Trenberth: null and void

http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/Trenberth/Images/trenberth2.jpg

Dr. Kevin Trenberth - Image: UCAR

Via Eurekalert and Wiley-Blackwell

The human cause of climate change: Where does the burden of proof lie?

Dr. Kevin Trenberth advocates reversing the ‘null hypothesis’

The debate may largely be drawn along political lines, but the human role in climate change remains one of the most controversial questions in 21st century science. Writing in WIREs Climate Change Dr Kevin Trenberth, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, argues that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now so clear that the burden of proof should lie with research which seeks to disprove the human role.

In response to Trenberth’s argument a second review, by Dr Judith Curry, focuses on the concept of a ‘null hypothesis’ the default position which is taken when research is carried out. Currently the null hypothesis for climate change attribution research is that humans have no influence.

“Humans are changing our climate. There is no doubt whatsoever,” said Trenberth. “Questions remain as to the extent of our collective contribution, but it is clear that the effects are not small and have emerged from the noise of natural variability. So why does the science community continue to do attribution studies and assume that humans have no influence as a null hypothesis?”

To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities.

Trenberth also focused on climate attribution studies which claim the lack of a human component, and suggested that the assumptions distort results in the direction of finding no human influence, resulting in misleading statements about the causes of climate change that can serve to grossly underestimate the role of humans in climate events.

“Scientists must challenge misconceptions in the difference between weather and climate while attribution studies must include a human component,” concluded Trenberth. “The question should no longer be is there a human component, but what is it?”

In a second paper Dr Judith Curry, from the Georgia Institute of Technology, questions this position, but argues that the discussion on the null hypothesis serves to highlight fuzziness surrounding the many hypotheses related to dangerous climate change.

“Regarding attribution studies, rather than trying to reject either hypothesis regardless of which is the null, there should be a debate over the significance of anthropogenic warming relative to forced and unforced natural climate variability,” said Curry.

Curry also suggested that the desire to reverse the null hypothesis may have the goal of seeking to marginalise the climate sceptic movement, a vocal group who have challenged the scientific orthodoxy on climate change.

“The proponents of reversing the null hypothesis should be careful of what they wish for,” concluded Curry. “One consequence may be that the scientific focus, and therefore funding, would also reverse to attempting to disprove dangerous anthropogenic climate change, which has been a position of many sceptics.”

“I doubt Trenberth’s suggestion will find much support in the scientific community,” said Professor Myles Allen from Oxford University, “but Curry’s counter proposal to abandon hypothesis tests is worse. We still have plenty of interesting hypotheses to test: did human influence on climate increase the risk of this event at all? Did it increase it by more than a factor of two?”

###

All three papers are free online:

Trenberth. K, “Attribution of climate variations and trends to human influences and natural variability”: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/wcc.142

Curry. J, “Nullifying the climate null hypothesis”: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/wcc.141

Allen. M, “In defense of the traditional null hypothesis: remarks on the Trenberth and Curry opinion articles”: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/wcc.145

 

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168 thoughts on “Trenberth: null and void

  1. “To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities.”

    Sorry, Trenbersty, old boy, but “very likely” doesn’t hack it, no matter who says it, or how many times.

  2. It amazes me that anyone would still call him a scientist after ejecting that kind of claptrap from his mouth. He doesn’t even have a toe-hold on the principles of his profession anymore.

  3. The fundamental question ought (IMO) to be, “Do we have a problem which requires urgent action?” I feel that the “null hypothesis” ought to be “no”, and those whom advocate “urgent action” ought to be the ones to “prove it”.

    1) will it get warmer? (due to our activities?)
    2) what effect will this have on us?
    3) what will be the effect of our proposed responses?

    Credit to Dr. J. Scott Armstrong for the “three part forecast”.

    Best,
    Frank

  4. It seems obvious that since humans of long ago learned to use fire and increase the amount of soot in the air that there has been some impact on climate. The only real question is the degree of that impact. The alarmist view is that impact is substantial and a disaster in the making. The skeptic view is that since there has been no climate change observed that is at odds with historical variability, the alarmist case is not only unproven, but suspect.

  5. I’m afraid Dr Trenberth quoting IPCC 2007 as ‘proof’ of AGW is hogwash. IPCC 2007 is a political document not an experimental research project.

    If he can’t summarise in three paragraphs the experiments which prove AGW, then he’s not a scientist of the first rank. This was the hypothesis we tested. This is what we measured. This is what it shows.

    He should be challenged to do so and others given the chance to rebut it.

  6. How does this work? The Trenberth gang says AGW is unequivocal, and writes the IPCC reports from that perspective. Then, Dr. Trenberth claims that AGW is unequivocal because the IPCC says so.

    Is this circular reasoning, or what?

  7. The scenario-based projections of human-induced (CO2 driven) climate change have been around since the mid 1980s. With 25 years of data acquired through direct observation in the record, it appears the IPCC’s scenarios have no statistical relevance to reality. Even the “best case scenario” postulated by the IPCC was worse than what really transpired. A tremendous sudden warming with rapidly rising sea levels would be required in order to reach the sea level feared by the “climate action plans” so many communities here in California are being forced to mitigate. Yet the global mean sea level fell 6mm last year and is expected to be down again this year.

    With so much hard data readily available that contrasts with the fear mongering of the modeled scenarios, why do we have people like Kevin Trenberth insisting, “There is no doubt whatsoever,” to human caused global warming? Why do they fight so tenaciously to avoid discussing the obvious data that contradicts their claims?

  8. Trenberth spews: “So why does the science community continue to do attribution studies and assume that humans have no influence as a null hypothesis?”

    Answer: It’s a science thing. You wouldn’t understand.

    Seriously, is this clown trying to win a contest for the most unscientific statement made by an alleged scientist?

    Valiant effort there, Kev, but your buddy Phil has set the bar pretty high with his classic:

    “‘Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

    And they are gonna have to create a whole new category of award for Curry and all of her post normal “Fuzzy Monster” stories.

  9. A new nick for Trenberth: “Bass-ackwards”? His appeals to authority, especially his own, are really offensive.

  10. It was always going to get to this eventually. Stating that it is not legitimate to question AGW implies it has, at the very least, the status of a law placing it alongside those of Kepler and Newton. There is also the whiff of religious fervour. The IPCC’s reports are, therefore, to be considered as holy texts with the chairman and authors having taken the first steps towards beatification.

  11. Of course they need to put the blame on human activity. There is no way they can get a penny out of the sun for its contribution.

  12. Guilty until proven innocent: What a concept!

    I’m not a statistician, but my understanding is that in the continuous case, there’s no useful way to reverse the Null Hypothesis, which basically says: Nothing interesting is happening here. I’d be very interested to know William Briggs’ take on that. But to me, it sounds like Trenberth is mathematically illiterate.

    Is Trenberth’s latest ex cathedra pronouncement consistent with his famous Climategate email: “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.”
    Between 2009 and the present, Trenberth has apparently become able to account for the lack of warming, or has acquired putative evidence that the putative warming has resumed. And on top of that, he now has putative evidence for attribution. Is Trenberth taking logic lessons from Muller?

  13. Those darn sceptics. Lets just redefine science to get them out of our hair. But… what’s that about disproving a negative?

  14. “To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities.”

    So we now can elevate a hypothesis to the position of law, without any proof, and with scores of refutations?

    What a great man of science! Pointing to the summary for policymakers and not the actual science.

    Trenberth has now definitely joined Al Gore and James Hansen in the AGW hall of shame.

  15. He is playing with words. Does he mean if someone proves that anthropogenics only contributes a small percent to climate change, it does not prove the null hypothesis for CAGW? How much of the observed changes above noise is natural, and how much is anthhropogenic? He doesn’t know.

  16. It is complete claptrap of course. Opportunistically, how easy would it be to cherry pick some data that ‘showed’ no human influence? By taking an unlikely outcome as the null hypothesis, it becomes trivial to ‘disprove’ it. So, a safe null hypothesis would be temperature increases linearly with human population. Disprove that and the alarmists are doomed? No?

  17. Its not really a surprise given the ‘Team’ don’t believe in that corner stone of science ‘critical review ‘ and believe that ‘models ‘are more valid than reality . Trenberth problems with the ‘null hypotheses’ as its correctly defined and taught to any undergraduate, is merely part of the ‘Teams’ working approach were anything can be reject if it gets in the way of the ‘greater good ‘ of AGW .

  18. here is a classic example from the alarmists

    Assessing the Actual Temperature effect of Man-made CO2
    In spite of the IPCC assertions that essentially all the warming since 1850 is wholly due to Man-made CO2 emissions, there is a wider range of published and peer-reviewed opinion that differs on the actual level of the impact of Man-made additions of CO2 to the atmosphere. One well-accepted view is provided by CDIAC, the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Centre of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) .
    The CDIAC figures can be transposed into parts of the 33°C temperature increase, as follows:
    Water Vapour ~95% of effect ~31.35°C
    Greenhouse Gases ~5% ~1.65°C
    Carbon Dioxide at 390 ppmv ~75% ~1.24°C
    Natural CO2 ~86% (40% emissions since 1850 Man-made) ~1.09°C
    Current 2010 Worldwide Man-made CO2 ~11.28% of 390 ppmv ~0.14°C
    Other Greenhouse gases ~25% ~0.41°C
    Natural ~0.29°C
    Man-made ~0.12°C
    The CDIAC figure of ~0.14°C for Man-made influence since 1850 is less than one quarter of the measured temperature rise of 0.66°C since then: it accords well with the notion that roughly 50/50% solar influence and 50/50% natural / Man-made CO2 emissions. The value of the order of 0.14°C for the effect of worldwide emissions to date has been accepted in correspondence with Professor David MacKay, the chief scientific advisor of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC.
    Another acceptable source from Geocraft published in 2000 show an even lesser amount for additional Man-made CO2. This results in a much lower figure for Man-made influence to 2010 of ~0.039 °C.
    On the other hand, Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS , one of the topmost scientists involved in the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming cause, in a recent paper clearly asserts that:
    • 75% of the Greenhouse effect is attributable to water vapour and clouds
    • 100% of the increase in CO2 emissions since 1850 (110 ppmv) is Man-made
    Following these numbers through and accounting for the effect of other Greenhouse gases results in a Man-made temperature rise between 1850 and 2010 of 2.21 °C.
    As the reported temperature increase since 1850 is only 0.66°C in total, surely that result has to be in error. So this permier scientist supporting the concept of alarming greenhouse warming markedly underestimates the influence of water vapour and clouds. He presumably did not carry out the trivial sums that would have shown that his figures exaggerate Man-made influence on temperature by more than 3 times the actual warming since 1850.

  19. Of course human beings are changing the climate. Anyone with half a brain can see it. It’s especially obvious to me where I live in central Colorado. We plant trees and grass in what was originally semi-desert scrub-land. We plow fields and plant crops where there was nothing but a grassy prairie. We dam rivers and streams, improve ports and harbors, build levees and spillways. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN: TO ADAPT NATURE TO OUR DESIRES, INSTEAD OF ADAPTING TO NATURE. No other creature on Earth does it to the extent we do. That doesn’t mean we’re “destroying” the Earth.

    The hypothesis behind catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is that we’re changing the Earth so fast, we’ll reach a “tipping point” where we’ll destroy the Earth. That’s hogwash. Climate changes constantly, based upon solar dynamics and orbital dynamics of the Earth. It’s changed from having temperatures a dozen degrees warmer and cooler than the current global “average”. Carbon Dioxide has been present in greater and lesser quantities than today, from times when it comprised 30% of the atmosphere to times when it was barely high enough to continue to sustain plant life. We’re currently at a low point in carbon dioxide atmospheric content, gradually recovering from a deep trough.

    I can’t help but think of all the CAGW adherents as similar to the cartoons of “prophets” with signs “THE EARTH WILL END TOMORROW”. Every day has a “tomorrow”.

  20. The sad thing about Trenberth’s asshattery is that we still do not have a solid understanding of natural climate variability. The tree-ring circus made a shambles of the paleo proxy field. Cloud behavior is only just starting to be explored. Until this question is resolved, there will be no scientific progress on climate change.

    However, the foundations of a dangerous cult have now been completed.

  21. We now have a banana republic administration, and this seems to go hand-and-hand with that. But what do you call it? Banana republic science isn’t quite right? Sovietized science?

  22. Every square inch of the surface of the Planet Earth, where there is a bit of organic matter, a few bacteria and a temperature a few degrees above your home refrigerator, is undergoing organic decay and emitting CO2. The human addition to this natural activity is piddling.

    Trenberth is an idiot!

  23. “I’m afraid Dr Trenberth quoting IPCC 2007 as ‘proof’ of AGW is hogwash. IPCC 2007 is a political document not an experimental research project.”

    Somehow the word lazy is coming to mind…oh, and how to get more money because the argument should be extended into eternity…. along with the dollars.

    “Is this circular reasoning, or what?” Answer: YES plus the Titanic will not sink syndrome.

    How entertainingly laughable.

  24. I guess if 100% of my lab’s funding was now contingent on CAGW and the pendulum of public opinion was now swinging the other way I’d start getting desperate too. “T’ hell with the science, we need more true believers for our cause.”

  25. emerged from the noise of natural variability

    Noise? It’s called “weather”.

    It’s OK for me to refer to it as “noise” when comparing climate “scientists” to rock bands of the 1980′s: They both try to make money out of noise. ;:-)

    But that’s a joke. Not science. I can tell the difference. Can Kevin?

    Any attempt to classify natural variability as noise can only be by imposing an assumed “correct” pattern of behaviour and that one has captured a characteristic pattern. Yet the models, based on that assumed pattern lack forecasting skill. Instead of concluding that the assumptions were wrong, the farce continues. How long before we find that they also lack hindcasting skill when compared to real world data, as opposed to the homogenised data?

    Kevin Trenberth: “Noise” is when instruments show what isn’t happening.

  26. Climate change due to GHGs isn’t the kind of issue you fit into a Yes or No box, like a lawyer’s view of black and while, guitly or innocent. Of course GHGs influence and warm the climate. That isn’t the question, although Trenberth wishes it was — because he’d get a “yes” as the answer.

    But the real questions are: how much of current warming is due to natural variability, how much to GHGs, how much temperature increase will we have in a century if GHGs double, what good and bad things are likely to happen as a result, and what is the net value of these good and bad things vs. the costs of taking action soon, vs. taking the costs actions a decade or more down the road? That is why Curry is correct here:

    “Regarding attribution studies, rather than trying to reject either hypothesis regardless of which is the null, there should be a debate over the significance of anthropogenic warming relative to forced and unforced natural climate variability,” said Curry.

    The null hypothesis is for a far simpler scientific issue, such as: “Does this drug cause this cancer to stop growing?” Even there, the null hypothesis is too simplistic, because it might stop tumor growth for 6 months or a year, or only one month. Saving a year of life is a big deal, one month not so much.

    When you have huge economic issues and great amounts of uncertainty with regard to things like sensitivity to a doubling of CO2, feedbacks from evaporation (including increases in clouds and their feedbacks), not to mention regarding consequences, then a legalisitic, “does climate change exist or not” approach isn’t the right way to think about the issue.

  27. The argument for the reversal of the null hypothesis stems from a claim that a unique and hither to unseen change in climate is upon us. This is based on several assumptions. First that you need thirty years minimum to separate climate change from the noise of weather. Two that anthropogenic CO2 became a significant variable about 1950. Three that anything outside of the historically normal forcings can be attributed to human produced CO2. And finally the temperature increase from the thirty year period 1970 to 2000 constitutes such an aberrational increase. One caveat it is generally accepted by both believers and skeptics alike, that there has been fairly continuous warming from the Little Ice Age, and that warming in and of itself is not definitive of Anthropogenic effects, but that what we have is natural warming reinforced by Anthropogenic warming and as such constitutes a new and increased warming. Lets look at the Hadcrut global temperature record to see how well these statements stand up to empirical evidence. First the comparison with the most recent thirty year warming period pre AGW 1910 to 1940.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:1940/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1970/to:2000/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:1940/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1970/to:2000

    You will note they look remarkably similar though the El Nino of 1998 shows up strongly. Next lets just look at the trend lines to see how much AGW has accelerated the warmth in the second half of the last century.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1910/to:1940/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1970/to:2000/trend

    Yes warming has occurred, but no one doubts that we have been more or less continuous warming for far more than a century. The question is the nature of the warming any different than it was in the pre AGW days. What there seems to be no difference. Well if there is no difference, what are we talking about. If there is no difference than it looks to me like the null hypothesis is supported and it is up to those who would promote another interpretation to prove that it is wrong.

  28. “The tree-ring circus made a shambles of the paleo proxy field. Cloud behavior is only just starting to be explored. Until this question is resolved, there will be no scientific progress on climate change.”

    As chaotic as our climate system is,well, good luck. That is why dooms day science is the new methodology.. “What if” scare mongering.

    “However, the foundations of a dangerous cult have now been completed.” Oh so true.

  29. For Dr. Kevin Trenberth to suggest that sceptics of ‘dangerous anthropogenic climate change or otherwise should play along with this psychodrama is an insult to a lot of very intelligent people.

    Dr. Kevin Trenberth as a scientist, should have already reversed the ‘null hypothesis particularly on his own research in trying to prove ‘dangerous anthropogenic climate change; and show us all how he can prove that ‘dangerous anthropogenic climate change’ has not or is not occurring.
    If Dr. Kevin Trenberth can’t prove that, that it wasn’t or isn’t occurring and why, then he shouldn’t expect anyone to blindly believe that ‘dangerous anthropogenic climate change’ will or is occurring, and is there any such research of role reversal from any of the Anthropogenic climate change enthusiasts, the simplest loudest answer is NO.
    So, what is this? Climate Science or psychological warfare? Again, it seems more shameful tactics are being sought and used by anthropogenic climate change alarmists, instead of empirical scientific arguments they have resorted to bright flashing colorful distractions.

  30. To those who are taking up the invitation to visit Dr Trenberth, I greatly admire you. I know that I would struggle to keep my mouth in check were I to be face-to-face with him. His contribution to science and the scientific method would have his peers of bygone years crying into their beers.

  31. The question at this point isn’t whether humans influence climate. The question is: What are ALL the major influences on our climate, and have we discovered all of the major influences. The null hypothesis is that we don’t fully understand the climate. The burden of proof is for theorists to prove that they understand all of the major factors to a quantitatively significant extent. You can’t say that humans have xx.x% impact if you can’t properly attribute all other major competing influences.

  32. Roger Knights says:
    November 3, 2011 at 10:27 am

    I propose the mull hypothesis

    Trenberth prefers the mule hypothesis:

    “I don’t care if there are a million travesties; I’m still right. And if anyone says I’m wrong, I’ll thcream and thcream ’till I’m thick.” (snide reference to Violet Elizabeth Bott)

    The mullet hypothesis didn’t last. The fish deny swallowing the missing heat.

  33. Kevin Trenberth abandoned science many years ago and its a travesty that people listen to his pseudoscience

  34. Forgive my vitriol, but was Trenberth absent the day they covered the scientific method? Climate scientists aren’t special. They don’t get to make up their own rules. They have to follow the scientific method and show their work just like everyone else. Have you ever heard such whining and moaning from other scientists who couldn’t come up with data to support their theories? Instead of changing the scientific burden of proof, these climate fraudsters need to put up or shut up. I’m ashamed that Trenberth, et al. even call themselves ‘scientists’. I call BULL SH*T on this, and urge every scientist and science-minded person to call BULL SH*T on this as well.

  35. Currently the null hypothesis for climate change attribution research is that humans have no influence.

    That’s what they say the current definition is? Here I thought it was already established that with black carbon (aka soot) causing up to half of the reported Arctic warming, deforestation (albedo change etc), and other aerosols besides soot (sulfates etc), humans have been show to effect changes in climate. Thus by their specification of the definition, the “current” null hypothesis is already falsified.

    The null hypothesis should involve whether humans have made a significant contribution to climate change, the answer being we haven’t.

    The initial BEST reports are saying 1/3 of the land stations are showing cooling. That alone should invalidate a major chunk of the (C)AGW orthodoxy as currently reported global warming certainly doesn’t incorporate all of the globe. By the standards of the whining that the Medieval Warm Period wasn’t a global event, the current warming isn’t global either. Of course 70% of the globe is covered in water, we should look for global changes by studying changes in total ocean heat content (TOHC). Given the immense capacity of the oceans for storing heat, and how they release heat that was stored many decades ago, can we mere humans have possibly made a noticeable change in TOHC? Or is “global warming” just a geologically-brief transient change in surface air temperatures on land, where the effects of human influence are most pronounced?

    Consider also the time scales involved. There has been warming since the Little Ice Age turned around. Go further back, even to the start of this interglacial, there has been global cooling. Back to more recent times, natural factors like the PDO have a demonstrated huge influence on global temperatures, so large that any possible “human influence” greatly pales in comparison.

    Thus the “current definition” of the null hypothesis, for “climate change attribution research,” really should be that the human contribution is negligible.

  36. Instead of showing that human activity has/is changing the climate, just declare it a fact by fiat. Have a vote, like they did when they demoted Pluto to a minor planet.

    Once they do that, the answer to AGW skeptics can always be “prove it isn’t true.” Case closed. Party over. Court adjourned.

  37. When did Trenberth stop beating his wife (or mistress or whatever the case may be) and where is the proof?

  38. Old PI says:
    November 3, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Of course human beings are changing the climate. Anyone with half a brain can see it. It’s especially obvious to me where I live in central Colorado. We plant trees and grass in what was originally semi-desert scrub-land. We plow fields and plant crops where there was nothing but a grassy prairie. We dam rivers and streams, improve ports and harbors, build levees and spillways. THIS IS WHAT IT MEANS TO BE HUMAN: TO ADAPT NATURE TO OUR DESIRES, INSTEAD OF ADAPTING TO NATURE. No other creature on Earth does it to the extent we do. That doesn’t mean we’re “destroying” the Earth.

    It occurred to me one day, that one main difference between life and not-life, is that life exploits its environment. But when we do it, the greenies tell us it is evil. They must not be in favour of life.

  39. Given all the problems with the IPCC that have come to light, why would anyone cite them as an authority?

  40. “the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now so clear that the burden of proof should lie with research which seeks to disprove the human role”

    That sentence argues against itself. If the evidence is “so clear”, there is no need to shift the burden of proof.

  41. ~~~EXTREME CLIMATE EVENTS IN 2010~~~

    When I got to this I had to stop reading.

    Is it now we get a daily climate report in the paper !

  42. May I ask, has anyone here read the three papers being discussed? I just did and it seems to me that it’s an interesting set of questions being discussed from several perspectives.

  43. Anyone who quotes the IPCC as a credible source is just pushing a political agenda – it is certainly not science. Donna Laframboise has documented the corruption of the UN and the IPCC in her new book “The Delinquent Teenager” – a must read by anyone who is interested in the inner workings of that organization and how they are trying to defraud the free world.

  44. Curry has the correct approach : the issue is to determine the extent of human effect. The problem always encountered in science when stats are used to reject the null is that in doing so, even if you can reject the null, you haven’t provided any useful information. We don’t really care that the effect is non-zero. We want to know whether the effect should be something of concern. After all, there is no other reason for doing the research in the first place. If you demand a null hypothesis, it should be that “Human activity has no significantly harmful effects re global warming.”

  45. I wonder if Dr. Trenberth would comment on the amount of gray literature in the report he cited? I still have yet to see them reject the null, so why change the rules now? Oh yeah, it’s too mushy of a subject to make rejecting the null easy one way or the other. This is a simple case of changing the rules in the middle of a game when you think it’s too hard. It smacks of whining.

  46. Ramon Leigh:

    I would actually say it should be “The economic damage of action on climate change outweigh the future benefits of action.”

  47. In a private email to me Trenberth claimed that the key evidence for AGW is sea levels.

    Who in their right mind would take this scammer seriously ?

  48. Does that mean all the climate money now has to flow to those doing research that proves against this new null hypothesis?

  49. So long as the null hypothesis remains that wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans do not grow well in snow then I have no problem with the null hypothesis being that human activity is causing warming. The crux of the matter for me is whether the earth is at its optimal temperature and atmospheric CO2 content already or whether more warmth and atmospheric CO2 will move it towards or away from the optimum. Given that both CO2 and global average temperature are far below the norm for the past 500 million years and primary production in the food chain is also far below the norm then I’d say we probably shouldn’t worry about it until we at least have temperate forests covering Antarctica again and the threat of a cold ending to the Holocene Interglacial is not a concern.

  50. cms says:
    November 3, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I agree. To sum up, recent global temperatures, weather, polar ice and sea levels are consistent with our knowledge of corresponding Holocene climate variability measures when man was not a factor to be considered. Ergo, the null hypothesis of natural variability easily rebuffs attack by pseudo scientists such as Trenberth.

  51. Dave Springer says:

    “…I have no problem with the null hypothesis being that human activity is causing warming.”

    But that is the alternative hypothesis to the null hypothesis. Trenberth is desperate to make his alternative hypothesis the null hypothesis, but the problem is that skeptics are then being put into the position of having to prove a negative.

    The null hypothesis states that the current climate is within the parameters of the Holocene prior to the industrial revolution. To falsify the null, one or more parameters must be exceeded. But temperatures, trends, rates of increase and declines have all been much greater during the Holocene. Thus, the null hypothesis remains unfalsified. Now Trenberth wants to reverse the scientific method, and place the onus on skeptics to prove that humans are not causing climate change. But Trenberth asserts that AGW is happening, so it is up to him to provide testable, empirical, falsifiable evidence. He hasn’t been able to provide any evidence for his ‘hidden heat in the pipeline’, so now he wants to change the rules.

    In the past century and a half the planet’s temperature has gone from ≈288K to ≈288.8K, an extremely minor change compared with past rises, which happened when CO2 levels were much lower. Trenberth needs to face the fact that his predictions are being falsified by the ultimate Authority: the planet itself. Trying to put the onus onto scientific skeptics is a non-starter. But it shows that Trenberth is very concerned about the validity and importance of the null hypothesis, and the fact that it falsifies his alternative CO2=CAGW conjecture.

  52. The proposal is that human-kind affect the climate and this is the reason that global temperatures are increasing.
    The null hypothesis, on the other hand, is that climate changes anyway – it is ‘natural’; climate has always changed, even in the distant past long before there was any possibility of human influence. All scientists (and every other informed person) acknowledges that this expression of the null hypothesis is true. In the past climate has changed much more rapidly and much more abruptly than anything seen today.
    So,If someone wishes to conjecture that climate now varies for some other reason, i.e. humans are the cause, the onus must be on them to ‘prove’ their conjecture – not the other way around.
    What would we expect from the null hypothesis? We know that the world is currently warming from the last ice age ( and more recently from the little ice age). Moreover, we know that ice ages occur with regular frequency on our planet, every 100,000 years, and they are interspersed with inter-glacial periods (like the one we are in now) in which the world warms up, This has been the regularly repeating pattern for millions of years on this planet. A good question to ask is, what were temperatures like in previous inter-glacial periods? Such as the Eemian 100,000 years ago? Well, we know from ‘settled science’ that the Eemian was warmer than today, and so the null hypothesis suggests that our inter-glacial (the Holocene) should continue to warm naturally – at least until it reaches the level of previous inter-glacials. Until this is achieved, all warming is merely evidence of the null hypothesis, i.e. the world should warm to the level of previous inter-glacials.
    According to the IPCC’s own Arctic Impact Assessment Report (2005) the previous inter-glacial period 100,000 years ago (the Eemian) was warmer than it is now. In Section 2.7.3.1 it states “…during the Eemian the winter sea-ice limit in Bering Strait was at least 800 km farther north than today, and that during some summers the Arctic Ocean may have been icefree. The northern treeline was more than 600 km farther north”
    So the null hypothesis points to warming, and the temperature record of the last century supports the null hypothesis as well as much as anything else.

  53. “Is this circular reasoning, or what?”

    It IS circular reasoning, AND a con-game! There is too much money to be made writing papers that “prove” AGW, and too long a list of sleight of hand tricks played with data, for AGW to be declared the null hypothesis. My null hypothesis is that if you follow the money, and the agendas of the liberal media, watermelon environmentalists, and “progressive” politicians, you will arrive at a huge lie.

  54. So, essentially, he provides circular argument of anthropogenic garbage by referencing IPCC 2007 report, yet IPCC has stated they do not do science but put together different scenarios using grey literature, propaganda, news clipping, and the supposed science K.T. does.

    And they wonder why they are viewed as highly irrational and unstable people?

  55. “To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities.”

    “Very likely” is surely equivocal. So the IPCC report is “unequivocal” and “equivocal” at the same time.

    At the risk of straying into Orwellian realms of cliché, very doublespeak!

  56. ““Humans are changing our climate. There is no doubt whatsoever,” said Trenberth. “Questions remain as to the extent of our collective contribution, but it is clear that the effects are not small and have emerged from the noise of natural variability.””

    It is not clear at all that our effect is large and there is no evidence of any kind that our supposed effect emerges from natural variability.

    In fact, looking at the long tern record, nothing in any measure is doing anything unusual. The only unusual aspect arises when the time frame is cherry-picked to ignore things like the Medieval Warm Period and the LIttle Ice Age or to ignore the 1938 recent warm peak and only focus on 1978 on so that 1038 is left out. Or they cobble the data with value added to create warming on paper.

    Or do not adjust the data to account for obvious error bias. Just recently a data set from a site, in Texas I believe, was known to have a serious warm bias due to siting problems. The data handlers were told to include the data without adjustment—of course, the result showed warming. The contention is that the urban heat island effect is too small to be a problem, but it can easily be shown that rural sites do not show the warming shown by the urban sites, a significant different is involved.

    Of course, then Trenberth quotes that oh so scientific IPCC report that concludes that all climate change is due to humans. It’s a political statement and he thinks it’s scientific? Check. He’s not a scientist.

  57. I thought Trenberth was still out there chasing that “missing” ocean heat content. How does he have time to write stuff like this?

  58. Dave Springer says:
    November 3, 2011 at 12:31 pm
    So long as the null hypothesis remains that wheat, corn, rice, and soybeans do not grow well in snow then I have no problem with the null hypothesis being that human activity is causing warming. The crux of the matter for me is whether the earth is at its optimal temperature and atmospheric CO2 content already or whether more warmth and atmospheric CO2 will move it towards or away from the optimum. Given that both CO2 and global average temperature are far below the norm for the past 500 million years and primary production in the food chain is also far below the norm then I’d say we probably shouldn’t worry about it until we at least have temperate forests covering Antarctica again and the threat of a cold ending to the Holocene Interglacial is not a concern.

    I have serious problems with discarding the standard null hypothesis to match the “consensus view” of AGW. Not only does it stand centuries of science on it’s head, but also because they blame greenhouse gases, specifically CO2, for AGW. Once you concede that AGW is real, that opens the door for the various anti-carbon schemes – carbon trading, carbon taxes, decarbonization, mega-engineering projects and the wholesale replacement of inexpensive, reliable hydrocarbon energy with very expensive, unreliable green energy.

    I have no doubt humans have changed the climate somewhat, not through GHG emissions but through deforestation and land-use changes. I also have no doubt that much of the warming is overstated, primarily because of bad data, bad methodology, poor quality control and a gross underestimation of the UHIE on the land station data. But if you turn the null hypothesis back-asswards, discovering the truth will never happen.

    R. Gates once complained that skeptics have no answers. First of all, that wasn’t a question. More importantly, our focus on the GHG boogeyman is keeping us from looking at other possible causes. We will never find the answers as long as we keep looking in the wrong place.

  59. Abdul Abulbul Amir says:
    November 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

    It seems obvious that since humans of long ago learned to use fire and increase the amount of soot in the air that there has been some impact on climate. The only real question is the degree of that impact. The alarmist view is that impact is substantial and a disaster in the making. The skeptic view is that since there has been no climate change observed that is at odds with historical variability, the alarmist case is not only unproven, but suspect.
    ________________________________________
    If we make the Assumption that Human Soot production has effected the climate during the entire Holocene, what do the charts of temperature tell us?

    140K years of temp data from Vorstok. Holocene is on the left Eemian on the right. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_cHhMa7ARDDg/SmDoZBIkB3I/AAAAAAAABAc/KkUzrz2abwI/s1600-h/Vostok-140Kc.jpg

    Notice how nice and level the temperatures are in the Holocene

    This is a close up of the last 2000 years (chart by Dr. Spencer): http://www.drroyspencer.com/library/pics/2000-years-of-global-temperature.jpg

    The temperature varies plus/minus 0.6C where the Vorstok graph shows a 10C variation and the Eemian ~2.5C variation.

    I have just PROVED that humans keep the temperature constant with in plus/minus 0.6C /sarcasm>

  60. …said Professor Myles Allen from Oxford University, “but Curry’s counter proposal to abandon hypothesis tests is worse. …..”

    .. because many of us climate scientists might lose our government funding and our children would go hungry. These bully conservatives are trying to take the food out of their mouths. Please, save my starving children from them! Help! Help!

  61. Ugh! Trenberth gets an “F” in the graduate research course I used to teach. Obviously, he has no concept of what a “Null Hypothesis” is, much less how to word it or how to go about rejecting it. AGW is unraveling because it was never anything more than a theory, backed by a lot of delusional computer models that have never been proof of anything!

    This insanity is all explained by the fact that Trenberth and many of his cohorts, are becoming desperate as real world data and observation continue to elude the predictions of the models. As the practice of science goes, the behavior of these AGW proponents is pathetic and disgraceful.

  62. Maybe there are few who would go so far as to say, humans have had no effect on the climate. Reversing that as a null hypothesis could even make some sense.

    But that is NOT THE hypothesis.

    The hypothesis IS that human influence on the climate has and will continue to drive the climate to a catastrophic state that we already have no retreat from.

    And that hypothesis is, I am afraid, total nonsense.

  63. Myles Allen suggests that “some observed weather events will have been made more likely by human influence on climate, some less likely, and it is a legitimate and very important field of scientific enquiry to work out which are which.”

    He appears to conclude that some – if not all – weather events are somehow affected by human activity, but then offers no clear explanation as to how he arrives at this kind of conclusion. This kind of position first demands clear evidence to back up the existence of human contribution.

    Add to this, there is no stated means of distinguishing between which events are made “more” or “less” likely due to human activity, or what type of human activity is at the source – which makes the entire assertion rather useless.

    The onus is on those claiming human causation to show a clear evidence of of that causation – evidence that would clearly distinguish asserted “human influence” and any resulting effects from any and all natural variations and their resulting effects. It goes without saying that such a position would first require a clear understanding of all elements that contribute to natural climate variation and all the resulting alteration to weather patterns – both past and present. Without this in place, there will always be a very high risk of error when attempting to assign human origins to any specific (or assumed) influence or change.

  64. Dave Springer says:
    … I have no problem with the null hypothesis being that human activity is causing warming. The crux of the matter for me is whether the earth is at its optimal …

    One has nothing to do with the other so what is the purpose of tying them together?

    Look at it from the converse. Assume there is no human impact, that none was ever suspected to begin with and our endeavor was purely to understand what the optimum conditions are. Imagine how much more efficacious the research could be if no one had a political cross to bear in regard to human ‘blame’ which seems to be the real ‘crux of the matter’ right now – a borderline mass psychosis I’d say.

  65. When the real possibilities are that we are changing our climate a lot or not much at all, talk of null hypotheses either way is utter nonsense. The issue is quantification of the amount of change. If it is a lot then some action should soberly considered. If it is a little then maybe we live with it and try to trim our emissions over time in a rational manner. To postulate a null hypothesis is to set it up to fail as there will almost certainly be some at least arguable AGW. To set up a ‘reverse null hypothesis’ is to set it to be all but impossible to refute. ANd this is the level of debate by our appernently finest minds. Good Grief!!

  66. and with attention to spelling the last bit reads

    And this is the level of debate by our apparently finest minds. Good Grief!!

  67. Dr. Trenberth is as fine a practicing scientist as Dr. Trofim Lysenko; the out come of following the the ‘science’ of either leads to the death of tens of millions.

  68. AGW is real and has been since the first human killed the first methane belching herbivor.

    Saying AGW is real as if it were some kind of argument is ludicrous beyond words.

  69. Since no-one has actually proven with empirical data that humans are causing significant change, why should anyone even bother with proving the opposite?

  70. Roy Spencer might be on to something Gail – maybe the Vikings somehow managed to trigger the Little Ice Age? Then they were actually the first humans to cause climate change and now we’re just slowly clawing our way back from all the trouble they caused?

    I like it! Let’s get some more money to research that theory too; just put it on the charge card.

  71. Russ he claims the missing heat is on vacation in the deep ocean where it’s usefully hard to measure and even better it seems to have got there by avoiding the upper layers where there are measurements, lucky that !

  72. Unbelievable. I read Trenberth’s “paper” and i wanted to puke. What a pile of BS from first letter to last period. And this passes as science? How sad it has become. I, non-scientist, could write pages showing the assumptions, lack of logic, and pure speculative arguments in his paper. Take this:

    “The times when extremes break records are especially the cases when natural variability, such as El Niño, is working in the same direction as human-induced warming”

    Breaking records? Does he not understand that our record system is puny? It’s barely 100 years old, and old records which are thin and sporatic. Take temperatures. When records started to be taken EVERYDAY was a record breaker! As time goes on, and more records accumnulate, the number of record breaking temperature days drops in a decay curve. This is because slots of what the temperature can be start to get filled in. For example. If the temperature of July 1 of any year can be no lower than 20c and no higher than 40c, with 0.1c slots, how many years would it take to fill them all? That’s 200 slots to fill!! In only 100 years? Please…

    I decided to test how long it would take to fill all the slots with a simple simulation. If you just use a random number generator, I fould that it would take some 1000 years to fill all the slots. If you use a gausian curve to add probability for any given slot (higher/lower range temps the least likely), then it would take some 6000 years to fill all the slots!! Record breaking days is an accounting issue, not a indicator of changing temps.

    The FACT is, for Canada and a few other locations I have checked, the VAST majority of record summer high temps were BEFORE the 1950′s.

    His Fig 1 is also grossly misleading because there is no time frame. One assumes that, if temperature is used, that the “normal” was from 1945-1975 and the “abnormal” shifted curve is 1975 to 2000. Hence using that as the dataset for comparison is missing a major property of the climate system — oscillations. What if the apex of the curve vibrates with a frequency of more than 30 years? All Trenberth is doing is showing some portion of that vibration.

    Of course the most rediculous comment in his paper was: “Besides, there is no other viable explanation to the observed temperature changes.” Is he a god of some kind? Geeze!! Classic god of the gaps. “Just because we don’t know a natural cause means it MUST be a human cause.” And this is science? Please…

  73. I think everyone is missing the point.

    Trenberth and the AGW faithful are clearly unable to prove/demonstrate that man’s production of CO2 causes global warming. So, as a clear admission of failure, he turns the question around.

    That’s smart reasoning, political reasoning – and most important of all, it could just keep the grants coming for a few months longer.

    The activities of Man undoubtedly affect the climate at local level and possibly a little at the global level. However, soot (an activity of Man) is probably a far greater cause of glacier and Arctic ice melting than CO2, but that kind of reasoning cuts the grants’ umbilical cord.

    Soot causing glacier and Arctic ice melting is simply not a scary story, and without scary stories the funding of the AGW cult through grants will come to a grinding halt.

    Trenberth is admitting failure – he just may not realise it yet.

  74. “To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities.”

    Anthony, I would love to see a sidebar link to Donna Laframboise’s book. This should be required reading.

  75. Gail Combs… Actually the chart you’re attributing to Dr Spencer is the GISP2 ice core data and should be properly attributed to Dr Richard Alley. Dr Alley has clearly stated on many occasions that the GISP2 data is not a global proxy. It’s a regional proxy of the Greenland summit.

  76. That’s the problem with Post Modernist Science, it’s not scientific enough to give definite answers, only vague opinions and beliefs.

  77. When you dedicate a large part of your working life to a theory and it all goes pear shaped it is difficult to admit you are wrong. So Trenberth and friends hang on to their lunacy but only get away with it because the politicians and the media have dug an even bigger hole than the scientists. It beggars belief…but just remember that 1.5b on this planet have no access to fresh, clean drinking water, sanitation and power….and it is the likes of Tenberth that keep these poor souls in this misery. Technology in it’s various forms should be for the benefit of all mankind.

  78. In classic debate, the rules of rhetoric specify a variety of sins and logical fallacies that are regularly attempted by one side or the other, and are either disallowed on the spot, or are pointed out by one’s opponent when it’s his turn to stand up and reply.

    One such major sin goes by the not so obscure Latin name of a “petitio.” Which refers literally to an act of “begging.” Just as Trenberth is essentially “begging” that the rules of the argument be modified in such a way as to grant him, as already proven, the terms of the debate itself. As in: “AGW should now be assumed as fact before we go any further, even though no completely conclusive evidence has been introduced to prove it, because…”

    “Well…because it makes it a whole lot easier for me to prove that AGW is the correct hypothesis if we do that..” Just go ahead and assume that AGW is the correct hypothesis and it has already been magically demonstrated as such. Of course Trenberth wants to dress it up in scientific language a bit by identifying it as a simple procedural change in the “Null Hypothesis,” but begging is what he’s doing, begging that we grant him his argument as a condition for continuing to participate in the argument itself.

    This begging aspect, or petitio, is what is known in formal rhetoric and debate as the sin of “begging the question.” That’s what the term “begging the question” properly refers to. It’s a forensic term used in debate in the English speaking world to designate that specific (attempted) sin. It’s very useful.

    Somewhere sometime a few years back, some quarter-educated journalist, probably just out of a privately endowed educational institution, overheard two or more older and smart-type people discussing an issue in the form of a polite argument, or casual debate, and he heard one of them respond with, “No wait, that begs the question.” And then he made the regrettable assumption that he knew what was being said – that the smart type person must have meant something like “No wait, that just forces me to ask you this, then: blah-blah-blah…”

    And regrettably the kid started misusing the term down at the local boozer to impress his similarly quarter-educated date and friends. All of whom, including himself, carried it off to work with them the next day and started trying it on all and sundry, in writing articles, interviews, etc. on TV, over and over until it became a veritable virus among those too lazy to look it up. While thinking themselves hugely sophisticated while doing it. You hear it all the time now.

    And we have all been the poorer for it.

    It drives me nuts, because a lazy, casual vandalism of the English language is far worse than vandalism against, say, a restroom mirror or a toilet stall. It takes a lot of bright people several thousand years longer to build a language and its tools than it takes to build a toilet stall, for one thing.

  79. Trenbeth,

    Show that the current mild warming is not due to natural variation? Go on, do it.

    I’m waiting … where’s the power-point presentation, the Nobel prize?

    Oh, wait, you cannot show that the current mild warming is not due to natural variation, can you?

  80. Largely off topic but maybe relevant:
    From some recent reading I have done, I understand that in the BC era Spain, Italy, and Greece were heavily forested and vegetated, and had a wet sub tropical climate.
    With the advent of growing human population and associated demand for wood (Ie: fueling the Roman baths and ship building), these forests were clear felled.
    As a consequence the climate of both Italy and Spain changed to what is now known as “The Mediterranean Climate”.
    Is this scenario historically accurate? Would this not be compelling evidence for human influence on climate?

  81. I have a question for those who care to answer:
    It is – do any of you discuss the null hypothesis with others?, and I don’t mean others of a scientific bent (who should understand – unless they are called Trenberth!) – I mean more of the typical layperson, kind of in discussion at the pub. How many of you have taken any time to explain this or indeed the scientific method to someone prepared to listen? just curious – because I find that as soon as big words get mentioned, many lay folk just lay off!

  82. Boy ‘O boy are these people dangerous?!?!?! They’re going to push this to the point of civil conflict maybe even international.

  83. Beesamen, the key feature of Post-Modern Science is that there is no objectivity, all viewpoints are equally valid, as knowledge is a social construct. Thus there is feminist, islamic, or even gay science. The objectivity of science is dismissed as being a white male (and by insinuation, oppressive) construct.

    I deny, detest and reject this crap, but you gotta know your enemies.

  84. Although we build with concrete and steel leading to an UHI effect, mans nett effect on temperatures is that of a moderation.
    The vast areas of irrigation and dams and levees add to the hydrological cycle leading to regional moderation (lower daytime highs, higher night time lows).

    However in the greater scheme of things (ice ages coming and going) mans influence amounts to about a poofteenth of a tenth.

  85. “The debate may largely be drawn along political lines, but the human role in climate change remains one of the most controversial questions in 21st century science. ”
    ###

    What a hack. We would not even talking about this nonsense if it were not being used as a hook to snooker people into giving away their freedoms so that the great socialist utopia can be established.

  86. George E. Smith; says:
    November 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    The hypothesis IS that human influence on the climate has and will continue to drive the climate to a catastrophic state…
    _____
    Actually, no George, that is not THE hypothesis, that is just ONE hypothesis, and only one of many related to the human influence on climate. Furthermore, in that one hypothesis, the term “catastrophic” has never been very well defined. Even melting ice and rising oceans, while inconveniences, are not catastrophic, and humans are pretty adaptable creatures and could probably adapt to even to those circumstances just fine.

  87. Trenberth points to two errors with testing for the null hypothesis. Type I is rejecting the null hypothesis in error. Type II is accepting the null hypothesis in error. Matt Ridley’s claim that the there are strong confirmation biases suggests the opposite of Trenberth – that a Type I error is far more likely. This is indicated in the article references. Only one of the papers is outside the subject area of climate science. To justify deviating from normal scientific method Trenberth needs to demonstrate.
    1. Why Climate “Science” should be made a special case – with comparisons from other empirical sciences like economics.
    2. A strengthening of procedures to help eliminate confirmation bias.
    3. Appropriate discussion of the differing perspectives in the philosophy of science and statistical theory.

  88. Kev-in-Uk says:
    November 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm
    I have a question for those who care to answer:
    It is – do any of you discuss the null hypothesis with others?, and I don’t mean others of a scientific bent (who should understand – unless they are called Trenberth!) – I mean more of the typical layperson, kind of in discussion at the pub.
    ____
    By now you should have realized that the average bloke in the pub doesn’t give a rats ass about any of this. We are a “special” breed that frequent here, and while our friends may tolerate our warmist or skeptical rantings, they generally couldn’t care about the details, and they won’t until it hits them in the pocketbook, washes away their house, causes the price of food to skyrocket, or the shelves are simply empty. As long as the shelves at Walmart are full of goodies with “low low prices”, none of this will attract the typical layperson’s attention.

  89. His stated Null hypothesis is wrong and evidence of the fuzziness of the whole field.

    Logically, humans MUST have some effect on the environment. There is no chance this is wrong. Zero, zilch, zip, nada!.

    It would be like creating a null hypothesis that 1+1 2.

  90. Be careful.

    Prior to the posing of the null hypothesis is a process step involving observation of the aspect of nature you want to study.

    Prior to that ‘pre null hypothesis’ observation of the aspect of nature you want to study is an even earlier process step involving formulating premises that give you reason to study that aspect of nature.

    Prior to the selection of those premises is an even earlier process step of deciding what is objective scientific non-confirmation biased knowledge. How you know what knowledge is.

    Leaping to define a null hypothesis without those prior steps leads to the fundamental cause of Trenberth’s epistemologically and metaphysically flawed argument for reversing the null hypothesis. He has an absence of the prerequisite sequential process steps that lead to understanding the proper concept of the null hypothesis in determining objective scientific knowledge.

    Do not start incorrectly building the scientific argument at the positing of a null hypothesis; which actually is at the middle of the bridge of scientific knowledge. If you start there in middle without understanding a sequential chain of pre null hypothesis processes then Trenberth’s error will also be yours too.

    John

  91. Kev-in-Uk says:
    November 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm
    I have a question for those who care to answer:
    It is – do any of you discuss the null hypothesis with others?, and I don’t mean others of a scientific bent (who should understand – unless they are called Trenberth!) – I mean more of the typical layperson, kind of in discussion at the pub.
    ————-

    Absolutely. Every argument must have a basic premise to start with. When debating any subject “at the pub” my first question will often be, what is your basic first premise. What’s your default position. AKA, what’s your null hypothesis. One cannot have a rational discussion without first stating what one’s position is. Thus it’s used in non-science discussions as a base from which each person bases their argument.

  92. John Whitman says:
    November 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    Be careful.

    Prior to the posing of the null hypothesis is a process step involving observation of the aspect of nature you want to study.

    Prior to that ‘pre null hypothesis’ observation of the aspect of nature you want to study is an even earlier process step involving formulating premises that give you reason to study that aspect of nature.

    Prior to the selection of those premises is an even earlier process step of deciding what is objective scientific non-confirmation biased knowledge. How you know what knowledge is.

    Leaping to define a null hypothesis without those prior steps leads to the fundamental cause of Trenberth’s epistemologically and metaphysically flawed argument for reversing the null hypothesis. He has an absence of the prerequisite sequential process steps that lead to understanding the proper concept of the null hypothesis in determining objective scientific knowledge.

    Do not start incorrectly building the scientific argument at the positing of a null hypothesis; which actually is at the middle of the bridge of scientific knowledge. If you start there in middle without understanding a sequential chain of pre null hypothesis processes then Trenberth’s error will also be yours too.

    John
    ————

    I’m going to disagree with this for the following reason. All other disciplines of science have discovered that the universe works on its own. There is no god twittling knobs, there is no high being on a different plain than the unverse making things happen. Which is what the pre-science era thought about the world. Since all other sciences shows us the universe is quite capable of existing, changing, and functioning all on its own, we can conclude that this includes climate science. Hence it is not unreasonable that when we see events happening in the climate or weather system to conclude that nothing more than natural causes are at work, even if we do not yet understand or event see such causes. Hence the current null hypothesis. Science MUST work on the hypothesis that events we see have natural understandable mechanisms, which if we do not see them now, we will with future research. What Trenberth has essentually claimed is we know everything that can be known about how the climate system works. That is pseudoscience.

  93. Richard Wakefield says:
    November 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    ————————

    Richard,

    Within a few minutes we posted some similar concepts on what occurs prior to the middle step in the scientific process; the middle step being making the null hypothesis.

    John

  94. The null hypothesis is that mankind has a very poor understanding of climate. No one has come close to falsifying it.

  95. Richard Wakefield says:
    November 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    I’m going to disagree with this for the following reason. All other disciplines of science have discovered that the universe works on its own. There is no god twittling knobs, there is no high being on a different plain than the unverse making things happen. Which is what the pre-science era thought about the world. Since all other sciences shows us the universe is quite capable of existing, changing, and functioning all on its own, we can conclude that this includes climate science. Hence it is not unreasonable that when we see events happening in the climate or weather system to conclude that nothing more than natural causes are at work, even if we do not yet understand or event see such causes. Hence the current null hypothesis. Science MUST work on the hypothesis that events we see have natural understandable mechanisms, which if we do not see them now, we will with future research. What Trenberth has essentually claimed is we know everything that can be known about how the climate system works. That is pseudoscience.

    Richard Wakefield,

    I agree with virtually 100% with what you just said.

    Therefore, I am curious how you disagree with what I said.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    John

  96. I’m confident that part of the problem is that people like this wish/dream that they were real scientists. For example, in Medicine if you have a known drug that is effective in cancer and would propose another drug is more effective, then you have a control and experimental group…contrasting the effective drug with the maybe more effective drug.

    You do this because people will die without any drug. So the null hypothesis is referenced against the known effective drug. There is simply no way that anyone can argue that whatever physics underlie AGW that the certainty is comparable to oncology.

  97. Why is it that the climate communists hippies always regard the negative of anthropogenic influence but never the positive? I mean their idea that man’s influence on climate is negative can be mitigated by man’s influence creating positive, so surely, even in their world, man does positive, like for instance planting trees.

    So why is it that only rational capitalists plant trees while the climate communist hippies only plant weeds and windmills? By the very lack of their care of the land weeds take hold and energy companies’s short term strategies destroys forests for a 3-1 return in tax-dollar no matter what.

    So, even in their own reality, they’re the bad apples for, climate (windmills apparently change local climate and global climate is just statistics of local climate, but besides every windmill needs a 1:1 existence of coal, gas or nuclear power plant on standby).

  98. “Rob Honeycutt
    . Dr Alley has clearly stated on many occasions that the GISP2 data is not a global proxy. It’s a regional proxy of the Greenland summit.”

    Just how many global proxies are there?
    How does a lay-man differentiate between a global and local proxy?
    Why is the ring width of one tree a global proxy of temperature, but one ice core a local proxy?

  99. rk,

    Actually, the proven drug is the null hypothesis. The alternate hypothesis is the experimental replacement drug. The analogy to the climate null hypothesis is that the null is the pre-industrial Holocene parameters of temperature, duration, trend, etc., and the alternative hypothesis is CO2=AGW (or any other alternative hypothesis).

    The past parameters of the Holocene must be exceeded in order to falsify the null hypothesis. But so far, the change in temperature has been very mild; during the Holocene temperatures have been many degrees above and below today’s temperature, while CO2 remained very low. Therefore the null hypothesis remains unfalsified, which is why Dr. Trenberth is so unhappy.

  100. I agree with virtually 100% with what you just said.

    Therefore, I am curious how you disagree with what I said.

    Appreciate your thoughts.

    John
    ——–

    Guess I misread your post. sorry. Good to always clarify though, LOL.

  101. Piltdown man. All climate scientists junking the null hypothesis are piltdown man makers, the missing no longer link between real scientists and all conmen using language to obfuscate in support of vested interests, their own.

  102. I’m trying to figure out in all this if Trenberth has commited a Type 1 Error (mistaken evidence) or a Type 2 Error (missed the evidence). Let him respond to that–he doesn’t understand corroboration or falsification of a null hypothesis so it’s apparently more basic than that.

  103. So why does the science community continue to do attribution studies and assume that humans have no influence as a null hypothesis?”

    This one is ieasy, the Medieval Warm period was just as warm, if not a bit warmer, than now, no SUV’s needed.
    My null-null hypothesis, 1000 years ago, mevieval man drove more SUV’s than we do. Makes just as much sense.

    One thing, a hypothesis is testable idea, can the idea that man made all the warmth even be tested, on a world where we do not even know how the Medieval Warm Peroid came about, or the following Little Ice Age? Can such an idea be tested when it is being treated as a pseudoscience and thus above testing, when it is considered herisy to even subject it to test?

  104. Rob Honeycutt. . . No, the chart that Gail references from Dr. Spencer is not from Alley’s GISP2 ice core data. It’s from Dr. Spencer’s website & he attributes it to Craig Loehle. It represents 18 non-tree ring proxies throughout the northern hemisphere (Africa, Asia, Europe & North America).
    It wasn’t technically a ‘close up of the last 2000 years’ of the VOSTOK Antarctica chart since it was a NH proxy.

  105. “By now you should have realized that the average bloke in the pub doesn’t give a rats ass about any of this. We are a “special” breed that frequent here, and while our friends may tolerate our warmist or skeptical rantings, they generally couldn’t care about the details, and they won’t until it hits them in the pocketbook, washes away their house, causes the price of food to skyrocket, or the shelves are simply empty. As long as the shelves at Walmart are full of goodies with “low low prices”, none of this will attract the typical layperson’s attention.”
    —–
    I find that to be incredibly snotty and snobbish: Allow me to make the following substitution:

    By now you should have realized that the average bloke in the pub doesn’t give a rats ass about any of this. We are a “special” breed that frequent here, and while our friends may tolerate our ****socialist or free-market ****rantings, they generally couldn’t care about the details, and they won’t until it hits them in the pocketbook, washes away their house, causes the price of food to skyrocket, or the shelves are simply empty. As long as the shelves at Walmart are full of goodies with “low low prices”, none of this will attract the typical layperson’s attention.

    **********************

    Feel free to insert your own phrases. such as “liberal or conservative”, “religious or atheist”, etc.

    My point: the American humorist Will Rogers once said, “We’re all ignorant, only on different subjects”.

    That applies to you too, R. Gates. ESPECIALLY youl You embody the “progressive” idea that the public is stupid and must be guided (even at the point of a gun) by the Enlightened.

    “special breed”, my fundament.

  106. So lets apply the reversal of the null hypothesis to Dr. Kevin Trenberth. He is Head of the Climate Analysis Section at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.

    JonBenét Ramsey, a six-year-old American girl who had competed in child beauty pageants, was made famous by her Christmastime murder… She was found dead in the basement of her parents’ home in Boulder, Colorado, on December 26, 1996, nearly eight hours after she was reported missing. The official cause of death was asphyxia due to strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma. After several grand jury hearings, the case is still unsolved….. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_deaths

    There is an obvious correlation. Both have lived in Boulder, Colorado.

    Therefore as a resident of Boulder, Colorado Dr. Kevin Trenberth, is obviously her murderer. It is now up to Dr. Kevin Trenberth to disprove that “Null Hypothesis” /Sarcasm>

    Obviously I do not think Dr. Trenberth had anything to do with this little girl’s death just because they both lived in Boulder, Colorado. However Dr. Trenberth is trying to apply a similar type of logic when he tries to blame mankind for harmful “global warming” and then insists we must be disprove his allegation.

  107. I admit I am only a interested observer, trained in Architecture (knows nothing about everything). But even I understand that in order flop the null hypothesis Trenberth must fully describe the new normal. We need an accurate basis describing life, the universe and everything, or at least the climate, in order to see what benefits accrue from all the money spent on saving the climate. Unfortunately Trenberth can’t do that but wants to establish IPCC models as the baseline. When the earth doesn’t warm as expected, the warmists can then claim how well the trillions of everything ($, yen, euro, dracmas) spent have been put to good use.

  108. This is just a second order demonstration of the pathetic state of climate science compared with any other field of applied physics .

    My understanding is that the notion of null versus alternate hypotheses came from the statistical testing field where in general a null hypothesis is an assertion that some phenomenon will be constrained to a subset , often a subspace , of the total universe of possible observations . The alternative is that the observations will fall in some disjoint subset . The extent to which observations fall outside either of these two subsets is considered noise . The null hypothesis is rejected if observations fall outside what can be expected even adding noise to the null subset . Generally the test stops there , simply rejecting the null without making any additional assertion with respect to the alternate , eg , 2-tailed tests.

    This paradigm , while very useful , is only a tool in the overall enterprise of quantitatively understanding our world .

    The real travesty in climate science is that the ubiquitously accepted null hypothesis is that the earth’s spectrum without the greenhouse effect of the atmosphere ( ie , its surface spectrum ) is approximately that of sort of a step function with an ( observed ) albedo of approximately 0.3 with respect to the sun’s spectrum but 0.0 with respect to the approximately 279 kelvin temperature of a gray ( flat spectrum ) ball in our orbit thus producing equilibrium temperature of about 255 kelvin . That’s a little colder than any real ball could be in our orbit .

    A more appropriate , 0th order if you will , null hypothesis would be that our mean temperature is simply that of a gray ball in our orbit This is simply the temperature obtained by adding up the energy impinging on a point in our orbit ( essentially all from the sun ) .

    This most basic assumption in fact explains 97% , all but about 10 celsius of our approximately 288 observed temperature . Making no assumption about spectrum is 3 times closer to our observed temperature than the hypothesis which confounds spectrum , a specific extreme spectrum , and total irradiance .

    This is grossly incompetent physics . I’m not surprised that I have never seen the computations of forcings since whatever is done on the basis of the common 33c null is like trying to understand temperature in terms of celsius instead of kelvin .

  109. “”””” R. Gates says:

    November 3, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    George E. Smith; says:
    November 3, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    The hypothesis IS that human influence on the climate has and will continue to drive the climate to a catastrophic state…
    _____
    Actually, no George, that is not THE hypothesis “””””

    Well R, I’m simply using THEIR words; as to catastrophism etc.

    So it is entirely moot whether anybody has precisely defined “catastrophe” as it applies to climate change. The fact is that Nobel prize winners; for their climate work, have used precisely that word, in describing the inevitable result of the whole world failing to immediately adopt their Draconian energy curtailment specifications.

    So that IS the hypothesis; humans have already damaged the climate environment beyond repair; unless the whole of mankind, adopt their austerity measures.

    So if you don’t like the message; get THEM to change it to what YOU believe is more appropriate.

    As for me, I’m quite convinced beyond any reasonable doubt, that if we do precisely nothing other than normal attention to our sometimes (real) “polluting behavior”, that this planet will remain quite safely habitable as far into the future as our “intelligence” will allow us to survive as a viable species.

    It is the water that is in total feedback (negative) control of the global Temperature; it does that by the surprising, and unlikely mechanism of actually altering the incoming solar energy that drives the climate system; and it can easily eradicate any minor perturbation such as the minor effect on outgoing LWIR because of CO2 or Ozone or other GHGs (other than water).

    What a concept; to actually study the feedback correction to the actual real driving input signal, rather than some ancillary energy leakage path; after the incoming energy has been stored.

    So if YOU disagree with the term “catastrophic” then take it up with those who introduced it into the “science” discourse; and in IPCC/Gore/Trenberth et al; for it wasn’t me.

  110. I really struggled to bring myself to read this article since I find The Trenberth proposition so depressing. How any scientist could hold such a view (or support such an approach) beggars belief.

  111. Of course human activity can influence climate at least on a local level, eg urbanisation, deforestation, diversion of rivers, construction of dams etc. Whether man can have an effect on a global level is more moot although I would accept that high levels of emissions of soot can have such an effect.

    However, that is no reason in itself to alter the null hypothesis. Anyone putting forward a theory should be expected to adequately prove his theory. If the claim is that man is altering the climate then those proposing it must prove it.

  112. The human global warming hypothesis is a political one. It’s origin is from radical environmentalists trough UNEP and UNFCCC.
    Once it was politically established in Rio in 1992 trough UNFCCC it’s purpose was that the debate was over and time was for action, radical change of the Western society.

    It probably is one of the best examples in modern time of science beeing politics/ideology/policy driven.

    When it should have been the other way around, politics and policy based on science.

  113. Complete and utter desperation. Can’t prove that [you're] an intelligent life form, state that [you're] intelligent and get everyone else to prove [you're] an idiot.

  114. It makes me sad that this is what science has become. Once everyone knows what a bloody big scam this is and how climate ‘scientists’ politicians, bureaucrats, environmental groups etc have made a fortune out of this, then nobody will trust scientists again. Every time I hear a news item that starts with ‘scientists say’, I am immediately skeptical of the claims. Even though there are plenty of decent honest scientists, joe public will lump them into one group and have little respect for any of them.

  115. I’ve long felt that the only possible result of the madness pushed by the climatology religion will be the destruction of real Science itself. And now we have one of the head climate celebutards stating it plainly for all the world to see. It should be no surprise though, we have heard similar over the years, for example about a year ago: “Julienne Strove from NSIDC asked last week what it would take to be convinced of man’s influence.“. That was also an example of turning the Scientific Method upside down and inside out (but keep in mind that compared to her boss Mark Serreze, she is practically tame).

    The reversal of the burden of proof is one of the highest crimes in hard Science. It is like a medical doctor breaking the Hippocratic Oath. It is like a cop ignoring a crime. It is like Captains Kirk and Picard breaking the Prime Directive. In a more perfect world this Trenberth would be fired and his pension canceled and his University would cite him as a clear example of a Scientific failure. I wouldn’t address him as ‘Dr. for a million dollars (well check that, if he writes the check out to WUWT, Goddard, Lubos, Jo Nova and McIntyre I would bite my lip and use it).

    This should be turned around on him quickly and with no mercy. Everyone should now pester all Scientists with a simple question: “Do you agree with Trenberth’s ridiculous assertion that Climate Science is settled and the Scientific Method no longer applies?“.

    Hold their feet to the fire, DEMAND they answer and go on the record. That’s what the crooked mainstream media does all the time to their enemies. So let’s turn this issue into a positive! Ask Tamino, and John Cook, and Gavin and his comrades. Ask Mann, Suzuki, Princess Charles and Gore. And ask all the rest of the Climate Scientology prophets. At the very least we will have a clear picture of which one’s are vaguely acquainted with the core principles of Science, and those that are merely advocates masquerading as Scientists who must be rooted out.

  116. “……..To show precedent for his position Trenberth cites the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which states that global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities……”

    Let me simplify what the good Doctor meant: ….global warming is “unequivocal”, and is “very likely” due to human activities because “we” wrote a document that says so….

    Best,

    J,

  117. bob says:
    November 3, 2011 at 10:32 am

    “How does this work? The Trenberth gang says AGW is unequivocal, and writes the IPCC reports from that perspective. Then, Dr. Trenberth claims that AGW is unequivocal because the IPCC says so.

    Is this circular reasoning, or what?”

    Good one! Its so because he says its so!

    The statistical attributions studies have to be big time in the tank with the recent “weather” data added in and the successes at Cloud 9. Back when they had a hockey stick and could claim that TSI variation was being overwhelmed by other forcings, they could ignore the 1920′s to 1940′s warming and attribute the warming of the 80′s and 90′s to manmade causes.

    No doubt an inability to update attribution studies transparently has led to the desperate bid to try to quiet dissent when they come out with AR5 without updating this key work. One can determine that by simply looking at what Trenberth is working on today and its not that.

    Now if we can just get Dr. Lonnie Thompson to give us a report on the Qori Kalis glacier in Peru, due to disappear in 3 months, from his most recent expeditions paid for with taxpayer dollars! That should go a long ways towards squelching dissent!

  118. Trenberth has out travestied himself! He continues to live from the public purse and it is a travesty that he does.

  119. “Humans are changing our climate. There is no doubt whatsoever,” said Trenberth.

    “Really? Show me the observational evidence for that statement,” said Alice.

    But answer came there none.

  120. Trenberth needs to step down from his post, or be summarily removed. He is no longer coherent, and as such, is a significant liability to an agency of the US government. Regardless of his personal opinion, he is demonstating in open forum, that his rational, professional thought processes are failing. The US government no doubt has an abundance of employee assistance programs for senior executives who no longer are capable of controlling their behavior; he should enroll in one, immediately, and his employer should insist on it, immediately.

  121. Trenberth is one of the best examples of “climsci*” I know.

    *noun. a false or baseless person involved in CAGW. Those that deny important aspects or that rely on specious modeling or theory only; and those that are not fully scientists as they deny or distort the scientific method, typically for personal financial gain. Origin: Modern English clim, orig. climate, and sci, orig. science (combined contracted form).

  122. R. Gates says:
    November 3, 2011 at 4:36 pm
    Kev-in-Uk says:
    November 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm……………………..
    As long as the shelves at Walmart are full of goodies with “low low prices”, none of this will attract the typical layperson’s attention.
    ——————————————–
    I think this is called “rational ignorance.”

  123. Alan Grey says:
    November 3, 2011 at 4:42 pm
    His stated Null hypothesis is wrong and evidence of the fuzziness of the whole field.

    Logically, humans MUST have some effect on the environment. There is no chance this is wrong. Zero, zilch, zip, nada!.

    It would be like creating a null hypothesis that 1+1 2.
    —————————————————
    So Alan, we’ve stopped talking about global warming and climate change. It’s now that we have “some effect on the environment.”

    Moving targets are more difficult to hit
    -Boy, being a skeptic is hard.

  124. Rob Honeycutt says:
    November 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Gail Combs… Actually the chart you’re attributing to Dr Spencer is the GISP2 ice core data and should be properly attributed to Dr Richard Alley. Dr Alley has clearly stated on many occasions that the GISP2 data is not a global proxy. It’s a regional proxy of the Greenland summit.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It was Sarcasm not a “Scientific statement” (Note the /sarc> tag)

    As far as I am concerned we do not have any really good data for CO2 or temperature outside of perhaps ARGO and Dr. Spencer’s Satellite data. Trying to say the temperatures rose 0.1C is misleading.

    See AJ Strata’s error analysis: http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11420

  125. pochas says:
    November 3, 2011 at 5:39 pm
    The science is settled, therefore, the null hypothesis is void.
    ——————————
    Science I’d say hypothetically, it’s null and void.

  126. John Whitman says:
    November 3, 2011 at 4:54 pm
    “Prior to the posing of the null hypothesis is a process step involving observation of the aspect of nature you want to study.
    Prior to that ‘pre null hypothesis’ observation of the aspect of nature you want to study is an even earlier process step involving formulating premises that give you reason to study that aspect of nature.
    Prior to the selection of those premises is an even earlier process step of deciding what is objective scientific non-confirmation biased knowledge. How you know what knowledge is.”

    You left out the step where one decides it is better to study a subject which will provide excellent funding than a subject for which funding is hard to come by.

  127. Blade says November 4, 2011 at 3:24 am:

    “This should be turned around on him quickly and with no mercy. Everyone should now pester all Scientists with a simple question: “Do you agree with Trenberth’s ridiculous assertion that Climate Science is settled and the Scientific Method no longer applies? “

    That’s a very good idea Blade but strike out the word “ridiculous” because if you do not – then you may be required to prove what part of it is ridiculous. – In which case “the burden of proof” is still on you.

  128. Bob Armstrong says:
    November 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    re; “null” temperature of the earth

    I like using empirical data if there’s any available as this always trumps theory. The measured average temperature of the moon is -23C or 249K. The was obtained by thermocouple in the regolith at depths greater than 100cm where temperature is constant year-round in two different mid-latitude locations. The albedo of the moon is 0.16 which is about the same as weathered asphalt. The earth’s surface absent atmosphere and ocean is the same as the moon as they are both the same basic rocks in the crust.

    Ostensibly the moon is a bit colder because of the longer day/night interval which allows the surface to get hotter and the greater delta-T with cosmic background temperature of 3K means it will initially cool faster after sunset. I’m not sure how much and I’m not sure the claimed net effect is even true because the moon’s surface also gets much colder than the earth’s and then the delta-t is lower than the earth and heat loss slows. I’d bet it’s close enough to a wash to ignore the difference in day-length.

    So there’s your null baseline taken from observation instead of calculation.

    Personally I’d like the climate boffins, or someone, run the global circulation models with no ocean and see what happens. I’m betting the planet gets mighty cold mighty fast. It’s actually the ocean, not the atmosphere, that does most of the surface warming above the moon’s average temperature. The atmosphere need do no more than establish a surface pressure so there’s a 100C range above freezing where liquid water can exist in the first place.

  129. DocMartyn says:
    “Rob Honeycutt
    . Dr Alley has clearly stated on many occasions that the GISP2 data is not a global proxy. It’s a regional proxy of the Greenland summit.”

    “Just how many global proxies are there?
    How does a lay-man differentiate between a global and local proxy?
    Why is the ring width of one tree a global proxy of temperature, but one ice core a local proxy?”

    DocMartyn… Any single proxy is always going to be a local proxy. Dr Alley has frequently made it very clear that GISP2 is a very poor indicator of global temperature.

  130. Aunty Freeze says:
    November 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    It makes me sad that this is what science has become. Once everyone knows what a bloody big scam this is and how climate ‘scientists’ politicians, bureaucrats, environmental groups etc have made a fortune out of this, then nobody will trust scientists again. Every time I hear a news item that starts with ‘scientists say’, I am immediately skeptical of the claims. Even though there are plenty of decent honest scientists, joe public will lump them into one group and have little respect for any of them.
    _________________________________________________

    That is exactly what is happening.

    We had the climategate scandal and the Rasmussen poll says 69% Say It’s Likely Scientists Have Falsified Global Warming Research

    Then in recent news we had
    FDA finds U.S. drug research firm faked documents

    The FDA inspected Cetero in May and December last year and found falsified records about studies.

    Specifically, in at least 1,900 instances between April 2005 and June 2009, laboratory technicians identified as conducting certain studies were not actually present at Cetero facilities at that time, the FDA said in its May report.

    Followed by the NYT article: Fraud Case Seen as a Red Flag for Psychology Research

    A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability.

    This particular “picadillo” will really hit the average Joe because of the ruckus about schools and courts forcing The Drugging of Our Children (Also see Physicians Concerned About Ritalin Being Forced on School Children

    This is a one – two – three knockout for the trust in science. Doctors and teachers have always had our highest trust and now we find the drugs they give us and our children are “questionable” We find the teacher/school committee who forcibly (with the courts backing) recommends putting our child on drugs, with life altering consequences, is doing so on the basis of a “science” whose notable expert faked the data.

    ……This outrages Dr. Fred Baughman, a board-certified child neurologist trained at New York University and Mount Sinai, and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. Baughman feels that it’s one thing for a court to intervene and take over as legal guardian in a case where a child’s life is truly at risk, but quite another thing when psychotropic drugs are forced on children who don’t fit into the mold…. courts should have no place in mandating that behavioral problems in children be treated with drugs. “There are no physical or chemical abnormalities in these children,” Baughman states. “The idea that there is is a false belief spouted by psychiatry…. For courts to intervene and to mandate such treatment, as though these were legitimate diseases or legitimate medical emergencies, is leading to tyranny over parents of normal children….When we’re talking about…so-called psychiatric disorders, none of them are actual diseases due to physical abnormalities within the child,” states Baughman. [Gary Null interview with Dr. Fred Baughman, Feb. 12, 2001]

    http://familyrightsassociation.com/bin/white_papers-articles/drugging_our_children/#5

    The love of money and praise has corrupted science, I am not sure whether the tarnish can be removed any time soon.

  131. Richard Wakefield says:
    November 3, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    “I’m going to disagree with this for the following reason. All other disciplines of science have discovered that the universe works on its own. There is no god twittling knobs, there is no high being on a different plain than the unverse making things happen. Which is what the pre-science era thought about the world.”

    I’m going to disagree with you for the following reason. Pagan religions like Greek and Roman had a multiplicity of whimsical gods. Judeo-Christian religion came along saying there was one rational God who created humanity in his own image. Thus the real beginning of western science, i.e. the enlightenment, was based on the tenet that a rational God created an orderly universe that operated according to laws and he populated it with rational beings fashioned in his own image who could study and understand the creation. Thus science is the study of God’s creation.

  132. Dave Springer says:
    November 4, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Personally I’d like the climate boffins, or someone, run the global circulation models with no ocean and see what happens. I’m betting the planet gets mighty cold mighty fast. It’s actually the ocean, not the atmosphere, that does most of the surface warming above the moon’s average temperature. The atmosphere need do no more than establish a surface pressure so there’s a 100C range above freezing where liquid water can exist in the first place.

    The figures are available. Without any atmosphere at all iirc it’s -18&degC, with the atmosphere but without water the figure is 67deg;C. The water cycle brings down the temps dramatically through the water cycle, think deserts without the water cycle, evaporation taking the heat away from the surface via water vapour and in the colder higher levels this condensing out into rain and ice.

  133. There is no point in quoting the IPCC as an unbiased scentific authority. I think we should remind ourselves that the IPCC rejects the null hypothesis and was established with the following mandate(see IPCC web site)

    ‘Principles Governing IPCC Work, “…to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy, although they may need to deal objectively with scientific, technical and socio-economic factors relevant to the application of particular policies.” ‘

  134. Aunty Freeze says:
    November 4, 2011 at 3:16 am

    It makes me sad that this is what science has become….
    __________________________________

    I am with you on that one.

    I just went over to J.Curry’s blog – SAD.

  135. Reversal of the null hypothesis? Really? This is simply another way of stating application of “The precautionary principle. If we go down this slippery slope we admit that global warming cannot be falsified, and the entire concept reverts to a “belief” rather than an application of science.

  136. BrianSJ says:
    November 3, 2011 at 10:56 am
    “So, a safe null hypothesis would be temperature increases linearly with human population. Disprove that and the alarmists are doomed? No?”

    Yes, that would be an interesting way to tweak the Null Hypothesis. However you’d need to specify the exact linear equation that supposedly relates global average temperature with human population. And that equation would be the new Null.

    Suppose that you can reject that new Null with 95% or greater confidence. What have you actually shown? You haven’t ‘disproven’ the idea of AGW. You’ve simply shown that one particular linear equation has a lousy fit to the data.

    If you cannot reasonably reject the new Null with 95% or greater confidence, what have you demonstrated? Nothing in particular. However Trenberth would be a happy camper. He would interpret that as ‘living proof’ of AGW.

  137. @ Dave Springer , November 4, 2011 at 8:18 am

    The issue is not one of “data trumping theory” . The theory is 19th century physics validated by more than a century of observation and experiment in addition to its mesh with the greater corpus of physical theory . It is readily testable , but climate science appears to have abandoned teaching by experimental demonstration .

    This is about a maximally understandable and useful decomposition of the causes of observed phenomena . As elaborated in my Nature comment , adding any consideration of spectrum to the calculation of the temperature of a radiantly heated gray ball requires adding that additional function valued parameter to the code .

    My impression is that one can have a well paid career in climate science never even understanding the 150 year old observation that a radiantly heated gray ball , however light or dark , will come to the same equilibrium temperature , Albedo is a fuzzy concept . I really think it should only be defined for flat ( gray ) spectra . In that case it falls out of the calculation of temperature . Otherwise , it must be defined with respect to some other spectrum . It’s only the assumption that the albedo of the planet with respect to the sun’s spectrum is different than the albedo of the planet with respect to the near 0k spectrum of all other directions around us which matters to the planet’s mean temperature . I wonder how many reading this know how to calculate the albedo between 2 arbitrary spectra . I know of no place to learn it on the web . Given any set of source , sink , and sphere spectra , one can calculate the temperature of the sphere . It’s the sort of thing which in other areas of applied physics would be a homework assignment .

    Dave , do you have a reference with the details of those moon measurements , in particular their latitude ? It is very hard to explain how those measurements could be so cold as 249k . It’s particularly strange because by the same extreme computation which gives the earth with an assumed albedo ( wrt the sun ) of 0.29 a temperature of 255k , the 0.16 you assert for the moon predicts a temperature of 267k .

    I have seen a claim ( since lost to the ether ) that the observed mean temperature of the moon is around 271k , only about 8c less than a gray ball , implying a much less extreme spectrum .

    The notion that the spectrum of earth’s surface is like the moon’s is absurd on its face . There’s no blue , there’s no white , there’s no chlorophyll green on the moon . It’s the difference between the spectral map of the earth’s surface as it is and the it’s spectrum as seen from outside which defines the atmospheric greenhouse effect . Assertions about what it might be as a dry naked lifeless ball are irrelevant .

  138. Russ says:
    November 3, 2011 at 1:40 pm
    I thought Trenberth was still out there chasing that “missing” ocean heat content. How does he have time to write stuff like this?

    Q. What is the difference between a Climate Scientist and a mosquito?

    A. One is a blood sucking parasite and the other is an insect.

  139. Arrrghh. I messed up the tags. Moderator, please delete my previous comment. Thanks.

    [Blade November 4, 2011 at 3:24 am] “This should be turned around on him quickly and with no mercy. Everyone should now pester all Scientists with a simple question: ‘Do you agree with Trenberth’s ridiculous assertion that Climate Science is settled and the Scientific Method no longer applies?’”

    [O H Dahlsveen November 4, 2011 at 8:00 am] “That’s a very good idea Blade but strike out the word “ridiculous” because if you do not – then you may be required to prove what part of it is ridiculous. – In which case “the burden of proof” is still on you.”

    Point taken, but not because any part of it [Trenberth's assertion] requires proof of being ridiculous. It is a completely ridiculous assertion. It is self-evident. But here it is modified …

    This should be turned around on him quickly and with no mercy. Everyone should now pester all Scientists and climate cult members with a simple question: “Do you agree with Trenberth’s assertion that Climate Science is settled and the Scientific Method no longer applies?

  140. The aliens are here to conquer us!! I have the data to prove it – all I need is to reverse the null hypothesis and then YOU have to prove that they are not ….

    In the meantime I need a bit of founding.

  141. It was reading though these posts and wondering:
    Do you folks actually believe Trenberth is a drooling idiot?

    It’s like when you get to climate science you have an on – off switch –
    When it comes from someone like Trenberth, or Santer, or Hansen you switch OFF and that’s that.

    Trenberth has never implied the Scientific Method no long applies, come on, can we get serious?

    Have you folks considered the thought:
    “The AGW is the null hypothesis because it is the only one that is consistent with our understanding of physics and Earth observations over past century. If it were NOT happening, we have to find an explanation.”

  142. citizenschallenge says:
    November 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm
    Do you folks actually believe Trenberth is a drooling idiot?
    No, his turning of scientific principle on its head is quite deliberate, and means he’s no scientist, but probably not a “drooling idiot” as you put it, although all the evidence may not be in yet on that.

  143. Bruce Cobb says:
    November 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    citizenschallenge says:
    November 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm
    Do you folks actually believe Trenberth is a drooling idiot?

    No, his turning of scientific principle on its head is quite deliberate, and means he’s no scientist, but probably not a “drooling idiot” as you put it, although all the evidence may not be in yet on that.

    More like a desperate rent-seeker trying to keep the spigots open.

  144. citizenschallenge says:
    November 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm
    Have you folks considered the thought:
    “The AGW is the null hypothesis because it is the only one that is consistent with our understanding of physics and Earth observations over past century.”

    Citizenschallenge, your comment shows that you do not understand the Null Hypothesis. That’s not how it’s defined. And for good reason.

    The Null is a blunt instrument. Yes, in principle, it’s tweakable. So what? In the continuous case, tweaking the Null cannot lead to any interesting results. And from a mathematical perspective, it would be extremely difficult to tweak the Null in the way that Trenberth suggests. See my earlier posts in this thread on the subject.

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