The Birth of CGR Science

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I was reading a study published in November 2011 in Science mag, paywalled of course. It’s called “The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems”, by Burrows et al. (abstract here,  hereinafter B2011). However, I believe that the Supplementary Online Information (SOI) may not be paywalled, and it is here.

The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors. They study has plenty of flash, something akin to what the song calls “28 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one”, like the following:

Figure 1 from B2011.  ORIGINAL CAPTION: (A) Trends in land (Climate Research Unit data set CRU TS3.1) and ocean (Hadley Centre data set Had1SST 1.1) temperatures for 1960–2009, with latitude medians (red, land; blue, ocean).

It’s interesting how they don’t waste any time. In the very first sentence of the study, they beg the conclusion of the paper. Surely that must break the existing land speed record. The paper opens by saying:

Climate warming is a global threat to biodiversity (1). 

I’d have thought that science was about seeing if a warming of a degree or two in a century might be a global threat to biodiversity, and if so, exactly which bio might get less diverse.

I would have expected them to establish that through scientific studies of the plants and animals of our astounding planet. Observations. Facts. Analyses of biodiversity in areas that have warmed. But of course, since they state it as an established fact in the very first sentence, all the observations and evidence and analyses must surely have been laid out in reference (1).

So I looked in the list of references to identify reference (1), expecting to find a hard-hitting scientific analyses with observations and facts that showed conclusively that plants and animals around the globe hate warming and that it damages them and saps their vital bodily fluids.

It was neither encouraging, nor entirely unexpected, to find that reference (1) is entitled “Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100″.

Again the paper is paywalled, must be a better way to do science, abstract here. The abstract says:

ABSTRACT

Scenarios of changes in biodiversity for the year 2100 can now be developed based on scenarios of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate, vegetation, and land use and the known sensitivity of biodiversity to these changes. This study identified a ranking of the importance of drivers of change, a ranking of the biomes with respect to expected changes, and the major sources of uncertainties.

There you have it, folks. They didn’t bother looking at the real world at all. Instead, they had their computer models generate some “scenarios of change” for what the world might look like in 2100. These model results represent the current situation as projected forwards a century by carefully following, in the most scientificalistic and mathematically rigorous manner, the prejudices and preconceptions of the programmers who wrote the model.

But they didn’t just release the model forecasts. That wouldn’t be science, and more to the point, it entails the risk that people might say “wait a minute … what does a glorified adding machine know about what’s gonna happen in a century, anyway?” Can’t have that.

So first, they intensively studied the results in the most intensive and studious manner. They pored over them, they weighed and measured them, they pieced them and plotted them and mapped them, they took their main conclusion and “washed it in permanganate with carbolated soap” as the poet has it, they pondered the eigenvectors, they normalized the results and standardized them and area-adjusted them and de-normalized them again. That is the kind of mystical alchemy that transmutes plain old fallible computer model results into infallible golden Science.

And what did they find? To no one’s surprise, they found conclusive proof that the programmers’ prejudices and preconceptions were 100% correct, that plants and animals despise warming, and they do all they can to avoid warm places. They showed beyond doubt that even the slightest warming over a century is intolerable to wildlife, that there are only costs and no benefits from gradual warming, and … wait, say what?

In other words, the B2011 study is models all the way down. No one has shown that a few degrees of warming over a century is a “global threat to biodiversity”, that is a very poorly supported hypothesis, not a fact. If the feared warming does occur, the majority of the warming is projected to be at night, in the winter, in the extratropics. Call me crazy, but I don’t foresee huge effects on biodiversity if midnights in Siberia in December are minus 37° rather than minus 40° … sure, every change brings changes, and if it warms there will be some, but I don’t see any evidence supporting a “global threat to biodiversity”.

In any case, I started out by looking at their results of the first study, B2011, but I got totally sidetractored by their error bars on their results shown in Figure 1. (That’s like being sidetracked but with a lot more pull.)  They used a tiny, 1° x 1° grid size, and given the scarcity of temperature observations in many parts of the world, I wondered how they dealt with the uneven spacing of the ground stations. At that size, many of the grids wouldn’t have a single temperature station. So I looked to see how they handled the error estimate for the temperature trend in a 1° x 1° gridcell that contained no temperature stations at all. Interesting philosophical question, don’t you think? What are the error bars on your results when you have zero data?

I was amazed by their error procedure, which is what led me to write this post. Here’s what the B2011 SOI says about error estimates for their work:

We do not reflect uncertainty for our estimates or attempt statistical tests because all of our input data include some degree of model-based interpolation. Here we seek only to describe broad regional patterns; more detailed modeling will be required to reflect inherent uncertainty in specific smaller-scale predictions.

So … using model based interpolation somehow buys you a climate indulgence releasing you from needing to display your error estimates? If you use model results as input data, you can just blow off “statistical tests”? This “post-normal science” is sure easier than the regular kind.

It was not enough that their first sentence, the underlying rock on which their paper is founded, the alleged “danger” their whole paper is built around, exists only in the spectral midnight world of computer models wherein any fantasy can be given a realistic looking appearance and heft and ostensible substance.

Indeed, I might suggest that we are witnessing the birth of a new paradigm. The movie industry has been revolutionized by CGI, or “computer-generated imagery”. This includes imagery so realistic it is hard to distinguish from images of the actual world. Here’s an example:

Figure 2. Computer generated fractal image of an imaginary high mountain meadow. Image Source.

CGI has saved the movie industry millions of dollars. Instead of requiring expensive sets or filming on location, they can film anywhere that is comfortable, and fill in the rest with CGI.

We may be seeing the dawn of the same revolution in science, using what can only be described as CGR, or “computer-generated reality”. I mean, the actual reality seems to specialize in things like bad weather and poisonous snakes and muddy streams filled with leeches, and it refuses to arrange itself so that I can measure it easily. Plus it’s hard to sneak up on the little critters to find out what they’re actually doing, somehow they always seem to hear my footsteps. But consider the CGR mice and rabbits and small animals that live in the lovely high CGR meadows shown in Figure 2. When the temperature rises there in the high meadow, it’s easy for me to determine how far the shrews and rock coneys that live in the meadow will have to move. Using CGR a man can do serious, rigorous, and most importantly,  fundable scientific study without all the messy parts involving slipping on rocks and wet boots and sleeping on the ground and mosquitoes and sweating. Particularly the sweating part, I suspect that many of those CGR guys only sweat when there’s emotional involvement. Personally, I think they are way ahead of their time, they’re already 100% into CGR, because studying actual reality is soooo twentieth century. Instead, they are studying the effects of CG climate on CG foxes preying on CG voles, in the computer-generated reality of the high mountain meadow shown above … to my dismay, CGR seems to be the wave of the future of climate science.

But it’s not bad enough that they have forsaken studying real ecosystems for investigating cyberworlds. In addition, they are asserting a special exemption from normal scientific practices, specifically because they have built their study, not on the rock of solid scientific investigation of the real world, but on the shifting sand of conclusions based on their CGR world. It reminds me of the guy who kills his parents, and then wants special treatment because he’s an orphan … you can’t choose to study CGR, and then claim that the fact that you are not studying actual reality somehow exempts you from the normal requirements of science.

Finally, they’ve modeled the global temperature on a 1° x 1° grid, but they say they need “more detailed modeling”. Now, that’s a curious claim in itself, but it also brings up an interesting question, viz:

They say they can’t give error estimates or uncertainty bounds on their current work because they are using modeled results as input data … and their proposed cure for this is “more detailed modeling” to “reflect inherent uncertainty”?

I’d rave about this, but it’s a peaceful morning and the sun is shining. And besides, in response to the urging of my friends, not to mention the imprecations of my detractors, I’ve given up my wicked ways. I’m a reformed cowboy, but it’s a work in progress, and it looks like I have to reform some more, no news there. So let me simply say that this is an example of post-normal, post-reality climate “science” and peer-review at its worst. Why does using a model somehow make you exempt from the normal scientific requirement to make error estimates and conduct statistical tests?

Sadly, this is all too typical of what passes for climate science these days, models all the way down. Far too much of climate science is merely the study of CGR, and special exemptions apply …

My regards, as always, to everyone.

w.

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156 thoughts on “The Birth of CGR Science

  1. Regrettably, the MSM and 99% of the public will accept this twaddle completely.

    Another goal for the warmistas, another loss for us.

  2. >>“Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100″<<

    When I was a lad this stuff used to be called science fiction.

  3. The trouble as always is…why have thousands and thousands not bothered to tell Science this kind of rubbish is unacceptable?

    I tell you why…because even the staunchest warmist knows in the deep of his/her heart that “climate change research” is either done with the lowest of standards, or not done at all.

    Science like Nature has to fill a quota of climate change pages, if only to support commitments by their parent companies. Therefore expect for.years now the sloppiest of the sloppiest research to see the light of the day.

    Climate research will come of age only when climate change papers will be held to a higher standard.

  4. More statistical data fabrication from climate scientists, at least this time they had the guts to clearly admit it in their paper thus showing that their paper isn’t worth using it for toilet paper, can’t wipe **** off with more **** after all.

  5. Again, I ask, why is this kind of press release from yet-another-scary-climate-paper any surprise???

    There is SO much ca$h in climate “science” right now, and science professors and government researchers would be derelict if they they didn’t go for the money, particularly when your performance metric as a scientist is based on how much money you bring to your institution.

    I do agree that these abstracts hilariously almost write themselves. You could probably come up with an automatic abstract generator for any project like this:

    Title: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN [your research topic] AND DANGEROUS CLIMATE CHANGE
    Authors: [Your name + 10 of your friends (need not be scientists)]
    Keywords: Danger, climate, disruption, hot, warming, chaos, help!, yikes!
    Funding: NSF, DOE, and the Taxpayers

    It is well-known that dangerous climate change is unequivocal, and that the threat to humans, animals, and plants is obvious. In our study, we show how [your research topic] is related to dangerous climate change. A description of our computer modeling techniques for [your research topic] is presented in this paper. We show that our modeling studies verify our conclusions robustly, and that dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions are required to stave off disaster.

  6. Loved the nod to “Alice’s Restaurant Massacree”. One of my favourite pieces of ‘music’. I still have the LP somewhere.

  7. Well I wouldn’t call a 1 deg x 1 deg grid cell tiny by any stretch of imagination.
    One minute of arc on the earth surface is approximately one nautical mile (1852 metres), so a one degree square cell, is about 60 x 60 nautical miles or about 111 x 111 km.

    Such a grid cell size, would swallow virtually all ot the SanFrancisco Bay Peninsula area from around San Francisco, down to San Jose. Well any quick look at daily weather maps for this area would show that full temperature cycles in many spatial directions, occur over that space every day, some of them over distances of no more than five miles, and often of ten degree magnitude.

    In short, even a one degree cell doesn’t properly follow the Temperature of this region, in compliance with the Nyquist theorem of sampled data systems. So in this area, the aliassing noise would render even the average Temperature indeterminate. And the two Temperatures per 24 hours time sampling would also fail the Nyquist criterion.
    Yet Hansen would believe that the Temperature “recorded” here is a perfectly valid number for some place 1200 km away down the Baja Peninsula, in the Sea of Cortez; or off to the east way beyond the Sierra Nevada.

    Now of course if you leave a thermometer some place around here and read it now and then and average those results, you will eventually reduce the spread of observed values; you just have no assurance, that your number truly reflects the average Temperature for this region.

    And yes, I know they just look at “anomalies”; but those are simply variations from some also quite unknown base value. You can’t fool Nyquist with statistics. The average value of invalid wrong data remains invalid, and wrong.

  8. One has to admire their advocacy strategy. One more worthless study thrown upon the enormous stack of “peer reviewed” articles consistent with the climate alarmist agenda. They have been very productive in that regard.
    It’s not so much about good science as it is about having the sheer weight of the “scientific literature” in support of their position.

    They’re not stupid.

  9. Nature climate change is filled with rubbish papers and studies also; eg – “Severe tissue damage in Atlantic cod larvae under increasing ocean acidification” Jan 2012 vol 2 No1.

  10. “The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.”

    I humbly propose that this hypothesis be hereafter referred to as The Eschenbach Hypothesis. Bravo, w! Well done !

  11. The most ironic thing is that for three hundred years naturalists have braved mud, mosquitoes and those leech-filled streams to explore real biodiversity. And what have they found? That one factor is vastly more important than any other: the warmer the climate is, the greater is the biodiversity.

  12. Brilliant Willis! You have postulated another corollary to Parkinson’s Law:

    “The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.”

  13. Hey Willis!
    Good to have you back. While you were gone, someone borrowed your online access and kind of went off a little bit. ;-)

    Anyway, things seem to be back on track now. Great article.

    Cheers

  14. So taking the inverse position from this multi-author paper, biodiversity is enhanced when marine organisms are frozen in the ice? I’m trying to envision how reproduction takes place under said circumstances–without success, I might add.

  15. Interesting stuff Willis. While in some ways models are like computer generated graphics, or even the Matrix where the world can be made to seem in any way you want it to, it’s also important to realise that the results of first hand observation are often more subjective than most of us would credit. I suppose we are all familiar with how two sets of politicians will look at the same data, and get differing results, or even closer to home how temperature graphs can be interpreted to show differing trends. However, at least we know in such cases the data is reasonable solid,and it is our own subjective interpretation that varies the results. Unlike an extreme reliance on dodgy models which probably undermines good science more than any other factor I can think of.

  16. This should be sold in the B grade Science Fiction section… but they need a ‘catchier’ title. “The Pace of Shifting Climate in Marine and Terrestrial Ecosystems” just doesn’t cut it!

  17. It would seem this paper is a setup for future publications. The dire predictions and scary quotations can be cited as peer reviewed. It will be up to the reader to go back and read the paper, find the caveats, and then discount the entire thing. However, does anybody expect grant reviewers to do that? Certainly, other members of the Team never would.

  18. >>They say they can’t give error estimates or uncertainty bounds on their current work<<
    because the uncertanty is larger than their results. Plus how can you predict land use patterns for the rest of the century and have any expectation they will be anywhere close to what happens?

  19. Why does using a model somehow make you exempt from the normal scientific requirement to make error estimates and conduct statistical tests?

    This one is easy, because they are using models, not reality. Since they are not using reality, then we know exactly what the error is, 100%, exactly. I mean, think about it, exactly how are you going to make error estimates of measurements that don’t exist, or conduct statistical tests on data that they have not gathered? Their error bars are zero and their data is perfect because they created it that way. Their computer generated gin joint (appropriate Star Trek holoprojector reference, it makes seemingly real landscapes and puts you in them) is the perfect, platonic ideal, not just the world as we know it, but the world as they know it should be.
    The “logic” goes like this:
    I created and entire, imaginary world, operating the way only I know it must (see, I have a white lab coat, and you don’t).
    That makes me “The Creator”.
    I am therefore God.
    You are not.
    To accuse me of error or statistical missteps is to question God.
    Heretic!

    Note about the white lab coat, this is merely to certify that they are of the priestly caste of scientists, wearing one merely certifies that “I know more than you do” and “you are not qualified to judge me”. It does not, in any way, mean that they actually go into any labs, that would involve actual experiments with messy real life stuff, and we don’t want that!

    BTW, you have not given up your wicked ways, no one is fooled for a minute. Your a heretic, and you can’t get more wicked than that!
    Note also, unlike what some people said, I don’t care if you are obnoxious, say something I don’t like, or otherwise seriously butthurt me (exactly how does ones words on a furum like this one actually hurt anyone?), all I care is, is the science helping us understand actual reality, or at least leading us closer to it than we were before? If you are, I will read it, no matter how it butthurts me, and the other guys and his unreality, well, I don’t care how nice and luvy-duvy he is, if it ain’t reality I don’t care.

  20. Another rubbish item from Nature climate change:

    “Rapid growth in CO2 emissions after the 2008 – 2009 global financial crisis.” Jan 2012 vol 2 No1.

    …and another from Jan 2012 – ” Islands, resettlement and adaptation.” Concerning resettlement of people living on islands in anticipation of climate impacts ……

    ….and another – “An energy revolution.” Meeting agreed targets for the decarbonization of Europe’s energy sector…. by the blue sky greenies.

  21. must be a better way to do science,

    You could join AAAS and help to defray the costs of publication. Also, authors will frequently send you a copy of a paper if you request it.

    It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world. It will take longer to test, and there may be surprises along the way, but it’s not unscientific.

  22. “28 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one”
    Thanks Willis! I imagine that provoked a lot more than my one belly laugh!
    My only hope is the perps in this case have to do more than just pick up the garbage!
    After you posted the first line of the study, I knew it wasn’t worth reading if it had more than two more lines and they would be, “Warming promotes bio-diversity, as does CO2. Cooling, not so much.”
    That’s it. That’s all that needs to be said about that, Forest. ;-)

  23. “28 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one”,

    And do recall that the judge in the case was blind. Seems fitting!

    As this song relates to the “draft” – young folks may not understand it. Also, the length of the song is exactly the same as the missing minutes on Nixon’s white-house-tape. Arlo did an update wherein he explained this coincidence.

  24. It is not the first time I see this kind of papers where they take the output from one computer model and they feed into another computer model, and then they discuss how bad the output of the second model is.

    If you cannot tell the difference between computer output and empirical data then you do not have the right to be called a scientist.

  25. Let’s hope for a “case of American blind justice, and there wasn’t nothing he could do about it” – that no one will look at all the glossy colour photographs, or, at least, not be distracted by them!

  26. So if I write some computer code to show a set outcome then run the code and it gives me the predicted outcome, that only proves that I am a good programmer, it doesn’t say a thing about the real world. I propose this team be given a Nobel Prize in Computer Programing and perhaps a Hugo Award for creative science fiction in creating new fantasy worlds.

  27. Another good read. The problem of looking at proxies of the outside world as if they are the real world is all pervasive.
    I would like to add this excerpt from Flight International regarding Automation and accidents.

    ‘Robert Scott, of Scott Consulting, described one facet of this modern problem (automation). The system he said, is increasingly producing pilots incapable of dealing with the unexpected.
    The intellectual and physical skills once required of the pilot have largely been replaced by an emphasis on ‘soft skills’ and automation management. The pilot who once cynically challenged sources of information now readily accepts information from a variety of sources, many computer generated without question”.

    And this regarding sat navs:
    Lorry gets stuck after following sat-nav directions

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15395200

    A lorry driver, following a directions from his satellite navigation system, caused the 24-hour closure of Bruton high street in Somerset after his vehicle became wedged in a narrow street.
    After several attempts to release the lorry it was eventually freed, damaging a 300-year-old house in the process.

    Obviously questioning or being skeptical is just unfashionable, whereas it used to a core skill, at least to pilots.

  28. “So let me simply say that this is an example of post-normal, post-reality climate “science” and peer-review at its worst… Sadly, this is all too typical of what passes for climate science these days, models all the way down.”

    Willis – another blinder of a review. I love your term Computer Generated Reality (CGR). It’s infected many sciences, but it at its worst in so-called climate science.

    And your comment that it’s “models all the way down” is a lovely riff on Pratchett’s “Small Gods” infinite regress. That the world sits on the back of a large turtle, and below this one, “it’s turtles all the way down”. As you astutely point out, for climate ‘scientists’ it’s models all the down. Desperately sad, but desperately true.

    Congratulations on spotting, and beautifully filleting another load of computer-generated tripe.

  29. Brilliant and hilarious essay, Willis. Full of many wonderful zingers. My favorite the following zinger paragraph:

    “But it’s not bad enough that they have forsaken studying real ecosystems for investigating cyberworlds. In addition, they are asserting a special exemption from normal scientific practices, specifically because they have built their study, not on the rock of solid scientific investigation of the real world, but on the shifting sand of conclusions based on their CGR world. It reminds me of the guy who kills his parents, and then wants special treatment because he’s an orphan … you can’t choose to study CGR, and then claim that the fact that you are not studying actual reality somehow exempts you from the normal requirements of science.”

    Given the revelations (to some) that Willis produced, does anyone really want to defend this use of models in science? Defend it as science, I mean. Does anyone want to defend the body of scientists for not slamming the kind of “work” that Willis describes? Will Al Gore defend it? Will an editor from Science magazine defend it? I would really like a debate on this. Any takers? Trolls need not apply.

  30. Mark Hladik says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:38 am
    Paragraph 10 ( if I counted right ), second sentence:

    “pored” = poured ?

    pore n. 1 to gaze at or study with steady continued attention and application. 2 to meditate or study patiently and persistently.

  31. Quote from Nikola Tesla:
    “Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality.”

  32. They should have also modelled a farmer using a greenhouse and pumping CO2 in, to warm and nourish his plants so as to kill them, as is commonly done.

  33. Septic Matthew says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world.”

    Would you care to explicate the word ‘prediction’ as you used it above and show that it meets the standards of scientific method?

  34. “When I was a lad this stuff used to be called science fiction.”

    Science fiction writers use actual science.

  35. The Cabal’s peer-reviewed avalanche is nearing full climax,
    their sewage flooding the intellectual landscape
    in preparation for the next round of IPCC lies.

    Expect papers this bad or worse to be spewing forth daily.

    The first principle of Post-Normal Science is from Goebbels
    Tell the Lie over and over and over and over, never ceasing,
    ever louder, ever shriller, for decades to come.

  36. Owen in GA says:
    January 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm
    “So if I write some computer code to show a set outcome then run the code and it gives me the predicted outcome, that only proves that I am a good programmer, it doesn’t say a thing about the real world.”

    Very well said. The entire internet could benefit from commenters who understand computer programming. Willis’ CGR is a rather good analogy for the latitude that computer programmers have for rigging their results. If scientists are to use computer models for what they call “prediction,” then they have a duty to explicate fully and clearly how their modeling results can be constrained by empirical research in the real world. Science publishers, so-called, such as “Science” should place the same requirements on all articles. Funding agencies, such as NSF, should do the same. Otherwise, all we get is the pie-in-the-sky that Willis reveals.

  37. John F. Hultquist says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:52 am
    “28 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one”,

    Ah, therein lies the problem, an extra picture….27, 8×10 color glossy photographs with circles and arrows, and a paragraph on the of each one, tellin’ what each one was…

    “And do recall that the judge in the case was blind. Seems fitting!

    As this song relates to the “draft” – young folks may not understand it. Also, the length of the song is exactly the same as the missing minutes on Nixon’s white-house-tape. Arlo did an update wherein he explained this coincidence.”

    Actually saw AG perform this version live at a concert maybe 10 years ago – an absolute hoot.

    Final point to ponder: the vast majority of species that ever existed are extinct.

  38. I encountered a paper on reductions in river flow as a consequence of climate change. The authors modeled rainfall in the river basin because there were too few rain gauges. Then they found the flow had definitely dropped at several flow-monitoring points. I plotted the raw data from the flow-monitoring points, and it behaved peculiarly – at first it was noisy, then the flow dropped and the pattern became much less noisy, very much less. So I strolled to the flow-monitoring locations via Google Earth and found – a dam and an irrigation diversion canal in nearly every case. Yeah – climate change rules, OK? Of course it got published in a distinguished journal – the senior author was a real IPCC guru, editor and reviewer rolled into one. How could you possibly review the work of such a luminary? He is peerless, no less [sarc]

  39. Interesting that they bothered to use a model to predict the effect of a possible warming of the Earth when we have evidence of what actually occurs..

    Warmer… in the tropics more biodiversity.
    Colder… at he poles less biodiversity.

    The simple truth trumps any biased computer simulation.

  40. Climate warming is a global threat to biodiversity (1).

    Of course it is. Yaaaaaawn! Roll eyes. Adding pinches of salt.

    Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago) event. We investigated the tropical forest response to this rapid warming by evaluating the palynological record of three stratigraphic sections in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/957.short

  41. Jimbo, you are introducing observations here! What are you thinking! I always thought that, looking at long geological cycles, warm periods were accompanied by a boom in biodiversity, and cold periods with the opposite. I guess I was wrong, computers can`t lie…

  42. “Climate warming is a global threat to biodiversity (1). ”

    Climate [warming||cooling] is a [global||local] [threat||opportunity] to biodiversity.
    Any combination is valid in this case.

  43. Willis, we who cannot afford to hack through all these paywalls salute you. So many of my mental alarm bells and red flashing lights went off whilst reading that I had to turn them off to concentrate. That “paper” sounds like such an egregious pile of steaming crap that the only fitting reward for the fantasisers who wrote it would be a one-way ticket to Sim City, as they’re evidently so fond of made-up “reality”. Thank you for telling us about what must have been an awful experience actually reading it.

    If a 1° x 1° grid counts as “tiny”, then perhaps we’ll soon be hearing how the number of real monitoring stations is being increased to a minimum of 360 x 180 = 64,800. (Who was that said “in your dreams, Brit“??) And as for “I looked to see how they handled the error estimate for the temperature trend”, I’m thinking you already knew how they’d be dealing with it :-| …

    @Maurizio (omnologos) – you ask “why have thousands and thousands not bothered to tell Science this kind of rubbish is unacceptable?” – I would suggest that it’s precisely because so much of this rubbish is hidden away behind paywalls, where only the chosen few (and, thank God, one or two keen minds like Willis’) will ever see it. What the eye don’t see, the heart don’t grieve over.

    So, our civilisation is to be trashed on the “evidence” of a load of crap that wouldn’t have made it into even a third-rate SF mag. That goes far beyond insulting.

  44. Hoser says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:37 am

    It would seem this paper is a setup for future publications.

    Mission Impossible:
    Your task: Find one that isn’t.

    Thus doth the Gravy Train roll on. More money! Bigger Computers! More secretaries! More opaque-er interpolations! Obfuscate! Exterminate! Obfuscate! Exterminate! …

    The Daleks are among us.

  45. Septic Matthew says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/20/the-birth-of-cgr-science/#comment-870905

    must be a better way to do science,

    It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world. It will take longer to test, and there may be surprises along the way, but it’s not unscientific.

    Not unscientific? So I could write a paper based on models titled “Environmental Impacts of Increased Lunar Tourism” and expect it to be accepted as science. Afterall “It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world. It will take longer to test, and there may be surprises along the way.”

    Interesting, I would have thought it belonged in the realm of science fiction.

  46. “It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world. It will take longer to test, and there may be surprises along the way, but it’s not unscientific.”

    Columbus only had one underlying assumption that was in error.

  47. catweazle666 says:
    January 20, 2012 at 10:17 am
    >>“Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100″<<

    When I was a lad this stuff used to be called science fiction.

    By catweazle666, I think he’s got it!
    The world is warming because it’s wearing a helmet, and an insulated jumpsuit with shoulder pads and a cape!

  48. Steve;
    As I read W., he can’t afford to look thru paywalls either, unless he’s given access to particular papers by someone with (e.g.) university access. Suggestion: if you’re an alumnus, you can often get University library privileges. (Just be prepared to be targeted by every funding drive by every segment of the University’s widespread ‘community’.)

  49. They lost me at “the known sensitivity of biodiversity to these changes.”

    Known? Really? The reminds me of the one about the physicist that had solved world peace,

    “first we assume spherical frictionless people…”

  50. Septic lumpster;
    You will note that Columbus put his life on the line to test his “projection”. These clowns, as W. points out, aren’t even proposing to get muddy shoes. Just offering to run even bigger simulations.

    There’s no science in ‘em. Feynman had ‘em pegged about ½ century ago. Paraphrase: the more detailed and prettier the model, the more likely its user(s) will mistake it for reality, and be lead infinitely astray.

  51. Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers. On what grounds do you think your opinion on this paper is worth anything?

  52. How silly of you Willis, questioning the deleteriousness of the coming warmth on a winter’s night; or the flora and fauna gravitating to warmth when the wind howls and the snow flies. You see today, the fauna of my wintery home, lies on my feet, in front of the heater, while I type, as the snow flies and the winds howl. My dog seems adaptable none the less, walking with me on our two mile sojourn into the bush and the temperature in the single digits (F not C) this morning. I note that birds like warmth in the winter time, having observed two succumbing to carbon monoxide poisoning while standing on an unprotected furnace flue and dropping in. I note a Christmas Cactus blooming in November once brought from its desert dwelling to a Northern sunlight timing. I know, I know that CO2 will make the seas rise, the glaciers fall, and man will yet again be cast out of our Garden of Eden, for having lit the fruit that had turned to a lump of coal. History repeats itself.

  53. Baa Humbug: So I could write a paper based on models titled “Environmental Impacts of Increased Lunar Tourism” and expect it to be accepted as science.

    It would depend on the details. Say, a projection from Richard Branson on how many flights he expects to conduct each year; some details about the pollutants from the rocket engines used, and so on. Preliminary information could come from a review of the effluents of the Apollo Project.

    Lots of science has seemed pretty stupid when presented at first: random variation and natural selection; spherical earth; gravitational singularities; heavier than air flying machines.

  54. Nice one Willis

    Here’s a thing. Per wiki, the total amount of energy generated by humans from oil, gas, coal, nuclear and biomass is ~125,000TWH per year. We are about 40% efficient in terms of the useful energy we extract from the energy we extract from the Earth. That leaves about 75000TWH of waste energy, mostly in the form of heat, that interacts with the atmosphere and effects things like weather and climate.

    This might seem like a large number, but it equates to ~0.02W/m2 of energy intensity that we are adding to the Earth’s energy budget. 390W/m2 leaves the planet through radiation, about 20,000 times more than we are adding.

    Surely, the maximum effect we can have on the system overall is the energy that we add to that system? Our first order effect is the energy, our second order effect is the waste heat. Some of that waste heat goes to creating CO2, making it a third order effect. How can a third order effect from a miniscule addition of energy result in Thermageddon?

    Here’s the figures:
    143,851TWH – 13%(amount for renewables) =
    125150TWH – 40% (the amount of useful energy we extract from the total) =
    75090TWH / 8760 (hours in a year) = 8.571943TW =
    8571943MW / 510926783 km2 (Area of the world) =
    0.016777W/m2

  55. They must have missed this tidbit:
    Rare Sea Creature Appears on Seattle Woman’s Dock
    “A Seattle resident recently got a big surprise when she discovered a strange-looking furry visitor on her property.
    “She woke up and it was lying on her dock, hanging out and sleeping — just chilling,” said Matthew Cleland, district supervisor in western Washington for the USDA’s Wildlife Services, and the recipient of a photo of the bizarre intruder.
    “I thought, ‘That’s an interesting-looking creature,'” Cleland told OurAmazingPlanet. “I had no idea what it was.”
    A quick glance through a book in his office soon revealed it was a ribbon seal, an Arctic species that spends most of its life at sea, swimming the frigid waters off Alaska and Russia.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/rare-sea-creature-appears-seattle-womans-dock-152011178.html

    Absolute and incontrovertible proof of Global Cooling. (using Warmists Logic)

  56. “28 color glossy photos with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one”

    “You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant” One of my favourites back in the days I was at university. The days when this type of study wouldn’t even be graded a “C” by any of my lecturers.

  57. Tenuc: Interesting that they bothered to use a model to predict the effect of a possible warming of the Earth when we have evidence of what actually occurs..

    At the present time, none of the models can be claimed to be complete or demonstrably accurate. So they are undependable. Publishing the model results and permitting the open discussion of their frailties is admirable; basing public policy decisions on them isn’t.

  58. I used to respect Eschenbach. But now i don’t know if this is some mind game he is playing.

    [REPLY: You’ve commented only twice here at WUWT and both have been cryptically and oddly negative. Please be kind enough to expand on your comments. -REP]

  59. Another example of what happens in ‘climate science’ would simply not be permissable in any real science. The whole concept of ‘climate science’ has been corrupted by: the snouts in the grants’ trough practices of its adherants, a funding addiction which requires ever-increasing sizes of troughs..

    Presumably the reason for needing 19 authors is the concept of safety in numbers – presumably this is meant to show that 19 ‘climate scientists’ cannot all be spouting BS at the same time.

  60. Willis: I thoroughly enjoy your reviews. It would be interesting to know the contributions of each of the 19 authors to the computer program which doesn’t need data but only the input from 19 scientists. Did they hold hands when someone pushed the compute button? It is sad that 19 sites are so dependent on funding that they feel so compelled to prove that AGW is real that they are willing to make up stuff to keep the dream alive. Who verified the program predicted anything about biodiversity?
    There used to be a magazine called the Journal of Irreproducible Results that was “tongue in cheek science”. This paper is a candidate for another magazine yet to be published but would house a lot of the climate science papers you have reviewed. Maybe we could launch it on WUWT someday. I would call the magazine the Free Journal of Insignificant Results, although others may come up with a better name. Jon

  61. If the people who compiled this paper are titled as scientists, I shudder at the thought of the quality of the education system.

    In days past studies such as this would have been thought of as the work of charlatans. I have seen better work from people who obtained their qualifications by filling out a form on the back of a corn flakes packet.

  62. It should be obvious to everyone that a warmer world is utterly loathed by life. That is why NASA hopes to look for life in our solar system in Pluto as opposed to possible warm vents on nearby moons. Our own boiling vents in the Atlantic are clearly lifeless with shrimp etc. while central Antarctica is teeming with lions and tigers.

    Thank the Lord Hominids came from Antarctica as opposed to tropical Africa. I rest my case.

    P.S.
    Stop pumping the toxic co2 gas in greenhouses. It’s killing the plants for goodness sake.

  63. Surely there’s enough empirical data available from the past two centuries of warming, regardless of the cause(s), to study the effect on biodiversity.
    That biodiversity increases towards The Equator and that most life forms evolved in much warmer climates are facts that apparently escape screen-scientists.

  64. Instead of science fiction, this should be called fictional science. Any science based on GIGO computer simulations should immediately be termed fictional science.

    Regarding the Hugo Awards, I’m just now reading John Barnes’ “Mother of Storms” (review here: http://www.epiphyte.net/SF/mother-of-storms.html ). It was nominated for a Hugo, and, having been written in 1994, was probably the model for much of the hysteria surrounding clathrates and global warming.

  65. Septic Matthew says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm
    Baa Humbug: So I could write a paper based on models titled “Environmental Impacts of Increased Lunar Tourism” and expect it to be accepted as science.

    It would depend on the details. Say, a projection from Richard Branson on how many flights he expects to conduct each year; some details about the pollutants from the rocket engines used, and so on. Preliminary information could come from a review of the effluents of the Apollo Project.

    Lots of science has seemed pretty stupid when presented at first: random variation and natural selection; spherical earth; gravitational singularities; heavier than air flying machines.

    And for you to imply that this bizarre effort be lumped into the above grouping is rather odd! And using the marvellously hypocritical Branson as a source for effluent data is completely consistent with aforementioned oddness.

  66. A warmer climate will clearly lead to less biodiversity in Russia, Siberia, Canada, Norway, Finland, Northern China etc. I REPEAT life loathes warmth. Warmth is the killer. Cold is good. CO2 is a toxic, satanic gas plant killer.

  67. Strange how “They used a tiny, 1° x 1° grid size, and given the scarcity of temperature observations in many parts of the world, I wondered how they dealt with the uneven spacing of the ground stations. At that size, many of the grids wouldn’t have a single temperature station.” – can be interpolated/ extrapolated to cover the whole globe.
    Rather like a computer model of a grain of sand giving an accurate view of the beach!

  68. Whoa! Those virtual people in that virtual world are really (virtually?) screwed! Let’s hope this study causes those virtual despoilers to change their virtual ways and save their virtual planet!

    Gives me chills just to think about it. I better turn up the heat.

  69. AnonyMoose says:
    January 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    catweazle666 says:
    January 20, 2012 at 10:17 am
    >>“Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100″<<

    When I was a lad this stuff used to be called science fiction.

    By catweazle666, I think he’s got it!
    The world is warming because it’s wearing a helmet, and an insulated jumpsuit with shoulder pads and a cape!

    Look, you guys seem to have as credible an explanation as the paper. I used to be able to pull down a few million in NRC grants… Suppose I could get you one…! Could you expand on the cape thing and give it a little more substance (some stats and PC Analysis or whatever) and some oomph? Amplify somewhat on the shoulder pads and the helmet, relate it to Arctic ice loss (The kitten boiling thing,…) and you have a paper you could be proud of — by these standards anyway. The jumpsuit? I dunno — Maybe you can relate it to acidification of coral reefs …maybe… Takers?

  70. Rob Crawford says (January 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm): “Columbus only had one underlying assumption that was in error.”

    Wiki lists at least three:

    “Where Columbus did differ from the view accepted by scholars in his day was in his estimate of the westward distance from Europe to Asia. Columbus’ ideas in this regard were based on three factors: his low estimate of the size of the Earth, his high estimate of the size of the Eurasian landmass, and his belief that Japan and other inhabited islands lay far to the east of the coast of China. In all three of these issues Columbus was both wrong and at odds with the scholarly consensus of his day.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Columbus

    Which only goes to show that it’s better to be lucky than smart. :-)

  71. RockyRoad said @ January 20, 2012 at 11:36 am

    So taking the inverse position from this multi-author paper, biodiversity is enhanced when marine organisms are frozen in the ice? I’m trying to envision how reproduction takes place under said circumstances–without success, I might add.

    Imagine that there is a movie of the 3.8 billion year history of life on earth. These dickwads have decided that just one frame in that sequence is the one to preserve. No need for reproduction in preserved specimens.

  72. What’s striking about figure 1 is how warming is concentrated in the northern hemisphere temperate latitudes and the further you get away from these latitudes the less warming there is.

    Its hard not to conclude that warming originates from people living in developed societies.

    It can’t be a well mixed greenhouse gas, which have a more or less uniform global effect, and the only other possibility is reduced aerosols since 1970 (in developed societies).

  73. Gary H;

    Gary Hladik says:
    January 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Which only goes to show that it’s better to be lucky than smart. :-)

    Serendipity rulz! “If we knew what we were going to find, we wouldn’t call it research.”

    Except in climate science, where you must certify in blood in advance what your “discoveries” will be. Or no funny money for you!

  74. Back on track and fantastic Willis. Have you got ESP? How else could you put my sentiments and feelings into words I have not even thought of yet, but wish I had?

    My own little laymans effort to restore some real world sanity back into what seems to have become a computer modelled virtual reality inhabited by people suffering a collective incurable madness.
    Welcome help of TonyfromOz and his ‘Wind Power Australia – The Musselroe Wind Farm Travesty in Tasmania’

    http://papundits.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/wind-power-australia-the-musselroe-wind-farm-travesty-in-tasmania/

    and Jennifer Marohasy;
    The Musselroe Wind Farm Travesty:KeithH

    http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/01/the-musselroe-wind-farm-tavesty-keith-h

    Everyone, feel free to help spread the ripples. It won’t cost you a cent!

    Cheers to all.
    w

  75. Perhaps some people applied CGR to economics…and the world is now enjoying its consequences… :-)

  76. It would be my considered opinion that these authors should be arrested for littering, fined, made to go pick up their trash, and then sit for a while on the group w bench.

  77. Hmmm….

    >Alan Statham says:
    >January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    >Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally >doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers. On what grounds do you >think your opinion on this paper is worth anything?

    On the grounds that what he is saying is correct. You can’t do science, at least not this kind of science, by computer modelling. You need to experiment in the real world on real dynamic systems. A computer model is just going to tell you what you program it to tell you, essentially confirming your assumptions.

    Credentials aren’t needed to understand this. And yes, I do have the necessary credentials to say that.

  78. Another nice one, Willis! Had to laugh at the “sidetractored.”

    Typo alert: midnights in Siberia in December are minua 37° rather than minua 40°
    I think that should be “midnights in Siberia in December are minus 37° rather than minus 40°”

  79. Great post, Willis. I don’t really know how much time and effort went into their paywalled extravaganza, but they probably could have just reported on their results after playing a team game of SimEarth. Just as enlightning.

  80. Look for the silver lining… at least they weren’t out there in the field spredding froggy viruses.

  81. Google Scholar found the second paper, “Global Biodiversity Scenarios for the Year 2100″, un-paywalled version. From Science, Vol 287, 10 March 2000. Note: Looks like photocopies, my pdf reader isn’t picking up the words for selection, treats the pages only as images for cut-and-paste.

    http://rydberg.biology.colostate.edu/~poff/Public/poffpubs/Sala2000(Science_Biodiver).pdf

    Submitted 1999? Makes it positively ancient concerning computer modeling. First line after the abstract:

    Global biodiversity is changing at an unprecedented rate (1,2) as a complex response to several human-induced changes in the global environment (3).

    Near as I can tell, they did find Land Use to be a more important driver of biodiversity change than Climate, but they also listed Atmospheric CO2 as the last one of the five major drivers looked at.

  82. “We have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation.” – Richard Lindzen

    Climate Science: Is It Currently Designed To Answer Questions?:
    Richard Lindzen, 29 Nov. 2008, at http://arxiv.org/abs/0809.3762

    “When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research.”

    “Fear has several advantages over gratitude. Gratitude is intrinsically limited, if only by the finite creative capacity of the scientific community. Moreover, as pointed out by a colleague at MIT, appealing to people’s gratitude and trust is usually less effective than pulling a gun. In other words, fear can motivate greater generosity.”

    “One result of the above appears to have been the deemphasis of theory because of its intrinsic difficulty and small scale, the encouragement of simulation instead (with its call for large capital investment in computation), and the encouragement of large programs unconstrained by specific goals.”

    “In brief, we have the new paradigm where simulation and programs have replaced theory and observation, where government largely determines the nature of scientific activity, and where the primary role of professional societies is the lobbying of the government for special advantage.”

  83. One of the books on my ‘bucket list’ is The End of Science, by John Horgan, who has been a frequent contributor to Sci Amer. I think that it came out in the early 1990s. Anyway, one of his pet peeves is that computer simulations are replacing real science.

    You may remember real science if your hair is sufficiently gray. It’s the kind of science where you roll up your sleeves, get your hands dirty, and perform real experiments that have the potential to falsify your pet hypothesis. Yes, believe it or not, you’re supposed to throw rocks at your own pet hypothesis. And you’re also supposed to share your data, so that other scientists can join in on the rock-fest.

    Alternatively you can go out in the field, and make real observations and real measurements. This can be either just-the-facts, Natural History type science. Or you can have a testable hypothesis in the back of your mind. (That’s theoretical science.)

    In light of B2011 inter alia, I think that Horgan was spot-on about that specific point.

  84. “…more detailed modeling will be required…”

    Is it just me, or does every climate study conclude with a call for additional study and, by inference, a call for additional funding? It would seem that the main purpose of climate science is to create a self-sustaining, perpetual money machine. And for what? Not to measure and study the real world, but to create more detailed models of an imaginary world that is becoming further and further detached from reality.

    Stuff happens. Climate changes. The odds that a little warming will be mostly favorable to the world’s inhabitants is at least as great as the odds it will do harm. Don’t we know enough already to conclude that the cost of trying to predict the future, let alone the cost of trying to prevent it, will far exceed the cost of simply adapting to what may come? Especially when, after we spend great sums to accomplish the former and fail miserably at it, we will still have to spend great sums to accomplish the latter.

  85. Alan Statham says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    “Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers. On what grounds do you think your opinion on this paper is worth anything?”

    Thanks for your thoughtful analysis, Alan. I have pondered Willis’ and your arguments and came to the conclusion that
    -Willis has a point. The paper tells us nothing about the real world.
    -You are full of crap, and probably an old bitter CAGW rent-seeker.

    Thanks again for giving me all I need to know about you.

  86. I’d have thought that the only things likely to die off with a bit of warming are those things that have to live at the coldest place on earth and will die if it gets warmer.

    After all, if everywhere gets one degree warmer, then every species can migrate in the direction of cool a bit, can’t they?

    And where it’s hottest, the small species that can survive it will mutate a bit and start generating species that can cope with heat. Not to mention a smaller number of the bigger species who don’t migrate with their mates and tolerate the greater heat also.

    Oldest story of the planet: change the conditions, things MODULATE, ADAPT, MOVE ON.

  87. How come that 1910-1940 warming by 0.7C was not a threat, but 1975-2005 warming by the same rate is a threat? Even more important, what give the authors the confidence to pull the 30-year trend to 2100?
    As I told many times, the modern climatology is all about wanking on recent 30-year warming trend and projecting it until 2100.

  88. I’d like to open a tavern next to Alice’s Restaurant. I’d call it “The Error Bar”.
    Of course I’ll need a hefty grant for the enterprise.

  89. As an engineer myself (retired) I used to work with computer models. These models had to be validated with observations from reality. If I did what these (so-called) scientists do I would be thrown out of the company with the words “you are an idiot” still ringing in my ears.

    But these days, with half the population going to university, the quality of the degrees has, of necessity, gone down so as to maintain the same pass rates of forty years ago. And that is only part of the problem.

  90. Alan Statham says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    “Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers. On what grounds do you think your opinion on this paper is worth anything?”

    Having credentials doesn’t prove that you know your stuff. Anyone, who is interested in scientific subjects, can possibly end up having a better understanding than the scientists them selves and, without any funding, be unbiased enough to want to find the truth.

  91. For interest, here is part of an image from the Fractal 1993 calendar of IBM.

    The fractal-generated and rendered image was inspired by a photo from Medicine Lake in the Canadian Rockies. The makers, F Kenton Musgrave assisted by C Kolb and P Prusinkiewicz, note that this might be the first “fractal forgery of Nature” so directly inspired by an actual place or scene. The rainbow only is non-fractal, after Descartes 1637.

  92. Anton Eagle says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:34 am

    Hey Willis!
    Good to have you back. While you were gone, someone borrowed your online access and kind of went off a little bit. ;-)

    Anyway, things seem to be back on track now. Great article.

    Cheers

    Doppelgangers … can’t get rid of them … worse than vampires …

    Many thanks, cracked me up

    w.

  93. Mark Hladik says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Paragraph 10 ( if I counted right ), second sentence:

    “pored” = poured ?

    Mark H.

    Thanks, Mark. Actually “pored over” means studied carefully.

    w.

  94. Septic Matthew says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    must be a better way to do science,

    You could join AAAS and help to defray the costs of publication. Also, authors will frequently send you a copy of a paper if you request it.

    Thanks, Matthew, I am a member of AAAS. My point is that I’ve already paid for most of this science to be done, makes me not over-happy to be asked to pay for it again. Theoretically this cost is the price we have to pay for the scientific certainty that comes from peer review. I offer the paper above as evidence that it’s not worth it …

    w.

  95. Have we now enough mind to claim the fallacy of AGW,

    It is just my perception or we are in a phase of gathering the implements to mop up? Is it that the full circle is almost complete? Philosophy – Science – Philosophy.

    Have we started the last phase of this episode in humanity. Are we now left to philosophise about why it happen?

    At what point did scientists discover that the energy equation of Co2 was different when it is in a different entropic state? Matter in a perpetual state underground, without enhancement will return to the temperature of its enveloping bath, space.

    I am yet to grasp the logic of it. If I cannot, to me it is known, that 99 out of 100 others, wouldn’t either. Those 1% who can understand the logic of it, must be Gods.

  96. Jimbo says:
    January 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Climate warming is a global threat to biodiversity (1).

    Of course it is. Yaaaaaawn! Roll eyes. Adding pinches of salt.

    Temperatures in tropical regions are estimated to have increased by 3° to 5°C, compared with Late Paleocene values, during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM, 56.3 million years ago) event. We investigated the tropical forest response to this rapid warming by evaluating the palynological record of three stratigraphic sections in eastern Colombia and western Venezuela. We observed a rapid and distinct increase in plant diversity and origination rates, with a set of new taxa, mostly angiosperms, added to the existing stock of low-diversity Paleocene flora. There is no evidence for enhanced aridity in the northern Neotropics. The tropical rainforest was able to persist under elevated temperatures and high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, in contrast to speculations that tropical ecosystems were severely compromised by heat stress.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6006/957.short

    Many thanks, Jimbo. I’d seen that article and lost it, and now here it is again. Indeed, not only in the tropics but life everywhere is much more resilient than the scientific pundits opine …

    w.

  97. Alan Statham says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers.

    Yeah, I’m pretty unusual in that regard. I am a self-taught amateur scientist, one of the very few self-taught amateurs to have anything published in Nature magazine in the last while. Not many of my species left these days.

    On what grounds do you think your opinion on this paper is worth anything?

    My good looks? Just kidding. You could start here. In addition to thousands and thousands of hours of study, I’ve published on climate in the scientific journals.

    Most importantly, use your eyes and your brain, Alan. You don’t have to believe me, and in fact, I encourage people never to believe me or any other scientist. Look at the paper. Look at the references. Look at the descriptions of what they say they did. Think about how much weight you think their conclusions deserve. If you find my description or conclusions to be inaccurate, then draw your own conclusions.

    Do come back to tell me where I’m wrong, though, that’s what science is about. I put my claims out there, and people try to shoot them down, prove them wrong, take them apart.

    That’s science.

    All the best,

    w.

  98. I have no idea why to do laborious analyses at all, even on Computer Generated Reality when one could always use SCIgen, adapted smartly to Climate Science applications with a one time effort. The code is released under GPL Version 2 and is accessible by anonymous CVS like

    % cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.pdos.csail.mit.edu:/cvs login
    Logging in to :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.pdos.csail.mit.edu:2401/cvs
    CVS password: _press return_
    % cvs -d :pserver:anoncvs@cvs.pdos.csail.mit.edu:/cvs co -P scigen

    Oh wait, I reckon the guys have already done that much :)

  99. This was very interesting to read, thanks Willis.

    Q:Why does using a model somehow make you exempt from the normal scientific requirement to make error estimates and conduct statistical tests?

    A: Page 2 of the SOI states they used CRU TS3.1, yet the reference (26) to this statement is a 2005 publication which provides a link to CRU TS2.1.
    The supporting temperature data for their premise of pace of shifting climate was incorrectly collected, transcribed, analysed and/or missing thus the premise of their argument cf the pace of shifting climate on ecosystems was a fallacy. Their methodology and methods were flawed from the beginning. However since the CRU data has not been proven to be flawed it continues to be used in modeling exercises, publications and grant applications.
    I did not pursue where the source data for the ecological systems was sourced from.

    Reference 26. in the SOI is
    Mitchell TD & Jones PD (2005) An improved method of constructing a database of monthly climate observations and associated high-resolution grids International Journal of Climatology 25(6) 693-712

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/joc.1181/abstract

  100. Please dont use TLA in a headline without explaining what it means, e.g. in the same line or next sentence (TLA; three letter abreviations). For us foregners it is not so easy to guess what it means.

  101. “Do come back to tell me where I’m wrong, though, that’s what science is about. I put my claims out there, and people try to shoot them down, prove them wrong, take them apart.

    That’s science.”

    Thanks Willis – that was a wonderful and succinct explanation of the way science is supposed to work. It’s a pity that our CAGW overlords fear skeptics so much that they won’t even permit them to put their claims “out there” (i.e. in the scientific literature).

  102. How do these “earlier springs” and “later falls” work? Do the warm seasons become longer and the cool seasons shorter? Surely they must if all 4 of them are still going to fit inside 1 year.

    More seriously, the terms presume that the events we associate with seasons activate in response to temperature thresholds alone; that ignores the time component and temperature fluctuations which are also characteristic of seasons. Different latitudes within a hemisphere all experience spring at the same time despite temperature differences.

  103. ” I got totally sidetractored by their error bars on their results shown in Figure 1. (That’s like being sidetracked but with a lot more pull.)”

    Now Willis, where’s that famous sense of yours for the numbers? Obviously it would take a lot more force to keep a train going straight on after it’s been switched to a side-track than any tractor would be able to exert. :)

  104. Mike Bromley the Canucklehead @ 10.59 pm says:
    My sentiments exactly. Get off your arses, you lazy bums, and go look at the real world before postulating mere prejudiced guesswork as a reflection of reality, and motivator of public policy.

    FYI
    Timothy D Mitchell, Mike Hulme and Mark New (2001) Climate Data for Political Areas

    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/hrg/mitchell2002a.pdf

    Refers to accuracy of New’s gridded datasets (1999 & 2000) p111

  105. Everyone knows people kill animals by building structures, and cutting down forests ext..
    Do we really need a study that tells us what we already know, and then blame global warming?

  106. The first question is do plants and animals hate warming ?

    The answer was no last time I checked.

    Alaska has lots fewer plants and animals than Florida.

    The second question is will there be warming.

    The jury is out but the answer to that may be no.

  107. Yep, CGR is definitely the future, Willis!

    Just think of the time saved because one doesn’t have to fill in risk assessments (in triplicate) for oneself, each colleague, the area studied, the way there and back. Nor is there any need to fill in environmental impact assessments (in triplicate) for the area, the critters, and for each instrument one is going to take there and bring back … and the food … and the other accoutrements …
    Mind, some impact-assessment assessors would be out of a job, but they could be re-trained to do CGR, couldn’t they?
    All the other savings you already mentioned.

    Gawd, I feel like a dinosaur when all we needed was a wire square, notebook and pencil, waterproof clothes and the willingness to spend a day flat on one’s belly, checking alternate squares in transects for small critters.

    PS: I wonder how they “do” rain in CGR …

  108. John Garrett says, January 20, 2012 at 11:27 am
    “The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.”

    I humbly propose that this hypothesis be hereafter referred to as The Eschenbach Hypothesis. Bravo, w! Well done.
    ================================

    Och, I dunno – a quarter of a century ago, we said that if the list of authors is longer than the title, the paper will be cr*p.
    Mind, that’s not quite as elegantly expressed as Willis’ hypothesis …

  109. Pravda says:
    January 21, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Please dont use TLA in a headline without explaining what it means, e.g. in the same line or next sentence (TLA; three letter abreviations). For us foregners it is not so easy to guess what it means.

    Pravda, thank you for your note. Certainly I would not do that normally. Acronyms are something I do use, but I always explain the first use of the acronym right away.

    However, in this case the three letter abbreviation was unknown to anyone, since I just made it up. Part of the reason for the headline was to get people wondering “What is CGR”. I then didn’t explain it immediately, to keep the curiosity level up. So it was not just foreigners who had to guess what it meant, it was everyone.

    I do love your screen name, “Truth”, that works for me..

    w.

  110. Septic Matthew says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

    “must be a better way to do science”

    It’s a modeling result, like Columbus’ prediction that he could get to India by sailing around the world. It will take longer to test, and there may be surprises along the way, but it’s not unscientific.

    No, Septic, Climate Science’s method is factually and objectively “unscientific”: Climate Science’s solely rhetorical “perception is reality” Propaganda Operation is unfalsifiable by its very nature as an unhinged “word game” – for example, as already 100% proven simply by its lack of concern regarding its failure to get even one apparent relevant empirical “prediction” correct!

    Yet Climate Science just keeps right on going as though its failure doesn’t matter, repeating its same old intentionally confabulatory rhetorical “method” – solely intending to delude people – despite its objective failure compared to the objective principles of real science and, likewise, as compared to the objective principles regarding the meaning of words used to make statements about reality.

    And, therefore and in fact, this same old ‘new’ computer generated verbiage is not analogous to Columbus’ prediction, which was “falsifiable” via the objective standard of real science’s concept of prediction failure, which Columbus in effect pursued with great dedication – a reality based method of meaning which he kept on practicing well after his discovery of “Indians”. In other words, Columbus’ words actually meant something compared to reality. Climate Science’s do not.

    Likewise, you, “Septic” [as in a pathologic bacterium?] are only practicing above via the same old tactics of rote repetition and false analogy, your own variety of Climate Science’s very same intentionally unhinged propagandistic method, seeking to manufacture the same old objectively feckless rhetorical equivalence between Climate Science’s “science” and “real science”.

    Good luck with your own “New World”, Septic. But it ain’t happening in mine.

  111. Will’s

    Your CRG reference sent me back in time (mid 1990’s) to my process improvement days and responsibilities. Back then I came across a Yogi Berra reference from Davis Balestracci-

    ” 1.2 Some Wisdom from Yogi Berra

    Before getting to the eight traps, let’s review what seems to have evolved as the “traditional” use of statistics in most work cultures. It can be summarized by the acronym PARC. “PARC” can have several meanings: Practical Accumulated Records Compilation; Passive Analysis by Regressions and Correlations (as taught in many courses).

    With today’s plethora of computers, it can also mean Profound Analysis Relying on Computers. And it only takes a cursory glance at much of published “research” to see yet another meaning: Planning After the Research is Completed (also called “torturing the data until they confess”).”

    REF- “Data ‘Sanity': Statistical Thinking Applied to Everyday Data,” solicited special publication for the Statistics Division of the American Society for Quality (39 pages and sent to 11,000 people), Spring 1998,

    I thought you might enjoy the “PARC” acronym. It looks like Davis has a new book out on Data Sanity that has received pretty good reviews-

    http://www.amazon.com/Data-Sanity-Quantum-Unprecedented-Results/product-reviews/1568292953/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

  112. Willis Eschenbach: Thanks, Matthew, I am a member of AAAS. My point is that I’ve already paid for most of this science to be done, makes me not over-happy to be asked to pay for it again.

    If you are a member of AAAS, then you can download the paper for free. At least, I was able to. Someone has to pay for publication: if the publication costs were covered by the grant, would you be happier? You have paid for very little of the science, and your AAAS membership gives you access to thousands of published papers for free.

    The one really surprising thing about that paper was that the the authors were permitted to publish without any estimate whatsoever of the error/randomness/uncertainty. Their justification was risible, as though the random variation in parameter estimates (and all other judgments and calculations based on data) were negligible. And yet with modern monte carlo methods on modern computers, such error estimates are easy to estimate, at least to a first degree of approximation. Tabulating all of them is a tedious chore, but that is not an acceptable excuse.

  113. JPeden: No, Septic, Climate Science’s method is factually and objectively “unscientific”: Climate Science’s solely rhetorical “perception is reality” Propaganda Operation is unfalsifiable by its very nature as an unhinged “word game” – for example, as already 100% proven simply by its lack of concern regarding its failure to get even one apparent relevant empirical “prediction” correct!

    At the present time, climate science is not complete enough nor accurate enough to justify any particular policy recommendation. Some of the climate scientists, like some of their political opponents, make extreme and unjustifiable claims. But there is plenty of good climate science.

  114. I am good at playing Mario sports on my WII, I wonder if I am eligible to participate in London Olympics.

    I break world records every weekend. :P

  115. Septic Matthew says:
    January 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm (Edit)

    Willis Eschenbach:

    Thanks, Matthew, I am a member of AAAS. My point is that I’ve already paid for most of this science to be done, makes me not over-happy to be asked to pay for it again.

    If you are a member of AAAS, then you can download the paper for free. At least, I was able to. Someone has to pay for publication: if the publication costs were covered by the grant, would you be happier? You have paid for very little of the science, and your AAAS membership gives you access to thousands of published papers for free.

    I downloaded both of them, of course, that’s how I read them to write the article. My point is that if I, the US taxpayer, am paying for the research to be done, then I should be able to read the results I paid for without some journal getting in the game at all. One way would be to give the journals say three months and then NSF posts it on their website … I don’t know how it might work. I’m just saying that a system that means that people in the developing world do not have access to scientific results because a school library in Lesotho can’t afford to buy what I already paid for doesn’t make sense to me.

    The one really surprising thing about that paper was that the the authors were permitted to publish without any estimate whatsoever of the error/randomness/uncertainty. Their justification was risible, as though the random variation in parameter estimates (and all other judgments and calculations based on data) were negligible. And yet with modern monte carlo methods on modern computers, such error estimates are easy to estimate, at least to a first degree of approximation. Tabulating all of them is a tedious chore, but that is not an acceptable excuse.

    My point exactly. Monte Carlo analysis is not simple, but it needs to be done. The paper was not science, and the “peer review” was non-existent.

    All the best,

    w.

  116. Alan Statham says:
    January 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm
    Someone who has “absolutely no credentials at all” and “no scientific education” generally doesn’t have much credibility when trying to disparage scientific papers.

    An appeal to authority? The last refuge of the scoundrel?

    The fact is that Willis and many of us dumb nuts have disparaged this piece of utter garbage. Use your loaf and you will have to end up realising that it’s just a LIE. A deliberate LIE, meant to mislead people like you.

    Why on Earth do greenhouse owners sometimes suddenly pump in 1,000 ppm of co2 into greenhouses? The poor plants have had no time to adapt / evolve. Why use greenhouses at all?

  117. Willis wrote: “The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.”

    I think I can beat that:

    The genome of the domesticated apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) by Riccardo Velasco, Andrey Zharkikh, Jason Affourtit, Amit Dhingra, Alessandro Cestaro, Ananth Kalyanaraman, Paolo Fontana,Satish K Bhatnagar, Michela Troggio, Dmitry Pruss, Silvio Salvi, Massimo Pindo, Paolo Baldi, Sara Castelletti, Marina Cavaiuolo, Giuseppina Coppola, Fabrizio Costa, Valentina Cova, Antonio Dal Ri, Vadim Goremykin, Matteo Komjanc, Sara Longhi, Pierluigi Magnago, Giulia Malacarne, Mickael Malnoy et al.

    Nature Genetics 29 August 2010

  118. RockyRoad says:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:36 am
    So taking the inverse position from this multi-author paper, biodiversity is enhanced when marine organisms are frozen in the ice? I’m trying to envision how reproduction takes place under said circumstances–without success, I might add.

    Here are some tips:

    When the Ice Worms Nest Again

    (Conceivably by Robert Service; in any case, an Alaskan
    tradition in the 20s and 30s. Recorded by Wilf Carter —Montana
    Slim — sometime in the 1940s).

    There’s a husky, dusky maiden in the Arctic
    And she waits for me but it is not in vain,
    For some day I’ll put my mukluks on and ask her
    If she’ll wed me when the ice worms nest again.

    cho: In the land of the pale blue snow,
    Where it’s ninety-nine below,
    And the polar bears are roaming o’er the plain,
    In the shadow of the Pole
    I will clasp her to my soul,
    We’ll be happy when the ice worms nest again.

    For our wedding feast we’ll have seal oil and blubber;
    In our kayaks we will roam the bounding main;
    All the walruses will look at us and rubber,
    We’ll be married when the ice worms nest again.

    And when the blinkin’ icebergs bound around us,
    She’ll present me with a bouncing baby boy.
    All the polar bears will dance a rhumba ’round us
    And the walruses will click their teeth with joy.

    final chorus:
    When some night at half-past two
    I return to my igloo,
    After sitting with a friend who was in pain,
    She’ll be waiting for me there,
    With the hambone of a bear
    And she’ll beat me ’til the iceworms nest again.

    And here’s Montana Slim (Wilf Carter) singing it (link anyway—I don’t know how to embed the video):

    And yes, there are ice worms, living in glaciers, and they do reproduce, though whether they ‘nest’ or not, I can’t say.

    /Mr Lynn

  119. Strange. I always thought there was more biodiversity in warm climates than in cold climates. Am I missing something here?

    Surely moisture is the biggest determinator of biodiversity, rather than temperature, but I thought that increased temperatures were supposed to bring us more atmospheric moisture!

    .

  120. Willis Eschenbach said in post at top:
    The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.

    I used to think that hypothesis seemed pretty good. But then by it I’d have to look extra hard to make sure this wasn’t a complete monstrosity:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2010JD015146.shtml

    Citation: Fall, S., A. Watts, J. Nielsen-Gammon, E. Jones, D. Niyogi, J. R. Christy, and R. A. Pielke Sr. (2011), Analysis of the impacts of station exposure on the U.S. Historical Climatology Network temperatures and temperature trends, J. Geophys. Res., 116, D14120, doi:10.1029/2010JD015146.

    Seven authors? Looks very dubious!

  121. Several years back, I heard on the radio an interview with Patrick Moore. During the interview, he stated that he kept running across statements from various environmental groups to the effect that 17,000 to 100,000 species vanish every year. He wondered where the source of this statement came from, as the environmental groups were referencing each other. He eventually traced it to a computer model on a scientist’s computer.

    I didn’t remember which scientist, so I asked Dr. Moore about it. He replied with E. O. Wilson of Harvard–the one who popularized the term “biodiversity.”

    So Willis is right–it’s models all the way down.

    Jim

  122. Jim Masterson says: Several years back, I heard on the radio an interview with Patrick Moore. During the interview, he stated that he kept running across statements from various environmental groups to the effect that 17,000 to 100,000 species vanish every year. He wondered where the source of this statement came from, as the environmental groups were referencing each other. He eventually traced it to a computer model on a scientist’s computer.

    I didn’t remember which scientist, so I asked Dr. Moore about it. He replied with E. O. Wilson of Harvard–the one who popularized the term “biodiversity.”

    So Willis is right–it’s models all the way down. Jim

    Jim, it’s no secret among wildlife biologists what those studies were: for a summary see Stuart L. Pimm & Peter Raven “Biodiversity: Extinction by numbers” (Nature 2000).

    And yes, wildlife biologists do regard those studies as being right.

  123. Mr. Lynn;
    I note Wilf chickened out on singing that final chorus! It makes it rather obvious what “ice worms” Service is talking about, and where they nest!

  124. ‘a physicist’ linked to a preposterous model-based ‘study’ that says:

    “To convert habitat loss to species loss, the principles of island ecology are applied… from this one can predict how many species should become extinct… These doomed species…” &etc.

    Rank speculation. If 100,000 species go extinct per year, then in 70 years there won’t be any species left. Crap ‘studies’ like that are nothing but grant-trolling nonsense. The authors would go extinct themselves if they actually had to work for a living, instead of coasting on tenure and writing propaganda for the WWF.

    ‘A physicist’ says: “And yes, wildlife biologists do regard those studies as being right.” I highly doubt that. Produce verifiable evidence that a majority of wildlife biologists take that position, or retract. By “verifiable” I mean that they were asked specifically if the extinction numbers and rates claimed in the link are correct, and that they answered Yes.

  125. A physicist says:
    January 22, 2012 at 3:19 am

    … Jim, it’s no secret among wildlife biologists what those studies were: for a summary see Stuart L. Pimm & Peter Raven “Biodiversity: Extinction by numbers” (Nature 2000).

    The studies indeed originate from the flawed theories of E. O. Wilson. He noted that the number of species increases with the area studied. This is as we’d expect, a state will have more species than an county. This is called the “species-area relationship”, and is generally represented as a power law.

    Wilson turned the reasonable species-area relationship idea on its head. He claimed that if you reduced the area, some of the species would go extinct. He applied that inverted relationship to the cutting of (mainly tropical) forests, crunched the numbers, and announced that 27,000 species were going extinct every year.

    And yes, wildlife biologists do regard those studies as being right.

    Sadly, this idea caught fire. The meme of thousands and thousands of species going extinct spread through schools and universities and the public in general. Nor has the nonsense been extinguished. Only a few ras clots like myself were asking “Where are the corpses?”

    w.

  126. >>
    Willis Eschenbach says:
    January 22, 2012 at 3:14 am

    Jim, see Dr. Craig Loehl’s post on our peer-reviewed paper showing that EO Wilson was very wrong …
    <<

    Willis,

    Thanks for the link. I remember the post, and your post about the missing bodies.

    Jim

  127. Willis Eschenbach: My point is that if I, the US taxpayer, am paying for the research to be done, then I should be able to read the results I paid for without some journal getting in the game at all. One way would be to give the journals say three months and then NSF posts it on their website … I don’t know how it might work. I’m just saying that a system that means that people in the developing world do not have access to scientific results because a school library in Lesotho can’t afford to buy what I already paid for doesn’t make sense to me.

    Well, you did not in fact pay very much of America’s $3trillion annual budget in the first place; and in the second place the publication of the results is an additional cost beyond the cost of the research: either you have to pay more in taxes to cover that cost, or you have to pay a subscription cost for the articles that you want. One way or another, getting the research result to Lesotho is yet another additional cost.

    Only a few ras clots like myself were asking “Where are the corpses?”

    They have decayed or been eaten, along with the trillions of corpses of the species that have not gone extinct. I grant you that Wilson’s computation is only an educated guess, but demanding the corpses of extinct species of salamanders, ants and fungi is absurd.

    The paper was not science,

    More absurdity: actual science exceeds the boundaries placed upon it by science commentators. The paper is no worse than the paper by Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen, or the much ridiculed paper on gravitational singularities by Oppenheimer and Snyder, or a few of Paul Dirac’s unsuccessful papers. I should say “not necessarily much worse”. These complex models are analogous to the precursors of the periodic table: with continuous work, of a larger scale than 19th century analytical chemistry, they’ll eventually be reliable. The original atomic theory was based on inaccurate measurements, and when measurement techniques and laboratory skills increased they revealed serious anomalies in the theory. Not for decades did anyone learn what the nature of the error was. What you call “not science”, namely the publication of a model that is not accurate enough, has many examples in the history of science.

    The study has 19 authors, clear proof of the hypothesis that the quality of the science is inversely proportional to the square of the named authors.

    Possibly you are unaware of the papers on gene sequencing and gene mapping that have long authorship lists, or the paper in particle physics that have long authorship lists.

    If I had to choose, and possibly I have to, I’d bet against the predictions of this model, but I’d hedge my bet somehow. If I were a nation, I’d be investing in alternative energy supplies and other expensive projects as a guard in case they turn out to be right.

  128. W.E. documenting the death of empiricism in climate science under the avalanche of virtual “proofs” by science’s new castrati.

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