lines or projecting?

    “I don’t understand, please explain.” Doing nothing when you do not understand the situation is good advice under all circumstances.

  69. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    DAV,

    So far, I’ll you have only cited are Milanković cycles. I have shown why that is a poor answer, particularly since the cycles can’t explain CO2 concentrations at all which is what I was talking about. Your response to that is “CO2 lags temperature” has “been ignored” is patently false. Stating it doesn’t make it true.

    Yet I have posted five (5) — one two three four five — links to primary literature written not by Al Gore, not by J. Random Blogger, but by working scientists with relevant domain expertise.

    Stating “it has been ignored” doesn’t make it true. Continuing to tell me it’s being ignored after I have shown you that it isn’t is downright bizarre.

    You haven’t provided any of that ample evidence that I can see. Was Milanković your best shot?

    Milanković is only the starting point of the discussion about what is to my knowledge the best explanation for the main driver of the last 450K years of glacial cycles. Those five links above go beyond Milanković. The answers I wrote you last night from memory are mostly found in the first paper from 1990 I linked to. See also my post to Scotian where I delve into some of those details. Feel free to ask me any questions from what I’ve already posted.

    Other than that, simply telling me “You haven’t provided any of that ample evidence that I can see” won’t cut it. It’s your responsibility to your own family and finances to do this work. Not mine.

  70. Yet I have posted five (5) — one two three four five — links to primary literature written not by Al Gore, not by J. Random Blogger, but by working scientists with relevant domain expertise.

    Not in any posts to me.

    But so long as you’re talking about Gore, you’re not talking about the science.

    I’m beginning to think your reading comprehension skills are wanting or you are just changing the topic to avoid the hard questions.

    Stating “it has been ignored” doesn’t make it true. Continuing to tell me it’s being ignored after I have shown you that it isn’t is downright bizarre.

    OK then you must be tired of avoiding the issue and can’t show is wasn’t. Fine by me.

    Milanković is only the starting point of the discussion

    And a rather poor one. Refering to Milanković to explain Vostok CO2 concentrations is like the following:

    Problem: Why was there a traffic jam on the I10 in Houston today?
    Your answer: Houston has a lot of people and cars.

    Not a very good answer as answers go. Milanković might explain the temperature changes but nothing else. So your answer to Vostok CO2 data boils down to temperatures go up and down because of the Earth’s orbit. Again, is Milanković the best you can do? Seeing you haven’t provided anything else, I think it is. Not a good showing.

    . It’s your responsibility to your own family and finances to do this work. Not mine.

    Bull. You made the claim Vostok has been dismissed by reams of evidence. Back up your claim or shut up. Ball’s in your court. BTW: Scotian doesn’t seem too impressed with what you provided.

  71. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    DAV,

    OK then you must be tired of avoiding the issue and can’t show is wasn’t. Fine by me.

    Your claim: CO2 lags temps is being ignored.

    My evidence: research showing that it isn’t being ignored.

    Your clam: [POOF!]

    Bull. You made the claim Vostok has been dismissed by reams of evidence. Back up your claim or shut up. Ball’s in your court. BTW: Scotian doesn’t seem too impressed with what you provided.

    Second sentence doesn’t parse. Looks like hand waving. You’re talking about reams of unspecified evidence, and yet can’t even address the substance of five papers from primary literature. We haven’t even gotten past the first one. All I’m hearing is:

    Wrong. No. Irrelevant. That wasn’t what I was talking about.

    And “Bull. Balls in your court.”

    lol DAV, it’s bouncing around behind you. “nobody is paying attention to this” is the easiest thing in the world to falsify if the thing is actually being paid attention to.

    Now if you actually want to talk about what was going on during all those interglacials, get reading the links and explanations I’ve already posted. Milanković is just the beginning; which makes sense since he first published in the 1930s.

  72. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    Scotian,

    The authors must demonstrate this first which can be done with the data at hand but is not I suspect because that would produce the “wrong” result. Hence the dismissive attitude.

    Exactly. You don’t want to believe what’s in that paper because you suspect they’re motivated to get the wrong result. That’s not addressing the science. That’s you saying the research is motivated, and can therefore be dismissed.

    There’s no arguing with denial, Scotian. The easiest thing in the world to say is “no, I don’t believe that”. It’s not something to be proud of being good at doing. Especially when it’s being done quite transparently and very badly.

  73. My evidence: research showing that it isn’t being ignored.

    That’s another claim not evidence. So you don’t have any?

    You’re talking about reams of unspecified evidence, and yet can’t even address the substance of five papers from primary literature.

    So you say. Where are these five papers from primary literature? I can’t find them.

  74. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    Tom,

    The error bands are so unknown and unbounded that they are essentially guesses based on expert judgment. When the models demonstrate prediction skill, it will be another conversation.

    What level of prediction skill? Which of the zillions models? Which outputs from those models?

    If you’ve missed my speech on models: the goal isn’t predicting annual global temperature 50 years from now. They’re going for decadal temps at best. And the temperature is only a yardstick. They’re trying to predict geographically gridded seasonal rainfalls. Number and intensity of tropical cyclones. Things important to agriculture and coastal infrastructure.

    Now personally I don’t think we’re going to get it right 50 years out. And mitigation just isn’t going to happen according to any sort of plan the IPCC is publishing right now. It’s a pipe dream. I think we’re exiting the regime of the precautionary principle and entering the zone of contingency planning. It’s that the political wing doesn’t want to lose their tentpole issue just yet.

    I think that stinks, it makes me ill to my stomach, but that’s politics for you.

    And yes, I believe the IPCC and many climate scientists have an agenda, some quite overt.

    Well sure. But it goes both ways. The IPCC isn’t the only kid on the block, but they are the largest. There’s plenty of motivated research being published, both sides. In a way, I don’t see that as a terrible thing … but ALL scientists are supposed to all be sceptics. At times it looks like nobody remembers what that word really means.

    This agenda doesn’t vacate all their results and predictions, but it does call into question why, for example, there are essentially no models constructed that have low climate sensitivity.

    Well said. The way I resolve that one is this: if they had a skillful model, don’t you think they’d be trumpeting it? What they’re doing is publishing what look to be glaring mistakes in many quarters.

    Examine the lists being circulated of “causes of the pause” and see how many of them entirely leave out “lower climate sensitivity” as a possible cause. This doesn’t even make the list as a possibility? That is politics, not science.

    It depends on where you read it. If it’s in the primary literature it’s more science than politics. Further away from that you get …

    It’s the worst manipulation of science by politics I have seen in my life. This doesn’t prove the theory is incorrect, but it makes one more skeptical of what is already shaky science.

    It’s truly nauseating. It’s the worst of politics because it’s attempted to either prop up or undermine the underlying science, which serves nobody.

    Shaky science … not what I’d call it. It’s based on good, hard, bomb-proof physics. It’s the complexity of what’s trying to be accomplished which makes it so very uncertain.

  75. Brandon Gates

    July 1, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    DAV,

    Look upthread for:

    Brandon Gates
    1 July 2014 at 1:47 am
    Scotian,
    That one is from 1990. It’s really very very old news. More research has been done since then, so it’s most certainly not being “ignored”.

    I reposted the five links to you separately, but it’s stuck in moderation.

  76. Who is it that you think suggest using possible dire consequences of an event as a reason for increasing the strength of one’s belief that the event will happen?

    Advocates of the “precautionary principle” certainly do no such thing. They just suggest using plausible dire consequences of an event as a reason for investing in prevention even if one considers the event unlikely (and yes, perhaps investing even more heavily than would be justified by “rationally” matching expected costs and benefits in contexts where it is meaningful to associate numerical probabilities with the events but still without having any increased estimate of the likelihood of the event).

  77. Gates,
    “That’s you saying the research is motivated, and can therefore be dismissed.”

    You’ll have to reread what I said a little more carefully and get over your tendency to call everyone you disagree with a denier before I continue with this debate. I gave you one shot to present the best paper to prove your point and that paper didn’t address the issue at the heart of this debate. Because of this I do not feel I have the time to analyze your second best choices, especially the abstract only links. I’ll leave that to DAV.

    I’ll leave one final thought. Be careful to distinguish between forcing (the amount of back radiation due to an increase in carbon dioxide) and climate sensitivity (temperature change after feedbacks and regulatory mechanisms have responded to the change in forcing).

  78. Brandon: It’s interesting how the “primitive” research is held up as examples of when global warming change studies began, but try and insert early research on the effects of solar, etc, and watch how fast you get slapped down with “that’s OLD research”. Can’t have it both ways. The study of solar and orbital climate effects is much much older than the study of CO2. If age counts, CO2 is out.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/On-temperature-and-CO2-in-the-past.html
    “What the graph also shows is that, starting about a couple of centuries ago, the system has been suddenly pushed out of its shell and moved to a completely different domain. The slope of the curve is hugely different, indeed almost flat, which suggests that the driver of the climate is different from anything seen in half a million years.
    Although we were able to come to some general qualitative conclusion from the analysis above, strictly speaking the correlation of temperature should be sought with forcing, not CO2 concentration. The extra energy trapped in our climate, more appropriately called forcing, by an increase in CO2 concentration may be approximated by the simple relation F=c*ln(C/Co) where c is a constant equal to 5.35 W/m2, C and Co are the actual and an arbitrary reference CO2 concentrations. In this way, the CO2 concentration axis may be readily converted into forcing.”
    It’s not the CO2, according to SkS, it’s the climate itself no longer responding as in the past. You yourself stated that CO2 changes position in the temperature rising, now preceding it. That means that CO2 or the climate or something does not behave the same way.
    There were other studies saying CO2 behaved differently in the past. If I can locate one, I’ll post it.

    Coal deaths: NOT models, Brandon, real death certificates and absolute linking of an illness to breathing air polluted by humans, not nature. Models say whatever they are designed to say. Models show millions die from smoking yet we keep letting people smoke. Same for drinking, drugs, etc. Why is cleaning the air a must? Sure, you could argue innocent people get hurt, but then we’d have to stop putting kids in automobiles since the innocent things die in auto crashes. Speaking of which, 34,000 die in autos in the US, two to three times as many as the models show die from coal plants. And those deaths are virtually 100% verifiable as to cause.

    To end sweeping generalizations, we must ignore your comment “Sceptics trust sceptic bloggers”. Okay, deal. (Note: I do not trust any bloggers—or maybe it’s the “trust” but verify idea. Also, my link is to SkS, so I am either not a skeptic or I don’t just trust skeptic bloggers.)

  79. YOS, and Briggs (since Briggs agrees with YOS),

    One of the reasons science is famously fallible is that there is never just one theory the predicts Q.

    There is never just one theory that predicts Q?! The law of gravity explains why an apple falls toward the earth. Another theory out there? My children are up in the apple tree?! Am I missing something? ( I skip many comments here.)

    If there are more than two theories that predict Q, why would that be a reason that science is fallible? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

    —-

    So it is always: P1+P2+P3+…+Pn → Q. So even if Q is shown false, which P has been falsified?

    Yes if Q is false, then at least one of the Pi-s is false. But how did the following Carnap’s probability postulation fit in with the above?

    If theory P then consequences {Q1,Q2, …, Qn}, and if we observe {Q1,Q2, …, Qk}, then P is true with probability k/n (k<=n).

    The white/black swan example illustrates the problem of induction in the scientific method. But it doesn’t mean all science conclusion is not rational. Should we reject the conclusion (based on inductive reasoning) that atomic bombs are deadly based on the observation from the nuclear atomic bombings of the cities in Japan during World War II? Or shall we wait and drop more atomic bombs to test it out?

    Carnap tried to justify induction by the theory of probability, but then the problem becomes how one justifies the probability principle.

    (My comments above are based on my reading of one of the J. Ladyman’s books. Not sure which one.)

    One should take the inference as the best explanations based on the data/information available, keeping in mind that that conclusions and predictions are made with the assumption that the patterned that we observed in the past will continue to hold in the future. Basic statistics concepts, too! Both M. Mannand J. Hansen understand this and know the uncertainty in climate studies. If you were them, you probably would have taken the same actions too. And I doubt one can convince people who live in the overpopulated and smoggy Beijing to wait to take actions.

  80. JH: Mann and Hansen may understand statistics, but their behaviour does not indicate that. Mann refuses to share data, calls names and behaves like a petulent toddler. Hansen said the oceans would boil. How can I take either of these activists seriously?

    Unlikely that everyone would have taken the same action—I hope there are ethical scientists who would actually wait for data, ask for verification of data, actually use data properly, and share data openly, etc. Hansen and Mann are examples of bad scientists, not role models for the future.

    You are confusing atmospheric aerosols and particulates with CO2. In reality, many theories in climate change allude to the idea that those aerosols are actually keeping the planet cooler. No one wants smoggy skies but smoggy skies are not what global warming is about. It’s about an invisible gas that is necessary for life on earth and whether or not adding to that gas is actually raising the planet’s temperature or not, outside of the models and in the real world.

    And the Chinese for years had a draconian one-child policy. The only way left to reduce their population is sterilization of massive groups in the population. Do we want to go there?

  81. Coal plants cause X people to die a year.

    Call it motivated reasoning, but I have come to distrust all studies that come to these type of conclusions where the measurements are inferred, not actually measured. We get this type of stuff in food science regularly as well.

    I understand they try to control for other influences, but I very much doubt they do an effective job with it. Life expectancy has been skyrocketing over the past 100 years, one could easily construct a study that measures how much coal use has extended peoples lives. Easily. It can be clearly shown that access to cheap energy, improved healthcare (that uses cheap energy..), and so forth has extended lives. And coal was part of it…so….

    This same type of garbage analysis is done with the oft repeated claim by the media that climate change is causing “yield declines” in agriculture. Almost every single agricultural yield trend shows a sustained and impressive trend of increased yield per acre over the past 50 years. Big Ag is kicking butt is the real story here. These studies basically claim these trends would have been even larger but for climate change. No direct measurements, model estimations. You can pretty much dial this imaginary number anywhere you want. I suppose increased CO2, longer growing seasons, and less hard freezes were simply given lower parameterizations in the model. But since this is “science”, it is repeated as fact by the media, even stated as “yield declines”. Sigh.

    I place a lot of the fault here as laziness by the media, reprinting “impact quotes” in press releases from academia. I’d like to call it simple incompetence but I don’t see where they even try in many cases.

    I love science, but have grown to distrust the reporting of science.

    So is it OK to eat butter again now?

  82. Tom: Absolutely eat butter. Stop with the margarine because it has transfat. Check back in 10 years in case things change.

    http://www.gatesnotes.com/Energy/Energy-Miracles
    Bill Gates recognizes that energy is what made life better—cheap energy. He is for cleaner energy and does believe in global warming, but he also recognizes that less energy will harm the poor the most.

  83. Sheri,

    You have said that I misunderstood this and that in your comments several times. I can tell you what really confuses me – for example, how did you come to the conclusion that I am confusing atmospheric aerosols and particulates with CO2?

    What I am not going to do is to discuss climate change with you. And yes, I want to go to China. (Here, I intentionally misinterpret you. ^_^)! Knowing the history of China, though with many problems,
    just makes it even more beautiful,

  84. “And I doubt one can convince people who live in the overpopulated and smoggy Beijing to wait to take actions.” Since this was followed your comments on climate change, I thought you were saying this was part of climate change. Apparently not. Not sure why you threw it in then.

    It’s fine with me if you don’t want to discuss climate change. I will ignore your comments from here on out and only engage those who wish to continue the discussion.

    (Actually, maybe you can type both sides of the discussion—that might be fun. Eliminates misunderstandings that way.)

  85. Brandon,

    Well that was like pulling teeth. You could have saved a lot of bandwidth and time if you had supplied these earlier — but OK. It would be interesting to hear why you think these papers are important. I presume you have read them and they weren’t the first things that popped up

    The 1990 paper (Lorius, et al) is strange. It assumes causality in the reverse of what Vostok shows. Effectively, the effect preceding the cause. It also assumes mutual feedback then jumps to calculating it. And the numbers they get fit the training data — fancy that. Their conclusion (for some reason I can’t copy the text) amounts to coming up with a theory, building a model on that theory, applying the model to the data used then proclaiming they must be right because the model fit the data after shoehorning it. You need to read more of the blog posts here to know what the problems are with that. So, it’s not at all clear why this would be important.

    Paper (2) Nicolas Caillon and friends, doesn’t actually say much other than the lag is indeed present then suggests some causes but reaches no conclusion. Causes are assumed. It also makes the bold claim: Although the recent CO2 increase has clearly been imposed first without prior justification or footnote, So much for careful and objective science. Why is it important?

    I’m not going to bother with the abstracts. Many times claims and conclusions are made in the abstract that aren’t justified by the following paper. IOW: they don’t count.

    While we’re passing around reading assignments here’s one for you:

    http://www.amazon.com/Causality-Reasoning-Inference-Judea-Pearl/dp/0521773628/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404323633&sr=1-6&keywords=judea+pearl

    I think there’s a second edition.

  86. Brandon Gates

    July 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Scotian,

    You’ll have to reread what I said a little more carefully and get over your tendency to call everyone you disagree with a denier before I continue with this debate.

    Not everyone I disagree with. The context of this particular discussion for me is that CO2 lagging temperature in the paleo record “is being ignored”. I presented five papers which directly addressed CO2 lagging temperatures, falsifying that claim. Now its as if neither of you remember that claim being made to begin with.

    That looks like evasive behaviour to me. Evidence presented, evidence ignored, subject changed. I find that more than a little ironic in a blog post about mad otters. I also find it telling that when I do even just a smidge of Briggs-like broad brush painting we find out which otters are really mad.

    OK sure, I’ll put down the heavy weaponry. Just do me a slight favour, look around, and consider what turf I’m on. Try to give me a little credit for sidestepping as much labeling and baiting as I do here.

    I gave you one shot to present the best paper to prove your point and that paper didn’t address the issue at the heart of this debate.

    If you would like to have a different debate about what’s in those papers, that’s fine. I’m happy to do that because there is a lot of good information in them. I just need to know what the topic of that debate is, or this conversation will run in circles and be frustrating for us both.

    Be careful to distinguish between forcing (the amount of back radiation due to an increase in carbon dioxide) and climate sensitivity (temperature change after feedbacks and regulatory mechanisms have responded to the change in forcing).

    I’m quite careful about my use of terms. Not sure what prompted this.

  87. Brandon Gates

    July 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    Sheri,

    It’s interesting how the “primitive” research is held up as examples of when global warming change studies began, but try and insert early research on the effects of solar, etc, and watch how fast you get slapped down with “that’s OLD research”. Can’t have it both ways.

    When have you and I had a discussion where I’ve done this? I can’t recall one. I’ve put away my broad brush. I used it because I was hacked off and to make a point — which was to counter Briggs’ smug kilometer-wide pasting of alarmist sky-is-falling chicken littles. We now see that climate change sceptics don’t much like it when it’s done to them, and for good reason: it’s not fair. I’ve said in this thread, and I’ll say it again: everybody needs to knock it the hell off. If they don’t, then the admonition about not throwing stones while living in glass houses applies. I throw one hell of a brick when I put my mind to it.

    Whether one accepts the consensus view of climate change or not, nobody rational can deny that there are looming policy changes in the work of the US gummint to implement taxes based on an unholy mix of screwed up politics and highly uncertain science. Addressing that requires serious good faith examination and debate of the evidence, something that is virtually unheard of in the blogosphere, much less the political arena itself.

    I’m sick of it. I’m not harping on you here Sheri, I’m howling at the moon to you. People need to grow up and begin acting like rational adults and use the brain that God or Nature gave them. Wherever our intellect comes from, it’s of no use unless it’s used. Shouting at each other constantly is hind-brain behaviour not fore-brain.

    [end speech]

    The study of solar and orbital climate effects is much much older than the study of CO2. If age counts, CO2 is out.

    So there’s a discussion you’ve had somewhere which I have missed. Apparently somewhere along the line you’ve picked up an argument which states in absolute terms that older research is better. That’s not my argument, it would be a silly argument to make. Many “alarmists” make silly arguments — by definition. Someone who is alarmed all the time likely isn’t rational most of the time.

    My view is that newer literature is generally better than older literature. That’s the inescapable nature of the process of seeking truth by building upon previous observations and analysis by bringing in new data and analysis.

    Climatologists are notorious — in certain circles he says broadly — for reanalysis of historical data as well.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/On-temperature-and-CO2-in-the-past.html

    “What the graph also shows is that, starting about a couple of centuries ago, the system has been suddenly pushed out of its shell and moved to a completely different domain. The slope of the curve is hugely different, indeed almost flat, which suggests that the driver of the climate is different from anything seen in half a million years.”

    So that text lives just under the second scatter plot. You’ve just answered my long-standing request to look at something that wasn’t a time series, thank you.

    This author begs the question with “the system has been suddenly pushed out of its shell” implying a cause. One reason I find being a religious agnostic comfortable is because how I was taught to write science papers: be agnostic about causality when writing about observations.

    What I would have instead written is, “The system has recently departed from the same CO2 concentration regime we’ve observed over the past 420 Kyrs without a corresponding change in temperature anomaly.”

    You yourself stated that CO2 changes position in the temperature rising, now preceding it. That means that CO2 or the climate or something does not behave the same way.

    I may have garbled something yesterday in my agitation. Look directly above at what I just wrote. That’s the observation I am speaking to now, and have been attempting to speak to all along.

    There were other studies saying CO2 behaved differently in the past. If I can locate one, I’ll post it.

    Please do.

    Coal deaths: NOT models, Brandon, real death certificates and absolute linking of an illness to breathing air polluted by humans, not nature. Models say whatever they are designed to say.

    Yes, that is true of models. But just because they can be manipulated in such ways does not mean they must all be manipulated by motivated reasoning. That reasoning, which you didn’t actually say but implied, is a non sequitur in the form of a hasty generalization. Broad brush, please put it down.

    Death certificates list the immediate cause of death: heart failure, lung cancer, kidney disease, etc. Usually when people die of “natural causes” there are several comorbidities listed. So a post mortem examiner will dryly note, “Patient was morbidly obese weighing a tonne of kilograms with a body mass index of infinity. The liver was enlarged showing early stages of cirrhosis. Lung tissue was a lot of medical babble indicating the patient was a heavy smoker. The heart was slightly hypertrophic, and only only fatty streaks with no marked stenosis were observed in the coronary arteries. Severe cardiomyopathy was observed. Immediate cause of death was myocardial infarction.”

    The death certificate would likely say the patient died of a heart attack secondary to being fat.

    We need epidemiology to tease apart the zillions of environmental factors and separate them from individual human lifestyle habits. That takes stats, which means models. You cannot avoid them, and globally condemning them as junk science will only lead to not knowing much about anything. The goal is to know slightly more than not much. There’s no other way.

    Models show millions die from smoking yet we keep letting people smoke. Same for drinking, drugs, etc. Why is cleaning the air a must?

    That’s all or nothing thinking: we can’t force everyone to quit their bad habits because when we do Briggs complains about it. So we’re not going to do anything, hell with it all, we’ve got to die someday.

    Sure, you could argue innocent people get hurt, but then we’d have to stop putting kids in automobiles since the innocent things die in auto crashes. Speaking of which, 34,000 die in autos in the US, two to three times as many as the models show die from coal plants. And those deaths are virtually 100% verifiable as to cause.

    I know the number of traffic deaths. I use that figure all the time by way of comparison for the very reason that its in the same ballpark.

    Where the argument is relevant is when it comes down to talking about the lesser of two evils. Traffic fatalities are indisputably killing ~30K people per year in the US, yet only lunatics are calling for banning automobiles.

    What reasonable people have and are arguing is to make automobile transportation less potentially hazardous. Collision testing leading to better engineering and therefore standards to enforce a minimal crash-protection rating. Those ratings are published, and automobile manufacturers compete — especially in high end models — for the highest safety ratings.

    Seat belt laws, which were wildly unpopular when they first rolled out because people don’t like being told what to do and/or they simply thought Ralph Nader was an anti-capitalist commie leftist wingnut. Which is true. 🙂 I kid I kid.

    My argument for nuclear power in lieu of coal power is based in the same reasoning. The figures I’ve provided suggest that nuclear power on a per kilowatt hour basis is two orders of magnitude less deadly than the equivalent power generated by coal.

    That’s the best information I can find. We can argue until the cows come home whether they’re correct or not. But the argument’s intent is sound: save lives without breaking the economy. It’s rational based on the evidence provided: coal kills more people than nuclear. The added bonus — which is an intentional part of my argument — is that doing so would significantly reduce CO2 emissions, which may or may not have dire future consequences. But those reductions don’t necessarily come with the perceived economic drag that a carbon taxation scheme would — which is absolutely the central sticking point of the climate change “debate”.

    [begin general rant not directed at you, just inspired by you]

    “Nobody” really cares about sea level 100 years from now. We’re likely going to be dead — all of us old enough to participate in this thread — in 2100. Worm food or ashes depending on our disposal preferences. It’s time to grow up and be honest about what we all care about — the right here and right now every day financial and economic interests for ourselves and our immediate family.

    I’m really howling at the idiotic left here: Save the planet my gluteus maximus — the planet is going to be fine. We care about us, and we want to make a lot of money just the same as our friends on the right. Admit it already — we’re no better than they are. Get off the high horse, knock it off with the moral superiority complex, and admit to being the human being you are.

    Nuclear for coal can be seen as a “compromise” solution to a presently deadly issue, with potential long term disaster avoidance built right into it. It shouldn’t be controversial in my mind … it’s a feaking no-brainer solution with immediately noticeable benefits just in terms of how many people are dying sooner than they otherwise would because they’re sucking in particulates from coal power plant exhaust.

    Our political system is so broken that it can’t handle that conversation. And political “conversation” is so pervasive that we’re all beginning to talk like corrupt, self-centered screw-everyone-else-but-me bought-and-sold revolving-door Beltway insiders. It’s stupid, wrong, and self-destructive. I’m not happy about it. Neither is anyone else. So instead of bleating about it incessantly like the barnyard sheep we look like, let’s all learn how to use rational cognitive thought again and have a real conversation instead of swapping vacuous partisan claptrap tidbits and calling that wisdom or “debate”.

    [end rant]

    That felt good. I expect someone to complain or call me prolix again. I don’t care.

  88. Brandon Gates

    July 2, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    DAV,

    I was under the impression you’d seen the links I posted in reply to Scotian. I apologize for hammering on you based on my own bad assumption.

    The 1990 paper (Lorius, et al) is strange. It assumes causality in the reverse of what Vostok shows. Effectively, the effect preceding the cause.

    What causality do you think Vostock shows?

    Which causal mechanism described by Lorius and co. are you referring to?

    Lotsa words in that paper … I need to know specifically which text you’re referring to. Yah, I know you can’t copy the text, 1990 paper scanned in from the journal print itself. Old tech. Just gimme a page number, column and/or paragraph reference, mebbe first coupla words of the sentence.

    It also assumes mutual feedback then jumps to calculating it.

    If we already magically knew what was going on, we wouldn’t need research to tell us. This is an unfair argument. Hypotheses are educated guesses or assumptions. All rational inquiry into anything must start with them.

    And the numbers they get fit the training data — fancy that.

    And you’re already jumping to your pre-determined conclusion, fancy that. If you want to be a credible sceptic, try not constantly exhibiting the same behaviour of those whom you’re being sceptical of.

    I don’t need empirical evidence at all to spot a pattern of fallacious thinking. When I spot fallacious thinking being used with such great frequency, I begin to conclude that a mountain of evidence won’t make one damn bit of difference.

    I give atheists the same lecture when they natter on and on about lack of evidence for the existence of God(s). “The default position where no evidence exists is disbelief!” they cry.

    Fine sez me. But disbelief is a belief, and belief based on ignorance is still religion. The default position where no evidence exists is “I don’t know.”

    Most atheists I talk to don’t get that one either. And many of them really don’t like it when I point out the logical ridiculousness of trying to prove a negative. If I ruffle your feathers, you’re in good company. Or bad company depending on your views of atheism. It’s not personal, I just hate what I perceive to be bad arguments. Hate the sin, love the sinner is me.

    You need to read more of the blog posts here to know what the problems are with that.

    I come here specifically for that reason, good sir. I don’t know how to get you to trust me that I’m not a die-hard global warming alarmist activist who won’t cop to a bad methodolgy or flawed conclusion. Where I resist you, Briggs, and others is when the argument is centered on how silly alarmists are behaving, and the insinuations that all the science must be junk because the nitwit environmental lobby is talking about saving otters.

    That isn’t science, it’s political polemic, and I have zero tolerance for that kind of bullcrap. I’m not here to do that as my main talking point. It comes up and I speak to it, but Briggs has statistical expertise which I value. This blog attracts people with that expertise. I want a sceptcial challenge to my own assumptions and conclusions based evaluation of the evidence, not more of the same media fueled claptrap we’re all drowning in.

    When I throw a rod like I did yesterday it’s me being human and saying screw it. If Briggs is going to talk about otters, I’m going to talk about zombie climate change denier myths and get no small amount of angst off my chest. I needed a good rant, and you served up a meatball right down the fat part of the plate. I couldn’t lay off that pitch, especially not when the yard is a sandlot puff piece about varmints.

    So, it’s not at all clear why this would be important.

    The main purpose of that paper as I see it is that the authors were looking to come up with a climate sensitivity for CO2 and other GHGs during in prehistoric times, absent of any human influence. Controlling for our presence in other words so as to have a baseline for understanding our various and numerous additional influences on the system in the modern agricultural/industrial present.

    I stuck it in this thread mainly to show that the literature does recognize that CO2 and other GHGs do lag, not lead, century and millennial scale temperature anomaly movements. IOW, it’s not been ignored, nor is it being ignored.

    That does lead into why did temps change then, and how can we say we’re doing something different now. That very same paper is chock full of info to begin that discussion. But I can’t have it with you if every post between is an attempt to “disprove” the other guy’s argument by constantly begging the conclusion.

    I’m saying meet me in the agnostic middle for a few rounds. Let’s find out if we both have something to teach each other we didn’t already understand. If you want to do that with the second paper or both, fine with me. I don’t see why can’t use them together for compare and contrast, etc.

    Thanks for the book link, I’ll have a look.

  89. Brandon Gates

    July 2, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Dangit missed a closing blockquote tag again! Halp!

  90. Brandon Gates:

    I heartily endorse your call for “serious good faith examination of the evidence” and observation that this is “something virtually unheard of in the blogosphere, much less the political arena itself.” Sadly, this seems unlikely to happen.

    In a study two academic specialists in the methodology of scientific forecasting, Kestin Green and Scott Armstrong, found themselves “…unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming” in the report of IPCC Assessment Report 4 that was implied to provide “the physical science basis” for policy decisions. A result was for “…claims that the Earth will get warmer to have no more credence than that it will get colder.” Were these forecasts a good basis for making policy? The answer of Green and Armstrong was “no.”

    In another study (“The March of Folly from Troy to Vietnam” ISBN # 0-345-30823-9) the historian Barbara Tuchman asked why governments had so often failed to change policies when the folly of the existing policies became obvious. She found that it was more convenient for the head of state to retain the existing policy than to change policies and that few heads of state were altruistic in making policy. For this reason, she suggested, the United States retained its policy of intervention in the civil war in Vietnam long after it became obvious that this policy was going to fail.

    In the years in which I designed and managed studies relating to the safety of nuclear power I persistently witnessed this pattern of behavior on the part of the government. The government’s de facto policy was to maintain “regulatory stability” on behalf of investors in nuclear power.

  91. Brandon: The old comment came from where you listed the history of CO2 in climate science. I probably unfairly put the comment in. It’s a knee-jerk reaction from having warmists tell me “old data doesn’t count–things have changed.” My apologies, did not intend to cause a rant. Hopefully the rant made you feel better. That was also why I said that the study of orbital and climate effects are much older. You seemed to be implying that because the CO2 science has been around for a long time, that gave it validity. I apparently misinterpreted your intention.

    I’m okay with your “The system has recently departed…..” version for the research paper I quoted from SkS. I really wish all papers would refrain from editorializing and stick to the science. I really hate when they say “We couldn’t find anything else so it must be CO2. How about just saying we don’t know?
    In spite of many protests directed at me by others, I don’t think saying “We don’t know” is unscientific and I don’t think we have to provide an alternative theory. The theory either works or not. We know, we don’t know, we’re not sure, etc. That’s how science should work.

    Still cannot locate paper on CO2–things are bit hectic here.

    I remain skeptical of the claim on coal plants and deaths but will look for valid studies. Now that I reread your comment, I do agree with you. Nuclear is safer. I think perhaps I would have worded it differently. Saying coal kills is one of those things that set people off. Not saying you have to be sensitive or whatever, but if you don’t, you may get to rant a great deal.

    Can’t disagree with your general rant either. It’s all about today and everyone getting what they can with no regard to consequences. It is maddening. It seems to illustrate inertia perfectly. One we start rolling, we can’t seem to stop.

  92. Brandon,

    You seem to have the knack of saying very little while using a lot of words. In my last post I said: It would be interesting to hear why you think these papers are important. And even phrased it as a question several times. You respond with things like: Lotsa words in that paper … I need to know specifically which text you’re referring to. In many ways you come across as a copy of Joe Weizenbaum’s ELIZA.

    Presumably you posted these as rebuttals for Vostok. At least you claim that Vostok is “old hat” and “answered” (maybe not in those words) because of them. Why do you think this is so? I looked at the links and told you what I thought of them. Now it’s your turn.

    Well, you did at least say: The main purpose of that paper as I see it is that the authors were looking to come up with a climate sensitivity for CO2 and other GHGs during in prehistoric times, absent of any human influence.
    and
    I stuck it in this thread mainly to show that the literature does recognize that CO2 and other GHGs do lag, not lead, century and millennial scale temperature anomaly movements. IOW, it’s not been ignored, nor is it being ignored.

    I’d like to know specifically what you think the paper 1990 accomplished. The paper was hand waving . All that was done was to create a model to fit an hypothesis and shoehorn the data to fit the model. That proves nothing — particularly doesn’t prove the hypothesis.

    Ignored/Hand-waved-away — little difference. Ignored does not only mean “not recognized”, and, no, it IS “being ignored” as we speak. You said yourself that it was answered long ago so shouldn’t be referred to again. That’s “ignored” in the “not recognized” sense so your nor is it being ignored is flat out BS.

    You need to read more of the blog posts here to know what the problems are with that.
    I come here specifically for that reason, good sir. [Plus a lot more in digression. You are one Chatty Kathy]

    Yet you trot out the 1990 paper as if it was meaningful. You have a long way to go before you get here.

    What causality do you think Vostock shows?
    You need to read that book.

  93. http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/02/climate-change-experts-didnt-see-this-coming-rising-water-levels-in-the-great-lakes/

    If only we would have spent billions trying to raise the water level. Nice little quote in the middle.

    “The challenge that people have is [climate change] is gradual, it’s incremental, it’s hard to see,” Fisher continued. “So when water levels go back up, they say the problem has gone away.”

    Water goes down -> climate change. Water goes up -> still climate change.

  94. Brandon Gates

    July 3, 2014 at 3:13 am

    DAV,

    In many ways you come across as a copy of Joe Weizenbaum’s ELIZA.

    Well … I did hand code that sucker into my Apple //e from a book when I was 15 ….

    Presumably you posted these as rebuttals for Vostok.

    I accept the Vostok data. No rebuttals. I have no problem with CO2 and other GHGs lagging temps on milennial time scales.

    I’d like to know specifically what you think the paper 1990 accomplished.

    Ok ….

    The paper was hand waving . All that was done was to create a model to fit an hypothesis and shoehorn the data to fit the model. That proves nothing — particularly doesn’t prove the hypothesis.

    Oh, you weren’t done drawing conclusions yet. Fine. You’re trying to characterize a complex dynamic physical system so that you can make predictions of future behavior. How would you do it? Would you use a model or something else? If something else, what?

    You need to read more of the blog posts here to know what the problems are with that.

    I’ve read back to the very first posts. Almost all the classic posts. Pretty much every post tagged with climate change.

    What causality do you think Vostock shows?<
    You need to read that book.

    I’ll read the book independently of this conversation for my own education and interest. You still haven’t answered the question I put to you. Here’s your statement again:

    The 1990 paper (Lorius, et al) is strange. It assumes causality in the reverse of what Vostok shows. Effectively, the effect preceding the cause.

    What causality do you think Vostok shows? Where does the paper reverse the causality? Of which parameters? I don’t have enough information about what you’re contesting to give a meaningful reply.

  95. Brandon Gates

    July 3, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Terry Oldberg,

    Sadly, this seems unlikely to happen.

    I feel your pain, but if we give up it surely won’t.

    A result was for “…claims that the Earth will get warmer to have no more credence than that it will get colder.”

    That says to me there’s an equal chance that Earth will warm or cool. Over what time frame? How do they know this?

    For this reason, she suggested, the United States retained its policy of intervention in the civil war in Vietnam long after it became obvious that this policy was going to fail.

    I’m inclined to believe that many of the presently constituted CO2 mitigation policies are going to fail. Mostly because they’ve simply failed to have been implemented in the first place. It’s a rather naive prediction on my part, but based mostly on Kyoto’s, well, failure. This is classic tragedy of the commons, writ globally large.

    It’s pretty obvious to me in the US that climate change is a cause celebre, just one way for Democrats and Republicans to distinguish themselves from each other and attract a voter base.

    The government’s de facto policy was to maintain “regulatory stability” on behalf of investors in nuclear power.

    That’s a nice euphemism for “regulatory capture”. I saw the link to your 1995 paper, I’ll read up. Thanks.

  96. Brandon Gates

    July 3, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Sheri,

    It’s a knee-jerk reaction from having warmists tell me “old data doesn’t count–things have changed.” My apologies, did not intend to cause a rant.

    Thank you, I accept. No worries, actually. I fully understand your frustration with the double-standards on the alarmist side of the fence. I’ve seen it happen in the past and let it slide. I’m less and less inclined to do so any longer. I’m trying to de-polarize myself because I know it screws with my thinking.

    You didn’t cause my rant, it was there when I wandered into this post. I feel some latitude to rant to you (not at you) on this issue because we share enough common ground on the issues, as well as a general frustration with gummint in general. In short, I trust you to understand my anger for what it is.

    I really hate when they say “We couldn’t find anything else so it must be CO2. How about just saying we don’t know?

    Hard to answer such a general question without a general answer: it simply fits best. I expect to take some fire for that one from all quarters, so I’m putting on my thickest skin and 100 SPF sunblock … the whole bottle.

    The theory either works or not. We know, we don’t know, we’re not sure, etc. That’s how science should work.

    Read any paper and it’s full of “we’re not sure” if it’s good science. Pick your favourite paper that you think is reaching a motivated conclusion and throw it at me. I’m happy to walk through it with you.

    Still cannot locate paper on CO2–things are bit hectic here.

    I’m not planning on going anywhere take your time.

    I remain skeptical of the claim on coal plants and deaths but will look for valid studies.

    lol. You’re a hard case sometimes. Ok, usually. A valid study is one that’s done well. It might be totally wrong. The best result you can get is an incorrect one. Print that out and put it on the mirror in the vanity, he says vainly.

    Saying coal kills is one of those things that set people off.

    You ever been up to Colstrip? I wouldn’t be saying that there for sure.

    You make a good point that nothing is easy. I’ve known me some coal miners. Rock solid folk, and I do not want to put them out of work because I’ve got a thing for nuclear fission. They’ve been powering 50% of my house for my entire life, and dying for the privelege of doing it as well as to support their own. I’ve got my priorities squared away here. I want everyone to win whatever we do.

    It’s all about today and everyone getting what they can with no regard to consequences. It is maddening.

    Amen. I’m out until tamale.

  97. Sander van der Wal

    July 3, 2014 at 7:12 am

    @Terry Oldberg

    In tnis situation the right thing to do is to build a model for each interference, and test them all.

    The difference with minimal entropy reconstruction of an image is that with the image you will have all the data that you wil ever get for that particular image. So it is fine to build the best possible model for reconstructing that particular image. Because it won’t change after it has been built.

    But as long as you are adding data about some physical event, the minimun entropy model will change all the time. Which means that you are always comparing different models against nature. Instead of culling all the bad theories so that is clear what works and what doesn’t, you are obfuscating the progress (or lack of it) you are making in finding the right theory.

  98. Brandon: Most of my papers do say “we’re not sure”. Some are more quantified than others. Which is what I remind people off all the time. Science is about probability, not certainty. It’s generally the media which gives the certainty to a paper that was anything but certain.

    Can’t say I’ve been to Colstrip, Mt. but since I live in Wyoming and my husband was a coal miner for 19 years, I do get the picture. Hubby also worked in a uranium mine, so I’m familiar with that also. Live 15 miles from a coal fired power plant. Eight miles from wind turbines. Immersed in the whole thing every day of my life.

    I’d print out your saying for my mirror, but I’m not sure I understand. Yes, a valid study is one that’s done well. However, if it’s totally wrong, how is that helpful?
    (I may be having a blonde moment on this one—please forgive my blank stare.)

  99. Sander van der Wal:

    The discipline at the intersection of information theory and science is complicated! It sounds as though you are gaining an understanding of the basics at a rapid pace.

    You should understand that when a model is built under entropy minimax, this model makes many different inferences. One of these, which I’ve called a “predictive inference,” is to the outcome of each event in the underlying statistical population. The others are to the numerical values of the probabilities of these outcomes. The former type of inference minimizes its own entropy. The others maximize their own entropies under constraints expressing the available information.

    In the construction of a model, an algorithm constructs potential models of great number, each varying from the others in the inferences that are made. Then, this algorithm selects for testing, falsification or validation and possible use that single model which has the entropy minimax property. That the model building process results in a single model circumvents the violations of non-contradiction that are a characteristic of models that are built under the method of heuristics. This method for construction of a model has this attraction plus the additional one of delivering the maximum possible information to the user of the resulting model for use in making decisions in the control of a system. That it circumvents the logical pitfalls that were identified for us by Ye Olde Statistician is what started this thread.

    If you’d like to delve further into this topic, the tutorial and bibliography at my Web site (http://www.knowledgetothemax.com) would be helpful. The most helpful book on building a model under entropy minimax is “Multivariate Statistical Modeling” by Ronald Christensen (ISBN 0-938-87614-7, copyright 1983). A paper summarizing applications as of the year 1985 is “Entropy minimax multivariate statistical modeling-applications” by Ronald Christensen (Int. J. General Systems, Vol. 12, 227-305).

    As entropy minimax sets an upper bound on the amount of information that can be extracted from the available data and as we have 49 years worth of experience with it, it is of value in designing and managing a study. One generalization that can be extracted from our experience with it is that 150 observed independent events is about the minimum number for construction of a predictive model. This being the case, the 164 independent observed events in the various global temperature time series extending back to 1850 support a maximum forecasting horizon of about 1 year. The IPCC’s implicit claim that a forecasting horizon of 100 years is a possibility is an information theory violating absurdity.

  100. Brandon Gates

    July 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Sheri,

    Give your husband my thanks for keeping our lights on. It’s hard and hazardous work which we as society consider necessary to maintain our collective standard of living. Semi-related, if hubby is still into digging holes:

    http://www.geo-energy.org/reports/Environmental%20Guide.pdf

    (page 16)
    The total identified high temperature geothermal resource in these nine states was estimated at approximately 22,000 MW. Today, only California has realized a significant fraction (22%) of this potential (2,600 out of 12,000 MW). If the entire estimated resource for these nine states could be exploited as electrical power, it would equal 21.5% of the electrical power generated from all other sources.

    How close are you to Yellowstone? 🙂

    I haven’t vetted this report, it does read a little … enthusiastically … shall we say, and it’s a bit dated. But while you have it open, scroll to the pie chart on page 11, Figure 6: United States Electricity Use, 2003;

    coal 53%, natural gas 15%, oil 3%. = 71% CO2 emitters

    nuclear 21%, hydro 7%, geothermal and other 1% = 29% CO2 non-emitters

    So if geothermal has potential for an additional 21% of the total, we could use that to offset coal and bring it down to 32%. To then completely replace the balance of coal with nuclear we’d need to add roughly 1.5 times more nuclear capacity than we’ve already got.

    No point to make at the moment, just wrapping my mind around some numbers and sharing.

    Yes, a valid study is one that’s done well. However, if it’s totally wrong, how is that helpful?

    It’s a helpful mental exercise. Assume every paper is wrong as soon as clears peer-review (or especially because it was peer-reviewed) and rolls off the press. The tendency is going to be that you’ll believe the paper which confirms what you thought you already knew. The team which did the research already loaded their own biases into it as well.

    What to do? Go find another recent paper which disagrees with the one you like. You’ll hate that paper. It’s got to be wrong. BUT: whoever wrote it thought they were right.

    The first tiebreaker is: which paper is better written? To figure that out, you have to disconnect as much as possible from what you want to believe is true and look at methodology. Forget conclusions, look at the methods first. Then dip into the discussion. Who makes the better, more consistent arguments?

    Now read the conclusions again. If you have to flip a coin to decide, you’ve done a good job. If you’ve flip-flopped, you’ve done a great job. If you still like the first paper, at the very least you’ve asked it some questions based on an opposing group of experts, and understand it a lot better.

    When you get jammed, like I nearly always do, go back to the really old basic science before the field existed and get the first principles.

    The Zen here is that all papers are always wrong, some are just less wrong than others.

    A really well written but wrong paper is useful — once it’s been shown to be really wrong — because it rules out a particular line of inquiry, or maybe a bad method that only is now understood to be a bad one, etc.

    That’s also one reason why it’s good to look at old papers vs. new papers. You can see what got asked 10 years ago that now looks more wrong, but also see how asking those wrong questions lead to what’s right in recent papers. Just remember that right really only means (hopefully) less wrong than last year.

  101. Brandon:
    Gave hubby the message. He’s currently working in natural gas fabricating parts of gas/oil-field buildings.

    Yellowstone is about 265 miles from me. I’ve been there a couple of times.

    Okay, I understand your statement about papers. Interestingly enough, that is basically the way I research. I look for papers on both sides and read through the methodology, etc. I try to find as many points of view as possible so I can understand the theory/hypothesis. Sometimes I agree with just parts of each paper. And wrong papers do allow me to rule out some lines of inquiry. Your research methods are quite similar to mine, it seems.

    Will read through the geothermal tomorrow.

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