Heating Up


Erik Kain

Erik writes about video games at Forbes and politics at Mother Jones. He's the contributor of The League though he hasn't written much here lately. He can be found occasionally composing 140 character cultural analysis on Twitter.

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99 Responses

  1. Avatar kenB says:

    Pardon my ignorance, but are there any studies that demonstrate a link between these weather events and AGW? Skeptics are regularly derided when they point to certain current weather events as evidence against, so it seems that the same shouldn’t be accepted blindly when going the other direction.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to kenB says:

      … with AGW, you have models, which rather consistently show the American Southwest drying up. These models appear to present predictions that are in fact occurring.

      I only deride skeptics when their weather events are tied to global warming (blizzards in february happen because the NE is warmer than usual, not colder.)Report

      • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to Kim says:

        The best response (and I do wish I could find the source) to this question, is something I heard on NPR (?) this past week. A climatologist was discussing the hurricane and whether it was attributable to climate change. He responded, more or less, that there are millions of data points that need to be gathered, sorted, analyzed, and synthesized. I can’t answer today, but ask me in four months. Sadly, no one will care in four months.Report

        • Avatar kenB in reply to Silus Grok says:

          That’s a response I can respect. Pointing triumphantly to recent events because they seem to be congruent with your opinion on the topic is a mark of unseriousness, IMO — climate change is a game of numbers, measured over the long term.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to kenB says:

            Nobody is ‘pointing triumphantly’ to anything. I’m pointing to the wildly erratic weather patterns we’re seeing as early emerging evidence that all those scientists – you know, the vast majority of all scientists and people who are experts in this sort of thing – are correct and that the talk radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh, who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about, are wrong. Nothing triumphant here at all. More like I’m getting more and more worried at how the pieces are all falling together. Things are not looking good, and we need to get beyond this stupid political debate and start paying attention to actual data.Report

            • Avatar kenB in reply to E.D. Kain says:

              Um, you’re doing the pointing but you’re not an expert. Show me some experts doing the pointing (which was my original request) and I’ll revise my estimate of your (and Yglesias’s) seriousness.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to kenB says:

                But here’s the crux: he could point to experts — and then we get to have a discussion about experts. It never ends. The balkanization of the American Mind over the last 40 years means that to really have meaningful discussions of this type requires that both sides practically start at kindergarten and reeducate each other — because we no longer have shared “givens”.

                I can’t speak for EDK, but that’s why _I_ never point to experts.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Silus Grok says:

                I’m sorry that I don’t share the given that someone with letters after their name is never wrong about anything.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

                … thing is, your modelers suck. And what you do, with a long screed on “what is wrong” with all parts of climatology, is make the argument that the whole boat is leaky.

                It’s not a strong argument, though, because people continue to say “but wait! This Works!” and prove that portions are strong.

                Compare against the case of FDR caused the great depression — people point to one strong thing — the state of conditions before FDR. It’s an easy and quick argument.

                Likewise with many other things. Throwing in the kitchen sink fails, and fails hard.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Who says experts are correct on everything?

                I guess this answers my question as to whether you were genuinely curious or just being obtuse.Report

              • Avatar kenB in reply to Silus Grok says:

                I’m not planning to go expert-sniping — I’m just trying to distinguish between informed opinion vs casual, unsophisticated observation. There’s a big difference between “expert A said this event is due to AGW because of these numbers” and “I know this event is due to AGW because it resembles something that expert A said”.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to kenB says:

                Mine is casual, unsophisticated observation of other’s informed opinions.

                Hope that helps.


  2. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    Heavy winter snows? “The weather isn’t the climate!”


    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to DensityDuck says:

      This is an example of what I mean when I complain about the subject being too politicized for one to become educated. Sober analysis seems like it would be possible but there’s so much shouting, on both sides of the issue, that I find it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

      There would be dry summers in the southwest no matter what because so much of the southwest is already a desert due to rain shadows from mountains, prevailing weather and elevation issues, etc. There would be, and are, forest fires and brush fires everywhere. I can buy the idea that no particular event can be pointed to and credited to global warming. I can also buy the idea that a series of events, taken as a whole, are properly credited to global warming. I can even buy the idea that cooler, wetter weather in particular areas is also creditable to climate change that is, more globally speaking, the result of an increase rather than a decrease in temperature.

      On the other hand, a wet, cold winter seems at least superficially inconsistent with the idea of global warming, and given that no particular event is really attributable to this phenomenon, it’s very difficult to fix a cause-and-effect relationship to anything tangible.

      The shouting makes it hard to believe anything, entertaining one explanation or the other is interpreted by people as “taking sides,” and the real science is too complex for someone with other responsibilities and fields of expertise to delve into. So I intellectualy despair, because the usual sorts of signals that tell me when it is or is not reasonable to trust what experts say have been so thoroughly obscured.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Well yeah, of course there could be all these various events under normal climate conditions. Weather is weather, after all. That’s not really saying anything though, is it?

        A warming planet results in increasingly erratic and extreme weather. Global warming contributes directly to much colder winters, and can lead to an ice age as ice melts and global sea currents shift. There is nothing intuitive about weather patterns since you’re dealing with a highly interconnected series of events. It’s like the economy in that sense. And I would urge Bastiat’s observation about looking for ‘what is unseen’ when looking at climate change. When people see a much colder, snowier winter and exclaim “So much for global warming!” they are not looking at what is unseen, only at what is seen.Report

        • Avatar wardsmith in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          In other words, no matter WHAT happens it is all proof of AGW. No wonder the skeptics can’t make a case.

          At least I can count on my friends at Southpark to explain it all to me.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

            Ward, given that you still haven’t told me what it would take to change your mind, harping about somebody having a bad standard of proof doesn’t buy you much sympathy with me.

            You can’t complain about bad falsifiability arguments on the one side when you consistently fail to even present any standard for your own belief. It’s wildly inconsistent.Report

            • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

              Pat, let’s say you’re an atheist and I say, “What will it take for you to change your mind?” How pray tell (pun intended) would you respond to that? Perhaps by saying, “When God Himself shows up and performs documentable miracles, as many as I want in front of as many witnesses and experts as I desire.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                *nods* So what’s yours for global warming? Sea Levels Rise fifty feet? Vietnam uninhabitable on a permanent basis due to absolute humidity of 98%?Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

                Not relevant to this particular question. Standards of proof for the divine cannot be resolved empirically. The fact that you bring this up as an analogy is telling, isn’t it?

                If you have a religious belief that global warming isn’t happening, Ward, that’s okay with me. If you don’t believe that the world is warming up because you think God will protect us, put that out there, and I’ll leave you alone on this point.

                This isn’t how you’ve argued the point on past threads. You’ve argued it as a question of science (or, to be precise, as an issue of malicious manipulation of science). You’ve made a lot of allegations either directly or by proxy, but you’ve never offered a standard of evidence whereby you may change your mind. Or even to revisit the allegations which you’ve already made.

                This presents a problem. You are offering data as challenging to my current understanding of this question, but when I find things that explain your challenges, you don’t respond, you move on to another allegation. Not once have I seen you say, “That addresses my concern”. I still don’t know what your concerns *are*. I only know you think that the whole thing is wrong, I don’t know why.

                This seems to me to be missionary. You’re not interested in finding out if AGW is fake. You’re not interested in finding out if there is a global conspiracy. You already believe these things without a standard of proof. If you had one, your entire approach to this discussion would be different. Instead of saying, “I think this is wrong, for an iterative list of this“, you’d be offering a construction: “I think this is correct, for some this“.

                You’re just trying to convince *me* (or, by proxy, other people) that you’re right.

                I’m disinclined to engage any more, because you’re not engaging. You’re only giving to the conversation, you’re not taking anything.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Pat the “divine” argument was correct because this is a matter of faith not science. Now let us specifically examine what the faith is IN shall we? Models. Computer models that give answers to 12 places past the decimal point on a subject that at best could predict plus or minus full degrees C. I linked to an older IPCC report because they became increasing arrogant as time passed, pretending an accuracy that doesn’t exist.

                The “empirical” evidence is suspect on any number of bases. I’ve shown you that temperature stations are mis-sited including on asphalt and near air conditioner exhaust vents. I’ve shown you that we had more than 20,000 temp stations in the past but now are relying on less than 3000. In statistics this is known as decreasing ‘n’ and you of all people should know what that does to your confidence interval. Then there is the whole business of “interpolating” temperatures across thousands of miles to “fill in” missing data set values. This is all crap, methodologically and scientifically. These guys are blowing through $20B a year, they can do MUCH better than this.

                Going past empiricism we examine ethics. You pointing to a whitewash “investigation” does not a refutation make. There are two things telling about this document The first is that the IPCC until now has never CONSIDERED ethics to be part of its purview and second that they consider it suddenly important now. If they weren’t guilty of /something/ why are they taking this step and placing it prominently on their homepage? Of course I know that they aren’t going to change anything about the way they operate, but will point to this document as if it magically changes their multi decade modus operandi. The fact that the current IPCC assessment report /started with the summary!/ is very telling. Authors were literally told to toe the line to the summary’s statement. Previously of course the assessment came first and they then came up with a summary (which is the only thing the lazy reporters are ever going to read anyway, assuming they even get that far).

                Most of all though Patrick, I find it telling that everything is about /me/ changing /my/ mind and nothing about /you/ changing /yours/. Clearly you’ve decided that you are right, and I am wrong and I could hand back to you every one of your own arguments viz sufficiency of proof.

                I had hope for you because you studied a “hard” subject rather than say, political science. We all know there is no real “science” in political science. AGW is political “science” on steroids. Heavy on the politics light on the science. When I try to engage you scientifically, you respond with, “I’m too busy to learn this new subject area”.

                Ultimately the question isn’t whether you should engage with me, but whether I should continue to waste my time engaging with you. You don’t want to learn (yes I’ve learned more than you want on this and invested more time than you feel you can spend) and you know and I know that without /learning/ you have to accept others’ word – pushing you right where the political establishment wants you to be, slave to their proxy “experts”.

                Einstein was just a clerk in a patent office when he came up with the most impressive theory in physics, at a time when the dominant theory presumed the existence of an aether. If he had just accepted ‘the consensus’ who knows where we would be today?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                … but without michaelson and morely, einstein would never have had that idea. empiricism first, theory after.

                3000 sites across the earth, and then when you average them, show things going up? again, and again and again? We’re not talking 10 subjects in an MRI study, here.
                Plus, you fail to account that the climate skeptics are the people removing sensors, via budgetary constraints.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

                Michaelson and Morely were attempting to prove the existence of the aether. If they were today’s climate scientists, they would have just fudged the data using “statistical smoothing techniques” to verify the existence of the aether. Good example Kim, you’re learning.

                Your other point is false. Many stations were in former Soviet Union satellites. But who needs stations at all? Just interpolotate it into existence!. Also the bar is very high on temperature stations. They want “history” so require a station to have been in continuous operation for the past 50 years. Miss a day? Oops, you’re off the grid. No problem ‘honest’ scientists will interpolate your data for you and sacre bleu you’re 5 degrees C warmer!Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kim says:

                you’ve yet to show compelling evidence that the earth is colder than climatologists are showing. You might prove that in any number of ways, from simple logistics, to changes in the epidemiological profile of certain diseases (asthma, for one). Neh, you say that their sensors are wrong. So show me some fucking numbers.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

                > Most of all though Patrick, I find it
                > telling that everything is about /me/
                > changing /my/ mind and nothing
                > about /you/ changing /yours/.

                This is a horseshit accusation, completely false, and I’m tired of being polite on this score. I’ve told you before what my standard of evidence would be to change my opinion. Twice. Indeed, I can probably refine it to add several other conditions if you like. This isn’t a game of “I know you are but what am I?” This is all on you, dude.

                If you don’t like my standard, that’s fine, take issue with it. Ask me to revise it.

                If you want to take your ball and go home, Ward, go ahead. If you want to play a different game than the one I’m playing, go ahead and do that, too.

                If you’re not willing to admit that there is a possibility that you are wrong, then you’re in the land of belief. And if you’re not willing to at least draw a line in the sand and say, “At this point, I will agree that there is doubt in my position”, then I’m just not interested in discussing it with you any more.

                > You pointing to a whitewash
                > “investigation” does not a
                > refutation make.

                Fair enough. Until you tell me what qualifies as a credible refutation, I’m not going to try to refute your comments any more. It’s a waste of my time.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                “If you’re not willing to admit that there is a possibility that you are wrong, then you’re in the land of belief. ”

                Ho, ho, ho.Report

              • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                Here’s mine, Duck.

                Where is yours, exactly?

                You and Ward both parade around this attitude that everyone who believes in AGW is falling back on belief and you guys are the clear headed empiricists.

                But neither one of you has actually laid out, in detail, what you believe and why and what it would take to change your mind.

                You can keep saying that you are, but without putting your standard of evidence up, it’s really hard for you to claim that nobody else is putting their money where their mouth is, and you are.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                “…neither one of you has actually laid out, in detail, what you believe and why and what it would take to change your mind.”

                What it would take to “change my mind” would be evidence that there’s a problem that we can neither fix nor work around.

                As I said in another thread, it occurs to me that if hurricanes are a problem, then maybe the answer is hurricane-proof houses. Maybe the answer to flooding is to not build in the littoral flood zone. Maybe the answer to tornadoes is better weather-sensing systems that can identify and track those tornadoes.

                If I need to be “convinced” of anything, it’s that the solution to changing climate is to starve in the cold dirty darkness, the way that Puritans always seem to want us to do.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to wardsmith says:

                Your point here is obvious, but the analogy gets things backwards. Empirical evidence is neutral on the existence of God, very much in favor of AGW.

                So, working your analogy from that angle, you’re saying that all the relevant evidence suggests that there is no AGW, that it’s a myth. But that’s just a mistake, even by your own lights, since you admit the evidence but deny the conclusion scientists suggest it leads to. It seems to me you’re undermining your own argument here: you’re admitting that no amount of evidence could shake your ‘faith’ that AGW is a myth.

                Which is why Patrick keeps asking for what types of evidence, in principle, would make you change your mind. Not necessarily because presenting that evidence will change your mind, but because your belief is non-falsifiable, and therefore outside the scope of the empirical. Your belief that AGW is a myth, which is a purely empirical issue, is as empirically irrefutable as the faith-based belief in the existence in God.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

            That’s a wonderful episode of South Park. It spoofs silly movies (The Day After Tomorrow) and silly politicians and media in the wake of Katrina. It does not, however, delve very deep into the science of global warming. I do hope you have better sources to help explain that to you than a cartoon about vulgar fourth graders, however satirically brilliant it may be.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

            I can give you reasonable criteria for reversing a 300 year climate trend of global warming. It won’t be 300 years, but it’s definitely not one. And it will require a large portion of the indicators changing — but that makes sense, don’t it?

            Global warming is falsifiable, but not through weather (particularly NA weather, which is very very heavily related to LaNina/ElNino conditions. Cant’ talk about jack without knowing what frame you’re in — bad hurricane? sure. but were we expecting bad hurricanes??).Report

            • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

              Don’t pretend to be a climate expert Kim. I’ve been following this since the 90’s, back when the IPCC called their models, SCM’s with appropriate humility. That was back in ’97. Fast forward to 2011 and those same models are now supposedly brilliant and perfect with inappropriate arrogance.

              Back in ’75 when a friend of mine was doing his Phd thesis on modeling climate at Stanford, others at Stanford at the exact same time were doing THEIR theses on chaos theory. The joke was that they ALL were using the exact same equations. I’ll let that sink in for a minute with you.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                *yawn* turbulent flow is always chaotic. I don’t need to have a PHD to know that one.
                It’s possible to have fifteen different models, with different assumptions built into each one (tweakable parameters) that all lead to the conclusion of global warming, to varying degrees.
                In science, we have what you would call a meta-analysis — under the theory that fifteen studies that look at the same hypothesis slightly differently, with different variables, are quite a bit stronger than one large study.
                There is a substantial body of evidence showing that global warming is indeed occuring — 300 years of it, in fact.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

                Yes 300 + years ago we were in a little ice age which no one but a complete moron (or Michael Mann) would ignore. Therefore since we are not CURRENTLY in an ice age it must have been getting warmer. QED.

                Your “science” begins when?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                my science aggregates different climatological models, with depreciation for ones that have been discredited due to “uhh, we stopped that” or “uhh, that didn’t model things properly,” and appreciation for those which continue to make relevant predictions.Report

              • Avatar Robert Cheeks in reply to wardsmith says:

                wardsmith, how about you write a blog on ‘global warming’, I for one would like to see your thoughts presented in essay form.
                I’m of the school that ‘global warming’ political science, that IF we are experiencing certain weather phenomenon, it’s nothing new and probably related to activity on the Sun? But, I’m no scientist.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          “A warming planet results in increasingly erratic and extreme weather. Global warming contributes directly to much colder winters…”

          See, these are the arguments that–to someone who doesn’t spend all day making and justifying them–seem like crap. The first says that no matter what the weather is, it can be used to “prove” that “global climate change is real”. And the second sounds like something from a Blackadder bit.

          And then, when people say this, they’re told that the reason they don’t find the arguments convincing is that they are too stupid to understand them.Report

          • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to DensityDuck says:

            I’m tired of debating with people who have no interest in actually talking about this issue beyond denying it exists.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

            because happy normal weather NEVER HAPPENS< and could never be used to falsify something, because PEOPLE NEVER REPORT IT ON TV.

            lol, whut?Report

          • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to DensityDuck says:

            DensityDuck … I have no history with you, so I’m not sure if you’re being obtuse or just don’t understand. I’ll assume the latter (it’s a complex issue, so it’s not surprising folks don’t understand it).

            The biggest problem we have, frankly (besides the monied interests who are fighting any legislation that would impact their quarterly earnings report) is one of marketing. Calling it “global warming” is just killing us. Which is why so many of us have recently taken to calling it “global climate change”.

            Fundamentally, it’s about energy — the global weather machine is dealing with significantly more energy (in the form of trapped solar warmth) than it has in the appreciable past. The weather machine, prior to this input, was in a sort of equilibrium — think of a child’s toy top — and is now warbling, trying to find a new equilibrium. Climate change concerns are two-fold: that the time of disequilibrium will have disastrous effect … and that the new equilibrium will not be friendly to human habitation.

            Anyway … I’ll do my best to explain reply to the “cold winter” issue:

            One part of this whole mess is an increase in global temperatures — ocean temperatures, air temperatures. But even the wildest models are predicting a rise of only a degree or two.

            That’s a small shift that will have HUGE consequences. And since it’s a small shift — and an averaged one at that — it’s completely reasonable for us to observe really cold spells in a trend that is still moving, glacially (pun intended) upward by a degree or two.

            Moreover, as temperatures rise, water evaporates at greater rates and the moisture load for many weather systems increases — which leads to snowier winters in places whose average winter temperatures are low enough not to be taken above freezing by global upward shift in temperatures.

            To add insult to injury, melting ice caps are pouring a lot of COLD, FRESH water into the world’s oceans. This has the possible effect of disrupting the flow of warm water northward, and throwing Europe into a new “ice age”. Remember: London is about as far north as Edmonton, Alberta. The only reason that London isn’t an ice box each winter is that warm ocean waters from the equator keep the north Atlantic relatively toasty, compared to the north Pacific.

            Anyway … I’m not an expert. Just a climate buff.

            Hopefully this has whet your appetite for some self study on the matter.Report

            • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Silus Grok says:

              I’m going to assume that when you described “global climate change” as a marketing term, you were not intentionally being funny.Report

              • Avatar Silus Grok in reply to DensityDuck says:

                Any time there’s a need to convince, marketing is involved. So, yes … calling it “global warming” was a marketing failure. “Global Climate Change” is both more accurate and better in the marketing department, but we may be too late.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Silus Grok says:

                … the world believes you. the propaganda machine called GE says otherwise, but who the fuck listens to network news?
                … only the people convinced that coal sludge spilling through their waterways will be perfectly safe to drink after the black goes away.
                In short, DD, Ward and other fools.Report

            • Calling it “global warming” is just killing us. Which is why so many of us have recently taken to calling it “global climate change”.

              Yes, but how many bites at the apple does Chicken Little get before he’s crying wolf?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

                … ten years of normal weather? with a decrease in sea temperatures, and moderation of land temperatures?
                Or hell, a wet spell in the Southwest, coupled with increased glacier expansion and increased solid-sea-ice, plus no more (large) icebergs breaking off of antarctica.

                Scientists lowballed the problems with Nuclear Winter — and you ask these same scientists to talk about climate change. You’re surprised when they talk conservatively???Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Burt as an attorney, you know what happens in a court of law when a witness lies on the stand. Please elaborate on that for the rest of us.

        I’m in my own quandary because I (and others) caught the “witness” the AGW team lying again and again. We have temperatures that aren’t temperatures, hand picked tree rings, flubbed ice cores, trends that aren’t trends, starting points that are artificially chosen to ‘suggest’ a trend that doesn’t exist and a community of “experts” that refuses to accept any explanation for a naturally occurring phenomena (warming since the last ice age) other than man-made CO2.

        If this were to be competently tried in a court of law any jury would let the CO2 “suspect” off on reasonable doubt. There’s a good reason the “team” refuses to debate. They don’t want there to be reasonable doubt. They require reaonless faith.Report

        • Avatar Andy Smith in reply to wardsmith says:

          But climate scientists who analyze the data say that they are able to account and adjust for the faulty locations by comparing warming trends they spot at bad sites to trends they see at good ones.
          “If you use only the sites that currently have good siting versus those that have not-so-good siting, when you look at the adjusted data basically you get the same trend,” said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the climate monitoring branch at NCDC.
          Lawrimore admitted that Watts’ volunteers had discovered real problems with sensor siting, but he said that even when those sites’ heat readings were adjusted down, they still showed a steady overall rise in temperatures.
          “The ultimate conclusion, the bottom line is that there really isn’t evidence that the trends have a bias based on the current siting,” he said.
          And surface station data is only a small subset of information confirming the warming of the climate, Lawrimore said.
          Changes in air temperature, water temperature, glacier melt, plant flowering, tree growth and species migration, among many others, show the same worldwide trend — a 0.7 degree Celsius jump (1.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in the past century.

          Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/02/26/climate-data-compromised-by-heat-sources#ixzz1XDYzTyD2

          For instance, GISTEMP uses satellite-derived night light observations to classify stations as rural and urban and corrects the urban stations so that they match the trends from the rural stations before gridding the data. Other techniques (such as correcting for population growth) have also been used.
          How much UHI contamination remains in the global mean temperatures has been tested in papers such as Parker (2005, 2006) which found there was no effective difference in global trends if one segregates the data between windy and calm days. This makes sense because UHI effects are stronger on calm days (where there is less mixing with the wider environment), and so if an increasing UHI effect was changing the trend, one would expect stronger trends on calm days and that is not seen. Another convincing argument is that the regional trends seen simply do not resemble patterns of urbanisation, with the largest trends in the sparsely populated higher latitudes.

          The idea apparently persists that climate models are somehow built on the surface temperature records, and that any adjustment to those records will change the model projections for the future. This probably stems from a misunderstanding of the notion of a physical model as opposed to statistical model. A statistical model of temperature might for instance calculate a match between known forcings and the station data and then attempt to make a forecast based on the change in projected forcings. In such a case, the projection would be affected by any adjustment to the training data. However, the climate models used in the IPCC forecasts are not statistical, but are physical in nature. They are self-consistent descriptions of the whole system whose inputs are only the boundary conditions and the changes in external forces (such as the solar constant, the orbit, or greenhouse gases). They do not assimilate the surface data, nor are they initiallised from it. Instead, the model results for, say, the mean climate, or the change in recent decades or the seasonal cycle or response to El Niño events, are compared to the equivalent analyses in the gridded observations. Mismatches can help identify problems in the models, and are used to track improvements to the model physics.

          This is really two mistaken assumptions in one. That there is so little redundancy that throwing out a few dodgy met. stations will seriously affect the mean, and that evidence for global warming is exclusively tied to the land station data. Neither of those things are true. It has been estimated that the mean anomaly in the Northern hemisphere at the monthly scale only has around 60 degrees of freedom – that is, 60 well-place stations would be sufficient to give a reasonable estimate of the large scale month to month changes. Currently, although they are not necessarily ideally placed, there are thousands of stations – many times more than would be theoretically necessary. The second error is obvious from the fact that the recent warming is seen in the oceans, the atmosphere, in Arctic sea ice retreat, in glacier recession, earlier springs, reduced snow cover etc., so even if all met stations were contaminated (which they aren’t), global warming would still be “unequivocal”.


          • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Andy Smith says:

            Andy welcome to the discussion. I see you’re a scientist albeit in a different venue. Not sure if you’re a Phd, also not sure it matters. To your points.

            A lot of blather from a spokesman about urban island heat effects. He /claims/ it has been corrected for, but neglects to explain there (or on the NCDC site) precisely /how/ it is corrected. The solution is trivial, place a thermometer next to a heat reflector such as asphalt and compare to one neutrally placed. The difference is over 5C deg. Therefore any “correction” less than 5C is incorrect. Same for air conditioner exhausts; even worse really since that delta could be over 15C. The bit about the sparser locations having higher temps is especially cute, given that my previous link shows that they are “interpolating” the temperature at those “sparse” locations. In other words, no station at all, just made up numbers, that just happen to show a heating trend that just happens to agree with the theoretical axiom they are trying to promote.

            Next point, the models. Did you read my link earlier where the “simplified climate models” were discussed by the IPCC themselves back in ’97? They are still using refinements of those same methods. They are by no means using the temperature records to CREATE the models, nor have I said so. Instead they are fudging the models to DUPLICATE known temperature records to falsely present accuracy where none exists. They do this primarily by “adjusting” the aerosol mixture to “cool” the formulas. Look at my Hansen link below, he testified before Congress that they had better take his “predictions” seriously because his climate model was so accurate at reconstructing the past. Of course his “predictions’ have been complete disasters.

            Finally your dodgy statistics story. Epic fail. By your logic we could save ourselves the entire political process and let a couple folks elect the next president. Statistics don’t work that way. The larger the sample the higher the probability that you’ve “captured” reality. Period. This isn’t open for debate there are many thousands of papers that prove this. Conversely a sparse sample size is virtually guaranteed to be inaccurate unless you are extremely lucky (not a statistical term) in picking your sample. All of statistics revolves around this basic fact. Clearly if you counted /everything/ you would have the perfect answer with probability 1.0 that your answer is correct. AGW warmists want to shuffle the deck on the world economy with a very poor confidence interval and they’re making it smaller when they should be making it larger.

            Finally your last statement, global warming would still be “unequivocal”. AGW doesn’t say the globe is getting warmer, it goes further and claims the world is getting warmer, it is ACCELERATING and HUMANS (specifically CO2 emissions) are the CAUSE.

            I have friends in New Zealand. Were you aware they were experiencing record cold during our heat wave? Also in the same article do you notice that their previous record cold was also coincident with the hottest temp year on record 1938? In fact the northern latitude is warming more than the southern.Report

            • Avatar Andy Smith in reply to wardsmith says:

              Ward, for the record, I’m a Ph.D. scientist, not in the climate field, I don’t claim any expertise in this area beyond what general scientific training can confer. I posted those quotes just so others here would know these points are the subject of debate, that the skeptics have not made charges that those who accept AGW have no answer to. Obviously, the question is, whose answers are better? I’m certainly not well qualified here.

              My understanding is that there are very few if any sensors that read 5 degrees too high? It seems to me that if they did, the estimates of warming would be far higher than they in fact are. Everyone admits that some sensors are inaccurate because of their placement, the question is, how many and to what degree? If we agree that a large number of sensors do not have this problem, then it is possible to make comparisons. Do you think they haven’t? There is also the wind vs. calm comparison for any specific sensor near a man-made heat source. I can’t comment on the interpolation, as I don’t know how many data points have been created in this way, except as it impacts statistics (see below).

              With regard to the models and your fudging charge. I believe you mean that the gas composition is adjusted in order to produce temperatures in line with those that are actually observed. The question is, is the method converging on an increasingly narrower range of parameters that continues to predict the temperatures fairly accurately, or is it constantly changed, year to year, to fit the new temperature data? If the latter, I would call that fudging, but the former seems to me inevitable when working with a lot of unknowns.

              As for statistics, your analogy with the electoral process actually supports the author’s point. Polls that sample as few as 500-1000 people are generally highly accurate (at the time of the polling of course; opinions can and do change over time). As you undoubtedly are aware, sampling error is related to the absolute number of people polled, regardless of how large the population is. So even a tiny sample of a nation of hundreds of millions of voters—if it’s representative (another issue, obviously)–can be highly accurate. Of course the more samplings the smaller the error, but the point the author was making, which is surely true, is that there are far more sensors than are needed for a highly accurate estimate. If you believe that the overwhelming majority of these sensors are inaccurate, so that only a few dozen or even a couple of hundred out of thousands can be relied on—and even their data are contaminated by the inputs from the much larger of effectively contaminated sensors—then yes, I agree, we have a problem. But—and again, I’m not well read in this area, I freely admit this—I have not seen evidence on that scale.

              The unequivocal comment, of course, refers to the fact that there are multiple independent lines of evidence for warming, including not only temperature measurements of different kinds, but effects of the warming. The latter, to be sure, do not prove that the warming is man-made, or if it is, that it results from CO2 (love the way some people think if warming is not due to CO2 the problem disappears, that we don’t have to be concerned about it—that these urban heat islands are nothing at all worry about; let’s also remember that there are potential positive feedback systems between water warming and CO2 and water vapor release).Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Andy Smith says:

                “Ward, for the record, I’m a Ph.D. scientist, not in the climate field…”

                …which, according to some people, means you aren’t qualified to discuss the topic at all. Becase only climatologists can discuss climate, right?Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to DensityDuck says:

                … only people who can Read A Fucking Trendline are competent to discuss the topic, yes. This is a required skill in 8th grade math.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kim says:

                Your contention that discussion of climate and climatology is not limited to climatologists is duly noted for the record.Report

              • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Andy Smith says:

                Andy, please come visit some of our other OP’s and post there. Neurophysiology is of intense interest to many of us and you’re more capable of giving intelligent input there than the rest of us. This post for instance could do with some expert insight.

                My science background is in computer engineering and information theory with lots of sidetracks to new vistas because of the clarion call of business and the desire for wealth. Got the wealth, then retired, then un-retired, then re-retired, then un-retired. The usual dilettante lifestyle of a 1st worlder.

                I’m not a climate scientist but have done more than enough models to know one can’t place one’s faith in them. My beef with AGW started with the models and only grew as I studied it in more detail.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

                … your cell phone says different. General Relativity, after all, is just a way of modeling our world.Report

  3. We just had the hottest September 3rd on record (102 degres) and the coldest September 5th on record (71 degres).

    Not sure what that means but it sure was weird.Report

    • That’s how climate change is — the ways of the Lord, uh, I mean climate change, are mysterious. More shall be revealed.Report

      • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

        It’s actually not that mysterious if you actually take the time to read and learn about it. It’s only mysterious if you let your political ideology cloud your thinking.Report

        • Avatar NoPublic in reply to E.D. Kain says:

          To be fair, at least one of the prevalent political forces in the country has spent literally decades dumbing down ideas to fit into bite-size morsels. When you say “Global Warming” all certain people have room for in their brain is “Hurf Durf Hotter”. Then you show them a blizzard and they go “*BZZZT*” and you’ve programmed them for life. No amount of actual facts will shift their thought process (such as it is) one iota. Actually learning something about the subject would crowd out their fantasy football stats or something actually important.Report

          • Avatar MFarmer in reply to NoPublic says:

            We are so stupid. Any criticism at all makes the one criticizing a moron — nice defense system there. Then there’s always the assumption that the person hasn’t read anything about climate change. Yep, mysterious indeed, pass the collection plate and turn off your mind.Report

            • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

              That’s a non-response, Mike. That’s like saying the same thing you just said with a few extra words.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                That’s a non-reponse, E.D. — you have no proof, yet you make the claim — prove me wrong! HaReport

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                At this point you’re practically incoherent, Mike. I have no proof of what? Prove you wrong about what – specifically?

                I’m fully aware that if you’re a climate change denialist, you can’t be persuaded otherwise, especially if your anti-government philosophy is as hardcore as yours.

                Are you asking me to prove you wrong that climate change is not “like the Lord” and mysterious?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to E.D. Kain says:

                No, I’m asking for the proof of the existence of God. Isn’t that what we were talking about?Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                Or was it how stupid Perry is? I forget. I’m incoherently confused at this point — the heat’s getting to me.Report

              • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to MFarmer says:

                What you’re talking about and what I’m talking about are inevitably two very different things.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer says:

                That post shouldn’t have stopped in March. Most of Texas is now in the most servere drought category. Central Texas just had its dryest August ever, and its second dryest month ever. July was similar. July and August were also the 2nd and 1st hottest months ever recorded in Austin (July was the hottest, until August beat it). The summer in Austin is now the hottest ever recorded, with an average temperature of 90 degrees (not an average high, an average temperature), 80 days of 100+ weather (beating the previous record of 69), 23 days of 105+ weather (beating the previous record of 21), and we have had 1 significant rainfall since August, 2010 (we are about a foot behind for the year). More acreage has burned in Texas this season than any previously recorded, and the fires in Central Texas are beyond unprecedented.

                I won’t say whether this is due to global climate change, but to deny that the conditions in Texas, and Central Texas in particular, are not extremely unusual, historically, would be pure stupidity. And let’s not forget, 2009 was also one of the dryest, and until this year, the second hottest summer on record.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to MFarmer says:

                In case you doubt my point about the drought, here is the current drought monitor map for Texas:


                Note that the vast majority of the state is now in the Exceptional category, and has been, in fact, since May or June.Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to MFarmer says:

              … the people who say that a giant blizzard in February is proof against global warming ignore the fact that it was warmer than usual temperatures that created that blizzard.

              I don’t take you as that sort. It is possible to be skeptical, without saying “It can’t be Happening!” (diff between agnostic and atheist)Report

            • Avatar NoPublic in reply to MFarmer says:

              I didn’t say you hadn’t *read* about climate change. You’ve at least googled it or your links wouldn’t be so profuse. What I said was you haven’t *learned* anything about it. There’s a really really big difference there.Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to MFarmer says:

                So NoPublic (if that’s your real name), if climate change can potentially destroy the planet, what drastic changes should we make right, and why? In the end, if all the research is mostly true and unquestionable, then we’re in crisis that calls for major changes to our way of life. If the experts know this to be true and the powers-that-be at the highest levels know this to be true, shouldn’t there be enforced changes in order to save the world? Or, are the effects of climate change questionable regarding the need for drastic actions? Can we rely on technology to offset the deterimental effects and welcome the beneficial effects, like better crop yields? I’m open to learning from those who know more about the subject.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to MFarmer says:

                russia and canada get better crop yields. southwest gets worse.
                As to enforced changes? Ya, and people are doing it. People != Americans, who are being nogoodniks.
                We don’t know how bad it’s going to get, honestly. It could be only lose florida territory (and manhattan, and most of DC).
                I think if we’re smart, we can use our technology to mitigate further problems.
                But how in the hell do we get better crop yields, when we depend on oil for crops? (fertilizer, among other things)Report

              • Avatar MFarmer in reply to Kim says:

                Oh well, if it’s manhattan and DC, I say let’s heat ‘er up!Report

  4. Avatar Kyle Cupp says:

    On a less macro-policy scale, campfire bans may seem like a terrible affront to personal liberty, but in a bad drought with high winds, lighting a campfire that soon turns into a wildfire that burns homes and cattle and wilderness lands strikes me as much worse. You can think of climate change legislation on similar terms.

    This is a helpful analogy, and it illustrates the fact that what can be a matter of personal liberty can also be a matter of widespread public consequence. We can’t justly act as though we’re merely isolated autonomous individuals doing our own thing.Report

  5. Avatar wardsmith says:

    There has been a lot of crap slung my way on this topic and I think E.D. relishes the opportunity to play pile on with this subject viz his recent multiple OP’s on the subject. I’ve stated countless times that the AGW story is political and not scientific – virtually all of E.D.’s posts reinforce that mantra. I’ve also refuted multiple points on multiple fronts coming from multiple interlocutors but have been told I’m “skipping around”. Fair enough, I’m doing this part time and unpaid like everyone else.

    @Kim has said what is my proof? I point to the satellite record. That has become a less compelling proof now that NASA has begun fudging the numbers. shown here. Before it became the topic of Climategate emails (and coverups) even the “team” admitted to it. Full text follows: From: Kevin Trenberth
    To: Michael Mann
    Subject: Re: BBC U-turn on climate
    Date: Mon, 12 Oct 2009 08:57:37 -0600
    Cc: Stephen H Schneider , Myles Allen , peter stott , “Philip D. Jones” , Benjamin Santer , Tom Wigley , Thomas R Karl , Gavin Schmidt , James Hansen , Michael Oppenheimer

    Hi all

    Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low. This is January weather (see the Rockies baseball playoff game was canceled on saturday and then played last night in below freezing weather).

    Trenberth, K. E., 2009: An imperative for climate change planning: tracking Earth’s global energy. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 1, 19-27, doi:10.1016/j.cosust.2009.06.001. [1][PDF] (A PDF of the published version can be obtained from the author.)

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

    There have been multiple “restatements” on this statement many coming from Trenberth himself. However there was no confusion at the time among his audience of climate scientists and their responses indicated they did not “misunderstand” what he said. ALL their models indicated far greater warming than had occurred for the previous DECADE, which in fact was essentially flat, even with data “manipulations”. Because they /expect/ the data to show temperatures increasing, they make it so. Unfortunately that isn’t so easy with satellite data, not to mention that their models also predicted lower tropospheric temperature increases that have NEVER OCCURRED.

    Trenberth’s paper was in response to this one. In hindsight and as shown elsewhere NASA “fixed” the problem by /adjusting/ the satellite data SPECIFICALLY TO MATCH THE SURFACE TEMPERATURES.

    I’ve shown elsewhere that the surface records are suspect for multiple reasons. I’ve shown here that the satellite records don’t match the surface records. Even the climate scientists are concerned with that mismatch because it blows holes through all their models. Unlike Michaelson and Morley however they didn’t respond ethically by re-examining their methods and putting the aberrant data out to the whole scientific community to find out the truth. Instead they obfuscated it, hid behind false interpretation of freedom of information requests and ultimately destroyed data. These are not my kind of heroes.

    @Patrick continues to attempt to sucker me into a game of proving a negative. I am no fool. The inductive logic approach compels me to substantiate an infinite number of assertions to “win” the proof. I can drill as many holes as I like in his leaky AGW boat, but he and Kim can always claim there is a lot of substance left to the boat, so therefore I haven’t succeeded. Of course the definition of boat is something that still floats.

    Weather is too complex to forecast more than 14 days out. It is the epitome of hubris to presume that climate can be forecast 100 years out.Report

    • Avatar E.D. Kain in reply to wardsmith says:

      Yes, this is all about you.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

      > There has been a lot of crap slung my way on this topic

      To the best of my knowledge, Ward, you’re the one that keeps calling me an idiot or a stooge. I’ve tried hard to remain polite until this particular thread.

      You’re also the one accusing people of deliberate scientific misconduct, collusion, and global conspiracy… and accused NASA, the National Science Foundation, and a couple dozen other organizations of deliberate whitewashing.

      That’s an awful lot of accusations on your side, and thusfar not much leveled your way.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Kim called me a fool and I quote “In short, DD, Ward and other fools.” I’ve text searched and fool occurs twice in this OP, I said I was no fool and Kim called me one. I have at no time called you a fool Patrick nor would I.

        You’ve had some less than gentlemanly words towards me however.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

          One call of “fool” is not “a lot of crap”.

          > You’ve had some less than gentlemanly
          > words towards me however.

          I’m not keeping score, Ward, but I’m pretty sure you’ve either directly accused me (or at the very least implied that these must be the case for me to have the position that I have) of being biased, deluded, obtuse, stuck in group-think, uncritical, and probably a couple dozen other things besides. IN ALL CAPS occasionally.

          When I’ve asked you to either clearly accuse me or acquit me of these charges, you have not replied.

          So far, I’ve asked you to give me your standard of proof and explain the causal reasoning behind your implied, but not directly nor described, belief in a global conspiracy.

          And you’re the persecuted one, and I’m the unmannerly?Report

    • Avatar Jeff Wong in reply to wardsmith says:

      Your links to NASA temperature data don’t work. I would like to see them.

      Plus, we’re dealing with averages here. I can’t tell you the temperature of September but I can tell you it will *probably* be colder than August.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Jeff Wong says:

        @Jeff, this link? or the interpolation one?

        @Pat, why do I need a “global conspiracy”? Why would someone need to worry about sabotaging the entire world economy when he can simply upgrade his personal wealth ala Hansen’a $1.2 Million? Don’t like that source? How about this one?
        “Hansen’s Payback$

        James Hansen has become one of the most financially rewarded government employed alarmists.


        “Climate scientist Hansen wins $100,000 prize” [http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63636N20100407]

        “U.S. climate scientist James Hansen won a $100,000 environmental prize Wednesday [2010 Apr 7] for decades of work trying to alert politicians to what he called an unsolved emergency of global warming.

        … Hansen, born in 1941, will visit Oslo in June to collect the Sophie Prize, set up in 1997 by Norwegian Jostein Gaarder, the author of the 1991 best-selling novel and teenagers’ guide to philosophy “Sophie’s World.” … “We really have an emergency,” Hansen said”

        The Heinz Center for Science, Economy and the Environment (run by John Kerry’s wife Teresa Heinz) gave Hansen $250,000 in 2001 for promoting the AGW scare [http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/3671] (Enron’s Ken Lay was one of the founding board members of the Heinz Center (http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0407/12/lkl.00.html%5D, and Enron was one of the biggest promoters of the Kyoto cap and trade.)

        George Soros’ Open Society Institute gave Hansen $720,000 to promote alarmist claims

        [http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2007/09/26/nasa-s-hansen-mentioned-soros-foundations-annual-report] ”

        This would be the self-same NASA scientist who very publicly claimed that he was being “muzzled” by the Bush administration. Muzzled apparently is a new word meaning he gave over 1500 interviews during his muzzlement.

        Again, Lindzen gets a whopping $5000 to sit on an environmental panel by Exxon and he’s a stooge of oil while Hansen collects millions (that we know of) and he’s an environmental hero.

        You’re not a dolt Patrick, you’re just supporting a bunch of them.

        My language and posts have ever been gentlemanly. I’m sorry for the caps, have been trying to use /’s instead but old habits die hard.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

          > @Pat, why do I need a “global conspiracy”?

          Well, I think I may have mentioned this before… but…

          > Why would someone need to worry about
          > sabotaging the entire world economy when
          > he can simply upgrade his personal wealth
          > ala Hansen’a $1.2 Million?

          $1.2 million dollars does seem like a lot of money.

          Almost all the money in the world passes through companies that are energy producers or directly rely upon fossil fuels for a major chunk of their operations, something I pointed out on that other thread that I’m now too lazy to go reference.

          Explain to me how an industry that has recently been demonstrated to have a pretty nice case of regulatory capture hasn’t managed to counteract this $1.2 million.

          Seriously. If someone is willing to cast aside all ethical principle and whore himself out for a paltry $1.2 million, why isn’t he picking up the phone and calling BP and asking for 5?

          Okay, I suppose that’s possible, although it strains my credulity a bit. Let’s pass on that one, and call it a coin flip.

          Even if you don’t want to go down *that* road…

          Isn’t this the same charge people level against McIntyre?

          This goes back (yet again) to that whole standard of evidence thing, Ward. Why do you regard your link as sufficient evidence suitable to support a charge of malfeasance against Hansen, but you don’t agree with people who use the same sort of evidence to support a similar charge of malfeasance against McIntyre?

          Because without a standard of evidence, one can accept one guy as not biased and reject another one as biased far too easily just by by one’s own bias.

          Personally, I’m more willing to give some credence to claims of funding bad science from corporations than I am from the NSF, because corporations have an actual vested monied interest in the outcomes of scientific research, but the NSF does not. While there is probably a personal political bias there, that is going to change as the appointees change.

          Big However: in any event, “some credence” ain’t enough for my personal standard of evidence. To be clear: I don’t think McIntyre is a stooge for the oil industry. I think he’s wrong, and I think it’s in the best interests of the oil industry for his research to get funding, and I think that’s enough to explain why he’s getting *his* money, without assuming nefariousness. But by the same token, I don’t find your evidence of Hansen making money enough to convict him of that charge, either.

          They’re both likely doing what they can to address what they legitimately see as problems, and they’re both people persons who aren’t going to turn down money when someone offers it to them. Shoot, I don’t (I wish someone would offer me $100,000).

          Finally, you do still need a global conspiracy, Ward. Because people still need to read his papers. They need to do literature reviews. They need to design their own research.

          And when they run their stuff, as a project that goes for 1-4 years, in order to get that silly piece of paper that enables them to land a cushy academic job (assuming they can find one, when tenure track positions are pretty much nonexistent in most fields – except mine, thank goodness)… they’re going to find all sorts of stuff that don’t fit.

          Then they go back and ask why it don’t fit. They might rework their research once or twice assuming they screwed it up, but on the third time they’re going to assume somebody else screwed the pooch (around these parts, it’s the opposite: egoism runs large at ‘Tech, not unjustifiably).

          Now, I’m not a climate scientist, myself, but I know geologists, economists, computer scientists, and a slew of soft-science researchers. I have no authoritative grounds to say that every researcher is exactly the same, when it comes to motivations. Certainly not at every institution.

          Almost all the guys and gals I know (not just people here) love catching the establishment with their collective pants down. They love publishing results that challenge standing results (and it’s usually easier to get that stuff through review, actually).

          That just doesn’t match with the idea that even a few well-placed folk can change the course of a field for 30 years. For a research project? Sure. At one location? Yep, that happens too, although it’s rare.Report

    • Avatar Kim in reply to wardsmith says:

      … and yet that’s what you do, forecast 100 years out. by saying taht the models are wrong. falsification of that hypothesis involves affirming the alternate hypothesis: “temperatures in 100 years will either be the same, or less than current.”

      …MFarmer is far more honest than you: he says, “take global warming as a given — then what?”Report

  6. Avatar wardsmith says:

    Yes Erik, to quote you, “we need to get beyond this stupid political debate and start paying attention to actual data.” Let’s see now, I’ve posted actual data and actual proof that data supporting AGW is suspect at best and outright fraudulent at worst. Your proof is where? And please, no appeal to authority. Actual factual proof. Oh and weather isn’t proof (as the AGW side said ad nauseum when the weather was record cold such as during the last IPCC meetings in balmy Copenhagen and Cancun.

    The earth is 70% water. The mass of earth’s water is literally billions of times greater than the mass of the atmosphere. Thermal mass still means something in actual science classes (see heat capacity). Water and the sun drive climate far more than a simple trace gas ever COULD.

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.Report

    • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

      “The earth is 70% water. The mass of earth’s water is literally billions of times greater than the mass of the atmosphere.”

      Citation needed; this doesn’t match the numbers I just found in a couple of minutes of Googling. Assuming these numbers are correct…

      The atmosphere has a mass of about 5×10^18 kg

      The liquid water mass is 1.35 x 10^18.

      That’s, uh, less than 3 times. You’re off by a several orders of magnitude.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Whoops, my bad; that second number is in metric tons.

        Still not billions of times bigger. 3,000.Report

      • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        Meant to say the thermal effect was billions of times greater overall. That would account for the 3K mass factor on top of the thermal mass effect (compounding here) versus the 382 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and /its/ effect on temperature. I’d highlighted some text to put in a link then started typing and hit enter before proofing. Was in a hurry to get to cocktails. My bad. Sure wish I could edit my own posts.Report

        • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to wardsmith says:

          Fair ’nuff.

          You’re still off? 1 calorie is required to 1 gram of water 1 degree C, and it requires 0.25 calories to do the same to 1 gram of atmospheric gas the same amount.

          Given that we already worked out there’s 270 times more water than air, by mass, that gives us a caloric heat sink capacity of 270 x 4 = 1080 times more for water than air.

          Hm, wait, that assumes, I assume (my thermodynamics is really, really rusty), equal density, which of course there isn’t when you compare water at a thousand atmos vs. air in the stratosphere.

          Sorry, this is devolving into nitpick land.Report

    • Avatar Tom Van Dyke in reply to wardsmith says:

      Well, this discussion has certainly vindicated this observer’s declining to play this round some weeks ago, having seen most all these arguments [from both sides] often and everywhere else on the internet, with the only reward for the participants being a dose of carpal-tunnel.

      I can drill as many holes as I like in his leaky AGW boat, but he and Kim can always claim there is a lot of substance left to the boat, so therefore I haven’t succeeded. Of course the definition of boat is something that still floats.

      That was funny, and probably what Mr. Smith should have led off with and been done with it.

      The wise rhetorical strategy for “denialists” [esp politicians] is to stipulate that some climate change is occurring but is beyond anything but the most drastic and draconian of countermeasures. This avoids the faith aspect and comparisons to creationists and the like, “anti-scientific” being almost as bad as “racist.”

      My initial challenge of those many weeks ago, for someone to give Al Gore and/or the AGW “community” a clean bill of health about the honesty/accuracy of how they’ve gone about their business, remains untakenup. That was where I preferred to leave it then, and now.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

        CRU engaged in bad marketing of science, and refused requests for information that should have been regarded as legitimate even when they came from a source that was regarded by them as asking in bad faith. Ethically, they don’t get a clean bill of health.

        Al Gore is fat. Seriously.

        Neither charge is sufficient to call into question the entire body of climate science.

        CRU’s adjusted temperature record is undergoing scrutiny, and so far has been more or less validated. GEOSS, if it comes online and isn’t scrubbed for funding purposes, may provide additional validation and certainly will lessen our dependency on the current system of measurement, which is indeed limited.

        Of course, this requires one to believe that GEOSS won’t be poisoned by NASA scientists hell-bent on destroying the modern economy for still-as-yet-largely-unexplained reasons.Report

        • CRU engaged in bad marketing of science, and refused requests for information that should have been regarded as legitimate even when they came from a source that was regarded by them as asking in bad faith. Ethically, they don’t get a clean bill of health.

          Thx, Mr. Cahalan. I knew I could count on you to man up & play it straight.

          Neither charge is sufficient to call into question the entire body of climate science.

          Well, then there’s Mr. Smith’s “boat” argument. For myself, I dislike polemics exceedingly in the search for truth. Proving the other fellow wrong doesn’t make you right.

          I was familiar with Mr. Smith’s objections but wasn’t going to spend the time documenting/retyping them for an unswayable foil—not that Mr C’s conviction on the subject is unreasonable. But for myself, I just don’t trust the AGW establishment. We’re asked to ignore these controversies and look at the rest of the evidence, a legitimate request in search of the truth. I’m not qualified to assess their science and methodology, but they have relinquished any claim to my—our—trust on any of it. How does the wayward husband win back his wife’s trust?

          Especially that fat, erroneous if not lying, hyperbolic and hypocritical creep from whom the Electoral College saved us in 2000.

          But that last bit’s another story. And I’m not even going there, his personal life. That was a coincidence of cleverness and metaphor, I swear.

          The fact is that the AGW establishment still hasn’t cleaned its house. They continue to let Al Gore trot out there without the correction and chastisement he’s earned. They should call for his movie being pulled, and an apology made to every parent whose kid was subjected to it in class. [Those who paid to see it, well, they stopped reading this many paragraphs ago.]

          My arguments are formal here, about the epistemology and penumbras of how the AGW debate is conducted, not the science itself, which is over my head and over the head of anyone who’s in a position to do anything about it. Except our Nobel prize-winning Secretary of Energy. I haven’t heard his name since he was appointed. Is he in a coma or hiding in a bunker somewheres? WTF?

          [A quick google sez he’s still alive, out there bleating the bleat on the rubber-chicken circuit. Why isn’t he on the front lines? It sez he digs alternative energy (duh) but also nuclear and the Keystone XL pipeline. So like, WTF?]Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            Are you familiar with a set of books called Shadow World? In there is a set of tidal charts. It should be fairly easy for you to write a program that will generate them, given the data involved (masses of moons, and what not).

            You might wonder why I’m asking you to do this? It’s simple, really. I believe that reproducing work by a reputable scientist is the best way that you can confirm that they’re reputable.

            Do I ask that you think that all scientists are reputable based on one person? No, I should think not! But he does write climate models, and I think you can take his word based not only on an extensive literature search, but also his own work.

            I accuse you of acting in worse faith than DD or wardsmith. You are acting in a partisan fashion, by accusing Gore of publishing things in his movie that are untrue (what, i’m not exactly sure, as you don’t state). I happen to know a scientist who submitted research for Gore’s “movie” [it was a powerpoint presentation. not oscar material.]

            I do not ask of you to blindly trust the AGW establishment. Hell, I’m asking you to trust the work of a damn fine investigative reporter, who occasionally writes climate models (among other things!).

            Yet, I do believe you will lump my friend into the “establishment” for no reason other than he disagrees with you, who pretends to be agnostic while flamebreathing all over Gore (who may not be the world’s best person — that was Gandhi, who slathered himself with shit.)Report

            • Avatar wardsmith in reply to Kim says:

              Falsehoods in Gore’s movie
              Why I agree with this guy

              There is and has been something fishy in Denmark, but if you plug your noses hard enough the stench doesn’t reach you.

              Models do what they are programmed to do, nothing more, nothing less. I’ve programmed hundreds. Climate models have been programmed to force atmospheric heating (including heating from the air to the land bending severely the thermodynamic law that says heat goes from the hotter to the colder place – unfortunately the atmosphere is almost always colder). Don’t conflate temperature with heat. Delta temperature causes heat flow.

              @Pat My poorly written post above was comparing the specific heat content (not sink) of water to CO2 in the atmosphere. Take your same equation and factor in the parts per Million that is CO2 (the majority gasses in the atmosphere are completely transparent to infrared, the entire purpose of this exercise).

              I’ve spent far too long on this subject. Peruse Cheatham’s site he says everything I would say better than I can in little input windows on a chat board.Report

          • Avatar Patrick Cahalan in reply to Tom Van Dyke says:

            > Why isn’t he on the front lines?

            I shall guess…

            > It sez he digs alternative energy
            > but also nuclear and the Keystone
            > XL pipeline. So like, WTF?


            People here in California are freaked out about the Japan meltdown. Greenies everywhere hate the pipeline. They all vote Blue.

            Trotting out your head Energy dude and have him tell all those people they need to pull their collective heads out their asses ain’t gonna get the vote out next year.

            I despair, Tom, of the Democratic Party. Probably as much as you shake your head at Grand Ol’.

            Nobody wants to have an adult conversation. On the other hand, there’s maybe 10% of the registered, voting population that actually wants to have it, either.Report