Gavin skeptic mode: ON – for Skeptical Science

Bishop Hill notes this interesting bit about Gavin Schmidt and Dana Nuccitelli, and rather than try to rewrite the excellent dry wit in a few sentences going on here, well I’ll just let you read what he said at Bishop Hill:

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Gavin Schmidt, a much misunderstood character in the global warming debate, has demonstrated his good faith and honourable intentions by issuing a denunciation of Skeptical Science.

Earlier today Gavin and I exchanged some tweets about the use of means and modes in climate sensitivity studies. Gavin’s thoughts were as follows:

@aDissentient @micefearboggis Comparing the mode to previously reported means is a sleight of hand.

I was slightly confused at first, as I was unaware of anyone who had done such a wicked thing. However, having now read Dana Nuccitelli’s post about Nic Lewis’s paper at Skeptical Science I can now see that Gavin calls out scientific malfeasance whereever he sees it. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the Nuccitelli piece:

One significant issue in Lewis’ paper (in his abstract, in fact) is that in trying to show that his result is not an outlier, he claims that Aldrin et al. (2012) arrived at the same most likely [i.e. the mode] climate sensitivity estimate of 1.6°C, calling his result “identical to those from Aldrin et al. (2012).”  However, this is simply a misrepresentation of their paper.

The authors of Aldrin et al. report a climate sensitivity value of 2.0°C [per the paper, the mean] under certain assumptions that they caution are not directly comparable to climate model-based estimates. When Aldrin et al. include a term for the influences of indirect aerosols and clouds, which they consider to be a more appropriate comparison to estimates such as the IPCC’s model-based estimate of ~3°C, they report a sensitivity that increases up to 3.3°C. Their reported value is thus in good agreement with the full body of evidence as detailed in the IPCC report.

A sleight of hand indeed. I will not hear a bad word said about Gavin at my blog. :-)

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Interesting situation. I wonder if he and Nuccitelli will talk?

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59 thoughts on “Gavin skeptic mode: ON – for Skeptical Science

  1. The Schmidt rat is leaving the sinking ship. I am no scientist but life experiences have tought me much about human nature. We will see more and more alarmist scientists backtracking and waffling.

  2. Maybe NASA fears cuts under a GOP senate after 2014 elections, so has booted Hansen & reined in Schmidt. He’s still blogging on the taxpayers’ dime, but might have been scared into practicing something approaching actual science.

  3. Gavin is a good guy, he accepted my early posts, even kinda defended me from attacks by Grant Foster and Daniel Bailey, but unfortunately his sense of humour isn’t what I assumed it to be. One little cartoon and most my RC contributions are off to his ‘Bore Hole’, btw, where all of the best sceptic post’s end-up anyway.

  4. I’ve said this a few times in several places, going back to the time of the original email and files release:

    The time will come when grade school science textbooks will have a chapter on the AGW scandal. It will come to be seen as one of the great triumphs of the scientific method, with the same or greater stature as Galileo’s fight with the Church.

    “Despite careless research, data fudging and outright fraud, overwhelming media support, popular belief, and tons of money spent to the contrary, eventually the data became insurmountable: anthropogenic global warming or climate change of any kind, was a monumental fraud, perpetrated for noxious political ends.”

  5. A sleight of hand indeed. I will not hear a bad word said about Gavin at my blog. :-)

    OK, it’s your blog, but what if this comment by Gavin is an outlier?

  6. The simple fact is that we were told the science was unequivocal. We were told that climate sensitivity was very high. We were told it would warm. It did not warm. If this subject had any credibility … they wouldn’t now be all lowering their estimates of sensitivity because the sensitivity should be based on hard science not some wishy washy judgement of what they can get away with.

    The fact a short period of 10years blows away all the previous estimates, just shows how shallow they were. And if they were shallow in the past,. they are more than likely shallow today.

    So let me make a prediction. After all these climate researchers finally admit that things have changed, they will all come to another “overwhelming consensus” and they will all start telling us that their now current view is the gospel truth and cannot possibly be denied.

    And then in another decade or two … the evidence will change, (either up or down) they will all find their models are useless. They will try to deny they useless … but finally they will all go through the same revision after which they will yet again claim them to be undeniable.

    And then after we’ve been through this cycle 3-4 times, they will finally admit they cannot predict the climate …. and that will become the undeniable truth.

  7. Gavin also stood out from the ‘crowd’ by agreeing to debate on Fox News with Spencer, did he not? – this guy may have been constrained by working with the sold-down-the-river GISS run by Hansen. I note that many sceptics are retirees from despotic scientific institutions and universities.

  8. try fathoming this one:

    18 April: Deutsche Welle: Is Climate Change taking a break?
    “Over the last decade there has been very little new warming,” says Ed Hawkins from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. The development is not unexpected, he told DW: “We are confident that human emissions of greenhouse gases have caused a large component of the warming over the last 150 years, but at the same time we do not expect every year to be warmer than the last. There are reasons why temperatures may remain flat for a decade and continue to warm later on.” Hawkins cites periods in the 1960s and 1970s when temperatures were actually cooling…
    Another possible reason Hawkins mentions is the increased burning of coal in countries like China and India. The particulates produced help reflect solar radiation back into space, and so cool the planet. He stresses it is not yet possible to say whether the current slow-down in temperature rise is being caused by natural variability or is human-induced…
    Peter Lemke is head of Climate Science at Germany’s Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine studies (AWI). He warns against taking a short five-year average as an indicator of how the climate is developing:
    “When it comes to climate processes, we always look at 30 year periods”, he told DW. “And for the last 30 years there is a clear upward trend.” Using a shorter time span means that one single year can distort the picture…
    But certainty that global warming is happening does not mean certainty over its effect, says Lemke: “The question is: how sensitive is our climate system to the rise in the CO2 concentration? And what will it mean in terms of precipitation, temperature rise or ice melt? That is a complicated issue.”…
    Climate warming = colder winters?
    The long winter and cold spring which might give people in western Europe the impression the earth is cooling rather than warming have been caused by a stable area of high pressure over Scandinavia – a weather phenomenon rather than climate change. AWI climate chief Lemke stresses that seen from a global point of view, the winter was warmer than usual…

    http://www.dw.de/is-climate-change-taking-a-break/a-16740391

    previous story below the above article:

    “It’s getting warmer faster than ever before”

  9. Given most people have no clue what the difference is between mean and mode, it will be dismissed as a minor correction.

  10. I found this yesterday.

    Toby says:
    25 Jan 2013 at 2:22 PM
    In 2006, Barton Paul Levenson counted 62 papers that estimated climate sensitivity, starting with Arrhenius in 1896.

    Values
    Less than 1 : 6
    Between 1 and 2: 19
    Between 2 and 3: 12
    Between 3 and 4: 12
    Between 4 and 5: 4
    Between 5 and 6: 1
    Greater than 6 : 1

    Average across all is 2.86, median 2.6……

    [Response: These are not all commensurable as discussed above, and some are just wrong or rely on out-of-date data. A proper assessment requires a little more work, not just counting. – gavin]

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2013/01/on-sensitivity-part-i/comment-page-2/#comments

    I wonder how many use what Nic Newis calls “uniform priors”.

  11. Gavin, the good soul from the Fenton communications outfit. Has Fenton Communications discovered a different get-rich-quick scheme now?

  12. pat says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:52 pm
    “try fathoming this one:
    18 April: Deutsche Welle: Is Climate Change taking a break?”

    Deutsche Welle is the last stronghold of the Khmer Rouge in Germany. Notice that they go through all the PIK government science motions in the article.

  13. Do people realize Bishop Hill is joking? Dana is criticising Lewis for false comparison (though he does not actually mention the ‘mode’ – that is Bishop Hill’s insertion to the text). It is Nic Lewis’s paper that Gavin is criticising – for using the mode.

    I reckon Bishop Hill knows that the joke will be taken seriously by many true believers.

    ” :-) “

  14. The simple fact is that we were told the science was unequivocal. We were told that climate sensitivity was very high. We were told it would warm. It did not warm. If this subject had any credibility … they wouldn’t now be all lowering their estimates of sensitivity because the sensitivity should be based on hard science not some wishy washy judgement of what they can get away with.

    The estimates of sensitivity have to come down if they are to reflect observed data so the fact that the AGW crowd are lowering them is a proxy for that harsh reality. It may be wishy washy of them to cave in but it is the truth. What choice do they have other than to emulate Baghdad Bob until the grants dry up. They may be bad at a lot of things but they do know how to follow the money.

  15. Nic Lewis did actually comment on Aldrin at WUWT a few months ago:

    “Yes. Note that the paper quotes the mean estimated sensitivity of 2.0°C, but with a strongly asymmetrical distribution the mean is not a good central estimate. I cited, as stated, their most likely estimate (the peak probability density from their main results sensitivity PDF graph) – it is actually more like 1.55°C than 1.6°C. The extra forcing component mentioned is additional aerosol-cloud interaction forcing, which there is very little reason to think is needed.

    This type of study provides what constitutes a standard observationally based (strictly, observationally-constrained) estimate in climate science. So far as the climate model involved goes, it is about as simple as you can get while retaining separate hemispheres (vital to constrain the aerosol forcing estimate). And I think Aldrin et al. did a thorough job. But the Bayesian approach is full of pitfalls. In particular, use of uniform (or expert) priors for climate sensitivity and/or effective ocean diffusivity will typically lead to climate sensitivity being overestimated and having far too long an upper tail. I have been trying to persuade the key IPCC lead authors involved of this, and that it is essential to use a computed noninformative prior (with a view to achieving probabilistic results that reflect objective measures of probability, not the standard Bayesian subjective belief). But I don’t think they really understand the issue properly – maybe they don’t want to either.

    I have a paper that uses an objective Bayesian method to estimate climate sensitivity undergoing peer review.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/19/why-doesnt-the-ar5-sods-climate-sensitivity-range-reflect-its-new-aerosol-estimates/#comment-1177882

  16. Dirk, thanks! I didn’t know that Gavin was under the Fenton umbrella. That says EVERYTHING. When you know Fenton, you know craven Lib bastichs.

  17. “Gavin also stood out from the ‘crowd’ by agreeing to debate on Fox News with Spencer, did he not?”

    No, he did not. He refused to sit down at the same table with Spencer, waiting for Spencer to go backstage before he’d sit down and say his piece to Stossel, so as to not lend any respect to Spencer’s positions.

    While it was a Fox News network program, it wasn’t the news. Stossel’s show is opinion.

  18. Not so fast!. For years over at Real Climate Gavin Schmidt has responded to legitimate questions about climate science with snarky, patronizing, obfuscating, condescending, non-answers intentionally worded to confuse rather than clarify. How many times has he told us we’re too dumb to understand climastrology? How many questions has he “bore-holed” rather than answer? Don’t cut Gavin an inch of slack. He’s a snake who sees the writing on the wall and is simply trying to salvage a bruised and battered reputation. Suddenly he’s a reformed skeptic? Yeah, when the Pope converts to Judaism.

  19. There seems to have been a change in Gavin over the past year or so. He allows much more critical discussion and is not as harsh as he used to be at RC. Maybe they had another seminar on “climate communication” finally realizing that hostility doesn’t win hearts and minds?

  20. A comment at Bishop Hill by dearieme about a researcher being jailed for faking results caught my eye. The article included this comment from Sir Paul Nurse…
    Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said: “Good science is based on reliable observation and the data can only be relied upon if scientists are open and honest.
    “People in the UK generally trust science because they know that experimentation is the most reliable route to knowledge.
    “Anything that could be seen to jeopardise both the process and the trust it engenders is dangerous and needs to be rooted out.”

    Given some of his recent comments in the AGW space pretty jawdropping!

    original article at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/10001149/Scientist-jailed-for-faking-medicine-test-results.html

    h/t to dearieme

  21. Say what? I am really reading this at WUWT : “Gavin’s a good guy” ? Are you freaking kidding me? Gavin Schmidt is a class A, #1 turd. Period. My God, I never in my life thought I would be reading such crap at WUWT.

  22. Gavin is to his tweet @ BH as 100 chimpanzees randomly hitting keys on computers are to a Shakespeare sonnet.

    After decades, he randomly had a one liner that could be semi-plausibly possibly maybe somewhat skeptical.

    Gavin ain’t no pilgrim in an unholy land. {apologies to the movie ‘The Last Crusade}

    John

  23. OK, it’s your blog, but what if this comment by Gavin is an outlier?

    There are liars, damnliars, and outliers.

  24. Now that Hansen isn’t his boss I wonder if Gavin will continue to characterize the 1988 projection as “skillful”.

  25. remember Muller,, he was a pretend skeptic..

    for about 10 minutes.

    don’t get sucked in again !!!!!

  26. barry says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    I hope everybody carefully reads your post. Many seem to be getting the wrong impression. JP

  27. u.k.(us) on April 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm

    Ratings are to truth as ………

    – – – – – – –

    u.k.(us) ,

    . . . . . as voting for a high school prom queen is to adolescent hormones.

    : )

    John

  28. Barry is right. Gavin ain’t defending Nic. Dana is an idiot anyway. with a symmetrical distribution, the mean makes sense. With a highly skewed distribution, not so much. Gavin, the guy with a math degree, should know this.

    Mark

  29. Seems freedom is a good thing, no?

    It provides opportunity and provides ability that does not exist in some places.

    Congrats to Gavin,,,,, he knows the facts, trends, votes, and makes his way to effective truth by default. Continue to step it up !

  30. Science isn’t just about being skeptical of others’ theories. It’s about being skeptical of one’s own.

  31. Louis Hooffstetter says:
    April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm
    …..Suddenly he’s a reformed skeptic? Yeah, when the Pope converts to Judaism.

    IIRC, the first Pope was a Jew.

  32. Agree with Barry. AFAICT Bishop Hill is craftily redirecting Gavin’s criticism (of Lewis?) to Dana N.’s comment. So Gavin must publicly display his hypocrisy by repudiating BH or let his unwitting criticism of Dana stand. Checkmate.

  33. Even James was known to throw SKS under the bus. I remember one of the SKS regulars commenting a few years back that if warming didn’t materialize, heads would roll. No doubt Gavin has noticed James’ head on the stick.

  34. Justin Templer (@justintempler) says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    The sarcasm will go over many a persons head.

    Sadly, it clearly already has. Come on folks. As if Anthony’s opening comment about Bish’s “dry wit” wasn’t enough. Jeez. I’ll spell it out. Bish is calling Schmidt out as a hypocrite.

  35. What are you, who are having a go at Gavin Schmidt, trying to achieve? Name calling will only prolong the conflict. Gavin and others are, at the moment, stuck behind the barricades and as long as the opprobium flows they will stay there. We need to give them the opportunity to change their positions and come over to the light without being obnoxious and rubbing their noses in it!

  36. Some of the comments posted on this blog reinforce the old saw that Americans and the rest of the English-speaking world are divided by a sense of humour. The Bish’s comment was written with a peculiar Scottish SoH known as, “Pawky”, a 17th C Scottish/ north English word meaning, “shrewd’. Hope this makes things clearer.

  37. Justin Templer (@justintempler) says:
    April 18, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    The sarcasm will go over many a persons head.

    It clearly already has. Come on folks. As if Anthony’s opening comment about Bish’s “dry wit” wasn’t enough. I’ll spell it out. Bish is calling Schmidt out as a hypocrite.

  38. Roger Edmunds says:
    April 19, 2013 at 12:46 am
    “What are you, who are having a go at Gavin Schmidt, trying to achieve? Name calling will only prolong the conflict. ”

    What prolongs the conflict is not calling a government scientist names; it is paying him a wage.

  39. No,No,No Leopards do not change their spots over night. Is this not the same man who wanted to punch/attack some one with a skepitcal outlook!!
    Come on Anthony once bitten twice shy…remember the Miller incident?

  40. @ stan stendera says:
    April 18, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    A rat can leave the ship. But they are still a rat.

    They have still chewed through the moorings that secure humanity to civilization. The have still despoiled the stocks required for sustainance. They have still carried pestilence that has killed untold thousands.

    They can leave the ship. But they must be hunted out and eradicated.

  41. @ Roger Edmunds says:
    April 19, 2013 at 12:46 am

    CAGW is doomed. People are dead. Killed. No outs.

  42. Gary Pearse says:
    April 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Gavin also stood out from the ‘crowd’ by agreeing to debate on Fox News with Spencer, did he not? – this guy may have been constrained by working with the sold-down-the-river GISS run by Hansen. I note that many sceptics are retirees from despotic scientific institutions and universities.

    I don’t see any intention of sarcasm here so I’m going to address this at face value.

    Did you see that ‘debate’? There was none. It was a farce.

    Gavin behaved like a petulant, timid schoolboy. It was more a playground scenario:

    yes teacher, I’ll tell you what the nasty bully is saying and I’ll tell you why it is all lies but please don’t make me sit at the same table as him because if he’s allowed to look me in the eye and subject my story to scrutiny then I may just pee my knickers.

    It just distracted from what was being said. Gavin could probably debate quite well if prepared. He’s no fool. I believe he’ll not debate because he knows that there are now a multitude of serious questions that can’t be answered in a manner which favours his team’s religious dogma.

    Here, let me help you.

    [video src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/TVEyesMediaCenter/UserContent/80680/1767920.2030/FBN_03-28-2013_21.43.24.wmv" /]

  43. Oh and in addition it would appear that to many, this, and the original post are like the International Space Station.

    Waaay over your heads.

    I think the British nature of this particular sarcastic humour has caught a few of you out.

  44. AFAICT Bishop Hill is craftily redirecting Gavin’s criticism (of Lewis?) to Dana N.’s comment. So Gavin must publicly display his hypocrisy by repudiating BH or let his unwitting criticism of Dana stand. Checkmate.

    The criticsm is directed at Lewis’s “sleight of hand,” not at Dana N’s ignorance of it. Both Dana and Gavin rebut Nic’s paper, but for different reasons. BH’s ‘craftiness’ is also a sleight of hand, because Dana N’s criticism doesn’t depend on whether Lewis used mean or mode.

    Bishop Hill is twisting the sense of the discussion by drawing paralels that aren’t really there. That’s why he had to insert his own words into the quote to make it work, that’s why he puts the smiley at the end of his post, and why Anthony refers to the dry wit. Don’t confuse a contrived bit of sarc with actual criticism.

  45. Alex Heyworth says:
    April 18, 2013 at 10:35 pm
    Louis Hooffstetter says:
    April 18, 2013 at 5:37 pm
    …..Suddenly he’s a reformed skeptic? Yeah, when the Pope converts to Judaism.

    IIRC, the first Pope was a Jew.

    Indeed, and the fifth.

  46. “vukcevic says:

    April 18, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Gavin is a good guy, he accepted my early posts, even kinda defended me from attacks by Grant Foster and Daniel Bailey, but unfortunately his sense of humour isn’t what I assumed it to be. One little cartoon and most my RC contributions are off to his ‘Bore Hole’, btw, where all of the best sceptic post’s end-up anyway.”

    Ah yes, I remember Daniel Bailey (And others). It was he who demanded I prove there have been glacial and inter-glacial periods on this rock. It was at this point where I ended my use of Sks.

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