William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

We Know The Climate Is Warming Because It Isn’t

Another balmy summer day, courtesy of global warming.

Another balmy summer day, courtesy of global warming.

What do you call the mental process which allows a man to say “What’s firmly established is that the climate is warming” while also holding that “There’s been a burst of worthy research aimed at figuring out what causes the stutter-steps in the process—including the current hiatus/pause/plateau [in warming]”?

Which is it? The climate is warming or it isn’t?

Since the man who said this is a reporter (for a far-left newspaper), I’m inclined to put it down to reporteritis, but if we have a psychologist in the house, perhaps he can suggest a better term.

Whatever it is, the man is not alone; indeed, he is only quoting his scientific betters, who also claim that the climate is warming because it isn’t. This stark, throbbing contradiction is called “settled science”, and if one doesn’t want to be called a fool, one had better avow it reasonable.

Among others, the reporter quotes Joshua Willis of JPL who said, “if you mean how robust is the ‘slowdown’ in global surface warming, the answer is it just probably just barely statistically significant.”

He also queried John Michael Wallace, emeritus at U. Washington, who said, “The prevailing view…was that the signal of human-induced global warming first clearly emerged from the background noise of natural variability starting in the 1970s..” and “It seemed to me that the hiatus in the warming, which by then was approaching ten years in length, should not be dismissed as a statistical fluke” and “I hope this will lead to a broader discussion about the contribution of natural variability to local climate trends and to the statistics of extreme events.”

These experts belie an ignorance of the nature of statistical evidence. Let’s review what that evidence implies for the theory of doom-laden global warming.

The theory said, for decades, that temperatures would be high, yet they were not high. That logically implies that the theory is wrong. That it it not right. That it is flawed. That it is in error. That it should not be trusted. That the science behind the theory cannot be settled. That to believe the theory is true in the face of this evidence is unreasonable.

To say the theory which promised an increase where there was instead a “hiatus” or “pause”, is to say the theory is false. The theory did not say “hiatus” or “pause”, but increase.

To still believe the theory true in the face of this evidence is to believe against the evidence, and to believe on the basis of something else. What this is can be told to us by our psychologist.

What this something else cannot be is “natural variability.” Natural variability is just what the theory promised to quantify. It didn’t. Natural variability is the climate. It is a mistake to say the climate is some “signal” overlaid with “noise”. There are only causes and effects. The effects are the natural variability—the observations—the causes, at least one of them, are what climatologists have obviously misidentified.

Statistics is only useful to quantify the uncertainty we have in observations not yet seen. Thus it is pointless to say the “hiatus” is or isn’t “statistically significant.” Some thing or things caused the temperature to take the values it did. If we knew what those causes were, we would have made good forecasts: we didn’t; therefore, we don’t know the causes. Statistical statements about the past are thus of no interest (other than tallying or noting what happened, of course).

If the statistical model that said the “hiatus” was “statistically significant” was any good, it would be able to skillfully predict future temperatures. Can it?

Some climatologists say, “The theory is true, but the oceans portion is broken.” This makes no sense. The theory was supposed to incorporate the oceans; rather, the oceans were part of the theory. The theory is still wrong, and for the same reasons.

He could instead say, “The theory is false, and perhaps the oceans portion is why.” That could be true. Maybe the oceans portion of the theory is broken. If so, fix it, thus creating a new theory. Make new forecasts with this new theory and let’s see if they better match reality.

The reason good scientists do not believe in apocalyptic global warming theory is because that theory has failed consistently (and outrageously, given its hype) to produce skillful predictions.

It it flabbergasting therefore to hear so many say that “obviously” the theory is still true. It can’t be.

Tomorrow: the winner announced in the What Should Artists Do About Global Warming Contest!

151 Comments

  1. Group-think or double-think, ego protection (can’t admit they could have been mistaken), denial of reality—pick one or more than one. Could be simple ignorance about how math and science work. Could be a flaming liberal? (Yesterday, I heard one claim Burger King is evil for moving to Canada, but Warren Buffet is not evil for helping fund the move. Go figure.)

    If the theory said temperatures would be high and they are not, then it would be wrong. If the theory said the energy budget of the earth is out of balance to the warming side, then it could still be true if where that extra heat is going can be accounted for. Hiding in the ocean? Needs more research. The theory at this point, of extra heat, is not yet proven. This was actually included in the theory all along–just not mentioned until the air stopped cooperating and heating up. It does indicate a problem, since CO2 would not be the driving force. The theory that the “oceans would boil” and future temps would look like a hockey stick, definitely disproven in the time frames predicted. If you move the time frame out to say, 1000 years, could be. The theory is then not proven or disproven. It is “just a theory”.
    Popping in natural variability most certainty shot the theory in the foot–CO2 cannot be the “driving” force if it’s overrun by something else. (That’s like claiming the accelerator of your car is the force that move it and then trying to say gravity can overcome the accelerator part of the time. If gravity overrides the accelerator, then the accelerator alone does not control the speed of the car. Likewise, if other factors over-ride CO2, CO2 alone does not control the atmospheric temperature. That would be the position held by many so-called “skeptics”.)

  2. What do you call the mental process which allows a man to say “What’s firmly established is that the climate is warming” while also holding that “There’s been a burst of worthy research aimed at figuring out what causes the stutter-steps in the process—including the current hiatus/pause/plateau [in warming]“?

    Honest.

  3. How about a specific quote to work with, DAV?

  4. Brigss

    Well said! “signal” and “noise” are terms borrowed by climatologists from communications engineering and used inappropriately by them.

  5. Brandon,

    there were an number highlighted at that link. PIck one.

  6. How do you know Warren Buffet is not evil for funding Burger King’s move to Canada [by buying Canadian firm Tim Horton]?

    That sounds like a disgruntled Canadian (with their “we’re not the U.S. quirky sense of pride) or disgruntled U.S. Democrat (for seeing how a major U.S. firm can move “offshore,” gain tax advantages, etc.). I’d bet it’s a Democrat with dual US-Canadian citizenship.

    It certainly reflects Democratic-type thinking where enablers that are human are not ever to blame — because the theory/philosophy is sacrosanct because the motives and desired/intended result is all that matter. This is especially true if the humans can be perceived as victims, even when they’re not (e.g., someone shoots up a school, it’s the gun’s fault [not the shooter(s) or their parent(s)]; cops shoots a suspect, riots ensue with the rioters claiming–while they’re systematically destroying their very own personal community–it’s the cops fault they’re disadvantaged [not their demonstrated behavior to respond instinctively with indiscriminate & disproportionate violence]; people eat too much & get fat–it’s McDonalds’ fault: http://www.teenink.com/opinion/current_events_politics/article/181573/IS-Mcdonalds-Really-to-Blame-for-Obesity-in-America/ ).

    When things don’t turn out as Democrats expect, its never the theory or policy…ever.
    The underlying mindset is very consistent & stable
    –so Global Warming theory/models not working out but still being believed is just part & parcel for the underlying psychological defect; Global Warming theory is a philosophy (for some a religion) that is believed regardless of the facts for reasons having nothing to do with facts.

    It’s not about logic or facts.
    It’s about emotions & damaged psyches.

    See: http://www.libertymind.com & get “The Liberal Mind; The Psychological Causes of Political Madness.”

  7. I agree with DAV—confused.

    Okay, Brandon, start with this:

    “Everyone* agrees that the greenhouse effect is real, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Everyone* agrees that CO2 rise is anthropogenic Everyone** agrees that we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either.”

    Ken–I wasn’t saying that Warren Buffet is evil or not evil. I am saying it is double-speak to say Burger King is evil to “cheat” the US out of taxes and not that Warren Buffet is not equally evil for funding it.
    Your example of McDonald’s being to blame for obesity is great.
    Why this philosophy works always seemed fairly clear to me–people want to believe in the worst, want to be taken care of and for most of history, that’s the way things went. The fact that somehow America avoided the nanny state for this long is amazing. I’m not sure Americans can really manage to maintain this state for much longer–people want change, but they want it magically. Like we wake up tomorrow and Obama was a bad dream, ISIS is gone, and everyone is deleriously happy. There’s no magic, but that really does not stop people from believing or wanting to believe. Meanwhile, reality is about to smite them……..

  8. Dav,

    Ok, here’s my pick:

    … we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know.

    Boldface added by Tisdale. What’s interesting about this quote to you?

  9. Sheri,

    That’s like claiming the accelerator of your car is the force that move it and then trying to say gravity can overcome the accelerator part of the time. If gravity overrides the accelerator, then the accelerator alone does not control the speed of the car.

    The planet is not a car. If you’re going to attack a scientific theory, attack the theory itself, not a made-up argument answered with a made-up analogy.

  10. Brandon,

    For one, it’s an admission the models are worthless.

  11. There’s an associated factor to not seeing or accepting facts that contradict a theory — failing to find known data in the first place.

    Here’s an innocuous example: The [SO-CALLED] mystery of the sailing stones of Death Valley. Clear smooth ruts show these rocks move without any apparent input.

    Today, media outlets report that scientists “may” have solved the riddle (e.g. http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2014/08/28/scientists-may-have-solved-the-mystery-of-death-valleys-sailing-stones/?tid=pm_national_pop).

    Should anyone care to do some research, find the episode of “In Search Of” (hosted by Leonard Nimoy [“Spock” from “Star Trek”]) where that mystery was examined & solved (under very infrequent rain the ground develops a very slippery film of mud sufficient to lubricate the rock’s movement under the very high winds that blow thru).

    That series ended in 1982, so the “mystery” has been solved for 32 years, at least.

    That’s just one example modern media, etc. fails to find from its due-diligence literature & other searches.

    Climate scientists, as we know, aren’t particularly adept at finding things out (objective data) either….

  12. Brandon,
    not a made-up argument answered with a made-up analogy.

    The analogy was to illustrate her point which was:
    Likewise, if other factors over-ride CO2, CO2 alone does not control the atmospheric temperature.

  13. DAV,

    For one, it’s an admission the models are worthless.

    To me it’s a frank admission of the state of the current science. As it should be. Would you rather the IPCC lied about their certainty?

    [quoting Sheri] Likewise, if other factors over-ride CO2, CO2 alone does not control the atmospheric temperature.

    And where in any IPCC report do they allege that CO2 is the only controlling factor of the equilibrium temperature of the planet?

    No need to answer that question, it is rhetorical. As I said, if you’re going to attack a scientific theory, attack the actual theory, not a made-up oversimplification. Anyone can falsify fiction.

  14. Sheri,

    Lol, we picked the same quote. Great minds and all that. I responded to it in my post to DAV.

  15. To me it’s a frank admission of the state of the current science. As it should be.

    It’s an admission that the model predictions cannot be relied upon to any degree, hence, worthless.

    Would you rather the IPCC lied about their certainty?

    They have effectively. As pointed out, “we don’t know” doesn’t appear in AR5.

  16. And where in any IPCC report do they allege that CO2 is the only controlling factor of the equilibrium temperature of the planet?

    They don’t but CO2 is a MAJOR warming cause of global it IS a constant refrain . An interesting claim considering the admission that “how much” of a cause it is isn’t known at all (as in: ” It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know.”).

  17. DAV,

    It’s an admission that the model predictions cannot be relied upon to any degree, hence, worthless.

    You said that already. Repeating again doesn’t give it any further weight the second time around.

    They have [lied] effectively.

    Evidence?

    As pointed out, “we don’t know” doesn’t appear in AR5.

    And yet a lead IPCC author is saying, “We don’t know” now, is he not? Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. It’s almost like you’d be happier if they just went back to [allegedly] lying. You know, stick with their story instead of openly identifying error like good scientists are supposed to.

    Have I about covered it?

  18. Dangit, [blockquote] tag fail ….

  19. DAV,

    They don’t but …

    No buts. Stick with what the science says next time and there will be no need to backpedal.

  20. Evidence?

    Evidence of what? That “we don’t know” doesn’t appear in AR5? How could I produce evidence of something missing? Be real. Can you show it is not?

  21. And yet a lead IPCC author is saying, “We don’t know” now, is he not? Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. It’s almost like you’d be happier if they just went back to [allegedly] lying. You know, stick with their story instead of openly identifying error like good scientists are supposed to.

    Well, his admission implies they were aware all along they didn’t know how much of an effect (including next to none or even none) CO2 has. AR5 gives no indication of this. Lying by omission.

  22. DAV,

    Evidence of what?

    That the IPCC has lied effectively. Your claim, your burden of proof. Don’t try to squirm out of it by trying to shift it to me.

  23. if we have a psychologist in the house, perhaps he can suggest a better term.

    The Beach Boys have it pegged:
    Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray it might come true.
    Baby then there wouldn’t be a single thing we couldn’t do.
    – Wouldn’t It Be Nice (Pet Sounds, 1966)

    Let’s call it the Wouldn’t-it-be-nice Syndrome.

  24. DAV,

    Well, his admission implies …

    An implication is not proof. Are you trying to tell me that they’ve never expressed uncertainty about their predictions? Think hard before you answer, such a proposition requires one and only one example to falisfy.

  25. Brandon: No, the freaking planet is not a car. I am not an idiot, I know that. You’re being snippy and off-subject. It’s an analogy and the planet does not have to be car for it to work. Now, in kindergarten language since you insist on pulling us to that level:
    IF CO2 is the driving force of the planet and adding more will increase the temperature and nothing can stop this except less CO2, then the planet CANNOT slow the warming when the CO2 continues to rise and it cannot reach a slow-down in the warming due to “natural variations”. If CO2 drives the temperature, it MUST continue to rise is CO2 does. There cannot be periods where CO2 rises and the temperature does not.
    (Picking the same quote does not cancel your snippiness on this……)

  26. Personally I like Revkin.

    He is one of the few that doesn’t simply post press releases from academia and call it “science journalism”. The linked article is actually querying several scientists on their positions on the hiatus, and it is anything but a puff piece for the climate science groupies.

    How many environmental journalists do you know that will actually put this quote in print from Carl Wunsch (from the same article):

    “The central problem of climate science is to ask what you do and say when your data are, by almost any standard, inadequate? If I spend three years analyzing my data, and the only defensible inference is that “the data are inadequate to answer the question,” how do you publish? How do you get your grant renewed? A common answer is to distort the calculation of the uncertainty, or ignore it all together, and proclaim an exciting story that the New York Times will pick up.”

    Ouch. That is not something you are going to find at the Huffington Post or Climate Progress.

    Revkin may be on the pro climate change side of the fence, but he is no groupie. He routinely posts rebuttals to over-statements that get mainstream attention.

    What we get from many media outlets are a dueling “the pause isn’t happening / we found the cause of the pause” narrative on alternate days.

  27. Ken: Wow, I thought that mystery was solved many years ago, too. I am starting to suspect the news media is desperate for stories and scientists for anything to study, explained or not, or they all just woke up from a coma. (I had researched it years ago because I found it fascinating.)

    Back to Brandon:
    The IPCC science document has always indicated uncertainty. However, in the political policy document IPCC states “Total radiative forcing is positive, and has led to an uptake of energy by the climate system. The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750” on page 13.
    “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” pg 17
    Seems pretty clear to me that they are saying CO2 is the driver of warming (that is what dominent means, I think—and there’s no qualification that this might change in the future and no indication something else might be found later or there might be a slow down even when CO2 increases). “Extremely Likely” sounds very definative. How else am I to interpret this? And this is what the IPCC releases to “non-science” politicians and policymakers. I can not see how it can be interpreted other than CO2 did it. That is how it is interpreted by the press and the activists and the IPCC has not run out and corrected them. Why not? If they’re not sure and they are really concerned about the science, they really should be buying news time and correcting this misconception. (Seems some journalists will tackle this, as
    Tom notes.)

    Gary: Great idea!

  28. An implication is not proof.

    Your right. They could have suddenly come to the realization that “we don’t know” how much of an effect CO2 has.

  29. Brandon,

    “Boldface added by Tisdale. What’s interesting about this quote to you?”

    The interesting part is this is what some skeptics have been saying all along, and when they (the skeptics) say the same thing, they have been attacked for their alleged ignorance for thinking such thoughts.

    My opinion has always been that climate science really doesn’t know the answers to actionable intelligence and that they (through the media) have over-stated the confidence in these projections.

    Now what is interesting beyond the usual predictable banter here is that I can find almost no evidence that the modelers themselves have stated publicly they have a lot of confidence in their own projections.

    So why does the impression exist the models were ever any good to start with? The media? Certainly activists over-stated the veracity of the models, but that is what activists do. My guess is they never stated they weren’t any good either and let the media run with it because it was in their best interests. Who knows?

    That being said, trying to walk back models as “we never said they were any good” will not work with the public in my opinion, so they will be defended by the usual suspects for political necessity. It is possible they could still turn out to be accurate over the long term, but the trend is not good now.

    The media really doesn’t do their job here from my point of view. It is rare they even highlight the model vs. observation discrepancy or even look further at how bad precipitation and regional predictions have been. This is one of the reasons I think coverage of global warming is pretty biased scientifically.

  30. Sheri,

    If you look over at a post from Real Climate yesterday, they are actually saying they believe the recent warming is not just mostly caused by humans, but more than entirely caused by humans and that the period from 1950-2000 had an estimated negative contribution from natural variation, so humans were 110% the cause of recent warming.

    Also they believe the human contribution to this warming is as likely to be 175% (with a -75% natural variation cooling) as it is to be a 50/50 contribution.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/

    Interesting is that the hiatus apparently gives them no reason to think this PDF should possibly be shifted to the left, which I find a bit hard to defend.

    This is what I would call doubling-down on the models.

  31. Thanks Gary

    The whole Psych theme song seems very appropriate
    (The whole show could probably be adopted for the Global Warming story)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_Gced_Z_KU

  32. Sheri:

    The idea of “uncertainty” does not entirely capture the incompetency of the climate models for their intended purpose. Until recently, the events in the underlying statistical populations did not exist. That they did not exist rendered the claims made by the models non-falsifiable and unscientific.

    More importantly, the models conveyed no information to a policy maker about the outcomes from his or her policy decisions. Thus, the models were completely unsuited to the purpose of regulating the climate. Having been mislead by their climatologists governments mounted cripplingly expensive programs for the purpose of regulating the climate.

  33. Tom Scharf,

    About what climate modelers think, uncertainty, etc., you may be interested in reading this sociological study from 2005: “Seductive Simulations? – Uncertainty Distribution Around Climate Models”, Myanna Lahsen. Link:

    http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2006/10/truth.machines.pdf

  34. Briggs, me thinks you are being a bit pedantic.

    Yes, any theory (can we say hypothesis) that said the climate would warm smoothly has been shown to be wrong.

    But, this does not say that AGW is wrong. These are two different, if related, hypotheses. But you knew that.

  35. John Moore:

    The issue can be lifted from the realm of pedantry by framing it as the question of whether climatological research has yet provided a scientific or logical basis for regulation of CO2 emissions. The answer is no.

  36. Here’s one point that I don’t think commentors (sp?) have mentioned. There are various sources, causal mechanisms, for temperature/climate, including solar variation, H2O as a greenhouse gas, etc., etc. The non-linear mathematics of heat and radiation transfer is extremely complicated so perforce these climatologists are using models of uncertain reliability. Now what that means is that even if increasing temperature were to show a positive correlation with increasing CO2 in the atmosphere (please notice the use of the subjunctive) that would not necessarily mean that increasing CO2 would be the cause of that increase. However, the fact that the correlation is negative–at least for the last decades–should suggest that there is no important causal relation between atmospheric CO2 abundance and temperature increase (if it were assumed that the temperature data was accurate and not obtained from stations in parking lots and near air-conditioner exhausts).

  37. Bebben,

    Thanks for that link. I found it fascinating.

    Tom

  38. Tom: I did see that 110% and 175%. If you note the -75% natural, it at least comes out 100%. My first thought was “110%”?? There really is no indication that there is uncertainty in all of this.

    John B: Loved that show! It really does fit the psychic nature of predictions in climate change.

    John Moore: You said this before. It is true that AGW could still be occurring, but scientifically at this point we have no evidence thereof since the theory fails in many, many areas. It’s in the realm of “possible”, not “probable” then. It means we have no idea at this point. I think most readers here understand that disproving a theory does not necessarily disprove what the theory was looking to explain. However, until another theory is developed and tested, AGW “may” be happening. Many, many things may be happening. Without a theory and a way to test it, it’s just speculation.

  39. I observed inappropriate separation of the value of the independent variable of a model into “signal” and “noise” once before. It was in a field of study in which, like climatology, the research had been botched. It had been botched in a manner that is similar to the way in which climatology has been botched. In both cases, something was wrong with the statistical populations underlying the models.

    In communications engineering the “signal” and the “noise” that carry information to us have the property of power. They can have power because their speed does not exceed the speed of light in a vacuum. In control systems engineering, if a signal and the associated noise were to carry information to us they would have to travel at a speed exceeding the speed of light for this is the speed at which they would have to travel to bring information to us from the future. For matter or energy to travel at such a speed violates the theory of relativity. It may be concluded that the power of the “signal” and of the “noise” of control systems engineering is nil. In other words, neither signal nor noise exist for control systems engineering.

    Though neither can exist, it is possible for information to reach us from the future. We rely upon receipt of this information in controlling systems such as the climate In designing the equipment that will receive this information we cannot rely upon the principle of maximizing the ratio of the signal power to the noise power for this ratio is 0/0. We have to rely upon a properly constituted statistical population. Climatologists have tried to create a science of climate without one.

  40. Gosh, I would have thought that a bunch of statisticians would have heard of a “drunkard’s walk with an upward trend.”

  41. Briggs

    August 28, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Rob Ryan,

    Gosh, your comment is a perfect demonstration of the fallacy that probability is a cause.

    And, of course, the IPCC did not forecast a “drunkard’s walk”, upward trend or not. They forecasted an upward trend.

    There is no evading the definitive evidence that the climate models don’t even demonstrate persistence skill.

  42. Rather than say, a car, an applicable analogy might be the S&P 500. No one knows the level at which it will end 2014, let alone 2015, 2016, etc. And wherever it ends, it will have been caused by some factors related to psychology, events external to the market, some CEO retiring or dying, etc. And the rise in the S&P 500 since 1950 has been a couple orders of magnitude. Yet, since 2000 it’s oscillated between the 1500s and the 800s. If you bought that basket in January of 2000, you’d have seen you investment halved and only recently gotten back to where you were. But, looking at it, it would be hard to call anyone foolish who’d claimed in 1950 “there is an economic forcing that, in the long term, will cause the value of stocks in that basket to rise.”

  43. Briggs

    August 28, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Rob Ryan,

    No, sir. A bad analogy. Your example concludes what it sets out to prove, that the temperatures will in fact rise just like the S&P did. We are asking whether the temperature will rise. And what evidence is there for that except for two decades of busted forecasts?

  44. Sheri,

    The IPCC science document has always indicated uncertainty.

    Thank you.

    “Total radiative forcing is positive, and has led to an uptake of energy by the climate system. The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750″

    Since 1750. Cumulative over a long period of time. Are average temperatures today higher or lower than in 1750?

    “Extremely Likely” sounds very definative. How else am I to interpret this?

    By not conflating it with uncertainty in the forward looking models.

  45. Tom Scharf,

    Now what is interesting beyond the usual predictable banter here is that I can find almost no evidence that the modelers themselves have stated publicly they have a lot of confidence in their own projections.

    I thought I already spoke to this directly. I constantly see discussions in literature of great uncertantites and unresolved problems. This is one of those “big news” things which is nothing of the sort.

    The media really doesn’t do their job here from my point of view.

    Don’t get me started on how terrible, awful, inaccurate, pig-ignorant some journalists and prominent activists are. And I’ve no love for the political parties’ treatment either. Both sides of the debate.

  46. Briggs,

    And what evidence is there for that except for two decades of busted forecasts?

    The S&P analogy was a bad analogy, no doubt about it. Yet attacking that position with the fallacy of incomplete evidence is hardly any more compelling.

  47. Briggs

    August 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    Brandon,

    Attacking it via bad and busted forecasts, however, is compelling.

  48. Bob,

    Here’s one point that I don’t think commentors (sp?) have mentioned. There are various sources, causal mechanisms, for temperature/climate, including solar variation, H2O as a greenhouse gas, etc., etc.

    I addressed that generally in my 10:21 am post to DAV. Again, the various causal mechanisms, feedbacks, solar variation, and the observation that water vapor is the single highest contributor to instantaneous radiative forcing in the atmosphere is no secret in literature, nor has it been since … I don’t know when … almost forever– call it mid-20th century. Ah yes, this source says 1960s:

    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/files/brt18.pdf

  49. Briggs,

    Attacking it via bad and busted forecasts, however, is compelling.

    No question that it’s compelling. Whether it is correct to do so seems a matter of widely differing opinion. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the technical chops to take you on head to head on that score. Which frankly sucks for me.

  50. 2nd blockquote snafu of the day …. [sigh]

  51. DAV,

    They could have suddenly come to the realization …

    Could, might, maybe. Where’s the evidence to support your argument? Insinuations don’t cut it in science.

  52. Why is it so hard to say “we’ve looked at the data, and we don’t shagging know” ?

  53. Brandon: “Extremely likely” is the highest ranked certainty the IPCC gives. The highest would indicate they’re very, very sure of their results. Sure, they might be off by a bit, but they are very, very sure. If they meant that it’s kind of sort of going to happen but the models might be missing a few factors, I would have thought they would have used a less definitive term (they have a list of these terms in their documents and what they mean and there are other less certain terms). They are scientists, right?

    Whether or not the temperatures have risen since 1750 does not prove that CO2 had anything to do with it. It just shows the temperature has risen and so has the CO2 accumulations. Correlation is not causality.

    What predictions have actually come true in climate science? That temperature has risen? Yes. That is correlates to CO2? Not really, unless you throw in some of the “explanations” such as the Atlantic stored it, no wait, now it’s the Pacific (I just saw that new statement today). Virtually all the predictions from the models were barely within the error margins or outside the margins. More extreme weather? Nope, not happening. Arctic ice melting–yes, but faster than the models predicted, so another fail. Some thought Arctic and Antarctic ice melts would mirror each other, but no, that didn’t happen. Lack of snow–some places, some not. Species extinctions–nope. The latest IPCC report seems to have removed a large portion of quantitative predictions and just goes with “may increase”, “may cause bad things”, etc. That’s not really a scientific statement. I can’t find any predictions other than the temperature will continue to go up (but at an undetermined rate) that actually have come true. When a theory has this many “fails”, the theory needs discarded and a new theory put forth that actually produces predictions that come true. This is how science works–if the theory cannot explain or predict, you toss it and try a new one or you suspend all statements until you have adequate knowledge to actually prove your theory.

    As for your comment to DAV that “insinuations don’t cut it in science”, I believe you are mistaking an hypothesis for an insinuation. It really didn’t sound like an argument, just speculation. At this point, DAV would have to test the hypothesis and see if the data matched. That would be the scientific thing to do.

  54. Sheri,

    “Extremely likely” is the highest ranked certainty the IPCC gives.

    Here’s the quote we’re discussing again:

    “Everyone* agrees that the greenhouse effect is real, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Everyone* agrees that CO2 rise is anthropogenic Everyone** agrees that we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either.”

    Does that statement contain only statements of high certainty?

    They are scientists, right?

    Yah, and they’re careful to be specific about what they’re talking about, as comprehensive as possible in the space alotted without too many unecessary sweeping generalizations. It’s an art — there’s a lot of material to cover.

    Whether or not the temperatures have risen since 1750 does not prove that CO2 had anything to do with it. It just shows the temperature has risen and so has the CO2 accumulations. Correlation is not causality.

    Fill in the blank:

    Any competing model explaining the warming trend due to something other than CO2 would be also expected to show a ______________ with the temperature record.

    Of course, as I keep saying ad naseum, there ARE other factors, of which CO2 is only one, and they ARE being actively studied:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

    That only covers radiative forcings and feedbacks (yes, including the SUN). None of the Earth’s internal variations (the bulk of which are driven by the oceans) are shown there since those are expected to NET TO ZERO (ie, to be trendless) over extended periods of time, and the decadal timeframe of those variations was beyond the purpose of that particular writeup.

    What predictions have actually come true in climate science?

    Some predictions plus some history for perspective:

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

    1824 Fourier calculates that the Earth would be far colder if it lacked an atmosphere.
    1859 Tyndall discovers that some gases block infrared radiation. He suggests that changes in the concentration of the gases could bring climate change.
    1896 Arrhenius publishes first calculation of global warming from human emissions of CO2.
    1897 Chamberlin produces a model for global carbon exchange including feedbacks.
    1930s Global warming trend since late 19th century reported.
    1930s Milankovitch proposes orbital changes as the cause of ice ages.
    1938 Callendar argues that CO2 greenhouse global warming is underway, reviving interest in the question.
    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.
    1956 Phillips produces a somewhat realistic computer model of the global atmosphere.
    1956 Plass calculates that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will have a significant effect on the radiation balance.
    1957 Revelle finds that CO2 produced by humans will not be readily absorbed by the oceans.
    1958 Telescope studies show a greenhouse effect raises temperature of the atmosphere of Venus far above the boiling point of water.
    1960 Keeling accurately measures CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere and detects an annual rise. The level is 315 ppm. Mean global temperature (five-year average) is 13.9°C.
    1963 Calculations suggest that feedback with water vapor could make the climate acutely sensitive to changes in CO2 level.
    1965 Boulder, Colo. meeting on causes of climate change: Lorenz and others point out the chaotic nature of climate system and the possibility of sudden shifts.
    1967 International Global Atmospheric Research Program established, mainly to gather data for better short-range weather prediction, but including climate.
    1967 Manabe and Wetherald make a convincing calculation that doubling CO2 would raise world temperatures a couple of degrees.
    1968 Studies suggest a possibility of collapse of Antarctic ice sheets, which would raise sea levels catastrophically.
    1970 Creation of US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the world’s leading funder of climate research.
    1970 Aerosols from human activity are shown to be increasing swiftly. Bryson claims they counteract global warming and may bring serious cooling.
    1971 SMIC conference of leading scientists reports a danger of rapid and serious global change caused by humans, calls for an organized research effort.
    1974 Serious droughts since 1972 increase concern about climate, with cooling from aerosols suspected to be as likely as warming; scientists are doubtful as journalists talk of a new ice age.
    1975 Manabe and collaborators produce complex but plausible computer models which show a temperature rise of several degrees for doubled CO2.
    1977 Scientific opinion tends to converge on global warming, not cooling, as the chief climate risk in next century.
    1979 US National Academy of Sciences report finds it highly credible that doubling CO2 will bring 1.5-4.5°C global warming.
    1981 Hansen and others show that sulfate aerosols can significantly cool the climate, raising confidence in models showing future greenhouse warming.
    1981 Some scientists predict greenhouse warming “signal” should be visible by about the year 2000.
    1988 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is established.
    1991 Mt. Pinatubo explodes; Hansen predicts cooling pattern, verifying (by 1995) computer models of aerosol effects.
    1998 “Super El Niño” causes weather disasters and warmest year on record (approximately matched by 2005, 2007 and 2010). Borehole data confirm extraordinary warming trend.
    1998 Qualms about arbitrariness in computer models diminish as teams model ice-age climate and dispense with special adjustments to reproduce current climate.
    2001 Third IPCC report states baldly that global warming, unprecedented since end of last ice age, is “very likely,” with possible severe surprises. Effective end of debate among all but a few scientists.
    2001 Warming observed in ocean basins; match with computer models gives a clear signature of greenhouse effect warming.
    2002 Studies find surprisingly strong “global dimming,” due to pollution, has retarded arrival of greenhouse warming, but dimming is now decreasing.
    2003 Numerous observations raise concern that collapse of ice sheets (West Antarctica, Greenland) can raise sea levels faster than most had believed.
    2013 An apparent pause or “hiatus” in global warming of the atmosphere since 1998 is discussed and explained; the oceans have continued to get warmer.

    First predictions date from the early 20th century. The theories were first developed in the mid-19th century. I call that pretty impressive.

    Not really, unless you throw in some of the “explanations” …

    The climate system contains more than CO2. I challenge you to describe the behavior of a HUGE, complex, highly dynamic system containing a vast number of unknowns without resorting to “explanations” in scare quotes.

    See also: hypotheses have to start somewhere.

    As for your comment to DAV that “insinuations don’t cut it in science”, I believe you are mistaking an hypothesis for an insinuation.

    See my comments on Bob Kurland’s latest post from Monday.

    At this point, DAV would have to test the hypothesis and see if the data matched. That would be the scientific thing to do.

    I challenged his statement for that very reason because he left it at the “maybe” stage … even though what the IPCC has been publishing since being founded in 1988 is a matter of public record.

  55. The climate system contains more than CO2.

    Amazing you agree. As Sheri pointed out, the IPCC has said :

    “Total radiative forcing is positive, and has led to an uptake of energy by the climate system. The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750″ on page 13.

    And

    “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” pg 17

    Both are at odds with “we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know.” As if they know the short-term response at all. The statement is saying “We don’t know what or how much of a role CO2 plays.” If the models of the short-term response have no predictive power then you can’t claim to know what the short-term response is. So the claim on p13 ,The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750, is pure BS.

  56. DAV,

    Amazing you agree.

    Why?

    Both are at odds with “we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know.”

    What’s the difference between events in the past and events in the future? Does it make rational sense to you to compare them as if they were the same thing?

    As if they know the short-term response at all.

    What’s “short-term” to you? 1 year? 5 years? 25? Does 1750 to 2014 qualify as “short-term”?

    No?

    Then why are you comparing apples to oranges again?

  57. Sheri,

    The latest IPCC report seems to have removed a large portion of quantitative predictions and just goes with “may increase”, “may cause bad things”, etc.

    “Seems”? How about some specific examples? What basis for comparison was used to arrive at this determination? Word counts? What?

    That’s not really a scientific statement.

    Pick a paper from some field other than climatology which you trust. Count how many times it uses qualifiers such as “may”, “might”, “could” etc. Keep in mind that a good scientific study is honest about uncertainty.

    Virtually all the predictions from the models were barely within the error margins or outside the margins.

    Which predictions, when? Over what period of time? Are we talking the last 20 years here or something else? Which models? Were some closer than others? Why were some more off than others?

    More extreme weather?

    When were those predictions made? What were the specific predictions made? What period of time did they cover (ie, how far in the future did the predictions cover from the time they were made)?

    Arctic ice melting–yes, but faster than the models predicted, so another fail.

    And that falsifies CO2 warming how exactly? Think about what you just wrote — a predicted effect of warming happened faster than predicted, and that falsifies the theory that CO2 causes warming?

    Some thought Arctic and Antarctic ice melts would mirror each other, but no, that didn’t happen.

    Specifics, Sheri. Who said this? When did they say it? Are you talking Antarctic sea ice or land ice? (Two very different animals). Same question as previous: how does a failed prediction of a secondary effect of warming falisify the underlying theory behind the warming itself?

    Lack of snow–some places, some not.

    Which places? How far off were the predictions? When were the predictions made? Snowmelt is an effect of warming: how does a failed prediction of an effect of warming falsify the underlying theory behind the warming itself?

    Species extinctions–nope.

    Who made the predictions? When did they make them? Over what period of time were the predictions supposed to take place?

  58. Brandon: No, said quote does not say that. However, the quote is from an author and not the IPCC itself. I believe the IPCC itself was also included in this discussion. The apparent clarification by one author was not followed by, nor will it be followed by (and I would call that prediction near certainty) the IPCC that the models don’t work. Only if you actually read the science document, 1500 pages long, does the uncertainty come out. When documents released to the public do not contain that uncertainty, I consider that dishonest. (And stop trying to avoid negative outcomes by narrowly defining this discussion. I’m not up for “these five word mean” game. We either discuss or not.)

    The IPCC scientists either are not having any input what soever into the final paper, meaning the IPCC document released to the public is Political, not scientific, or they are going along and allowing their science to be skewed and the public to be shammed. A few authors have quit over this, but I believe the majority stay silent. If my science were being misquoted and stolen for political purposes, I’d either quit science or scream very loudly that the science is not being followed. Then I’d be labelled a “den*er” and vilified. You’re too smart not to see this so I have to believe you’re just clinging to AGW out of familiarity and dissecting arguments to avoid the truth.

    Filling in your blank: “strong correlation” comes to mind, though if it’s a secondary factor or group thereof, the correlation will be shown through another variable. Until that variable is found and has actual correlation of virtually 100%, we have problem.

    As for your “predictions”: Most are not predictions. They are hypothesis which are not yet proven or do not definatively prove CO2 is the cause of the temperature rise. CO2 obviously is part of the system and as such has an effect. It’s the magnitude of this effect that is the bone of contention. Also, many refer to a “warming trend” of significance. That in itself is problematic. There are documented cases of the climate changing in very, very brief periods of the past. Generally, AGW just ignores these. 2002–if dimming was decreasing 12 years ago, where is the associated increase in temperature? Ice sheets in West Antarctica are equally likely to be melting from volcanic activity as humans–probably more so. If this is the case, all the scientists are doing is saying the equivalent of “an asteroid could hit the earth” since there is nothing we can do to stop it (scientists love to do the scare stuff–makes great scare TV). Also, frequently there is new research showing the old research was wrong. What’s a girl to believe? Dire death prediction MAY be happening or maybe we should think about why we live so close to the water? 2013: Yes, the oceans are warmer. And we have absolutely no way to know if this is a mechanism to level out the surface temperature, if it’s a ticking time bomb of AGW, or whatever. We have NO, repeating for emphasis, NO way to know what happening in the deep ocean except for possibly the last 150 years, and that’s being generous. Also, again, NOT a prediction, a statement. 2001: Not the end of the debate obviously. There are thousands of scientists who contest this, including former IPCC authors. I thought the science addressed uncertainty–that’s not saying uncertainty, Brandon. Also, again, NOT a prediction.

    I have no intentions of explaining a HUGE complex, highly dynamic system even with scary quotes. It’s not possible at this point. The current state of science is: WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW CLIMATE WORKS. (Scary Caps…..). It does not have a current scientific explanation.

    The IPCC is sadly still at the “maybe” stage. Reading the 5th assessment is just one big long line of may be, might, could be, looks like, etc. Plus, DAV did not say this was a fact–it was speculation. Are you saying the IPCC is mere speculation, too?

    (Briggs: Do you have any objections to these very lengthy tirades we love to stuff in comments? I have this vague notion that comments should not be as long as a blog post, but we seem to end up there often. )

  59. Brandon: How about we try an open thread over at my blog for answers to your questions at 8:27 pm? There’s no way to cover it here. (It’s pretty much a post unto itself.)

  60. What’s “short-term” to you?

    The actual term is irrelevant. If your hypothesis only works for the data at hand then you can’t claim a causal relationship. At best you can only say “maybe” so the claim, The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750, is unwarranted. The “maybe” has been converted to “really did”.

    What is the basis for the claim? Was it correlation? Someone once pointed out that the decline in piracy during the same period is correlated to the temperature increase. Considering the current stalled increase along with the current rise in piracy maybe they’re on to something. How is this any different than claiming CO2 is the cause? Was it some “understanding” of the process? Betts has admitted that the current CO2 forcing hypotheses have no predictive power. That means the “understanding” of how CO2 is iffy at best and the current “understanding” is only vague conjecture.

  61. I note in the transcript of this thread that as per usual logic is being stood on its head by the fact that arguments incorporating “prediction” or “forecast” are being made but these words are polysemic.

  62. Brandon,

    One thing that definitely got walked back in AR5 was extinctions:

    “There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately,” the report notes. Very low extinction rates despite considerable climate variability during past hundreds of thousands of years have led to concern that “forecasts for very high extinction rates due entirely to climate change may be overestimated.”

    “It notes that key environmental processes and life form characteristics were given scant consideration in the models — the ability of plants and animals to adapt to new climatic conditions, for example. Consequently, the new assessment report will not include any concrete figures regarding the percentage of species that could become extinct as a result of global warming.”

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/new-un-climate-report-casts-doubt-on-earlier-extinction-predictions-a-960569.html

    Extreme Events:

    I’m not going go track this down at the moment, but both hurricanes and droughts have been walked back over the past few reports.

    It’s not a conspiracy, this is the way science is supposed to work. But nobody with a bit of common sense gave the nutty extinction numbers in AR4 any real credibility, they were simply crazy. What is curious is how they really ever made it in there to begin with.

    Then they “cleverly” phrased it in terms such 30% of species will be at risk of extinction. This of course turns into 30% of species will go extinct by 2100 by the time the media gets a hold of it. The cynical part of me believe these types of phrases are worded knowingly, and almost invitingly, to be reconstructed with more certainty.

  63. Sheri,

    How about we try an open thread over at my blog for answers to your questions at 8:27 pm? There’s no way to cover it here. (It’s pretty much a post unto itself.)

    [grin] Yeah, that was kind of my point, I should have been more explicit about that. I’d be happy to drill into it with you on your blog. Might not be able to get to it until tomorrow, but if you build it I will come. May I suggest cross-posting it here if it’s ok with you and Briggs to do so in case anyone else is interested in that discussion.

  64. What’s the URL of Sheri’s blog?

  65. My blog is http://watchingthewatchersofdeniers.wordpress.com

    I will be off the computer until Monday (unless the weather fails to cooperate) but feel free to post away on the open thread.

  66. I disagree (sorry for the delay, I have a job and we had our semi-annual board meeting). I’m not talking about “See? The guy in 1950 was right.” I’m saying that someone can state that “I have here a model which, with these parameters, indicates that there’s a forcing ‘x’ that is very likely to cause a (trend, tendency, whatever but not a monotonic increase) ‘y.'”

    Someone who said “buy the S&P 500, there is an economic forcing that will cause it to tend to rise” in 1950 would have seen a hiatus several times since then but would clearly have been correct. She might even have had a model with graphs.

    Will that continue for another 60 years (and, at age 60, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense for me to bet on it either way, it’s possible I won’t live long enough to collect or pay off)? I couldn’t say, but someone who sarcastically said “we know the S&P 500 is rising because it isn’t” in, say, 1981 because it had yet to match its 1973 high would have been wrong. Does that mean her model was “right?” Depends on your definition of “right.” It undoubtedly did not capture each month or even each year with accuracy but it certainly can be argued that it captured some important component.

    As to the broadest view, I think that most readers and commenters would agree that increasing CO2 without a decrease in insolation will increase the amount of solar energy retained in the earth/ocean/atmosphere geophysical system (if not, we really don’t have a lot to discuss, though my nagging, unanswered questions about statistics remain) . How would you contend that that energy is reflected in the behavior of the system?

  67. Sheri,

    No, said quote does not say that. However, the quote is from an author and not the IPCC itself.

    It’s one person’s opinion, however it is an opinion that carries great weight with me given his lead authorship status. I’m giving it all the due weight that it deserves, and am glad that he’s so frankly outspoken about it. That’s the best tradition of science, and I applaud him for his blunt honesty.

    I believe the IPCC itself was also included in this discussion.

    As it should be.

    When documents released to the public do not contain that uncertainty, I consider that dishonest.

    I agree with you on principle. I’m asking for specific examples to back up your claim.

    And stop trying to avoid negative outcomes by narrowly defining this discussion. I’m not up for “these five word mean” game. We either discuss or not.

    My dear, that really pissed me off when I first read it. I spent the last hour tearing you a new one for it, then flushed it. [Don’t dictate to me what I talk about … free speech … yadda yadda.] I think that about covers that speech. If you’ve got a problem with a specific argument I’m making it, please address it directly. That said, I do consider myself in-bounds when I express a wish to foucs on science or a particular issue within the science.

    The IPCC scientists either are not having any input what soever into the final paper, meaning the IPCC document released to the public is Political, not scientific, or they are going along and allowing their science to be skewed and the public to be shammed.

    Unfortunately I’m inclined to believe you … those are allegations I’ve read elsewhere, and I think there’s a substantial amount of evidence giving them credence. Very much Do. Not. Want.

    A few authors have quit over this, but I believe the majority stay silent.

    My hope is that Revkin is the tip of the spear. I want the BS to stop as well. It won’t of course, but I’d love to see some improvement.

    Then I’d be labelled a “den*er” and vilified.

    Again, unfortunately, you’re almost 100% certainly correct.

    You’re too smart not to see this so I have to believe you’re just clinging to AGW out of familiarity and dissecting arguments to avoid the truth.

    Tut. I am smart, I do see it … however give me due credit here: I’ve spoken to that kind of chicanery in this very forum. I’d be a damn liar if I tried to tell you that I don’t have one big mother of a chip on my shoulder when I post to this blog. But I’m talking climate science here, not psychoanalyzing you from remote. Or calling you a kindergartner. Me dissecting your arguments is not name-calling.

    Filling in your blank: “strong correlation” comes to mind, though if it’s a secondary factor or group thereof, the correlation will be shown through another variable. Until that variable is found and has actual correlation of virtually 100%, we have problem.

    If and when some correlation is found that relegates CO2 to the trashbin of egregiously fraudulent scientific SNAFUs, what are you going to tell the first CO2/AGW/CC holdout who says to you: Correlation is not causation?

    I rather imagine it would be something along the lines of, “Get stuffed, you’re not dealing with reality.”

    But by jove, you’d have to show me the correlation and have a solid hypothesis grounded in well-established physics at the basis of it all … not JUST the correlation. Then and only then would I agree with you … but I’d do my best to attack their argument, not them [wink].

    CO2 obviously is part of the system and as such has an effect. It’s the magnitude of this effect that is the bone of contention.

    Agree.

    Also, many refer to a “warming trend” of significance. That in itself is problematic.

    Why the scare quotes? Look at the graphs from 1750. Did the temperature trend up or down?

    The significance is problematic since that means elebentyzillion different things to people in this debate. [I deleted the rant that originally followed that sentence for some faint hope of brevity.]

    There are documented cases of the climate changing in very, very brief periods of the past. Generally, AGW just ignores these.

    That’s directly referenced in the link I provided. As well, I’ve addressed this before on this very blog:

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=12914

    In that post I reference this paper from 1990:

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

    Starting at the bottom right of p. 141:

    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.

    Rapid events. NOTHING about CO2, but OTHER things going on in the system absent our own intervention. That’s called establishing a baseline behavior for the system and controlling for our presence and any putative influence on the system. We need that to be able to tease out any effect whe might have on things from what the planet has been known to do on its very own in the past.

    Now 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.

    Again, not CO2 as a driver of the change, but what its effect, as well as other GHGs, have on feedbacks in response to rapid transient events.

    The reasons CO2 sensitivity is so tough to pin down — as Revkin so very honestly, bluntly and frankly discusses in his quote above — is because of all the other, hugely influential forces in the rest of the system — AND which are being agressively and actively studied because of their net influence on climate response.

    In sum: “Climatologists are generally ignoring X in the Y historical record” is a not a true statement. The very reason you know to ask about X factor in Y history is because X has been paid attention to during Y historical period, studied extensively and published in journals as a matter of public record. As it should be. How else would you know about these things in the first place?

  68. DAV,

    The actual term is irrelevant.

    No kidding. That’s why I’m asking you to quantify it.

    If your hypothesis only works for the data at hand then you can’t claim a causal relationship.

    Something every science major learns in the first year. If not, at least by the second. But it’s only that clean in first and second year labs. Multivariate models of complex chaotic physical systems don’t always fall into such neatly defined yes/no buckets. Think particle physics. Cosmology. Biological sciences.

    I’ll leave the soft sciences out of it; completely different beasts. That’s why the S&P analogy we’ve been reading about on this thread doesn’t fly.

    At best you can only say “maybe” so the claim, The largest contribution to total radiative forcing is caused by the increase in the atmospheric concentration of CO2 since 1750, is unwarranted. The “maybe” has been converted to “really did”.

    Your original quote had the qualifier following it, now you’ve snipped it out. Here it is again:

    It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” pg 17

    I’ve already gone on record as recognizing that the IPCC has political agendas which taint the science and their own output. Further snipping up an already short quote doesn’t convince me that the opposition is any better.

    What is the basis for the claim? Was it correlation?

    It would be pretty silly to claim causality where no correlation existed.

    Here’s a paper I have on hand:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_3.pdf

    Figure 6, page 672 shows GISS III model runs against observations.

    Here’s another even more recent one:

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2011/2011_Hansen_etal_1.pdf

    The following figures show performance of various models to observations:

    Page 13425:

    Fig. 4. (a) First 123 yr of climate response function, from Fig. 3, (b) comparison of observed global temperature, mean result of 5-member ensemble of simulations with the GISS global climate modelE-R, and the simple Green’s function calculation using the climate response function in (a).

    Page 13429:

    Fig. 7. Green’s function calculation of surface temperature change and planetary energy imbalance. Three choices for climate response function are slow (top row, same as GISS modelE-R), intermediate (middle) and fast response (bottom). Factor “constant” multiplies aerosol forcing of Fig. 1.

    Page 13440:

    Fig. 18. Climate forcings and their contributions (red curves) to temperature change and planetary energy imbalance. (a) shows the effect of the total forcing and (b) through (g) show effects of individual forcings. Observed global temperature change is included in the middle column for comparison; base period for temperature is 1951–1980 (zero mean) for observations and model.

    Error bars and expressions of uncertainty throughout all of the above. Both papers are citations from the NASA GISS model forcings page, which has a few other citations to boot:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

    Someone once pointed out that the decline in piracy during the same period is correlated to the temperature increase.

    I laughed my butt off when I read it, too because it was part of an open letter to the Kansas board of education being critical of their intent to teach intelligent design in public schools:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070407182624/http://www.venganza.org/about/open-letter/

    Spurious correlation is something I learned about in first year stats. I also learned about Type I errors. Et tu, Type II?

    Betts has admitted that the current CO2 forcing hypotheses have no predictive power.

    These are his exact words:

    “Everyone* agrees that the greenhouse effect is real, and that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Everyone* agrees that CO2 rise is anthropogenic Everyone** agrees that we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either.”

    Please point out where it is he said, “have no predictive power”. And then review your above statements about converting uncertainty to absolute certainty. See also reading the entire quote. I’ve taken on the “We don’t know” part head-on. I’m not uncomfortable about it being there, it’s been in the primary literature as far back as I can remember reading.

  69. Tom,

    One thing that definitely got walked back in AR5 was extinctions: “There is very little confidence that models currently predict extinction risk accurately,” the report notes.

    Good. I thought it was dubious of them to go there with much confidence to begin with. Species distinction is a risk given that we rely on a healthy biosphere for our own survival. That gets downplayed in the press all to often and turned into, “ZOMG, we’re killing polar bears.” I’m not a fan. Humans first. Species we depend on for survival next. Cute fluffy animals that would sooner rip us in half and eat us than snuggle up on the couch and watch a movie … dead last.

    I’m not going go track this down at the moment, but both hurricanes and droughts have been walked back over the past few reports.

    Not surprising. I cringed when they made those predictions as well. Weather is so very unpredicatble on an annual basis. When the press latches onto every major storm that comes down the pike I doubly want to gouge my eyes out in tearful frustration. I really hate it when I see activist scientists do it. It sets a poor example, and sets them up to fail when next season is fair weather. This happens with depressing regularity.

    It’s not a conspiracy, this is the way science is supposed to work.

    Thank you. That’s how good skepticism is supposed to work.

    The cynical part of me believe these types of phrases are worded knowingly, and almost invitingly, to be reconstructed with more certainty.

    I honestly wouldn’t doubt it, and I really wish they’d wake up and stop doing it if it is intentional. Actually … I wish they’d stop doing it at all. Period.

    My stance is that (C)AGW/CC isn’t something liberal environmentalists cooked up out of whole cloth, but it is something they latched on to. Plan A: renewable green energy. Plan B: we’re dead. They’ve been throwing out that false dichotomy for decades now, and it’s gotten us nowhere but more pissed off at each other.

    My Plan C: bite the bullet and build the damn nukes already. Geothermal as well. Plus: start researching climate engineering in a serious way instead of crying foul every time someone has the temerity to broach the topic.

    IMO, we’re not going to get there by reducing emissions. It’s past time for the left to start listening to that and doing something else about it instead of continuing to vilify the right and throwing the whole thing into gridlock.

  70. Rob Ryan,

    Someone who said “buy the S&P 500, there is an economic forcing that will cause it to tend to rise” in 1950 would have seen a hiatus several times since then but would clearly have been correct.

    I understand what you’re saying here because I myself looked at the temperature record 20 years ago and said, “Hrm, why all those dips and wiggles for decades at a time?”

    I don’t like the S&P analogy though. Human behavior is mostly stochastic. Climate is far more chaotic. What we don’t know how to predict in climate with physics we model stochastically and do scads of model runs to get averages. Those averages come out as smooth curves that don’t match the wiggles caused by ocean/atmospheric heat exchange oscillations. And then there are clouds, ice loss, snow melt, etc.

    There’s no guarantee the S&P isn’t going to crash tomorrow and not come back for 20 years, if ever.

    That kind of unpredictable volatility doesn’t exist in the climate system. Surface temps revert to the mean in a way that some equities traders think stocks do. Those kind of traders go belly up with predictable regularity. By the same token, it’s not at all surprising to me that some stock traders think climate is as unpredictable as the market.

    As to the broadest view, I think that most readers and commenters would agree that increasing CO2 without a decrease in insolation will increase the amount of solar energy retained in the earth/ocean/atmosphere geophysical system …

    LOL, not on this blog. And not out in the general public either:

    http://www.pewresearch.org/files/2013/09/KDP_Global_Warming.png

    44% of all adults say strong evidence that global warming is happening mostly because of human activity.

    Also note that appeals to the majority will get you worse nowhere with this crowd (not entirely unfairly) … but also even if you’re talking a majority of experts:

    The Consensus Fallacy: http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=12474

  71. The actual term is irrelevant.

    No kidding. That’s why I’m asking you to quantify it.

    You seriously want to quantify an irrelevancy? Whatever for?

    As for the rest, your tendency to serially answer each sentence makes you appear inane — like in the above exchange. Can’t you address the ideas presented at least by paragraph? Your comments would then likely be more to the point.

    I take it you not only misunderstood what I said; you also don’t really understand the unnecessary and lengthy portions you quoted. You excerpted a procedure and some results but didn’t supply any of the reasoning that I asked for behind the IPCC claim I quoted.

    Please point out where it is he said, “have no predictive power”.

    Funny, you quoted it: we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know.

    Why exactly did you put quote marks around “have no predictive power”? I didn’t use quote marks so why are you?

  72. My stance is that (C)AGW/CC isn’t something liberal environmentalists cooked up out of whole cloth, but it is something they latched on to.

    Many of the same claims of cause ( specifically, humans using fossil fuels among) were also applied to the Global Cooling panic in the 70’s. It’s deja vu all over again.

  73. DAV,

    As for the rest, your tendency to serially answer each sentence makes you appear inane — like in the above exchange.

    That’s not talking about the science.

  74. Brandon, I don’t appeal to the consensus. I merely say that I don’t really have much of a basis for conversation about the earth/ocean/atmosphere geophysical system with people who don’t think that an increased amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will result in an additional amount of energy in that system. This is really pretty basic radiation physics and does not come from climatologists though, of course, they use this physics.

    If that is agreed, a discussion can be had around ways in which that additional energy might appear in the system and what “feedbacks” (positive or negative) might increase or decrease any such effects. But, for those who dispute that basic point, I really don’t know what discussion can be had.

    As to consensus itself, no one has time to become an expert on everything from first principles. It’s the height of arrogance to decide that the consensus is wrong without that basic expertise. This is true of climate, of economics, of mathematics, of biology, of ecology, of [you name it]. If you’re going to argue with those who have done the hard work of building the edifice of knowledge on such a complex topic and yet are unwilling or unable to do that work yourself (no fault here, we all have limits on our time, on our abilities, our interests, etc.), then you must either accept the consensus and trust it to change as data drives it or else shut up. Doing otherwise is arrogance. Deciding that you’re against the consensus on the basis that you don’t like its conclusions is delusional.

    Huge respect is earned by those who decide they want to become an expert on a topic and put in the long hours of hard work and thereby have a basis for their contention that this or that may or may not happen. This is true regardless of whether such people acquire Ph.D’s, get published in journals, etc. Huge disrespect is earned by those won’t do that work but yet declare that those who have done so are wrong.

    A lot of interesting discussion can be had among non-experts and between experts and non-experts (and by “experts” here, I don’t refer only to those who hold a consensus view, I refer to those who’ve done the hard work described above) as those latter work on learning, consolidating knowledge, etc. But I’m sure that our host shakes his head when those who’ve not made the deep dive to learn what statistics really can and cannot do and how to use that edifice appropriately and accurately nevertheless point out what they perceive as errors on his part.

  75. Rob,
    I don’t understand the emphasis on a theoretical proposition of CO2 adding energy over an observation of the earth not warming.
    If I put a brick in a tub of hot water I will add energy to the block theoretically and observationally. Now try sitting in a tub of hot water and put a thermometer in your mouth. When the temp doesn’t rise are you denying well established physics? I guess we all our denying it by not pretending the temperature is higher?
    You appeal to a consensus by accepting it. There is no evidence any consensus among scientists exists today or has ever existed.

  76. That’s not talking about the science.

    Admittedly so. A rather odd complaint, though, from the person who posted the off-topic chatter about the Kansas School Board and learning about Type I and II errors. The latter completely out of left field. Not only uninteresting but not at all germane to climate models or climate science. If you only want to talk about the science then do so yourself.

    Your original quote had the qualifier following it, now you’ve snipped it out.Here it is again … the IPCC has political agendas which taint the science and their own output. Further snipping up an already short quote doesn’t convince me that the opposition is any better.

    FYI: the quote from p17 is NOT a qualifier of the quote from p13. It is an additional claim. The p13 statement basically says CO2 was the cause of the temperature rise since 1750 and the p17 statement (in the report context) says we caused the CO2. How exactly does quoting the first claim but not the second taint anything — particularly when the comment in which you claim this “tainting” was done was addressing only the first claim? Do you have a reading problem?

  77. Marktaylor,

    On the other hand, my body temperature is around 98.6 degrees F. My skin temperature (I just measured it) is 93.3 degrees F. With an emissivity of around 0.97, and an estimate of my skin surface area of about 2 M^2, I can calculate that I’m radiating at a rate of around 980 watts. On the other hand, I eat (and thus metabolize) around 2000 kcal/24 hours, a rate of around 97 watts. What gives here? In fact, my body does equilibrate the heat of oxidation that it must dump to a cold reservoir and the energy it absorbs from that environment. If I’m in a hot tub at 102 degrees Fahrenheit, my skin temperature will rise to equilibrate the rate of heat transfer from metabolism, the rate of heat transfer by conduction from the water, and the rate of heat transfer by radiation from my environment and back to that environment. In other words, my skin temperature will rise. If I put the hot tub temperature high enough, my internal temperature will rise as well. Equilibrium is achieved and maintained as transients decay. There is no other way and it can certainly be measured. The extra energy I absorb via conduction from the water must produce a measurable effect and it does.

    As to consensus, such consensus may be and has been wrong, skeptical blogs are full of examples and they’re not false. But, to overturn an incorrect consensus, it’s necessary to develop the grasp of the fundamentals and understand the construct that led to the consensus. If I’m not such an expert, what weight can be given to my contention that the consensus is wrong? You can find examples all over – those who claim to overturn general relativity, those who claim that they’ve found an “out” in the second law of thermodynamics enabling fuel free energy production, etc. Their foolishness is obvious.

    The statement that “there is no consensus…” is simply false.

  78. Rob Ryan,

    I wonder how one goes about establishing there is a consensus. Strangely, the idea of a consensus in climate science seems to stem from a non-scientific group — namely, the IPCC. Assuming there is one though, I think most aren’t out to overturn it but to avoid being forced to pony up to policies based on its claims.

    All one needs to know is whether the claims are likely wrong. You don’t have to be a cook to know when a meal has been badly prepared. Likewise, you don’t need to know the ins and outs of a “consensus” to show its claims are incorrect. In the case of temperature rise with CO2 being the major cause (per IPCC claim and model output), all one needs to do is point to the last 17+ years record. Plus it’s a bit humorous to see the members of said consensus scrambling to find the “missing” heat while still claiming to “know” what’s going on.

    If it weren’t for the alarmist efforts to force policy change few would care.

  79. DAV,

    Do you have a reading problem?

    I have no trouble understanding that the question does not advance a scientific argument.

    Type I and II errors are OT for this subject? On a blog hosted by a statistician? Seriously?

  80. Type I and II errors are OT for this subject?

    Not so much OT as inapplicable to the topic. They don’t apply to climate models in general and not at all to climate hypotheses except in the could-be-right/could-be-wrong sense which is really stretching things.

  81. Rob Ryan,

    As to consensus itself, no one has time to become an expert on everything from first principles.

    All is lost here without some familiarity with and exceptance of first principles. Pretty much everyone posting here as regulars has got at least the basic physics and math. Some even more than just basics. I consider myself part of the basics category.

    It’s the height of arrogance to decide that the consensus is wrong without that basic expertise.

    I agree that expert opinions carry different weight than those of the non-expert masses, including myself as one of the masses. Experts represent an exception to the bandwagon fallacy in my mind, but I still do due diligence in understanding this field — any field — as I have time so that my trust isn’t entirely blind. But I make no mistake that it does come down to trust.

    I emphatically agree that having any discussion on this topic is impossible unless both sides of the debate accept some evidence and expertise in common and then debate the subject on the merits of the argument being made by those experts on the mutually accepted data. That does happen here, though not always. This thread isn’t a good example of it working that way.

    If you’re going to argue with those who have done the hard work of building the edifice of knowledge on such a complex topic and yet are unwilling or unable to do that work yourself … then you must either accept the consensus and trust it to change as data drives it or else shut up.

    I understand the sentiment, but I hold to the principle of being free to express opinions as well as not constraining the debate to a false dichotomy. A third option is to be skeptical and say, “I question what you’re saying because of x, y and z.”

  82. DAV,

    Let me restate what I belive your argument to be: the forward-looking models have diverged from the observed average surface temperature record for the past two decades. From that you conclude that a) the models are useless and b) that the divergence falisfies the hypothesis that rising CO2 levels cause rising the average surface temperature to rise.

    My question to you is: isn’t it within the realm of possiblitity that (b) could be a Type II error? How would you rule that out?

    Thinking about Type I errors is relevant to me as well — and particularly so because of how well some models correlate to historical global average surface temperatures as shown in the links to literature I’ve cited above. Your answer, “correlation is not causation” speaks directly to a Type I error on my part, does it not?

  83. Brandon,

    Type I and II errors are error rates of classifiers however they are also used for things like presence of a disease which is a kind of classification. To say CO2 causes temperature rise with an X% error rate is nonsensical. It’s the equivalent of saying: “The claim CO2 causes temperature rise will be wrong X% of the time.” Type I and II errors are not probabilities and climate hypotheses are not classification problems.

    As for forward-looking models, I suspect you are saying backwards-looking ones work. We’ve gone over this before. They should. The method of tuning them is effectively a curve fit. Predicting training data is easy. The models have been given the test answers in advance. The issue is if they can predict data not used in the tuning process. The most recent 17 year record screams they do not.

  84. DAV,

    The way I’ve used the terms Type I & II error may be technically incorrect. The point was to discuss the limits of statistical inference. If you know of more correct terms to use to convey my intended conceptual meaning, please supply them. For this post, I’ll continue to use them as a convenient shorthand.

    My understanding is that climatologists treat the problem as a null hypothesis test. The null hypothesis being: the observed temperature trend over the past several centuries is NOT due to human activity. There’s no “officially” stated starting year for that hypothesis, it’s just the commonly and generally stated null hypothesis. And, of course, it’s not said (except in the media by journalists, politicians and activists) that rejection of the null hypothesis as I’ve stated it means that ALL of the trend is due to human activity.

    It’s logically possible that the backward-looking models have been curve fit in such a way that the null hypothesis of NO human influence has been incorrectly rejected. (Type I error.)

    If such an over-fit has occurred, we definitely would expect forward-looking models based on training data to diverge from observations at some point, as they have.

    The crux of your argument is that a) the backward-looking models are likely over-fit because b) the forward-looking models diverge from observations when run against out-of-sample data. Yes, we’ve talked about all this in the past. I got it then, and I still understand it now. What I’m NOT saying is that your conclusion must be incorrect. I am challenging you tell me why your conclusion MUST be correct because that is how I’m reading your argument; specifically how is it that you (apparently) rule out a Type II error when making your conclusion?

  85. DAV:

    Whether the recent 17 year period is or is not significant depends upon the definition of the events underlying the models. With rare exceptions neither members of the “consensus” nor their opponents define them. If the period of an event is 30 years (the default in climatology) then the count of observed events that encompass the 17 year period is nil; thus, the record of fluctuations in this period are without scientific significant.

  86. Terry,

    Sorry but no. Obviously something is going on that’s not in the model or they wouldn’t be wrong for the last 17 years. They are by now outside of their 95% error bounds and it’s about time the modelers faced up to it. The IPCC, too. The models and apparently the theory needs to be fixed.

    That 30 year time thing is because there is a cycle with a more or less 60 year period in temperature that has been known for a long time. The year 2000 was close to one of its maxima and 1970 was close to one of its minima.

    If it weren’t for the push for all of these policies I’d be happy to wait until 2025 or so but, just like the alarmists say, it’s time to act now — but not in the way they expect.. Around 1970 the Global Cooling Scare was attempted (using all of the reasons for Warming today) but in a few short years (around 10) later, James Hansen and others switched gears and started saying Warming. They didn’t wait 30 years either.

  87. Brandon,

    The proper terms are Error Bounds for the model and flat out Right or Wrong for the hypotheses.

    When people talk about hypothesis tests with Null and Alternate hypotheses they are talking about a classifier attempting to resolve between two classes. That is NOT a proper way to look at climate hypotheses. It’s very misleading to do so. You certainly can’t apply the usual hypothesis tests. Briggs position is that hypothesis tests should be done away with period if only because they don’t actually test the hypotheses. Instead they test model parameters and who but the modelers would care about them?

    There is no difference between what you are calling backward- and forward-looking models. The models clearly cannot deal with situations as they exist today. They are broken.

    Even if they somehow managed to predict the past without being given all of the past that would likely be a fluke. The climate people can’t explain why the models are failing now so they are hardly in a position to say why they worked before. And this time they can’t just trot out a lucky volcano or two, Every attempt (such as, the warming is hiding in the ocean or in places we can’t measure like the Arctic) appears more and more like an attempt to drive a square peg into a round hole.

    I have a rather contrived example to illustrate this but it’s a bit too long to post and probably would just lead an argument. So, if you can’t see why the models are bad, and likely always were, (and by implication the theory behind them) I don’t know how to explain it to you.

  88. DAV:

    Thanks for connecting. Models that have been “wrong” for the last 17 years do not supply a description of the underlying events. Thus, the question of whether or not these models have been wrong has no answer.

    Suppose a model were to claim that you would be dead by age 30. At age 17 you were still alive. Would this model be wrong? Obviously not.

  89. Terry,

    I just note that using the 60 year cycle it was possible to predict the flattening in temperature trend around the year 2000 even before it occurred. I also note the shift from Cooling to Warming around 1980 is reminiscent of the antics of the SNL Liar: Fossil fuel use is causing Warming and not Cooling. Yeah, yeah. That’s it.

    I suspect they would have gone back to Cooling by now if it weren’t for all the things the IPCC and media have published. They just need to wait for it to turn around again ca. 2030. So far though, they haven’t shown they aren’t just chasing the cycle.

    Only time will tell but there is this ridiculous push to Act Now when the best action would be to wait and see.

  90. DAV:

    I suppose that some time in your life (perhaps in 6th grade) you constructed a histogram. If so, the height of each bar in this histogram was the entity that a statistician would call a “frequency.” A frequency is a count of those observed events having a specified outcome.

    Climatologists have been cagey about identifying the events underlying their models. A consequence is for it to be impossible to determine whether observed relative frequencies match or do not match predicted relative frequencies. That this is impossible makes the predicted relative frequencies non-falsifiable thus unscientific.

  91. Terry,

    I might also point toward the scrambling to find a reason for the flattening that the models seem to have overlooked. Even the climatologists seem to realize something is amiss. And you can pretty much bet that there is an equal scramble to find a model that would incorporate the flattening but so far haven’t been able to do so or it would have been trumpeted quite vigorously.

    BTW: your analogy to the predicted death is a bit inapt. There is no single event here. The models say we should be at X by following a rather straight line but we find ourselves a Y. We are now outside of the 95% error bounds for all but two of them and centered on their averages. There predictions (and let’s not quibble over the word) of where we should be now are far from where we are. In every other field, this means Failed.

  92. Terry,

    Whether the recent 17 year period is or is not significant depends upon the definition of the events underlying the models. With rare exceptions neither members of the “consensus” nor their opponents define them.

    When you mean members of the consensus, do you mean amateurs such as myself, or published peer-reviewed literature? In this discussion, the scope of the events has been limited to global average temperatures. The models output many many other parameters, and many of those are badly off. That’s the more salient discussion to be having about them, because that’s the main purpose of the models: how much is it going to rain in a particular grid? Will there be wet years and dry years, and if so, by how much and are we talking decades at a time or only every other few years or so. What will the grid’s temperature extremes be? How much land ice is going to melt and when? What will sea levels be and when? Etc., etc.

    Global temperature is more a yardstick by which to give an easy to compare first blush approximation of model performance compared to observations. In and of itself, globally averaged surface temperatures means pretty much butkus. It’s the localized climate factors which are secondary to the increasingly retained energy in the entire system which actually matter.

    That stuff is definitely addressed specifically in literature when speaking of models. It doesn’t leak out into popular discussion much because, IMO, it’s highly technical, there’s a lot of detail, and most mass-media consumers either won’t understand it or don’t really care to hear it. We mostly just want to know how hot it’s going to be next summer, how cold it’s going to be next winter, and whether the Greenland and Antarctica ice caps are going to slide into the ocean in a significant (catastrophic) way over the next X years or not.

    DAV,

    They are by now outside of their 95% error bounds and it’s about time the modelers faced up to it. The IPCC, too.

    Odd thing to say since one of the main points of this blog entry is that the errors in the models ARE recognized, that it it is being faced up to, and publicly so. Especially in the literature, which is what matters the most. It doesn’t get fixed in the media, it gets fixed when the modelers address the issues and publish updated results.

    So, if you can’t see why the models are bad, and likely always were, (and by implication the theory behind them) I don’t know how to explain it to you.

    I accept that the models are bad by your definition of them being at the 95% error bound. Several times I’ve asked you where they’d need to be for your to accept their utility. Is 80% close enough? 50%? I ask because if your answer is 10% or less, I will simply drop it … I don’t see that as a realistic target. Especially if you mean that every year must lie with in that 10% error range over several decades of predictions.

    Personally I think 50% on the basis of decadal averages is the threshold of utility. That’s a number I pulled out of a hat. We really won’t know what’s useful or not until we get there. Until then, I’m all for improving the models. By all means yes, improve them.

    Now, “by implication the theory behind” the models’ current (non)performance … yes, of course I understand the implications. It’s the obvious thing to question.

    Your position here is that the theory IS wrong: “The proper terms are Error Bounds for the model and flat out Right or Wrong for the hypotheses.” If the models are at the outer edge of the error bounds, then the hypothesis is flat out Wrong. That’s your argument, correct?

    I don’t agree with that, which is different from not understanding it.

    The climate people can’t explain why the models are failing now so they are hardly in a position to say why they worked before.

    That’s not a scientific argument. One doesn’t say, “X researcher has been wrong in the past, so they must be wrong now as well.” Further, your argument rests on an assumption in the form of an unsupported assertion, namely that they (categorically!, universally!) cannot explain why the models are failing now.

    And this time they can’t just trot out a lucky volcano or two, Every attempt (such as, the warming is hiding in the ocean or in places we can’t measure like the Arctic) appears more and more like an attempt to drive a square peg into a round hole.

    We’re never going to be able to predict volcanic eruptions. When the major ones happen, their effects last 2-5 years. They’re a short term blip with noticeable effect, but still short term. They don’t explain the past 17 years of flat surface temperatures.

    What things appear like to you is a qualitative opinion. Physics is the supreme arbiter of the debate here. How data are analyzed is an appropriate topic as well. But those questions are best answered by discussing the research itself, with specifics.

    Here’s a specific scientific question: the oceans are the largest heat sink in the climate system, so why would it NOT be a reasonable hypothesis to suppose that the heat is “hiding” in the oceans?

    Here’s another: why is it NOT a reasonable hypothesis to suppose that the oceans exchanging heat with the atmosphere is largely responsible for annual and decadal variations in atmospheric surface temperatures?

  93. DAV:

    An idea that I’d like to impart to you is that in scientific research it is essential for it to be possible to construct a histogram. To construct one of them, a person must have a description of the underlying events. Usually, climatologists do not provide these descriptions.

  94. Dav,

    I read a fair number of both skeptical and non-skeptical blogs, and some scientific work (not a lot, that stuff takes major time to read correctly). I don’t see anyone arguing that “despite the fact that the models have not predicted a pause in the rise of global mean surface temperature, we don’t think that there’s any need for improvement of the models.”

    I hope that no one here argues that models, in general, have no use. If so, stay off of airplanes and bridges and out of tall buildings. The GCMs used by climatologists are necessarily more complex, dealing with all of the PDEs of the CFD models used by aerospace engines, along with a huge variety of other inputs. There’s no doubt that they do not capture all of the interactions between sun, sea, atmosphere, land, and biota. Nonetheless, despite your fixation on the single number, “global mean surface temperature,” such models have, in fact, predicted many things successfully.

    Again, if we assume that the results of the last 17 years conclusively prove that the models are broken, what would you speculate/estimate/hypothesize/theorize are the effects of the additional energy retained in the geophysical system? As I said above, if you think that there is no such additional energy as a result of CO2 increase then we needn’t carry on the conversation.

  95. Hopefully, it’s obvious that “aerospace engines” should read “aerospace engineers.”

  96. Rob, the convention here is to blame stuff like that on spellcheck. Briggs blames his own typos on his enemies. To my knowledge, we’re not allowed to use that one.

  97. Terry,

    To construct one of them, a person must have a description of the underlying events. Usually, climatologists do not provide these descriptions.

    That’s an abstract statement, and my abstract answer is that climate is the net sum of energy exchanges, inputs and outputs over a continuum of time. So to me, individual model parameters are the “events” we’d be looking at. It would help me understand your argument better if you have a particular citation as an illustrative example.

  98. Brandon:

    Thanks for connecting. Regarding the description of the events underlying the climate models: there was no description of them in IPCC assessment reports prior to AR5. A consequence was for it to be impossible for observed events having the various possible outcomes to be counted. Consequently, the relative frequencies of the outcomes of events did not exist for global warming climatology.

    It is by counting observed events and comparing the predicted to the observed relative frequencies that one falsifies or validates a model. That it is by counting professional researchers favoring one position or the other that one falsifies or validates a model reflects a mistaken understanding of the nature of science.

  99. Brandon:

    Events are properly described as “concrete” rather than “abstract.” That they are concrete is the property of observed events that makes it possible to count them.

    An example follows. In experiment X, the events are identified as coin flips. That they are identified makes it possible for one to count these events when they are observed. In experiment Y, the events are not identified. That they are not identified makes it impossible for one to count them.

  100. If the models are at the outer edge of the error bounds, then the hypothesis is flat out Wrong. That’s your argument, correct?

    Well, yeah. If the claim is X plus or minus E and you are outside of that range then, yes, your model is wrong. It also implies the theory behind the models is wrong. Of course, they could have been really stupid and produced a damaged model just because they could. Possible I guess. If Mann is any indication, clear thinking isn’t in their skill set. In any case, the models have been trumpeted as proving AGW. Hard to claim that if they were just messing around with so-so efforts. I note the lack of trying to backpedal their capabilities until after their limitations began to show. (This flat/not flat business).

    That’s not a scientific argument.

    Oh yes it is! It is absolutely NOT saying: One doesn’t say, “X researcher has been wrong in the past, so they must be wrong now as well. but instead it’s saying “You are wrong now so how can you claim you weren’t before?”

    Further, your argument rests on an assumption in the form of an unsupported assertion, namely that they (categorically!, universally!) cannot explain why the models are failing now.

    Nonsense. They haven’t been able to. Every week it seems there is a new “reason”. What are they waiting for? The proper sound byte moment? The 2014 elections. Be real.

    We’re never going to be able to predict volcanic eruptions. When the major ones happen, their effects last 2-5 years.

    Back to sentence by sentence rebuttal are we?

    Nobody said we could or should even be able to. Eruptions have been used in the past to explain away discrepancies between observation and the models. This time they can’t be used.

    why is it NOT a reasonable hypothesis to suppose that the oceans exchanging heat with the atmosphere is largely responsible for annual and decadal variations in atmospheric surface temperatures?

    Outside of lack of any evidence? None I guess. Same with the “missing” heat hiding in the Arctic. Any place where it can’t be corroborated will do. Heck maybe it’s holed up with Sasquatch. Maybe the alligator ate it on the bus. and it’s still in its stomach. Wherever it is, it’s obviously NOT in the models.

    Note that for the heat to be “missing”, it should have been there in the first place. Since it is not, the theory leading to thinking it being there is clearly wrong. And before you even try, there’s no partial credit in the school of Hard Knocks. The theory is Wrong and must be replaced.

    Incidentally, all of this “missing” heat business is everything BUT admitting the models are poor.

  101. Rob,

    I have zero interest in fixing the models myself or in coming up with alternates. As I said before: If it weren’t for the alarmist efforts to force policy change few would care. And I might add, I wouldn’t be among the few who would care.

    The state of climatology has been oversold and I want to be sure I’m not being handed a bum story that is backing a grab for my wallet. So far, there are numerous reasons to think I’m being had. Some of them, like the switcheroo from Cooling to Warming when the weather changed along with the retention of all the same causes; the reluctance to openly share data and methodologies; the efforts to change past data; the knee-jerk defense of the hockey stick miracle; and the things revealed by Climategate, only increase my suspicions. On the science side, the failure of the models to track a flattening that could have been predicted even in 1990 without a GCM and the obvious discrepancy with respect to it of the GCM’s are also indicators that the Gotta-Act-Now marketing of climate predictions aren’t quite on the up and up.

    if you think that there is no such additional energy as a result of CO2 increase then we needn’t carry on the conversation.

    What I have said is that the IPCC claim that CO2 was the MAJOR cause of warming since 1750 is UNWARRANTED. Not being major does not necessarily mean zero. My interest in discussing CO2 lies only in it’s overall contribution to the system. Something apparently no one knows.

  102. Dav,

    Maybe I’m not being clear on the question I asked. I didn’t ask “what portion of warming, if there is any warming, does CO2 play?” I didn’t ask you to fix the models, I didn’t ask you to critique the behavior of the modelers. I asked “if you agree that added CO2 will cause more energy from the sun to be retained in the total geophysical system, how would you speculated that that energy would be expressed?” It’s a pretty basic question, even if a potentially complex answer. A followup question is “are you aware that the output of GCMs does not consist of a table of years (or months) and the projected mean global surface temperature?”

    I guess that your answer is that you’ll wait until someone comes up with an answer that satisfies you. Ok, no sense in conversing further.

  103. Terry,

    I meant abstract as in conceptually or as a principle, not that events themselves are not concrete. Your argument is that the IPCC didn’t define events, and that models need defined events for their outputs to be falsifiable. I was, and am, asking for an example. You’ve narrowed it down to changes from AR4 to AR5, but that’s quite broad. What’s an event, or class of events that are defined in AR5 which weren’t defined in AR4?

    I do not argue, would not argue, that a consensus of scientific opinion makes or breaks a theory. The research itself does that. If the researchers say, “well almost everyone agrees with us, so we’re right” and publishes that as a conclusion in a journal without any other supporting evidence, no, of course not — that isn’t a definitive answer in support of the theory. We do see that kind of talk in the media, often by the researchers themselves — specifically in the papers written which came up with that 97% metric.

    That’s different. If you don’t agree, I ask you: why not reject mainstream medicine entirely and go with homoeopathy instead? After all, 97% of board-certified physicians say that homoeopathy is quack medicine (I hope!), so the quacks must be right. Right? The examples of pharmaceutical industries bringing dangerous and ineffective drugs to the market because of flawed studies and FDA regulatory capture are legion. We know that big money influences scientific study in a corruptive way. But most of us don’t reject medicine outright.

    I’ve just used an analogy and I expect to pay for it, especially if I press the analogy too far. Suffice to say that I know climate and medicine are very different fields. As a layperson to both fields, I ultimately need to be able to trust expert opinion. In such cases I go with what the majority of experts are saying. That does not mean that I approve of science by consensus as it is used here. That also doesn’t mean that I’m not a skeptical investigator myself, and take these things without doing my own independent study of both sides of the debate to evaluate contrary claims from one side against the other.

    I have a nuanced view of what the 97% consensus means to me. Briggs’ statement,

    Voting does not decide truth, not in science nor in politics. Nor anywhere.

    in a previous post does not address that nuance. Nor is it a generally accurate representation of what literature says. If you want to falsify AGW theory, falsify the theory, don’t attack the 97% consensus statistic — it works both ways.

  104. DAV

    Yes, I raised the issue of predicting eruptions for my own reasons. There have been no major eruptions in recent history so OF COURSE they cannot be used to “explain away” model/observation errors. You don’t think Tambora, Krakatau, Agung and Pinatubo significantly cooled global temperatures for the first several years after their major eruptions? Do you have a citation where such eruptions were used to “explain away” lack of warming?

    Yes, every week there’s a new “reason” for why the models are off. That’s because a) they know the models are wrong and b) they’re actively doing research to find out why. Do you have an answer to my oft-repeated question regarding how far off predictions can be before you’ll consider the models useful?

    You also don’t trust the modelers and researchers now since they’ve been wrong before, so you reject their current research out of hand. That’s not a falsifiable position in my book.

    I really don’t understand where you’re coming up with your statement, “the lack of trying to backpedal their capabilities until after their limitations began to show.” That’s been there from the FAR all the way back in 1990:

    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_chapter_03.pdf

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY … Many facets of the climate system are not well understood, and a significant number of the uncertainties in modelling atmospheric, cryospheric and oceanic interactions are directly due to the representation or knowledge of interactive climate feedback mechanisms. Such feedback mechanisms can either amplify or reduce the climate response resulting from a given change of climate forcing In older to predict changes in the climate system, numerical models have been developed which try to simulate the different feedback mechanisms and the interaction between the different components of the climate system … It should be noted that current simulations of climate change obtained by incomplete models may be expected to be superseded as soon as more complete models of the climate system become available.

    Back to sentence by sentence rebuttal are we?

    Yes, it’s my habit from Usenet. It gives context to my remarks without having to restate what I’m replying to and risk misstating something the other guy wrote. You do it too, so I don’t understand why it’s a topic of discussion, nor why I am the “inane” one when I do it, and you aren’t.

    It also implies the theory behind the models is wrong.

    Repeating the same thing over and over is not an argument. That’s at least the fourth time you’ve said that in this very thread.

    I’ll try a different rebuttal. You’ve said, “obviously something else must be going on.” Well yes, year to year, decade to decade something else IS going on. The quote I lifted from the FAR above speaks directly to that. When a forward-looking model prediction fails, yes, the model is wrong. But there are ” a significant number of … uncertainties in modelling atmospheric, cryosphenc and oceanic interactions” yet today.

    We’ve known about those uncertainties since 1990 from the standpoint of IPCC reports, and even further back than that — try as early as the late 19th century, Your oft-repeated “global cooling scare” in the mid-70s is one such example — but tell me, who hyped that the most … the media or the literature?

    Yet you say, “well the models fail so that implies the [CO2] theory is wrong.” How can you say that with all of the other interactions also going on in the system?

    Perhaps some perspective is in order. From 1950 to present, the average rate of warming has been 0.0125 C/year. The standard deviation for temperature over that period is 0.26 C, or 20 times the average annual rate of change. Yah, I’d say something else rather significant is going on from year to year and decade to decade. Those other things are the first place I’d look to explain the deviations on shorter periods of time.

    But whence the long term trend? If I’m off for the past 20 years and I’m looking at 200 years of data with a clear trend, why on Earth would I reject my hypothesis for explaining the trend out of hand on the basis of 10% of the total set of observations? Especially when I’ve seen the same sort of 2 to 3 decade-long wiggles in the other 90% of the data?

    “You are wrong now so how can you claim you weren’t before?”

    By a) self-identifying that I was wrong before and 2) providing an explanation for why I was wrong and 3) providing new evidence which demonstrates that what I am saying now is more correct.

    Which is a core mechanism of how the process of scientific investigation is supposed to work. If every researcher was held to the mistakes they made in their PhD thesis, no research would ever be accepted.

    Science is evidence based. Rebuttals to scientific arguments need to be evidence based to be compelling. Some examples of non-scientific rebuttals are:

    … they could have been really stupid … damaged model just because they could … if Mann is any indication, clear thinking isn’t in their skill set … just messing around with so-so efforts …

    So a couple of ad hominems, two unsupported qualitative assertions and one hasty generalization. Where’s the clear thinking scientific argument in ANY of that?

    Incidentally, all of this “missing” heat business is everything BUT admitting the models are poor.

    Incidentally, all of this business about the missing heat business is a non-scientific argument. The reason you know the models are poor is because they’ve been published. We have statements posted by IPCC authors saying, “the models are poor”. We’ve got other researchers trying to figure out why, which you wave your hands at calling them ad hoc “explanations”.

    Isn’t science an iterative process full of mistakes, looking up blind alleys and abandoning them? What would you do differently?

  105. Brandon:

    In AR4 no events are described or cited. In AR5, tucked away in Chapter 11 of the report of Working Group I, you’ll find descriptions of some events. There is something wrong with those of the events that were observed however: there are far more of them than are supported by the global temperature time series going back to 1850.

    To forget to supply descriptions of the events is to ensure failure for an attempt at conducting a scientific study for it ensures that this study will not be scientific. One of several consequences is for the models that come out of the study to supply no information to a policy maker about the outcomes from his/her policy decisions. With claims that they should be believed because they have reached a consensus professional climatologists have duped policy makers into thinking they have information when they have none.

  106. You do it too, so I don’t understand why it’s a topic of discussion, nor why I am the “inane” one when I do it, and you aren’t.

    When I do it, it’s just meant as a reminder of where the reply is coming from. without reposting the original post. When you do it you seem to take the sentence verbatim, out of context and standalone. You have a tendency to miss or forget what the containing paragraph has said.

    Repeating the same thing over and over is not an argument. That’s at least the fourth time you’ve said that in this very thread.

    Tough. I’ll keep saying it until the cows come home. I will most certainly repeat it every time you defend the models which you seem to be doing. They are broken and need to be fixed. Until they are, they shouldn’t be used especially as a basis for policy.

    “You are wrong now so how can you claim you weren’t before?”

    By a) self-identifying that I was wrong before and 2) providing an explanation for why I was wrong and 3) providing new evidence which demonstrates that what I am saying now is more correct.

    You don’t seem to see that the theory behind them is also broken. As an imperative what I asked becomes: you were wrong now; show how you weren’t before.

    And do you realize you answered a different question than the one I asked, yes? The one you answered was: “You are wrong now why were you wrong before?” The answer to which nobody cares about.

    We’ve got other researchers trying to figure out why, which you wave your hands at calling them ad hoc “explanations”.

    Sorry but no. Calling it missing heat is an attempt to claim the models and theory are A-OK and the heat is just hiding. It’s as if they would have us believe that some powerful force has risen since 1998 that was never before present. The net effect is to say we weren’t wrong before and have no idea why we are wrong now.

    Heck, even Betts said it: The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either. This is nothing more than saying, “well, they don’t work now but they did before” without any attempt to say how or admitting the theory behind them is broken. He seemingly tosses a bone to admitting it but is still trying to say “The theory is intact. Just needs a minor tweak.” Pardon me while I (*snicker*)

    You say I’m handwaving. I say they are.

  107. DAV,

    And do you realize you answered a different question than the one I asked, yes?

    I’ll rewind to where this branch of the discussion got started. Your words:

    There is no difference between what you are calling backward- and forward-looking models. The models clearly cannot deal with situations as they exist today. They are broken.

    Even if they somehow managed to predict the past without being given all of the past that would likely be a fluke. The climate people can’t explain why the models are failing now so they are hardly in a position to say why they worked before.

    Which you later summed up to:

    “You are wrong now so how can you claim you weren’t before?”

    Which is the same as saying, “You were wrong before.” Implication: “You’re wrong now.”

    Of course you’re not just implying that they’re wrong now, you explicitly say so many times. The latest iteration is:

    You don’t seem to see that the theory behind them is also broken.

    So we have, “You were wrong then, and you’re wrong now. You’ve always been wrong, and will continue to be wrong until you fix the broken theory.”

    Is that a correct summation of your position?

  108. Terry,

    In AR5, tucked away in Chapter 11 of the report of Working Group I, you’ll find descriptions of some events.

    Your statements are far to vague for me to understand or find what you’re talking about. I need at least a page number, but I’d prefer some actual text to discuss. Otherwise I end up looking for a needle in a haystack, find something else than what you are referring to, and end up talking past you. Thanks.

  109. Brandon:

    Per your request, the URL of the text that references “events” and related concepts in AR5 is http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_Chapter11_FINAL.pdf . Start reading on page 973 3rd paragraph which starts with the phrase “Climate prediction is, by nature, probabilistic…” End reading at the bottom of page 975. Note the comparison on page 975 of forecasted probability values to observed relative frequency values.

    There is nothing similar in AR4. Rather than compare forecasted probability values to observed relative frequency values, AR4 compares projected to observed global temperatures. This comparison is incapable of falsifying or validating a model.

  110. “You are wrong now so how can you claim you weren’t before?”

    Which is the same as saying, “You were wrong before.” Implication: “You’re wrong now.”

    No it isn’t. You have it backwards. It should be:
    “You were wrong now.” Implication: “You’re wrong before.”

    If there is something missing from your theory now it must have been missing before as well.

    I’m beginning to see why you digress so much.

  111. DAV,

    It should be: “You were wrong now.” Implication: “You’re wrong before.”

    I’m not contesting “You were wrong now” or “You were wrong before” with respect to the forward-looking models. I’ve already addressed it numerous times. Recall I started off this thread agreeing with Betts and lauding him for being so forthright about the state of the forward-looking models. There’s no need to imply that the forward-looking models were wrong before, we can see that they are and were by visual inspection.

    I’m beginning to see why you digress so much.

    Whatever.

  112. Terry,

    I read the section you indicated. Thanks for providing specifics.

    Rather than compare forecasted probability values to observed relative frequency values, AR4 compares projected to observed global temperatures.

    So, from your point of view, doesn’t that make AR5 an improvement on AR4?

    This comparison is incapable of falsifying or validating a model.

    Briggs and DAV likely disagree. They’re both saying that the CMIP5 forward-looking projections falsify AGW because of the global average temperature divergence over the past 17 years as shown in this chart:

    http://thefederalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Climate-Model-Comparison.png

    Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree with them, perhaps you can explain it to them.

  113. Brandon,

    I think you are confusing yourself with this forward/backward terminology. There is no real direction between them from the model’s view. It is something you are imposing on them from the outside. Any model can theoretically predict in either direction. Mathematically, a model can be expressed as F(T|parameters). To the model, T is just another parameter. Internally it might calculate F(t) using F(t-1) but that’s just a detail.

    The evidence that the models are incorrect is occurring in data from 1998 to now where their departure from the record is mos obvious. Clearly, whatever is missing from the models to cause this was always missing. Apparently it is a rather important item. If they are getting the right answers before 1998 so what? Presumably, they weren’t taking the missing item into account so it would seem if they got the right answers before 1998 (which is doubtful — particularly in the southern hemisphere — even if you ignore the questionable linear trend, see this) then it was likely for the wrong reasons and just fortuitous. Are you claiming there was some remarkable change in the climate ca. 1998 that was never there before?

  114. There is no real direction between them from the model’s view.

    Should have been:
    There is no real distinction between them from the model’s view.

  115. DAV,

    Mathematically, a model can be expressed as F(T|parameters). To the model, T is just another parameter.

    I understand. And I agree, if you take today’s bleeding edge model and set T back to, say 1940, and leave all other parameters the same, it’s going to miss that 30 year flat trend up to 1970.

    Are you claiming there was some remarkable change in the climate ca. 1998 that was never there before?

    No. The annual dips and dives on annual and decadal time scales are a feature of the global average surface temperature which are almost totally independent of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Climatologists have suspected this since the late 19th century, and began studying it in earnest in the 1960s. Heat exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans are seen as the most significant contribution to the wiggles. El Nino is the best known, but there are others — most of which interact/drive El Nino and vice versa — and all of which curently defy prediction. My reading is that those oscillations are likely to continue defying prediction for some time, and I for one am not at all surprised.

    The sun plays a part, but since about 1950, the trend in solar irradiation has been essentially flat. It’s also rather predictable during its 11 year cycle.

  116. Brandon:

    AR5 seems a step in the right direction but this appearance may differ from the reality in view of the excess of observed evens. Also, claims made by the IPCC in AR4 were not scientifically wrong because they were falsified but rather because they were not falsifiable. They were not falsifiable because the events underlying the models were not identified. This seems obvious to me. I don’t have a clue to how to explain it to Briggs or DAV.

  117. Rob
    .
    The GCMs used by climatologists are necessarily more complex, dealing with all of the PDEs of the CFD models used by aerospace engines, along with a huge variety of other inputs.
    There’s no doubt that they do not capture all of the interactions between sun, sea, atmosphere, land, and biota. Nonetheless, despite your fixation on the single number, “global mean surface temperature,” such models have, in fact, predicted many things successfully.

    .
    One must despair.
    I have thought that such falacies were already debunked in everybody’s mind.
    Yet like a zombie they seem to stay undead.
    There is nothing, I repeat NOTHING, in common between aerospace engineers and climate modellers like there is practically nothing in common between CFD and GCM.
    .
    There is a good post at Climate Etc about false analogies. These analogies are mostly done out of ignorance and sometimes with an intention to deceive.
    I consider that understanding this is paramount to understanding what climate models are and most importantly are not and I will try to debunk this aerospace “analogy” in a short but simple way.
    .
    1)
    All fluids obey Navier Stokes equations. These PEDs define the pressure, velocity, density and temperature fields given initial and boundary conditions.
    2)
    Unfortunately these non linear equations cannot be solved. It is one of the Clay problems (1M$) to prove that they admit a smooth unique solution in 3D. In other words, nobody knows today if they do.
    3)
    The only way to extract something from N-S is to solve numerically an approximation of these PED. A necessary but not sufficient condition is to use extremely small discrete space and time steps. This is what CFD does.
    4)
    The corollary from 3) is that CFD can be used only for small fluid flows. Think sizes of metres and times in hours. A flying plane qualifies. Gulf stream does not.
    5)
    GCM try to “simulate” a planet. Their space step is 100 km (10^7 or more bigger than CFD steps) and their time scale is hundreds of years.
    From that follows that the numbers that one obtains by solving the millions of equations that have a superficial similarity to a N-S numerical scheme cannot converge to a solution of N-S for the system. In reality it is even worse – it is impossible to know what is the difference between the computed numbers and the solution of N-S because the latter is unknown.
    6)
    Because the numbers produced by GCM cannot be N-S solution, they can only produce states that conserve energy and momentum. Actually being discrete they can’t even do that so that artificial “adjustments” are necessary at each step to respect conservation laws.
    7)
    Now, and this is the most iportant thing to understand, if one considers that GCM do conserve energy and momentum (with caveat in 6), then the numbers produced can be interpreted as POSSIBLE climate states.
    But possible is not probable. There is an uncountable infinity of possible states but the dynamical laws of Mother Nature will select only one. For instance we know that the probability of the system to exhibit a Gulf Stream is 100% so that any GCM that doesn’t produce a Gulf Stream may very well produce some other features that look similar to reality yet the probability of this GCM to be right (or useful) is exactly 0. The question about what is the probability of the states computed by the GCMs is the single most important question in climatology that uses GCMs. For reasons explained above, nobody has an answer and no answer can be obtained from the GCMs themselves even if they were ran billions of times.
    .
    So I hope that now everybody will understand that even if planes and climat deal both with fluids obeying N-S, there is no “analogy” between them and GCM can certainly tell us nothing useful.

  118. Brandon:
    “If and when some correlation is found that relegates CO2 to the trashbin of egregiously fraudulent scientific SNAFUs, what are you going to tell the first CO2/AGW/CC holdout who says to you: Correlation is not causation?
    I rather imagine it would be something along the lines of, “Get stuffed, you’re not dealing with reality.””

    You rather imagined incorrectly. The reason I want correlation is because without correlation, one cannot have causality. Your statement: “Any competing model explaining the warming trend due to something other than CO2 would be also expected to show a ______________ with the temperature record.” If there is not a very high degree of correlation (100% if you are claiming something is the Only cause), then causality is not being illustrated. This is a one-way street. Correlation then Causality, but not Correlation=Causality.

  119. Just to avoid problems, my sentence should say “then causality is extremely improbable”, rather than “not being illustrated”.

  120. Sheri,

    AGW is not a one-cause proposition unless one claims the “anthropogenic” component is the one cause — which is straining the definition of cause to the point of breaking. Perfect single-cause correlations are unheard of in any science unless you’re talking about free fall in a vacuum over short distances at low velocities. Climate is far from being that trivial.

  121. Brandon: What does the “A” in AGW stand for? Why are we discussing trying to cut emissions and that CO2 is a major/driving factor in climate? I am well aware climate is not that trivial, but the ONLY thing ever discussed in this is that humans are messing up the climate and if we stopped burning fossil fuels, the warming would stop (or not or maybe). Until the atmospheric temperatures stopped rising at the alarming rate they were supposed to, there was no talk of ocean heat, etc. You can argue that this is not that simplistic, but in the end, it’s humans and CO2 that are “messing up” the climate. It has been from the beginning until models failed and other natural factors suddenly became important. The models “prove” that CO2 is THE factor because if you take it out, the troposphere and stratosphere warm “incorrectly”. (That was from the online course which I do not have time to locate the exact quote and I don’t know if there was a source given. I figure if a guy with a degree from MIT made the statement, then it should be accurate.) To me, that says the theory is saying CO2 is THE factor.

  122. The “anthropogenic” label is associated with the notion that there is an anthropogenic “signal” buried in the “noise” of natural (non-anthropogenic) variation. As I point out elsewhere in this thread the power of this “signal” and the power of this “noise” is necessarily nil. This being the case, the “anthopogenic” label should be retired from service. Also, climatologists should cease the silly practice of trying to tune into a non-existent signal.

  123. TomVonk,

    Yes, it’s true that CFD programs are not, in the time available, able to numerically solve the NS equations with mesh sizes that capture reality. Nevertheless, aerodynamic engineers utilize models. They may use so-called panel codes, they may use adaptive meshes, they may use any number of combinations thereof. But they certainly model the fluid flows over an aircraft or through a turbine engine or in a stream. Engineers certainly model a 787 or A380 in a computer before putting a model, appropriately scaled using dimensional analysis and scaling laws, in a wind tunnel. And they will always miss features, but they get pretty close.

    Weather forecasters also use models to determine whether it’s likely that it will rain tomorrow, the next day, the day after that, etc., what the high and low temperatures are likely to be, what the wind speed will be and from what direction it will come. A typical model may use the finite difference method as a beginning but must be augmented for a variety of conditions at too fine a scale to be captured in the models’ grid (a cloud. for example), conditions not recognized by the primitive equations (e.g., aerosols, insolation, topography), etc. Nonetheless, I rely on the predictions (supplemented by NEXRAD radar, a Stormscope, and, as the saying goes, my Mark 1 eyball) to decide whether to fly my airplane and, if so, what route and altitude would be best.

    Similarly, structural engineers will use purpose designed FEA programs (SAP2000, STRAND7, etc.) or, sometimes, general purpose FEA programs (Nastran, Ansys, etc.) to design a bridge, a skyscraper, whatever. The equilibrium, kinetic, and constitutive equations are plugged into the program, using what the engineer deems to be an appropriate grid, and anticipated load and resistance factors applied. Members are sized, displacements calculated, reactions to various live loads (traffic, earthquake, wind, whatever) are calculated. But fatigue, corrosion, material variations, etc. are left out and parametrized (maybe). Of course, these models are typically not dynamical (though they may be combined with dynamical analysis to look at vortex shedding, earthquake response spectra, etc.).

    All the models do the same thing at a basic level. They divide the subject of an analysis into bite size increments of space and time, input initial values, and use the primitive equations and parameters to step through the grid in space and the increment in time. They are all subject to local and global errors of various kinds: machine precision errors, errors in measured or estimated initial values, etc. Proof of their numerical stability, unless the resulting matrices are very sparse, may be difficult to show.

    Nevertheless, the model are of a kind in many ways. The GCMs’ failure to predict the so-called “hiatus” or “pause” is certainly an indication that the models are not as accurate as would be desired and that features of the system exist that are not properly captured. Similarly, the wind may be out of the west rather than the southwest in Southern California tomorrow, but if I hear that it will be hot, say “lower 80s at the beach, upper 80s to lower 90s in the basin, and approaching 100 in the valleys and Inland Empire,” it’s prudent to plan accordingly. To say that the failure to predict a 17 year hiatus means that the models are so flawed as to be useless is ridiculous. And as I’ve tried to get across before, the models’ output does not consist solely of a list of dates and mean global surface temperature.

  124. Rob Ryan:

    I note that you use the polysemic term “predict” in making your argument. If this term changes meaning in the midst of this argument one cannot logically draw a conclusion from it. Perhaps, therefore, you could make this term monosemic for your readers so we can determine whether this conclusion is true.

  125. Terry, you have to realize, I’d think, that I’m using it precisely as it’s been used some 97 times in this post and the comments and am, in fact, quoting many of the comments nearly verbatim. I even said “to say that the failure to predict…” so it seems that it would be clear that I’m basically quoting others. Are you being purposely disingenuous?

  126. Rob Ryan:

    When you ask “Are you being purposely disingenuous?” I don’t know what you mean. Please clarify.

  127. Terry, my guess is that he hasn’t figured out how pedantic you can be about polysemy. Just an observation, no judgment — I have my own frustrations on this blog with lack of precision in vocabulary.

  128. Sheri,

    What does the “A” in AGW stand for?

    Anthropogenic of course. My point was that we affect the climate several different ways, which is not compatible with what is meant by “single-cause” when speaking of physical systems.

    Why are we discussing trying to cut emissions and that CO2 is a major/driving factor in climate?

    I’ve been over this already in this thread. (And in previous ones at that). Since 1750, the single largest cumulative radiative forcing contributing to the rising temperature trend is CO2:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/

    But note, this link is NOT saying that CO2 diddit to the exclusion of all else:

    These agents can be categorized into three areas: greenhouse gases, other man-made (anthropogenic) forcings, and natural forcings. The greenhouse gases consist of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N20) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Other anthropogenic forcings consist of black carbon (soot, formed by incomplete combustion), reflective aerosols (tiny airborne particles that reflect sunlight back to space), soil or dust, land cover changes, and forced cloud changes. Natural forcings include changes of the sun’s energy.

    Speaking of the Sun, from 1880 to 1940, some of the rise in temperature is attributable to the Sun:

    http://static.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Solar_vs_temp_1024.jpg

    After 1940, not so much.

    I am well aware climate is not that trivial, but the ONLY thing ever discussed in this is that humans are messing up the climate …

    It is absolutely NOT the ONLY thing ever discussed.

    Until the atmospheric temperatures stopped rising at the alarming rate they were supposed to, there was no talk of ocean heat, etc.

    Aaargh! Try going back to the mid-80s, before “everyone” was talking about global warming much at all:

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v314/n6011/pdf/314501a0.pdf

    Nature 314, 501-511 (11 April 1985) | doi:10.1038/314501a0

    The World Ocean Circulation Experiment

    J. D. Woods

    The international oceanographic community is preparing for an ambitious five-year experiment. Starting in 1990, it will provide the first comprehensive global survey of physical properties of the oceans. The resulting data set will be used to test computer models of the ocean circulation needed for predicting decadal climate change. The results will also benefit research in marine chemistry, biology and geology. This review looks at the climatalogical problems that motivated the project and discusses new observing techniques, from space and in situ, which make it timely to embark on this major step in physical exploration of the ocean.

    That link is paywalled, but this .pdf brochure contains a summary of the project:

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/woce/wdiu/wocedocs/brochure97.pdf

    Goal 1To develop ocean models useful for predicting climate change and to collect the data needed to test them:
    • How much heat and fresh water do the oceans transport and exchange with the atmosphere and cryosphere?
    • How are the ocean currents driven and the temperature and salinity determined by the atmospheric forcing?
    • How variable is the ocean? What role is played by the small eddies that fill the ocean?
    • How do the properties that are determined by the ocean’s interaction with the atmosphere move around the ocean?

    The models “prove” that CO2 is THE factor because if you take it out, the troposphere and stratosphere warm “incorrectly”.

    Proof is for math and geometry. But yes, if you take CO2 out of an atmospheric model, all sorts of things don’t work correctly. One thing that doesn’t work properly is high stratospheric cooling due to the presence of additional CO2: http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html

    I figure if a guy with a degree from MIT made the statement, then it should be accurate.

    LOL, especially if his name is Richard Lindzen, right? (Sorry, couldn’t resist … )

    Hansen, whose work I cited on the NASA GISS webpage above, went to Iowa … not quite the same cachet, is it. But hey, he’s an adjunct professor at Columbia now which isn’t too shabby …

    Oh hey there we go … Kevin Trenberth went to MIT too. 😉

  129. Rob,

    The GCMs’ failure to predict the so-called “hiatus” or “pause” is certainly an indication that the models are not as accurate as would be desired and that features of the system exist that are not properly captured.

    More specifically, they’re “off” when it comes to the major sources of interannual and interdecadal variations in GAT around longer-term trends. I mention upthread that from 1950 to today, the average annual rate of temperature increase is 0.0125 C, whereas the standard deviation is 0.26C, or ~20 times the annual rate of increase. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that wide departures from the mean will be the norm in such cases. Nor does it take much imagination to suppose that the oceans — having approximately three orders of magnitude higher energy content than the atmosphere — is the first place to look for annual and decadal oscillations. Heck, even Pielke, Sr. as quoted by Watts gets it:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/04/06/energy-content-the-heat-is-on-atmosphere-vs-ocean/

    The post on The Air Vent is worth adding to the reasoning why we need to move away from the use of the global average surface temperature anomaly as the metric to diagnose global warming and cooling.

    Something which I’ve been saying for years. Problem may be getting there. ARGO has only been going since the turn of the millennium, and I don’t know if there’s enough coverage to put together some sort of global heat anomaly index using those data. We could always post this …

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5c/Ocean_Heat_Content_%282012%29.png

    … and say, “Pause, what pause?” but the predictable responses will almost certainly include something along the lines of, “Yeah, but everything prior to 2000 was done with models,” and that will be the end of that.

    And as I’ve tried to get across before, the models’ output does not consist solely of a list of dates and mean global surface temperature.

    Get used to it. Ironically, the more dismaying (for me) issue with GCMs is not how poorly they do on net, but where they’re off on regional and local outputs for all the really important stuff. But it’s easier to beat up on average temperature … all it takes is one graph and … Look! Models are WRONG … AGW is a farce. QED.

  130. Rob Ryan,
    And as I’ve tried to get across before, the models’ output does not consist solely of a list of dates and mean global surface temperature.

    There are indeed other outputs but when the IPCC says below:

    The DDC distributes a number of datasets, derived from various climate modelling experiments using general circulation models (GCMs), that are commonly used in the construction and application of climate change scenarios for climate change impacts assessments.

    the climate change impact is the temperature. At least that’s what makes it to the summaries and is definitely the part supporting AGW claims where ‘W’ doesn’t mean “Wetness”.

    What other outputs do you find useful and how do you use them? How do you know they are even close to correct?

  131. Rob

    I am afraid you misunderstood my post.
    It is not about planes and it is not about skyscrapers.
    It is about the ability of GCMs to solve Navier Stokes and about the fact that nothing can be inferred from the ability to model planes in matters concerning the climate.
    Because this ability is exactly 0 for reasons I explained.

    So now, can a model where we are sure that it does NOT solve the equations that the system (here climate) obeys, produce any relevant numbers ?
    Can it predict something useful ?
    Even evoking weather has no traction because weather models consider only atmosphere (e.g are not coupled to oceans). They cannot solve N-S either but because they continuously update the initial conditions they target such a small time scale (a few days) that the exponential divergence of orbits is still moderate.
    However when the gradients are strong (f.ex storms), the weather models loose predictivity even on such short time scales.

    Ask you just a single question : If a GCM doesn’t solve N-S, what is it actually that it “solves” ?

    When you understand that the answer is that it solves for arbitrary states which obey only conservation laws (with reservations) and there is an uncountable infinity of such states, you understand why they are necessarily useless and have no predictive skills.
    Taking a small sample of states allowed by conservation laws among an infinity of such states is certainly a waste of time if you don’t know how probable these states are. They may very well all have a probability of 0.

    The probability distribution function of future states at large time scales is a Holy Grail of climatology which may very well stay out of reach forever.
    It certainly is out of reach today.
    And it is certainly not GCMs that could enlighten this problem in any useful way.

  132. Brandon.

    But it’s easier to beat up on average temperature … all it takes is one graph and … Look! Models are WRONG … AGW is a farce. QED.

    What do the letters A, G and W mean in AGW? Do you think they mean anything beyond an impact on temperature? Why? With respect to GW, the models are WRONG let alone wrt AGW.

    I notice you frequently equate GW with AGW. Just because it rained doesn’t mean your rain dance caused it.

    Nor does it take much imagination to suppose that the oceans — having approximately three orders of magnitude higher energy content than the atmosphere — is the first place to look for annual and decadal oscillations.

    So when a large input component (three orders of magnitude by your own account) is (presumably knowingly) omitted you still claim the theory as expressed in the models is correct? Why?

    Heck, even Pielke, Sr. as quoted by Watts gets it:

    He’s been saying that all along, you silly twit. Not only Pielke but others going all the way back to John Daly and even firther. What’s dismaying is that people like Betts aren’t getting it AND/OR were most disingenuous when claiming the models are accurate. Accurate enough to provide scenarios for policy making.

  133. DAV,

    He’s been saying that all along, you silly twit.

    When out of scientific arguments, resort to bashing the messenger. QED.

  134. Didn’t mean to upset you, dear. You can be quite silly at times such as acting as if they finally caught up or something when it is you do the catching up.

    This is the next to last paragraph in the link I posted originally:

    In order for the climate science community to create forecasts of regional climate on decadal timescales, the models will first have to be able to simulate coupled ocean-atmosphere processes. Unfortunately, with their politically driven focus on CO2, they are no closer now at being able to simulate those processes than they were two decades ago.

    The link you posted was from three+ years ago (Apr 2011) and you would have us believe it was something new even then.

  135. DAV,

    The link you posted was from three+ years ago (Apr 2011) and you would have us believe it was something new even then.

    Except I said nothing along the lines of, “hey, look … this is new!” because I know better. See again Lorius (1990) posted above: … 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.

    And this from 1985, which is contained in a post to Sheri currently stuck in moderation:

    Nature 314, 501-511 (11 April 1985) | doi:10.1038/314501a0
    The World Ocean Circulation Experiment
    J. D. Woods

    The international oceanographic community is preparing for an ambitious five-year experiment. Starting in 1990, it will provide the first comprehensive global survey of physical properties of the oceans. The resulting data set will be used to test computer models of the ocean circulation needed for predicting decadal climate change.

    Point being, looking for heat in the oceans is nothing new under the sun from the standpoint of the literature. The media and politicians, yes. Researchers themselves, not so much.

    [quoting Tisdale] Unfortunately, with their politically driven focus on CO2, they are no closer now at being able to simulate those processes than they were two decades ago.

    And the evidence supporting his allegation is where _____________________?

  136. Brandon:

    “Logical” is a more apt descriptor of my obnoxious behavior than “pedantic.”

  137. Brandon,

    Here’s the thing:
    1) Point being, looking for heat in the oceans is nothing new under the sun from the standpoint of the literature. The media and politicians, yes. Researchers themselves, not so much.

    Yet: Heck, even Pielke, Sr. as quoted by Watts gets it.
    Since it was in all the literature why wouldn’t he “get it”?
    BTW: the quoting was done by Jeff Id and not Anthony.

    2) You alternate between saying there are things missing from the models — even admitting they are MAJOR pieces — and seeing no problem with them being accurate enough to produce scenarios to support policy making. How is this not inconsistent and a contradiction?

    3) You don’t see any problem that the very scientists involved with the IPCC have kept mum when the IPCC claimed the deficient and not-so-good models support the notion of Anthropogenic Global Warming based supposedly on the human release of CO2 while the temperature trend was increasing.

    That some are coming around to backing off from the models being good enough is a good thing yet they publicly said nothing until now when it is most apparent. Show me where they attempted to correct the media “impressions” around say 1995. They didn’t. They even welcomed the Hockey Stick in 1998 and defended it and the claim the models demonstrate AGW. They said nothing when the IPCC upped its certainty of AGW based on the models in its summaries and failed to issue statements downplaying, say, the Green Party remarks.

    4) You continue to conflate AGW with GW. Your comment on Sheri’s blog ended with such a conflation. As if ice melting is evidence human caused the melting.

    1) We’ve got 20 some odd years of flat trending surface temperatures. It’s supposed to be warming. The models are wrong. AGW is wrong. …
    Question: What causes ice to melt?

    Where is your evidence to support that the claim of recent warming period being anthropogenic in nature outside of some vague notion that it should have been and still is while knowing there are MAJOR factors missing from the models and how these pieces interact with the climate are unknown?

    Just in case, you did admit they are unknown: Heat exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans are seen as the most significant contribution .. all of which curently defy prediction … those oscillations are likely to continue defying prediction for some time. Unpredictable means nobody has a theory about that they can demonstrate.

    How can you show the recent warming wasn’t due to these unknown heat interactions?

    Hope I didn’t screw up any tags.

  138. All: The “lack of precision in vocabulary” is apparently a great way to avoid to topic at hand. Maybe we need a truce so everyone can stop using really big words to impress people and actually get down to the topic. (Yes, I am guilty of big words occasionally—though I have to look them up first 🙂 — so hopefully you were impressed.)

    Note: The predictions being off does not disprove AGW. It means that the current theory and models, including their predictions, do not prove it. It can still be true, but there would have to be a new theory or considerable redoing of the current models and theory. What we have at this point is a theory begging for validation, not a falsified one.

    Brandon: “Proof is for math”–really? Then would that not apply to climate, which the MIT online course defined as “the statistics of weather”? Statistics are math.
    No, Brandon, his name was not Richard Lindzen–there were three and not one with that name. 🙂
    Also, climate science advocates keep telling us to listen to the authorities–and here we are with conflicting views. Flip a coin, anyone?

    More later—yard work calls and it’s very insistant…….

  139. Terry,

    [chortle] I’ve been accused of being obnoxious and pedantic when I thought I was just being reasonably logical — usually bosses and/or coworkers. It’s hard to be good help these days … alas. Anyway, you know yourself better than I, it was a mistake to have projected myself on to you.

    I must confess, I have oft been confused by your charge that prediction is polysemic. Going to the dictionary, I find:

    a thing predicted; a forecast. synonyms: forecast, prophecy, prognosis, prognostication, augury; projection, conjecture, guess

    So yes, a prediction could also mean a forecast or guess. I gather your challenge at least includes “forecast” vs. “prediction” in some technical sense of those terms. I recall Briggs writing a post recently about it … but I didn’t participate in the discussion. I apologize if I ask you to repeat yourself, but perhaps you could explain why you think Roy’s use of “prediction” is materially ambiguous as he (and I, as well as others here) have been using it.

    For my part, when I say “prediction” in this context, I mean foretelling some quantified future state of things based on present conditions plus some educated assumptions.

  140. ,Sheri,

    Note: The predictions being off does not disprove AGW.

    Maybe not but it falsifies the current claim that CO2 (and specifically, CO2 caused by humans) is causing all the warming.

  141. Brandon:

    For clarification please read the article athttp://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7923 .

  142. DAV,

    Since it was in all the literature why wouldn’t he “get it”?

    That was snark. If Pielke, Sr. understands that the oceans are the largest heat sink in the system, why do the skeptics on this blog make such hay about climatologists looking there for “missing” heat?

    You alternate between saying there are things missing from the models — even admitting they are MAJOR pieces — and seeing no problem with them being accurate enough to produce scenarios to support policy making. How is this not inconsistent and a contradiction?

    I’m not an all or nothing thinker. Plus, “accurate enough” is a point of contention between you and I, and is obviously a subjective opinion. Clearly the same contention exists between policy makers. I happen to fall on the side of “the Democratic party’s 20 year strategy for renewable energy has failed, it’s time to stop beating a dead horse and build nuclear and geothermal power plants.” Quite obvously neither the hindcasted models have been good enough to convince most Republican lawmakers that the science is convincing, and the forecasting models certainly are not. More to the point, I want the models to be better, a lot better. No bones about it.

    I note that you still haven’t told us how accurate the forecasts need to be for you to find them useful for policy. I pulled within 50% of the error bounds out of a hat as my threshold — not to be useful for demonstrating that AGW is happening, but for forward-looking planning purposes.

    You don’t see any problem that the very scientists involved with the IPCC have kept mum when the IPCC claimed the deficient and not-so-good models support the notion of Anthropogenic Global Warming based supposedly on the human release of CO2 while the temperature trend was increasing.

    The IPCC keeping mum is your assertion. You have given practically zero evidence to support it, and I’ve found several counterexamples to your claim. The rest of your argument here has been covered ad nauseum above.

    You continue to conflate AGW with GW. Your comment on Sheri’s blog ended with such a conflation. As if ice melting is evidence human caused the melting.

    No. You’d do well to scrub “as if” out of your vocabulary because it’s a dead giveaway that you’re building a strawman. I would not say something so silly as ice melting means anthropogenic CO2 diddit. The point of that exchange was to drive home the argument that sea ice melting in the arctic faster than previously forecast does not falisfy AGW. Yes, it’s a hint that there’s more heat in the system from somewhere, but in isolation of any other information, that’s it.

    Perhaps you missed further down in that thread where I started talking about antarctic sea ice extent, which is increasing … “as if” to make the point that one anecdote can cancel another. Speaking of, did you see my comment about the upper stratosphere cooling as a result of higher CO2 concentrations?

    These are my little nudges that talking about hot/cold in whatever personal favorite section of the planet in a way that is most convenient to our predisposed beliefs doesn’t cut it when talking about the planet.

    Where is your evidence to support that the claim of recent warming period being anthropogenic in nature outside of some vague notion that it should have been and still is while knowing there are MAJOR factors missing from the models and how these pieces interact with the climate are unknown?

    Crikey, DAV. Do you want me to print out every article in literature from 1960 to present and FedEX them to you? Do we need to go all the way back (again) to the late 19th century and discuss Arrhenius, Fourier, Tyndall, Stefan and Boltzmann? They were anything but vague. I’d refer you to FAR through AR5, but you reject anything IPCC out of hand … so I’m kind of stuck here if you know what I mean. Or was that the point?

    Just in case, you did admit they are unknown: Heat exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans are seen as the most significant contribution .. all of which curently defy prediction … those oscillations are likely to continue defying prediction for some time. Unpredictable means nobody has a theory about that they can demonstrate.

    Re: predictions vs. theory: think turbulence. Also, if energy is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean or vice versa, does any energy disappear? Academic question I know

    How can you show the recent warming wasn’t due to these unknown heat interactions?

    That’s almost a very good question. What I balk at is how you loaded it with “unknown”. Not all of the interactions are unknown, many of them are from observation … sufficiently well enough to use them to reconstruct past temperatures with models. They’re not sufficiently well characterized to be able to use them in forecasts because there are too many other unknown interactions we haven’t been able to model. Need more observational data. ARGO is helping.

    Hope I didn’t screw up any tags.

    You didn’t. Ditto.

  143. DAV: The claim is not that CO2 is causing all the warming. The claim is CO2 is causing warming beyond what would be expected in nature. However, the claim is very problematic when the temperature rise and the CO2 doesn’t correlate. It means someone either mistook CO2 as the major factor when it’s not, that CO2 does contribute but other factors overcome it periodically (which means cutting CO2 may or may not make a difference), or the whole thing’s a mess and they need to start over. There is evidence that CO2 has an effect, so I’m thinking there was a detail or two missed when figuring out the effect and the whole thing was hijacked by politics and everything went drastically downhill thereafter. (It’s also possible that the problem is proxy evidence from the past gives a false reading on climate and the CO2 and temperature are just doing what they have always done. So many options, so few answers.)

  144. Sheri,

    “Proof is for math”–really?

    Yes, really. Shameless appeal to authority since I’m tired and about to go to bed:

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=13214

    1. Proof

    Even scientists get this wrong. Proof means incontrovertible indubitable doubt-free evidence that a proposition is true. It is not almost true or mostly true or I-think true or true enough true. How many scientific theories have been proven in this sense? None that I know of.

    Proof is for metaphysics, not physics, for math and logic.

    Then would that not apply to climate, which the MIT online course defined as “the statistics of weather”? Statistics are math.

    Fallacy of composition I believe, and Terry’s favorite charge of polysemy on the word math. This is clear as mud, but again, I’m tired.

    Also, climate science advocates keep telling us to listen to the authorities–and here we are with conflicting views. Flip a coin, anyone?

    I was joking about Lindzen, you know that, right? It was a joke to illustrate a point: not all experts can be relied upon just because they’re experts. Ultimately one does need to vet them, especially when they disagree with each other. As for flipping a coin, well my dear, this particular coin is biased 97 to 3. Experts are my personal exception to the bandwagon fallacy. And I’m not alone in that. [snicker]

    Ok, clearly I’m up way past my bedtime … I’m starting to tell jokes only I think are funny. Catch you later.

  145. Brandon: You really do not understand the statistics of the 97%, do you? I bet you believe that 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommending a toothpaste means it’s good? I bet you also believe that 4 out of 5 surveyed doesn’t mean that 5000 were surveyed and 500 answered so who really cares about that statistic? There is a serious, serious problem in that statistic. Maybe when you wake up (literally or figuratively) you’ll see that.
    Again, statistics are math and climate is statistics. So Climate is math and we can prove math. What did I miss?

  146. why do the skeptics on this blog make such hay about climatologists looking there for “missing” heat?

    Because when the GCM’s seemed to agree with the temperature record there was no hunt for this “missing” heat because it wasn’t “missing” apparently.

    Where is your evidence to support the claim of the recent warming period being anthropogenic in nature outside of some vague notion that it should have been ?
    Crikey, DAV. Do you want me to print out every article in literature from 1960?

    Good Heavens, NO! I don’t want to give you yet another excuse to post a 17000+ word rambling treatise that really says nothing! Are you incapable of summarizing your view in just a few sentences? I suspect you are just dodging the question.

    The recent warming period being anthropogenic in nature implies it was almost entirely due to humans. A corollary is we can effectively stop it with CO2 reductions.

    Name the first three things (if that many) that PROVE the above and the warming was anything but natural (say the ocean/air exchanges). You don’t even have to link to them. Just identify what they are and why you think they are.

    Just in case, you did admit they are unknown: “Heat exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans are seen as the most significant contribution .. all of which curently defy prediction … ”
    Unpredictable means nobody has a theory about that they can demonstrate.

    Re: predictions vs. theory: think turbulence. Also, if energy is exchanged between the atmosphere and the ocean or vice versa, does any energy disappear?

    We are talking about how the atmospheric temperature changes. What is all this babbling about energy disappearing? And NO it’s not the same as turbulence which is concerned with the fluid flow.

    In any case, we are talking about claims of knowing what causes temperature rise when MAJOR factors involved are not being taken into account

    I would not say something so silly as ice melting means anthropogenic CO2 diddit.

    You not only would you did. It directly followed the potions that I quoted. The lead-in to the question was (effectively): We’ve got 20 some odd years of blah..blah..blah so AGW is wrong then Q: What causes ice to melt.

    You want me copy it all over again? Are you denying those words are there? It was the very end of the post so NO there wasn’t anything later and most certainly for some time afterward. In what way were you NOT saying AGW is correct because ice is melting?

    But you are right in one thing: I WAS being KIND when I said “as if”. You actually DID imply ice melting is proof of AGW. Then you turn the kindness on its head.

    That’s almost a very good question. What I balk at is how you loaded it with “unknown”. Not all of the interactions are unknown

    After I posted it I figured you would wriggle out of an answer (as usual) by playing on the word “unknown” even though a previous sentence ended with “how these pieces interact with the climate are unknown?”

    The part you quoted was a repetition of that question.

    Your evasions are most annoying. This isn’t the first either. And you do it it with others. Do you really think your 1000+ word non-responses are clever or something? You claim you want to talk about this stuff yet actively avoid responding to questions. Why? Do you really feel your position is that weak? Your evasions aren’t helping your case.

    I suspect you’re going to “answer” only this part and avoid the tough ones.

  147. Sheri,

    You really do not understand the statistics of the 97%, do you?

    Isn’t that kind of like asking the class dunce why he’s stupid?

    I bet you believe that 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed recommending a toothpaste means it’s good?

    You bet wrong.

    I bet you also believe that 4 out of 5 surveyed doesn’t mean that 5000 were surveyed and 500 answered so who really cares about that statistic?

    I care about expert consensus. You don’t?

    Response bias is possible. Here’s an excerpt from the research letter “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” (John Cook et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024):

    http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article

    4.1. Sources of uncertainty

    The process of determining the level of consensus in the peer-reviewed literature contains several sources of uncertainty, including the representativeness of the sample, lack of clarity in the abstracts and subjectivity in rating the abstracts.

    There is a serious, serious problem in that statistic. Maybe when you wake up (literally or figuratively) you’ll see that.

    My state of wakefulness has butkus to do with the strength of your argument.

    Again, statistics are math and climate is statistics. So Climate is math and we can prove math. What did I miss?

    The point, backed by textbook principles of statistical inference:

    Naturally, the scientist wishes to ‘prove’ that acid rain kills trees. Unfortunately, neither statistics nor the scientific method allows for that proof. Rather, the scientific method requires that you do an experiment that will allow you to reject your null hypothesis. Statistical hypothesis testing allows you to identify the probability with which you can reject your null hypothesis (this probability is discussed below, in the section on P-values).

    Simply because you’ve rejected your null hypothesis does not allow you prove your alternative hypothesis (rejecting the null hypothesis that all swans are black by finding one white swan is not the same as proving that all swans are white). Rather, rejection of your null hypothesis may provide some supporting evidence for your alternative hypothesis, but does not provide complete evidence for anything. A scientific theory gains its credibility because no challenging hypothesis has been supported (yet!). The essence of the experimental, hypothetico-deductive method of Popper is that hypotheses are always falsified, never proven.

    To determine how much confidence you have in your ability to reject the null hypothesis, you need to consider P-values.

    Skipping down to the section on Type I and II errors:

    Two types of errors: when you draw conclusions from P-values and hypothesis tests, there are two types of mistakes you can make:

    [table snipped]

    1. A Type I error is incorrectly rejecting the null hypothesis. The probability of making a type I error is the probability of the statistical test: P(X|H). The critical value a is the acceptable upper bound of making a Type I statistical error.

    2. A Type II error is incorrectly accepting the null hypothesis. The probability of making a Type II statistical error is denoted by b.

    Ideally, we wish to minimize both the probability of making a Type I error and of making a Type II error. In practice, most scientists are fixated on minimizing P(X|H) and ignore b (hence the goal of having a really small P-value). In science, it’s considered better to falsely accept H[0] than to incorrectly reject it. Why do you think this is so?

    In sum: statistics is not used to prove propositions true.

    The last sentence of the quoted text is topical in its own right.

  148. DAV,

    … when the GCM’s seemed to agree with the temperature record there was no hunt for this “missing” heat because it wasn’t “missing” apparently.

    I think we agree that climatologists are looking for missing heat. It’s inescapable — here’s Trenberth at his most candid:

    From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.

    Where we disagree is that they’ve not been looking for it in the oceans. I’ve provided evidence to literature predating 1998 which shows recognition of the oceans’ role in affecting climate, and the need for focused study for purposes of accurately modeling them.

    Are you incapable of summarizing your view in just a few sentences?

    More like unwilling to submit to arbitrary demands. I respond to requests differently.

    I suspect you are just dodging the question.

    Suspicions don’t cut it in science. They’re (sadly) useful in a political debate though.

    The recent warming period being anthropogenic in nature implies it was almost entirely due to humans. A corollary is we can effectively stop it with CO2 reductions.

    Some (many?) consider the corollary a faint hope at this point. There are other ways we may be able to stop or even reverse the warming without meeting emissions targets, but it’s verboten to discuss them at present.

    Name the first three things (if that many) that PROVE the above and the warming was anything but natural (say the ocean/air exchanges).

    There is NO PROOF in science.

    I believe that global warming is mostly anthropogenic in nature and has continued relatively unabated since 1998 because:

    1) GW as a response to anthropogenic GHGs (namely CO2) was first proposed in the late 19th century based on (presently) well-tested physical theory. Atmospheric studies undertaken by the military in the 1950-60s for strategic purposes renewed interest in the earlier proposals.

    2) There has been a >35% increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere since 1880. Since 1880, global average surface temperature has increased ~1.2C. All else being equal (which they aren’t) that implies a climate sensitivity to CO2 of ~3.4C per doubling of CO2, but which is within the range of the latest equilibrium climate sensitivity published by the IPCC in AR5: “there is high confidence that ECS is extremely unlikely less than 1°C and medium confidence that the ECS is likely between 1.5°C and 4.5°C and very unlikely greater than 6°C.”

    3) There are various other known GHGs (both anthropogenic and natural), radiative forcings (some natural, e.g. volcanic eruptions and solar output) and feedbacks (natural) plus internal variabilities (mainly ocean-atmosphere coupled energy transfers) which are proposed to have influenced global average surface temperature in positive and negative directions since 1880.

    4) Literature states that the largest single contributor to the upward temperature trend since 1750 is increased radiative forcing from CO2. My own regression analysis is consistent with literature from 1880 to present.

    In absence of any of the above, I would not conclude that the arctic sea ice trend is anthropogenic in nature, or even due to a naturally warming planet. Given the above, I think it’s likely; especially when I consider that arctic sea ice extent has been trending downward since at least 1979. I also note that the rate of the decline increased around the year 2000, which is consistent with a continuously warming ocean even though atmospheric surface temperatures have not increased. But that’s nowhere close to proof; ice is complex stuff, and antarctic sea ice going the opposite direction.

    I’m well over the three sentence limit, so here I screetch to a halt.

    Just in case, you did admit they are unknown: “Heat exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans are seen as the most significant contribution .. all of which curently defy prediction … ”
    Unpredictable means nobody has a theory about that they can demonstrate.

    Experiment:

    1) Type “scientific theories unpredictability” into google (without the quotes)

    2) Note that the number one hit is the Wikipedia article on chaos

    3) Read the following text:

    Introduction

    Chaos theory concerns deterministic systems whose behavior can in principle be predicted. Chaotic systems are predictable for a while and then appear to become random. The amount of time for which the behavior of a chaotic system can be effectively predicted depends on three things: How much uncertainty we are willing to tolerate in the forecast; how accurately we are able to measure its current state; and a time scale depending on the dynamics of the system, called the Lyapunov time.

    What is all this babbling about energy disappearing?

    If more energy is observed coming into a system than is observed going out, it’s reasonable to suppose that the energy didn’t vanish. If the energy isn’t to be found where expected inside the system, there are basically two options:

    1) Check the instruments and data showing incoming and outgoing energy.

    2) Look somewhere else inside the system for it.

    Good protocol would be to do both.

    And NO it’s not the same as turbulence which is concerned with the fluid flow.

    Climatology is very much interested in fluid flow.

    http://web.stanford.edu/group/ctr/articles/tackle.html

    Turbulence may have gotten its bad reputation because dealing with it mathematically is one of the most notoriously thorny problems of classical physics. For a phenomenon that is literally ubiquitous, remarkably little of a quantitative nature is known about it. Richard Feynman, the great Nobel Prize-winning physicist, called turbulence “the most important unsolved problem of classical physics.” Its difficulty was wittily expressed in 1932 by the British physicist, who, in an address to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, reportedly said, “I am an old man now, and when I die and go to heaven there are two matters on which I hope for enlightenment. One is quantum electrodynamics, and the other is the turbulent motion of fluids. And about the former I am rather optimistic.”

    In what way were you NOT saying AGW is correct because ice is melting?

    Repeat answer to the repeated question with some additions: The ice melt could be an effect of energy transfer from elsewhere in the system. Sea ice extent is increasing in the Antarctic. In short, observing what’s going on in one part of the globe doesn’t necessarily demonstrate GW, and certainly not AGW, unless other data are considered as part of what’s going on in the entire system. Which is a lot of stuff.

    Your evasions are most annoying. This isn’t the first either. And you do it it with others. Do you really think your 1000+ word non-responses are clever or something? You claim you want to talk about this stuff yet actively avoid responding to questions. Why? Do you really feel your position is that weak? Your evasions aren’t helping your case.

    If your own arguments are as strong as you say they are, there’s not much need to make sweeping generalizations about mine.

  149. Only a general comment.

    This is really a far stretch to talk about “impossibility” to prove anything in science.
    As the language of science especially in physics which is the topic here, is mathematics, mutatis mutandis a proof in this language immediately applies to physical phenomena described in this mathematical language.

    And indeed physics is stockfull of tons of proofs and demonstrations.
    Just 2 examples :

    – In quantum mechanics we note that the observables are operators and that these operators don’t commute for every pair of observables.
    From there with pure mathematics can be proven the Heisenberg Uncertainty Relations.
    But these have obvious and measurable physical consequences and when one looks for them they are validated. What we just did was to prove the truth of a proposition. It is a proof.
    The fact that this the proof process had 2 stages, one consisting in establishing a proposition well formulated mathematically and a second consisting to validate this proposition physically doesn’t change nothing on the fact that we just proved the Heisenberg Relations.

    – The second are Noether’s theorems which are one of the deepest physical insights in physics. If we assume that the dynamical equations governing a system are invariant by time translation, then there exists a special invariant and this invariant happens to be the energy. So we have proven that time translation invariance is equivalent to energy conservation.
    This is a proof too. And because the time translation invariance is observed (almost) everywhere, we have proven that energy conservation is true (almost) everywhere.

    I suspect that those who say that “there can be no proofs” are confusing the validity of a proof process and invariance of axioms.
    Even in mathematics a proof depends on the axiom system – you change the axioms and the truth value of a proposition may change.
    This of course doesn’t invalidate the existence of proofs, it just tautologically means that a truth value of a proposition depends on axioms which are postulated true.

    What is valid in mathematics is of course also valid in physics.
    If we postulate time translation invariance because we observe it everywhere we looked, then we can prove energy conservation.
    However there are (mathematical) reasons to think that this postulate is not quite true inside black holes. This doesn’t invalidate the proof of energy conservation, it just adds a small print caveat : “Excepted perhaps inside black holes where we are not sure because we cannot look inside”

    So be very sure that there are plenty of proofs in physics and that the proof process is identical to the one in mathematics. The advantage of physics is that observation allows to change the axiom system if the old one lead to propositions that are not validated.
    In mathematics there is no objective reason to change axioms often so that we have been living with broadly the same axiomatic for thousands of years with the exception of euclidian geometry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2016 William M. Briggs

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑