## Wednesday, May 13, 2009

### Sea Ice II: Reading Graphs

My previous post contained a graph of northern hemisphere sea ice from which it seemed clear that the past trend of declining area, rather than continuing as the JPL claimed, had reversed. The first comment on that post claimed that I had cherry picked my data, offering as evidence another graph presenting the information in a different form which, the commenter said, supported the JPL claim.

As I pointed out in my response, his graph did not support the claim either, although it did not contradict it as strikingly as mine did. That raises the question of why two graphs from the same web page presenting the same information looked so different. While it might be possible to answer it by searching out additional information on the web site, I thought it would be more interesting to see what one can figure out simply by looking at the graphs. I will refer to his graph as graph A and mine as graph B. Both are shown below.

Graph A--------------------------------------------------
Graph A shows swings within each year over a range of about ten million square kilometers, presumably reflecting expansion and contraction of the area of sea ice with the seasons. The variation in Graph B within each year is much smaller and less regular. Pretty obviously that means that the data in Graph B is seasonally adjusted. The figure for, say, January of 2009 shows how much higher or lower the area of sea ice was than the average for Januaries over the reference period, eliminating the seasonal variation. That fits the title. The graph is showing, not the area, but the anomaly, the difference between the area at that time and its previous average.

That way of drawing the graph makes it easier to see trends, since changes over the years aren't masked by the much larger changes within each year. A more subtle difference is that, looking at graph A, one loses almost all of the relevant data. The month to month difference is so large that one cannot tell by eye whether sea ice area in January of 2008 was more or less than in 2009. All you can see is that sea ice area in the month when it was largest was about the same in 2008 as in 2009, and sea ice area in the month when it was smallest was a little larger in the second year. You are left trying to interpret trends based only on the extremes of the cycle—data from two observations a year instead of about twelve.

Graph B, by eliminating the seasonal effect, gives a much clearer picture. If sea ice area was larger in ten months of the second year than in the corresponding months of the first year and lower in two, that will show as a rising trend with a couple of downticks—even if the low months happened to also be the extremes. What the commenter viewed as noise on Graph B—the shifts up and down month by month—is information, information obscured by the large seasonal variation on Graph A.

[To see the webbed graphs, which are larger and clearer than the images here, click on the Graph A and Graph B links]
-----------------------------------------------
As a result of a comment to this post, I found a graph showing April sea ice cover from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the source that the JPL article cites. Here is the graph. It shows ice extent rising for the past two years.

The data from the same source for May are now in. May sea ice extent has risen for the past three years, bringing it back to about its level in the late 1980's early 1990's.

On the other hand, poking around the same source, I found the graph for March, which provides at least a little support for the JPL comment I have been attacking, which was published in April. It shows March sea ice rising a lot for two years, but falling a little in the most recent year. To describe that as "continues to shrink" strikes me as clearly misleading, but it's an exaggeration to describe it as a flat lie.

At 9:57 AM, May 13, 2009,  Anonymous said...

It still very much looks like you're cherry picking to me. Until you do some kind of statistical analysis, a chart is just a chart. My guess is that there isn't enough data behind those charts to make a certain conclusion.

I'll never understand why you (or any other layperson) would put so much energy into being a global warming skeptic, while at the same time being so lazy about actually doing any analysis. It's such a massive waste of time when the most you can say is:

"This chart here and this chart there look like they don't bear out the general conclusions written down on this one page."

Unless you're willing to do some kind of literature review, along with broad statistical analysis, you're just going to be preaching to the choir.

At 11:28 AM, May 13, 2009,  David Friedman said...

It's true that reaching any confident conclusion about global warming requires a lot of work--but then, I'm not offering such a conclusion. On the other hand, one approach to dealing with that problem is to judge the people arguing for a position on the basis of those things you can check.

My post provides evidence that a claim made on one side of the issue is false. Anonymous seems uninterested in that. The conclusion on the page wasn't "arctic ice will continue to shrink in the future," which for all I know is true. It was a simple factual claim about the most recent data, and that claim was false.

When you discover that reputable sources are lying to you, you ought to be worried about the quality of information you are getting.

At 11:34 AM, May 13, 2009,  Steve said...

Almost exactly backwards. What you call a "trend" in your graph B is noise.

Graph A permits the viewer to see the underlying trend as the eye follows the midpoint between the seasonal extremes.

In any case, rather than looking at graphs, you'd be better off applying a statistical technique such as sequential sampling to the raw data - and in virtually every case where the numerical analysis has been done, the trend towards a loss of sea ice has been confirmed.

At 12:29 PM, May 13, 2009,  David Friedman said...

Steve thinks my trend is noise. His proposal--looking at the midpoint between the extremes--is doing precisely what I described--throwing out all of the data except for two months each year, the month with the greatest amount of sea ice and the month with the least. Why he thinks that provides more information than looking at all the months, which is what my preferred graph lets you do, I have no idea.

His claim that the trend towards less sea ice (in the northern hemisphere) is confirmed by analysis may very well be true. But the claim I quoted wasn't that the evidence on net still supported the trend, it was that the latest evidence shows that the trend is continuing. That claim is false, as Steve can see even from his own preferred graph--on which the midpoint between the latest set of seasonal extremes is just a little higher than for the previous year, not lower. Even if that's weak evidence, it's evidence against the trend.

Does he really want to argue that evidence against a trend is evidence for it?

If a reputable source makes false factual claims in support of its conclusion, shouldn't Steve be a little more willing to question it?

At 1:28 PM, May 13, 2009,  Anonymous said...

My post provides evidence that a claim made on one side of the issue is false. Anonymous seems uninterested in that.You've got that exactly right. Pointing out factual problems with press releases isn't very insightful. It's pretty clear that global climate isn't a solved problem, and I'm sure I could find all kinds of factual problems all over the place.

When you discover that reputable sources are lying to you ...That's exactly it. I don't consider press releases reputable when it comes to science. I also don't have the psychic ability to infer that untruths are lies.

Scientists are regularly wrong about things. Press releases are even more regularly wrong about things. But at the end of the day, the scientific process is the best process we have.

Poking holes in press releases isn't a part of the scientific process. As much fun as it might be, cherry picking like this really isn't insightful in any way.

At 2:16 AM, May 14, 2009,  Anonymous said...

GRRRRRR!

You okay...so you were...*sigh* right about the factual inaccuracy. BUT...BUT...The press makes mistakes all the time!...And your observation wasn't insightful! So there! *blows raspberry*

Man your arrogance makes you comical.

At 2:19 AM, May 14, 2009,  Anonymous said...

CHERRRRYYY PICKERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!

At 6:13 AM, May 14, 2009,  ARefrigerator said...

Politics got involved with science right about when the global warming crap kicked off, you'll probably have a hard time trying to find anyone on the global warming committee willing to give you an easy to read chart that isn't deceptful in some way.

Its about using science to prove an opinion rather than having an opinion based on science.

At 6:37 AM, May 14, 2009,  VangelV said...

'll never understand why you (or any other layperson) would put so much energy into being a global warming skeptic, while at the same time being so lazy about actually doing any analysis. It's such a massive waste of time when the most you can say is:The problem is that we have the AGW movement pushing for action without having any data to show that CO2 emissions are the cause of the warming that we saw since the end of the Little Ice Age. Those actions are estimated to cost several percent of GDP but will have no measured effect.

Looking at the hype about sea ice is a good way to see the major difficulties with the AGW arguments. Simply put the hype is not justified by any of the real world data because global ice cover is above the mean and Arctic ice cover has recovered very nicely.

At 6:56 AM, May 14, 2009,  VangelV said...

When you discover that reputable sources are lying to you, you ought to be worried about the quality of information you are getting.I think that your definition of reputable is different than mine. From what I have seen many of the stories hyped up by the AGW proponents were clearly false to the point where those that told them cannot be trusted and considered reputable. I don't know about you but I expect science to be transparent. Yet, we have agencies, journals and paper writers withholding access to the data and the algorithms that adjust that data from independent reviewers.

At 7:28 AM, May 14, 2009,  Granite said...

1: Basic Logic 101... In order to prove a statement false, you need to give a single example of how it's false. In order to prove a statement true, you need to prove it's true for all cases.

2: There's a difference between no value refuting a press release, and no value refuting a press release from NASA. Maybe that's just me though.

3: Shouldn't SOMEBODY be 'cherrypicking' all the instances of bad science and math being sold to support a claim? Shouldn't someone convinced of the fact of global warming be the first person in line when it comes to making sure that only REAL arguments get made? Bad science in support only makes it easier for people to deny.

At 8:27 AM, May 14, 2009,  VangelV said...

3: Shouldn't SOMEBODY be 'cherrypicking' all the instances of bad science and math being sold to support a claim? Shouldn't someone convinced of the fact of global warming be the first person in line when it comes to making sure that only REAL arguments get made? Bad science in support only makes it easier for people to deny.
Without the bad science the AGW argument falls apart because bad science is all people like Gore and Hansen have to support their position.

At 9:10 AM, May 14, 2009,  Tim Lambert said...

Neither graph is good for judging trends, but graph B is worse. Because the trends for summer and winter ice have been different, there is now a seasonal difference in the anomalies (which is what graph B shows). At least in graph A you can see the trend in maximum and minumum sea ice extent.

At 9:58 AM, May 14, 2009,  Anonymous said...

David,

You're choir is quite amazing. If you enjoy pointing out that someone is wrong, you might have a ribald time disecting their statements.

I especially love statements like:

Politics got involved with science right about when the global warming crap kicked offAparently, this guy never heard of Galileo or Socrates.

I also love the Basic Logic 101 lesson. So nice to know that all we need to do to disprove the theory of gravity is to find a typo in the masthead of Physics Today.

I'll give credit to Vange though. He may by painting with an overly broad brush, but at least he's pointing out real issues instead of spewing random garbage.

Allan Gelfand
(aka Anon #1 and #2)

At 10:50 AM, May 14, 2009,  David Friedman said...

Tim raises a legitimate point about a possible problem with using the anomaly as your measure, but I think if he looks a little more closely at the graph he will see that his explanation doesn't work. An increased difference between summer and winter averages would indeed produce a bogus upward trend in the anomaly data--but only for about six months, followed by an equally bogus downward trend.

The data on graph B show that sawblade pattern all right, but it's embedded in an upward trend of a year and a half. It's clearer if you click on the link and look at the larger version of the graph.

Which leaves me asking Tim whether he is willing to claim that the quoted statement from JPL is true, or even defensible.

And Tim's argument doesn't justify using graph A instead of graph B, since graph A has the same sawblade pattern on a much larger scale. Graph B eliminates most of the seasonal variation, graph A eliminates none of it.

At 4:47 PM, May 14, 2009,  VangelV said...

I think that something important is being missed. If the issue is ice melting we have to look into all of the causes, not simply tie it to the AGW argument. There have been countless studies done on Arctic ice cover and they have made the case that in addition to air temperatures the wind and ocean currents are very important factors. It is possible for the currents and wind to push the ice further south where the melting would happen faster or to have the currents bring warmer waters into the area temporarily. Neither of these factors would be considered part of the long term trend.

What is also lost is the climate history of the Arctic. While the satellite data only goes back to the 1970s there is plenty of historical data that goes back much further. This data shows that there is no big warming issue at this time because the 1920 to 1945 warming brought even higher temperatures to the north.

http://www.frontier.iarc.uaf.edu:8080/~igor/research/50yr/index.php

We also need to keep in mind that the satellite data gathering began just after the PDO went into its warm phase and pushed global temperatures higher. (Yes, I know that the NAO index is more appropriate but the point is that we need to go through a few cycles before we can try to reach any conclusion that might make sense. So far we do not have enough data to be able to reach any conclusions.)

At 7:23 PM, May 14, 2009,  Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3:02 AM, May 15, 2009,  Duncan said...

Don't want to state the too too obvious here, but it seems to me that:

1) A single new piece (or small set) of data can't strictly confirm or deny a trend [some extreme cases excepted, probably], since a trend is a regularity observable in fluctuations over time.

2) It's nonetheless really really clear what the trend is, looking at the data in the post.

At 6:55 AM, May 15, 2009,  Granite said...

Duncan,

I agree with you. It's obvious that the ice has been going down for a while.

I don't think anybody is saying that it isn't.

The issue that I have, and it seems like the others have, is that the statements being made are 'See, the latest data proves we're right!' when the latest data isn't supporting the conclusion they've drawn by any stetch of the imagination.

It's probably an outlier, but claims that it is supporting the original conclusion are what's being taken to task.

(As far as the Logic 101 bit, I was refering the the lack of need to do statistical analysis on the trend to examine their claim that the trend is continuing. Report said trend was continuing due to latest data, latest data was in the opposite direction of the trend. Doesn't mean they are wrong about the trend, just wrong about the point, which is what's being talked about)

At 10:18 AM, May 15, 2009,  VangelV said...

"
Don't want to state the too too obvious here, but it seems to me that:

1) A single new piece (or small set) of data can't strictly confirm or deny a trend [some extreme cases excepted, probably], since a trend is a regularity observable in fluctuations over time.

2) It's nonetheless really really clear what the trend is, looking at the data in the post."

Actually, it isn't clear at all. In a complex system there are many trends and picking just one won't do much to tell you what is going on.

That said, the AGW movement is vulnerable to a simple argument. If AGW were causing global ice cover to decline we would see it in the satellite record. The bottom line is that we aren't. If you look at total ice cover you see that it stands above the average. That means that we can't be arguing that there is a global warming trend.

At 10:23 AM, May 15, 2009,  VangelV said...

"It's probably an outlier, but claims that it is supporting the original conclusion are what's being taken to task."

It probably is not an outlier. The Arctic ice is driven by a number of cyclical factors that tend to lead to volatility in measured ice cover. The implication of some type of equilibrium with low variation is not supported by data.

"(As far as the Logic 101 bit, I was refering the the lack of need to do statistical analysis on the trend to examine their claim that the trend is continuing. Report said trend was continuing due to latest data, latest data was in the opposite direction of the trend. Doesn't mean they are wrong about the trend, just wrong about the point, which is what's being talked about)"

Two things are clear. First, it is clear that the claim that the Arctic ice cover is continuing to decline continuing is false. The latest data for April showed greater ice cover than the previous seven years. Second, the global data shows total global ice cover above the average. That means that in order to make its case the AGW movement has to ignore the southern hemisphere and cherry pick the data.

At 12:33 PM, May 15, 2009,  Hammerhead said...

The science of studying the sea ice should continue, objectively. Unfortunately, politicians have made this field and related climate fields, emotionally-charged policy battlegrounds. I guess that's why every bit of climate data becomes a headline story nowadays.

AGW focuses on positive-feedback scenarios from computer simulations and gets some of the wild figures that James Hansen presents about the future. What about the negative feedbacks of the planet?

I so wish there were a meaningful financial market where one could place bets of real money on climate trends. If there is I would love to know of it. I'll bet heavily against the catastrophic scenario folks. And if we AGW skeptics are truly in the minority, our odds should give us a chance to win big, if we predict correctly.

At 9:11 AM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

I see "VangelV" is back to his "nothing to see here, nothing to worry about" denialism, leavened with his usual dose of slurs, smears, and disinformation.

Arctic sea ice area is declining - and the current sea ice is made up of more first-year ice than in the past. Using global sea ice area as a metric, as VangelV does, ignores far too much relevant data - but that's his misdirection at work.

Additionally, he's repeating the same denialist mantras, based on little more than paid-for propaganda. He's well-versed in the denialist talking-points, but that's all he has.

You'd think that by now, with his experience at spreading the denialist disinformation campaign far and wide on the web, he'd have learned that what he says is indeed propaganda, but apparently not.

At 9:36 AM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

Here's a plot of the data showing the decreasing amount of multiyear ice in the Arctic.

At 10:12 AM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Arctic sea ice area is declining - and the current sea ice is made up of more first-year ice than in the past.

...

You'd think that by now ... he'd have learned that what he says is indeed propaganda, but apparently not."

Not that I want to interrupt your argument with VangelIV, but how do you square the first bit of your claim with the evidence I have just offered, showing that for the past year and a half arctic sea ice area has been increasing? Are the climate scientist at U of I part of the denialist conspiracy?

And if, as I think I have shown, as reputable an authority as the JPL is webbing a flat lie about the current evidence, shouldn't you be worried that not all of the propaganda is on the other side of the argument?

At 10:19 AM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Here's a plot of the data showing the decreasing amount of multiyear ice in the Arctic."

Your conclusion might be correct, but neither parts of the image you link to supports it. The upper part is a comparison to the median from 1978-2000, so doesn't tell us whether multiyear ice is currently increasing or decreasing. The graph shows percentage of sea ice, not total area, so could be describing a situation where multi-year sea ice was increasing in the most recent period, but more slowly than total sea ice.

As it happened, a correspondent (on your side of the argument) earlier sent me the link to a graph of multiyear sea-ice.

http://www.nasa.gov/images/content/324873main_kwokfig4_full.jpg

It looks from the final circle at the right as though it, too, increased in the latest period we have data from.

Note the source.

At 10:26 AM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

Only by ignoring the longer-term trend can you claim that sea ice is no longer declining. Here's a plot showing April sea ice area.

Only by resolutely ignoring the trend can one say that Arctic sea ice area is no longer declining.

To use an economics analogy, a net positive change in the S&P 500 at the end of a month compared to the beginning of the month doesn't mean the current US recession is over.

At 10:46 AM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Only by ignoring the longer-term trend can you claim that sea ice is no longer declining."

"Is" is in the present tense. Neither you, I, nor the JPL knows what will happen next year.

The quote from the JPL that set off this and the previous blog post wasn't a claim about the long-term trend. It was, explicitly, a claim about the latest evidence--that it showed the trend continuing. And it wasn't a claim limited to multi-year ice. Quoting from the text under the figure at the beginning:

"The latest data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the Arctic's sea ice cover is continuing to shrink, and is thinning as well. "

"The latest data ... continuing."

Do you agree that that statement was false? Do you see any plausible explanation other than a deliberate lie? If it was false, do you find that troubling?

Almost nobody in this particular debate is sufficiently expert to evaluate all the evidence himself and come to a confident conclusion, so almost all of us are necessarily working from second hand information. If the authority producing some of the information you rely on is deliberately dishonest, that ought to bother you.

My initial post wasn't a claim about global warming, or about long term trends in sea ice. It was a claim, which I think I have supported, about a statement by the JPL--that it was a falsehood, and probably a lie. If you disagree, show what's wrong with the evidence I offered. If you agree, take account of that fact in weighing the confidence with which you hold your present views.

At 12:51 PM, May 17, 2009,  Duncan said...

“To use an economics analogy, a net positive change in the S&P 500 at the end of a month compared to the beginning of the month doesn't mean the current US recession is over.”

I think this is a good analogy.

“Neither you, I, nor the JPL knows what will happen next year.”

Of course not - no one knows what will happen next year - this is trivial. What we do, if we’re fans of the scientific method, is produce and evaluate evidence that gives us a solid sense of the facts and of the causes of those facts. Or trends. There’s an overwhelming scientific consensus in favour of the reality of global warming. I think most of us who accept that reality accept it based on this consensus, rather than, say, a specific press release.

“Do you agree that that statement was false? Do you see any plausible explanation other than a deliberate lie? If it was false, do you find that troubling?”

I don’t want to speak for anyone else here, but for myself: yes, I think the statement’s false. Do I find that troubling? No, I don‘t. This is a perennial issue in the communication of scientific results to a lay audience: almost all of the conclusions drawn from rigorous and specific scientific work are going to be packed full of qualifications. The confidence we have in the results of scientific enquiry lies not in any given result, but in the conclusions of the broader endeavour. Many many many press releases that communicate the results of new research are hyperbolic and flawed. It’s just ubiquitous. This has little to no bearing on the validity of the research, or on the truth or falsehood of the conclusions of the larger scientific community.

It’s clear what the trend is, in the data you cite; it’s clear what the scientific consensus is, w/r/t global warming; a press release that isn’t accurate to the limited implications of a specific new set of data is of no consequence at all, in relation to these issues.

At 1:22 PM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I don’t want to speak for anyone else here, but for myself: yes, I think the statement’s false."

Thank you. That's progress.

"Do I find that troubling? No, I don‘t. This is a perennial issue in the communication of scientific results to a lay audience: almost all of the conclusions drawn from rigorous and specific scientific work are going to be packed full of qualifications."

In this particular case, what was being communicated was a simple statement of fact--and it wasn't true.

"The confidence we have in the results of scientific enquiry lies not in any given result, but in the conclusions of the broader endeavour."

And how do you, as the interested layman, find out what they are? How do you discount the fact that, at any given time,there are pressures of various sorts, political, funding, ideological, that affect how the scientific results get filtered before they reach you.

I still remember the point at which imminent global starvation due to population growth was being urged as a confident scientific result, and anyone who disagreed classified with the then equivalent of "denialist." I also remember the popular view of economic "scientific facts" when I was an undergraduate in the early sixties.

I wouldn't be surprised if both global warming and human causation via CO2 were correct--but I don't have grounds for a confident opinion on the subject, and I doubt you do.

"It’s clear what the trend is, in the data you cite;"

No. It isn't clear from the graph whether there was a trend for a decade that reversed a year and a half ago, or a continuing trend with a recent deviation.

"it’s clear what the scientific consensus is, w/r/t global warming; a press release that isn’t accurate to the limited implications of a specific new set of data is of no consequence at all,"

Now you are hedging. It wasn't just inaccurate--it was a flat lie, saying the precise opposite of the truth. It said the latest evidence showed the trend continuing, when the latest evidence shows the trend reversing--whether briefly or permanently we don't know.

Given that, unless you are yourself a professional in the field, I don't see how you can have the basis to be as confident as you are about what's happening.

At 3:42 PM, May 17, 2009,  Duncan said...

Thanks David.

“It wasn't just inaccurate--it was a flat lie, saying the precise opposite of the truth.”

It didn’t say the “precise opposite” of the truth. The truth is that no specific set of data can confirm or deny a trend. The press release stated that new results confirm the trend - which is false, obviously, but sort of definitionally false. When you write -

“It wasn't just inaccurate--it was a flat lie, saying the precise opposite of the truth. It said the latest evidence showed the trend continuing, when the latest evidence shows the trend reversing”

- this is also false, for the same reason: we can’t evaluate trends this way, otherwise every fluctuation would be a change in trend. The S&P 500 analogy is a good one, I think.

Now, it’s in general much more rational to take a deviation as a fluctuation rather than a change in trend, because if we didn’t the trend would change almost every time we got new data. But of course we can’t know for sure that the trend hasn’t reversed based on the graph alone. This is why we look to the broader evidence. There is, in fact, a huge scientific-community consensus which gives us reason to predict precisely this trend, and no reason to predict its reversal. So I think it’s very irrational to see this data as evidence for a change in trend, rather than a fluctuation around the same trend. If you dispute that I’d be interested to know your reasoning. The inaccuracy of a press release is insufficient.

Also, you write:

“unless you are yourself a professional in the field, I don't see how you can have the basis to be as confident as you are about what's happening.”

But this is wrong. It seems to involve a misunderstanding about how the scientific method operates. We don’t have to be experts in a scientific field to have confidence in the results of that field. (Unless we’re rejecting the scientific method, of course - which I trust we‘re not.) If this is in fact your view, you can’t have confidence in any scientific results at all (unless you’re a professional in that field). Do you really think this?

At 3:57 PM, May 17, 2009,  Duncan said...

"I still remember the point at which imminent global starvation due to population growth was being urged as a confident scientific result, and anyone who disagreed classified with the then equivalent of "denialist." I also remember the popular view of economic "scientific facts" when I was an undergraduate in the early sixties."

I'm not totally confident what you're referring to here. Keynesianism, with the latter? Surely we’re both too young to remember Malthus. ;-) In any case, I'd be extraordinarily surprised if either of the situations you have in mind involved anything like the scientific consensus associated with climate change.

At 4:00 PM, May 17, 2009,  Duncan said...

Also, without wanting to be too snarky, this -

"It isn't clear from the graph whether there was a trend for a decade that reversed a year and a half ago, or a continuing trend with a recent deviation"

- seems to contradict this -

"the latest evidence shows the trend reversing".

At 6:52 PM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

The NSIDC says:April 2009 compared to past AprilsCompared to previous Aprils, April 2009 is near the middle of the distribution (10th lowest of 31 years). The linear trend indicates that for the month of April, ice extent is declining by 2.8% per decade, an average of 42,400 square kilometers (16,400 square miles) of ice per year.

April 2009 had less sea ice than about 2/3rds of the last 31 Aprils. One cannot conclude, then, that the trend in the decline of sea ice has "reversed".

At 7:18 PM, May 17, 2009,  VangelV said...

I see "VangelV" is back to his "nothing to see here, nothing to worry about" denialism, leavened with his usual dose of slurs, smears, and disinformation.

But there is nothing to worry about when it comes to ice melting. The satellites show that global ice cover is above the mean.

Arctic sea ice area is declining - and the current sea ice is made up of more first-year ice than in the past. Using global sea ice area as a metric, as VangelV does, ignores far too much relevant data - but that's his misdirection at work.I suggest that you do some reading before you make statements that you cannot support. First of all, Arctic ice area is not declining. The current ice cover for this day is higher than any time since 2002. That is not evidence of ice cover declining. As for ice thickness, the research aircraft Polar 5 just completed an expedition over areas that have never been overflown. The results show that ice was twice as thick as the so-called 'experts' believed.

http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png

Additionally, he's repeating the same denialist mantras, based on little more than paid-for propaganda. He's well-versed in the denialist talking-points, but that's all he has.Paid-for propaganda? How is the work of someone like John Christy, who takes no money from corporate interests, 'paid-for propaganda?' In his February testimony to Congress, Dr. Christy pointed out that the IPCC models overestimate feedback and most of the very expensive proposed measures would not have any material effect on climate change. For example, if the entire US adopted the California proposed requirement that automobile manufacturers must meet a 43 mpg fleet-average the effect would be a reduction of 0.01°C by 2100. If the whole world did the same the effect would be a 0.04°C reduction by 2100. And if 1,000 nuclear plants were built by 2010 to produce 10% of global power requirements without direct CO2 emissions, the net effect would be a reduction of 0.15°C.

http://waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/ctest.pdf

You'd think that by now, with his experience at spreading the denialist disinformation campaign far and wide on the web, he'd have learned that what he says is indeed propaganda, but apparently not.I think that it is you who is denying reality. Global ice cover, which is what we should be looking at if the issue is global warming melting ice, is above the 1979-2009 average. Atmospheric temperatures have not increased in more than a decade and the ARGO buoy system shows that the oceans are not warming as the IPCC models predict. Quit denying the effect of solar activity, the PDO, AMO, NAO, ENSO, etc., and stop pretending that the behaviour of a non-linear, dynamic system like the Earth's climate can be explained by looking at a minor changes in a minor greenhouse gas that has a logarithmic effect.

At 7:33 PM, May 17, 2009,  VangelV said...

The NSIDC says:April 2009 compared to past AprilsCompared to previous Aprils, April 2009 is near the middle of the distribution (10th lowest of 31 years). The linear trend indicates that for the month of April, ice extent is declining by 2.8% per decade, an average of 42,400 square kilometers (16,400 square miles) of ice per year.

April 2009 had less sea ice than about 2/3rds of the last 31 Aprils. One cannot conclude, then, that the trend in the decline of sea ice has "reversed".
Where exactly is the problem?

http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090504_Figure2.png

And why is the AVERAGE used from 1979 to 2009?

And if you are going to be looking for support for your position on global warming why aren't you referencing global ice cover instead? I'll tell you why. Because global ice cover is above the average.

At 7:45 PM, May 17, 2009,  Hammerhead said...

I find a number of concepts often evoked in conjunction with 'global warming' curious.

1) The idea of a consensus, by itself, is hardly a compelling scientific argument. Radically new ideas in the hard sciences are often not supported by a consensus, they convince scientists by the accuracy of their predictions and the explanatory force of their theories. Both are required. Special and general relativity did not attain eminence by consensus. Currently, climate simulations don't model cloud cover which is a significant over-simplification of any climate feedback system.

2) It appears to be a fact that, currently, CO2 has increased from about 285 ppm to 350 ppm in the atmosphere in the last century. (I'm pulling these from memory). The earth's atmosphere, in its four billion year existence, has had much higher levels of CO2 than at present. There have been far colder and far warmer periods than what we are experiencing today. So, what is the goal of people who are concerned about this very small recent increase? Is it to achieve a climate 'stasis' for perpetuity? What is the ideal climate we are seeking to achieve? Should we just assume any climate change is a bad thing? Could there be good consequences for humanity, as well as bad ones, if the earth's climate changes significantly from the present? Why isn't adaptation a viable survival option for robust species? Adaptation has occurred throughout the history of life on this planet.

3) The amount of CO2 -predicted- from human activities is apparently greater than the -actual- current measured amounts. Somehow the earth is sequestering some of the carbon in ways we don't yet understand.

4) The current call for economic policy changes to address climate change seems to entail a precautionary principle for which it is assumed there is no cost. If societies funnel trillions of dollars toward an effort to reduce the global mean temperature of the planet by a few degrees, there are clearly many opportunity costs, many other activities and projects that will -not- occur because of the resources allocated to the former goal.

5) If we somehow could burn the entire supply of fossil fuels on the planet within the next year or two, how much additional CO2 would that add to the atmosphere? 500 ppm? How many degrees of temperature rise would that result in? The answer to this question, whatever it might be, is not a political opinion, it's an indifferent natural state.

6) the idea that there is a monolithic scientific consensus about global warming is not true. Take a look at papers by Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology, read some of the discussions on Climate Audit, or Junk Science, or The Reference Frame. There are many reputable scientists who are skeptical of the completeness, the empirical soundness, of many claims concerning the likelihood of catastrophic consequences of human-induced small increases of CO2, or that we even understand the essential processes of our planet's climate sufficiently to make meaningful predictions or policy decisions, based on this current understanding. We can't control what we don't understand.

7) The term 'deniers' seems an inappropriate term to use for people who are not convinced of, e.g., Al Gore's vision of AGW. If something has occurred, as in history, it seems plausible to imagine people 'denying' a past event (the Holocaust). When speaking of ongoing processes, still very much in need of further study and analysis, what is being 'denied'? I might be skeptical that I'll win the lottery, but am I denying I'll win it? I fear political activists use this term in an emotional way, similar to what religious zealots do, to coerce others by means other than reason and empiricism, to adhere to some belief. In religions, to be a denier, is to reject something others accept on faith. Personally, I'm really not comfortable pursuing science along the guidelines used by religions.

At 7:50 PM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

Yep, "VangelV" has the denialist talking-points down.

Using global total sea ice only as a means to determining the health of the cryosphere is ridiculous. It's like using global total precipitation as a measure of drought or flood in a given area. Considering that the two poles are quite distinct, the misdirection and obfuscation, and overall intellectual dishonesty, of your approach is blatantly obvious.

There are many more actions we can take that will effect CO2 emissions and concentrations instead of just raising CAFE and building nuclear power plants. To restrict your argument to two such narrow actions is another example of your basic dishonesty. You do realize that there are a great many things we could do to lower the anthropogenic carbon burden on the ecosystem that are costless and even profitable, don't you?

As for the natural variability of the climate system, the only people who claim solar activity is ignored are denialists. Please find me a graph, plot, or the data itself, that can show that the variation in total solar insolation can explain nearly all the increase in global average temperature observed in the last 30 years. I'll save you the time and tell you that such a quest is impossible.

Global warming hasn't stopped, the oceans aren't cooling, and CO2 isn't a "minor" GHG that has undergone a "minor" increase.

You're just engaging in a disinformation campaign, about as intellectually legitimate as the Bush administration's claims about Iraqi WMDs.

At 7:52 PM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

And why is the AVERAGE used from 1979 to 2009?Because that's the period for which we have good observations, and, because the deviation of April 2009 is measured against the other Aprils. If you didn't know, sea ice has a very strong seasonal component.

At 8:02 PM, May 17, 2009,  Anonymous said...

Hammerhead, it's true that consensus isn't the sole measure of scientific correctness, but that's a strawman. The observational data and basic theory points to a strong anthropogenic influence on climate.

Secondly, that over geologic time periods, the earth has been warmer and cooler than it is now isn't terribly relevant. What matters is that the 6.6+ billion of us depend on the current climate, within a narrow range, for our continued viability. Our agricultural production is quite sensitive to climate, and we're not nomadic hunter-gatherers any more, and adaptation isn't as easy with the vast numbers of people involved.

I use denialism specifically to mean people like VangelV, who use misdirection, vague slurs, a deliberate misuse of the science, and ignorant fear-mongering to dismiss the well-founded science supporting anthropogenic climate change. Not only are he and his ilk not just skeptics, they actively and dishonestly deny any aspect of the concept of AGW. They're contemptible.

PS - And clouds aren't ignored in models.

At 8:37 PM, May 17, 2009,  Duncan said...

“Radically new ideas in the hard sciences are often not supported by a consensus, they convince scientists by the accuracy of their predictions and the explanatory force of their theories. Both are required. Special and general relativity did not attain eminence by consensus.”

No, in fact they did attain eminence by consensus - that’s part of what eminence means. Obviously. And yes - “radically new” ideas generally aren’t supported by consensus - because, erm, they’re radically new. They achieve eminence, however, “by the accuracy of their predictions and the explanatory force of their theories”, and this accuracy and explanatory force produces… consensus. Are you suggesting that there isn’t a consensus about the value of relativity theory? Because if you’re not, your example is stupid. And if you are, you’re wrong.

“The earth's atmosphere, in its four billion year existence, has had much higher levels of CO2 than at present.”

I’m sure the earth will do just fine, no matter how the climate changes. I think the issue, however, is the effect of climate change on human life and society.

“Why isn't adaptation a viable survival option for robust species?”

Sure, it’s an option. It’d be kinda nice for our species not to have to adapt to a highly inhospitable environment, though, don’t you think? Anonymous is on the money here, imo.

“The current call for economic policy changes to address climate change seems to entail a precautionary principle for which it is assumed there is no cost.”

I think there are some serious political issues around this. No desire to disguise them. But opportunity cost cuts both ways. The opportunity cost of not doing anything on climate change looks to be pretty severe.

“The answer to this question, whatever it might be, is not a political opinion, it's an indifferent natural state.”

Indeed. This is where the science comes in.

“Take a look at papers by Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology”

As it happens I’ve read some Lindzen. Here’s a sample (pulled from google scholar):

“Certainly, we are dealing with significant changes in CO2, but this alone need not be serious. CO2 is a minor atmospheric constituent (about 0.03%), and as such, its variations might not be notably important. One can imagine some gas which is not normally present in the atmosphere. Releasing a molecule or two of such a gas would represent an enormous percentage increase without being of much concern.”

Does this read to you like serious scientific argument? If it does, why?

“When speaking of ongoing processes, still very much in need of further study and analysis, what is being 'denied'?”

The facts. The scientific judgements based on those facts. The accuracy of the predictions made based on those facts and judgements. Plainly these predictions are full of different possibilities, greater and lesser uncertainties. All such predictions are. This does not make them less alarming. The main thing being denied here is the danger.

At 9:19 PM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"It didn’t say the “precise opposite” of the truth. The truth is that no specific set of data can confirm or deny a trend."

A particular datum can provide evidence for or against a trend. The total conclusion, after all, is just the result of the combined effect of all the data. When the trend is down and the latest datum is up, then that piece of evidence does not "show that the ... trend is continuing." It is evidence--perhaps weak evidence--that the trend is not continuing. Hence the opposite of what was claimed.

"This is why we look to the broader evidence."

The statement I quoted wasn't a statement about the broader evidence. It was a statement about the latest evidence--and a false one.

You keep trying to switch the argument into the "pro/anti AGW" channel you are used to. I'm not interested in that argument here--you can have it with Vangel. I am simply interested in the fact that an authoritative source told a flat lie--and it's that fact you are trying to avoid.

Once accepted, the next question for you is how, if not a professional in the field, you distinguish "the scientific consensus" from "the currently loudest voices." That looks a lot harder once you concede that authoritative sources are willing to lie to you in support of their position.

At 9:27 PM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I'm not totally confident what you're referring to here. Keynesianism, with the latter? Surely we’re both too young to remember Malthus."

We aren't too young to have read Malthus--and having done so, I know that he didn't predict inevitable global starvation. His thesis was actually much subtler and more interesting than that--although, on the evidence so far, it was wrong.

I'm talking about the people who, in the sixties and into the seventies, were confidently predicting global starvation in the fairly near future due to overpopulation. I don't know if you are old enough to remember.

Did you read Limits to Growth, for instance? That was widely viewed as a convincing scientific argument and accepted by lots of people--although I don't think I met at the time a single economist who took it seriously.

On the economics, I'm remembering a Harvard undergraduate, c. 1962, telling me, obviously on the basis of what he had been told in his (probably introductory) econ class, that he couldn't take economics at Chicago because he would burst out laughing. Within about a decade the Harvard people had conceded, with regard to a good deal of that argument, that they had been wrong--that, as I remember one junior faculty member putting it, "we all now realize that the long run Phillips curve is vertical" (i.e. no long run tradeoff between inflation and unemployment, a relation that had been central to their policy views).

I don't know your background, but as a professional academic I'm not inclined to take public views of what the "consensus" of a scientific field is very seriously. Especially on politically loaded issues.

At 9:34 PM, May 17, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"April 2009 had less sea ice than about 2/3rds of the last 31 Aprils. One cannot conclude, then, that the trend in the decline of sea ice has "reversed"."

The current evidence supports a reversal. It doesn't prove a reversal--that would take a lot more evidence. But it makes the probability of a reversal higher than before that evidence came in, the probability that the trend is continuing lower. Isn't that obvious?

"April 2009 had less sea ice than about 2/3rds of the last 31 Aprils. One cannot conclude, then, that the trend in the decline of sea ice has "reversed"."

Suppose the trend was flat for 19 years, downwards for the next ten, then up (at the same rate as it previously declined) for two. The latest figure would be lower than the first 27, equal to the 28th, higher than the 29th and 30th.

Isn't that obvious? So how can you take the fact that it was below 2/3 of the previous aprils as evidence that the trend hasn't reversed?

Do you understand the difference between a level and a rate of change? A function and its derivative? Statements about the rate of change aren't the same thing as statements about the current level.

Consider that real per capita income in the U.S. at present is higher than it was in (I'm guessing) 90 of the past hundred years. Does that demonstrate that we aren't in a recession? It's exactly the argument you are trying to use.

At 7:01 AM, May 18, 2009,  VangelV said...

Using global total sea ice only as a means to determining the health of the cryosphere is ridiculous. It's like using global total precipitation as a measure of drought or flood in a given area. Considering that the two poles are quite distinct, the misdirection and obfuscation, and overall intellectual dishonesty, of your approach is blatantly obvious

So let me get this straight. You admit that global ice cover is not in danger and just want to stick to arguing about regional effects. Is that what the AGW argument has come down to, arguing about local weather?

There are many more actions we can take that will effect CO2 emissions and concentrations instead of just raising CAFE and building nuclear power plants. To restrict your argument to two such narrow actions is another example of your basic dishonesty. You do realize that there are a great many things we could do to lower the anthropogenic carbon burden on the ecosystem that are costless and even profitable, don't you?

I do not wish to restrict the debate to any particular action. All I do is point out that even such major actions will have no effect. The Kyoto supporters certainly supported that conclusion, which was the reason why Kyoto was argued as a 'first step.' The problem is that there is no actions that are proposed that will not lead to more poverty, misery and a general decline in the standard of living for most people.

Most actions will only lead to a transfer of wealth from consumers to special interests. Al Gore has earned \$100 million pushing AGW even as he lived a lifestyle that did not support the message he was selling to the gullible masses. He will become a carbon billionaire if the type of cap and trade scheme that failed in Europe is adopted in the US. I have no problem if you choose to buy more efficient appliances or choose to work close to where you live (as I do). My problem is when you use the force of government to force others to live in ways that they would not have chosen to themselves.

As for the natural variability of the climate system, the only people who claim solar activity is ignored are denialists. Please find me a graph, plot, or the data itself, that can show that the variation in total solar insolation can explain nearly all the increase in global average temperature observed in the last 30 years. I'll save you the time and tell you that such a quest is impossible.Here is a paper that makes the case that CRF is the driver of climate change.

http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/%7Eshaviv/Ice-ages/GSAToday.pdf

You can find the explanation at the link below.

http://www.sciencebits.com/CosmicRaysClimate

Of course, the AGW side has conveniently misinterpreted the solar activity theory and has written responses to suggest that it is wrong. In an article that they like to trot out once in a while the authors claim, "There is considerable evidence for solar inﬂuence on the Earth’s pre-industrial climate and the Sun may well have been a factor in post-industrial climate change in the ﬁrst half of the last century. Here we show that over the past 20 years, all the trends in the Sun that could have had an inﬂuence on the Earth’s climate have been in the opposite direction to that required to explain the observed rise in global mean temperatures." We note that they admitted to the existence of evidence regarding the link between the sun and climate but they believe that they have found that the link has been broken recently.

http://publishing.royalsociety.org/media/proceedings_a/rspa20071880.pdf

But that article has been refuted because the authors got a number of points wrong.

http://www.spacecenter.dk/publications/scientific-report-series/Scient_No._3.pdf

Without going through all of the detail, the AGW side likes to oversimplify the solar arguments into a discussion about sun spots and total solar insolation. But the solar-climate argument is more complicated than that and has to deal with how solar activity affects the amount of radiation that comes to the surface of the planet. That requires that we look at both the energy output from the sun as well as solar effects on albedo changes. Many of the scientists who are suggesting that solar activity is the primary factor that drives climate change point to changes in magnetic activity, which causes the cosmic ray flux to decrease in the lower atmosphere. (The lower energy cosmic rays that never make it to the lower atmosphere are probably irrelevant to the longer term picture.) The data clearly shows that the solar maximum in the early 1990s caused a large decrease in the cosmic ray flux. That suggests that cloud cover would have been lower and that the observed temperature should have been higher in the 1990's than in the 1980's. The solar maximum in 2000 was not as great so temperatures should have began to decline. We are seeing the effect now. Atmospheric temperatures have not increased for more than a decade and we are beginning to see lower temperatures in the oceans and in the surface temperature data.

Global warming hasn't stopped, the oceans aren't cooling, and CO2 isn't a "minor" GHG that has undergone a "minor" increase.
Actually, the satellites and ARGO buoys are showing no warming for quite some time. That is why the AGW movement is trying to suggest that wind shear data processed by their computer algorithms is a better measure of temperature than temperature sensors on satellites or carried by balloons and why it is busy trying to suggest that the older buoy data overestimated the previous warming and some of the colder readings should be eliminated from the present data because the sensors must be wrong. But after the' hockey stick' fiasco , nobody outside of the AGW cult is taking such efforts seriously.

You're just engaging in a disinformation campaign, about as intellectually legitimate as the Bush administration's claims about Iraqi WMDsHardly. The satellite and radiosonde data show no atmospheric warming for a decade. The ARGO data shows no ocean warming since 2003. And while I believe that GWB was one of the worst presidents I am forced to admit that the US did a better job with CO2 emissions than the EU and that temperatures did not go up during his presidency. You can blame him for many things but climate change is not one of them.

And getting back on point, global ice cover is above the mean and Arctic ice cover is higher than it has been since 2002. That means that the ice melting crisis you are hyping is just as intellectually bankrupt as the previous made up crises.

At 8:57 AM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

"VangelV", you're still peddling disinformation, and cherry-picking old data that has since been superseded.

Your attempts to use global sea ice area to obfuscate the reality of declining Arctic sea ice is dishonest. If you can list the differences between the poles, I'd be more impressed. There are only two, so it ought to be easy for you.

The problem is that there is no actions that are proposed that will not lead to more poverty, misery and a general decline in the standard of living for most people.Wrong. There are a great many actions that can be undertaken that will reduce our carbon load, and which are either cost-free or quite profitable. The ol' denialist "We'll all be poor and living in tents if we move away from fossil fuels" is faith-based fearmongering, nothing more.

Why is it that capitalism and markets can solve almost anything, but are utterly impotent when it comes to climate change? Why are you and the other denialists so convinced that without fossil fuels, all our lives will be nasty, brutish, and short?

GCRs have not been found to be able to explain climate change:

http://www.agu.org/journals/gl/gl0909/2009GL037946

Without going through all of the detail, the AGW side likes to oversimplify the solar arguments into a discussion about sun spots and total solar insolation.No, they do not. Find me an article in which all other aspects of solar activity are ignored and the focus is strictly on sunspots. There ain't one. It's this sort of dishonesty that weakens your arguments to the point of death, "VangelV".

The satellite and radiosonde data show no atmospheric warming for a decade.False.

The ARGO data shows no ocean warming since 2003.False. See the corrections to the Lyman, et.al. 2006 paper, which denialists always use, despite it's errors.

global ice cover is above the mean and Arctic ice cover is higher than it has been since 2002. That means that the ice melting crisis you are hyping is just as intellectually bankrupt as the previous made up crises.No, it is you who are intellectually bankrupt. You must be getting your knowledge of Arctic sea ice from George Will. He was roundly spanked by the scientific community for his lies regarding sea ice. You shouldn't rely on him, as he's not credible.

At 9:23 AM, May 18, 2009,  Hammerhead said...

Duncan, certainly relativity theory has consensus now. It was achieved by making more accurate predictions of nature than earlier theories, not by reporting on output from computer simulations. Perhaps it was confusing to bring up this example; my only point was to emphasize that ten thousand names on a list endorsing a statement may be a consensus, but such a list in no way bears on the actual truth or falsity of the underlying statement - if it's a statement about how nature works. If it's a consensus that someone should resign as president, on the other hand, that's in the realm of human judgement, opinion. I hope we are trying to treat climate science like physics and not like politics. That's all.

The paragraph you extracted from Lindzen is fine. He's simply pointing out that as a GHG, CO2 is a tiny fraction of the atmosphere. Water vapor is also a GHG and composes a much larger percentage of the atmosphere than CO2. He's published many serious, empirical papers on climate, discussing hypotheses about possible negative feedback mechanisms, here's a link to one paper of his:

Anonymous, if you have a link to a scientific paper that reports on computer simulations of global climate, and which include cloud dynamics as part of the simulation, I'd be very interested to read it.

At 9:29 AM, May 18, 2009,  G-Man said...

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii

Particularly:

"Are clouds included in models? How are they parameterised?
Models do indeed include clouds, and do allow changes in clouds as a response to forcings. There are certainly questions about how realistic those clouds are and whether they have the right sensitivity - but all models do have them! In general, models suggest that they are a positive feedback - i.e. there is a relative increase in high clouds (which warm more than they cool) compared to low clouds (which cool more than they warm) - but this is quite variable among models and not very well constrained from data.

Cloud parameterisations are amongst the most complex in the models. The large differences in mechanisms for cloud formation (tropical convection, mid-latitude storms, marine stratus decks) require multiple cases to be looked at and many sensitivities to be explored (to vertical motion, humidity, stratification etc.). Clouds also have important micro-physics that determine their properties (such as cloud particle size and phase) and interact strongly with aerosols. Standard GCMs have most of this physics included, and some are even going so far as to embed cloud resolving models in each grid box. These models are supposed to do away with much of the parameterisation (though they too need some, smaller-scale, ones), but at the cost of greatly increased complexity and computation time. Something like this is probably the way of the future."

At 9:36 AM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

This is really a very lame way to make an argument. You're eyeballing a graph and a sentence in a press release and concluding somebody is incompetent or lying.

You have no idea what they mean by "trend" and what sort of statistical analysis that claim is based on. You haven't looked at their data or at anything about their methodology. You are uninterested in anything beyond a squiggle on a graph and sentence you find inconsistent with that squiggle.

I would love it if you would spend some of your time and energy and intellect on understanding a piece of research and making a serious argument about the ways in which it is flawed. This objection how every is just childish.

At 9:41 AM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

The whole point of science is you don't have to believe anybody. If you put in the time and do the work. there is very little in the sciences which an intelligent lay person can't understand, given a serious commitment to understand it. But that's where you have to start, not by simply assuming everybody else is an idiot or a liar.

At 10:08 AM, May 18, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Why is it that capitalism and markets can solve almost anything, but are utterly impotent when it comes to climate change? "

An excellent question, one that I answer in the final chapter of my most recent book (Future Imperfect, not about global warming but about implications of technological change). I offer global warming as an example of a class of problem for which there is no good solution.

The problem is that, assuming the CO2 argument is correct, the actions taken by each individual have effects dispersed over an enormous number of other individuals, making the reduction of CO2 output a public good. There are no good mechanisms for producing public goods, although imperfect mechanisms, public and private, exist--and the more widely dispersed the effect the harder the problem.

The solution of having the government produce it, which is the one you presumably favor, breaks down on the fact that the effect is global, so dispersed across many governments as well as many people within a single polity.

On the more general point, I suspect critics of your position overestimate the amount of damage that carbon taxes or cap and trade would produce, for the same reason that supporters of your position overestimate the amount of damage that global warming would produce. Both, like most people, underestimate the flexibility of a market system to deal with change.

On the other hand, a lot of the decisions will get made by political institutions, which are both less flexible and less responsive to real issues than markets are. You will notice that Obama's policies are projected to produce massive deficits for the next ten years or so--supposedly as a solution to a recession that his advisers expect to be over in about a year. In just the same way, I would expect any large government response to global warming to end up being used as an excuse to do other things government actors want to do.

At 10:17 AM, May 18, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"You have no idea what they mean by "trend" and what sort of statistical analysis that claim is based on. "

I gather you aren't a statistician. Precisely what sort of statistical analysis do you think it takes to make an increase evidence for a declining trend?

Your response reminds me of an old legal rule. "If the facts support you, argue the facts. If the law supports you, argue the law. If neither supports you, pound the table and yell."

If you have an actual argument, please make it.

"But that's where you have to start, not by simply assuming everybody else is an idiot or a liar." (I'm guessing that is the same "anonymous.")

I'm not assuming everybody else is an idiot or a liar. I'm offering very clear evidence that the author of that web page is a liar. And you are doing your best to evade that evidence--because you want to assume that anyone on your side of the argument must be honest. I'm not the one operating on faith in this particular discussion, you are.

"The whole point of science is you don't have to believe anybody. If you put in the time and do the work. "

Would that it were that easy. What's your scientific background? As this dispute, and many others, demonstrate, it's quite easy, with very little work, to reach a confident conclusion--provided you only pay attention to one side of the argument and close your eyes, as you have just been doing in this thread, to even the clearest evidence on the other side.

I did the work in this case--checked the JPL claim against the publicly available evidence. And reached a conclusion--not about global warming but about the JPL claim.

At 10:27 AM, May 18, 2009,  G-Man said...

I would much prefer a straightforward and transparent carbon tax, rather than the proposed cap-and-trade system.

As with all unpriced externalities, setting a price, internalizing the cost, and then letting the market adjust to those costs, is the least-bad solution.

At 12:49 PM, May 18, 2009,  Garg the Unzola said...

Those graphs both seem to show a recent downward trend to me.

Are these the only 2 graphs available?

At 1:55 PM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

I don't think you'd object to somebody saying the long term stock market trend is upwards. Would it be reasonable to say the data over the last year of data is consistent with that claim, given an explanation of the volatility, noise, and time frame your model takes to what constitute a trend?

Would you be satisfied is the press release had said the latest data "is consistent with our model of a long term trend, with p=foo and confidence interval bar?"

I don't have any stake in the quality of this research or the veracity or the sentence you are pointing to. It might all be lies and junk. But you are comparing an informal casual statement from a press release with a chart you're eyeballing. I don't find that argument compelling.

At 2:13 PM, May 18, 2009,  David Friedman said...

Anonymous asks whether I would be satisfied with various statements the JPL page might have made. I would have been satisfied with a statement along the lines of "the latest data shows an increase in arctic sea ice, but the overall data still support a longer term declining trend."

Any statement implying that the current data support the trend when they actually contradict it, however, is a falsehood, and, under the circumstances, probably a lie.

For instance "The latest data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the Arctic's sea ice cover is continuing to shrink ... ."

Do you agree that that, which is from the caption under the picture at the top of the page, is a flat lie? If so, why do you want to keep trying to evade that fact by suggesting other things they might have said, which would concede that the latest evidence goes against the trend but claim, perhaps correctly, that it isn't enough evidence to make us reject it?

Isn't it obvious that there is a difference between "this is evidence for claim X" and "this is only weak evidence against claim X?"

To put it differently, why aren't you bothered by lies told by people supporting your position?

At 2:15 PM, May 18, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Those graphs both seem to show a recent downward trend to me."

They both show a recent downward trend, ending about a year and a half ago, with the pattern flat to rising thereafter. The statement I have been objecting to wasn't a statement about the long term trend but about the most recent evidence.

At 2:55 PM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

I agree that sentence is not consistent with the chart you show. However I don't know whether it's a lie, a willfully misleading statement of the data, incompetence, sloppy writing by a publicist or poorly qualified science writer, or a statement which is true with respect to some reasonable interpretation of some reasonable evidence.

I take this as informal writing for an informal audience, so I'm not too hung up on what the footnote or citation should have been.

If this were an academic paper and I had enough knowledge of the field to know the author was making a misleading claim without introducing further support, I would throw it away.

Many people make dumb claims about global warming, and the claims people make are biased by their ideology and towards their perception of what they think it's conventional for educated middle-class people to say.

This is certainly the case on the left. However the widespread objection on the right isn't any better. The thought process appears to be "If AGW is true and its a collective action problem justifying largescale intervention by government, then some of the things I am committed to being true may not be. Therefore AGW doesn't exist or doesn't justify intervention."

I think the rational view is to develop the best model we can of the costs and benefits of various GW policies, very importantly pricing our aversion to risk in the face of high levels of uncertainly, and act accordingly. At a high enough level of abstraction, would you agree with that statement?

At 4:56 PM, May 18, 2009,  VangelV said...

“Why isn't adaptation a viable survival option for robust species?”

Sure, it’s an option. It’d be kinda nice for our species not to have to adapt to a highly inhospitable environment, though, don’t you think? Anonymous is on the money here, imo.

Inhospitable environment? Why would you consider an average temperature of 1.5C more than the current level any more inhospitable than an average temperature that is 1.5C cooler than today?

“The current call for economic policy changes to address climate change seems to entail a precautionary principle for which it is assumed there is no cost.”

I think there are some serious political issues around this. No desire to disguise them. But opportunity cost cuts both ways. The opportunity cost of not doing anything on climate change looks to be pretty severe.
Diverting a huge amount of capital into unproductive activities is a major cost associated that will be paid by all users of energy who will not see any noticeable change in the temperature trends. 'Doing something' will only benefit those who are net recipients of the transfer of wealth and those that are responsible for the transfer.

“Take a look at papers by Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology”

As it happens I’ve read some Lindzen. Here’s a sample (pulled from google scholar):

“Certainly, we are dealing with significant changes in CO2, but this alone need not be serious. CO2 is a minor atmospheric constituent (about 0.03%), and as such, its variations might not be notably important. One can imagine some gas which is not normally present in the atmosphere. Releasing a molecule or two of such a gas would represent an enormous percentage increase without being of much concern.”

Does this read to you like serious scientific argument? If it does, why?
Lindzen is a serious scientist who is one of the best in his field. That is why he was asked to be a lead author of Chapter 7 of the IPCC Third Assessment Report. You can read some of his papers by clicking on the links below. The fact that he has published hundreds of papers suggests that your assessment of his scientific abilities is not a good one.

http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/208_Re_to_Fu_etal.pdf

http://www-eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/230_TakingGr.pdf

http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/thmsupatmp.pdf

http://eaps.mit.edu/faculty/lindzen/22_tops.pdf

Getting back on point, the measurements show that the much hyped up ice melting crisis is not real.

At 7:11 PM, May 18, 2009,  Anonymous said...

"VangelV" is still promulgating nonsense.

His insistence on "global sea ice" is merely an attempt to obfuscate a serious problem. To use an economics analogy, summing the change in GDP of the US and China is a positive number (i.e., the Chinese GDP is growing more than the US GDP is decreasing), so the US economy isn't in recession, using "VangelV"'s metric.

Denialism requires intellectual dishonesty. "VangelV" provides it in bulk.

At 12:04 AM, May 19, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I think the rational view is to develop the best model we can of the costs and benefits of various GW policies, very importantly pricing our aversion to risk in the face of high levels of uncertainly, and act accordingly. At a high enough level of abstraction, would you agree with that statement?"

At a high enough level of abstraction.

Note that "high levels of uncertainty" include the possibility that reducing carbon emissions will make things drastically worse. We are, after all, in an interglacial, a warm period during an ice age. The end of that would have effects on human beings enormously worse than anything seriously predicted for global warming--such as a mile of ice over Chicago and London.

A more probable element in the uncertainty is the problem becoming unimportant because of technological change over the next century. Most of the serious predictions involve that sort of time scale and, as the example of the past century should make clear, we don't know enough to have even a rough idea what human life will be like a hundred years from now.

My first serious objection to most of the proposals is that they involve large costs now in order to prevent very uncertain costs far in the future.

My second is that, in practice, preventing global warming will become an excuse for doing things that governments want to do for other reasons--most obviously collecting money and bestowing favors. The wonderful thing about spending money for benefits in the distant future is that you can deliver nothing and still not be shown, for a very long time, to be a fraud. Getting into heaven was the old version of that scam, giving Russia an economy the equal of the American the mid-century version.

But, getting back to the subject of my two posts, an important part of working out such conclusions at the individual level is knowing what sources of information can or, in this case, cannot be trusted. And you are still trying to wave away a demonstrable falsehood with talk about missing footnotes. The statement was clear, unambiguous--and false. Clearer evidence of dishonesty than one can usually expect to find in public statements by reputable institutions.

At 12:04 AM, May 19, 2009,  David Friedman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:50 AM, May 19, 2009,  Garg the Unzola said...

Yes, the recent trends are both slightly upwards. I don't think this is cherry picking, I was enquiring whether there are more than 2 graphs or perhaps someone who knows something about global warming who isn't on a government payroll?

My conspiracy theory is that global warming is used as an excuse to keep Africa (and other third world parts)underdeveloped so that those who need raw materials can deal with only the mostly banana republic dictators of those regions to get them.

This means anyone who wants to develop privately in Africa gets fined and regulated, whereas the big governments get to the raw materials. Much like the EU food aid is used to artificially boost the European agricultural sector and they don't actually want Africa to grow its own food.

At 7:57 AM, May 19, 2009,  VangelV said...

Anonymous said...

"VangelV" is still promulgating nonsense.

His insistence on "global sea ice" is merely an attempt to obfuscate a serious problem. To use an economics analogy, summing the change in GDP of the US and China is a positive number (i.e., the Chinese GDP is growing more than the US GDP is decreasing), so the US economy isn't in recession, using "VangelV"'s metric.

Denialism requires intellectual dishonesty. "VangelV" provides it in bulk."

I provide data and you call it denialism? Global warming is supposed to be a GLOBAL issue. If it is then you are supposed to look at global ice cover. Last year the AGW movement did that because the data still had the total ice cover to be slightly below the average. When that was no longer the case the AGW movement dropped the global ice melting line and started to concentrate only on the Arctic. Now that Arctic ice cover has recovered and measurements show that the ice is twice as thick as your 'experts' predicted it looks like you have to shift the argument to something else.

Of course, it did not help the AGW cause that Nature is publishing a paper that casts doubt on the ocean circulation models that are part of the IPCC's GCMs. How are we supposed to trust the predictions if the global thermohaline circulation model is not what the IPCC modellers assumed it was?

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v459/n7244/full/nature07979.html

At 8:10 AM, May 19, 2009,  VangelV said...

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/01/faq-on-climate-models-part-ii

Particularly:

"Are clouds included in models? How are they parameterised?
Models do indeed include clouds, and do allow changes in clouds as a response to forcings. There are certainly questions about how realistic those clouds are and whether they have the right sensitivity - but all models do have them! In general, models suggest that they are a positive feedback - i.e. there is a relative increase in high clouds (which warm more than they cool) compared to low clouds (which cool more than they warm) - but this is quite variable among models and not very well constrained from data.

Cloud parameterisations are amongst the most complex in the models. The large differences in mechanisms for cloud formation (tropical convection, mid-latitude storms, marine stratus decks) require multiple cases to be looked at and many sensitivities to be explored (to vertical motion, humidity, stratification etc.). Clouds also have important micro-physics that determine their properties (such as cloud particle size and phase) and interact strongly with aerosols. Standard GCMs have most of this physics included, and some are even going so far as to embed cloud resolving models in each grid box. These models are supposed to do away with much of the parameterisation (though they too need some, smaller-scale, ones), but at the cost of greatly increased complexity and computation time. Something like this is probably the way of the future."

Nice narrative from the RC people as usual. The problem is that all of the hype will not change the fact that the models have failed and cannot account properly for how clouds affect climate in the real world.

Many of the critics have given the IPCC credit for understanding that handling of clouds are the models' biggest problem. The criticism comes from the fact that the IPCC does so little work in figuring out how clouds affect feedback and for the divergence between the assumptions and predictions on one side and the real world observations on the other.

Roy Spencer does a good job discussing the issue. You can find some of his comments at the link below.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/05/climate-model-predictions-it’s-time-for-a-reality-check/

At 8:18 AM, May 19, 2009,  G-Man said...

I provide data and you call it denialism?You dishonestly use data to deny that there's anything to be concerned about. Just like I pointed out with my US/China GDP analogy.

Global warming is supposed to be a GLOBAL issue. If it is then you are supposed to look at global ice cover.No. The two poles are distinct - you can't merely lump them together to make inane claims. Besides, nothing about global warming says that all sea ice everywhere has to continually decrease as time passes. That's either a strawman you're erecting, or deliberate disinformation. Given your track record, the latter is far more likely.

Last year the AGW movement did that because the data still had the total ice cover to be slightly below the average. When that was no longer the case the AGW movement dropped the global ice melting line and started to concentrate only on the Arctic. Now that Arctic ice cover has recovered and measurements show that the ice is twice as thick as your 'experts' predicted it looks like you have to shift the argument to something else.You're still wrong. The loss of Arctic sea ice has been of deep concern all along - it's not been dropped. Secondly, Arctic sea ice hasn't 'recovered' - that's another lie on your part. I've supplied plots that show that you're wrong. As for the observation that the ice is "twice as thick", your link was truncated - please fix it.

Of course, it did not help the AGW cause that Nature is publishing a paper that casts doubt on the ocean circulation models that are part of the IPCC's GCMs. How are we supposed to trust the predictions if the global thermohaline circulation model is not what the IPCC modellers assumed it was?Good observations assist the process of modeling - they do not make all earlier models worthless. Certainly, the models will need to be changed to reflect observations. You're being awfully hard on the modelers - I wonder if you have the same disdain for the "clever" financial whiz kids that got us into this economic mess. After all, this mess is capitalism at its finest, is it not?

At 8:21 AM, May 19, 2009,  G-Man said...

Many of the critics have given the IPCC credit for understanding that handling of clouds are the models' biggest problem. The criticism comes from the fact that the IPCC does so little work in figuring out how clouds affect feedback and for the divergence between the assumptions and predictions on one side and the real world observations on the other.The IPCC doesn't develop models - why do you claim that they do?

It's clear to me that your knowledge, paltry as it is, of the entire issue comes from the denialist blogosphere - which habitually disinforms, distorts, lies and generally engages in despicable intellectual dishonesty.

Go to the work of the actual scientists - don't rely on the flawed filters of the denialists. They have an ideological agenda, and it's blatant and pervasive.

At 11:03 AM, May 19, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Go to the work of the actual scientists - don't rely on the flawed filters of the denialists."

How about relying on the flawed filters on the other side--the subject of this and the previous blog post?

Of all the people with strong views pro AGW, what fraction do you think base their views on having read and understood published peer reviewed articles, rather than on secondary sources--such as the one whose falsity I have just been demonstrating? As many as one percent?

At 11:57 AM, May 19, 2009,  VangelV said...

"I provide data and you call it denialism?You dishonestly use data to deny that there's anything to be concerned about. Just like I pointed out with my US/China GDP analogy.

Global warming is supposed to be a GLOBAL issue. If it is then you are supposed to look at global ice cover."

No. The two poles are distinct - you can't merely lump them together to make inane claims. Besides, nothing about global warming says that all sea ice everywhere has to continually decrease as time passes. That's either a strawman you're erecting, or deliberate disinformation. Given your track record, the latter is far more likely.

Yes, the two poles are different. In the Arctic local sea temperatures can be influenced by natural climate phenomena, such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When these are in a certain phase ice cover can decline regardless of what happens to air temperatures. Sadly for the AGW movement, the Arctic ice cover has recovered and measurements show that the 'experts' underestimated ice thickness by 100%.

If you want to talk about global effects then you better stop cherry picking local variations and look at the global picture. The temperatures there show warming since the end of the Little Ice Age as would be expected when a cool period ends. The total increase has been 0.7C and has been responsible for longer growing seasons.

"Last year the AGW movement did that because the data still had the total ice cover to be slightly below the average. When that was no longer the case the AGW movement dropped the global ice melting line and started to concentrate only on the Arctic. Now that Arctic ice cover has recovered and measurements show that the ice is twice as thick as your 'experts' predicted it looks like you have to shift the argument to something else."

You're still wrong. The loss of Arctic sea ice has been of deep concern all along - it's not been dropped. Secondly, Arctic sea ice hasn't 'recovered' - that's another lie on your part. I've supplied plots that show that you're wrong. As for the observation that the ice is "twice as thick", your link was truncated - please fix it.

Of course the ice has recovered. Why don't you look at the data? The NSIDC announced that, " Because of cooler than average temperatures, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of April 2009 was within the expected range of natural variability."

You can see the anomaly stands above the 1979 to 2009 average in the graph below.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/images/iphone.anomaly.global.png

For some reason the AGW crowd likes to use the 1979 to 1999 average instead because that makes the AGW case looks better. But even there the ice cover is within the normal range so the argument weakens.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.jpg

And if we look at the SH and global ice cover the case collapses totally.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/current.365.south.jpg

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

"Of course, it did not help the AGW cause that Nature is publishing a paper that casts doubt on the ocean circulation models that are part of the IPCC's GCMs. How are we supposed to trust the predictions if the global thermohaline circulation model is not what the IPCC modellers assumed it was?"

Good observations assist the process of modeling - they do not make all earlier models worthless.

But the models are worthless because they predict far more warming. That happens because the assumed feedback that is required to come up with the warming scenarios that are being pushed are not supported by observations. Add to that the fact that the CMs can't even seem to get the ocean circulation models right or deal with cloud cover and you have absolutely no case that the models are credible.

Certainly, the models will need to be changed to reflect observations.

But if that happens you can't use feedback that gives you the high temperature increases that are being predicted by the IPCC.

You're being awfully hard on the modelers - I wonder if you have the same disdain for the "clever" financial whiz kids that got us into this economic mess. After all, this mess is capitalism at its finest, is it not?I was grateful to the financial modellers because their stupidity and arrogance allowed me to make bets that paid off nicely and allowed me to retire at age 42. Just because I thought that they were fools it did not mean that I couldn't make a few bucks off the process. The same is true of the climate modellers. If they are successful I stand to make a great deal of money as the US economy suffers from the misallocation of scarce resources. For the green technology and alternative energy schemes to be implemented industries will need massive amounts of certain commodities which are hard to find outside of China. While most of the world was asleep, the Chinese were busy creating a virtual REE monopoly. If GE wants to make its generators, it needs to ensue a reliable supply of the commodities that it has to have to keep the lines operating. In addition to REEs a move towards alternatives will create a massive amount of demand for copper and silver. While added copper demand can be satisfied by making some very large investments silver will be a much tougher nut to crack. There are few pure silver producers out there and if inflation becomes an issue the users will have to compete with investors looking at the metal as real money.

But this isn't a thread about the merits of speciality metals and economics. It is about climate. Sadly, the climate modellers make their financial counterparts look like geniuses.

At 12:01 PM, May 19, 2009,  VangelV said...

"Many of the critics have given the IPCC credit for understanding that handling of clouds are the models' biggest problem. The criticism comes from the fact that the IPCC does so little work in figuring out how clouds affect feedback and for the divergence between the assumptions and predictions on one side and the real world observations on the other."

The IPCC doesn't develop models - why do you claim that they do?

It's clear to me that your knowledge, paltry as it is, of the entire issue comes from the denialist blogosphere - which habitually disinforms, distorts, lies and generally engages in despicable intellectual dishonesty.

Go to the work of the actual scientists - don't rely on the flawed filters of the denialists. They have an ideological agenda, and it's blatant and pervasive.
Fair enough. The IPCC does not write the models.

But the models that it references in its assessments cannot account for the effects of cloud cover and use feedback assumptions that are not supported by observations. This is a serious debate about serious issues so we need to stop with the language games and to start looking at the real world observations. At this time the observations show that the models overestimate the heating and do not comply with reality.

At 12:06 PM, May 19, 2009,  G-Man said...

Yes, the two poles are different. In the Arctic local sea temperatures can be influenced by natural climate phenomena, such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When these are in a certain phase ice cover can decline regardless of what happens to air temperatures.Prove it. Show us the causal chain between the modes of variability of the atmospheric circulation and the Arctic sea ice area, extent, and volume, and how no other factor is associated with those three quantities.

Then publish it in a peer-reviewed journal.

Of course the ice has recovered. Why don't you look at the data? The NSIDC announced that, " Because of cooler than average temperatures, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of April 2009 was within the expected range of natural variability."One month in a 30-year time series does not a broken trend make, just as a one-day rise in the S&P 500 doesn't mean the US is no longer in recession.

But the models are worthless because they predict far more warming. That happens because the assumed feedback that is required to come up with the warming scenarios that are being pushed are not supported by observations. Add to that the fact that the CMs can't even seem to get the ocean circulation models right or deal with cloud cover and you have absolutely no case that the models are credible.Again, a small departure from a long-term trend doesn't mean the trend has stopped.

You cannot seem to understand that. Why?

As for your comments regarding climate models and climate modeling, they're based on ignorance, hearsay, and disinformation. It's fine to dismiss climate models, but do so accurately and objectively - not based on an ideological agenda.

At 12:16 PM, May 19, 2009,  Hammerhead said...

G-Man said "You're being awfully hard on the modelers"

That's the job of science, to be very hard on the modelers, or by extension, the models.

At 1:26 PM, May 19, 2009,  VangelV said...

"Yes, the two poles are different. In the Arctic local sea temperatures can be influenced by natural climate phenomena, such as the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). When these are in a certain phase ice cover can decline regardless of what happens to air temperatures."

Prove it. Show us the causal chain between the modes of variability of the atmospheric circulation and the Arctic sea ice area, extent, and volume, and how no other factor is associated with those three quantities.

Then publish it in a peer-reviewed journal.

I don't have to because the journals are full of papers that show how the NAO, AO, AMO and the PDO impact Arctic weather and ice patterns.

Why aren't you embarrassed that you don't have any idea about the current state of knowledge? None of what I write is a secret or new. You can find most of it in the standard text books or the literature.

http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2000/1999GL010944.shtml

http://ams.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1175%2F1520-0442(2000)013%3C2671:TAORTT%3E2.0.CO%3B2

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/269/5224/676

http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/handle/2014/17216

http://www.arp.harvard.edu/sci/climate/journalclub/Thompson.pdf

"Of course the ice has recovered. Why don't you look at the data? The NSIDC announced that, "
Because of cooler than average temperatures, Arctic sea ice extent at the end of April 2009 was within the expected range of natural variability."

One month in a 30-year time series does not a broken trend make, just as a one-day rise in the S&P 500 doesn't mean the US is no longer in recession.

But there is no thirty year trend. As I said, if you look at the data you see the anomaly is above the 1979 to 2008 average.

"But the models are worthless because they predict far more warming. That happens because the assumed feedback that is required to come up with the warming scenarios that are being pushed are not supported by observations. Add to that the fact that the CMs can't even seem to get the ocean circulation models right or deal with cloud cover and you have absolutely no case that the models are credible."

Again, a small departure from a long-term trend doesn't mean the trend has stopped.

You cannot seem to understand that. Why?

Because there is no thirty year trend. The bottom line is that the April anomaly for the NH, SH and global ice cover all show that everything is normal. To conclude otherwise is not possible given the data that is available.

As for your comments regarding climate models and climate modeling, they're based on ignorance, hearsay, and disinformation. It's fine to dismiss climate models, but do so accurately and objectively - not based on an ideological agenda.

It isn't ignorance and hearsay. The IPCC models are useless because they made predictions that have not come true. A coin flip would have probably yielded better results.

At 5:22 PM, May 19, 2009,  Duncan said...

Okay, it looks like this one will run and run, but quickly…

David:

1) “You keep trying to switch the argument into the "pro/anti AGW" channel you are used to. I'm not interested in that argument here….”

Yet

2) “the next question for you is how, if not a professional in the field, you distinguish "the scientific consensus" from "the currently loudest voices."“

#2 is precisely a switching of the argument into the “pro/anti AGW” channel. I’m happy to discuss that, as, by the look of it, is everyone else here, but please don’t pretend I’m the one bringing this topic to the table.

“We aren't too young to have read Malthus--and having done so, I know that he didn't predict inevitable global starvation”

Yes - I was being flippant and know perfectly well what Malthus said. The reason I was being flippant: you didn’t actually say what you had in mind. Now you have:

“Did you read Limits to Growth, for instance? That was widely viewed as a convincing scientific argument and accepted by lots of people--although I don't think I met at the time a single economist who took it seriously”

And so, it’s a completely absurd analogy. You didn’t meet a single economist who took the book seriously - and yet you think it’s a good match for contemporary claims about climate change. What can one possibly say?

“as a professional academic I'm not inclined to take public views of what the "consensus" of a scientific field is very seriously.”

Fortunately you don’t have to. You can look at the actual consensus. No one’s stopping you from flipping through some reputable peer-reviewed science journals. You don’t have to rely on fisking press releases, you know.

I’ll say more in a second, but - Hammerhead:

“I hope we are trying to treat climate science like physics and not like politics. That's all.”

Yes, of course.

“The paragraph you extracted from Lindzen is fine.”

Well I think we disagree about this, but thank you for the link. For some reason the article won’t open in my browser, but I’ll read it when I can and have the time.

Back to David.

“Of all the people with strong views pro AGW, what fraction do you think base their views on having read and understood published peer reviewed articles, rather than on secondary sources--such as the one whose falsity I have just been demonstrating?”

A tiny fraction, self-evidently. But, equally self-evidently, public consensus isn’t the consensus that counts, in terms of scientific truth-claims. Scientific consensus is what counts. This is too obvious for words. Furthermore, scientific consensus can be, and is, communicated to a non-scientific audience without more than a tiny fraction of that audience reading or understanding peer-reviewed science articles. This is also blindingly obvious. Again, the relativity example is a good one. What fraction of the public can read and understand the theoretical physics associated with relativity? A tiny tiny tiny fraction. Does this have any bearing at all on the truth or value of relativity theory? Of course it doesn‘t.

We are, I think, both of us concerned about the ways in which scientific results are communicated to a lay audience. I am also critical of that press release, as you know. But it is entirely illegitimate to move from this concern to judgements about the implications of the actual scientific research itself, as you routinely have done in this thread.

If all lay confidence in scientific claims were held to the standards you’re advocating w/r/t climate change, no one at all except specialists in a given field would have any justification in accepting scientific results produced by that field. Is this your conviction? If it is you are in fact rejecting the scientific method. If it isn’t… what on earth are you playing at?

I should probably say more, but I think that’s enough for the moment. Thanks…

At 6:07 PM, May 19, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"But it is entirely illegitimate to move from this concern to judgements about the implications of the actual scientific research itself, as you routinely have done in this thread."

I don't think I have. The point I have been making that I think you are responding to is not about what the implications of the research actually are, but about how one knows what they are. For the most part, people's beliefs about the implications of the research are based on secondary sources, as I think you have agreed. If secondary sources are unreliable, then the confidence with which such beliefs are held is usually unjustified. It does no good to say "we should trust the consensus of scientists in the field" if you don't have a reliable way of knowing what it is.

Going back to Limits to Growth. My point, which you seem to have missed, is that lots of non-economists believed that the predictions in the book were widely accepted in the field, and true. Neither belief was correct, both were reinforced by the filtering process that determined what laymen read.

And, as I pointed out in a blog post quite a while back, the popular view of the scientific consensus on global warming is largely wrong, at least if you are willing to accept the IPCC as representing a consensus, as I suspect you are. I don't think I have seen any newspaper articles put in terms of the dreadful effects of a temperature rise of a degree or two, or a sea level rise of a foot or two, over a century.

What happens, as best I can tell, is that people take non-consensus views, extreme outcomes that someone thinks, perhaps correctly, can't be ruled out—and tries to represent them as what everyone save ignorant denialists knows is the accepted view.

Anyone who disagrees? Obviously a denialist.

At 8:19 AM, May 20, 2009,  G-Man said...

As expected, "VangelV" is engaging in the same cherry-picking, misdirection, disinformation and deception that's required of denialists.

He's also an arrogant SOB.

At 9:47 AM, May 20, 2009,  VangelV said...

"As expected, "VangelV" is engaging in the same cherry-picking, misdirection, disinformation and deception that's required of denialists.

He's also an arrogant SOB."

LOL. Since when is providing links to the ice cover data cherry picking? The evidence is what it is, not what you want it to be.

At 11:54 AM, May 20, 2009,  G-Man said...

It's cherry-picking because you're lumping together two distinct regions and sets of processes, and labeling the result "normal".

You're obfuscating critical and relevant information, because it doesn't fit your agenda. As all denialists do...

If you spent more time investigating and understanding, instead of disinforming and rationalizing, you'd be far better off.

At 12:33 PM, May 20, 2009,  VangelV said...

Blogger G-Man said...

It's cherry-picking because you're lumping together two distinct regions and sets of processes, and labeling the result "normal".

First, when we are talking about anthropogenic global warming and the AGW movement is up in arms about an ice melting 'crisis' it makes sense to look at global ice cover. Second, I don't need to look at either global or SH ice cover because the current data shows that April 2009 was above the 1979 to 2009 average. That clearly shows that there is no crisis.

You're obfuscating critical and relevant information, because it doesn't fit your agenda. As all denialists do...

I have no clue about what you are talking about. The data is clear that the April ice cover is above the mean for the Arctic. There is no other information that is relevant unless you have a political agenda to push.

By the way, calling into questions motives will not work. I stand to benefit when your Congress depreciates the USD and forces demand to artificially increase for certain commodities. I am well positioned to take advantage of any artificial demand for REEs that is created by a movement towards alternatives. I also stand to benefit if the demand for uranium increases. This is not an argument about interests but about science.

If you spent more time investigating and understanding, instead of disinforming and rationalizing, you'd be far better off.Actually, I have been reading and investigating the issue since Hansen and Ehrlich were warning people about the next ice age in the 1970s. I even have a copy of Ponte's foolish little book stored somewhere in my basement. The bottom line is that most of the data shows that the AGW argument is without merit.

At 12:47 PM, May 20, 2009,  G-Man said...

First, when we are talking about anthropogenic global warming and the AGW movement is up in arms about an ice melting 'crisis' it makes sense to look at global ice cover.Why? That ignores the intrinsic and critical differences between the two hemispheres. That's like looking at the global economy rather than individual nations. If you do so, you miss a lot of relevant detail.

Second, I don't need to look at either global or SH ice cover because the current data shows that April 2009 was above the 1979 to 2009 average. That clearly shows that there is no crisis.Wrong. Sea ice area is but one measure; the April 2009 sea ice has much less multiyear ice than past Aprils.

You want everything to be "normal", and engage in mind-boggling games to do that.

I stand to benefit when your Congress depreciates the USD and forces demand to artificially increase for certain commodities. I am well positioned to take advantage of any artificial demand for REEs that is created by a movement towards alternatives. I also stand to benefit if the demand for uranium increases.Why? You've been prattling on and on about how policies geared to mitigate global warming will impoverish us tremendously; however, you've figured out a few ways to possibly make a profit from those policies. What makes you so special that others cannot figure out the same things?

Energy sources other than fossil fuels are and will be a hugely profitable market, yet you insist that transitioning away from fossil fuels will make all of us intolerably poorer. You can't have it both ways.

The bottom line is that most of the data shows that the AGW argument is without merit.Only because you don't understand the argument, you never have, and you only get your knowledge from the blogosphere-driven minority with an ideological agenda to push. You remind me a lot of the folks who would engage in ridiculous doublethink to believe that Saddam had WMDs.

At 2:24 PM, May 20, 2009,  VangelV said...

That ignores the intrinsic and critical differences between the two hemispheres. That's like looking at the global economy rather than individual nations. If you do so, you miss a lot of relevant detail.

Both hemispheres show that the ice cover anomaly is above the 1979 to 2009 average. Global ice cover is above the average. You can't spin this into a crisis when the objective evidence says it isn't.

Sea ice area is but one measure; the April 2009 sea ice has much less multiyear ice than past Aprils.

When did we get into the age of ice as a measure of global warming? Don't answer that because the pattern is familiar. When the data shows that the AGW argument is wrong the proponents switch it to something else.

The bottom line is that you don't have much data to make the claims that you do. The data has been clear that you are wrong about ince melting so you just switch to another argument. What next? The crystal structure of the ice?

And let us keep in mind that the 'experts' that the AGW side kept quoting to create a crisis where none existed underestimated the Arctic ice thickness by 100% so their credibility is in question.

At 3:22 PM, May 20, 2009,  G-Man said...

Both hemispheres show that the ice cover anomaly is above the 1979 to 2009 average. Global ice cover is above the average. You can't spin this into a crisis when the objective evidence says it isn't.You can't lump the Arctic and Antarctic together and claim "no crisis" - you're obliterating key differences when you aggregate.

Besides, as I've said, one month doesn't break a trend. Consider the DJIA:

1 Jan 2008: ~12000
1 Dec 2008: ~8150
31 Dec 2008: ~8780 (went up ~630 points)

"VangelV" would then insist that the US economic crisis was over, at that point. But whoops:
9 Mar 2009: ~6550 - barely half it's 1 Jan 2008 value.

When did we get into the age of ice as a measure of global warming?Because new sea ice is thinner ice. Merely going by ice extent obscures another key factor in growth/melt of sea ice. I'll let you work out the thermodynamics.

The bottom line is that you don't have much data to make the claims that you do.That's your bottom line, not mine. You must obfuscate, kludge, create data (i.e., "total sea ice cover [!]) and so on and so on to make your "arguments". Not only are such things dishonest, they're insulting.

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At 6:11 PM, May 20, 2009,  VangelV said...

You want everything to be "normal", and engage in mind-boggling games to do that.

It is a matter of statistics. When the measurements are within a standard deviation you have no basis to be screaming about a crisis that does not exist. This is not about theology or politics but about mathematics and science.

You've been prattling on and on about how policies geared to mitigate global warming will impoverish us tremendously; however, you've figured out a few ways to possibly make a profit from those policies. What makes you so special that others cannot figure out the same things?

Some people certainly can figure things out. Al Gore has certainly figured out how to make a buck. He made around \$100 million by pushing AGW and has made positioned himself by investing in carbon trading outfits that stand to make billions by transferring money from the taxpayers and consumers to politically connected interests. James Hansen, Gavin Schmidt and many of the leading voices that are pushing AGW have certainly gotten much richer. And it is almost certain that many of the politically connected companies and individuals will make money for a time.

But the average person, who did not work as long as some of us have and who has little capital to invest will be harmed by the transfer of wealth and the loss of jobs.

Energy sources other than fossil fuels are and will be a hugely profitable market, yet you insist that transitioning away from fossil fuels will make all of us intolerably poorer. You can't have it both ways.I am not having it both ways. I expect to make a lot of profit by selling REEs and uranium to companies that need them to generate energy and make equipment that will generate energy and by selling gold and silver so that individuals can protect themselves from the collapsing purchasing power of the dollar.

But the average person, who will pay more for most things and will have much less job security will not benefit. S/he will be harmed by policies that divert scarce resources into inefficient uses and by policies that transfer wealth from consumers to politically connected companies and individuals.

"The bottom line is that most of the data shows that the AGW argument is without merit."

Only because you don't understand the argument, you never have, and you only get your knowledge from the blogosphere-driven minority with an ideological agenda to push.

The data is clear. No argument can make it look as if there is an ice melting crisis when the readings stand above the mean.

You remind me a lot of the folks who would engage in ridiculous doublethink to believe that Saddam had WMDs.

Hardly. Unlike most American voters I did not support he Iraq and Afghan invasions and occupations. In fact, I sent a copy of Lady Florentia Sale's little book, A Journal of the First Afghan War, to the Prime Minister along with a nice explanation why I thought that Canadian participation was a very bad idea. When it comes to foreign policy I am in the camp that says that we should mind our own business.

At 8:10 AM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

"VangelV", believe whatever you want.

Your faith is touching, but misplaced.

At 8:33 AM, May 21, 2009,  Hammerhead said...

G-Man, your posts would be a heck of a lot more interesting if they contained some quantitative data and some well-reasoned thinking. VangelV has supplied far more than you, I've actually learned some interesting things from his clearly laid-out empirical discussions. You, on the other hand, are just repeating the same pejorative ad hominem characterizations of those you disagree with. It's not a convincing strategy. Sorry.

At 8:48 AM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

"VangelV", believe whatever you want.

Your faith is touching, but misplaced.

Faith has nothing to do with it. Science is about objective evidence and that evidence shows no ice melting crisis.

At 10:50 AM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

I've already provided empirical data; "VangelV" chooses to ignore it because it doesn't agree with his need to define away the problem of declining Arctic sea ice. I've provided analogies and explanations as to why his rationalizations and humpty-dumptyism has failed; however, he's immune.

He wants to believe that everything is just fine, which is his prerogative, but the data just doesn't support his wishful thinking.

Oh, and I use the words I do deliberately, as I have very little patience with folks whose agendae and ideologies lead them to manipulate and distort reality. Climate change deniers are right up there with 9/11 "Truth Movement" ninnies.

At 10:51 AM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

Science is about objective evidence and that evidence shows no ice melting crisis.Wrong.

Clearly, any trend that doesn't comport with your need for normalcy can be broken by one data point. As I've shown, that's flawed thinking.

At 11:31 AM, May 21, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I have very little patience with folks whose agendae and ideologies lead them to manipulate and distort reality. Climate change deniers are right up there with 9/11 "Truth Movement" ninnies."

This discussion started when I pointed out a striking attempt to distort reality--by the JPL, providing false information in support of your position. I haven't noticed any clear signs of your impatience with either the JPL or the broader movement they are supporting. Nor do you seem to have concluded that AGW supporters are right up there with ... .

Are you only impatient with dishonest arguments by people on the other side?

At 12:16 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

What JPL said wasn't a lie.

Indeed, extracting out only the very first part of their press release and ignoring the additional information in it is biased on your part, David. The JPL release points readers to the NSIDC website, upon which the plot of the April sea ice anomaly can be found, and while 2009 is not as large a decrease as any of 2004-2008, it still ranks as the 10th lowest of the 31 Aprils. That's not a fact you can merely dismiss.

At 1:02 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

I've already provided empirical data; "VangelV" chooses to ignore it because it doesn't agree with his need to define away the problem of declining Arctic sea ice. I've provided analogies and explanations as to why his rationalizations and humpty-dumptyism has failed; however, he's immune.

He wants to believe that everything is just fine, which is his prerogative, but the data just doesn't support his wishful thinking.

Oh, and I use the words I do deliberately, as I have very little patience with folks whose agendae and ideologies lead them to manipulate and distort reality. Climate change deniers are right up there with 9/11 "Truth Movement" ninnies.
You have provided no empirical evidence to show that there is any ice melting crisis. The data that is available shows that the ice cover anomaly is above the 1979 to 2009 average for both hemispheres and shows no long term trend that would indicate that ice loss is likely to be an issue.

You have made no attempt to look at the general temperature data, which shows that Arctic temperatures were higher in the 1930s and 1940s than what we have seen recently so the trend that you wish to debate depends on which starting point we choose. Of course, we also know that northern temperatures were higher during the MWP (Viking graves are still under the permafrost boundary) and that Arctic temperatures can be volatile. This means that when we put it all together you have no objective evidence to support your ridiculous claims.

At 1:15 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

Oh, and I use the words I do deliberately, as I have very little patience with folks whose agendae and ideologies lead them to manipulate and distort reality. Climate change deniers are right up there with 9/11 "Truth Movement" ninnies.

Let me address this point here because it is material. When people start to lose debates they often try to divert attention by calling opponents names, question motives or attribute to them unpopular views that they have never claimed to hold.

In the case of 9/11 my position has always been clear. Some angry men got into aeroplanes and crashed them into American targets. People died. While many like to talk about conspiracies by the government I have not seen any objective evidence that the government would be capable of carrying out the actions it is accused of even if it were inclined to do so.

At 1:34 PM, May 21, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"and while 2009 is not as large a decrease as any of 2004-2008, it still ranks as the 10th lowest of the 31 Aprils. That's not a fact you can merely dismiss."

You are confusing the claim that a level is low with the claim that it is decreasing--a statement about a function with a statement about its derivative. If you are unable to follow that distinction, you are poorly equipped to evaluate scientific work.

The fact that the level in 31 April 2009 is lower than a majority of past 31 Aprils for which we have data doesn't tell us whether it is currently going up or down. After going down for ten years, a year or two of increase still leaves the level below most past levels.

Take a look at Figure 3 on the site you refer to:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Which I've now added to the post we're commenting on. You will see that it shows the average monthly sea ice for April to have risen for the past two years. That makes the JPL statement:

"The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing."

a lie.

Do you disagree? Do you think that if sea ice is increasing but has not yet gotten back to its long term average, that shows that the trend of shrinking is continuing?

As I said in my previous comment, your lack of patience with distortions is limited to the ones on the other side.

At 3:03 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

Do you think that if sea ice is increasing but has not yet gotten back to its long term average, that shows that the trend of shrinking is continuing?Yes. The sea ice is still below it's April 79-09 mean value.

At 3:11 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

You have provided no empirical evidence to show that there is any ice melting crisis. The data that is available shows that the ice cover anomaly is above the 1979 to 2009 average for both hemispheres and shows no long term trend that would indicate that ice loss is likely to be an issue.I can't imagine why you're being so stubborn. You've made a number of claims that are incorrect:

Error 1: Total global sea ice cover is a relevant metric.
Correction 1: The poles are quite distinct, and lumping them together so you can ignore the decline in Arctic sea ice speaks more of your ideological attachment than adherence to reality.

Error 2: April 2009 Arctic sea ice is at its climatological mean.
Correction 2: It is still below its April 79-09 mean.

Error 3: Since April 2009 Arctic sea ice is at its climatological mean, the trend of declining Arctic is ended.
Correction 3: One month of data does not end a trend, any more than the December 2008 rise in the DJIA meant that the DJIA was done falling - as was seen when it hit ~6550 in early March 2009.

Bringing in temperatures isn't relevant at this time, since you're sticking with the errors above. Once you agree to acknowledge my correction of them, we can move on.

At 3:25 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

I've replicated the April 2009 figure from NSIDC, including the linear trend line, and have added a red horizontal line to indicate the April 79-09 mean.

It's on my blog.

At 3:32 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

GMan writes: "The sea ice is still below it's April 79-09 mean value."Except that it isn't.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/images/iphone.anomaly.global.png

At 3:40 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

Error 1: Total global sea ice cover is a relevant metric.

Correction 1: The poles are quite distinct, and lumping them together so you can ignore the decline in Arctic sea ice speaks more of your ideological attachment than adherence to reality.
But Arctic ice does not show a decline. Even the satellite data, which began after the PDO flipped into its warm phase shows that there is no trend that we need to worry about.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/images/iphone.anomaly.global.png

And global warming should effect global ice cover. If you want to admit that global warming is not an issue, which makes sense given that we have not seen any warming for more than a decade, then we can have a discussion about regional effects.

Error 2: April 2009 Arctic sea ice is at its climatological mean.
Correction 2: It is still below its April 79-09 mean.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/images/iphone.anomaly.global.png

Error 3: Since April 2009 Arctic sea ice is at its climatological mean, the trend of declining Arctic is ended.

Correction 3: One month of data does not end a trend, any more than the December 2008 rise in the DJIA meant that the DJIA was done falling - as was seen when it hit ~6550 in early March 2009.
The graph shows no statistically important trend.

http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/iphone/images/iphone.anomaly.global.png

And we certainly know that the Arctic has been warmer, including the 1930s and 1940s, so I don't understand your blind panic. Clearly there is no global effect because global ice levels are also above the mean.

Bringing in temperatures isn't relevant at this time, since you're sticking with the errors above. Once you agree to acknowledge my correction of them, we can move on. Let me get this straight. The fact that atmospheric temperatures have not gone up for 12 years and the oceans stopped warming in 2003 is not important even though they falsify the AGW theory? If you won't look at objective evidence what will you need to falsify the AGW hypothesis?

At 3:43 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

Yes, it is, "VangelV".

The mean April 79-09 Arctic sea ice extent is 14.8 10^6 km^2.

April 2009 was 14.58 km 10^6 km^2, 220,000 km^2 less.

At 3:47 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

I've replicated the April 2009 figure from NSIDC, including the linear trend line, and have added a red horizontal line to indicate the April 79-09 mean.

It's on my blog.
Provide the link please. Below is a link to the NSIDC graph showing that the current ice cover is just below the 1979 - 2000 mean but within the normal range.

http://nsidc.org/images/arcticseaicenews/20090504_Figure2.png

Why do you suppose that the NSIDC refuses to use the 1979 to 2009 average?

At 3:52 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

You can get to my blog by clicking on the "G-Man" link on any one of my posts.

At 3:58 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

Yes, it is, "VangelV".

The mean April 79-09 Arctic sea ice extent is 14.8 10^6 km^2.

April 2009 was 14.58 km 10^6 km^2, 220,000 km^2 less.

What part of please show your references don't you understand? And you better check your data to make sure that you are not using the 1979-2000 mean that the NSIDC keeps quoting.

At 4:13 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

You can get to my blog by clicking on the "G-Man" link on any one of my posts.

I mean links to the source of the data, not your blog.

And the link that I provided to the ice cover anomaly works because I tried it. So does the NSIDC link showing the comparison to the 1979 to 2000 average.

Unless you support your claims with links to a valid source it is hard to take them seriously.

At 6:56 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:20 PM, May 21, 2009,  G-Man said...

Arctic sea ice data in text format is available via

It's trivial to make it usable.

At 7:43 PM, May 21, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Do you think that if sea ice is increasing but has not yet gotten back to its long term average, that shows that the trend of shrinking is continuing? Yes. The sea ice is still below it's April 79-09 mean value."

Similarly, you would say that this year the stock market has been going up? It's surely above its mean value for the past century, probably even for the past thirty years.

I repeat my previous point. You are confusing the claim that something is low with the claim that it is decreasing. And if you do not understand the difference between a statement about a function and a statement about its derivative, you are not competent to evaluate scientific work, hence your views on the subject are based on faith.

At 8:42 PM, May 21, 2009,  VangelV said...

G-Man

Arctic sea ice data in text format is available via

It's trivial to make it usable.
Sorry but your own link does not support your claim of unusual ice melting activity. Even if we were to use that particular data set we see that the current month is within a standard deviation of the mean. How can you claim that such a measurement is a concern?

Actually, if we are to look even at your best data point we still see no need for any concern because even that cherry picked point still leaves us within two standard deviations of the mean. That is also not a cause for concern.

Like I said before, you have no objective evidence of any problem even if we let you pick your own data set and ignore the references that I provided. Sadly for your case every reading was within two standard deviations of the mean.

At 12:51 AM, May 22, 2009,  Andrew said...

""Why is it that capitalism and markets can solve almost anything, but are utterly impotent when it comes to climate change?"

Intergenerational externalities are difficult to politically assess. There are some for whom the future, after their death, has no value. Although it is certainly not my position, i'll admit that it's ethically defensible. If this is your position, then the future global warming to generations after you are dead is simply something that you would not be willing to pay for presently.

Another popular view is that future generations will inevitably have it better than we do, so it's ok to take away from them for our benefit. Again, i think it's a defensible position.

Capitalism and markets cannot solely solve climate change because much of it is an ethical issue. It's an ethical issue because it largely affects future generations. There was a great paper on this recently, discussing how much the varying amount that carbon should optimally be taxed depending on what sort of intergenerational discount rate was chosen.

At 6:43 AM, May 22, 2009,  VangelV said...

Intergenerational externalities are difficult to politically assess. There are some for whom the future, after their death, has no value. Although it is certainly not my position, i'll admit that it's ethically defensible. If this is your position, then the future global warming to generations after you are dead is simply something that you would not be willing to pay for presently.

The markets would not incur a cost today for which there is no positive future return. Spending 2% of GDP to reduce future temperatures by 0.1C does not seem to be logical because warming is beneficial and the extra wealth that is accumulated will put our children and grandchildren in a better position to solve real problems.

Another popular view is that future generations will inevitably have it better than we do, so it's ok to take away from them for our benefit. Again, i think it's a defensible position.

LOL. Future generators would have a lot more if we did not divert scarce resources to benefit politically connected individuals and companies. No matter how you try to rationalise it, theft is what it is.

Capitalism and markets cannot solely solve climate change because much of it is an ethical issue.

Actually, it isn't. And do not confuse crony capitalism and hampered markets with free markets.

It's an ethical issue because it largely affects future generations.

Didn't you argue that it is OK to steal from future generations because they will be better off?

There was a great paper on this recently, discussing how much the varying amount that carbon should optimally be taxed depending on what sort of intergenerational discount rate was chosen.

People who get paid to come up with narratives to justify political activities come up with lots of papers like that. A rational person would see through the game and recognize empty suits for what they are.

I have to tell you that the level of economic ignorance is scary. You sound like an intelligent person but seem to have no idea of how the real world actually works. You still seem to try to justify corruption, inefficiency and theft because you think that as long as an imagined goal is noble the ends will justify the means. But your imagined ends do not exist in the real world. We have just seen 12 years in which atmospheric temperatures have not gone up and six years of ocean cooling yet you still are in fear of warming. If you look around at the historical evidence you find that the standard of living increases during warming periods but you somehow favour cooling. You look at a dynamic, non-linear system like a climate or an economy and pretend that it can be explained by concentration on one minor input. Please try to read up on the subjects on which you post.

At 7:06 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

You are confusing the claim that something is low with the claim that it is decreasing. And if you do not understand the difference between a statement about a function and a statement about its derivative, you are not competent to evaluate scientific work, hence your views on the subject are based on faith.I'm not confusing anything. An inflection point doesn't demolish a trend.

At 7:10 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

Like I said before, you have no objective evidence of any problem even if we let you pick your own data set and ignore the references that I provided. Sadly for your case every reading was within two standard deviations of the mean.I didn't pick "my own data set" - it's the same NSIDC data that they helpfully plot for us.

From where do you get your "two standard deviations" criteria?

Would you agree with a doctor who said, "The growth of your tumor is still less than two sigma from the mean, so it's no cause for concern"?

Or, if your personal net worth was declining, but at a rate < 2σ, would you claim that it was "not a cause for concern"?

At 7:11 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

Spending 2% of GDP to reduce future temperatures by 0.1C does not seem to be logical because warming is beneficial From where do you get your figures of "2% of GDP", "0.1C"?

And, by what measure do you claim "warming is beneficial"?

You're not Marc Morano in disguise, are you?

At 7:18 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

I've put up another plot on my blog, showing the Arctic sea ice anomaly, defined as each month's mean minus the 79-09 mean for that month, divided by the standard deviation for that month.

Does anyone notice any trends 1979-2009? If you don't, why not?

At 7:23 AM, May 22, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I'm not confusing anything. An inflection point doesn't demolish a trend."

A new point that is an increase isn't evidence that the previous declining trend is continuing. It's evidence that it isn't continuing, although not necessarily enough evidence to make you conclude that the trend isn't going to resume.

I notice that you didn't respond to my question about the stock market. It went up for a long time, it has recently gone down. On your theory, the recent events show that the rise in the stock market is continuing-just as the recent increase in arctic ice cover, according to you, shows that the decline is continuing.

Yes or no?

At 7:36 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

As long as the anomaly for a given month is below the long-term mean for that month (since sea ice is highly seasonal), it is in decline.

At 8:51 AM, May 22, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"As long as the anomaly for a given month is below the long-term mean for that month (since sea ice is highly seasonal), it is in decline."

Hence the stock market is currently rising? It's still above its long term mean.

And, by your definition, global temperatures have been rising for the past ten thousand years-right through the little ice age.

Amazing what people will do to avoid recognizing evidence contrary to their beliefs--in this case, belief not about global warming but about the reliability of sources.

At 9:52 AM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

Let's be sensible. Given the time range of the data we're looking at (since 1979), and that April 2009 is below the mean of the 79-09 Aprils, it's not a "lie" to say that April 2009 is not an increase (i.e., a decline) in Arctic sea ice.

Sure, we can compare some quantity X over some arbitrary time period - but selecting a time period a priori based on an agenda is the real issue.

One could claim that Arctic sea ice is increasing, since April 2009 had more sea ice than the Aprils of 2004 to 2008, but that's cherry-picking.

I wouldn't call JPL's press release a "lie", based on the fact that yes, April 2009's sea ice was less than the long-term mean. That it has increased relative to the last few years isn't a basis to conclude that the Arctic sea ice generally is no longer in decline.

That's all.

At 11:23 AM, May 22, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"I wouldn't call JPL's press release a "lie", based on the fact that yes, April 2009's sea ice was less than the long-term mean. That it has increased relative to the last few years isn't a basis to conclude that the Arctic sea ice generally is no longer in decline."

They didn't say that the recent increase was insufficient reason to conclude that the decline was over--if they had I wouldn't have accused them of lying. They said that

"The latest Arctic sea ice data from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing."

"Show that X is true" is not the same as "Fail to prove that X is false." "Trend of shrinking is continuing" is not the same as "level is still low." "Continue to shrink" means that it is still getting lower--the opposite of the truth.

And you know it. Hence by now you know that the statement you are defending--what they actually said, not what they could have said--was a lie.

So why do you keep trying to pretend that it wasn't?

At 2:02 PM, May 22, 2009,  VangelV said...

Like I said before, you have no objective evidence of any problem even if we let you pick your own data set and ignore the references that I provided. Sadly for your case every reading was within two standard deviations of the mean.I didn't pick "my own data set" - it's the same NSIDC data that they helpfully plot for us.

First, there are other data sets out there. I provided you a link to two graphs that were generated from two different sets. In the first the ice cover anomaly was greater than the mean. In the second, it was just below the 1979 to 2000 mean. It is also known that the ice cover values are derived by algorithms that may not be identical for different organisations so the measurements are not the same.

Le me stick to this point for a bit. What bothers me about the data that you provided is that it does not mesh well with the NSIDC graph below. In that graph the NSIDC says that April ice cover seems to be just below the 1970 to 2000 mean. Given the fact that the difference between the 1979 to 2000 mean and the 1979 to 2009 mean is approximated 250,000 sq km there is a problem with either the graph or the data set provide.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

Of course, the problem is not new because the NSIDC has had a number of issues with quality control and equipment failure. It actually comes up with the ice cover estimate by applying computer algorithms on sensor data coming from the imagers on DMSP satellites. The problem is that this data is not continuous but has been spliced together with data gathered between 1979 and 1987. As my ten-year old pointed out, the data before 1988 looks a bit different than the data that comes after 1988. (I gave him a graphing assignment as preparation for a math exam he has on Saturday. He is not all that good at math because he does not concentrate so he does odd jobs for me as practice.)

We also know that the NSIDC has had some quality control issues. Early this year it failed to notice that one of its sensors failed and got the news from the sceptic community, which keeps an eye on the data and tries to ensure some level of quality control. There is another problem. The MSIDC has access to the much more accurate EOS AMSR-E sensor. It has not switched to that sensor because the more accurate readings are not consistent with the less accurate data used from 1979 to 2009.

That brings us to another accuracy issue. For months we have been told about how the satellites are showing that Arctic ice is thinning. But that claim turned out to be false because a recent Arctic expedition showed the ice to be 100% thicker than what scientists claimed it was.

At 2:03 PM, May 22, 2009,  VangelV said...

From where do you get your "two standard deviations" criteria?

Would you agree with a doctor who said, "The growth of your tumor is still less than two sigma from the mean, so it's no cause for concern"?

Or, if your personal net worth was declining, but at a rate < 2σ, would you claim that it was "not a cause for concern"?
But even if I let you pick the data set you still can't show that there is a problem because the ice cover is less than one standard deviation of the mean. I am not suggesting that the data is normally distributed or that the use of a standard deviation is appropriate. But we do have to start our analysis somewhere and looking at how far our reading is from the mean as good a place to start as any. Our analysis shows that if we use the data you provided the current ice cover is only 1.8% below the mean. (This conflicts with the reference that I cited.) Why a reading that is 1.7% below the mean is a crisis is something that you have to explain, particularly when other data sets show the ice cover anomaly being above the 1979 to 2009 mean.

For what it is worth my son is telling me that if you use increments of 200,000 km^2 you get seven readings between 14,500,000 km^2 and 14,700,000 km^2. The only other range that gets as many readings is 15,100,000 km^2 to 25,300,000 km^2, which also has seven readings. Given the fact that the current measurement appears in the first range I see nothing unusual. (And keep in mind that the recent sensor error was 500,000 km^2.)

Please feel free to provide your own explanation. My son is only ten so he may have missed something.

At 2:15 PM, May 22, 2009,  VangelV said...

"Spending 2% of GDP to reduce future temperatures by 0.1C does not seem to be logical because warming is beneficial"

From where do you get your figures of "2% of GDP", "0.1C"?

And, by what measure do you claim "warming is beneficial"?

You're not Marc Morano in disguise, are you?

The cost of sequestering carbon, using carbon trading schemes and paying third world countries not to emit at the same per capita level as we do will cost at least 2% of global GDP.

The 0.1C difference is what you get when you plug in the reductions into the models. Like I said, man's contribution of total CO2 emissions is around 4% of the total and the effect of new CO2 is logarithmic.

All you need to do to see how useless the proposals are is to look at the EU, which tried carbon trading, built solar and wind farms but had higher emission increases than the US. From what I can see the EU paid a portion of its national income to increase emissions above the levels permitted by the Kyoto agreement.

And warming is beneficial. It increases agricultural yields, reduces the need for energy that is used for heating purposes and reduces deaths due to cold conditions, which are much higher than deaths due to warming. The MWP saw the life expectancy of the average Englishman to increase from 38 to 48 years. It was a time of general prosperity and the surpluses generated allowed for an explosion in the arts and the building of those great cathedrals. The Vikings were able to build settlements in Greenland and the English were able to grow grapes north of London and to export wine to France.

On the other hand, the LIA was a time of misery and poverty. Agricultural yields collapsed. The life expectancy decreased by a decade. Disease were rampant. Wars and religious persecution increased.

I don't know about others but I am still looking for an explanation from you about why cooling is better than warming.

At 2:27 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

Try using some HTML to include them. Perhaps your 10-year-old son, although not good at math, can look over your shoulder and tell you how to do it.

That brings us to another accuracy issue. For months we have been told about how the satellites are showing that Arctic ice is thinning. But that claim turned out to be false because a recent Arctic expedition showed the ice to be 100% thicker than what scientists claimed it was.A single observation at a given point in time doesn't override previous comments or data.

You seem to be confused about time scales, and averages over time.

At 2:31 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

I am not suggesting that the data is normally distributed or that the use of a standard deviation is appropriate. But we do have to start our analysis somewhere and looking at how far our reading is from the mean as good a place to start as any.So, the whole "the value needs to be at least 2 sigma away from the mean to be a problem" is just a red herring on your part.

All that verbiage just to dispose of a strawman.

And no, that April 2009 sea ice isn't hugely below the mean does not mean there's not a problem with Arctic sea ice.

Why is it that you denialists always latch onto a single data point and triumph that it, and it alone, has proven that climate change doesn't exist, and is a big hoax?

Can you explain?

At 2:35 PM, May 22, 2009,  VangelV said...

As long as the anomaly for a given month is below the long-term mean for that month (since sea ice is highly seasonal), it is in decline. Your ignorance of statistics is astounding. Half the data points will be below the mean and half will be above the mean. For you to claim significance the data point has to be several standard deviations away.

Of course, the data is not exactly pristine. It is derived from sensors that have been known to be off. (The ice thickness estimates were off by 100%.) The data is not continuous but a splice between two sets. According to my son, the average from the first data set is around 800,000 km^2 higher than the data from the current set of sensors. The transition is not very subtle. you are basically looking at a step down after the satellite sensors are switched.

Also, the data that you use does not seem to agree with the graph shown by the NSIDC. In that one the April ice cover is just below the 1979 to 2000 average, which is 250,000 km^2 higher than the 1979 to 2009 average that you came up with. That means that there is a simple error somewhere.

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png

At 2:36 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

The cost of sequestering carbon, using carbon trading schemes and paying third world countries not to emit at the same per capita level as we do will cost at least 2% of global GDP.According to whom?

How does that compare with doing nothing about climate change, or the many strategies other than those you outline?

The 0.1C difference is what you get when you plug in the reductions into the models.Which models? Be specific.

And warming is beneficial. It increases agricultural yields, reduces the need for energy that is used for heating purposes and reduces deaths due to cold conditions, which are much higher than deaths due to warming.It may increase some agricultural yields in some areas for some period of time, but it will also decrease yields in other areas - and increasing temperatures are not the only symptom of climate change.

Increasing numbers of heat waves increases the costs associated with cooling.

What's the average annual death toll from excessive cold compared to excessive heat? Remember the 2003 European heat wave - no, I'm not saying that global warming caused it, but that 30,000+ people died because of the heat.

At 2:40 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:43 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

For you to claim significance the data point has to be several standard deviations away."Several"? Be more precise.

But you've already conceded that using sigma may not be appropriate, so it's a moot point.

It's also ironic that when the data show something you want, they're fine; but when I counter with something you don't like, the data is flawed.

Decide whether or not you like the data.

At 5:57 PM, May 22, 2009,  G-Man said...

And we certainly know that the Arctic has been warmer, including the 1930s and 1940s, so I don't understand your blind panic.Who claims the Arctic was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s? Plimer? That's a joke.

And who's in a blind panic? Perhaps you, because you're being exposed.

At 11:29 AM, May 24, 2009,  VangelV said...

Who claims the Arctic was warmer in the 1930s and 1940s? Plimer? That's a joke.

Plimer would not be the only credible individual. Dr. Akasofu, who is the director of the International Arctic Research Center has testified in Congress that the 1940s were warmer. There are many papers on this issue, which you are obviously unaware of. I have produced some below. Even AGW hype chief, James Hansen, wrote showed Arctic warming between the 1920s and 1940. You might not be familiar with that work because he 'adjusted' the data recently to fit the theory better.

Two distinct warming periods from 1920 to 1945, and 1975 to present stand out for the arctic region north of 62N (Figure 1). Compared with global and hemispheric temperature rise, the high-latitude temperature increase was stronger in the late 1930s-early 1940s than in recent decades. See Figure 1."Arctic warming in the 1930–40s was exceptionally strong, reaching 1.7◦ C, compared with the 2000 maximum of 1.5◦ C."Look at figure 7 from Hansen and Lebedeff paper.In the latest GISS data set, Hansen has reduced the temperature readings for the previous highs (1937 and 1938) by around 0.4C. The effect of the GISS adjustments have been to lower past high temperatures relative to the current period. The adjustment is by approximately half of the noted warming since the end of the LIA.

Here is an interesting example of how the broader data set was 'adjusted' to fit the theory.And who's in a blind panic? Perhaps you, because you're being exposed

You certainly seem to be in a panic about data points that are obviously statistically irrelevant. Ironically, you are worried about warming when we haven't noted any in more than a decade and when the weather service continues to report a high number of record lows.

At 12:09 PM, May 24, 2009,  VangelV said...

Several"? Be more precise.

I don't consider data points that are within 2 standard deviations to be very unusual, particular when you are looking at a process like temperatures.

But you've already conceded that using sigma may not be appropriate, so it's a moot point.

LOL. You missed the point. Because ice thickness is influenced by a number of several long cycle natural factors (NO, NAO, LFO, etc.) you cannot use 30 years worth of data, particularly when the data set is a splice of two different sets of sensors that show a distinct difference.

It's also ironic that when the data show something you want, they're fine; but when I counter with something you don't like, the data is flawed.

I only comment on data that the AGW crowd has used to push its agenda. If it has not and I do not like it, I will not bring it up to support my own position.

Decide whether or not you like the data.

I point out that the data set that you referenced is not compatible with the graph that shows that April almost touched the 1970-2000 average. How can April be below the 1979-2009 average when the difference between the data point and the 1979-2000 average is around 100,000 km^2 when the difference between the two averages is 250,000 km^2. And how do you trust data coming from algorithms that underestimated the thickness by 100% and from people who missed the fact that a sensor has failed?

At 2:56 PM, May 24, 2009,  G-Man said...

I don't consider data points that are within 2 standard deviations to be very unusual, particular when you are looking at a process like temperatures.Why 2σ? Because that's your personal preference, and nothing more.

Oh, and we're looking at Arctic sea ice, not temperatures.

I only comment on data that the AGW crowd has used to push its agenda. If it has not and I do not like it, I will not bring it up to support my own position.Baloney. You seize on every "contradictory" piece of data to push your agenda, hard. Not only that, but you cherry-pick data, and you still cannot decide when data is good or not, excepting that good data supports your view, somehow-faulty data doesn't support your view.

Besides, you extrapolate like mad - you jumped on an early comment about one set of obs from PAM-ARCMIP as if it eradicates everything we know about Arctic sea ice, just because you think it supports your beliefs.

At 3:59 PM, May 24, 2009,  VangelV said...

"I don't consider data points that are within 2 standard deviations to be very unusual, particular when you are looking at a process like temperatures."

Why 2σ? Because that's your personal preference, and nothing more.
No because for something to be usual it can't be close to the mean. Are you ignorant of statistics or just dancing around the issue because you have no way to support your position?

Oh, and we're looking at Arctic sea ice, not temperatures.It is the same idea. Ice cover is effected by a number of natural factors and is quite variable, particularly when you splice two different data sets together and use computer algorithms to come up with numbers.

"I only comment on data that the AGW crowd has used to push its agenda. If it has not and I do not like it, I will not bring it up to support my own position."

Baloney. You seize on every "contradictory" piece of data to push your agenda, hard. Not only that, but you cherry-pick data, and you still cannot decide when data is good or not, excepting that good data supports your view, somehow-faulty data doesn't support your view.
I have no problem with using valid data because that is what science is about. When satellites tell you that there is no atmospheric warming going on for more than a decade there is nothing wrong with using that fact to point out that it falsifies the AGW feedback assumptions. When the buoys are showing to ocean warming you use the data to point out that it falsifies the AGW theory, which requires that the energy imbalance show up as stored heat. When the radiosonde data shows no mid-troposphere warming signature as predicted by the theory we use the fact to show that it has been falsified.

Besides, you extrapolate like mad - you jumped on an early comment about one set of obs from PAM-ARCMIP as if it eradicates everything we know about Arctic sea ice, just because you think it supports your beliefs. You are confused. I pointed out that the ice cover data showed that nothing unusual was going on and that the algorithms and experts prediction for ice thickness was off by 100%. As far as I am concerned the error shows that the 'experts' were just empty suits creating tall tales rather than rational scientists willing to admit that there were things that they did not know so their conclusions carried a great deal more uncertainty than the politicians and the IPCC lead authors were willing to admit.

At 4:01 PM, May 24, 2009,  VangelV said...

CORRECTION...

"Why 2σ? Because that's your personal preference, and nothing more."

No because for something to be usual it can't be close to the mean. Are you ignorant of statistics or just dancing around the issue because you have no way to support your position?

The word 'usual' was supposed to be unusual.

At 6:50 PM, May 24, 2009,  G-Man said...

My point still stands that you denialists seize on any and all data that you claim supports your views - remember the Spencer/Christy mess and the ARGO float kerfuffle? You guys jumped all over those, proclaiming them as triumphs for your agenda. When the data was corrected, and was found to be consistent with AGW, the denialists didn't accept reality - they insinuated dark conspiracies and slurs against scientists for "manipulating" data. I read that crap all the time on CA and WUWT.

For folks who claim to be following real science, without an ideological taint, the hypocrisy is astounding.

Oh, and you still cherry-pick data to support your pre-ordained agenda.

At 9:27 PM, May 24, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"For folks who claim to be following real science, without an ideological taint, the hypocrisy is astounding."

I don't know enough about the arguments to want to take sides in your general debate with Vangel, but this comment comes rather strangely from you. You continue to refuse to admit that two years of increasing area of ice does not "show that the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing."

It's possible that you really don't understand the difference between a level and a rate of change--in this case between "low" and "shrinking."If so, you are not equipped to take part in any serious scientific argument, on global warming or anything else I can think of.

But I think it more likely that you are simply unwilling to admit that someone on your side blatantly misrepresented the facts.

As you say, the hypocrisy is astounding.

At 6:57 AM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

Here is an article that talks about analogous cherry-picking of temperature data, and why it's wrong to do so.

At 10:17 AM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

You already conceded that sea ice may not follow a standard distribution, so your whole point about sigma may be moot.But I am not the one making the outrageous claim that a reading that is 2% below the mean is a sign of crisis. It is you who needs to come up with a statistical argument to support your unsubstantiated claim.

"My point still stands that you denialists seize on any and all data that you claim supports your views - remember the Spencer/Christy mess and the ARGO float kerfuffle? You guys jumped all over those, proclaiming them as triumphs for your agenda. When the data was corrected, and was found to be consistent with AGW, the denialists didn't accept reality - they insinuated dark conspiracies and slurs against scientists for "manipulating" data. I read that crap all the time on CA and WUWT."

The fact is that even when Willis dropped the lower readings because they did not fit the model and dropped some of the higher readings from the old system he still could not get rid of all of the cooling. The simple fact is that if the oceans are not storing heat as the AGW theory predicts the observation falsifies the theory.

And just because Willis was cherry picking data that does not mean that he was correct in doing so. And let us note that there is other data that still shows that the oceans are cooling much more than even Willis is willing to admit.

"For folks who claim to be following real science, without an ideological taint, the hypocrisy is astounding."

Please. I haven't heard you say anything about the changes that Hansen has been making to the GISS data set or the fact that it took seven years to get him to correct an error that was clearly laid out for him. Or slam him for the fact that as soon as the data was changed back to what it used to be in 1999 he changed the algorithms to decrease the temperatures from the 1930s and 1940s. The bottom line is that most of the people that you use as support do not allow their data and their algorithms to be reviewed by independent analysts. The reason is obvious; each time they permitted outsider to look their errors were quickly exposed.

"Oh, and you still cherry-pick data to support your pre-ordained agenda."

Hardly. The ice core data still shows that temperature changes lead CO2 changes by around 800 years. All of the satellites are still showing that we have not seen atmospheric warming for more than a decade. The ARGO data still show no ocean warming. And the radiosonde data still shows that the predicted warming signature is missing. All of those falsify the AGW theory. Absent warming you can't argue that we are in a warming trend.

At 10:21 AM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

Here is an article

that talks about analogous cherry-picking of temperature data, and why it's wrong to do so.
You still have a problem. In the high feedback world, like the one assumed by the IPCC models, you can't have a decade without warming during which CO2 concentrations are going up. You can't claim that there is an energy imbalance due to the added CO2 if the extra heat is not stored in the ocean.

You also can't have it both ways. You can't claim to have unusual warming as you cherry-pick as a starting point the end of the Little Ice Age.

At 10:26 AM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

One of the ironies of the self-appointed self-declared "audit" community is that rather than investigate and analyze the data themselves, they'd prefer to go over the work of others - which they don't understand in the first place.

It's rather like demanding Galileo present his data and analysis for "auditing", rather than doing his experiments independently. All the temperature data is out there and readily available; rather than whining that Jones, or Santer, or someone else isn't giving up their codes to you, go get the data, run your own analysis, and show that they're wrong. Of course, that would require real work, and real knowledge, rather than just ill-tempered sniping, but them's the breaks.

And thanks for proving my point - you pick short-term data, bloat it beyond all reason, then proclaim that ACC isn't a problem. Read the article I provided that shows that such cherry-picking is wrong, why it's wrong. It's precisely this kind of thing that makes the denialist community (dwindling as it is) so *in*credible.

At 11:24 AM, May 25, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"rather than whining that Jones, or Santer, or someone else isn't giving up their codes to you, go get the data, run your own analysis, and show that they're wrong."

Again, I don't know the details of the particular controversies. But I would take it as highly suspicious if a scholar published statistical results and was unwilling to make public the information needed for others to replicate his work. That includes his data and how he manipulated it to get his results. One of the nice things about the internet is how easy it now is to do that.

I don't know if you have followed any of the extended statistical controversies over politically loaded subjects, such as concealed carry or the deterrent effect of the death penalty. Without both the data and an explanation of how it was used, it's difficult to offer a serious critique of someone else's work. If you have the data, analyze it in your own way, and get a different result, observers have no easy way of knowing which of you is right. It's more useful to be able to point out what you believe are errors in the original work, or to describe a careful replication of the original work that didn't produce the same result.

At 11:42 AM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

The denialists have tried every trick in the book - FOIA requests, threats of lawsuits, Congressional subpoenae, and so on.

At some point they need to quit whining and start working. It's not like they've published competing work - they've published next to nothing. If they want to be taken seriously, they can start with the station data, and go from there.

We all know why they haven't - it's not because Jones and others haven't released their data and/or codes to the denialists' satisfaction; it's because they too would see that the earth has undergone and is undergoing climate change, and that's a result that they cannot abide.

So, they sit on the sidelines and take potshots (and worse) at climate scientists. Heaping helpings of cynicism, allegations, slurs and smears are just the frosting on their sagging cake.

At 11:52 AM, May 25, 2009,  David Friedman said...

" it's not because Jones and others haven't released their data and/or codes to the denialists' satisfaction"

Have the scholars in question made their data and the coding information needed to replicate their analysis publicly available--whether to anyone's "satisfaction" or not?

At 12:19 PM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

They have, but the denialists aren't happy, because despite having the complete methods described, in reviewed research, they want more.

The denialists are just lazy.

At 6:06 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

One of the ironies of the self-appointed self-declared "audit" community is that rather than investigate and analyze the data themselves, they'd prefer to go over the work of others - which they don't understand in the first place.

SM did not have to be a palaeoclimatologist to figure out that Mann didn't understand statistics well enough and that his paper was not supported by the data. The Wegman Committee found that he was right and Mann was wrong. He didn't need a degree in meteorology to figure out that Hansen's GISS data was wrong. Hansen finally changed the data set seven years after the error was caught. Once again, McIntyre did not have to be an expert in Antarctica to figure out the station error that Steig and Mann had made. When the wrote it up on his blog the error was made known to the British team, which corrected it.

A characteristic of real science is transparency. Both data and methods have to be accessible so that they can be independently verified. When the AGW supporters refuse to let their data be examined and hide the computer codes used to come to conclusions the conclusions can't be trusted.

It's rather like demanding Galileo present his data and analysis for "auditing", rather than doing his experiments independently. All the temperature data is out there and readily available; rather than whining that Jones, or Santer, or someone else isn't giving up their codes to you, go get the data, run your own analysis, and show that they're wrong. Of course, that would require real work, and real knowledge, rather than just ill-tempered sniping, but them's the breaks.Like I said, science is about providing both the data and the methods for independent review.

And thanks for proving my point - you pick short-term data, bloat it beyond all reason, then proclaim that ACC isn't a problem. Read the article I provided that shows that such cherry-picking is wrong, why it's wrong. It's precisely this kind of thing that makes the denialist community (dwindling as it is) so *in*credible. Like I said, if I cherry picked the start as the Holocene period we would be in a cooling trend. The same is true if I picked the 1930s.

I know that the fact that it has not cooled for more than a decade even though the AGW hypothesis and the models predicted warming is troubling to you. But this is not religion. It is science and in science when a theory is falsified we come up with a better one. It seems that it might be time for you to move on and look for the truth rather than what you imagine that truth to be.

At 6:16 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

"The denialists have tried every trick in the book - FOIA requests, threats of lawsuits, Congressional subpoenae, and so on."

Without access to data and method, a claim cannot be sold as science no matter how many of the author's grad students were involved in the 'independent review.' I was astounded to see the network analysis done by Wegman. It showed that the palaeoclimatology community had very little independent review of their work. Most reviewers had co-written papers together, had been thesis advisers, etc. And none of them seemed to have sufficient training in statistics to catch an error that Steve McItyre caught without much difficulty. Rather than fix the error the authors refused to allow their methods to be reviewed. When all the information was disclosed it was discovered that inappropriate proxies were used, that the methodology overemphasised a predetermined shape and that the final conclusions were created by decentered data. When the errors were fixed the conclusions reached were not supportable.

That is why the AGW movement hides its work. I see the same thing happening right now with the Steig/Mann Antarctica fiasco. Once again, the authors seemed to have learned little. SM caught obvious errors within a few hours of the papers being released and others have gone to recreate the algorithms used. Once again, the conclusions seem not to be supported by the real data. But this time some of the previous supporters have learned their lessons and have backed away. As one of them said, it is hard to create data where there isn't any.

At 6:31 PM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

"VangelV" is back to his tactic of outright lies regarding McIntyre, Mann, Hansen, Steig, and so on.

Wegman didn't prove Mann wrong, in any way, shape or form.

You must be a real fan of CA - you follow their "style" to the letter. Whine (when someone else refuses to do all your work for you), complain (that they're "hiding" or "manipulating" data), make unfounded accusations and insinuations, and so on - the entire panoply of tactics CA and its acolytes follow.

You endlessly misstate the facts (no warming for a decade), distort the science, and take quotes out of context.

In short, as I've said all along - no intellectual integrity or honesty from your side of the "argument" - just the same endless junk. It's no wonder credible scientists won't have anything to do with you.

At 6:40 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

ave the scholars in question made their data and the coding information needed to replicate their analysis publicly available--whether to anyone's "satisfaction" or not?

No. There are a number of cases in which the algorithms used and the methods have not been made available and much of the data is questionable because there is no disclosure of what was used, what wasn't and if there are additional data sets not available.

In the case of the GISS data there is little archiving to show how the methodology has changed. When we look at some graphs we see that a graph of the raw data shows a cooling trend. After the data is homogenised the new graph shows a rising trend. Now I may not have a problem with the adjustment if the method is disclosed properly but I see no evidence of it.

To understand the problem with much of the surface data you may wish to look at the report, Is the U.S. Temperature Record Reliable? Not only is the data shocking but you see photographic evidence about the poor state of the stations that provide much of the surface data.

You can also see how problematic this is by looking at the changes made in the US data set here.

At 6:44 PM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

If you can't figure out Jones' results from the information available at the CRU website and his papers, then you're really not cut out to audit his work.

At 6:46 PM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

The best the denialists have is flipping images back-n-forth.

That's laughable.

At 8:09 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

Wegman didn't prove Mann wrong, in any way, shape or form.

Findings

In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis. However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr. Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant interactions with mainstream statisticians.

In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface. This committee does not believe that web logs are an appropriate forum for the scientific debate on this issue.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely
heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.Let me see if I understand your argument. Wegman says that Mann is not very good at statistics and made some serious errors that, when corrected, remove support for his conclusions. The NAS agreed and only concluded that Mann could claim 1990s temperatures to be the warmest since the middle of the Little Ice Age. Given the fact there isn't a single sceptic that I know of who is arguing that we are cooler than we were in the Little Ice Age I see nothing of value in Mann's paper.

By the way, I hope that you noticed that the stripbark proxies, which are not appropriate according to the NRC are still the basis for the warming claim. There is no faster way to lose credibility than to use the growth of trees that respond to increased CO2 fertilization as a way to argue that CO2 drives temperature.

At 8:12 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

You must be a real fan of CA - you follow their "style" to the letter. Whine (when someone else refuses to do all your work for you), complain (that they're "hiding" or "manipulating" data), make unfounded accusations and insinuations, and so on - the entire panoply of tactics CA and its acolytes follow.

I am a fan of Steve’s. He found the statistical errors in the Mann paper and had the persistence to keep going when he was stonewalled. The Wegman Committee sided with him and McKitrick instead of Mann.

McIntyre also found the Hansen Y2K error, which made the 1930s cooler and got rid of the inconvenient fact that the US data showed that four of the top warmest years were in the 1930s while only three were in the 1990s. After seven years of stalling Hansen gave in and changed the data set.

Error Found in US Climate Data

Of course, the correction did not last long. Subsequently the GISS data set was modified using a new algorithm to perform the same trick. The 1934 high is now eliminated from the new data set.

McIntyre caught the error that used September 2008 data to make the November 2008 temperatures appear to be very warm. He also found that the data was being reported properly but that the poor quality control at NASA and NOAA were unable to ensure that the data was properly incorporated.

Memo to Gavin SchmidtAnd it only took McIntyre a few hours to catch the station mix-up error in the new Steig/Mann paper, which used the same trick to try to hide the very inconvenient surface data from Antarctica.

West Antarctic StationsWhen he was checking some data McIntyre found that the error he had spotted had been corrected. Gavin Schimdt wrote, "BAS were notified by people Sunday night who independently found the Gill/Harry mismatch. SM could have notified them but he didn’t. My ethical position is that it is far better to fix errors that are found than play around thinking about cute names for follow-on blog posts. That might just be me though. - gavin]"

So some mystery man or woman found the error independently of SM and notified the British Antarctic Survey group. This was a remarkable coincidence because, as SM noted, the problem had been overlooked by BAS, NASA GISS for about a year. It was certainly not caught by Steig and Mann as they were writing their paper or by the Nature reviewers who looked at the paper. While it only took SM a few hours to figure out the problem with the data who could have done the same around the same time as he did. After a bit of digging the mystery man turned out to be that master of ethics and narrative, Gavin Schmidt.

Gavin's "Mystery Man" Revealed

I don't know much about you but I think that your AGW heroes have lost much of their credibility. If they can't figure out how to handle the data in a way that is statistically valid or can't spot simple errors after working with the data for months that a statistician who works a mining analyst can find in hours then they are either totally incompetent or deliberately playing with the data to paint a picture that they want presented as reality. And while I am happy with my returns, thanks in part to the alternative craziness, we would all be better off if the nonsense stopped.

At 8:17 PM, May 25, 2009,  VangelV said...

If you can't figure out Jones' results from the information available at the CRU website and his papers, then you're really not cut out to audit his work.

If an author is worried about people finding out what he did he will hide the method and data as much as possible. Steig did this with the Antarctic paper of his but it did not really help all that much because there are some people much smarter than he and Mann who can reconstruct their approach if they have the raw data. The reconstruction shows that the paper is bogus because it creates data that isn't there to support a conclusion that is not supportable.

Science is about transparency, not unsupported statements.

At 9:21 PM, May 25, 2009,  G-Man said...

Instead of taking comments from Wegman out of context, provide the entire paper, "VangelV":

AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTIONThat way, no-one has to rely on your cherry-picked assertions. Also, and quite interestingly, what wasn't noted is also quite telling.

See this discussion for more details.

Wegman also didn't respond to questions about his work; rather ironic, don't you think?

Also, you (and CA generally) seems to believe that if only enough problems can be found, global warming will go away.

Not true.

At 11:47 AM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

Instead of taking comments from Wegman out of context, provide the entire paper, "VangelV":

AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION

That way, no-one has to rely on your cherry-picked assertions. Also, and quite interestingly, what wasn't noted is also quite telling.

First, I didn't cherry pick anything. I reproduced all of the findings from the Wegman report. The rest of the report, which I did not quote supports those findings.

Second, the RC people were slammed by Wegman for not being independent or mathematically competent so it is no surprise that they don’t agree with him. I suggest that instead of looking at their interpretation of what Wegman said, look at the actual testimony to Stupak.

The detailed responses to Stupak can be found here. When you are downloading be prepared to wait because the file is around 10 MB and the UofG server is extremely slow.

I have pulled out a few relevant points that couldn't make the conclusions any clearer.

1. We explicitly looked at the first principal component of the North American Tree Ring series and demonstrated that the hockey stick shows up when the data are decentered, but not when properly centered.

2. To reiterate our testimony, the decentering process as used in MBH98 and MBH99 selectively prefers to emphasize the hockey stick shape. This is because the decentering increases the apparent variance of hockey sticks and principal component methods attempt to find components with the largest explainable variance.

3. Our report does not prove that the hockey stick disappears. Our work demonstrates that the methodology is incorrect. Because of the lack of proper statistical sampling and correct inferential methodology, we concluded that the statements regarding the decade of the 1990s probably being the hottest in a millennium and 1998 probably being the hottest year in a millennium are unwarranted. … We also believe that there is no dispute between our report and the North report in this regard. Professor North in testimony agreed with our conclusions regarding the incorrectness of the methodology. We in turn agree with the fundamental conclusion of the North report, i.e. that the present era is likely the hottest in the last 400 years. We remain silent on the issues related to anthropogenic global warming.

The three excerpts above show that Mann’s methodology was wrong and his own data does not support his conclusions. Because of the limit of 4,096 characters I will end this here and continue on a subsequent posting.

At 11:50 AM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

Instead of taking comments from Wegman out of context, provide the entire paper, "VangelV":

AD HOC COMMITTEE REPORT ON THE ‘HOCKEY STICK’ GLOBAL CLIMATE RECONSTRUCTION

That way, no-one has to rely on your cherry-picked assertions. Also, and quite interestingly, what wasn't noted is also quite telling.

Part 2 of the response follows.

Below Wegman quotes A&W, who tried to come to the rescue by defending Mann.

4. “The comparison of the MBH reconstruction, derived from multi-proxy (particularly tree ring) data sources, with widespread bore-hole-based reconstructions … is still at issue in the literature.” Wahl and Ammann (2006, p.4 in the 24 February 2006 draft)

Wegman points out that even Mann's supporters admit that, "the MBH reconstruction does not agree with other widely accepted methodologies for climate reconstruction." Once again, the method is wrong.

5. “Second a related area of scrutiny of the MBH reconstruction technique arises from an atmosphere-ocean general circulation model (AOGCM) study …, which also examines the potential loss of amplitude [in the MWP] in the MBH method (and other proxy/instrumental reconstructions that calibrate by using least squares projections of the proxy vectors onto a single- or multi-dimensional surface determined by either the instrumental data or its [their] eigenvectors.” Wahl and Ammann (2006, p.4 in the 24 February 2006 draft)

A&W admit that Mann’s reconstructions don't fit well with with the GCMs.

5. “However, a number of issues specific to the modeling situation could arise in this context, including: how realistically the AOGCM is able to reproduce the real world patterns of variability and how they respond to various forcings7; the magnitude of forcings and the sensitivity of the model that determine the magnitude of temperature fluctuations …; and the extent to which the model was sampled with the same richness of information that is contained in the proxy records (not only temperature records, but series that correlate well with the primary patterns of variability – including, for example, precipitation in particular seasons.” Wahl and Ammann, (2006, p.5 in the 24 February 2006 draft)

As Wegman points out, the RC people are questioning the validity of the GCMs that they keep trotting out as evidence of warming. The other point made by Wegman is that the authors admit that Mann and company do not account for other factors, such as precipitation changes. Again, the methodology is incorrect.

Because this site limits me to the amount of characters I will end this here. The bottom line is that no matter how you want to spin it, the independent reviewers exposed the frauds that manufactured the hockey stick by using faulty methodology and inappropriate data. Instead of thanking their lucky stars that they were not accused of outright fraud the RC folks went on the attack and tried to rewrite the record. But that won’t work because the conclusion that the wrong method was used has already been established.

At 11:54 AM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

Also, you (and CA generally) seems to believe that if only enough problems can be found, global warming will go away.

Not true.

I suspect that if we are lucky temperatures will remain above what they were during the Little Ice Age. Sadly, we have not seen any warming for more than a decade and given the state of solar activity and the fact that we are in a PDO cool phase warming is not very likely in our future.

I think that you need to look around. That warming that you are in a panic about is not a real problem.

At 12:50 PM, May 26, 2009,  G-Man said...

The bottom line is that no matter how you want to spin it, the independent reviewers exposed the frauds that manufactured the hockey stick by using faulty methodology and inappropriate data.Mann et.al. are not frauds - and it's typical of the denialist camp to sling cheap smears and slurs like you have.

The link here illustrates quite well that the real frauds are the denialists. That's not a slur, either.

At 12:51 PM, May 26, 2009,  G-Man said...

I suspect that if we are lucky temperatures will remain above what they were during the Little Ice Age. Sadly, we have not seen any warming for more than a decade and given the state of solar activity and the fact that we are in a PDO cool phase warming is not very likely in our future.Now you're just being delusional.

At 5:03 PM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

"The bottom line is that no matter how you want to spin it, the independent reviewers exposed the frauds that manufactured the hockey stick by using faulty methodology and inappropriate data."

Mann et.al

. are not frauds - and it's typical of the denialist camp to sling cheap smears and slurs like you have.

illustrates quite well that the real frauds are the denialists. That's not a slur, either.

Well, if they are not frauds then they have to be the least competent PhDs to have committed such flagrant statistical errors and missed them during the review process. They also must be very ignorant of the problems with using stripbark proxies, which respond to CO2 fertilization.

The bottom line is that SM caught their errors in no time and he is not an expert in palaeoclimatology. He also found numerous quality control issues that would invalidate the paper because without the archival process and adequate documentation of the sampling areas the data would be meaningless and the paper would be unverifiable.

Sadly, Mann doesn't seem to have gotten either more honest or any smarter. The latest paper with Steig showed some obvious errors that were missed once again and looks to be an attempt to manufacture data where none exists.

At 5:37 PM, May 26, 2009,  G-Man said...

MBH98 has been superseded, you know. The so-called "hockey stick" is a robust result - even after the sniping of M&M is taken into account.

And taking Trenberth's comment out of context doesn't do your argument any favors.

PS - If you're going to call someone a "fraud", you better have strong evidence to back it up - not just "error". Be clear in your terms.

At 5:46 PM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

"I suspect that if we are lucky temperatures will remain above what they were during the Little Ice Age. Sadly, we have not seen any warming for more than a decade and given the state of solar activity and the fact that we are in a PDO cool phase warming is not very likely in our future."

Now you're just being delusional.

Hardly. The satellites tell us that we have not seen any warming for more than a decade now.

At 7:02 PM, May 26, 2009,  G-Man said...

The satellites tell us that we have not seen any warming for more than a decade now.There's that time-scale problem and trend problem you have cropping up again.

Ask your son - maybe he can explain those concepts to you - and since he's not a whiz at math, maybe he can draw a picture that will help you understand.

At 7:22 PM, May 26, 2009,  VangelV said...

MBH98 has been superseded, you know. The so-called "hockey stick" is a robust result - even after the sniping of M&M is taken into account.

And taking Trenberth's comment out of context doesn't do your argument any favors.

PS - If you're going to call someone a "fraud", you better have strong evidence to back it up - not just "error". Be clear in your terms.

It has to be fraud because someone capable of making so many errors and someone so incompetent would never get a PhD. The fact that the whole palaeoclimatology community missed the error and is still using stripbark proxies in its papers when the NRC points out that is inappropriate is an indication of a deliberate strategy. So is the fact that the community does not disclose data, use proper archiving, and does not provide access to the algorithms and methods used.

At 9:24 PM, May 26, 2009,  G-Man said...

The same litany of whines and complaints.

You're quite good at repeating the CA mantras, but little else.

You don't understand Mann et.al.'s work; you just repeat what the dorks at CA post.

At 4:57 PM, May 27, 2009,  Andrew said...

David,

Rather than throwing this argument into this ridiculous 164-comment largely information-free talking-to-brick-walls, maybe you should talk to an expert about this. I'd bet that Lynn Orr at Stanford (I believe he's the father of one of Patri's local friends) would enjoy talking to you about this topic. Prof. Orr was previously the director of Stanford's Global Climate and Energy Project.

At 5:54 PM, May 27, 2009,  David Friedman said...

Andrew suggests putting the question to Lynn Orr at Stanford; I have just emailed him.

When I put up the first of the two posts, I also emailed Tim Lambert calling is attention to it; my impression from past exchanges was that he was both intelligent and likely to be on the other side, so I hoped that, if I had made a mistake, he could point it out. I found his comments in response to both posts disappointing.

At 6:14 PM, May 27, 2009,  Duncan said...

At the risk of performative contradiction, I agree with Andrew, and would be interested to learn Lynn Orr's response.

Could I ask what question you've put to him? The conversation has been... er... wide-ranging.

At 10:10 PM, May 27, 2009,  David Friedman said...

"Could I ask what question you've put to him?"

"Is there any way of making the recent data consistent with the claim that they show the shrinking trend is continuing? If not, is there any explanation other than deliberate falsehood for the JPL quote above?"

That's my question. I'm not involved in the running argument between a pro AGW enthusiast and an anti AGW enthusiast, although they are free to conduct it in the comment section of my blog.

At 2:47 AM, May 28, 2009,  Duncan said...

Thanks David. To be clear - I'd be interested in Lynn Orr's view on this. But this isn't really the content of my disagreement with you. My concern isn't with your treatment of the press release itself, interesting though that undoubtedly is, but with your broader claims about the AGW debate. You've argued that our lack of expertise in climate science makes it illegitimate for us (as non climate scientists) to reach any strong conclusions about AGW - this is (partly) why you refuse to get involved in the "running argument between a pro AGW enthusiast and an anti AGW enthusiast". Whereas I think it's abundantly clear what the scientific consensus is on this issue. This strikes me as the most important point at issue.

At 6:49 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

Whereas I think it's abundantly clear what the scientific consensus is on this issue. This strikes me as the most important point at issue. First, science is not about consensus. It moves forward when an outside view shatters the consensus.

Second, even if it were about consensus there isn't any consensus on the subject. If there were we would not have so many top notch scientists publicly oppose the AGW arguments.

Third, a historical perspective may be educational. Not too long ago the idea of continental drift was dismissed by geologists as the ridiculous ravings of an outsider who did not have the education to understand the world as it was. It turned out that the geologists were wrong and the outsider, the astronomer Alfred Wegener, was right.

Not too long ago it was believed that the causes of stomach ulcers were stress and bad diet. When Barry Marshall presented the idea that ulcers and stomach cancers may be caused by bacteria to an international gathering of infectious disease specialists he was practically booed and laughed off the stage. Most of the specialists could not accept the idea that bacteria could be a cause of stomach ulcers. Words like 'ridiculous' and preposterous' were common when the experts were asked to comment on the merit of the idea. The consensus was that everyone 'knew' that gastritis and ulcers were caused by stress and an unhealthy lifestyle. Well, the outsiders who shattered the consensus won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

I think that there is another confusion about the use of the word consensus as applied to the global warming argument. Both sides are in full agreement that the world has warmed since the end of the Little Ice Age because that is what both logic and actual physical measurements are telling us. That means that there is clear consensus that the earth has warmed. What the IPCC has done is try to to build on that consensus by impling that all of the people who have contributed to its assessments are in full agreement that the cause of that warming is man's emission of CO2.

But that is clearly not true. For one, many IPCC scientists have resigned because they do not agree with the conclusions reached in the Summary or by the rewrites done by the politically appointed lead authors. Others point out that the back chapters of the report, which include the real work do not support the conclusions reached in the Summary section, which gets all of the publicity.

If you look at the back of the report you find that the IPCC's own data shoots down the argument that CO2 emissions are a major factor in the temperature rise. As Lord Monckton points out, most of the increase in temperature occurred long before the great explosion of CO2 emissions began and the rate of increase from 1840 to 1860 and from 1910 to 1940 are identical to the rate of increase that we saw from 1975 to 1998, which is when the warming trend stopped. Now that solar activity has peaked and the PDO has moved into its cool phase the satellites are telling us that the warming has stopped and that we are in the early stages of a cooling trend that is likely to last another 20 years or more.

At 7:36 AM, May 28, 2009,  Duncan said...

"science is not about consensus. It moves forward when an outside view shatters the consensus"

Science operates through hypotheses, which are, by defintion, always open to refutation. This is the source of its authority. The fact that scientific consensus can, necessarily and in principle, always be overturned, is not a reason to doubt the consensus - it is, in fact, a reason to believe it.

David's position, however, is not that there's no consensus, or that the consensus is wrong. David's position is that we don't know what the consensus is. This strikes me as a strange and incorrect position.

"As Lord Monckton points out..."

And that right there is why nobody here takes you seriously.

At 8:23 AM, May 28, 2009,  Anonymous said...

"As Lord Monckton points out..."

And that right there is why nobody here takes you seriously.
As someone who is following the climate debate loosely, the comments here has been most valuable. Unfortunately there's also a lot of mudslinging that addresses the person rather than the argument. I have no idea who Lord Monckton is, so instead of inferring that he is unreliable, and VangelV by extension, it would benefit the readers if a proper argument could be made.

At 8:48 AM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

I have no idea who Lord Monckton is, so instead of inferring that he is unreliable, and VangelV by extension, it would benefit the readers if a proper argument could be made."Lord Monckton" is Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, a British politician, business consultant, policy adviser, writer, columnist, and inventor.

In July 2008, Monckton wrote an article about climate sensitivity for the American Physical Society's Forum on Physics and Society.

Arthur Smith, long-time member at the APS Forum, has identified 125 errors, irrelevancies, and contradictions in the article.

Monckton isn't considered a credible critic of AGW.

At 8:56 AM, May 28, 2009,  Anonymous said...

it would benefit the readers if a proper argument could be madewas specifically addressed at the claim by Lord Monckton, reiterated by VangelV:

most of the increase in temperature occurred long before the great explosion of CO2 emissions began and the rate of increase from 1840 to 1860 and from 1910 to 1940 are identical to the rate of increase that we saw from 1975 to 1998

At 8:58 AM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

For one, many IPCC scientists have resigned because they do not agree with the conclusions reached in the Summary or by the rewrites done by the politically appointed lead authors.First off, show that the lead authors were "politically appointed".

Also note that some of the contributors to the IPCC were upset because they felt the SPM was too conservative and watered-down, not that that it was too "alarmist".

Lastly, in this list of AR4 WG1 authors, point out which "many" have "resigned".

At 10:38 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

Science operates through hypotheses, which are, by defintion, always open to refutation. This is the source of its authority. The fact that scientific consensus can, necessarily and in principle, always be overturned, is not a reason to doubt the consensus - it is, in fact, a reason to believe it.I think that you are missing the point. A claim of consensus by the IPCC does not mean that there is consensus on AGW. As I said, nobody disputes that the world warmed up by 0.7C but that consensus is insufficient to leap to a conclusion that CO2 was the driver of that increase.

As I pointed out, the rate of increase that we saw from 1975 to 1998 was not unusual; it equalled the rates noted from 1840 to 1860 and from 1910 to 1940. When CO2 emissions exploded after 1940 there was a cooling trend that lasted until 1975 and had scientists clamouring about the next ice age.

You can keep claiming that there is a consensus but if you do you better have objective evidence to support that claim. I see no such evidence.

At 10:53 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

"As Lord Monckton points out..."

And that right there is why nobody here takes you seriously.

Why? From what I have seen Monckton has a great deal more credibility than Mann, Hansen or Gore. He has had no difficulty going in front of Congress and state his views and the evidence on the record under oath. If he were lying it would be very easy to go after him, Lindzen, Christy, Spencer and others who have pointed out that the AGW arguments have no merit.

The bottom line is that this whole debate smells of bad politics and terrible science. I don't know how old you are but I am old enough to remember the very real cooling scares of the 1970s. The prevailing opinion was wrong at that time and I see no difference this time around.

At 10:56 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

And that right there is why nobody here takes you seriously.As someone who is following the climate debate loosely, the comments here has been most valuable. Unfortunately there's also a lot of mudslinging that addresses the person rather than the argument. I have no idea who Lord Monckton is, so instead of inferring that he is unreliable, and VangelV by extension, it would benefit the readers if a proper argument could be made.

LOL. Your side keeps running from a debate and all you can do is try to attack Mocnckton, Lindzen, Christie, Gray, etc. The bottom line is that Monckton has no trouble going in front of Parliament or Congress and lay out the argument and the data under oath. If he lacked credibility it would be easy to charge him with perjury and prove him wrong. But the AGW side does not do that. Instead it keeps running from debating the science because it says that it believes that the argument is settled.

At 11:36 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

In July 2008, Monckton wrote an article about climate sensitivity for the American Physical Society's Forum on Physics and Society.

Arthur Smith, long-time member at the APS Forum, has identified

125 errors, irrelevancies, and contradictions in the article.

Monckton isn't considered a credible critic of AGW.
By all means let us look at Arthur Smith's critique and Monckton's rebuttal.When we do, we find that it is Smith's article that is full of errors, not Monckton's as the IPCC's own report makes clear. I have excerpted below just a few points in the rebuttal that explain Smith's problem. Due to the limitations on how many characters we can use on this blog I will keep the exceprts brief.

"Accordingly, at this point I merely cited the IPCC’s own implicit value κ = 0.313 K W–1 m2. With respect, since Dr. Smith admits this is indeed the IPCC’s value, it seems less than reasonable that he should describe my own citation of it as an “oddity”. “

Dr. Smith then uses his erroneous assumption that the IPCC’s value for the CO2 forcing alone encompasses the values of all other anthropogenic forcings as the basis for challenging the IPCC’s value of κ as somewhat too low. He does not adduce any support for this proposition in the literature.

Dr. Smith moves on to say I was wrong to add the CO2 feedback to the other temperature feedbacks mentioned by the IPCC. However, the mechanism of this feedback is uncontroversial: as temperature increases (for whatever reason), CO2 is outgassed from the oceans in accordance with Henry’s Law, increasing the atmospheric concentration and hence causes some additional warming, which reinforces and is reinforced by all other temperature feedbacks, among which the CO2 feedback accordingl y belongs.

Dr. Smith’s final criticism of my replication of the IPCC’s method of evaluating climate sensitivity is that his revisions yielding equilibrium sensitivity ΔT2x = 2.9 K at CO2 doubling more faithfully reproduce the IPCC’s central estimate ΔT2x ≈ 3 K than my presentation of the IPCC’s methodology does. However, IPCC (2007) gives a more precise central estimate ΔT2x ≈ 3.26 K, so my value ΔT2x ≈ 3.28 K is very much closer than that of Dr. Smith, who does not mention the two checksums that my paper provided. The first, showing base climate sensitivity ΔTκ ≈ 1.1 K, agrees exactly with the equation in the companion paper by Hafemeister &Schwartz (2008), which Dr. Smith unreasonably criticizes. The second checksum reproduces exactly the IPCC’s value κ ≈ 0.313 K W–1 m2. My presentation of the IPCC’s methodology, therefore, is uncontroversial."
“Turning to the second part of my paper, Dr. Smith critiques my reconsideration of the values of the three key parameters – forcing ΔF2x, no-feedbacks climate sensitivity κ, and feedbacks f – whose product is final climate sensitivity ΔT2x.

He begins by challenging my assertion that the laboratory experiments in which evaluation of the CO2 forcing is attempted are of limited value when translated into the real atmosphere. He says the 3.7 Wm–2 CO2 forcingat doubling is “determined by the underlying physics”. If only it were!

One need only recount the history of attempts at evaluating the CO2 forcing to show that this is not so. Hansen (1984) implies 4.8Wm–2; IPCC(1995) gives 4.44 Wm–2; IPCC (2001, 2007) gives 3.71Wm–2. Hansen’s value is almost one-third higher than the IPCC’s current value: the “underlying physics” seem not as certain as Dr. Smith suggests, and the trend is towards lower climate sensitivity.

With the dawning realization that CO2 forcing in the atmosphere is not aswell-mannered as that in the laboratory, the IPCC has been quietly reducing its estimates of final climate sensitivity at CO2 doubling: 3.8°C in 1995; 3.5 C in 2001; 3.26°C in 2007.

At 11:49 AM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

In July 2008, Monckton wrote an article about climate sensitivity for the American Physical Society's Forum on Physics and Society.

Arthur Smith, long-time member at the APS Forum, has identified

125 errors, irrelevancies, and contradictions in the article.

Monckton isn't considered a credible critic of AGW.

Continued from above. The source is the pdf document showing Arthur Smith's critique and Monckton's rebuttal.“Dr. Smith says that the solar forcing, for instance, is predicted to induce a warming of at least the factor of 2-3 that is predicted for the greenhouse forcing. Perhaps: but elsewhere he cites Hafemeister & Schwartz (2008), who state that solar forcing has been negligible: it is, therefore, irrelevant to a discussion of the “hot spot”. It is precisely because the greenhouse forcing is so dominant as to overlay all others in the models that the entire absence of the “hot-spot” is fatal to the IPCC’s high climate sensitivity. Because of the predicted magnitude of the anthropogenic greenhouse forcing in comparison with those of all other forcings – demonstrated with blinding clarity in Figure 2 – the absence of the fingerprint necessarily entails either the absence of a sufficient forcing to deliver the fingerprint, or the presence of countervailing forcings so strong as to nullify it. Either way, it would be difficult credibly to maintain the notion of high climate sensitivity in the face of this graphic and serious failure of the models to predict the real climate correctly.

The bottom line is that Mockton nails Smith and the AGW movement. It is hard to argue for very high sensitivity and have the models fail to predict the real cliamte correctly. The models would do much better preicting temperatures if the feedback assumptions were correct but that would leave the AGW movement without a cause because there would be no runaway temperatures or a heating crisis in the future.

Let us also keep this in proper perspective. The AGW movement can make all of the claims it wishes but as long as it avoids honest deabate of the science in an opne forum where both sides get an equal chance to present the data those claims will have zero credibility. As long as Schmidt, Hansen and Gore keep running away from a debate with Monckton, Lindzen and others on the anti-AGW side their claims will be as empty as their science.

At 12:17 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

Since when is testimony in front of a legislative body how science is made?

Monckton has made a hash of his argument; his cherry-picking, red herrings, misdirection and disinformation are legendary...

See the various comedic errors of Monckton.

At 12:20 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

The AGW movement can make all of the claims it wishes but as long as it avoids honest deabate of the science in an opne forum where both sides get an equal chance to present the data those claims will have zero credibility.How come we haven't seen a cascade of anti-AGW peer-reviewed papers? That's your open forum, and every scientist has an equal chance to contribute.

Allegations of conspiracy don't impress. If there's really so little to AGW that even Monckton can lay waste to it (snicker) then any of hundreds of real scientists should have an easy time of it. How come they haven't?

At 12:29 PM, May 28, 2009,  Duncan said...

[I’ll have to break this up into several comments, as it got a bit long]

“Unfortunately there's also a lot of mudslinging that addresses the person rather than the argument. I have no idea who Lord Monckton is, so instead of inferring that he is unreliable, and VangelV by extension, it would benefit the readers if a proper argument could be made.”

Apologies Anonymous. I wasn’t intending to be obscure. As G-Man says, Monckton is a former journalist and government policy advisor. (He’s also famous in the UK at least as a puzzle game inventor). The point is that he’s no kind of scientist. David Friedman was, above, and rightly in my opinion, pointing to the importance of ultimately getting our information on matters of science from professionals, specialists, people who’ve had the training and done the work – rather than, say, journalists or people with obvious political commitments or motives colouring their judgements. I find it hard to think of a case in which this advice is more applicable than it is in our assessment of the credibility of Monckton.

Now you write that we shouldn’t engage in “mudslinging that addresses the person rather than the argument.” Yes, sort of. The most important thing, ultimately, is to go to the facts – this is, after all, the point. And as G-Man again says above, this has been exhaustively done w/r/t Monckton. But I think the issue of credibility is hardly one that can be discarded as if any assessment of the credibility of a figure were an ad hominem attack. Why would someone with no scientific training or expertise, and with obvious prior political commitments, be a credible source not just for journalistic reporting but for scientific analysis? On the one hand Monckton; on the other hand the IPCC. We don’t have to regard the IPCC as wholly unblemished by politics, say, in order to think that the preferable choice here, credibility-wise, is breathtakingly clear. (If we don’t think it’s clear, then I think our problem is with science in general.)

Now there’s been a fair bit of discussion upthread of the difference between lay public discussion of climate change and scientific research. I think (like David) that this is an important issue – and I think this is why the demand (made to some extent both by Anonymous and by VangeIV) that objective evidence be presented, right here, right now, in this comment thread, that can demonstrate the falsity of AGW denialism (put up or shut up) to be fundamentally misguided. Lucky things that we are, we live in a society characterised by the division of labour – not just in industry, say, but in intellectual endeavour. Those with the skills do the work. They do it in an environment suited to that work’s success. We don’t have to replicate (impossibly) the analyses and arguments that contribute to the scientific endeavour in a blog post’s comment thread. The suggestion that we should do so is, to be honest, absurd.

[more below...]

At 12:30 PM, May 28, 2009,  Duncan said...

[continuing...]

So VangeIV writes:

“as long as it avoids honest deabate [sic] of the science in an opne [sic] forum where both sides get an equal chance to present the data those claims will have zero credibility.”

And this can sound, for a second or two, if we’re not concentrating very hard, like a serious point. But, of course, it’s no such thing – as an argumentative move it does the precise opposite of what it claims to. “an open forum where both sides get an equal change to present the data” already exists – it’s called the scientific community. In issuing this challenge, VangeIV is actually demanding that the scientific analysis of issues around climate change be taken out of the scientific community, and placed in ‘open forums’ such as blog post comment threads – and, further, that these ‘open forums’ should be the final arbiters for the value or truth of scientific results. I’m not, of course, suggesting that discussions such as this one shouldn’t take place – quite the reverse, they can be really valuable (though often… not so much). I’m saying that we shouldn’t mistake these discussions for anything resembling the scientific enterprise, or expect proof or disproof of scientific results to be forthcoming in such discussions. All this data dumping can look pretty cool – how objective! – but it’s a poor facsimile of science, a charade, the purpose of which is to obliterate the scientific method.

This is why I agree with Andrew that if you, David, want to get a better sense of the facts in this area, you should consult experts, rather than throwing the discussion to the peanut gallery (of which I am, of course, a proud member.) Experts don’t have to be consulted in person, of course – though it’s nice if they can be. They can be consulted through the mediation of scientific papers, say. But when, as non-experts, we engage in that reading, issues of credibility suddenly become important. It’s not ‘mudslinging’ to point to the utter lack of scientific credibility of someone like Monckton; in fact, it’s very pertinent to the discussion. This is where we came in, after all, isn’t it?

[If anyone feels like responding to this with ‘show me the data, where’s your proof?’, then I suggest they’ve fundamentally missed the point. In that scenario, read my comment again, properly.]

At 12:34 PM, May 28, 2009,  Duncan said...

G-Man writes:

"How come we haven't seen a cascade of anti-AGW peer-reviewed papers? That's your open forum, and every scientist has an equal chance to contribute."

Precisely. This is the point, and it's just inescapable. (Inescapable, that is, if we have any interest at all in adhering to rational, scientific norms. If not, then... so long, you know?)

At 1:45 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

First off, show that the lead authors were "politically appointed".

Also note that some of the contributors to the IPCC were upset because they felt the SPM was too conservative and watered-down, not that that it was too "alarmist".

The word "Intergovernmental" in the name Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should give you one clue.

Its chairman is Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, a railway engineer and economist turned bureucrat. If you look at the vice chairs you will see mostly economists, engineers, physicists and mathematicians. Most have been also bureaucrats and have had responsibilities running government controlled departments or organizations prior to getting appointed to the IPCC.

It is these people, with the help of governments that select the lead authors. If you look at the list of lead authors you will find it dominated by economists and modellers rather than people who actually do research on what is actually happening with temperatures.

And keep in mind that we have already had a number of major controversies with the way that the lead authors get together and change the statements agreed by the scientists. The process has caused many excellent scientists to quit the IPCC. Of course, it is getting harder and harder to argue for catastrophic sea level increases, runaway warming and massive heat driven storms when the satellites are telling us that there is no warming going on. Even the lead authors may refuse to do their political masters' bidding if this trend continues for a while longer because nobody is going to believe anything that they say.

At 2:24 PM, May 28, 2009,  David Friedman said...

Duncan suggests that I should consult experts, "through the mediation of scientific papers, say."

That's harder than he makes it sound. I'm an economist with a doctorate in physics and some familiarity with statistics, so better equipped than most laymen to read such papers. But I've seen enough scientific controversies, in my field and elsewhere, to know that reading a single paper rarely does it.

Let me offer two cases where I did go to the experts, once in the flesh and once in a paper. A good many years ago, I asked someone in climate science, I think at Chicago, what the view in the field was of anthropogenic warming. His response was that it was an interesting conjecture.

It's possible that if I could find him and ask him again, he would now say that it is a well established theory. But at the time when I did ask him, the claim that it was scientific fact agreed on by everyone qualified was already being widely made.

The other case involved the nuclear winter controversy. I read one of the scientific papers written in the second stage of the argument, after the original papers had been criticized and their authors had responded.

The authors of the paper I read conceded that their original paper had, as the critics claimed, contained an error, and that correcting that error reduced the length of time predicted for winter from years to weeks. But, they said, they had now found another error in the opposite direction, with roughly the opposite effect.

I concluded that, whether or not nuclear winter was true, the people who had initially argued for it were frauds, since they were confidently claiming knowledge when their results were so fragile that fixing errors in one of the many pieces of analysis that went into it could destroy the result. That was consistent with the rest of what I could see, which looked a whole lot more like a PR campaign than a research agenda.

I've also followed parts of two controversies more nearly in my field--the debate over the effect of concealed carry of firearms and the debate over the deterrent effect of the death penalty. In each case, lots of people confidently assert that the question has been answered, and only the ignorant can question it. In each case, one could easily read a single paper and conclude that it was true--although what the answer was would depend on which paper you read.

Which gets me back to my original post. Almost everyone in such cases is dependent in practice on secondary sources. As I think I demonstrated, even quite a respectable secondary source cannot be trusted--is capable of making a clear statement that current data shows the opposite of what the data from the source the statement is supposed to be based on actually shows.

Which is why I think people on both sides of the argument greatly overestimate how good the basis for their beliefs is.

At 2:27 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

The word "Intergovernmental" in the name Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should give you one clue.A "clue" to what?

That list I provided of the WG1 authors helpfully lists those who were lead authors for that section of the AR4; perhaps you can tell me which ones are "political appointments" (and thus, presumably, "reliable") and which ones, in your opinion, are credible scientists (i.e., not mere political "appointees").

If you look at the list of lead authors you will find it dominated by economists and modellers rather than people who actually do research on what is actually happening with temperatures.Go on. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are all about observations; which of their respective lead authors are "economists" and "modellers"?

[...]when the satellites are telling us that there is no warming going on.You keep mentioning this little factoid, in various guises. You do realize that it's just another instance of cherry-picking, don't you? I understand that it's an article of faith, and a mantra, in your denialist community, but every time you use it, it just damages your credibility a little bit more.

At 2:46 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

The point is that he’s no kind of scientist. David Friedman was, above, and rightly in my opinion, pointing to the importance of ultimately getting our information on matters of science from professionals, specialists, people who’ve had the training and done the work – rather than, say, journalists or people with obvious political commitments or motives colouring their judgements. I find it hard to think of a case in which this advice is more applicable than it is in our assessment of the credibility of Monckton.

So let me get this straight. If a mathematical equation is given by someone who is not a scientist then we can just ignore it even though it is right? And when the non-scientist comes up with a figure that disputed by a scientist we should choose the scientists answer even though the non-scientists answer is closer to that provided by the IPCC? Why should I accept a wrong answer just because it is given by a scientist?

You are also missing a very important point. While Monckton is only capable of doing the math and following the science his argument is not based entirely on his own work. He actually supports his argument by citing the literature and pointing the reader exactly to the sections of the IPCC report that proves him right.

In the case of the disagreement between Smith and Monckton it is clear who was right and it certainly was not Smith.

I also find it interesting that if we accepted your argument and ignored the arguments of outsiders we would have accepted the statistical errors made by Mann, the data errors made by GISS and the Mann/Steig errors with the Antarctic station data. We also would not care about the fact that an audit of the temperature stations
found the UHI bias, the lack of movement documentation, and the record discrepancy. We would also accept the substitution of October temperature data in the November data set and the implied increase in average temperature.

The point is simple. Either something is right or it isn't. The appeal to authority is wearing thin, particularly when it follows a decade during which that authority has been proven wrong by the actual measurements and has had to make hundreds of corrections because diligent outsiders were better at spotting the errors than the scientists who were supposed to ensure that quality and integrity were maintained.

At 2:49 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

Why would someone with no scientific training or expertise, and with obvious prior political commitments, be a credible source not just for journalistic reporting but for scientific analysis?The IPCC has been lowering its estimates in each successive report towards the figures that Mocnkton gave. Why does that make the IPCC, which had to admit that it was wrong, more credible than Monckton, who looked at the literature and chose the most credible arguments?

At 3:03 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

The IPCC has been lowering its estimates in each successive report towards the figures that Mocnkton gave.Really? Given the spacing of IPCC reports, in what year will the IPCC value equal Monckton's?

At 3:22 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

Those with the skills do the work. They do it in an environment suited to that work’s success. We don’t have to replicate (impossibly) the analyses and arguments that contribute to the scientific endeavour in a blog post’s comment thread. The suggestion that we should do so is, to be honest, absurd.

But what happens when those that you claim have the skills keep making errors that are caught by those that you claim do not and are forced to change them?

For example, in 1999 James Hansen made the claim that, "The U.S. has warmed during the past century, but the warming hardly exceeds year-to-year variability. Indeed, in the U.S. the warmest decade was the 1930s and the warmest year was 1934."

But the experts at NOAA somehow 'forgot' this inconvenient fact and decided to make 1998 the warmest year in record.

The errors were not caught by expert climate scientist specialists who were good at their jobs but by outsiders who wanted to ensure that the data was kept honest.

In November 2008 NASA 'experts' reported that many sites Russian sites had very similar temperatures in October as they did in September. That made October a very warm month. But outsiders, who remember their history and geography lessons found that puzzling. They did what you advise people not to and checked the actual data, which is easy to find in a world with the internet. The process revealed a massive failure of quality control procedures at GHCN and GISS/NASA.

Once again, why should I accept something just because someone in authority claims that it is right even when it seems wrong and I have the means to check on my own?

The same happened when Steig/Mann released an interesting paper on Antarctic temperature trends in which they used a computer program to create temperature data where there was none and wrote algorithms to analyse the trend in the made up temperatures.

Once again, outsiders who had no training in climate science did some checking and immediately found errors in the data that Steig/Mann had used. It wasn't just Steig/Mann but the 'expert' reviewers of their paper that also missed the errors. The data was immediately corrected (but not the paper) by the British who keep the data. After the error was corrected, one of Mann's colleagues at Real Climate wrote on his blog that the system worked because, "BAS were notified by people Sunday night who INDEPENDENTLY found the Gill/Harry mismatch. SM could have notified them but he didn’t. My ethical position is that it is far better to fix errors that are found than play around thinking about cute names for follow-on blog posts. That might just be me though. - gavin"

The next day it was revealed that the mystery individual who claimed to have INDEPENDENTLY found the error was Gavin himself. So much for the credibility of his 'ethical position.'

Your argument would be more credible if the experts didn't make so many errors that were caught by intelligent outsiders who have the ability to think independently. So much for your appeal to authority.

At 3:31 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

Your argument would be more credible if the experts didn't make so many errors that were caught by intelligent outsiders who have the ability to think independently.Your "so many" is a vast overstatement.

At 3:35 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

In issuing this challenge, VangeIV is actually demanding that the scientific analysis of issues around climate change be taken out of the scientific community, and placed in ‘open forums’ such as blog post comment threads – and, further, that these ‘open forums’ should be the final arbiters for the value or truth of scientific results.That is not what I am saying. I am saying that Wegman's network analysis shows a lack of independence and a level of statistical incompetence that is astounding. It is clear that the review process at Nature has failed. It is also clear that some journals will not print sound papers because it does not fit their editorial beliefs.

But I don't have a problem with the science that is being published because there is plenty of evidence that the AGW side has lost the debate. The problem isn't the lack of evidence by the distribution of that evidence. As long as the big money is in keeping the game going it will be kept going for as long as possible.

My preference is to use a court type of system in which both sides of this issue have to make their case and the arguments are open to external review by the public.

At 4:03 PM, May 28, 2009,  G-Man said...

I am saying that Wegman's network analysis shows a lack of independence Really? Given a certain level of specialization, how much "independence" would you expect?

It is clear that the review process at Nature has failed. It is also clear that some journals will not print sound papers because it does not fit their editorial beliefs.There's that conspiracy thing popping up, as expected.

Oh, and there are more journals than Nature.

But I don't have a problem with the science that is being published because there is plenty of evidence that the AGW side has lost the debate.How so? Because the fine folks at CA say so? Because Monckton says so?

As time passes, the denialist community is getting more and more shrill, conspiratorial, paranoid, and loses credibility. You're certainly doing your part!

My preference is to use a court type of system in which both sides of this issue have to make their case and the arguments are open to external review by the public.Have you really thought this through? What happens to the "losers" in a "trial"?

This is one of the whackiest ideas I've ever heard.

At 4:53 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

Which is why I think people on both sides of the argument greatly overestimate how good the basis for their beliefs is.

You may be right but I think that objective evidence trumps narrative. The evidence is quite clear.

It is a clear and undisputed fact that we warmed up since the middle (or end if you wish) of the Little Ice Age. On that we have clear consensus.

It is also clear that since the end of the Little Ice Age the earth has warmed up by around 0.7C. The IPCC's own data, which the AGW side accepts as valid, makes it clear that most of the warming happened prior to 1945, which is before human emissions exploded.

It is also clear from the IPCC report that we had a cooling trend from 1945 to 1975. You are old enough to remember the cooling scare in the early to mid 1970s.

It is clear that there was a strong warming trend from 1975 to 1998. The problem is that this warming was not unusual compared to previous episodes.

It is also clear that the satellite data shows that the atmospheric warming stopped in 1998 and that the buoys show no ocean warming for the past six years.

That brings us to the problem with the AGW theory as being sold by the IPCC. No matter how the narrative is spun, the assumptions of a high positive feedback are not compatible with a three decade cooling trend from 1945 to 1975 and a lack of atmospheric cooling for the past 12 years. Of course, the recent disclosure that the GCMs may have gotten the ocean circulation models wrong should be sufficient to send everyone back to the drawing board. But without the CGMs there is no warming crisis.

At 5:01 PM, May 28, 2009,  VangelV said...

But when, as non-experts, we engage in that reading, issues of credibility suddenly become important. It’s not ‘mudslinging’ to point to the utter lack of scientific credibility of someone like Monckton; in fact, it’s very pertinent to the discussion. This is where we came in, after all, isn’t it?

As I pointed out, when we as non-experts can find the data errors that GISS or NOAA missed or to see the statistical errors in the way that some data is handled it is hard to take the official reports missing. If we as 'non-experts' can get the data changed because it was wrong why do we accept the statements people who missed the errors and have a big stake in promoting the AGW argument?

At 5:12 AM, May 29, 2009,  VangelV said...

"[...]when the satellites are telling us that there is no warming going on."

You keep mentioning this little factoid, in various guises. You do realize that it's just another instance of cherry-picking, don't you? I understand that it's an article of faith, and a mantra, in your denialist community, but every time you use it, it just damages your credibility a little bit more.

The satellite record is more accurate than the manipulated surface data. It shows no major warming problem even though it begins near the start of the last warming trend after the PDO went into its positive mode. Cherry picking would be to look at only the last 12 years. I do not need to do that to show that there is no warming issue in the entire data set.

At 6:13 AM, May 29, 2009,  VangelV said...

"If you look at the list of lead authors you will find it dominated by economists and modellers rather than people who actually do research on what is actually happening with temperatures."

Go on. Chapters 3, 4, and 5 are all about observations; which of their respective lead authors are "economists" and "modellers"?
I see nothing scary about the data in Chapters 3, 4, and 5 and nothing that would suggest that there is a warming crisis. The IPCC itself says that the problem does not come from the direct effects but from feedback effects. Of course, anyone who understands anything about the global warming issue and the argument around the data will have a nice chuckle to read that the IPCC is still relying on Jones' discredited study of the urban heat island effect but that is to be accepted when politics trumps science.

At 6:14 AM, May 29, 2009,  G-Man said...

The satellite record is more accurate than the manipulated surface data.The surface data being "manipulated" when it doesn't show what your ideology demands; otherwise, it's OK. Another instance of your cherry-picking.

It shows no major warming problem even though it begins near the start of the last warming trend after the PDO went into its positive mode. Cherry picking would be to look at only the last 12 years. I do not need to do that to show that there is no warming issue in the entire data set.You do realize that satellites don't actually detect surface temperature, and that at 30 years, the satellite era is just barely long enough for analysis.

In any case, of those in the skeptic community, you're a denialist, which puts you on the fringe of that minority. When I got into this business, 20+ years ago, your view was more common - "No warming, no problem". Then the skeptic position became "OK, it's warming, but we aren't at fault". Then, even before the IPCC AR4, it became "OK, we're at fault, but it won't be very bad and we can adapt". The skeptics have had to concede that anthropogenic climate change is real - it is they who have lost the debate. Today, they're reduced to drive-by posts in the blogosphere, and snookering the fossil fuel industry for some cash to make their little bleatings and whinings.