Chronic drought complicated by chronic denialism


Which is worse:  To be in the depths of a drought, or to deny drought where it exists?

I ask the question because, as one cannot tear one’s eyes away from a train wreck about to occur, I watch Steve Goddard’s blog.  Occasionally Steve or one of his fellow travelers says something so contrary to reality or fact that I can’t resist pointing it out.

In some discussion over there, Goddard suggested that because there is above-average snowpack around Salt Lake City and in Northern Utah, Lake Powell’s decade-long struggle with extreme drought is over.  Therefore, to Goddard, global warming does not exist.

(No, I’m not really exaggerating.  Seriously.  Go look.  No one there seems to have ever had a course in logic, nor in English composition and essay writing.  If Al Gore got svelte, one suspects half the commenters there would never be able to speak again.)

It is true that this year, contrary to the past decade, snowpack is high along the Wasatch Front and in the Uinta Mountains of Utah, and in Wyoming and Colorado areas that drain into the Green and Colorado Rivers.  Consequently, forecasters say that Lake Powell may gain a few feet of depth this year.  Powell is down about 50 feet, however, and even a record snowpack won’t erase the effects of drought on the lake.  (Yeah, I know:  The Wasatch doesn’t drain into the Colorado system — it drains to the Great Salt Lake, as indeed do many of the streams that have great snowpack in Utah — so a lot of the record snowpack won’t get within 400 miles of Lake Powell.  That’s geography, and it would be one more area that commenters would embarrass themselves in.  Don’t ask the pig to sing if you aren’t going to spend the time to teach it; if you need the aphorism on teaching pigs to sing, look it up yourself.)

Since Lake Powell won’t lose a lot of elevation this year, the Goddardites (Goddardians?  Goddards?  Goddardoons?) pronounce the U.S. free of drought.

Right.

Check it out for yourself, Dear Reader.  Here’s an animation from the National Drought Center, showing drought measurements in the contiguous 48 states plus Alaska and Hawaii, over the past 12 weeks:

Drought in the U.S., 12 weeks ending May 17, 2011, National Drought Mitigation Center, U of Nebraska-Lincoln

Drought in the U.S., 12 weeks ending May 17, 2011, National Drought Mitigation Center, U of Nebraska-Lincoln - click on map for a larger version at the Drought Monitor site.

Here’s the drought outlook map from the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA:

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook Map, released May 19, 2011, NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook Map, released May 19, 2011, NOAA and the Climate Prediction Center - click image for a larger version at NOAA's site.

It would be wonderful were these droughts to break soon.  But that is very unlikely.

So, why would anyone deny it?

Then, just to indicate the bait-and-switch logic these guys use, Goddard came back with a claim that the 1956 drought in Texas was worse, as if that means the current drought doesn’t exist.  Fore reasons apparent only to those whose heads get pinched by tinfoil hats, he also notes the CO2 levels for 1956.  I think I know what point he’s trying to make, but someone should tell him that apples are not oranges, and comparing apples and oranges to pomegranates doesn’t increase the supply of tennis balls.

Let’s just stick to the facts.  The experts who must operate the dams and lakes and get water to Mexico on schedule say the drought along the Colorado persists.  Who are we to gainsay them?

Resources:  

GEOSat photos of Lake Powell and drought, 2000 to 2004 - Dr. Paul R. Baumann, SUNY - Oneonta College

GEOSat photos of Lake Powell and drought, 2000 to 2004 - Dr. Paul R. Baumann, SUNY - Oneonta College

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51 Responses to Chronic drought complicated by chronic denialism

  1. […] “Chronic drought complicated by chronic denialism” (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) […]

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  2. Ed Darrell says:

    Goddard’s fulminations look even worse, the farther we get from those freak snows of a couple of years ago.

    Lake Powell levels as of January 2013, last 150 days:
    Lake Powell water levels, January 2013

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  3. […] “Chronic drought complicated by chronic denialism” (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) […]

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  4. Ed Darrell says:

    How well I know that feeling. The threads are always open, you know.

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  5. Pat Frank says:

    Ed,, that was it. :-) Thanks, I’d apparently forgotten that I was pulled over by the subject of that other thread.

    I’m going to be distracted for a few days, probably, but promise to come back and continue our discussion here. Apologies for the inconvenience of that.

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Pat, are you looking for the comments over on this thread?

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  7. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, the last two posts have disappeared — yours and my reply. Is there a problem?

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  8. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, I’ll get to your longer post in a day or two. I hope you don’t mind.

    But meanwhile, Stewart, you won’t find anywhere that I argue against global warming. If you want to criticize my position, please criticize something I actually wrote.

    I don’t have to read what the NAS or any other society says, Stewart. I can read appropriate primary literature, which is what I’ve done, and make up my own mind. Ed will agree with me that arguments from authority, such as yours, have no objective standing.

    Following your artless blah rationalizing the denialist pejorative, you wrote that my “comments are factually wrong” concerning the lack of predictive value and unreliability of general circulation models.

    Have you ever looked at the predicted vs. recorded global temperature anomaly trend since 1995? Sundance alluded to it.

    Not only can GCMs not project El Ninos — the largest short term oceanic thermal event on Earth — but they didn’t project 15 years of generally steady air temperatures, either.

    But apart from that, if you claim GCMs are predictive models, how about if you point us to a study showing the physical uncertainty limits obtained by propagating the parameter uncertainties through the physics of the model.

    Without valid physical uncertainty limits, no GCM output can be predictive.

    The IPCC invariably shows the numerical variation of ensemble projections, which are interesting but physically meaningless. Then they disingenuously let you misperceive that those numerical variances are real boundaries on future heat. The banality of a tacit lie. So reassuring.

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  9. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, you wrote, “Can you show us where these studies err? Or is your opposition just philosophical?

    Once again, please take a look at the paper by Demetris Koutsoyiannis and his group. You can find the poster version of his study here, which is not protected by a pay wall.

    Demetris and his group looked at the retrodicted 20th century climate of Earth, as produced by several state of the art GCMs and which was used in the IPCC 4AR. From this global climate, calculated for hundreds of individual grid-points spanning the entire globe, they extracted local 20th century temperature and precipitation trends for 58 regions around the world, as well as for the entire continental US.

    In no case, neither locally, nor continentally, did the GCMs succeed in getting anywhere close to reality.

    It’s clear that the General Circulation climate models were merely adjusted to reproduce the global temperature and precipitation trends, and then used further to predict the future trends given various CO2 scenarios.

    But none of those adjustments were correct enough to actually produce local or continental trends. The GCMs are just a complicated sort of 20th century curve-fitting.

    Of course, the IPCC doesn’t offer ‘predictions.’ They storylines, or scenarios, or projections. Plausible deniability in case anyone calls them on their failures.

    We have, in this, a case of several hundred wrongs making a right. Or so is the claim in climate science. I can’t think of any other discipline where this nonsense would be countenanced.

    The lack of commensuration shown by the Greek group indicates that adjusting things in GCMs to get the past right means nothing about getting the physics right.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    This can be seen in the examination of every aspect of climate science study as large numbers of peer reviewed papers are based largely on model runs. Even the EPA used the MAGICC model to determine a scenario of future reductions in average global temperatures based on intended GHG cuts.

    Can you show us where these studies err? Or is your opposition just philosophical?

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  11. Sundance says:

    @Pat Frank

    Thanks for the your comments and the links. I skimmed through the first part of your paper and better understand your comments to me. I will read it in full with greater attention when I find uninterrupted time. :*)

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  12. Sundance says:

    Ed – thank you and I get all the reality checks I need from direct examination of satellite measurement, various proxies and ocean buoy data. GCMs and quantitative analysis are extremely critical to the validation of climate science in the science community. This can be seen in the examination of every aspect of climate science study as large numbers of peer reviewed papers are based largely on model runs. Even the EPA used the MAGICC model to determine a scenario of future reductions in average global temperatures based on intended GHG cuts.

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  13. Pat Frank says:

    Sundance, I have never found a publication showing or discussing propagation of parameter uncertainties through the physics of a GCM. Nor have I ever found a paper giving true physical uncertainty limits for projected air temperatures.

    Without knowing the physical uncertainty around a prediction, falsification tests are impossible.

    It is possible to show whether a GCM projection is close, or not, to some observable. But without a physical uncertainty bound one can’t come to any conclusion about falsification.

    If you look at my Skeptic article, which discussed climate models, I estimated an uncertainty derived from GCM cloudiness error alone. That error quickly grew so large that falsification is again impossible.

    Here’s the supporting information document (892 kb pdf download) which has the calculations backing up the points made in the article.

    That Skeptic article was thoroughly peer-reviewed, by the way, first prior to submission by those thanked in the acknowledgements, then by two climate scientists of Michael Shermer’s choosing, and then in the climate blogosphere.

    With respect to the trends you linked, given the lack of any physical error limits for GCM temperature projections, they can’t be falsified by comparison with the global average surface air temperature anomalies.

    Gerald Browning, PhD in applied math, who made a career in the mathematics of climate modeling, has pointed out many times on ClimateAudit that the hyperviscous atmosphere used in GCMs to suppress subgrid-scale turbulence puts an artificial stability into their climate simulations. He also noted that using a hyperviscous atmosphere means the GCM parameter sets must be unphysical in order to produce a realistic energy spectrum.

    So GCMs, as presently formulated, are unphysical. Given Jerry Browning’s observations, it seems to me that they are inherently unfalsifiable because they’ve been disconnected from physical theory. That problem is entirely separate from the previously mentioned problem of missing physically valid uncertainty limits.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    I have family members that are involved in climate modeling design and I while you seem nice I am not getting anything scientifically useful on modeling from our discussion.

    Nor should you expect to. Just a reality check. I’m not sure concerns about models pass.

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  15. Sundance says:

    @ ED – “If you doubted that humans can change the climate, you shouldn’t, and you won’t if you read it well.) Don’t start denying history on us, now.”

    Ed – Thanks for the exchange but I was really hoping for feedback from Pat Frank on model falsification and hypotheses testing. I have family members that are involved in climate modeling design and I while you seem nice I am not getting anything scientifically useful on modeling from our discussion.

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  16. Ed Darrell says:

    I said previously, “If we assume that CO2 was lower during all droughts and all heat waves of the past 300,000 years, that suggests that we should be greatly concerned about how the elevated and super-elevated levels of CO2 affect things now.”

    Sundance replied:

    A scientist certainly would not make such an assumption.

    Not an assumption at all. If we’re concerned about drought, increasing or decreasing, we should be concerned that CO2 is, now, much higher than in the past. What is the effect on drought? Not sure, for any given location — but what we observe is that severity of drought and wet periods seems to have increased over century-long averages.

    You suggest a weak link between high ambient CO2 levels. That may be. Even so, anyone armed with the history of what happens when we dump garbage into living and non-living systems of the Earth has ample justification for concern. 30 and 40 years ago meteorologists, especially paleo-meteorologists, air pollution scientists, and other environmentally-aware and concerned people wondered whether there might be serious harms from elevated CO2 levels. Physics tells us there will be (the claim that CO2 greenhousing is logarithmic is a hope, not an established fact — somewhat contrary to the 200 years of solid observation we have of that specific issue).

    So, if there were droughts in the past with lower CO2 levels, a rational person would be concerned about whether and how droughts might be increased in frequency, intensity, or length.

    In the Midwest and West we’ve had at three massive droughts in 90 years. There is no question that human intervention increased the intensity of effects of the drought that started in about 1927 and continued through 1937.

    On what basis do you claim CO2 can’t increase the harms from droughts now? History tells us human influence can indeed make things much, much worse. (If you’re not up on the history, you would do well to read Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time. If you doubted that humans can change the climate, you shouldn’t, and you won’t if you read it well.)

    Don’t start denying history on us, now.

    Based on the scientific evidence provided by NOAA in my earlier post the strongest argument would be based on regression analysis of CO2 and drought which, looking at the NOAA historic drought data, is indicating a negative correlation between CO2 and droughts (twice as many droughts with CO2 at 260ppm to 280ppm), which is opposite of your view that CO2 will somehow increase drought.

    So your hypothesis is that more CO2 in the air should decrease drought? Hulluva a hypothesis. Got any evidence to support the idea?

    In the meantime, in the past 40 years we’ve seen droughts of massive and dramatically harmful scale in the Sahel, in the Sudan, in China, in Australia, and in the U.S. You’re not making a good case yet.

    Your default position of mitigation as somehow being insurance against future drought events is certainly not evidence based.

    Is there any rational person who argues that warming has not changed rain patterns? Who? Where?

    Controlling air pollution won’t guarantee no further droughts. But the evidence is quite high and deep that a warming Earth creates more weather havoc, including longer and more severe drought, especially with increasing El Nino and La Nina effects in the Pacific.

    Goddard pretends that snow in Colorado ends the drought in all of Colorado and ends the problems of Lake Powell. I have made no assertion about warming and drought, other than to point out that Goddard is wrong on the drought being ended (if that’s what he’s saying — if that’s not what he intended, he’s wilder and more obstreperous than anyone thought).

    Thus a strong case can be made that the solution for dealing with drought in the Southwest should be one of adaptation instead of your default position of mitigation of CO2, especially given that financial resources are finite.

    Yeah, I’ve read about those crazy proposals to get all the people out of North Dakota and the Texas Panhandle, and let them “return to nature.” There;s a half-way serious effort to tear down Glen Canyon Dam, too. At best it’s politically unfeasible. You wouldn’t support it, either.

    There’s an old, common sense political saw: When you find yourself deep in the bottom of a sump hole, at a minimum, you should stop digging. At a minimum we should work to halt further pollution.

    (I’m reminded of the story of Quanah Parker, who in his later years actually agreed to live on a reservation in Oklahoma. However, he had several wives, and that was contrary to U.S. law. So one day an Indian Agent rode out to Parker’s estate, and told him that per his agreement to live under U.S. law, he could have only one wife. The agent wouldn’t accept any of Parker’s arguments about how several wives was the Comanche way, or how his having several wives protected many of them from poverty, etc. Finally, Parker said he would comply with the agent’s request, but on one condition: “You tell them.” Parker kept all of his wives.)

    While it would be momentarily entertaining to watch you tell the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau and the Cattlemen’s Association that they “must adapt” so China and India can keep on polluting, I think even you would not put your mouth on conceding America’s rain to pollution from Asia. I could be wrong, but I’ve met with too many ranchers and farmers over the years to think they’d go down easy on that score.

    CO2 mitigation would be cheap by comparison.

    We don’t know the cost of greenhouse gas mitigation, but our experience in air pollution control is that it is always much, much less expensive than the critics argue, and the benefits are also greater than the advocates claim. If you think it’s too expensive, please start tallying the costs of giving up the Midwest.

    It may be too late to stop some of the worst damage. We’ll have to “adapt,” in that case, much as the buggy whip makers adapted to the advent of the automobile. It won’t be pretty.

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  17. Sundance says:

    @Ed Darrell – “If we assume that CO2 was lower during all droughts and all heat waves of the past 300,000 years, that suggests that we should be greatly concerned about how the elevated and super-elevated levels of CO2 affect things now.”

    A scientist certainly would not make such an assumption. Based on the scientific evidence provided by NOAA in my earlier post the strongest argument would be based on regression analysis of CO2 and drought which, looking at the NOAA historic drought data, is indicating a negative correlation between CO2 and droughts (twice as many droughts with CO2 at 260ppm to 280ppm), which is opposite of your view that CO2 will somehow increase drought.

    Your default position of mitigation as somehow being insurance against future drought events is certainly not evidence based. Thus a strong case can be made that the solution for dealing with drought in the Southwest should be one of adaptation instead of your default position of mitigation of CO2, especially given that financial resources are finite.

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  18. stewart says:

    Pat, I read your responses to Ed’s points, and I have to say two things.
    a) You’re wrong about global warming – it’s disprovable AND has strong evidence (did you miss that part about all the major scientific academies asking for action on climate change? Please look up your local academy and see what they have to say, whether it’s the Royal Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, or whatever other group, and look up the evidence they indicate).
    b) you’re in denial. You deny that, of course. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be in denial. Those who practice denial in public, loudly, are denialists. I understand that it hurts to hear that – it’s like being called wrong, or ignoring the scientific process, and you are. When you say things like ‘Climate models represent the theory that is meant to attribute warming to human produced CO2. But their outputs are unreliable and have no predictive (attributive) value’, your comments are factually wrong. Why you want to write easily disprovable nonsense is your business, but doing it in public males you a denialist. You can deny all sorts of things – some people choose to deny multiple things, for ideological reasons. Associate yourself with Holocaust denialists if you want, but ask yourself – why do they always get the adjective, Holocaust? As a treat for you, and for Ed’s readers, here’s an anniversary blog post from the now-defunct Denialism Blog (and it was very little about historical revisionism, mostly about denialism as applied to scientific topics):

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2010/05/the_new_scientist_debates_deni.php

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  19. Ed Darrell says:

    Finally got a minute to give a longer answer to your first post, Pat:

    Anyway, I followed your link above, tracked Steve G’s entries through the page, and didn’t find anywhere that he says, “global warming does not exist.” Can you provide a pointer?

    That’s the general thrust of his blog, and a repeated theme. In classic denialist, passive-aggressive tactics, Goddard sometimes claims he didn’t say what he implies and argues. Goddard is well known among those who are chronically obsessed with “Inconvenient Truth” as one who disputes warming and who opposes action to fight pollution that is known to cause warming.

    On that note, you’ll remember that I published a paper at Skeptic magazine in 2008, showing that climate models are unable to attribute any of the recent warming to human produced CO2.

    You may recall that my criticism of your paper is that, while the models may not be perfect, warming is an observed effect worldwide. That our models cannot replicate exactly what is going on in at least two different, mutually-affecting fluid environments (air and water), is not an argument against concern, nor especially can it be construed as an argument that the observations of warming are false or of no concern.

    The Pope rejected even Galileo’s discussion of models that showed the Sun at the center of our solar system, and not the Earth at the center of the universe and unmoving. You recall the famous, probably apocryphal statement of Galileo as he left that kangaroo court: “Still, she moves.”

    Regardless how good is anyone’s model of climate, or regardless how none of them work, still, the Earth warms.

    I think you’ve raised serious questions about models of climate. I don’t think those questions suggest we can relax our work to slow or stop pollution that, even your physics note, are likely to cause warming.

    Demetris Koutsoyiannis and his group have published a detailed examination of state-of-the-art climate models showing they are unreliable at both regional and continental scales.

    If we throw that examination and all of its notes into the wind, the Earth still warms.

    Climate models represent the theory that is meant to attribute warming to human produced CO2.

    Some do. Most climate models attempt to put on paper, or more accurately, into a computer, a series of equations that will allow forecasting of effects. No model can be limited to CO2 and hope to achieve any degree of accuracy. Models represent man’s attempts to understand climate, not just CO2.

    But their outputs are unreliable and have no predictive (attributive) value. Nothing has changed since any of the critiques, and so your implicit diagnosis of ‘irrational’ for those who disbelieve in a human cause for recent warming is itself rationally unjustifiable.

    Our inability to model metastasis of cancer is similarly frustrating. However, that neither slows cancer, nor suggests we shouldn’t fight it.

    A lack of a perfect model complicates our path of physical action, and greatly complicates the political actions necessary to fight pollution that causes global climate change. We know the fight is tough; what can you offer to make things more clear?

    As I recall, you do not argue that we should do nothing, right? So, if our models are imperfect, how do we choose a path of action?

    You also know that I published a paper late last year showing that climate scientists have completely neglected the systematic error made by air temperature sensors, and that when this error is included the rise in surface air temperature across the 20th century is indistinguishable from zero Celsius.

    I find that incredible. I don’t think the error is so great that we cannot tell the average world temperature is rising. No systematic error in thermometers can explain the shift of plant zones in the U.S. alone, let alone the world. All my attempts to get plants to read thermometers or the daily weather forecasts in the newspapers, and act accordingly, have come to nought. Those damned plants refuse to pay attention to all thermometers and forecasts.

    So, knowing that you know that climate models are unreliable and that the global average temperature trend is a monument to negligent science, the real question is: why are you still arguing catastrophic human-caused climate warming?

    All models of water pollution effects are, still unreliable. The Clean Water Act pushed action to stop pollution anyway, and we have dramatically beneficial results because of it.

    All models of air pollution effects — very close to models of climate change in their use of an incredibly dynamic fluid, the air — are unreliable in predicting concentrations downwind. The Clean Air Act not only pushed action, it required the implementation of technology not yet existing to clean up the air. We got dramatic benefits to health from that action.

    No model can accurately predict what the crowd will do in a market. All economic models are more unreliable than all climate models.

    We don't have the luxury of inaction, we don't of the luxury of waiting to see what people will do in specific terms in economics, nor of waiting to see what the specific effects will be of losing the Greenland ice sheet, in climate.

    While I accept that your findings of models suggest we need much more knowledge about models, quickly, and better models, I didn't think you were arguing for the nation, or the planet's nations, playing the grasshopper to the ants. Despite unreliable models, we must take some broad, general actions to curb pollution.

    Perhaps we will discover with climate change, as we did with air pollution, that our efforts to control the stuff greatly contributed to the knowledge of how the stuff works in the first place. Air pollution models are much more reliable now than they were before we started serious efforts to control those pollutants we controlled.

    In other words, our experience indicates that an unreliable model is an argument for greater action sooner, and not an argument for delay on any count.

    The agenda-driven certainly continue the AGW drum-beat even though they lost the scientific argument several years ago (think creationism for Progressives), but the question for us is why are you still doing it?

    Our models are not that unreliable. The agenda-driven have frustrated actions against global warming, have committed great thefts and an expensive propaganda campaign against the scientists who do the work on studying climate. Attacks on Jim Hansen, and even Al Gore, remind us of the unwarranted and unfair attacks on Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. We know now — heck, we knew then — that Rachel Carson was right, and that the big chemical companies were wrong (and morally wrong, too). Still, it took well over a decade to get action on one of the most dangerous pesticides she wrote about — too late to keep DDT useful for fighting malaria.

    Why am I still calling for action? About 30 million kids have died from malaria since Carson sounded the alarm — many of them could have been saved had we acted against DDT abuse based on the evidence we had in 1962, instead of waiting.

    I think it is a morally reprehensible argument to claim we should wait to see how many people will be displaced, or killed, by climate change inaction. Experience tells us it will be in the millions at least.

    I recently did another analysis on the centennial air temperature trend, under the (disproved, but IPCC-official) presumption that it’s physically meaningful. The trend can be explained in terms of a 60-year cosine-like period plus a rising linear trend.

    In fact, the rising trend is linear within the noise all the way from 1880 to 2010. It shows no evidence of any change in rate during the late 20th century, when CO2 is supposed to show its presence.

    Still one can tease out a rate increase of 1960-2010 over 1880-1940, with the later period rising 0.03 C/decade faster than the earlier.

    If, as everyone agrees, the earlier rate is due to the naturally occurring recovery from the LIA, then the entire effect of the extra impact of getting to 395 ppmv of CO2 in the atmosphere is a whopping 0.18 C of added air temperature. Does that seem scary to you, or to present a dire threat to species, rain forests, and ice caps?

    Check it out. The empirical analysis says that quadrupled CO2 — 1250 ppmv — by the year 2100 won’t yield more than 0.8 C and more likely won’t yield more than 0.4 C. Mainly because the data seem to show a progressively negative feedback with increased GHG forcing.

    There are still people who claim DDT is harmless to birds, and that Rachel Carson lied.

    If our models for how much warming will occur are unreliable, can you tell us with reliability how many lives will be sacrificed by inaction? Can you tell us when the effects of warming that are already observed, will stop?

    If our models cannot predict safety, it’s irresponsible not to act to increase safety, don’t you think?

    (Are you looking at greenhouse gases, or CO2 alone?)

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  20. Ed Darrell says:

    Ed wasn’t there less CO2 in the 1700s?

    Go back even further in the paleo record and you will find 100 year droughts in the Southwest USA when CO2 was far less than today.

    Indeed there was less CO2 in the 1700s. CO2 is one of the big changes humans have made in the environment, worldwide.

    CO2 is not a direct cause of drought, nor is it the only cause of warming.

    SO2 was lower in the 1700s. NOx was lower in the 1700s. Soot was lower in most places in the world, and different in character in the 1700s.

    That pollution was lower in the past is not an argument for more pollution now.

    If we assume that CO2 was lower during all droughts and all heat waves of the past 300,000 years, that suggests that we should be greatly concerned about how the elevated and super-elevated levels of CO2 affect things now.

    There were fewer humans in the 1700s. There was a lot less concrete in the 1700s. Forests were more sparse in a few concentrated areas of North America, but more extensive in most other areas.

    We should be looking at the effects of pouring so much pollution into the air, doubling or tripling the amount of CO2 worldwide, and what effects that is likely to have.

    I find it interesting that there is such a great focus on models. Observed climate changes demand explanations. The shift of plant zones, the changing migration patterns of birds and other migratory creatures, the changing growth seasons for crops, and altered rain patterns, are not the result of models, but are the result of real climate change.

    Regardless the robustness or accuracy of a model of climate, the on-the-ground effects suggest a need for action.

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  21. Sundance says:

    The tree-ring reconstruction can put the droughts of the last century in northeastern Louisiana, including the current one, into a much longer perspective. “Severe” summer drought (PDSI below -3), such as 2010, occurred four times during the instrumental record (1895-2010), but almost twice as often prior to 1895 (17 times from 1650-1894) according to the tree-ring reconstructed record. Six years in the tree-ring record had a reconstructed summer PDSI lower than -4 (“extreme drought”), including a reconstructed value of -5.15 in 1772 (yellow arrow). The tree-ring record suggests that the severity of this summer’s drought has been exceeded many times in the past. Also, the most persistent period of tree-ring reconstructed summer drought (1748-1756; red arrow) exceeds the duration of the 1960s drought by four years.

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/2010/7#paleo-perspective

    Ed wasn’t there less CO2 in the 1700s?

    Go back even further in the paleo record and you will find 100 year droughts in the Southwest USA when CO2 was far less than today.

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  22. Sundance says:

    @ Pat Frank

    Pat did you establish any parameters of falsification for the IPCC models to test or any other hypothesis to test? I have a couple that came from HadCRUT scientists and Gavin Schmidt but I’m curious how you approached testing the science.

    Dr. Phil Jones used the 1995 to 2009 green trend line in my link when he stated for the record in a BBC interview that there had been no significant global warming from 1995 to 2009 which has a .12C degree decadal trend. So what about 1996 to 2010? The purple trend line is slightly flatter indicating a deceleration of warming. Now look at 1997 to 2011 YTD and it really gets flat indicating further deceleration of warming to a negligable decadal trend. Finally the yellow trend line is the 15 year 3 month trend showing a .10C degree decadal trend for a longer time period than the 2009 .12C degree trend.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1995/to:2009/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1995/to:2009/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1996/to:2010/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1996/to:2010/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1995/trend

    This is important because in 2009 the Met office published a report after testing IPCC models. The Met office scientists stated that models have internal variability that can only be falsified at the 95% level if there is no warming for 15 years. The IPCC models project .2C to .3C degrees of decadal warming trend. We now have over 15 years of HadCRUT temperatures showing only .1C degree decadal warming trend. The logarithmic % increase of CO2 from 1995 to present is 11.5%. So we are seeing a deceleration in warming even as CO2 increases.

    We are 49% of the way to a doubling of CO2 from a 280ppm starting point in 1850. That 49% (logarithmic scale) increase in CO2 has added .75C degrees of global warming. I see no scientific basis to support the .2C to .3C decadal trend projections of the models at this time.

    Like

  23. Ed Darrell says:

    AGW: the warming trend is caused by CO2
    the warming trend is different and dangerous

    That’s about as succinct and incorrect a summary of the study of climate change as Rev. Ham’s “from goo to you” is a summary of the science of evolution.

    You know it’s not that simple, Pat. Don’t you?

    Like

  24. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, “You’re a good guy, Pat. Don’t get suckered in by gross and offensive propaganda from the anti-warmists.

    Thank-you, Ed. As you know, I’ve come to my own conclusions after studying the matter.

    Like

  25. Pat Frank says:

    Well, my set of circular thinking bits didn’t come out properly.

    The sets of sentences were:

    AGW: the warming trend is caused by CO2
    the warming trend is different and dangerous

    Fundyism: Genesis is literally true
    god dictated the bible

    because/therefore, therefore/because, round and round and round we go, reinforcement everywhere and no contradiction in sight.

    Like

  26. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, the stuff you’re showing about Steve Goddard is not what is meant by “denialism” and typically not what you mean by denialism.

    Denialism as a term of abuse is directed against virtually anyone, including scientists, who are critical of AGW. It’s a means of discrediting an entire class.

    So, you use Steve Goddard as to justify use of “denialism” and then have permission to go ahead and use the term, now justified, to an entire group so as to dismiss the arguments and attack the character of your opponents in the debate.

    If Steve G’s dismissal of the Texas drought is denialism as regards AGW, then your advancement of the Texas drought as evidence of AGW is merely assertionism.

    Neither position is based in science, and you are just as guilty of cherry picking information for its polemical value as he is.

    If Steve Goddard wanted to be as vile as whoever it was that invented the Holocaust analogy “denialism” as a term of abuse for AGW critics, then he might observe that those supporting AGW have violently assaulted scientific process, in their obstruction of data, their hiding of method, their fabrication of results, their subversion of journals and peer review, their studied neglect of sources of error, and their complete dereliction of critical regard in passing off the pseudo-science that is proxy paleo-temperature reconstruction. He might observe that this core assault on science amounts to a rape.

    So, how would you like to be called a rapist, Ed, and to be practicing rapism in your support of AGW? And when you protest up all sorts of examples of extreme statements and offenses by AGW asserters are dredged up for show.

    That’s about the level occupied by denialism/denialist. It’s pure character assassination for polemical ends. It’s there to win the argument and silence the opponents, right or wrong. It’s something AGW critics have not stooped to do. Only AGW asserters have stooped to that sort of ugliness. It’s pure politics, and unjustifiable in a scientific debate.

    And the argument is about science, isn’t it? Or is it just about winning and trampling over your opponents?

    Then, after your paragraphs about droughts and Steve Goddard, which are irrelevant to the debate, you wrote this: “Still worse: What really concerns me, is he’s one of the most scientific guys on your side.,” after I had already given you the names of eight excellent scientists who are critical of AGW.

    Here are some more: Robert Carter, Henk Tennekes, Francis Massen, Demetris Koutsoyiannis, David Legates, David Stockwell, Christopher Essex, Gerald Browning.

    Chris Essex in particular, professor of Applied Math, U. Western Ontario, has written a book with Ross McKitrick (in my previous list of names), called “Taken by Storm,” in which the inadequacies of climate models are discussed in detail. Chris knows them right down to their Eulerian core. So does Gerald Browning, for that matter. He has published proof that the ignored sub-grid turbulence in climate models destroys any accuracy in the resulting energy spectrum in extremely short times.

    And the entire case of AGW rests on the reliability of climate models, Ed. You have yet to deal with that problem. Climate models are unreliable. Their projections of hot futures are unreliable. There isn’t any scientific basis to interpret recent warming as due to CO2.

    Finally, why do you think “so much [is] at stake”? Is there any reason to think that the warming trend during the last 100 years is going to proceed unabated forever? Have any past warming trends continued linearly on forever? Why should ours be any different?

    And to answer, ‘Because of CO2′ is to be guilty of circular thinking.

    *Because the warming trend is due to CO2, therefore the warming trend will be different and dangerous. Because the warming trend is different and dangerous, therefore the warming trend is caused by CO2.*

    because/therefore
    the warming trend the warming trend is
    is caused by CO2 different and dangerous
    therefore/because

    because/therefore
    Genesis is god dictated
    literally true the bible
    therefore/because

    And there you have it, Ed. AGW thinking in a nutshell.

    Like

  27. Ed Darrell says:

    You’re a good guy, Pat. Don’t get suckered in by gross and offensive propaganda from the anti-warmists.

    Propaganda and insult are not science. Galileo’s Ghost and Santayana’s Ghost dine together today, and sadly note that, “The Earth — still it warms.”

    Like

  28. Ed Darrell says:

    Here’s an example of warming denialism that wholly merits being called denialism, I think, Pat:

    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/may-1956-texas-drought-was-much-more-extensive/#comment-61183

    This is exactly the sort of denialism the creationists use. Do we have a drought somewhere? Well, let’s claim it’s Obama’s invention, and we’ll find a picture of a snowfall somewhere, and claim Obama’s a hack politician and stupid, and venal, and imply that the drought is over, and that any Obama who predicts droughts so erroneously must be wrong about global warming, too (never mind that Obama said nothing anywhere in that scrap, he was totally silent; but warmists must have a bete noire, but don’t you dare accuse them of using a black man as a bete noire even when they do, because it’s not PC even to mention race . . .).

    So, there’s a drought in Texas? (See post at the top of this thread.) Goddard can cherry pick one month in 1956 from a different source that shows a slightly different map, and claim that the drought in 2011 — though in it’s 11th year by some accounts, 7th year by charitable accounts — was not so bad as the drought in the 1950s, making the implicit claim that climate change can’t really be happening now because it was worse in the 1950s, probably in knee-deep snow, and uphill both ways, always against the wind.

    When we go to Goddard’s source, we find he’s doing the geographic/climatic map equivalent of quote mining.

    Or worse, making stuff up.

    Still worse: What really concerns me, is he’s one of the most scientific guys on your side.

    Did you see that Anthony Watts finally got his paper published? He’s been promising for years that when it was done, it would show that misplacement of NOAA and NWS measuring sites could explain a good portion, if not all, of the warming measured in the U.S. in the 20th century (never mind the rest of the world — a small error in one thing means all measurements by all scientists at all time are in question, to the denialist).

    The paper doesn’t exactly support Watts’ earlier, loud hypothesis, and in fact the conclusion indicates that the measurements were really pretty good.

    Still waiting for someone from the Watts circle to admit the paper says what it says. No one hopes for an apology.

    Maybe CO2 isn’t the chief culprit of global warming — what’s the plan for tracking it down? With so much at stake, don’t tell us to wait and see, while the denialists work hard to cut out all research and reporting that might show their error.

    And tell us what we should call these denialists so that we may know the foes to civic action when we meet them in the road.

    Like

  29. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, you may not like Steve Goddard or his choice of gotcha points. But his crowing about Schwarzenegger’s indiscretion has nothing to do with criticisms of the AGW claim; not even his.

    To use his vulgarity as a rationale to smear science-based critics of AGW as being analogous to Holocaust deniers is a very shallow opportunism.

    I can see that Steve G makes you angry. But that’s no reason to engage in the character assassination of a group.

    You’re a good guy, Ed. Don’t get seduced by the slippage of normative ethics.

    Like

  30. Ed Darrell says:

    Pat said:

    It seems to me that your relationship to the science ought to make you more modest in your insistence of certainty and your knowledge of recent history ought to make you more reticent about employing casual use of inflammatory language.

    This is the level of science from those who question warming that leads me to understand that “denialist” may not be pejorative enough (a post from Steve Goddard): http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/global-warming-heros-mistress/

    I think that puts to rest the issue of whether I’m being unfair in calling out the yahoos who politically oppose studying climate change and proposals to do anything about it. My use of the language is not casual, and is descriptive, not inflammatory.

    Like

  31. Pat Frank says:

    freetoken, I wasn’t “bragging” about publishing in E&E, I was stating a fact.

    Your empty disparagement notwithstanding, a valid scientific argument could be written in pencil on old newspaper and still have its full force. Anyone who understands science will understand that.

    So, if you want to refute the argument I made in E&E, you’ll have to read the paper. It’s freely accessible (pdf download). Spoofing about the journal doesn’t cut it.

    You made a supposition about my understanding. Read my paper and then show us yours.

    Like

  32. Pat Frank says:

    Ed,in your post you described your early pollution studies and finished with this: “Years later we have controlled particulate pollution — the cooling stuff — far beyond the hopes of the 1970s. Greenhouse gases? Not so much.

    “It doesn’t take a genius, nor even much of a scientist, to predict the outcome of those actions, does it?

    Are you truly suggesting that we should conclude quantitative CO2 causality from a qualitative argument like that? We should go ahead and conclude by assuming linear additivity for a chaotic climate that has underlying pseudo-oscillations and that shifts energy among climate modes over periods of decades and centuries?

    Do you understand the meaning of chaotic as regards climate? It means that Earth climate could go through a period of atmospheric warming without *any* change in forcing.

    You wrote, “At the same time, other people worked on what caused the warming.

    “We’ve eliminated volcanic action … etc.,… CO2 and other human-created or human-emitted greenhouse gases have not been eliminated, and there remain no other really viable culprits.

    “Absent the discovery of a new factor presently unknown, the observation of warming, the elimination of other factors, plus the modeling (crude as it may be) all point to greenhouse gases, CO2 being the greatest among them.

    “That’s science, Pat.

    That’s not science, Ed. Science is not jumping to conclusions after eliminating the known. That’s religious thinking — No explanation for how the universe began, ha? That only leaves one answer: god did it! — That logic doesn’t fly in science, Ed.

    Science is hypothesis and test until the theory is become advanced enough to provide a falsifiable explanation of the previously unexplained phenomena.

    AGW climate science has skipped that step. Too many of its practitioners have improperly advanced their hypothesis — that CO2 caused the recent warming — to the status of a falsifiable explanation. It does not deserve that status. One is forced to conclude that those who have advanced that step are not practicing science.

    It’s true we don’t know what’s causing the climate to warm, but in a chaotic climate there may be no external cause.

    Further, look again at Figure 2 in my recent post at the Air Vent. When the net sea surface thermal periodicity is removed from the record, the rate of warming has been essentially constant since 1880 right through to 2010.

    But the thermal history of the early part of the century, 1880-1940, is generally accepted to be free of human influence.

    So if the early years and the later years have been warming at the same rate, where is the evidence of any human influence in the trend?

    The tiny 0.03 C/decade difference I did pull out, see Figure 4, is well within the noise of the data (and physically meaningless, to boot).

    At best, you are required to agree that the data do not indicate any catastrophic warming trend. More likely, the data indicate no discernible effect at all, of the extra CO2 on air temperature.

    Finally, one wonders why, after 25 years of hoopla, the climate scientists worried about global surface air temperature have never done the simple analysis of testing the surface temperature record for a periodic SST thermal fluctuation.

    When that is found and removed, the 130-year trend has no untoward message. Neglect of that simple analysis is just one more bit of carelessness to chalk up in the general melange of neglected detail deposited by AGW climate scientists throughout the rest of their practice.

    With respect to one’s own polemical abuse of language, when was it ever a good excuse that others are also guilty of it (“Tu quoque“)?

    It is not true that, “It is undeniable that much of the opposition to the always-tentative conclusions of warming comes from scientists who are not practicing science, but are instead practicing politics.

    I name for you John Christy, Roger Pielke Sr., Ross McKitrick, Willie Soon, Richard Lindzen, Roy Spencer, David Evans, and Sallie Baliunas, among others. All of them are relevant experts and none of them are retired.

    Some of them have written on the corrupt obstacles put in the way of scientists who try to publish papers with analyses contradicting the AGW story. Dick Lindzen’s 2008 arXiv article “Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?” paper, for example.

    Ross McKitrick has also written about the corrupt behavior of the scientific establishment, as regards climate, in his paper, “Circling the Bandwagons: My Adventures Correcting the IPCC.” Most convenient is the link at Roger Pielke Sr’s discussion of Ross’ paper, which also has a link to the original.

    Roger Pilke goes on to observe that, “[Ross’] experience is not an extreme example, but is illustrative of the experience that I and a number of my colleagues have experienced with respect to the submission of research papers and scientific research proposals. I discussed this issue of gatekeeping,…
    t

    “Ross’s entire article is worth reading. I also will be posting further examples of this deliberate attempt to surpress scientific studies which refute or raise serious questions on the IPCC perspective in the coming weeks and months.

    Science has been deliberately corrupted by those touting AGW, Ed.

    Opposing that corruption is why I originally got involved.

    Your equation of opposition to AGW with opposition to Evolutionary theory is a non-sequitur, Ed.

    The former is not a falsifiable theory, and therefore could never, ever, have been tested much less verified a single time. The disparity with Evolutionary theory could not be greater.

    Like

  33. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, regarding my post, you wrote,”That would be a great argument, and one I’d buy, if global warming observations were based solely on models. They are not.

    We’re not talking about global warming. We’re talking about attribution of recent climate warming to human agency, mainly industrial CO2.

    You recall from the very many conversations within our email group, and from our debates with creationists, that meaning in science is found strictly in falsifiable theory.

    The meaning of recent climate warming will be found in a falsifiable physical theory of climate, and only in a falsifiable physical theory of climate.

    There is no such theory.

    Attribution of climate warming to human-produced CO2 and other gases has been assigned by reference to climate models that: 1) are not falsifiable; 2) are unphysical (Earth is given a hyperviscous “molasses” atmosphere); 3) can not reproduce the 20th century climate; 4) have never been independently validated or verified; 5) have never had their parameter uncertainties propagated through them; 6) fail perfect model tests, meaning they cannot reproduce a climate they themselves have produced, if the initial conditions are realistically altered even a tiny bit.

    Any one of these problems (and the list is not exhaustive) is enough to make climate models unworthy to attribute the recent climate warming to human agency.

    And that’s the attribution ball game, Ed. Climate models are not reliable. The physical theory is not there. Attribution is impossible.

    After that, it’s all just shouting.

    Like

  34. Ed Darrell says:

    It is too subtle for a quick explanation, and too subtle for many to see, but I think Pat Frank comes by his doubts about warming honestly.

    In my opinion he’s asking too high a standard of evidence. But I don’t rank him in with the non-thinking, politically-motivated denying bunch.

    But it troubles me that he’s so set against the people who do the work that finds warming. And I found that part you quoted quite ironic. I think it would be more accurate phrased like this:

    “The agenda-driven certainly continue the anti-AGW drum-beat even though they lost the scientific argument several years ago (think creationism for Progressives), but the question for us is why are you still doing it?”

    Freetoken, thanks for dropping by — please feel free to drop by more often.

    Like

  35. freetoken says:

    Just popping in here from a search on creationism (believe it or not) and found this discussion.

    Ed – nice little blog you have here.

    What led me to comment: The posting by “Pat” bragging about “publishing” a paper. What he didn’t tell you is that it was “published” in “ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT”, and publication that isn’t recognized in the real research community simply because that publication was set up and is supported and edited by people who have become notorious for fighting political ideological battles contrary to good science.

    Ed, I hope (and believe) you realize that anyone who writes something like

    “The agenda-driven certainly continue the AGW drum-beat even though they lost the scientific argument several years ago (think creationism for Progressives), but the question for us is why are you still doing it?”

    and still tries to sell himself as a serious scientist is just trying to use rhetoric to make up for the lack of his understanding.

    As for Steve Goddard – well, the one that uses that name often in the realm of AGW and discussions around that topic is well known, if you search online.

    Like

  36. Ed Darrell says:

    NPR blogger wants to know why people who think climate change is a crock, think that:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2011/05/26/136676621/what-motivates-climate-change-deniers?sc=fb&cc=fp

    Like

  37. Ed Darrell says:

    I think the anaesthesia is worn off enough I can post with something close to logic.

    You ask the three why they make themselves look like quacks. They answer that the biopsy they took shows the lump is a benign tumor.

    You go to the 97 doctors and ask, ‘What were the results of your biopsy?’

    That would be a great argument, and one I’d buy, if global warming observations were based solely on models. They are not.

    I started out as a botanist in college, and I worked for several years in air pollution research, studying the effects of air pollution on plants (we use damage to determine whether air pollution exists in a location, what kind of pollutants there are, and in what concentrations — as with humans and radiation, living things often make the best dosimeters).

    That was in the 1970s. A lot of botanists chattered then about the climate changes they were measuring. One of the questions air pollution people got was whether pollutants could cause climate change.

    Air pollution is a well-known, well-documented affecter of weather, and climate. Standard textbooks discussed the effects of greenhouse gases, then well understood and well-noted as a factor in making the planet habitable at all, and the cooling effects of other pollutants, particulates and light-scattering stuff.

    An interesting question then was, what happens if one form of pollution is controlled, but not the other? Measures such as we had suggested that the warming effects of greenhouse gases, in the 1970s, were largely offset by the cooling effects of particulates and light-scatterers. But we had the technology to control particulates — and much of our work in air pollution was measuring the success of those methods.

    Years later we have controlled particulate pollution — the cooling stuff — far beyond the hopes of the 1970s. Greenhouse gases? Not so much.

    It doesn’t take a genius, nor even much of a scientist, to predict the outcome of those actions, does it?

    At the same time, people focusing more on plant communities worked to determine what was causing the broad-scale, worldwide shifts in plant communities that was observed then, and continues today. Plant zones are trending warmer, both in latitude and altitude.

    No plant viruses, not evolution towards greater hardiness, not air pollution, not animal movements, not wind shifts, not solar cycles, not human intervention by taking up plant habitat: What prompted the changes?

    It’s come down to warmer climate.

    At the same time, other people worked on what caused the warming.

    We’ve eliminated volcanic action (it tends more to cooling), changing tilt of the Earth, more heat from the planet, changes in sunlight. There must have been a couple dozen different things proposed that could have caused the warming.

    CO2 and other human-created or human-emitted greenhouse gases have not been eliminated, and there remain no other really viable culprits.

    Absent the discovery of a new factor presently unknown, the observation of warming, the elimination of other factors, plus the modeling (crude as it may be) all point to greenhouse gases, CO2 being the greatest among them.

    That’s science, Pat.

    People who claim those scientists are evil, communists, socialists, involved in grant-grubbing, stupid, disturbed, or what have you, deserve to be branded for their too-often hateful diatribes against the scientists and the science. Anthony Watts’ crude name-calling is denialism in classic form — divorced from science, not intended to enlighten — and so are 85 to 95% of the websites and publications devoted to the same stuff.

    It is undeniable that much of the opposition to the always-tentative conclusions of warming comes from scientists who are not practicing science, but are instead practicing politics.

    Yeah, I know — it makes Anthony Watts sputter when he’s lumped in with the other denialists.

    It seems to me that, if they wish not to be so labeled, they should practice more science and less politics, and shut down the vitriol.

    You complain about the demonizing? Tu quoque, you know? Al Gore lost weight. Al Gore’s weight was never a factor in the science discussion, nor should it have been in the political discussion. Stealing e-mails and misrepresenting them to the public isn’t the work of angels, or scientists.

    If it were creationists slamming evolution scientists, you’d wink a bit more at the scientists’ calling the creationists “evolution denialists.”

    I’m sure you’ve been unfairly attacked in discussions about this stuff, Pat. That doesn’t justify the actions of the denialists, nor their denialism.

    Still wondering, is there another, less-offensive to you term we could use?

    Like

  38. Pat Frank says:

    Nick K does your position justify the subversion of science as an institution and lies about scientific results?

    Like

  39. Pat Frank says:

    I’m not a physicist, Ed. I’m a chemist. :-)

    By the way, if this is Steve Goddard is the same person as this one, then there are no grounds to calling Steve a “denialist,” even if you insist on using that term.

    That Steve Goddard would know what he’s talking about as regards climate and would almost certainly have come to a scientifically considered position on AGW.

    That Steve Goddard may also know Kenneth Hubbard and Xioamao Lin, both of UN-L, who have published extensively on the systematic error of surface air temperature sensors, and the implications of whose work have been thoroughly ignored by the AGW crowd.

    Like

  40. Pat Frank says:

    Nick K, OK, but let’s give the game some reality. You have a lump in your neck, and 97 doctors tell you it’s cancer. Three say it isn’t.

    You ask the three why they make themselves look like quacks. They answer that the biopsy they took shows the lump is a benign tumor.

    You go to the 97 doctors and ask, ‘What were the results of your biopsy?’

    97D: We didn’t do a biopsy. We have modeled human bodies and their likelihood of getting cancers. Our ensemble of models have successfully reproduced the rates and incidences of cancer throughout the 20th century. Our models tell us your lump is a carcinoma. There’s a further 25% chance of rapid metastasis, but also 25% chance of slow metastasis. Your life is on the line, and you have to act now.

    You go back to the three doctors and tell them you’re now certain because quantitative models that successfully retrodicted all past cancers have definitively proven your lump is a carcinoma.

    3D: ‘We know these models. The models are built to inherently produce a range of cancers. They’ve been adjusted to reproduce the 20th century incidence of cancers. Control runs that don’t produce cancers are discarded as obviously wrong. The modelers also can’t account for cardiac turbulence so they use hyperviscous blood to ensure laminar flow. Otherwise, their models predict ruptured aortas or they crash into general organ failure. They also can’t model the immune system.

    You’re now worried. You go back to the 97: ‘What about the hyperviscous blood and organ failure?’

    97D: ‘Look at these outputs. They look just like real cancers in real people. Trust us, the models are all in agreement on your case. Time is short and your life is at risk. Act now!’

    Back to the 3 doctors: ‘Their outputs look just like real cancers in real people. Their model results look just like my lump and they say it’s a carcinoma with a 75% chance of rapid or very rapid metastasis.’

    3D: ‘Those models have never been verified or validated by disinterested third party medical engineers. They’ve never been demonstrated as fit for diagnosis.’

    Back to the 97: “I’d like to look at the code of your models, to verify their reliability. My life is at stake here.’

    97D: ‘Our code is intellectual property. It’s proprietary. Trust us. Time is short. Your life is at risk, and you have to act NOW!’

    You: ‘Show me the code, please. My life is at stake.’

    97D: ‘Proprietary code is intellectual property. It’s not available for inspection by just anyone. Your life is at immediate risk. You need to act now! Time is short. Metastasis is irreversible.’

    You: ‘I need to verify your code…’

    97D: ‘Look. Stop badgering us or we’ll file a civil harassment suit. You need to act NOW! Trust us, your life is at risk. Your cancer could have metastasized already, while you’ve been fooling around!’

    Documents get leaked from the MiracleWhip clinic. They show that some of the 97D have been jiggering the cancer statistics to make it look like there’s an epidemic. One document called ‘Hanter_Read_me’ has notes by a despairing MW clinic medical statistician decrying that the statistical data were a kludge right from the start.

    The AMA comes out in favor of modeling the entire population of America to predict cancer incidence.

    Coincidentally, the head of the AMA has made a career as a cancer surgeon and for 30 years published warnings of an always impending epidemic of cancers.

    The leaked documents show that the same doctors who jiggered the cancer data have been in league with other cancer specialists to influence the Journal of the AMA. You already knew (and maybe approved) that for some time the JAMA has editorialized about the seriousness of the cancer situation as revealed by the models. Because of that seriousness, the JAMA no longer will publish papers that overtly contradict the models because contradicting the threat of cancer is not in the interests of American health.

    You check the medical literature. Model results are everywhere predicting cancer. They all show successful retrodiction of past cancer rates and incidences. Other papers discuss the cancerous potentials of chemicals, chronic injuries, work exposures, and pet dander. Models are always used to predict how these exposures will impact cancer incidence, replete with very realistic false color images of the predicted cancers.

    Insurance companies see that modeling the American population for cancer will put everyone into a positive risk category. They will have a rationale to double or triple their premiums. Insurance companies also know from their own internal statistics that there’s no apparent epidemic of cancer and their in-house doctors know the cancer models are not reliable. Therefore, internal insurance company projections of payout show minimal impact, and 2x-3x premiums = 4x-6x profits. They funnel money to NGOs that are in the business of rousing the alarm about toxic chemicals and cancer. The social climate worsens.

    Meanwhile, you still have the lump. You wonder about taking it out regardless, because even if it’s not cancer you’ll have it out and if it is cancer, your life is saved anyway.

    All 100 doctors tell you that the lump is in a risky spot in your neck. There’s a 30% chance you’ll have a stroke during the operation. There’s a 10% chance you’ll have a catastrophic arterial aneurism and die on the operating table. But in any case, there will be scar tissue that will make breathing difficult for the rest of your life.

    The 3 doctors still tell you that the second biopsy you had done, because you’re now really nervous, still shows no cancerous tissue. They advise against doing anything.

    The 97 doctors tell you their ensemble of models says carcinoma and imminent metastasis. You have to schedule an operation immediately, right now.

    What do you do?

    Like

  41. Nick K says:

    *shrugs* my position boils down to “You don’t add a fireescape to a building after its on fire.” and “Cutting down on pollution would save this country money because of health costs even if there wasn’t global warming.”

    Not to mention the obvious benefit to national security.

    Like

  42. Ed Darrell says:

    Nick,

    Go read Pat’s articles. Pat’s a physicist. Generally, his argument is that we can’t make a 100% connection between warming as we see it and CO2 levels (correct me if I misstate or overgeneralize, Pat — feel free to explain, please).

    This is the genuine weak spot in the science surrounding global warming.

    I’m a lawyer, and a fan of Sherlock Holmes, however: I think that, when we’ve eliminated all other possible causes, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the likely culprit. In this case, we’ve been working for 60 years to eliminate the other culprits, and I find the evidence compelling enough for action — because we cannot afford to wait, and because though I think other contributors to global warming will be determined, action on CO2 will both curb the total warming and speed the finding of any other routes we can take to preserve our favorable-to-humans environment.

    My experience in air pollution is that waiting for certainty before starting a clean up would have always been a bad idea.

    With Pat you can have a genuine discussion of science. Pat’s reference to the “one” is akin to Einstein’s response when the Third Reich published a book with a title something like “100 Scientists Say Einstein Is Wrong.” Einstein laughed and said, were he wrong, it would take only one.

    Like

  43. Wait, so the prayer hasn’t ended the Texas drought? Must be Austin’s fault.

    Skeptics will change their opinion with new evidence. Climate Change deniers ignore evidence, and therefore should not be called skeptics. Maybe we can call you Climate Change Truthers? Or does that diminish those who died on 9/11?

    Like

  44. Nick K says:

    Ok, pat lets play this one.

    You discover a lump in your neck. 97 doctors tell you its cancer, 3 tell you its not.

    Who do you believe?

    Like

  45. Nick K says:

    Pat, what do you think the other political side is doing? Like to such terms as “socialism” and “unAmerican”?

    Like

  46. Pat Frank says:

    Ed, “I make no association with the Holocaust. I make the association with evolution denialism, with Robert Barton U.S. history denialism, with Rachel Carson-DDT denialism.

    You’re just being disingenuous, Ed. Denialism/denialist came into use as a term of abuse to demonize AGW skeptics. It makes a rhetorical analogy with Holocaust deniers strictly for character assassination.

    You also know there are dozens of honest scientists who take a skeptical position about AGW. I’ve named some of them for you in the past.

    It seems to me that your relationship to the science ought to make you more modest in your insistence of certainty and your knowledge of recent history ought to make you more reticent about employing casual use of inflammatory language.

    I also know you’ve pointed this out in the past, when arguing with creationist, but let me remind you anyway: it takes only one to carry the day in a scientific debate.

    Think on that when you dismiss the skeptical position on your grounds of “three or four other people.”

    I’ll also observe that if it were right wingers who were engaging in the blatant and outright lies, fabricated evidence, obfuscations, stone-walling, white-washings, and subversions of science that has typified the AGW crowd, you’d be all over them. AGW is a Democratic war on science in the Chris Mooney sense, that has been more corrosive, more successful, and more insidious than anything ever achieved by the Republican right.

    But you and so many others just let it all pass. I’d never have believed this could happen without having seen it myself. Devout laity in defense of priestly abuse. It’s a bitter understanding that Marcel Crok titled his article about this excrescence as “Popes of Science.”

    Like

  47. Ed Darrell says:

    After reading your post, I wish you’d stop using the Holocaustic terms “denialist/denialism.” It’s really unfair, it’s an abuse of language, it diminishes the real Holocaust, it’s dishonest, and after knowing you in a virtual kind of way all these years, I expect better of you.

    Pat, what’s the moniker that is more accurate?

    I make no association with the Holocaust. I make the association with evolution denialism, with Robert Barton U.S. history denialism, with Rachel Carson-DDT denialism.

    Sadly, with the exception of you and three or four other people, I find those who side against Al Gore do so almost solely for political reasons, not science reasons, and they tend to be creationist, pro-DDT, and anti-broad First Amendment.

    Got a term that fits? “Skeptic” doesn’t, because, again with a few small exceptions, these people are not skeptical of much, and they accept religiously the idea that warming can’t happen and that all other scientists are in some sort of cabal to foist a warming hoax on people.

    I keep asking for a term that is both accurate and less offensive to the Goddardites. Haven’t found one.

    What do you make of Goddard’s arguments about no significant greenhouse effect on Venus?

    Nice to see you back.

    Like

  48. Pat Frank says:

    Hi Ed,

    Long time, no discuss. :-) Hope you and yours are doing well. Thought I’d check in here, and found your latest AGW post. I’m glad to see you’ve developed a lovely friendship with Steve Goddard. :-)

    After reading your post, I wish you’d stop using the Holocaustic terms “denialist/denialism.” It’s really unfair, it’s an abuse of language, it diminishes the real Holocaust, it’s dishonest, and after knowing you in a virtual kind of way all these years, I expect better of you.

    I heard Chris Mooney casually toss off the same term at a Humanism Conference in LA. It’s crass demonization by someone — Mooney — who hasn’t a clue about the science and despite not understanding the evidence feels no compunction wielding a grotesque insult against those with whom he disagrees; many of whom have taken their position because they do understand the science. People like him rationalize their insulting language by no more than the social reinforcement of their preferred group. So, I wish you’d stop.

    Anyway, I followed your link above, tracked Steve G’s entries through the page, and didn’t find anywhere that he says, “global warming does not exist.” Can you provide a pointer?

    On that note, you’ll remember that I published a paper at Skeptic magazine in 2008, showing that climate models are unable to attribute any of the recent warming to human produced CO2.

    Demetris Koutsoyiannis and his group have published a detailed examination of state-of-the-art climate models showing they are unreliable at both regional and continental scales.

    Climate models represent the theory that is meant to attribute warming to human produced CO2. But their outputs are unreliable and have no predictive (attributive) value. Nothing has changed since any of the critiques, and so your implicit diagnosis of ‘irrational’ for those who disbelieve in a human cause for recent warming is itself rationally unjustifiable.

    You also know that I published a paper late last year showing that climate scientists have completely neglected the systematic error made by air temperature sensors, and that when this error is included the rise in surface air temperature across the 20th century is indistinguishable from zero Celsius.

    So, knowing that you know that climate models are unreliable and that the global average temperature trend is a monument to negligent science, the real question is: why are you still arguing catastrophic human-caused climate warming?

    The agenda-driven certainly continue the AGW drum-beat even though they lost the scientific argument several years ago (think creationism for Progressives), but the question for us is why are you still doing it?

    I recently did another analysis on the centennial air temperature trend, under the (disproved, but IPCC-official) presumption that it’s physically meaningful. The trend can be explained in terms of a 60-year cosine-like period plus a rising linear trend.

    In fact, the rising trend is linear within the noise all the way from 1880 to 2010. It shows no evidence of any change in rate during the late 20th century, when CO2 is supposed to show its presence.

    Still one can tease out a rate increase of 1960-2010 over 1880-1940, with the later period rising 0.03 C/decade faster than the earlier.

    If, as everyone agrees, the earlier rate is due to the naturally occurring recovery from the LIA, then the entire effect of the extra impact of getting to 395 ppmv of CO2 in the atmosphere is a whopping 0.18 C of added air temperature. Does that seem scary to you, or to present a dire threat to species, rain forests, and ice caps?

    Check it out. The empirical analysis says that quadrupled CO2 — 1250 ppmv — by the year 2100 won’t yield more than 0.8 C and more likely won’t yield more than 0.4 C. Mainly because the data seem to show a progressively negative feedback with increased GHG forcing.

    Best wishes to you, and for the drought in Texas to end soon.

    Like

  49. Ed Darrell says:

    Mr. Goddard says record snowpacks affect several states: Fantastic! And that means no drought, where?

    That means Lake Powell will be out of drought territory, when?

    How does that say anything about global warming — other than a lot of that snowpack is the result of lake effect snows, which get heavier as the climate warms . . .

    So, you brought up Lake Powell for what point?

    Like

  50. […] Weather and Climate Up until yesterday’s 1.79 inches of rain in Peoria, it had been drier than normal for May. We are now 0.5 inches above normal for May, and 3.9 inches above normal for the year as a whole. That isn’t true everywhere; for example much of Texas (and other regions) have been experiencing drought. […]

    Like

  51. Try record snowpack in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.

    Like

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