Amazing IPCC: Finding Climate Change Before The Climate Changes

It’s open season on the IPCC, thanks to the absurd antics of a Dr Rajendra Pachauri, and a series of revelations including manipulation of science for policy purposes in matters of glaciers and disaster losses. As it happens, those problems concern a part of the IPCC report of 2007 I have already argued about: the actual evidence for “Climate Change/Global Warming” in the physical world of today, as per the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 (“Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems” (*))

(for a different example concerning future “changes and responses”, see how a clever mix of “could”, “might” and “likely” means that even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct)

And so here I’ll add my small contribution: because the IPCC authors and reviewers have managed to collate evidence for climate change where even James Hansen and Reto Ruedy agree that the climate has not (yet) changed. Time to ditch AR4-WG2-Chapter1 altogether?

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AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is rapidly turning into a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. After all, with most if not all tangible AGW effects expected in the future, any serious present “Assessment of observed changes and responses” should be a 1-page note declaring “not much if anything”…

I have already shown quite some time ago how AR4-WG2-Chapter1 fails to demonstrate the “global” in “Global Warming”. For example, Table 1.12, p116 “Global comparison of significant observed changes…”) contains a total of 26,285 observed “significant changes compatible with warming“. Of those, 25,135 come from Europe alone: that is a whopping 95.6% out a continent covering less than 7% of the world’s land area.

Two out of three of the remaining observed “significant changes compatible with warming” come from North America. And so on and so forth.

If it interested anybody, we could start discussing how Europe has been warming of late. But about North America, the IPCC assessment is now smelling even fishier. It all started on Jan 14 with Judicial Watch announcing they

obtained internal documents from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States

The news was linked later the same day by McIntyre himself. With 215 pages to go through, no wonder it took around a week for somebody to notice some peculiar statements (click here to read a funny episode almost straight out of The Office). And so AJ Strata of the Strata-sphere reported on Jan 21:

In their snobbish and arrogant effort to belittle those asking questions about what was the warmest year on record, they [GISS] inadvertently admitted that the current warm period is not significantly greater than the warm spots seen in the US in the 1930’s and 1950’s

What the above refers to is GISS’s Reto Ruedy writing on Aug 10, 2007 (expanding on a quote by James Hansen):

He [McIntyre] concentrates on the US time series which (US covering less than 2% of the world) is so noisy and has such a large margin of error that no conclusions can be drawn from it at this point

Later on Jan 21, AJ Strata pointed to another message by Mr Ruedy, dated Aug 15, 2007 and containing the following statement:

The US has been warming in the period 1980-2006 similarly to the period from 1920-1934; that earlier 15-year period then was followed by a cooling period and the same might be true for the current 25-year period. The annual US mean changes are still large compared to any CO2 effect

In other words: not even at GISS they can see any “climate change” concerning the USA.

And yet…amazingly, at the IPCC “somebody” still managed to find a series of pieces of evidence about “climate change” in the USA. Here they are from fabled IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1:

  • p84: Table 1.1. Direct and indirect effects of non-climate drivers. Invasive species:Tamarisk (USA)
  • p85: no change in the number of frost days in the south-eastern USA (Feng and Hu, 2004)
  • p86: Table 1.2. Selected observed effects due to changes in the cryosphere produced by warming. Decreased snow in ski areas at low altitudes:Decrease in number of ski areas from 58 to 17:1975-2002 New Hampshire, northeastern USA:Hamilton, 2003b
  • p89: Table 1.3. Observed changes in runoff/streamflow, lake levels and floods/droughts. Due to dry and unusually warm summers related to warming of western tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans in recent years:1998-2004:Western USA:Andreadis et al., 2005; Pagano and Garen, 2005
  • p92: 1.3.3.2 Changes in coastal wetlands. In the USA, losses in coastal wetlands have been observed in Louisiana (Boesch et al., 1994), the mid-Atlantic region (Kearney et al., 2002), and in parts of New England and New York (Hartig et al., 2002; Hartig and Gornitz, 2004), in spite of recent protective environmental regulations (Kennish, 2001)
  • p100: Table 1.8. Changes in the timing of spring events, based on observations within networks. Location:Period:Species/Indicator:Observed changes (days/decade):References. Western USA:1957-1994:Lilac, honeysuckle (F):-1.5 (lilac), 3.5 (honeysuckle):Cayan et al., 2001
  • p100: Table 1.8. North-eastern USA:1965-2001,1959-1993:Lilac (F, LU),Lilac (F):-3.4 (F) -2.6 (U),-1.7:Wolfe et al., 2005,Schwartz and Reiter, 2000
  • p100: Table 1.8. Washington, DC:1970-1999:100 plant species (F):-0.8:Abu-Asab et al., 2001
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Evidence of significant recent range shifts polewards and to higher elevations. California coast, USA:Spittlebug:Northward range shift:Karban and Strauss, 2004
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Washington State, USA Skipper butterfly Range expansion with increased Tmin Crozier, 2004
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Montana, USA Arctic-alpine species Decline at the southern margin of range Lesica and McCune, 2004
  • p103:  1.3.5.3 Climate-linked extinctions and invasions. The pika (Ochotona princeps), a small mammal found in mountains of the western USA, has been extirpated from many slopes (Beever et al., 2003)
  • p105: Table 1.10. Observed changes in agricultural crop and livestock. Yields:Part of overall yield increase attributed to recent cooling during growing season: 25% maize, 33% soybean:USA county level:1982-1998:Lobell and Asner, 2003
  • p105: Box 1.2. favourable conditions for wine…the same tendencies have also been found in the California, Oregon and Washington vineyards of the USA (Nemani et al., 2001; Jones, 2005).
  • p107: Climate warming can also change the disturbance regime of forests by extending the range of some damaging insects, as observed during the last 20 years for bark beetles in the USA (Williams and Liebhold, 2002)
  • p107: One study of forest fires in Canada (Gillett et al., 2004) found that about half of the observed increase in burnt area during the last 40 years, in spite of improved fire-fighting techniques, is in agreement with simulated warming from a general circulation model (GCM)[...] it seems to be confirmed by another recent study (Westerling et al., 2006), which established a dramatic and sudden increase in large wildfire activity in the western USA in the mid-1980s closely associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snow melt.
  • p108: This increase in heatwave exposures, where heatwaves are defined as temperature extremes of short duration, has been observed in mid-latitudes in Europe and the USA

============

QED: the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. All that effort has been for nothing, all the more so as it reported (especially) about warming-related climate changes no matter what.

That is, independently even from the actual measured temperatures.

(*) The obligatory full reference: Rosenzweig, C., G. Casassa, D.J. Karoly, A. Imeson, C. Liu, A. Menzel, S. Rawlins, T.L. Root, B. Seguin, P. Tryjanowski, 2007: Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 79-131.

Bad Astronomer, Worse Climatologist

There we go again…another Defender of The Science mixing up “weather” and “climate”. Will Phil be convinced by my “Space-Time has digested AGW” argument?

Maybe not. After all, who am I to pretend to be a climatologist. Well, then , perhaps the head of climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre will make the Bad Astronomer change his mind.

people often make the same mistake but in the other direction, and link every heatwave, major flood, drought and famine to global warming.

Of course, we know that these things happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.

Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda.

Bad Astronomer plus Official Minion

Bad Astronomer plus Official Minion

I have known the Bad Astronomer for many years (I have even met him once and he appreciated some “scientific” investigative job of mine) and he’s up there in my scientific Pantheon about Astronomy (and not just Astronomy).

Plait is also doing a great job in fighting the child-killing practices of the anti-vaxxers. And to prevent the silliness of creationists from spreading. He should then realize his own heavy responsibility in not placing himself at the forefront of misusing science.

Who Cares About Climate? – 1- How Space-Time Digested AGW

People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?

What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?

Alas, thanks to the staunch defence of AGW no matter what, it is about almost nothing. I have already written how very little there is to show for AGW (most if not all issues are firmly expected for sometimes in the future). And now, whatever AGW has become, it is turning into a ghost of itself in front of our very eyes, because of insurmountable problems of time (and space) .

The Time Dimension of AGW

World temperatures haven’t gone anywhere for at least a decade, hurricanes haven’t been battering like it’s 2005, and the Arctic sea ice cover hasn’t shrunk as in 2007. And yet in an apparent effort to insulate AGW theory from actual observation of the physical world, there is no shortage of people pontificating that the IPCC consensus is safe, because:

  • whatever we observe in the here-and-now is “weather”
  • the IPCC consensus is about “climate”
  • “climate” is not “weather”
  • “climate” is “weather” averaged over 30 years (who knows why, 30 and not 22 or 100?)

This from a NOAA page discussing the difference between “weather” and “climate”

In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.

Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It’s really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.

When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.

The insulation of this vaporous average of a thing called “climate” from experienced “weather” events is near to perfect. For example, Leo Hickman and George Monbiot dismiss the significance of “single events” in the Guardian’s Environment blog:

weather [...] believe it or not, it is not always predictable and it changes quite often. It is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends

Revkin goes as far as talking of weather and climate going in opposite directions:

In the last few days, a notable conjunction occurred when these two men [Hansen and Watts] essentially agreed on something: that the planet — despite a lot of very cold patches — is unusually warm.

But the reasoning goes both ways: the same distinction between “weather” and “climate” can be applied to every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales. Each melting glacier, each heatwave, each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice is “weather”.

And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” even if they cannot possibly be.

The Space Dimension of AGW

The “G” in AGW means “global”. AGW is meant to apply to the world as a whole. But “climate” heavily depends on local effects, says Wikipedia:

The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, altitude, ice or snow cover, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents

Hansen agrees:

regional short‐term temperature fluctuations [...] are an order of magnitude larger than global average annual anomalies

That is: “local climate” is “weather”, not “climate”. Hence, as explained by Luboš,

the global mean temperature is irrelevant for you and for everyone else, too. It didn’t help the hundreds of frozen people in India, the passengers whose flights were canceled, and millions of other people in the European, Asian, and American civilization centers

That’s not all: even assuming AGW is all fine and right, one should consider the result of “regional variations in radiative forcing“, as already mentioned years ago by Roger Pielke, Sr. :

regional diabatic heating due to human activities represents a major, but under-recognized climate forcing, on long-term global weather patterns. Indeed, this heterogenous climate forcing may be more important on the weather that we experience than changes in weather patterns associated with the more homogeneous spatial radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases

AGW: No Close-ups, Please!

If you try to look at it at too fine a temporal detail (a decade or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply. If you try to look at it at too fine a spatial detail (a couple of decades or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply.

That is, weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles.

Please somebody explain why should anybody still care about “the climate”…

(continues)

The same can be said about every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales, from each melting glacier to each heatwave to each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice. And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” http://www.jri.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/JRI_18_Joseph.pdf even if they aren’t.

Major Omission in 'Exaggerated' Glacier Warning's New York Times/IHT Article

(just sent to letters@iht.com)

Dear Editors

There is a major omission in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s article “U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated” (International Herald Tribune, paper edition, 20 Jan; New York Times, 18 Jan).

Ms Rosenthal mentions the scientist at the center of the controversy involving the IPCC, Dr. Syed Hasnain, and the fact that Dr Hasnain is “currently a fellow at the TERI research institute in Delhi“. However, there is no hint whatsoever of the fact that the Head of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, is also the Head of TERI.

Dr Hasnain received his fellowship at TERI after making his “exaggerated” remarks. And in the past weeks, Dr Pachauri has been a very outspoken critic of anybody merely suggesting that Dr Hasnain’s estimates for Himalayan glacier melting were an exaggeration.

This means most of your readers will have no idea of the potential major conflicts of interest involving Dr Pachauri, including using Dr Hasnain’s estimates as incorporated in the latest IPCC report in order to raise funds for TERI.

I consider this a major faux-pas on the part of your Newspaper, of whom I have been a proud reader for more than 25 years now. It is a particularly odd one, considering that all Ms Rosenthal had to do was mention the name of Dr Pachauri as Head of both the IPCC and TERI.

Please do issue a correction as soon as possible.

Darwin (AGW) Awards vs. The Tragedy Of Cold-Related Deaths

(note: I wrote most of the below last night…as it happens, Indur M. Goklany has just published a blog on similar topics, “Winter kills: Excess Deaths in the Winter Months” on WUWT)

Tragic as it is, the death at the age of 70 of Canon Hereward Cooke on Dec 15 in Copenhagen after having cycled in a snowstorm is the stuff of a Darwin Award. One might even be forgiven if thinking of it as foretold by the near-misses of failed Polar kayaker Lewis Pugh in September 2008, and of the cold and starving Catlin Survey team almost stranded in atrocious Arctic weather in April 2009.

Is this a way to confirm Timpanogos/Ed Darrell‘s suggestion that “you guys cheer at train wrecks and hit-and-run auto-pedestrian accidents, too“? I think not (even if I should thank Ed for comparing the lesser Milliband and Gordon Brown to train wrecks and hit-and-run accidents). There is something enormously serious about climate-related deaths. Compared to that, the misadventures of True (AGW) Believers getting themselves and others in trouble for almost no reason at all, well, those become laughable indeed.

Remember the infamous 2003 Summer Heatwave in Europe? Wikipedia claims it killed “more than 37,451” people (the Earth Policy Institute sums up a toll of  ”more than 52,000“) across the Continent.  Now take “excess winter mortality” in England and Wales alone, and despair: according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2008/2009 the number of additional deaths “compared with the average for the non-winter period” was 36,700.

One can only imagine a grand total of excess winter deaths for the whole of Europe in the hundreds of thousands. And that happens every single year, whilst the 2003 Heatwave is just an exceptional event that caused for example a total of 2,139 excess deaths in England and Wales.

Notably, in England and Wales even the 2003/2004 winter saw more than 20,000 excess deaths compared to a non-winter period that included…the August 2003 heatwave.

Excess winter mortality, England and Wales, 1999/2000 to 2008/2009

Excess winter mortality, England and Wales, 1999/2000 to 2008/2009 (original from the UK "Office for National Statistics")

Given the way things are shaping up at the moment, the 2009/2010 numbers will likely be in the 30,000-40,000 range too…I am perfectly sure if we had tens of thousands of excess deaths during a hot summer in the UK, even the rocks would be yelling out about the perils of Global Warming. But since those people are dying because of the cold, one might have to guess it must be alright..

A "More Likely Than Not" IPCC Mystery

Did the IPCC adhere to its own guidelines, or just twisted them whenever convenient?

(Most of the following text is extracted from a comment earlier today by John DeFayette)

I hope you can help me with an old, nagging questions that I have regarding the IPCC’s AR4.  To be clear, I have read the whole of the WG-I report.  There is absolutely no need to read beyond that, since WG-II and WG-III are mere science fiction once you understand the lack of conclusion in WG-I.

In my opinion the WG-I report document is well written.  For those who can read beyond the summaries the scientific evaluations are mostly honest in their admission of our ignorance regarding our climate. However, the politicians weighed in heavily even with the report’s body, and here is the question:

Who decided, and when was the decision made, to add the uncertainty category “more likely than not” to the uncertainty table (Table 4) in AR4?

Table 4 - Likelihood/Uncertainty

Table 4 - Likelihood/Uncertainty

note 12 and Table 2, mentioned in Table 4

note 12 and Table 2, mentioned in Table 4

The question is fundamental since it turns a perfectly reasonable document into a political club.

Clearly, an honest IPCC panel hammered out a reasonable likelihood scale in July 2005, published as an annex to AR4 in 2007.  Table 4 in the uncertainty guidelines document indicates the terminology “as likely as not” for the probability zone around 50% (from 33% to 66%).  This is perfectly reasonable, since a 50-50 likelihood or thereabouts has the same meaning as a coin toss.  The document further instructs the authors of AR4 to refrain from messing with these terms (note 10).

note 10

note 10

To my dismay, I find the final AR4 littered with a new term, “more likely than not” plopped right there at the 50-yard line where I would expect to find a balanced “as likely as not.”  A short search leads me to Box 1.1 of AR4 Chapter 1 as well as Box TS.1 in the Technical Summary, where I find that the AR4 authors have simply added the new term “…in order to provide a more specific assessment of aspects including attribution and radiative forcing.”

Box 1.1 Likelihood/Uncertainty table

Box 1.1 Likelihood/Uncertainty table

Box TS.1 Likelihood/Uncertainty table

Box TS.1 Likelihood/Uncertainty table

[NOTE BY MAURIZIO: Box 1.1 and Box TS.1 claim that in AR4-WGI-Chapter 2 "the basis on which the authors have determined particular levels of scientific understanding uses a combination of approaches consistent with the uncertainty guidance note as explained in detail in Section 2.9.2 and Table 2.11".  Neither that Section nor that Table explain anything of the sort.

Box TS.1 reference to Section 2.9.2 and Table 2.11

Box TS.1 reference to Section 2.9.2 and Table 2.11

Section 2.9.2 (part 1)

Section 2.9.2 (part 1)

Section 2.9.2 (part 2)

Section 2.9.2 (part 2)

Section 2.9.2 (part 3)

Section 2.9.2 (part 3)

Table 2.11 (part 1)

Table 2.11 (part 1)

Table 2.11 (part 2)

Table 2.11 (part 2)

Table 2.11 (part 3)

Table 2.11 (part 3)

]

With this wondrous little change the AR4 is no longer a document that must admit that human activity may or may not (we don’t really know) cause an increase in hurricanes, in heavy precipitation events, in heat waves, droughts and more.  Instead it says “more likely than not” in these cases.  Obviously, the original terminology only allowed for a vague “we don’t know” whether the coin will land heads up; it sounds much better to say that the coin is more likely to land heads up than tails up.

[NOTE BY MAURIZIO: Coincidentally, the category "More likely than not" is the only one overlapping with another category, "About as likely as not". Whoever decided not to follow the IPCC's own guidelines, forgot to take notice that (>50%) is a subset of (33% to 66%)]

Scanning the two-year-old news I find no references to enraged citizens.  I wonder if it is possible to find the authors who are responsible for this semantic “sleight-of-hand”?

1970s Global Cooling Consensus A Fact Of History – My Article In Spiked Online

From “Same fears, different name? - Maurizio Morabito uncovers a 1974 CIA report showing that the ‘scientific consensus’ then was that the world was cooling” published on Dec 10 in Spiked Online

[...] We have a ‘widely accepted [by the scientific community]…global cooling trend’, at least judging from Mitchell’s work in 1972; doubts about that growing in the same scientific community from 1975/1976, as per Damon and Kunen’s paper; but not early enough to prevent Newsweek from publishing its 1975 article, one that even mentions a certain Dr Murray Mitchell. That means that pieces of the global cooling puzzle do suggest that cooling was a widely-held view in the 1970s.

Admittedly, such an agreed view did not last the whole decade: rather, it concerned the 1972 to 1975 period. Says who? Says the CIA, in a unique report I was recently able to re-discover in the British Library [...]

This article is much longer than the Spectator’s and contains all the evidence one should need to establish that there was a scientific consensus on global cooling in the period 1972-1975.

ClimateGate: Had It Been For AGW Believers, Enron Would Still Be In Business

Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer of the UEA, quoted yesterday by Willis Eschenbach in a comment to his “Freedom of information, my okole…“:

The University [of East Anglia, home of the CRU] takes its responsibilities under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, Environmental Information Regulations 2004, and the Data Protection Act 1998 very seriously and has, in all cases, handled and responded to requests in accordance with its obligations under each particular piece of legislation.

Kenneth Lay answering an analyst’s question on August 14, 2001, as quoted in Wikipedia:

There are no accounting issues, no trading issues, no reserve issues, no previously unknown problem issues. I think I can honestly say that the company is probably in the strongest and best shape that it has probably ever been in.

All That's Wrong With Global Warming Advocates

(a Jul 30, 2003 blog of mine on Ecademy…not much has changed. Or has it?)

In a few words here by John Houghton, former chief executive of the British Meteorological Office

Human induced global climate change is a weapon of mass destruction at least as dangerous as nuclear, chemical or biological arms, a leading British climate scientist said Monday

Well, I refuse to join Mr Houghton and his fellow scaremongers and agitators.

Human-caused Climate Change is something big enough to be extra-ordinary enough to warrant extra-ordinary proof.

For heaven’s sake, somebody is claiming that humans can have effects over a planet-wide phenomenon. Those same humans that can’t predict earthquakes, can’t switch off a volcano, can’t change the course of ocean currents, can’t stop hurricanes, can’t make sustainable quantities of rain, can’t even generate nor control wind (of the non-intestinal variety). We have no idea of entire major waterflows in the North Atlantic, and yet somebody thinks to be able to cause (and to tell) a few degrees difference in the Earth’s climate over 50 or 100 years?

Vague threats and doom-and-gloom scenarios make little sense. Give me a break. Or give me evidence that the climate is really changing because of humans. For example by showing what is the difference between the current temperature changes and those that happened over 3 or 4 years at the end of the “little ice age” in the mid-1800s (surely those were not man-made)? Or by showing how the amount of emissions by humans can compare to the natural ones?

Or by comparing the energy used and release by humans to that involved in the Earth’s working on a daily basis? To understand the situation, I did some quick computations last year to find out that all energy ever generated by humans would rise the ocean temperature by hundredths if not thousandth (0.01 to 0.001) of a degree…ours is still a big planet indeed, tampering with it requires enormous quantities of energy and I am aware of little work done in planetary engineering.

My mind is open to explanations, and I can definitely talk to people saying “Beware the climate beast“. But I won’t listen to those that panic to claim that the world is ending tomorrow (or this century, or this millennium).

Willis vs. The CRU: A History of (FOI) Evasion

(a guest blog by Willis Eschenbach, originally posted to the Climate Sceptics mailing list. Published almost completely as-is).

An excerpt for those without time to read it all

the issue is not Trenberth or scientists talking smack. It is the illegal evasion of legitmate scientific requests for data needed to replicate a scientific study. Without replication, science cannot move forwards. And when you only give data to friends of yours, and not to people who actually might take a critical look at it, you know what you end up with? A “consensus” …

Freedom of information, my okole…
by Willis Eschenbach

People seem to be missing the real issue in the CRU emails. Gavin over at realclimate keeps distracting people by saying the issue is the scientists being nasty to each other, and what Trenberth said, and the Nature “trick”, and the like. Those are side trails. To me, the main issue is the frontal attack on the heart of science, which is transparency.

Science works by one person making a claim, and backing it up with the data and methods that they used to make the claim. Other scientists attack the work by (among other things) trying to replicate the first scientist’s work. If they can’t replicate it, it doesn’t stand. So blocking the FOIA allowed Phil Jones to claim that his temperature record (HadCRUT3) was valid science.

This is not just trivial gamesmanship, this is central to the very idea of scientific inquiry. This is an attack on the heart of science, by keeping people who disagree with you from ever checking your work and seeing if your math is correct.

Continue reading

Raise Your Hands If You're Ready To Handle (Dishonest) Data Tampering

(comment posted at Greenfyre’s)

Greenfyre: if there is a subsequent release and it contains actual credible evidence of data tampering, I will say so

And that’s good enough for me.

After “ClimateGate” the consensus is still there, the AGW science is still there, COP15 will still take place, etc etc. What is dead is the notion that climatological alarmism is a nicely consensual necessary conclusion of an unbiased reading of the data, rather than a reasonable worldview based on observations but that might just as well be supplanted by a different one.

I just hope that in the eyes of all, “catastrophical AGW” is now a little less like “General Relativity” and a little more like “String theory”.

And even if the work of hundreds hasn’t been invalidated, still there is enough ongoing “power politics” activity at CRU (and elsewhere) to warrant a different approach to AGW skepticism. The problem is in fact not much in scientists that have an “ideology of science”, rather with scientists whose ideology involves stifling debate and censoring those who do not follow orthodoxy.

How many of those quoted would be prepared to “say so” if any “credible evidence of (dishonest) data tampering” were to surface?

Christofides and Mamassis (Koutsoyannis) Against AGW

Two of Koutsoyannis’ co-authors (here and here) have contacted me today providing a link to their HK Climate website, designed the old-fashioned way with a Start page and an Epilogue (and About).

The two Koutsoyannis et al.’s are of course the papers arguing that climate models “won’t reproduce the local climate” and any “statement that the predictions would work at [a] longer distance scales is unsupported” (in the words of Luboš).

HK Climate has definitely been written for non-specialists. A couple of quotes:

  • (from the Start page) “we maintain that there is no reason whatsoever to worry about man-made climate change, because there is no evidence whatsoever that such a thing is happening
  • (from the Epilogue page) “Climate is equally uncertain at all zoom levels. In fact, mathematical analysis of the climate indicates that its behaviour is such that the uncertainty is the maximum possible at all zoom levels. This maximisation of uncertainty at all scales is called the Hurst-Kolmogorov behaviour of climatic processes. Nature loves uncertainty, and it fools us in two ways: on the one hand we wouldn’t be able to predict the future of climate, even if we fully knew the natural laws that govern it, because of chaos; and on the other hand, we can’t be very certain of the statistically expected behaviour of climate which is based on our observations of the past, because of the Hurst-Kolmogorov behaviour.”

UK Government: Met Office Source Code 'Available For External Use'

As one of the signatories of the epetition on “CRU Source codes” I just received the following message:

—– Forwarded Message —-
From: 10 Downing Street
To: e-petition signatories
Sent: Tue, November 10, 2009 4:18:55 PM
Subject: Government response to petition ‘CRUSourceCodes’

You signed a petition asking the Prime Minister to “Force the Climate Research Unit, or other publicly funded organisations to release the source codes used in their computer models.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has responded to that petition and you can view it here:

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page21266

Prime Minister’s Office

Petition information – http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/CRUSourceCodes/

And this is the text from that page 21266 (my emphasis):

The Government is strongly committed to the principles of freedom of information, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 specifically implement our international obligations over access to environmental information. The Met Office’s commitment to openness and transparency in the conduct of their operations and to the sharing of information is set out clearly on their website (http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/legal/foi.html).

Simple and transparent licences are in place to facilitate the re-use of the Met Office’s meteorological and climate data, and large quantities are freely available for academic and personal use, for example through the UK Climate Impacts Programme and the British Atmospheric Data Centre.

The Met Office’s climate models are configurations based on the Unified Model (UM), the numerical modelling system developed and used by the Met Office to produce all their weather forecasts and climate predictions.

You may be interested to know that the UM, including source code, is available for external use under licence. For general research, the licence is free; the Met Office just asks individuals to submit an abstract describing the research to be undertaken, and to provide an annual report describing the work undertaken, the results achieved and future work plans.

To improve access to their climate models, the Met Office has worked with Reading and Bristol Universities and NERC to develop a low-resolution version which can be run on a PC and is available to all UM licence holders.

Further Information on how to apply for a research licence can be found on the Met Office website.

(http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/science/creating/working_together/um_collaboration.html)

Lonnie G. Thompson's Kilimanjaro Fallacies

Is the Kilimanjaro losing ice because of man-made global warming? Now, that would be a challenging thing to properly demonstrate (never mind it would run against the gist of the IPCC work for example, where no particular weather-related occurrence can be attributed to “Global Warming”, let alone of the anthropogenic variety).

Little wonder then if scientists publishing a study “Glacier loss on Kilimanjaro continues unabated” have “reached no consensus on whether the melting could be attributed mainly to humanity’s role in warming the global climate“.

Regardless…step forward lead author Lonnie G. Thompson, concluding “that the melting of recent years is unique” (in the sense of unseen for “over the last 11,700 years“). And how does he know that AGW got anything to do with it?

Dr. Thompson emphasized that the melting of ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro was paralleled by retreats in ice fields elsewhere in Africa as well as in South America, Indonesia and the Himalayas. “It’s when you put those together that the evidence becomes very compelling,” he said.

This quote from somebody that has just published an article containing the following texts:

  • An energy balance study (7) concluded that mass loss from the upper (horizontal) surfaces of the ice fields has been dominated by sublimation although there is physical evidence of melting as well
  • The limited satellite observations have yet to confirm any unambiguous trend toward drier atmospheric conditions (1979–1995) and the lack of radiosonde observations over less-developed countries has limited the accuracy of tropical water vapor trends
  • Over recent decades there has been a continual transformation of the landscape surrounding Kilimanjaro into agricultural land, thus, unraveling large-scale climate forcing from regional forcing caused in part by landscape changes is difficult.

Oh well.

Let’s have a look at how many logical fallacies can be found in statements like the below:

Regardless of the relative importance of the multiple drivers responsible for the loss of Kilimanjaro’s summit ice fields, [the] widespread glacier mass loss, shrinkage, and retreat at high elevations (>5,000 m above sea level) in lower latitudes (30° N to 30° S), particularly in the thermally homogeneous tropics, suggests the likelihood of an underlying common driver on which more localized factors such as changes in land use, precipitation, cloudiness, and humidity are superimposed.

This is my list so far:

I am sure there’s more.

As every hammer knows, the world is made of nails…

Don't Be Fooled By Another Non-Climate Satellite

The SMOS satellite is flying, and it will provide data for around three years. A “probe tracking global warming impact on water“? Not by a long shot (what are three years for climate??).

Remember to always read it all and carefully so.

Scientists rely heavily on computer models to project weather and climate patterns, and the additional data will make predictions more accurate.

SMOS “has long been awaited by climatologists who try to predict the long-term effects of today’s climate change,” said ESA’s director of Earth observations programme Volker Liebig in a communique. “The data collected will complement measurements already performed on the ground and at sea.”

As sadly usual, in climatology observations are subservient to models, rather than the other way around…

Consolidated Links About Piers Corbyn's Solar Weather Technique Conference

Nothing yet on www.weatheraction.com, but Piers Corbyn has sent via e-mail the following list of links about the Solar Weather Technique conference of Oct 28:

 

 

UK Government Shows Its True 'Scientific' Colors

The UK Government has been at the forefront of AGW for a long time now. All in good intent and fully based on scientific evidence, of course.

Anybody needing any further “proof” of that, look no further than the sacking today of Professor David Nutt, the UK’s chief drugs adviser and utterer yesterday of confidence-losing advice (basically, expert opinion the Government didn’t want to hear).

Prof. Nutt was head of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, “an independent(*) expert body that advises government on drug related issues in the UK.

(*) best joke of 2009

'Cold' Scientist Cool About Global Warming (Hysteria)

Glowing reviews for Bill Streever’s “Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places”, admittedly with some questioning about the book lacking somewhat in the AGW catastrophe department.

For example, Mary Roach in The New York Times:

Global warming makes an inevitable appearance, but it’s not in Streever’s nature to mount the pulpit. His usual spark is missing here. His molecules have cooled. He is a man beguiled by nature’s complexities, and he knows too much to make the simplified arguments of the Gores and the anti-Gores. “The good new is this: the planet is not warming evenly. As ocean currents change, temperate Europe may become pleasantly frigid. And the Antarctic interior, surrounded by swirling winds thought to be driven in part by the hole in the ozone layer, has cooled.” he writes. And he impishly points out that the first two scientists to write about the greenhouse effect looked forward to a warmer planet.

David Laskin in The Washington Post:

Another problem is the treatment of global warming. Streever opens with a nod at the greenhouse effect, and halfway through he curses an unseasonable mid-winter warm-up in Anchorage for ruining his cross-country skiing, but it’s not until the last few pages that he addresses the issue of climate change head on. His discussion is (predictably) adroit, pointed, clipped and alarming — but it doesn’t connect the many scattered dots that came before. “Warmth is not always a good thing,” Streever declares heatedly.

I’ll definitely look to buy or borrow “Cold“. In the meanwhile, here’s an interesting quote from the book (my emphasis):

We are in the midst of a warm spell, we are worried about global warming, but the fact remains that even in summer, whole regions remain covered with snow and ice. An area of land five times the size of Texas is in the permafrost zone, underlain by permanently frozen ground. If the mathematical predictions are right, we are at the tail end of an interglacial period, dramatically increasing its warmth with greenhouse gas emissions. But nevertheless we remain in what a geologist one hundred thousand years in the future would clearly recognize as part of the Pleistocene Ice Age.

A Quick Note About Corbyn's Solar Weather Technique Conference

Not many words out yet about WeatherAction’s “Climate Change, The Solar Weather Technique & The Future of Forecasting”, the conference organized by Piers Corbyn and hosted by the Imperial College in London on Oct 28. Amazingly, BBC’s Roger Harrabin just spoke about it during the midnight BBC Radio4 news, in rather neutral and very appropriate tones as far as I can remember (nothing has surfaced in the BBC News site as yet).

Myself, I have been able to get to the conference and back, just in time and only to hear Corbyn’s opening remarks, when he lamented the immorality of the mainstream obsession with CO2 and compared his work to longitude measurer Harrison, rejected by the scientific and political establishment for a long time despite being right and only winning acceptance by winning the acceptance and trust of users (the Royal Navy, according to Corbyn)

Tipping Points Revisited – 2- Swedish And Depressed Planetary Boundaries

Is that a Masada I can see in Stockholm? Introducing another group of scholars interested in exploring new (and sad…very sad!) depths of environmental science: the Stockholm Resilience Center (SRC), and its scientists-authors of famous research and policy framework “Planetary Boundaries” (see also J Rockström et al., “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the safe operating space for humanity”, Ecology and Society, In Press 14th September 2009).

SRC have identified nine Planetary Boundaries (PB):

  • Climate change
  • Ocean acidification
  • Stratospheric ozone depletion
  • Atmospheric aerosol loading
  • Biogeochemical flows: interference with P(hosphorus) and N(itrogen) cycles
  • Global freshwater use
  • Land system change (to cropland)
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Chemical pollution (eg persistent organic pollutants (POPs), plastics, endocrinedisruptors, heavy metals, and nuclear waste)

(yes there is a reason why SRC do not list then in alphabetical order)

I have several criticisms about the above (I am not alone). What “stewardship” can we provide to the planet if we consider our existence as under siege? Do Planetary Boundaries exist, and even if they do, what can they scientifically tell us about the real world? And even if they are really, mostly useful as a policy tool, is it prudent to take any decision based on them?

-1- A PLANET UNDER SIEGE, or THE MASADA MENTALITY
The “joyous and optimistic” (not my words) goal of SRC appears to be computing the limits of essential resources (essential to us, that is), in order to help better manage those same resources better.

Crucially though, those “limits” are considered “boundaries” in the sense of “thresholds”: once a certain threshold is passed, SRC say, the tipping point (“non-linear changes in the functioning of the Earth System”) starts looming. That is, passing the limits means risking “unacceptable, potentially disastrous” changes, jumping into the dark, most likely straight into a ravine.

In this respect, SRC’s all-too-desperate attempt of communicating a “message” (“The Planet is in peril! It’s all our fault!”) is just too blatant to convince the unconvinced. Consider for example the way they describe PBs in their website. From the PB homepage, aptly titled “Tipping towards the unknown”:

Within these boundaries, humanity has the flexibility to choose pathways for our future development and well-being. In essence, we are drawing the first — albeit very preliminary — map of our planet´s safe operating zones. And beyond the edges of the map, we don´t want to go

Look also at the video “Whiteboard seminar with Johan Rockström: Introducing Planetary Boundaries”. Here’s what you see Rockström drawing around 3m20s:

Going down...

Going down…

Just like that graph, every diagram invariably goes downwards. For some reason, it is taken as given that every change wll mean thing are going to worsen.

Fast forward to 8 minutes and 30 seconds:

Planetary fortress

Planetary fortress

What does that resemble, if not of a fortress on top of a mountain, as beyond the boundary everything goes sharply downhill? And there it is: Masada.

Masada (1)

Masada (1)

Masada (2)

Masada (2)

What good could ever come out of this “siege mentality” in managing the planet (no less!), I simply cannot understand.

For the record, in 73AD all 960 inhabitants of Masada “committed suicide rather than face certain capture“.

- 2- DO PLANETARY BOUNDARIES EXIST?
According to SRC, no tipping point has been reached so far. That is, simply none of the expected “non-linear” changes of state has happened. What are we talking about, one wonders? Every “unacceptable environmental change” that would “drive the Earth System[…] abruptly into states deleterious or even catastrophic to human well-being” is firmly in the future.

The PB framework is only loosely connected to reality. In fact, too many of the foundations of the PB framework are taken for granted rather than demonstrated. Are we really in the “Anthropocene”? Only if we believe so. Can we seriously link Arctic ice extent and the increase of atmospheric CO2? (more about this later). Etc etc.

And in any case…do planetary thresholds/boundaries exist?

It is true that the simplest spinning top can show what a tipping poin is. On the other hand, is there anything about the environment or any of its aspects that suggests they behave like spinning tops? That is, do we have any example where a minor perturbation has resulted in a major shift from one relatively stable status to another relatively stable status?

Say, has the temporal evolution of any environmental indicator about the now-mostly-dry Aral Sea followed a similar path to the graphs used by SRC?

Limnologist Marten Scheffer has written a whole book on the topic of tipping points in environmental and social contexts, and IMNSHO we are none the wiser, in the realm of the environment including climate. Mr Scheffer for example has “discovered” that there are more than just two stable states a lake environment can switch to, thereby invalidating the Rockström “Masada” diagrams.

- 3 – WHAT COULD PLANETARY BOUNDARIES TELL US ABOUT THE REAL WORLD?
SRC admit that they can do quantifiable work in only seven out of nine PBs. In other words, discussions of PBs for “Biodiversity loss” and “Chemical pollution” are on the threshold of being science-free.

Among the remaining seven PBs, SRC state that only in three cases they have solid data to estimate the “threshold” has been “transgressed”. In other words, even if thresholds exist, there is little indication we are near danger for “Atmospheric aerosol loading”, “Biogeochemical flows”, “Global freshwater use” and “Land system change”.

Among the remaining three “transgressed” PBs, regarding “Ocean acidification” and “Stratospheric ozone depletion” the tipping point “into states deleterious or even catastrophic to human well-being” is still far away in the future.

Finally, for Climate Change, the one remaining PB where the threshold has been (perhaps) transgressed and the tipping point (perhaps) reached, all the SRC work appears to be pivoting around a single published work:

Johannessen, O. M. Decreasing Arctic Sea Ice Mirrors Increasing CO2 on decadal Time Scale, in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science Letters, Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 1 (1): 51-56 (2008)

From the abstract (my emphasis):

The author presents an empirical relation between annual sea-ice extent and global atmospheric CO2 concentrations, in which sea-ice reductions are linearly, inversely proportional to the magnitude of increase of CO2 over the last few decades

Hopefully the esteemed Johannessen will be magnanimous with whomever will state that his findings are contrary to other research, e.g. done by NASA.

Who knows, perhaps there is a case for awaiting more analysis and confirmatory studies? It is not one swallow that bringeth in summer.

- CONCLUSIONS – WHAT ARE PBs GOOD FOR?
Based on unremittingly pessimistic and undemonstrated assumptions, observation-free, with admittedly shaky foundations, and the one promising application based on a single article… would it be wise to follow SRC and base public policy on the concept of “Planetary Boundaries”?

One can expect the usual criticisms…who am I to dare critically reading some scientist’s work…

Let’s hear it from some experts then (a collection of comments is in Nature’s “Climate Feedback” blog).

These are the views of William H. Schlesinger, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York:

Thresholds are comforting for decision-makers […] But is a threshold really a good idea at all? […] Waiting to cross the threshold allows much needless environmental degradation. […] Unfortunately, policymakers face difficult decisions, and management based on thresholds, although attractive in its simplicity, allows pernicious, slow and diffuse degradation to persist nearly indefinitely […]

Schlesinger’s insight is important. The concept of “Planetary Boundaries” is written in the language policymakers will understand. On the other hand, under PB scientists and anybody caring about the environment become second-class players, in this paradoxical locking up of the study and preservation of our planet to the service of those who make “policy“.

That’s the way of the worst kind of management techniques, geared up to handle not what should be managed, rather just whatever happens to be measurable. A quick look at the proverbial efficiency and low costs of the British National Health System (NHS) will be enough to understand what can this all end up as.

Obviously, the PB concept is not unadulterated rubbish to be thrown away. Just as obviously, it is not (even remotely) the ultimate solution to our problems. My wild guess is that PB is valid and useful in two out of seven of the listed “boundaries”, but the thresholds need to be understood in terms of the range of possible scenarios (some good, some bad) that the reaching of the tipping point may bring.

And I realize that these questions do not have as much sense to most of the catastrophiliacs now, but let me ask their selves, reading this in 2029:

(1) Why were you scared silly of the future?

(2) On what logical basis did you take any possible change as something necessarily negative?

(3) Why did you fill your “scientific” thoughts of “tipping points” before having ever experienced even one of them?

(see also : Tipping Points Revisited – The Impossibility Of Action Between Rare Examples And Complex Behavior)

UK Science Museum Fails To 'PROVE IT!'

Abysmal news for AGW believers the world over from the UK Science Museum’s “PROVEIT!” site. Despite an entire day of effort, the result is still just a draw.

PROVE IT! rather grandiosely proclaims

I’ve seen the evidence. And I want the government to prove they’re serious about climate change by negotiating a strong, effective, fair deal at Copenhagen.

One can thereafter click on “Count Me In” or “Count Me Out“. The day started with around 700 IN, and 4,000 OUT.

At 10:33GMT, 3,916 IN and 4,836 OUT. Twelve hours later, it’s 10:36PM GMT, and 5,352 IN, 5,426 OUT. Even if there is nothing scientific in these onlines polls, considering also how lopsided the count was at the beginning of the day, one thing that is certain is that there are simply not enough AGW web users to counterbalance skepticism on their own

(I would not be surprised if in the long run the numbers will be higher on the AGW side…persuasion is the weapon of the AGW campaigner…)

=====

PROVE IT! claims to provide “the evidence to decide where you stand”. Does it? One has to dig a lot in the site but it appears the evidence that the climate is changing rests solely on the increase in temperature “by 0.75 °C“. And the effects that should prove the climate is changing are dubious to say the least:

Rainfall patterns are changing. After three centuries of stability, sea level is now rising. Ice in the Arctic is melting further back year on year. Extreme weather, such as droughts and hurricanes, is becoming more common or more intense. The changing weather patterns are causing plants to flower earlier in the year and species to migrate as the climate in their habitats changes

If I happen to pass by the PROVE IT! exhibition, I will think of the best ways to rectify the Science of the science Museum on the topic…

Warmist Master Of Game Theory 'Most Optimistic For the Future' (Despite Copenhagen)

A pleasant surprise in BBC Radio4′s “Start the Week” of Oct 19, 2009, with “Master of Game Theory” Prof. Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, displaying that rare combination of AGW belief and optimism for the future.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

Shortly, Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (BBdM in the following) thinks the upcoming Copenhagen treaty won’t work and won’t matter (“will be forgotten in the twinkling of an eye“), and yet, we should be “most optimistic” about the future because “global warming [...] induces a self-solving dominant strategy” and “new wind, rain, and solar technologies will be solving the problem for us“.

===========

Start the Week” is a Monday morning broadcast (available in podcast) with Andrew Marr, one of the most experience BBC hands in politics.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita (BBdM in the following) can be heard in the Oct 19, 2009 programme (mp3) from around the 34th minute. The climate-change bit starts around the 37th minute and this is my transcript:

Marr: Let’s look at the other other to me fascinating prediction here, which is the Copenhagen Climate Change talk, about (which) the Prime Minister (Gordon Brown) has been talking about in this country yesterday and everyone is focusing about. You say (A) it ain’t going to work and (B) oddly, that doesn’t matter very much

BBdM: Both correct. I would add a (C) that I am very cynical about politicians. We should be very disheartened by the way in which our political leaders are trying to deflect responsibility for dealing with global warming. So your Prime Minister and my President (Barack Obama) are calling for a universal global treaty at Copenhagen. Let’s take a very quick look at Kyoto. So Kyoto had 175 signatories not including the United States.

What do global treaties do? Well, if you think about self-interest, and these are self-interest (acts to co-ordinate among) nations, what you get is one of two consequences: either people sign an agreement which they will fully comply because it doesn’t ask them to change their behavior, or they will sign an agreement that does ask them to change their behavior, and the agreement will contain no mechanisms to punish them for failing.

So let’s look at Kyoto: 175 signatories, 137 were asked not to do anything…(laughter in the studio)…and they have complied (more laughter); 38 were asked to change their behavior and pretty much a lot of them, not all but a lot of them, came forward within a matter of weeks from Kyoto, the British Government did, the Japanese Government did, and so forth (saying) “We just can’t meet the standards. It’s such a pity. We would really have liked to but we just can’t do it.”. Now let’s ask ourselves: why don’t the politicians in the United States, Britain and so forth unilaterally cut back on greenhouse gas emissions if it is such a good idea? (short overlap of voices with Marr)

Marr: Very briefly, the reason (for being optimistic) is because there are market and technological solutions

BBdM: Technology will solve the problem

The last statement is understood with a short internet search. From the BBC programme’s synopsis:

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita uses game theory to foretell political, financial and even personal events in his new book Predictioneer: One Who Uses Maths, Science and the Logic of Brazen Self-interest to See and Shape the Future. Regularly consulted by the CIA and the US Department of Defence, Bruce is Professor of Politics at New York University. Predictioneer is published by The Bodley Head. Bruce is also giving a talk at the ICA on Monday 19 October at 7.00pm.

The ICA is the “Institute of Contemporary Arts” and their page about Bueno de Mesquita says:

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita is one of the world’s most respected futurologists. He is here to lecture on the perilous business of futurology and how game theory can help understand everyday dilemmas.

This is the ICA introduction to the book “Predictioneer“:

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita can predict the future. He is a master of game theory. This book explores the origins of game theory as formulated by John Nash and develops these ideas to create a rigorous and pragmatic system of calculation that enables us to think strategically about what our opponents want, how much they want it, and how they might react to our every move. [...]

The book “Predictioneer – One Who Uses Maths, Science and the Logic of Brazen Self-interest to See and Shape the Future” is available on Amazon.co.uk (published: 3 Sep 2009). On Amazon.com, where Bruce Bueno de Mesquita has its own Author’s Page, there is a Predictioneer” book by the same author but with a different cover and slightly modified title, and publishing date 29 Sep 2009: “The Predictioneer’s Game: Using the Logic of Brazen Self-Interest to See and Shape the Future“. Presumably it’s the usual story of an American and a UK edition, based on whatever the publishers think will attract the local readership (are Americans turned off by Maths and Science??).

The American edition of “Predictioneer” has Look Inside!” enabled. There are several pages dedicated to Copenhagen and they by themselves already make “Predictioneer” a worthwhile book to read. The “optimism” bit starts at page 223:

If I sound downbeat, I am sorry. Actually, I am most optimistic for the future. My optimism, however, is despite – yup, despite – agreements like the ones struck in Bali or Kyoto or Copenhagen. These will be forgotten in the twinkling of an eye. They will hardly make a dent in global warming: they could even hurt by dealying serious changes. Roadmaps like the one set out at Bali make us feel good about ourselves becuase we did something. We looked out for future generations, we promised to do good – or did we? [...] universal schemes do not put big change into motion. Their all-inclusiveness ensures that they reflect the converns of the lowest, not the highest, common denominator.

There follows an analysis similar to the one mentioned during Start the Week, until the conclusions at page 225:

So how might we solve global warming and make the world in five hundred years look attractive to our future selves? [...] New wind, rain, and solar technologies will be solving the problem for us. Climate change due to global warming will add to our supply of rain, wind and fire, and if it raises the oceans [...] then it also adds to our urge to exploit these ancirnet forcess just as their increades power makes us worry more [...]

There is an equilibrium at which enough global warming – a very modest amount more than we may already have, probably enought to be here in fifty to a hundred year [...] – will create enough additional sunshine in cold places, enough additional rain in dry places, enough additional wrind in still places, and , most important, enough additional incentives for humankind that windmills, solar panels, hudroelectriciity, asn as yet undiscovere technologies will be the good, cheap, evenly distribute, and clean meachasnisms to replace th efossil fuels we use today. Global warming, ijn other words, induces a self-solving dominant strategy [...]

“Technology will solve the problem” has traditionally been dismissed as an argument for the last 100 years or so (despite overwhelming evidence in its support). Anyway…time will tell. And Bruce Bueno de Mesquita claims a 90% success rate.

"It's Amazing How A Single New Observation Can Change An Entire Concept That Most Scientists Had Taken As True For Nearly Fifty Years"

No, the quote in the title is not from the remarkable “Cosmic pattern to UK tree growth” from the BBC

We tried to correlate the width of the rings, i.e. the growth rate, to climatological factors like temperature. [...] the relation of the rings to the solar cycle was much stronger than it was to any of the climatological factors we had looked at. We were quite hesitant at first, as solar cycles have been a controversial topic in climatology

The quote is from SpaceDaily’s “Cassini Data Help Redraw Shape Of Solar System

Models of the boundary region between the heliosphere and interstellar medium have been based on the assumption that the relative flow of the interstellar medium and its collision with the solar wind dominate the interaction. This would create a foreshortened “nose” in the direction of the solar system’s motion, and an elongated “tail” in the opposite direction.

The Ion and Neutral Camera images suggest that the solar wind’s interaction with the interstellar medium is instead more significantly controlled by particle pressure and magnetic field energy density.

And still…isn’t that the way scientific dogmas evaporate?

AGW Evidence In The Lack Of Atlantic Hurricanes

In case you missed it…the fact that the 2009 hurricane season in the Atlantic is running as one of the slowest in living memory, is evidence of…anthropogenic Global Warming!

Of course it is. Why, everybody should know by now that “global warming may spur wind shear, sap hurricanes” and that we should expect “‘fewer hurricanes’ as world warms” because “under warmer, high-CO2 conditions […[ hurricane frequency will be reduced“.

In other news: some time ago we were told that “the frequency of Atlantic storms has been rising in concert with tropical ocean temperature, probably because of global warming“.

In other other news: the only thing that appears to be able to disprove AGW would be a series of Atlantic hurricane season with zero hurricanes. But that would mean ipso facto a change in global climate, thereby once again demonstrating…AGW!

Med Journals Adopt New Disclosure Rules

Editors at leading medical journals have agreed to adopt a new standard conflict of interest disclosure form that probes deep into the financial and nonfinancial interests of published authors”. That’s the start of a blog titled “Med journals adopt disclosure rules” signed “Bob Grant” at The Scientist, based on a news item on The Wall Street Journal.

The journals involved are “The Lancet, The Journal of the American Medical Association, The New England Journal of Medicine, and The British Medical Journal”.

Alongside what should be by now standard disclosure fare “information regarding financial relationships — such as board membership, consultancy, expert testimony, honoraria and stock options — and potentially conflicting financial relationships among spouses and children under age 18”, authors are going to be asked about “’relevant nonfinancial associations’, such as political, personal, institutional, or religious affiliations that ‘a reasonable reader would want to know about in relation to the submitted work.’” (those disclosures are between author and editors, not necessarily to be made public in full. And still…).

There are already calls to extend the new rules to peer reviewers and editors.

The disclosure form was “drafted by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE)” and follows an initiative by the “Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI)”, one of whose project is aptly titled “Integrity in Science”.

More details about that initiative are available in another Bob Grant blog, “Unifying journal disclosure rules” dated July 17, 2008.

At the time, the CSPI urged “full disclosure of potentially compromising financial relationships held by authors up to three years prior to submitting a manuscript. Financial conflicts include direct employment or consultancies with private firms, travel grants or speaking fees, paid expert testimony, membership on advisory boards, pending or existing patents, and stock ownership

On the non-financial side, disclosure should include “membership in NGOs that may have a stake in a particular manuscript’s publication”.

Authors of the CSPI document, “Merrill Goozner (Director of CSPI’s Integrity in Science program), […] University of Pennsylvania bioethicists Arthur Caplan and Jonathan Moreno and the editors of three journals – the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Addiction, and the Journal of the American College of Surgeons”.

Other groups involved were the “Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), a consortium of journal editors that seek to address issues of scientific integrity in science publication”. COPE “counts all Elsevier journals as members”.

======

Will journals in other specialty areas follow? What is the opinion by COPE and CSPI about recent and past scandals in Climate Science?

Peradventure There Shall One Be Found There – Open Letter To The Royal Society

(a guest “blog” by Rupert Wyndham; publication authorised by the author)

Lord Rees
President
The Royal Society

14 October 2009

Dear Lord Rees

Re: Briffa, Schweingruber and the Yamal tree ring data

With some surprise, it must be said, I find myself acknowledging that, within The Royal Society, there exists one individual at least who appears to be motivated by scrupulousness and a desire to work in and for the best interests of the scientific endeavour. Naturally, the identification of this honourable man does not lead to your door nor to the paths of those of your immediate predecessors, May and Houghton. King too, if he’s been a President of the RS, but that he has not, I think – well, not yet anyway.

So, who then is this rarest of paragons within the cloistered precincts of Carlton House Terrace? Is it some great and eminent scientific Titan, invested with honours and burdened with doubloons diverted in his direction by Alfred Nobel’s august and wondrous awarding committees? Nay, nay – to be sure, nothing of the sort! Rather, instead, he (or, perhaps, she) is simply an honest functionary, a self-effacing soul who, after a conscientious day’s toil, unremarked and unsung, returns of an evening to a favourite armchair in the modest but homely comfort of his bungalow in Surbiton – or would it be Penge? But anyway, but anyway – whatever his name, in the annals of authentic science, in a zeitgeist dominated and polluted by a fraudulent, self-serving counterfeit of itself, he stands out as a true blue, heart warming, life affirming paladin, does he not………in the setting of the RS, a pitch perfect, solitary clarion voice of honesty sounding clear and high above a cacophony of knaves and poltroons?

The hero in question is the Editor of the Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society, of course. And what has he done to merit such an accolade? Well, to be sure, you know as well as I, that he has stood up for, and insisted upon, observance of the time honoured protocols of scientific method – the very precepts that you personally, as well as those who work closest to you, are charged to defend. That you have signally failed to do so is the indelible stain on your own personal honour (theirs too, of course) – an old fashioned concept, but one still with some value, however, as scoundrels on the green benches in the Palace of Westminster are currently discovering to their fully warranted discomfiture.

What this excellent and worthy man has done has been to insist upon publication of the Yamal Peninsular data, hitherto denied for a decade to the wider scientific community – needless to say, contrary to one of the most basic protocols of honest scientific investigation. This has blown apart the much vaunted clutch of “hockey stick” graphs supposedly marshalled by AGW proselytisers such as yourself in support of the Mann, Bradley, Hughes fraud – heavily promoted, of course, by the Yankee snake oil salesman. At the time of writing this, it is even just possible that the RS’s counterpart lapdog at Broadcasting House has finally realised that the entire AGW construct is, scientifically speaking, no more than a monstrous inverted pyramid of dross erected on the crest of a sand dune. Mind you, where the BBC is concerned, it is prudent never to be optimistic!

In the words of the old love song, the salient question for you, of course, is:

“Where have you been all this day, my boy Billy?
Where have you been all this day?
Is it here? Is it there?
Pray tell me, is it – - anywhere?”

Yours sincerely

R.C.E. Wyndham

Cc: Prime Minister Ed Miliband MP David Cameron MP Nick Clegg MP Julia Goldsworthy MP
Lord Lawson Lord Leach Mark Thompson Sir Michael Lyons Editors – national newspapers
As the spirit moves

The IPCC Is Never Wrong -1- Why Kevin Trenberth Is Right

Thus spoke Dr Kevin E Trenberth, Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in the (very welcome!) Gray/Trenberth written debate hosted by the Tea Party of Northern Colorado:

I have found that the only scientists who disagree with the IPCC report are those who have not read it and are poorly informed

Contrarily to what the most argument-challenged readers of this blog might think, I fully agree with Dr Trenberth’s statement. Only, I arrive at his same conclusion starting from a very different point of view (wonder if Morano will ever try to sing a different tune?).

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I have read several chapters of the IPCC AR4 (2007) (sadly, I have not read the whole thing in full from start to end and seriously wonder if anybody ever has). Fact is, they are all written in a scientifically very valid way. As the science of climate is still full of uncertainties, then whatever the future, may it be hot, may it be cold, it will be impossible to ever find in the IPCC reports any item that may be actually considered as fundamentally wrong or misleading.

Everything is in there and its opposite, by wise [UPDATE: "wise" means "wise" in a POSITIVE way...do not mix it up with "weasel" or anything else with a bad connotation] use of words like “could”, “might” and “likely”. Even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct. Take for example AR4-SYR-SPM (Synthesis Report, Summary for Policymakers)

page 5: Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations

page 7: Continued GHG emissions at or above current rates would [note how they had so many would's to distribute, they added one too many here] cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century

The meaning of “very likely” is explained in the box Treatment of uncertainty” in the Introduction of the Synthesis Report (page 27):

Where uncertainty in specific outcomes is assessed using expert judgment and statistical analysis of a body of evidence (e.g. observations or model results), then the following likelihood ranges are used to express the assessed probability of occurrence: virtually certain >99%; extremely likely >95%; very likely >90%; likely >66%; more likely than not > 50%; about as likely as not 33% to 66%; unlikely <33%; very unlikely <10%; extremely unlikely <5%; exceptionally unlikely <1%.

Since “very likely” stops at 90%, it means that the IPCC experts agree that there is a 10% probability that most of observed temperature increases might not be due to “increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations“. And that there is a 10% probability that the 21st century will not see anything larger than the 20th century has seen.

So if anything like that actually happens, well, the IPCC AR4 has already included that possibility, has it not?

Interestingly, if the IPCC work were to be presented as a scientific article, and the p-value associated to the null hypothesis (that observed temperature increases have nothing to do with increased GHG concentrations) were 0.1 or 10%, most if not all journals would deny publication.

(continues)

Paul Ehrlich's Advice To Climate Modelers And Other Soothsayers

An important morsel of wisdom has surfaced in Tom Turner’s (June 2009?) interview-profile of mythical Paul Ehrlich (“The Vindication of a Public Scholar Forty Years After The Population Bomb Ignited Controversy – Paul Ehrlich Continues to Stir Debate“):

So does Ehrlich have any regrets? Things he’d have done differently? “I wish I’d taken more math in high school and college. That would have been useful.” And if he were writing The Population Bomb now, he’d be more careful about predictions

Stop Press: AGW Believer Stumbles, Accuses Briffa Of Unethical Behavior, Threatens AGW Edifice

Barrel-scraping (and worse: outright unintentional humor): this is what happens when one wants to defend an untenable position.

And this is what happened to wannabe Briffa Defender, Eli Rabett (apparently of some fame in the blogging circuit), trying his best Musketeer of the Guard impersonation in the “Hockey Stick Redux” comments at Ben Hale’s blog (more about that blog later).

Trouble is, Rabett ended up (unwittingly) accusing Briffa of dishonesty, and (one suspects, even more unwittingly) threatening single-handledly to destroy much of the AGW edifice.

Time wiil tell if Briffa and AGW can survive Eli Rabett’s friendly fire…

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Here’s how it started

Mr Rabett tried to defend Briffa with “a few basic questions, including “the “data” the tree ring samples, belongs to the Russians. True or false” and “If [the previous statement] is true, the Russians are the ones to approach for the “data”. True or false“.

Alas, and of course, Rabett forgot to ask an even more basic question, that is if Briffa had indeed refused for years to release the data related to his articles published in journals whose stated policy is that all data related to all published articles should be released. What was Briffa thinking when he submitted articles to those journals, one wonders.

Furthermore, as pointed out by another commenter, MrPete, if a data set cannot be shared, that pretty much invalidates all articles based on that data set and published in journals whose policy is for data to be shared. Given the popularity of Briffa’s work, one can only imagine what very public slaughter of AGW articles Rabett’s idea would entail.

Reminded of, but still in complete denial of such fundamental points, Eli Rabett came back with a vengeance: “It looks more and more that the data was the Russian tree ring information which belonged to the Russians and which they had published on previously. Data shared by it’s owners cannot be ethically given to a third party by the people it was given to.

(my emphasis)

How can one read the above but as an (unwitting) accusation by AGW believer Eli Rabett that Briffa’s sharing of the data has been…unethical?

If all other Briffa supporters are like Rabett (and, in some sense, Schmidt), then it’s going to be a long and hard way indeed for the CRU scientist