Science has been sitting on his critique of Dessler’s paper for months”


On Recent Criticisms of My Research

By Dr. Roy Spencer

One of the downsides of going against the supposed “consensus of scientists” on global warming — other than great difficulty in getting your research funded and published — is that you get attacked in the media. In the modern blogging era, this is now easier to do than ever.

I have received many requests recently to respond to an extended blog critique by Barry Bickmore of my book, The Great Global Warming Blunder. The primary theme of my book was to present evidence that scientists have mixed up cause and effect when diagnosing feedbacks in the climate system, and as a result could have greatly overestimated how sensitive the climate system is to our addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning.

For those interested, here is our most extensive peer reviewed and published evidence for my claim.

But for now, instead of responding to blog posts, I am devoting all the time I can spare to responding to peer-reviewed and published criticism of my work. The main one is Andy Dessler’s paper in Science from last fall, which claimed to find positive cloud feedback in the same 10 years of NASA satellite radiative energy balance (CERES) data we have been analyzing.

In his paper, Dessler dismissed all of the evidence we presented with a single claim: that since (1) the global temperature variations which occurred during the satellite record (2000-2010) were mostly caused by El Nino and La Nina, and (2) no one has ever demonstrated that “clouds cause El Nino”, then there could not be a clouds-causing-temperature-change contamination of his cloud feedback estimate.

But we now have clear evidence that El Nino and La Nina temperature variations are indeed caused in large measure by changes in clouds, with the cloud changes coming months in advance of the temperature changes.

And without going into detail, I will say it now appears that this is not the only major problem with Dessler’s diagnosis of positive cloud feedback from the data he presented. Since we will also be submitting this evidence to Science, and they are very picky about the newsworthiness of their articles, I cannot provide any details.

Of course, if Science refuses to publish it, that is another matter. Dick Lindzen has recently told me Science has been sitting on his critique of Dessler’s paper for months. Science has demonstrated an editorial bias against ’skeptical’ climate papers in recent years, something I hope they will correct.

In the meantime, I will not be wasting much time addressing blog criticisms of my work. The peer-reviewed literature is where I must focus my attention.

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108 thoughts on “Science has been sitting on his critique of Dessler’s paper for months”

  1. The world can only advance from all these studies, whether whatever the cause(s). So in that at least this controversy has greatly advanced our understanding of the natural world.

  2. Dear Dr. Spencer: Looking back on Science’s performance over the past few years I an not surprised. I don’t know if it results from this recent spate of Post Normal foolishness, or just collective Cognitive Dissonance. They have cast their lot with those who are more interested in protecting their grants and advocating for some cause or another, all to often the fundamental components of sound Popperian (Is that how it should be spelled?) Science are being lost.

    What is most disconcerting about attacks by Brickmore and the other under-informed wags, is how far from the mark they can be. In the case of your book, I would personally be flabbergasted if Brickmore actually read it. I looked at his blog. He obviously did not understand it, assuming he read it. On the matter of Science, I simply boycott them. They publish so little ground braking stuff in geology that I can get away with that. Not everyone can or should. In that respect the best way to bring science back to is philosophical grounding is probably example.

    It is obvious the editors at Science are boycotting your blog, WUWT and my philosophical musings too. Otherwise they would surly know better. In my case it is not so much a boycott, as ignorance of my existence. They are in good company on that score.

  3. Re: Peer Review, Pal Review, and Broccoli
    February 17, 2011 by Willis Eschenbach

    The greatest danger in the current peer/pal review system is that important papers can get buried or delayed through excessive review comments and/or ultimate rejection. Yet, there are good reasons for a blind or double-blind peer review process.

    Willis: \\We need a system where we can see what the Editor is doing, because at this point, I don’t trust them one iota //

    To protect authors from adverse delay, to partially open the peer review process, and to protect the business interests of the journals, I propose this middle ground:

    30 days after a journal accepts a paper for peer review
    The Journal should catalog online the Paper Title, Author, Abstract,
    and Review/Acceptance/Publication status.

    + This protects the author with a date of work claim. The Abstract is public giving some connection of the author to the idea.
    + There is no change in the process if a Journal rejects papers within the first 30 days. It is not cataloged.
    + Within the first 30 days, the Abstract should reach publication acceptance or the paper should be rejected outright.
    + The cycles of peer review and revision leaves a public trail.
    + The Journal has a list of “coming attractions” with anticipated publication date. Anticipation of an Abstracted paper should be a win-win for Author and Journal.
    + The Journal is protected because only the Abstract is cataloged, but the paper is still held until published.
    + The Improvement in the quality of Abstracts would be an expected result.

    http://support.elsevier.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/209/~/track-the-status-of-an-accepted-paper

  4. Jack says:
    April 2, 2011 at 10:56 pm
    Have you reviewed this. Apparently, this has been supressed also.
    http://www.omsj.org/corruption/physicist-proves-co2-emissions-irrelevant-in-earth%E2%80%99s-climate

    Always mistrust anything which claims to “prove” that AGW doesn’t (or does) exist.

    The paper you referenced is the Miskolczi paper which, coincidentally, Roy Spencer has commented uopon here:

    http:/www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/comments-on-miskolczi%e2%80%99s-2010-controversial-greenhouse-theory/

  5. The primary theme of my book was to present evidence that scientists have mixed up cause and effect when diagnosing feedbacks in the climate system…..

    Cause and effect are inextricably linked, hence possibility of substituting one for the other. On a rare occasion nature generously provides something that looks like a ‘mirror image’ of an event, but it is neither a cause or effect.
    This appears to be the case where the global temperature (Loehle’s reconstruction) is ‘mirrored’ by changes (first differential) in the Arctic’s geomagnetic field. There is an odd ~110 year period (1380-1490) with a sharp temperature drop when the correlation turns temporarily negative, but subsequently returns to the original tendency.

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/T&dB.htm

  6. As you assume sciencemag (etc) to be biased, wouldn’t it be more reasonable (for you and for lindzen) to go to a different journal. For example one of the egu-open-access-open-review-ones?

  7. If truth in advertising were required, “Science” would be required to relabel their magazine as “Fraud!”

  8. “In the meantime, I will not be wasting much time addressing blog criticisms of my work. The peer-reviewed literature is where I must focus my attention.”

    You are Superman. Thanks for checking in. We do love you.

  9. Frankly, I am beginning to think Miskolczi should get the next Nobel prize in physics.
    After reading Spencers comments and the following discussion.
    A bit of off topic, unqualified to be a peer, commentary.

  10. As I stated here, Dessler made a fundamental error in his reasoning about feedback. He thinks that, if he plots cloud cover versus temperature change and finds a positive slope, then he has positive feedback. That is incorrect. It establishes only positive correlation, not positive feedback.

    The orientation of the phase plot is very much dependent on the phase lag in the system. To see this, plot cos(theta) versus cos(theta+phi) for theta between -pi to pi and choose phi to be a constant in that range. Try different values. Can you make the plot tilt in either direction? If you followed the instructions, yes you can.

    Positive feedback can, however, usually be determined by the direction (clockwise or counterclockwise) of the loops, because a positive feedback induces a leading phase (phi is positive), while negative feedback induces a lagging phase. Counterclockwise encirclement strongly suggests negative feedback. Spenser found counterclockwise encirclements. Ergo, the feedback is almost surely negative.

  11. Roy Spencer says:

    One of the downsides of going against the supposed “consensus of scientists” on global warming — other than great difficulty in getting your research funded and published — is that you get attacked in the media. In the modern blogging era, this is now easier to do than ever.

    Do you think this is unique to going against the consensus of scientists? You might look around at some of the “consensus scientists” and what they have been subjected to. After all, despite the fact that your initial papers regarding the lower tropospheric temperatures turned out to have several errors in the analysis that significantly affected the conclusions, I don’t think you have been subjected to witch-hunts by Congressional committees and attorneys general like Mann et al. have. (And, just to be 100% clear here, I am not saying that you should have been subjected to such things … I am just saying that others shouldn’t have either.)

    I think you have been, for the most part, treated rather well in the blogosphere…and in the political sphere…compared to Mann, Hansen, Jones, Briffa, etc.

  12. Your work is the most important work in climate science at this time. I pray that God showers you and your work with unbounded Grace and Blessings. Success in your work will follow quickly. Thanks for informing us about what you are doing.

  13. I should have been clearer for those who want to try the experiment. Plot cos(theta+phi) on the Y axis, cos(theta) on X. You will see CW encirclements for phi positive and CCW for phi negative.

  14. Joel Shore says:

    “I don’t think you have been subjected to witch-hunts by Congressional committees and attorneys general like Mann et al. have.”

    Dr Spencer hasn’t been picking the taxpayers’ pockets while hiding his data and methodologies. BTW, where is Mann’s MBH98 data, anyway? Been 13 years now.

  15. ROY

    You and all the so-called skeptics should start up a new climate science journal.

  16. Harold Pierce Jr,

    “So called?” Apparently you are unaware that skepticism is a necessary part of the scientific method. As is complete transparency.

    Mainstream climate pseudo-science has neither. Why do you suppose that is?

  17. John Finn,

    While I respect Dr. Roy Spencer’s work, I totally disagree with his evaluation and interpretation Dr. Miskolczi’s work. I believe that Dr. Spencer is dismissing what he genuinely believes is Dr. Miskolczi’s theoretical work because he is hung up on simple mis-interpretation of Dr. Miskolczi’s model. I can not go into detail here but suffice it to say that it possible for Dr. Spencer to be wrong on some things and this is one where he has blundered badly.

    Most people do not realize that there are two components to Dr. Miskolczi’s work.
    One is theoretical and the other observational. Even if totally dismiss Miskolczi’s theoretical work entirely, you still have to address what he has found observationally.

    HE HAS SHOWN FROM OBSERVATION [deliberate use of capitals] that the mean infra red opacity of the atmosphere has not changed significantly over the last 60 years or so. Given, that the infra-red opacity of the atmosphere must have increased because of additional Co2, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from his OBSERVATIONS [deliberate use of capitals] is that some other green-house must be compensating for the increased opacity due to CO2. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the “other green-house gas” is water vapor.

    In fact, if you actually do a spectral analysis of the infra-red opacity of the atmosphere
    over the last 60 years, you find that the spectral signature is exactly the same as the spectral signature of water vapor changes in the atmosphere that are induced by the El Nino/La Nina/ENSO climate phenomena.

    Surprise, surprise, surprise! The increase in infra-red opacity of the atmosphere due to Co2 is roughly being negated by a decrease in infra-red opacity due to the decrease in the specific humidity (water vapor mass per Kg of air) of the upper troposphere in the tropics.

    Why is this happening you ask? For the simple reason that increasing energy input in the lower troposphere in the tropics has resulted in an increase in convective overturning along the zone of convergence. The net result of this higher rate of convective overturning is the massive pumping of de-humidified air into the upper troposphere, lowering the overall specific humidity in this important region of the atmosphere.

    When you combine this with the fact that half the Earth’s surface area lies between + and – 30 degrees of latitude, and the fact that most of the solar energy deposited in the atmosphere takes place in the tropics, it isn’t surprising that this negative feedback mechanism, caused by lower amounts of water vapor in the upper (tropical) troposphere plays a dominant role in setting the infra-red opacity of the Earth’s atmosphere.

    Dr. Miskolczi should be given credit for point out this important result. If you accept what he is saying (and no one has shown that his observational evidence is wrong), then you must conclude that Co2 has been relegated to a bit player in controlling the overall heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.

  18. Smokey says:

    Dr Spencer hasn’t been picking the taxpayers’ pockets while hiding his data and methodologies. BTW, where is Mann’s MBH98 data, anyway? Been 13 years now.

    He didn’t hide anything. Those are all just excuses. What you really don’t like is the results. The rest is basically just trumped up nonsense.

  19. Smokey says:

    Apparently you are unaware that skepticism is a necessary part of the scientific method.

    We’re well aware of that. We also think that perhaps you should try practicing it sometime.

  20. Joel Shore preposterously says:

    Michael Mann “didn’t hide anything.”

    OBVIOUSLY Joel Shore has never read The Hockey Stick Illusion, in which the decade long saga of Steve McIntyre’s tireless – and ultimately unsuccessful – efforts to get Mann to disclose his code and methodologies is thoroughly documented, chapter and verse, with extensive footnotes.

    Joel problably even truly believes his own nonsense. But for anyone else, a visit to Climate Audit will set Joel’s phony record straight. Do an archive search there for MBH98, Mann ’08, Hockey Stick, Wegman, Disclosure, MBH, or any of the topics along the left sidebar.

    Michael Mann has never cooperated with McIntyre’s numerous requests for full disclosure – a necessary part of the scientific method, a topic that Joel Shore seems constantly ignorant about.

    Skepticism is necessary for the scientific method to work, and as I’ve told Joel Shore numerous times, skeptics have nothing to prove. Therefore, scientific skeptics simply ask questions, and request all underlying raw data, methods, etc. But that information is deliberately withheld IMHO for one reason: if Michael Mann disclosed all of his data, methodologies, metadata and code, he would face charges of scientific misconduct, and he knows it. So he stonewalls.

  21. Joel Shore says:
    April 3, 2011 at 5:32 pm
    Smokey says:

    Apparently you are unaware that skepticism is a necessary part of the scientific method.

    We’re well aware of that. We also think that perhaps you should try practicing it sometime.
    ——————————————-

    Who is the “We” in “We’re” Joel ?? Do you remind people who use the word “Skeptic” in private as a pejorative of this when you’re faced with it ??

    Answer: NO

  22. Joel Shore says:

    (And, just to be 100% clear here, I am not saying that you [Roy Spencer] should have been subjected to such things … I am just saying that others shouldn’t have either.)

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

    What a complete breach of logic if there ever was one!

    So you are saying an honest scientist should get the same treatment (or lack thereof)…as a dishonest one?

    For shame…coming from a physicist. Tsk tsk.

    Keep whining, though. Its entertaining.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  23. Joel Shore (in reply to R. Spencer) says: “I think you have been, for the most part, treated rather well in the blogosphere…and in the political sphere…compared to Mann, Hansen, Jones, Briffa, etc.”

    He probably gets well treated because his science is open and fully disclosed as the scientific method requires. But your comment is totally irrelevant as a reply since he is not complaining about being “unfairly treated” in the blogosphere.

    His is complaining about biased and obstructional behaviour of major journals in reviewing papers (not just his own) for publication.

    This is not a “poor little me, they are being unfair” whinge , it a serious condemnation of malpractice that is preventing the proper functioning of science on a topic that is supposed to justify reorganising the world.

    There have been some errors in some aspects of Dr. Spencer’s papers. These have been found and corrected precisely because he is open and subjects his work to scientific review.

    Without full disclosure that permits full replication and verification science is not science. If you cannot understand that then you are not a scientist.

  24. Nindertharna April 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Thanks; a very useful summary of Miskolczi; and another reminder of the travesty surrounding his work.

  25. philincalifornia says:

    Who is the “We” in “We’re” Joel ?? Do you remind people who use the word “Skeptic” in private as a pejorative of this when you’re faced with it ??

    Answer: NO

    (1) I used “we” because I was responding to something that Smokey said in response to another poster not to me, although it may have been a little bit presumptuous of me to assume that I was speaking for him too.

    (2) I don’t know anyone who has been critical of AGW skeptics because they think skepticism is bad. It is really because they (we) don’t think that “skeptic” is at all a correct description for many who use that term to describe themselves.

    Smokey says:

    OBVIOUSLY Joel Shore has never read The Hockey Stick Illusion …

    Joel problably even truly believes his own nonsense. But for anyone else, a visit to Climate Audit will set Joel’s phony record straight. …

    Those are not objective sources of information. All actual inquiries have not found any evidence of impropriety; of course, they have all been dismissed as whitewashes by you folks. So, basically, if you are going to set yourselves up as judge and jury, there is no stopping you from reaching your pre-determined conclusion.

    Therefore, scientific skeptics simply ask questions, and request all underlying raw data, methods, etc. But that information is deliberately withheld IMHO for one reason: if Michael Mann disclosed all of his data, methodologies, metadata and code, he would face charges of scientific misconduct, and he knows it. So he stonewalls.

    You forgot the part where some people who call themselves “skeptics” also distort, spread falsehoods or at least statements that they are unable to show evidence for when I called on it, start and repeat non-sensical scientific arguments, etc., etc. (I will remind you of a few instances of this in your own comments if you like.)

    Also, consider that Mann’s recent paper (2008 or 2009) did, as far as I know, make everything publicly available…and that the one thing that he didn’t originally disclose for the earlier papers , his actual code (which the NSF said in no uncertain terms was his own intellectual property), was also eventually released, and that this did not seem to alter these charges of him hiding stuff, etc., etc. So, it seems that these charges are pretty much independent of the facts. They are simply an excuse to discount inconvenient evidence and to taint a whole field of scientific research.

    savethesharks says:

    So you are saying an honest scientist should get the same treatment (or lack thereof)…as a dishonest one?

    No…I am saying that if you are the one who gets to decide who is honest and dishonest and then to treat people accordingly, that may not be the best sort of justice system. Just look at the former Soviet Union and other oppressive regimes. Do you think they oppress their people by taking people who they admit are innocent and mistreating them? No…They always have very good reasons for treating the people the way that they do. It is just that their reasons are based on their own biased reality because they don’t have any sort of independent judicial system.

  26. P. Solar says:

    But your comment is totally irrelevant as a reply since he is not complaining about being “unfairly treated” in the blogosphere.

    His is complaining about biased and obstructional behaviour of major journals in reviewing papers (not just his own) for publication.

    This was the paragraph that I was responding to (which happened to be the opening paragraph of this piece:

    One of the downsides of going against the supposed “consensus of scientists” on global warming — other than great difficulty in getting your research funded and published — is that you get attacked in the media. In the modern blogging era, this is now easier to do than ever.

    P. Solar says:

    This is not a “poor little me, they are being unfair” whinge , it a serious condemnation of malpractice that is preventing the proper functioning of science on a topic that is supposed to justify reorganising the world.

    To a first approximation, everybody who has papers rejected from journals is going to complain that the rejection occurred not because the paper was flawed but because there was a bias against them. And, when I look at the “AGW skeptic” papers that have found or have not their way into peer-reviewed journals, the question is not how some brilliant papers haven’t found their way in but rather how some papers that were at best flawed and at worst ridiculous have found their way in.

  27. Joel Shore says:

    “…when I look at the ‘AGW skeptic’ papers that have found or have not their way into peer-reviewed journals, the question is not how some brilliant papers haven’t found their way in but rather how some papers that were at best flawed and at worst ridiculous have found their way in.”

    That is absolute and total psychological projection: imputing your own faults onto others. Obviously flawed pal reviewed alarmist papers like the Tiljander-based Mann ’08 invention are routinely hand-waved through by friendly or intimidated referees, and science has nothing to do with it.

    And:

    “…some people who call themselves ‘skeptics’ also distort, spread falsehoods or at least statements that they are unable to show evidence for when I called on it, start and repeat non-sensical scientific arguments, etc., etc.”

    I call myself a scientific skeptic because unlike you that is what I am. And glad to see you admit that the alarmist clique distorts, spreads falsehoods, and is unable to produce their fabricated “evidence” when called on it. Harry the programmer would understand. They make up data as they go along. In Mann’s case he knowingly used bad data, and hid data that would have falsified his conclusions. To real scientists that is misconduct.

    You have been forced to admit to alarmist falsehoods, distortion, etc., because they are based on factual events. You say Mann was transparent “as far as I know.” You don’t know much, then. Get up to speed by reading Montford’s The Hockey Stick Illusion, instead of baseless speculating and admittedly ignorant opinion.

    Finally, it doesn’t matter who claims that Michael Mann’s taxpayer-funded work product belongs to him alone, and not to the public that paid for it. That is just being an apologist for intellectual theft.

  28. Smokey says:

    I call myself a scientific skeptic because unlike you that is what I am.

    You seem to fall hook-line-and-sinker for lots of ridiculous scientific arguments for a skeptic…and then refuse to change your views even when it is patiently explained to you why they are wrong.

    And glad to see you admit that the alarmist clique distorts, spreads falsehoods, and is unable to produce their fabricated “evidence” when called on it.

    Sorry, but the “also” referred to what some people who call themselves skeptics do in addition to what you mentioned (“scientific skeptics simply ask questions, and request all underlying raw data, methods, etc.”). It was not referring to what climate scientists do. (I am not going to claim that all scientists who are on the consensus side are perfect and faultless in all of their actions, but that was not what the “also” referred to.)

    In Mann’s case he knowingly used bad data, and hid data that would have falsified his conclusions. To real scientists that is misconduct.

    And here, you provide an example of exactly what I was talking about. When you last made specific charges in regards to this (Tiljander, “censored” directory), I gave evidence that these charges appear to be completely baseless. You did not rebut the evidence (other than to make a totally-unsupported claim about the date on the supplementary part of the NAS Proceedings paper) and yet you continue to repeat these charges.

    Finally, it doesn’t matter who claims that Michael Mann’s taxpayer-funded work product belongs to him alone, and not to the public that paid for it. That is just being an apologist for intellectual theft.

    Well, it kinda does considering that the NSF is the organization who was funding Mann’s work. If you don’t like the current laws regarding intellectual property, then you are welcome to campaign to change them. However, calling the accepted law “intellectual theft” is just setting yourself up as judge and jury and making a decision that has no actual basis in real jurisprudence on the subject. At any rate, Mann has since been going well beyond what NSF requires of him.

    [Note: The NSF was only one of many organizations funding Dr. Mann's work.]

  29. Well, if Scientific American© is any clue… by the time this is over with, Science© will also be relegated to rack next to the fashion mags and the national “aliens ate my broccoli” circulars.

  30. Both “Science” and “nature”, under their current editorial control, are guilty of multiple instances of aiding and abetting science fraud.
    A famous one from the mid 1990’s was their enablement of william Stanley to falsely claim credit for discovery of an important seismological method to predict the eruptions of many volcanoes.
    Stanley and his student not only stole credit for the technique, but he had just finished ignoring the same technique and gotten a substantial number of his colleagues injured or killed in the volcano called ‘Galeras’ in Colombia.

  31. @Joel Shore

    Even with research done in universities, the product of ones research is not ones own, but belongs to the University. Mann working for a government agency means all his work is owned by the public through the government. That is the law and rule. It does not belong to him personally. This covers ALL his data, methods, and materials pertaining to his research. Only a patent can change that.

    This is regardless of the philosophical aspect of science which states that all data and methods must be open and known and offered up for evaluation for any piece of work to be regarded as science in the first place.

    The trials Mann et al. have faced publicly are not only due to their science in and of itself. I believe that is the point being made. Neither is it unreasonable, for the subject matter of climate change is being used to drive extreme economic and political agendas. Such policies with such immense ramifications for those living in jurisdictions enacting them demand that any evidence used for their justification be scrutinized above and beyond what is “normal”, including the individuals generating such information and the ways in which they did it.

    As Mann et al. did resist attempts at getting a look at their raw data and methods (a scientific no-no), and since it has been directly admitted (by Wahl) that there was unaccounted for deletion of e-mails and data relating to the international evaluation of climate change, against the stated rules laid down by that endeavor, the “witch hunts” as you call them have been entirely called for.

    I would hope this would be done to me too if I were in their place (though I hope even more that I would have done things differently from the onset). This isn’t about if AGW is scientifically correct or not, this is about the integrity of science being presented before international governments for guiding policies with far reaching ramifications for their populous. We must make every attempt to be completely sure that the integrity of what is being discussed is upheld, even if it may be painful for those involved.

    The extreme scrutiny this field faces on all sides is good and important. For subject matters of such consequence, it could be argued as critical.

  32. @Joel Shore

    I should make the amendment that the jealous guarding by Mann et al. of their source data is not something so uncommon in science so as to be used to say they are “bad people” or “bad scientists” under normal circumstances, just resistive or hardened (and thus needing others to come along and pull them out of their boxes, as a counter balance). They did eventually give out the data as they should, and as is required in all science, so it appears (if there is still some yet hidden, I have not heard of it). People do naturally resist releasing what they see as their own, even when it is not. For, the vast majority of the time, such deep probing by others is not necessary.

    I think they were just acting normal, and didn’t realize they were getting into a matter that required they act far and above normal. Nothing intentionally malicious beyond simple human nature. But, that is what I personally feel from evaluating what has gone on and what has been said on all sides.

  33. The study of climate change has invaded every branch of government and hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on the study.
    If global warming is so obvious, why is so much money required to prove it? No one wants to plug the source of the money so they keep repeating the same line of thought so the money will not stop.

  34. Ged says:

    Even with research done in universities, the product of ones research is not ones own, but belongs to the University. Mann working for a government agency means all his work is owned by the public through the government. That is the law and rule. It does not belong to him personally. This covers ALL his data, methods, and materials pertaining to his research. Only a patent can change that.

    This statement, if meant to apply to the computer code, is simply wrong. The NSF has been very clear on this point. Yes, the data and methods must be disclosed…but there are limits to what has to be disclosed and, in particular, the release of the actual code itself is not requires. See footnote 4 here for the e-mail from the NSF explaining this that was sent to McIntyre: http://www.realclimate.org/Mann_response_to_Barton.pdf

    This is regardless of the philosophical aspect of science which states that all data and methods must be open and known and offered up for evaluation for any piece of work to be regarded as science in the first place.

    That philosophy has always recognized that a balance must be struck. Yes, you are supposed to release enough information that scientists can replicate your work. (Although in practice, I would say that many of the papers that I have refereed in physics have not done this to the degree that I think is necessary. I am often asking for clarifications on such points.) However, you are not required to release so much that you give up all your intellectual property, such as the years invested in writing a piece of computer code used in your research. [And, in this regard, you should remember that much scientific research is even done in the private sector and then published in journals...and companies tend to be very protective of their code. During the 13 years that I spent in industry, I published several papers and I could have been fired for releasing the code to other scientists, as it was a intellectual property of the company that I was working for. In other cases, scientists use commercial software where the code is a propriety product of the company that they bought it from and even the scientists themselves don't have access to the source code.]

    The trials Mann et al. have faced publicly are not only due to their science in and of itself. I believe that is the point being made.

    Well, you may make that claim but some of us find it rather implausible, since even when Mann now publishes papers where he releases all the code, going well beyond what the NSF requires, he is still faced with these attacks. Some people seem to be motivated by the fact that they do not like the scientific conclusions of his research and most particularly the policy implications.

    The extreme scrutiny this field faces on all sides is good and important. For subject matters of such consequence, it could be argued as critical.

    There is a difference between scrutiny and witchhunts. Even the Republican Chair of the House Science Committee, Sherwood Boehlert, felt that the letters sent to Mann and colleagues by Joe Barton (the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) crossed the line.

  35. I’ve been reading the exchanges between Joel Shore and several others regarding the integrity and availability of data in the specialist world of climate investigation. Joel seems to be sure that Dr Mann has put all his data into the public domain, together with (almost) all of his methodology. Would he perhaps like to provide a link to the data? I have what I believe to be the numbers that lie behind the famous diagram, but using a direct, transparent and simple techniques am unable to find anything that remotely resembles the graph that so entranced the media, governments and the education systems of the world in the years following 1998. Just in case I’m working with incorrect data, please help by publishing the whereabouts of Dr Mann’s genuine numerical data so that we can all attempt our own analyses with reliable initial information.

    Thanks!

  36. Joel Shore says:
    April 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    “Even the Republican Chair of the House Science Committee, Sherwood Boehlert, felt that the letters sent to Mann and colleagues by Joe Barton (the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee) crossed the line.”

    Why is it I have a sneaky suspicion that Sherwood Boehlert was not exactly as extreme as the adverb “even” implies? Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say… Hmm. Suspicion confirmed.

    Nice thread hijack anyway, Joel. Do you have anything to say about water vapor and cloud feedback?

  37. Bart says:

    Why is it I have a sneaky suspicion that Sherwood Boehlert was not exactly as extreme as the adverb “even” implies? Let’s see what Wikipedia has to say… Hmm. Suspicion confirmed.

    I didn’t say he was extreme. The “even” was that he is a Republican who took the unusual step of very forcefully rebuking a Republican colleague (and fellow committee chairman). Boehlert was what seems to have become somewhat of an endangered species in the Republican Party, which is someone who may subscribe to the ideological principles that incline one toward that that party but who nonetheless was driven also by facts rather than just letting his ideology determine what the “facts” are.

    Nice thread hijack anyway, Joel. Do you have anything to say about water vapor and cloud feedback?

    I haven’t hijacked this thread. There was only a little actual scientific discussion of water vapor and cloud feedbacks in the original post and even less in the other responses.

    I made one comment about the first paragraph of Spencer’s post and from then on, all of my comments have been addressing responses from other commenters to me.

  38. Robin says:

    Joel seems to be sure that Dr Mann has put all his data into the public domain, together with (almost) all of his methodology. Would he perhaps like to provide a link to the data?

    It is really not my job to spoon-feed you everything you need. But, here is the link to the supplementary materials for Mann’s 2008 paper: http://www.pnas.org/content/suppl/2008/09/02/0805721105.DCSupplemental See also here: http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/Mann/tools/tools.html

    If you want to try to dig and find the data to the 1998 paper, then be my guest…although the science has moved on in the 13 years since then.

    And, now that I have provided you with that, maybe you could return the favor by giving me the links to all of the programs that Spencer and Christy use to analyze the satellite data?

  39. “I made one comment about the first paragraph of Spencer’s post and from then on, all of my comments have been addressing responses from other commenters to me.”

    I did not say it was not subtle. Indeed, I expressed my admiration. You know good and well nobody here is buying what you are selling. And, now we have a full page of completely irrelevant jabbering. Answer back if you please, but if it’s not on topic, I’m not going to help you any further in your project.

  40. Joel Shore says:

    No…I am saying that if you are the one who gets to decide who is honest and dishonest and then to treat people accordingly, that may not be the best sort of justice system. Just look at the former Soviet Union and other oppressive regimes. Do you think they oppress their people by taking people who they admit are innocent and mistreating them? No…They always have very good reasons for treating the people the way that they do. It is just that their reasons are based on their own biased reality because they don’t have any sort of independent judicial system.

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

    Huh?? Wha??

    The Joel Shore shell game continues.

    Even if the ball is shifted under another shell, or two, or three…the argument just gets more askew and remote as time goes on.

    Interestingly…I’ll bet when it comes to actual equations and physics…by design…they disallow the good physisct from performing such sleight there, no?

    I’ll bet when the good physicist is doing his work, the math and the data rules, otherwise it would all fall apart.

    The same should be true of logic and debate.

    Should be, that is.

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  41. Barry: I read quickly through your link and the “mathematical proof” of the purported inadequacy of Spencer’s modeling. I don’t blame Spenser for not responding – it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying little. On the mathematical “proof”, equation (15) is incorrect. There is no independent A0 term. It is equal to T(t0) – Te, where t0 is the initial time. Every first year controls student would see the solution at a glance:

    T(t) = Te + (T(t0)-Te)*exp(-(t-t0)/tau) + convolution-integral-from-t0-to-t

    If you take t0 to be the infinite past, as the author did in his convolution integral, then the exponent has decayed to zero. If you take t0 to be some finite time, and assume T(t0) = Te, then the term is again zero (you see, he mixed the start time to be zero for the external exponential A0*exp(-t/tau) term, and -infinity for the convolution integral, ending up with a bollixed result).

    The rest appears to be a rant about Spenser’s supposed mistakes based on the author’s interpretation.

  42. Hi Bart,

    I notified Arthur about your criticism, so maybe he’ll respond. You don’t seem very focused on the main points, though. For example, Arthur showed how one can get an infinite number of solutions for alpha, beta, and ocean depth, which is a result that I had already demonstrated by playing around with Spencer’s model in MATLAB. This being the case, Spencer’s fitting procedure was nonsense on stilts. He apparently took all the best-fit combinations of parameters and averaged them. But since there are an infinite number of solutions, all he had to do to get an acceptable combination was to manipulate the parameter space over which he was searching.

    I’m not saying he did that–he says in his book that he got his answers on the first try–but a “statistical” technique that can give an infinite number of solutions is absurd.

  43. Bart – I’m not sure why you call that a “mistake” – you can treat T(t0) or A0 as independent parameters. Substitute A0 = T(t0) – Te in the following equations, and everything still applies.

    In particular, Roy chose a very peculiar starting temperature T(t0) for his “model” – as I reviewed in further detail in my follow-up post:
    Roy Spencer’s six trillion degree warming.

    If you believe Spencer’s model, the medieval warm period was in fact very very cold :)

    The real point of my analysis was to show that Spencer’s model was, as you note, trivial, solvable by any first-year control student. I wanted to make that painstakingly obvious. Do you think Spencer understands this? Did he understood it when he touted solving it in his book?

  44. By the way, Bart, you should look at Arthur Smith’s next post, as well:

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/roy_spencers_six_trillion_degree_warming

    In particular, look at Fig. 5, in which Arthur used his integrated form of Spencer’s model and Spencer’s own parameters to obtain the exact same 20th century temperature evolution due to the PDO as Spencer did. How did that happen, exactly, if Arthur’s mathematical analysis was badly off?

  45. Bart,

    At first I didn’t understand what your point was, exactly, but Arthur was kind enough to explain it to me. As I understand it, you were saying that A0 ought to be zero… which is what Arthur and I both said in our critiques. So in essence, it seems you agree with at least some of our criticisms of Spencer’s work?

  46. T(t0) does not have unlimited range, and does not lead to silly graphs like the one showing all the different paths.

    Arthur’s “Roy Spencer’s six trillion degree warming” is ridiculous. He’s still confused about starting times, using different ones for the convolution integral and the exponential term, and separating unstable parts which cancel each other out when propagating into the past, claiming that the unstable excursion of the one demonstrates the model is wrong. That’s just stupid. We implement electronic circuits which evolve according to similar differential equations all the time, and they don’t fail to work because propagating a part of the difeq solution backwards in time blows up.

    You guys are amateurs, and you are just trying to cause trouble. I’m done here.

  47. One more thing: “I’m not saying he did that–he says in his book that he got his answers on the first try–but a “statistical” technique that can give an infinite number of solutions is absurd.”

    Even if this were true, it is a criticism of form over substance, and I do not see the point, except to get up on a box and shout “Me smart! He dumb!” But, more to the point, it appeared to me that it was YOU who separated Cp into two components, leading to the ambiguity you decry. (If that is not the case, I don’t care. As I have shown above, your discourse is so crude, and seemingly calculated to score cheap points with your choir, that I have no desire to delve further and teach you things you should already have learned when you set yourselves up as authorities).

  48. One more, and this really is the last…

    “The real point of my analysis was to show that Spencer’s model was, as you note, trivial, solvable by any first-year control student. I wanted to make that painstakingly obvious.”

    Simple models are used to demonstrate complex topics all the time. And, many, many models of complex phenomena can be replicated by simple first and second order models which simulate the dominant modes in a particular operating regime. So, all you’ve made painstakingly obvious is that Spencer is using a common framework for teasing out the properties of the system he is studying, and that you were unaware of this. Congratulations on your victory, if you call it that.

    “Do you think Spencer understands this? Did he understood it when he touted solving it in his book?”

    More chest thumping. What about YOU? Do you understand that the model shown can be a reasonable linearization and simplification of the underlying complex nonlinear dynamics? Do you know how the time constant and equilibrium temperature can be derived via partial differentiation of those dynamics (if they are known), and might change over time, depending on your local operating condition? Do you understand … oh, never mind. If I asked you, I’d have to explain it to you.

  49. Bloody… this popped up in between my posts. Really, this is the last.

    “As I understand it, you were saying that A0 ought to be zero… which is what Arthur and I both said in our critiques. So in essence, it seems you agree with at least some of our criticisms of Spencer’s work?”

    Based on what? Was T(t0) at equilibrium, or is it now?

    In the absence of that knowledge, it is fully reasonable to use it as a parameter to fit the data. It doesn’t say that is TRUTH, but it does say it COULD be. And, the burden is on the AGW fanatics to prove it isn’t, or at the very least, to explain RIGOROUSLY (not, “oh, we just don’t think so, and we’re real smart”, or “we don’t know any reason why it would be” – those are ad verecundiam and ad ignorantiam arguments) why it is unreasonable.

  50. Bart,

    I didn’t make up the model, and I didn’t make up the parameters I used. That was all Roy Spencer. The graphs with all the different model lines were meant to show how important it was that Spencer started his model so far out of equilibrium. The point was to show that he could match the first half of the 20th century pretty well simply by manipulating THAT. He could never fit the second half very well. So if you came away with the impression that it’s absurd to start this model really far out of equilibrium to fit the temperature data, you were right. You just failed to recognize that this is exactly what both Arthur and I were saying.

    I used Roy’s model in essentially the same way he did to obtain THE SAME RESULTS. I just took the extra step of showing why his methods were nonsense, and how one could get a wide range of answers using such a technique.

    Form over substance, indeed. His entire case for the PDO-climate connection was based on his modeling efforts, so the “form” WAS the “substance” of his claim.

  51. Bart,

    By 1900 the temperature had been pretty stable for at least 50 years, according to the HadCRUT data set Spencer was using, so it seems reasonable to assume that if any period in that temperature record was near equilibrium, it was then. In contrast, the period Spencer chose to normalize to was 1961-1990, which had a strongly positive trend.

    So why did Spencer choose that as his base period? The only reason he gave in his book was that the climate experts who put together the temperature series chose that base period (even though their choice had nothing to do with any assumed “equilibrium), and he made a big deal of it being right in line with his curve fit! Fitting a model with 5 adjustable parameters just isn’t impressive, however.

    You keep accusing Arthur and myself of blustering to make ourselves look smart, but the fact is that in my critique I explained in some detail why Spencer’s choice of equilibrium temperature had nothing to do with reality. You just failed to read (comprehend?) what I said.

  52. Bart, you are not free to set T(t0) to anything you like. That was one of the points I made – as did Barry B. Some values of the starting temperature – (1900 in Spencer’s choice) – are physically plausible. Some are not.

    Spencer’s choice of starting at a very low temperature in 1900 requires, if his model was intended to be valid before then (with the exponential A0 term zero), that low starting temperature could only be appropriate if the PDO was exceedingly negative for most of the 19th century. If you look at Figure 3 in my “6 trillion degree” post, you’ll see that the 30-degree PDO convolution was close to zero or positive in 1900, not negative. So Spencer’s choice of starting temperature in 1900 is very different from the behavior of the PDO up to then.

    And because he has a 30-year time constant, that low 1900 starting temperature essentially completely governs the behavior of his model until almost the middle of the 20th century. That’s the only reason Spencer’s model even appears to resemble 20th century temperatures – because he started from an unphysically low 1900 temperature.

    Can you think of any valid justification for Spencer’s choice of temperature in 1900?

  53. You guys have got me all worked up now. I really should follow Spencer’s example, and just stop. And, I will. But, there is one more point I wanted to make. Arthur stated ‘I’m not sure why you call that a “mistake”’ in equation (15). Arthur, look at our equations. There is another key difference beyond your subsuming the initial temperature anomaly into an arbitrary parameter. And, that difference is the start time in the exponential term and the convolution integral. Your equation is wrong.

    Your latest comment popped up when I came back to explain this: “Can you think of any valid justification for Spencer’s choice of temperature in 1900?” Yes, certainly. It fits the data. It does not mean it “governs the behavior of his model until almost the middle of the 20th century” at all. It means that, with the given model, that is how the system would have evolved from that point onward. It is, in essence, a curve fit to the data based on a particular 1st order linear lag model involving the parameters T(t0), Te, tau, et al. Crying foul on it makes as much sense as saying the slope on a linear fit to temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century has no meaning because it accounts for the bulk of the upward movement.

    You are still treating having trouble with the concept of when the convolution starts. It starts at the point t0 (tee-zero), which you have set to zero in the exponential term (examine my equation again if this confuses you). When the upper limit becomes less than the lower limit, the integration turns negative. In order to propagate back from that time, you must have a really, really, really precise record of the integrand, because the backwards propagation is unstable. That does not generally work because any small initial error, and any error in the data, will cause rapidly diverging results. In light of these considerations, when you say “low starting temperature could only be appropriate if the PDO was exceedingly negative for most of the 19th century”, I seriously doubt you have demonstrated it (and I’m not going to do the legwork to explain whether you have or have not – to say that you have failed to inspire me with confidence in your methods would be kind, and I do have productive uses for my time).

    Don’t even get me started on the infamous tree ring proxies.

  54. “By 1900 the temperature had been pretty stable for at least 50 years, according to the HadCRUT data set Spencer was using, so it seems reasonable to assume that if any period in that temperature record was near equilibrium, it was then. “

    You are begging the question. That is not reasonable. The reasonable parameter is the one which gives the best fit with the data for the selected model! If the temperature profile then matches the observations, you have some indication that your model is reasonable.

  55. “You just failed to read (comprehend?) what I said.”

    You know, I’ve been nice. Given the shoddy work and ignorance, not to mention bravado, you two have displayed, it’s been difficult to show as little snark as I have. But, if that’s the way you want to play it, well, I was leaving anyway, and you two can go stew in your own effluvia and snuffle your armpits to your heart’s desire for all I care.

  56. Bart,

    You say, “The reasonable parameter is the one which gives the best fit with the data for the selected model!” But this statement is absurd in this case. Spencer was using the model to see if, by adjusting several parameters, he could get the PDO index to produce something like the 20th century temperature trend. He had to use 5 adjustable parameters, but he did it! Does that mean all 5 of those parameters were physically reasonable? Not even close. He had a 700 m mixed layer in the ocean, for instance, when it is well known to be more like 100 m. Of course, he could have fit the data just as well (exactly as well, in fact,) by using a 100 m mixed layer, but then his alpha and beta terms wouldn’t have supported his hypothesis about low climate sensitivity. If there are an infinite number of possible “best fit” solutions, then how does it make any sense to say that the reasonable parameter is the one that gives the best fit to the model?

    This is all just basic regression analysis, which anyone who has taken a single college statistics course should have picked up.

    As for your contention that Arthur’s equation is wrong, I don’t see how that can be. His integrated form of Spencer’s model gives exactly the same results as I got by doing a numerical integration of the differential equation, which were the same results Spencer got by doing a numerical integration. Therefore, Arthur got it right.

    P.S. Yes, Arthur did demonstrate that the PDO had to be quite negative over most of the 19th century for Spencer’s model to produce a suitable starting anomaly in 1900. Keep reading his piece down into the comments, if you want to see where.

  57. “Therefore, Arthur got it right.”

    I can scarcely imagine a more damning quote. It is laughably wrong, which only a cursory examination by someone who knew what they were doing would show.

  58. Bart,

    Care to explain how Arthur’s integrated form could give the same answer as Spencer’s numerical integration of the raw differential equation, if Arthur got his math wrong?

    I’m also on the edge of my seat waiting for you to explain how “The reasonable parameter is the one which gives the best fit with the data for the selected model” in a system that has an infinite number of equivalent solutions.

  59. Bart – Let’s make something very clear here: what we are discussing is temperature *anomaly* – difference from some reference temperature. You can pick anything you like as the reference temperature, and the curves *look* the same, just shifted up and down a bit depending on what the difference is between your choice of reference temperature and mine.

    However, you cannot pick anything you like as Te in Spencer’s model, because that has a very special meaning – it is the “equilibrium” temperature the model exponentially returns to after it has been perturbed by some forcing (PDO in Spencer’s case). This is due to his definition of “feedback” (eq. 2 in Barry Bickmore’s original post) as proportional to delta-T. And when you pick a starting temperature T(t0) for a particular point in time (say, the year 1900) then you are asserting something about the difference between that starting temperature and the equilibrium temperature.

    That is, if you choose a temperature T(t0) = Te, you are making a (reasonable) assumption that before the start of your model simulation, the temperature was in its equilibrium state. If you choose a temperature T(t0) = Te + 0.1 C, say, then you’re saying it started slightly out of equilibrium on the positive side. If you choose T(t0) = Te – 0.1 C, you’re saying it started slightly out of equilibrium on the negative side.

    In Spencer’s analysis, he chose to use a starting temperature in 1900 T(t0) = Te – 0.6 C – so his starting climate state was very significantly out of equilibrium. There is no evidence that climate in 1900 was way out of equilibrium – as I presented, what evidence we have shows it should have been close to equilibrium or above, not significantly below.

    So – the point is, whether he did this by a “curve fit” or just picking convenient parameters for some purpose, the resulting fit is highly unphysical given his stated claim to be showing that temperature can be modeled as resulting from changes in the PDO index. For the first half of the 20th century, his modeled temperatures are mainly a result of his choice for T(t0) – Te. And as Barry has shown, it’s not just his T(t0)-Te that was bad – he had an infinite number of choices for his other parameters, and happened to end up with ones that required a hugely unphysical portion of the ocean to be participating in Earth’s short-term heat capacity. But conveniently his choice showed low sensitivity. Other parameters which would have given an equally good fit (as Barry and I showed) allow for a much more reasonable heat capacity and much higher climate sensitivity.

  60. Barry – I told you what was wrong with the equation. I wrote out the correct equation. Have you never taken a course in calculus? Can you read? Let me explain one more time – I will type very slowly… What does Art’s equation give for T at time t = zero? Does it give T(0)? No? Then it is WRONG. This has to do with the existence and uniqueness of the solutions of differential equations, and the necessity of matching the initial conditions, but I’m sure that is way over the angels dancing on your head.

    Art – A) you do not know the equilibrium temperature B) your rigid model parameter definitions are not compulsory. How the real world system works is what is being investigated. You and Barry up there do an awful lot of question begging. Read this. Maybe it will help. Maybe you can read it to Barry.

    The important point here is that the temperature very closely follows the output of a system with commonly encountered magnitude and phase characteristics driven by the PDO. You guys are so busy jerking off, you missed the forest for the trees. Or, maybe you are too busy lounging in those little cesspools you call your blogs flinging feces and sucking up the praises of mindless sycophants that you just let it go to your heads. So, let me make sure you get the truth from an objective source widescreen: You are not smart, you are dumb. You are not pro-Science, you are anti-Science. You are throwbacks to the medieval dark ages when the Church employed brutes like you to browbeat and bully anyone who stepped out of line.

    And, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

  61. Wow Bart. Anthony, Roy, is this the type of dialogue you encourage?

    Bart, if you have anything real to contribute, state it clearly without the insults.

    T(0) is not a free parameter in my equation, so by definition my equation (18) gives T(0) = T(0). More specifically:

    T(0) = Te + A0 + β Q(0)/c h

    For physical reasons as you described earlier, the exponential term A0 really should be zero. Or you can think of it as a correction to whatever the estimate is of the starting value for the convolution Q at time 0. If we agree A0 = 0 (to avoid 6 trillion degrees etc), then the starting value for Q must be:

    Q(0) = c h (T(0) – Te)/β

    Since Q here comes from Spencer’s model as a 30-year convolution of PDO, the choice of T(0) – Te implies something about the PDO for time t before 0 (before 1900 in the case of Spencer’s fit). Spencer chose T(0) – Te to be highly negative – which would require the PDO to have been at its extreme negative limit for many decades before 1900. There is no evidence this was the case.

    Or if you want to think about it another way, what Spencer’s model does is model temperatures through a dependence on PDO values several decades into the past. But he starts modeling at a particular year (1900) without any source of data on the PDO many decades into the past. Therefore his model cannot be considered a valid representation of the effect of PDO on temperatures until you have run it many decades after the start point, to get rid of transients. And it doesn’t actually match the rise in temperatures in the second half of the 20th century very well at all.

  62. “Wow Bart. Anthony, Roy, is this the type of dialogue you encourage?”

    It is the kind of “dialogue” found on your blogs. I am only returning the favor in kind. Maybe YOU should consider toning down YOUR rhetoric, if you want to be taken seriously.

    The equations don’t work that way, Art. Solutions to Lipshitz continuous differential equations are UNIQUE. By your definition, A0 = T(0)-Te-β Q(0)/c h. So, then you’ve got β Q(0)/c h evolving exponentially thereafter. It doesn’t work. The solution I gave is the UNIQUE solution.

    If you do not understand this, how can I take anything you have to say seriously? This is precisely why I keep trying to leave this discussion. It is very painful to acknowledge the existence of such smugly clueless people.

  63. Actually, it can work that way, with a proper rearrangement of terms and splitting up of the integral. But, then you have destroyed your claim that A0 should be zero. And, you have no means of evaluating it, because you have to integrate Q from minus-infinity to zero, and you do not have that information.

  64. “If we agree A0 = 0 (to avoid 6 trillion degrees etc), then the starting value for Q must be…

    Dumb, dumb, dumb. I explained this to you at April 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm.

  65. “Spencer chose T(0) – Te to be highly negative – which would require the PDO to have been at its extreme negative limit for many decades before 1900. There is no evidence this was the case.”

    No! By your accounting, he chose T(0)-Te-β Q(0)/c h to be highly negative. You are mixing and matching your terms. As you shift your definitions to keep up with my criticism, you have to reevaluate everything you have previously done.

    On this level, you are wrong. And, on the forest level, it is immaterial.

  66. You DO NOT KNOW the history of Q from minus infinity to zero. And, YOU ARE NOT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that this system does not exist in isolation, and other inputs can drive it to the starting condition.

    You guys are like Rainman – totally focused on a model which only approximates reality. You are suffering from the delusion which has gripped all of climate science, that models ARE reality. They ARE NOT.

    The model MAY however be a reasonable approximation to reality over all time. But, even so, the values of Te and tau and all the other parameters are partial derivatives, which hold in a particular local operating regime, but may have to be shifted over time to continue matching reality. You DO NOT have enough information to say. All we DO know, is that it gives a reasonable approximation in modern times using Spencer’s calibration.

    This has got to end. You guys have no idea of the complexities involved, and I am getting wrapped around the axle trying to explain reality to an unsympathetic duo who will never see beyond their own noses.

  67. “I am getting wrapped around the axle trying to explain reality to an unsympathetic duo who will never see beyond their own noses.”

    And, that is precisely why Dr. Spencer was right not to wade into your fever swamp with a reply.

  68. Bart – your comment April 5 at 1:56 pm claims I used different starting points for the convolution integral and the exponential term – however, you give no definition of what a “starting point” would be for the exponential term. Exponentials don’t “start” anywhere! The equation works going forward no matter what starting point you choose to use for the convolution, because you can fold any neglected parts of the convolution (from before the starting point) into the exponential term.

    I.e. if you insist that the starting point for the convolution integral be t0 (1900, say), then Q(t0) has to be zero, because it’s a convolution integral from t0 to time t, and for a zero time interval the integral would be zero. All that means is that A0, rather than being zero, likely will have some non-zero value.

    But if this model is a true representation of the physical system, rather than a mathematical toy, it must not have any special dependence on particular times. So if we knew the true value of PDO back into the past before time t0, then we could calculate the value of Q(t0) for a convolution with starting point centuries in the past, back to t = -infinity as I did in my Eq. 14. But in that case, the value of A0 would have to be zero, and the choice of starting temperature in time t0 would be determined by this Q(t0) integral.

    So you have a choice to start the integral at t0, implying Q(t0) = 0 and A0 is free to fit things, or start the integral at -infinity, implying A0 = 0 and this full Q(t0) is some nonzero value determined by the actual behavior of the PDO. Since both choices give the same result going forward, that gives a relationship between the “full Q(t0)” and that choice of starting temperature, as I indicated.

  69. “But, even so, the values of Te and tau and all the other parameters are partial derivatives, which hold in a particular local operating regime, but may have to be shifted over time to continue matching reality.”

    Please note, in addition, that as partial derivatives, these are slopes. They are sensitivities. They do not necessarily correspond directly with physically meaningful quantities. If you do not know how differential equations are commonly linearized about a set operating condition, do some reading.

  70. Bart – yes, I certainly agree “this system does not exist in isolation, and other inputs can drive it to the starting condition. ” But if other inputs are important in setting the starting condition, they will likewise be expected to be important in the behavior of the system going forward. At the very least, these other inputs, if they are to explain the very negative T(t0) – Te that Spencer chose for his model, then it is these *other inputs*, and not PDO, that explains roughly the first half-century of behavior in Spencer’s model. So his explanation that he has modeled 20th century temperatures with PDO is wrong – he has modeled it with PDO plus “other inputs”, unspecified, that made T(t0) – Te so negative to start with.

    Either way, Spencer’s model claimed to be explaining 20th centuries with PDO, but it does not.

  71. Art – you are very confused. When I stated, and you agreed, that A0 = T(t0)-Te, then your equation was wrong. When you now stipulate that A0 = T(0)-Te-β Q(0)/c h, your equation works, but Q(0) in your notation, which is poor because it causes just this sort of confusion, is the convolution integral from minus-infinity to zero.

    Thus, “implying A0 = 0″ is non-sequitur. There is no information available which compels that T(0)-Te = β Q(0)/c h.

    Let us focus on MY equation for a moment.

    T(t) = Te + (T(t0)-Te)*exp(-(t-t0)/tau) + convolution-integral-from-t0-to-t

    As you see, this eliminates confusion, because the start time and the current time are made explicit in all the important variables. Now, suppose I want to know what is happening in the past. Is T(-t) just

    T(-t) = Te + (T(t0)-Te)*exp(-(-t-t0)/tau)

    which diverges exponentially? No, it is not. It is

    T(-t) = Te + (T(t0)-Te)*exp(-(-t-t0)/tau) + convolution-integral-from-t0-to-(-t)

    The convolution integral is not zero, just because the upper limit is less than the lower limit. It is merely the negative integral from -t to t0. It is also unstable. So, to get a reliable estimate of the past, you have to have perfect information for the integrand, so that the instability of the exp(-(-t-t0)/tau) term and the convolution integral cancel out precisely.

    Thus, your “six-million degrees” is farcical.

  72. So, Bart, I am curious. What is your opinion of Spencer’s model?

    – Do you believe that it actually provides a constraint on climate sensitivity and how well does it constrain it?

    – Do you believe it demonstrates that the global temperature variations are well-explained by the PDO?

  73. Arthur Smith says:
    April 6, 2011 at 11:38 am

    “Either way, Spencer’s model claimed to be explaining 20th centuries with PDO, but it does not.”

    I do not know if it does or does not. You do not know if it does or does not. Your analysis is flawed for reasons I have presented. But, I do know that it matches up the amplitudes and phases for apparently nonsecular components fairly well, and that is good guide for whether he is on the right track in ferreting out a significant (at least) contributor to temperature variations in the 20th century.

    You and Barry have lent your energies to those who would snuff the flame aborning. Instead of offering constructive criticism, you choose grandstanding and chest-thumping. That is not so surprising. Every great advance throughout history was resisted by vested interests and their toadies. But, I would not want to be one of the latter.

    Joel Shore says:
    April 6, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    To tell the truth, Joel, I don’t really care. It is a sideshow for me. It or another mechanism to emerge will explain why the climate is not behaving as predicted. My main beef is when people with insufficient knowledge or experience to know what they are talking about, like Barry and Art, get up on a high horse and start calling other people dumb.

    I care about whether the cloud feedback renders the overall water vapor feedback system negative. As you know, all the GCMs, either implicitly or explicitly, assume that the feedback is positive, and without this assumption, they do not predict a catastrophic temperature rise. My reading of Spencer’s evidence points to negative feedback.

  74. Bart says:

    To tell the truth, Joel, I don’t really care. It is a sideshow for me. It or another mechanism to emerge will explain why the climate is not behaving as predicted. My main beef is when people with insufficient knowledge or experience to know what they are talking about, like Barry and Art, get up on a high horse and start calling other people dumb.

    But…You haven’t shown that Arthur’s different starting point for the integration is relevant once one considers that one can fold some of these differences into the parameters [given that you don't have F(t) going back in time]. So, it seems like you are just sniping at things that may well be totally irrelevant.

    And, it is strange that you are so bothered by this but apparently not by the fact that Spencer claimed his fit determined a value for the climate sensitivity when in fact it didn’t independently constrain it at all! Doesn’t that irk you just a little bit?

    Finally, I find it weird that you think Spencer is on the right track…and believe his evidence that he claims points to the negative feedback and yet you don’t believe the absolutely overwhelming evidence that the current rise in CO2 is anthropogenic. That shows judgment that I think almost all scientists would find quite bizarre! You have to admit that your point-of-view is rather unique in the scientific community, meaning that either you are one of the smartest people alive…or maybe that your judgement isn’t quite as good as you think it is!

  75. Bart,

    Actually, it was 6 TRILLION degrees, and Arthur meant it to be farcical.

    I’ll let Arthur argue with you about the integrated form of the model, since he did that work. In any case, I still don’t understand what any of your criticisms have to do with anything I said in my original critique, since I was using the non-integrated form and numerically integrated it. (And I checked my results against Spencer’s to make sure I was getting the same answers.)

    Let’s step back from your point about the integrated form, and focus on the main issues I brought up.

    1. Do you disagree with my assertion that there are an infinite number of “best-fit” solutions for alpha and beta? If this assertion is true, then the particular “best-fit” values Spencer obtained are meaningless, since he could have picked any number of other combinations, and gotten exactly the same results. And yet, Spencer assigned great meaning to the parameter values he obtained.

    2. Do you disagree with my assertion that not only the starting temperature anomaly, but the equilibrium temperature, were effectively fitting parameters for Spencer? As Arthur pointed out, modelers always have to run time-series models for a while before they begin “production,” to iron out any kinks caused by arbitrary choices in starting conditions. This is true of climate models, molecular dynamics models… whatever.

    3. Do you disagree with Arthur’s and my assertion that about the first half of Spencer’s simulation is dominated by his choice of starting anomaly and equilibrium temperature? If the assertion is true, the overall trend of his simulation in the first half of the 20th century doesn’t have much to do with the PDO.

    4. Do you disagree with the assertion that Spencer’s model doesn’t fit the temperature data in the last half of the 20th century very well? I.e., it significantly under-predicts the temperature. If it’s true, then the first half of his simulation fits the data ok-ish, but the model trend doesn’t have much to do with the PDO, while the last half of his simulation is dominated by the PDO, but it doesn’t fit the data very well. And so Spencer’s model doesn’t do anything much to show that the PDO significantly affects global climate.

    5. Do you disagree with the assertion that Spencer’s choice of ocean mixed layer depth is unrealistic? If he had chosen a more reasonable depth, he could have fit the data exactly as well, but his alpha value would have indicated a VERY sensitive climate system, and his beta value would not have matched well with what he estimated from satellite data.

    You keep rehashing your point about the integrated form, but even if you’re right, I fail to see how it even puts a dent in the main criticisms of Spencer’s model.

  76. Bart – sorry I agreed to your saying “A0 = T(t0)-Te,” – it had been several weeks since I looked at the equations in question and I assumed we were talking about the same thing. That is correct if you start the integration at t0. It’s also correct if PDO = 0 before t0 – either way Q(0) is zero. Which is exactly the way I calculated it – if you download the R code from my page you will see it. If you think I did something wrong, point out where the R code went wrong. As Barry noted, I reproduced Spencer’s model identically in the 20th century with these equations.

    You are also exactly correct that projecting backwards gives:
    T(t) = Te + (T(t0)-Te)*exp(-(t-t0)/tau) + convolution-integral-from-t0-to-t

    When I do that with the proxy-PDO data (MacDonald as cited on my page) I got about -6 trillion degrees for T(1000). In order to *not* get such a ridiculously low early temperature, you need the convolution integral to be strongly positive – and since it’s over a negative time period, you need PDO to be strongly negative. That’s what I’ve been saying all along. I’m sure you’re glad that we agree on this.

    So what do you think are the “other inputs” that allowed Spencer to set his year-1900 temperature so low, as it doesn’t seem to have been the PDO?

    (by the way, it was 6 trillion, not 6 million degrees!)

  77. “…either way Q(0) is zero”

    It is the weighted integral of the PDO from the infinitely remote past to time zero. You do not know the PDO from the infinitely remote past to time zero. You don’t even know how long this model is approximately valid into the remote past. You have no basis for this statement.

    “When I do that with the proxy-PDO data…”

    What part of “you have to have perfect information for the integrand, so that the instabilit[ies] … cancel out precisely” did you not understand? ANY imperfection grows exponentially. All you have demonstrated is that exponential growth is fast. Who’da thunk it?

  78. Barry Bickmore says:
    April 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    “1. Do you disagree with my assertion that there are an infinite number of “best-fit” solutions for alpha and beta?”

    If the trade space is not degenerate, then there is a unique least squares or other normed solution. But, it does not matter. Spencer’s model is plausible. You guys have not ruled it out, even if you think you have.

    “2. Do you disagree with my assertion that not only the starting temperature anomaly, but the equilibrium temperature, were effectively fitting parameters for Spencer?”

    I do not see any point to this question, and in any case, I have answered it previously.

    “3. Do you disagree with Arthur’s and my assertion that about the first half of Spencer’s simulation is dominated by his choice of starting anomaly and equilibrium temperature?”

    That is a loaded question “. The simulation shows how the model behaves when it is fit to the data.

    “4. Do you disagree with the assertion that Spencer’s model doesn’t fit the temperature data in the last half of the 20th century very well?”

    Define “very well”. In what manner does it deviate? How well does it correlate? Based on how well it correlates, could you use this information to investigate changes to the model which could make it fit better?

    “5. Do you disagree with the assertion that Spencer’s choice of ocean mixed layer depth is unrealistic?”

    As I stated before, it appeared to me it was YOU who broke that variable out of a particular lumped parameter. That parameter may have other interpretations or legitimate modifications. And, pay careful attention to this comment.

    “I fail to see how it even puts a dent in the main criticisms of Spencer’s model.”

    Exactly.

  79. Bart, you don’t have to integrate backwards to the year 1000, just integrate backwards to 1850 or so with an ensemble of different plausible values for the PDO from 1850 to 1900, and report back which PDO values allow you to have a reasonable 1850 temperature, and which do not. A simple choice would be to pick a constant PDO at some level, and see what it does. I assume we are in agreement that global temperatures in 1850 were not 3 or more degrees C below temperatures now.

    You have the equations, you can download my R code. You do the math and see what values of PDO Spencer’s choice of 1900 temperature requires over that time period in order for temperatures not to blow up.

    Yes, it’s true we don’t know precisely what they were. But presumably, as an oscillation, PDO stays pretty much up and down around where we’ve seen it.

    I assert that, aside from the other problems Barry B. pointed out, Spencer’s PDO model does not realistically describe temperature from 1900 to 1950 or so – it requires an implausible starting value. And if you take that part of the temperature curve out, Spencer’s PDO fit to the last half of the 20th century doesn’t look very good at all.

  80. Bart,

    You said,

    “If the trade space is not degenerate, then there is a unique least squares or other normed solution. But, it does not matter. Spencer’s model is plausible. You guys have not ruled it out, even if you think you have.”

    No, there isn’t a unique solution. I demonstrated that alpha and beta are perfectly covariant. Arthur demonstrated that they have to be, given the form of the model.

    And most of his chosen parameter values are unphysical, it is clear that his model is NOT “plausible”. I am at a loss to understand why you think it doesn’t matter if his curve fitting produces parameter values that we KNOW are way off. The model is supposed to have some connection with the physical world, after all.

    “That is a loaded question. The simulation shows how the model behaves when it is fit to the data. “

    But Spencer claimed that his modeling effort showed that the PDO can explain most of the warming over the 20th century. It didn’t show this. And it’s not my job to fix his model, since I have no reason to believe the PDO is controlling everything. Why don’t you try it, if you think it can be done?

    “Define ‘very well’. In what manner does it deviate? How well does it correlate? Based on how well it correlates, could you use this information to investigate changes to the model which could make it fit better?”

    The PDO-forced model fluctuates around equilibrium, while the real temperature keeps going up significantly above the chosen equilibrium. In other words, the model curve is significantly below the data curve OVER THE PERIOD WHERE THE PDO DOMINATES MODEL RESPONSE.

    I did show how one could get the model to fit the data better, but that involved such high positive feedback that the system was unstable. (Roy would really hate that outcome.) THAT’S what you have to do to make it fit better.

    “As I stated before, it appeared to me it was YOU who broke that variable out of a particular lumped parameter. That parameter may have other interpretations or legitimate modifications.”

    You’re wrong. Spencer is the one who came up with a 700 m mixed layer. The Cp parameter, as Spencer defined it, is just the heat capacity of a column of water 1 m^2 on top and a certain depth. He used the depth as a fitting parameter, as he explained in his book.

  81. “…you don’t have to integrate backwards to the year 1000…”

    I take that as an admission that you realize now that your extrapolated claim of 6 trillion degrees was absurd, not for Dr. Spencer, but for the claim you were making. The punters are keeping score, and I intend to claim my beers, so I need your capitulation in writing.

    But, you still don’t get it. I’m not going to bother accepting your challenge because it is a waste of my valuable time. Whether I could rise to it or not using a particular parameterization of this model, it means nothing. This model is a deterministic approximation/linearization of a complex nonlinear stochastic system. It provides a reasonable replication of the output temperature when driven by the PDO over a particular time interval. Any breakdown of that relationship at some point in time, plus or minus, likely enough means nothing more than that the equations need to be relinearized about a different state.

    Or, the state could have been affected at some time by a one-off, transient event, such as the explosion of the island of Krakatoa in 1883, for which it is said:

    Average global temperatures fell by as much as 1.2 degrees Celsius in the year following the eruption. Weather patterns continued to be chaotic for years and temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.

    Stop trying to prove the unprovable, or get serious about it and join one of those fringe groups trying to prove the non-existence of God. At least that concerns something important, even if it is as ultimately futile.

  82. Barry – “And it’s not my job to fix his model, since I have no reason to believe the PDO is controlling everything.”

    And, it is not my job to fix your model, since I have no reason to believe you know what you are doing.

    “But Spencer claimed that his modeling effort showed that the PDO can explain most of the warming over the 20th century.”

    Uh-uh. The exact quote is:

    “Thus, the PDO by itself can potentially explain most of what is popularly called global warming… How can the IPCC leadership be so sure that global warming is manmade, when they never even investigated possible natural sources of warming, an example of which I have just presented?… I am not claiming to have disproved manmade global warming with this evidence… But, the main point here is that the evidence for global warming being mostly caused by natural forcings is sufficiently strong to devoting some research effort to investigating the subject.”

    Strawman diversion. Do you ever present an argument which does not contain at least one logical fallacy?

  83. Erratum: Part of the quote from Dr. Spencer should have read “…sufficiently strong to justify devoting…

  84. Bart, you say Spencer’s model “provides a reasonable replication of the output temperature when driven by the PDO over a particular time interval”. What time interval do you believe it provides a reasonable replication of temperature for, and where does it break down? See Barry Bickmore’s Figure 4 for instance. Do you believe it should work from 1900-2000 (the entire displayed range)? Do you believe it fails at 1900, and at 2000? Why would it work for an entire century (or whatever period you believe) but break down there? What has changed?

    Science believes in finding the causes of things – an explanation isn’t complete unless it matches physical reality in some way. What is the physical reality that changed in 1900, or in 2000, that requires abandoning the fitted parameters of Spencer’s model that worked for that particular limited range of time?

    In particular, if you believe it didn’t break down in 2000 but may continue to be valid, then you can use that model going forward, to predict global surface temperatures from 2000 to 2010, and even 2011 (since the PDO dependence is smoothed over 30 years into the past, you don’t even need 2011 data to make a rough guess – but this site has it through February 2011 anyway).

    If you think Spencer’s model is really giving a “reasonable replication” of temperatures, tell us how it’s doing for the past decade, and what does it predict for 2011? Or explain what happened in 2000 (or earlier?) that made it break down.

    I’ve recently done precisely this prediction exercise for 2011, 2012, and 2013 based on a not much more complex statistical fit to ENSO, sunspots, and stratospheric volcanos – *plus an underlying upward trend* (and you’ll notice from the graphs, it does way better than Spencer’s model in matching the temperatures). I’m willing to put my numbers out there for the world to see, and we’ll see how I do. Are you? Is Roy Spencer?

  85. I have tried to post this several times – it seems to be failing for some reason. I’m removing links in case that’s the problem.

    Bart, you say Spencer’s model “provides a reasonable replication of the output temperature when driven by the PDO over a particular time interval”. What time interval do you believe it provides a reasonable replication of temperature for, and where does it break down? See Barry Bickmore’s Figure 4 for instance. Do you believe it should work from 1900-2000 (the entire displayed range)? Do you believe it fails at 1900, and at 2000? Why would it work for an entire century (or whatever period you believe) but break down there? What has changed?

    Science believes in finding the causes of things – an explanation isn’t complete unless it matches physical reality in some way. What is the physical reality that changed in 1900, or in 2000, that requires abandoning the fitted parameters of Spencer’s model that worked for that particular limited range of time?

    In particular, if you believe it didn’t break down in 2000 but may continue to be valid, then you can use that model going forward, to predict global surface temperatures from 2000 to 2010, and even 2011 (since the PDO dependence is smoothed over 30 years into the past, you don’t even need 2011 data to make a rough guess – but it is available through February 2011 anyway).

    If you think Spencer’s model is really giving a “reasonable replication” of temperatures, tell us how it’s doing for the past decade, and what does it predict for 2011?

    By the way, I’ve recently done precisely this prediction exercise for 2011, 2012, and 2013 based on a not much more complex statistical fit here:

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/predicting_future_temperatures

    using ENSO, sunspots, and stratospheric volcanos – *plus an underlying upward trend* (and you’ll notice from the graphs, it does way better than Spencer’s model in matching the temperatures). I’m willing to put my numbers out there for the world to see, and we’ll see how I do. Are you? Is Roy Spencer?

  86. Bart,

    Whether Spencer said his model shows the PDO “can explain” or “can potentially explain” the 20th century temperature record is irrelevant. His model didn’t show either one, since he used physically implausible parameters and non-unique solutions.

  87. Arthur Smith,

    Interesting prediction of 0.58 for 2011. We’ll see how you do with it over the next 8 months. Also, what do you think of this chart by Bill Illis?

  88. You guys are amazing. Tweedledumb and Tweedledumber.

    Art – I’m not taking any more questions from you until you admit your “6 trillion degrees” taunt was mistaken. In fact, at this point, I’m going to need a little groveling.

    Barry – it’s irrelevant, except that it changes the entire meaning of what he was doing, what he was trying to show, and the relevance of your criticism. Not only do you guys have no clue as to the system you are criticizing, you’re arguing against an opponent which doesn’t even exist.

    BTW, Barry, about your 700 m vs. 100 m concern: Spencer addresses that very point in the chapter and cites the paper “Warming of the World Ocean: 1955-2003″ in Geophysical Research Letters, by Levitus, Antonov, and Boyer, published 2005. If you have a problem with it, maybe you should consult them. And, next time you set out to slander a respected scientist, try reading what he wrote first.

  89. Smokey – short term temperature fluctuates a lot. Bill’s graphic isn’t surprising given the recent La Nina. It’ll be headed up now that the La Nina is waning. And satellite-measured temperatures are far more responsive to ENSO variation for some reason.

    Bart – there was no mistake about 6 trillion degrees. That is what you get when you plug in Spencer’s model with the proxy PDO data and what he did for 20th century; if you think I did the calculations at all wrong, please show where. Yes, it’s unrealistic to extrapolate back that far – you can’t extrapolate the fit I just posted about more than a decade or so because the underlying trend function isn’t right (it’s just a polynomial, which has no physical basis). But I have a good explanation for that. Do you have a good explanation for why Spencer’s model doesn’t work extrapolated forward or backward?

    When you have a model based on physical phenomena, like El Nino, PDO, sunspots, etc, then extrapolation should be fine – there’s nothing special about the end-points of a fit, and it should have predictive power forwards and backwards, or if not then you should have a good explanation for what changed. When you have a model based on some mathematical function like a polynomial or an exponential, then of course it becomes invalid when you go much beyond the endpoints of the fit. My polynomial is no better than Spencer’s exponential at long-term extrapolations.

    The problem is – Spencer never acknowledged that he was not just fitting to the PDO, he was actually fitting temperatures to a linear combination of (convoluted) PDO and an exponential function. The PDO part of that fit should be fine well beyond the endpoints if it is based on any physical relationship between the two measures. But the exponential function is clearly not – it needs explaining.

    And Bart, making pre-conditions before responding to somebody is a pretty strong sign of a weak case. Making accusations of slander (actually, it would be libel since this is a written medium) is even more hilarious given your particular remarks in this forum.

  90. Bart,

    If you had actually read my critique, you would have seen that I did address Spencer’s rationale for the 700 m mixed layer. Here’s what I said:

    First, if a 700 m mixed layer is a physically reasonable value, then maybe my objections are moot. Here’s what Spencer says about it.

    “By coincidence, this figure actually matches the approximate depth over which warming has been observed to occur in the last fifty years, which is something the model did not know beforehand. (p. 116)”

    Even if the water temperature has been measurably heating down that deep, however, Spencer’s model assumes that the temperature is uniform throughout that entire 700 m, which is demonstrably false. The thermocline (i.e., the boundary between the warmer, well-mixed layer at the surface of the ocean and the colder deep ocean water is typically in the range of 50-100 m deep (Baker and Roe, 2009). In a simple model like Spencer’s that doesn’t account for upwelling and diffusion of heat into the deep ocean, one needs to fudge that figure a little higher. Murphy and Forster (2010) discussed previous work on this question, and it appears mixed-layer depths of 100-200 m (probably closer to 100 m) are reasonable for models such as Spencer’s. The irony, of course, is that Murphy and Forster were criticizing Spencer and Braswell (2008) for using only a 50 m mixed layer, which skewed their results. (Spencer provides the spreadsheet he used for the 2008 study here. Go ahead and plug in a 700 m mixed layer, and see what kind of nonsense comes out. You can compare it to what you’re supposed to get here.)

    I’m sure you’ll tell me why detectable heating as low as 700 m is the same thing as a 700 m mixed layer, however. I’m on the edge of my seat.

  91. And, Art, review the exchange with Barry. Read Spencer’s own words for the first time. Then, explain your argument again, and why it has any meaning. What, exactly, are you trying to prove?

  92. “Yes, it’s unrealistic to extrapolate back that far…”

    So, it was basically a useless exercise, is what you are saying. I agree. Indeed, I had to explain it to you. Yet, you claimed it debunked Spencer’s entire model. Now, you say it was just a lark.

    This isn’t groveling. I now require more than a little. You are in a hole. I advise you stop digging.

  93. Bart, honestly, nothing you have stated here is not already covered in mine and Barry’s posts, but perhaps we didn’t explain clearly enough there. I have tried carefully to uncover any actual remaining problem here in dialogue with you, but so far everything that you have claimed that is of any quantitative nature is in agreement with what we both originally posted. It’s a little hard to tell if anything is getting through, or whether this dialogue is completely pointless.

    Rather than telling me what to do, can you try to explain what you actually think about Spencer’s model, fitting temperatures to the sum of an exponential and the PDO? You stated up above that it “provides a reasonable replication of the output temperature when driven by the PDO over a particular time interval”. Do you still believe that? What time interval? Can you state any conclusion about the physical system of Earth’s climate that you might conclude from this “reasonable replication”?

  94. Vice versa, mutatis mutandis, Art.

    And, you’re still not groveling.

    Besides, I have already answered all of these questions. You just need to read for comprehension this time.

  95. Someone didn’t close his tag.

    Barry sez… my objections are moot. Indeed, they are. For two reasons. One, as I have explained repeatedly, is that you are imposing a rigid interpretation on the physical meaning of the model without any appreciation for the underlying complexity of the real world system involved.

    The other is that you are attacking Spencer’s self-described 3 days plinking at his home desktop computer, to get a ROM estimate of the narrow effects of PDO on cloud cover and temperatures, as though it were a full blown theory claiming to upend the entire artfully constructed edifice of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. In fact, it is merely the first step on a long road which would need to be trod to tease out the details of the underlying complexity to which I just referred.

    But, you know this. I have stated both reasons repeatedly and in detail. The game is over. But, you are still in denial an hour after the last whistle blew. You lost. Suck it up and get ready for the next one.

  96. The best that you guys can say is that, based on your interpretation of physical parameters which are themselves uncertain, Spencer’s PDO model, and/or its interpretation, needs work, and it may not end up accounting for the entire record of 20th century warming. At the very most, that’s all you’ve got. But, Spencer himself readily agrees. He’s chomping at the bit to research the PDO and other possible natural contributors to observed 20th century warming. So, you have brewed up a tempest in a teapot, and the whole discussion is moot.

    As I stated at the outset of this discussion, it’s a lot of sound and fury, signifying little. Nothing which has been stated has changed my opinion, only reinforced it.

  97. And, when Art gets tired of dissembling, I am still expecting some groveling to atone for his most egregious error.

  98. Ok, Bart, I’m glad you agree that Spencer’s model “needs work, and it may not end up accounting for the entire record of 20th century warming”. Although in fact Spencer’s model accounts for none of the 20th century warming at all, but who’s quibbling. Thanks for the discussion.

  99. Art – “[W]ho’s quibbling”? Why, you are. If you see no correlation between the PDO index, whatever it represents, and global temperatures since 1900, then you are wearing blinders.

    As for ‘Spencer’s model “needs work, and it may not end up accounting for the entire record of 20th century warming’, Spencer himself effectively said this. Of course it needs work. Spencer tossed it off in a few days at home. The establishment climate modelers have spent decades and hundreds of millions, and still don’t know what to make of the stagnation in temperatures for the last decade.

    This is no departure from my position from the very first – read back through the thread and see. You’ve been in too high dudgeon trying thoroughly to vanquish your imagined foe that you never paid attention to his, or my, words.

  100. Let me make this a little clearer: The PDO is modulating temperatures in some fashion, which Spencer believes likely has to do with induced cloud formation. It is a powerful effect which is readily apparent in the temperature record. If the PDO can modulate cloud cover to have that great of an impact, then what other processes affecting cloud cover might be driving the rising component in the latter half of the 20th century?

    Barry and Art want to focus only on the purely oscillatory component of whatever process the PDO is part of. They numerically integrate* a collection of data which is zero mean by design and proclaim, mirabile dictu, that this would produce a zero mean output of a linear, time invariant approximation of the dynamics. And, they proclaim this result to be evidence that the theory is wanting, rather than recognizing it as the mere tautology that it is.

    What is the underlying process of which the PDO is only a symptom? How does it affect cloud cover in a manner which Spencer’s model demonstrates is significant? Could this process be responsible for the observed rise in global temperatures in the latter half of the 20th century? Obviously, it could. Is it responsible? That is TBD.

    *I did not even get into all the hazards of numerically integrating an undersampled, aliased signal sampled via an arbitrary measurement process with unknown, or at least uncharacterized, information transmission properties. Ei yi yi…

  101. Joel Shore says:
    April 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I just noticed this comment. Most of what you had to say is irrelevant, and you can find the answers in the subsequent discussion. But, I will comment on this:

    “…and believe his evidence that he claims points to the negative feedback…”

    I don’t “believe” anything. I can see the evidence directly when I look at his plot, as I explained. I am not so timid as to doubt my own eyes when the information they convey goes against popular sentiment. You would do well to do the same.

Comments are closed.