A frank admission about the state of modeling by Dr. Gavin Schmidt

This is something I never expected to see in print. Climate modeler Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA GISS comments on the failure of models to match real world observations.

Gavin_models_BSCapture

Source:

[ http://twitter.com/ClimateOfGavin/status/340605947883962368 ]

While the discussion was about social models, it is also germane to climate modeling since they too don’t match real world observations. Below is an example of climate models -vs- the real world; something’s clearly not right.

IPCC_AR5_draft_fig1-4_without

Graph source: IPCC AR5 draft

Is it maths or assumptions (or both) that cause the divergence?

UPDATE: In comments, I had a discussion with reader “jfk” which I think is worth sharing. He made some good points, and it helped hone my own thinking on the issue:

jfk says: Submitted on 2013/06/01 at 8:40 am

Well, I still think it’s a bit unfair to Gavin (and I am no fan of his). But hey, it’s Anthony’s site.

For a good review of the many failures of statistical modeling in social sciences (and one or two successes) see the book “Statistical Models: Theory and Practice” by David Freedman. Whether or not climate modeling has devolved to the point where it is social science rather than physics, well, I hope it’s not quite that bad…

REPLY: And I think it is more than a bit unfair to us, that if he believes what he tweets, he should re-examine his own assumptions about climate modeling. We have economies, taxes, livelihood, etc. hinging (or perhaps failing) on the success of these models to predict the climate in the future. The models aren’t working, and Dr. Schmidt knows this. Unfortunately his job is tied to the idea that they do in fact work. I feel no regrets at making this comparison front and center. – Anthony

UPDATE2: RussR in comments, provides this graph below showing Hansen’s modeled scenarios against real world observations. He writes:

Here’s an excel spreadsheet comparing observed temperatures vs. model projection from: Hansen (1988), IPCC FAR (1990), IPCC SAR (1995) and IPCC TAR (2001), in pretty charts.

It can be updated as more observations are added.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/78507292/Climate%20Models.xlsx

giss-vs-observations

UPDATE3: Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. adds this in comments.

Climate models are engineering code with quite a few tunable parameters, and fitting functions in their parameterization of clouds, precipitation, land-atmospheric interfacial fluxes, long- and short-wave radiative flux divergences, etc. Only a part of these models are basic physics representations – the pressure gradient force, advection, the Coriolis effect.

The tunable parameters and fitting functions are developed by adjustment from real world data and a higher resolution models (which themselves are engineering code), but only for a quite small subset of real world conditions.
I discuss this issue in depth in my book
Pielke Sr, R.A., 2013: Mesoscale meteorological modeling. 3rd Edition, Academic Press, in press. http://www.amazon.com/Mesoscale-Meteorological-Modeling-International-Geophysics/dp/0123852374/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370191013&sr=8-2&keywords=mesoscale+meteorological+modeling

The multi-decadal global climate model projections, when run in a hindcast mode for the last several decades are showing very substantial errors, as I summarize in the article

http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/b-18preface.pdf

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198 thoughts on “A frank admission about the state of modeling by Dr. Gavin Schmidt

  1. Dr. Schmidt is stating the obvious and frankly I am aghast that Taleb would make such a obviously idiotic statement. Math is exact, but as Gavin points out, essentially, garbage in –> garbage out.

  2. There is a crack in the armor. It will grow.
    The metal is not of the self-mending type.

    Kurt in Switzerland

  3. Gavin is right in this case, in the social sciences and maybe also in climate science, most of the calculations are perfect; the assumptions behind the models just don’t remotely apply to the situation being studied. I have always thought Taleb only half knows what he’s talking about.

    The Mann hockey stick which used principal components without centering is a notable exception; it is mathematically wrong.

  4. Gavin:”Perfect maths plus bad assumptions still equals BS”

    Really…you don’t say. Does that go for Climate Science as well? That is a rhetorical question….

  5. Schmidt showing a shadow of a doubt in the Church of Climatology’s Delphic models? Out, out damn spot! It must be the harbinger of end of days for them …

    Pointman

  6. Wait a minute, is Gavin talking about climate models or social science models? Let’s try not to put words in his mouth that he didn’t say…

    REPLY: That is a point, and I dropped the word climate from the title to be fair. But the same issues apply to climate models, perhaps even more so than social models. You have to make assumptions, you have to set starting points. Maths generally can be debugged quickly, assumptions, not so much. – Anthony

  7. “failure of models to match real world result far more likely a result of erroneous assumptions”

    Like, CO2 is the significant factor of global warming?!?!?!!?

  8. This is really irritating how things keep tying together thus necessitating comment
    – An excellent book that seems to me to explain the mind of Warmist “True Believers” it’s called On Being Certain : Even If You Are Wrong by Robert Burton
    ..he explains how our unconsciousnes sis programmed to give us a feeling of certainty (cos that blur over the hill might be a tiger) . So when we OFTEN get the same feeling of absolute certainty when we don’t have full evidence that we get when we
    do have certainty.
    ..AND he then references Fooled by Randomness” by Nassim Taleb
    ..I guess that would refer to the human habit of seeing patterns in the wallpaper “seeing Elvis’s face etc. when it’s not actually there”
    – Now I wonder what kind of people would let that process spillover into their work ?

  9. Does anyone else find it ironic that Gavin Schmidt would not debate John Christy on camera because he does not consider himself an entertainer and yet he tweets all the time to entertain his followers? Maybe ironic is the wrong word… hypocritical?

  10. jfk,

    Statistically wrong but not mathematically wrong, after all all the numbers added up the way Mann wanted them, I presume.

  11. Perhaps adding the word “social” to the title? Wouldn’t want the flock to be confused. It appears a couple already are convinced that he was talking about some failure of climate models.

    • I agree that the title of the post ought to be changed.
      Gavin wasn’t [consciously] talking about climate models in their exchange.
      But he HAD to realize that the statement could be equally applicable in another discipline!

      Here’s hoping that a non-dogmatic individual takes the Hansen-vacated spot at GISS.

      Kurt in Switzerland

  12. Steven Devijver says:
    June 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Absolutely! He’s dissing his own ‘discipline’.

    I thought our Gav would be one of the last rats to leave. He’s actually jumping quite early. I suppose now that Grandad Hansen has gone … There’ll be a whole flock of lemmings jumping off now.

  13. Jeff Norman – OK, you mean the arithmetic was correct, and maybe it was. I was using the word mathematically in a broader sense. It’s a mathematical error not to center the vectors before orthogonlization when calculating PCs. If a college freshman did this on a test he would probably not get any points.

  14. I think this post should be removed or very clearly put in context. The twitter conversation between Schmidt and Taleb is about social sciences models. Schmidt statement, that perfectly working math models can be totally wrong if the assumptions are wrong, is unquestionable and generally valid, therefore it can’t be framed as a statement about “the state” of modeling, as it doesn’t refer to any current state of any particular modeling but to a general rule. You may think that Schmidt may be hinting at climate models but he doesn’t say it explicitly, so it should be made very clear in the post title and in the reported twitter conversation that he’s not.

    REPLY: The same issues applies to climate models. They don’t match real world data, as seen in the IPCC AR5 graph above. Mind you, this isn’t long term modeling failure out a century, this is failure to model the present. Is it bad maths, bad assumptions or both? Dr. Schmidt may not think the issues apply to climate models, or he may be making a mental slip, either way his comment is germane to the current state of climate models and it is a fair question to pursue. – Anthony

  15. Blarney is right. I suggest that this post should just be removed, Schmidt is not saying what you claim he said. Aren’t there enough things to complain about with Gavin without making stuff up?

    REPLY: The issue is fair to discuss, since climate models also don’t match real world observations (see AR5 graph), and nothing was “made up”. Though, I did update the post to make it clearer for people who have issues such as yours. – Anthony

  16. I suspect Gavin is campaigning (mostly within NASA) for the GISS Directorship and needs to at least appear Non-Hansenian. If NASA caves to him, Schmidt will be Hansen at Warp 10.

  17. I saw a man pursuing the horizon; 

    Round and round they sped. 

    I was disturbed at this;
    I accosted the man. 

    “It is futile,” I said, 

    “You can never — ” 


    “You lie,” he cried, 

    And ran on.

    Stephen Crane

  18. Yes, that’s quite refreshing from Dr. Gavin.

    The bigger problem is that intuitive criticisms such as this, even when coming from experienced modellers and scientists, amount to little more than “Based on my experience, I think it’s wrong”, which doesn’t carry much currency either way.

    A greater attention to resolving lack of predictive skill should have been applied much earlier in the process, ideally before exaggerated claims were made, or scientific cul-de-sacs entered.

  19. Of course Gavin Schmidt is stating the obvious. Has he, at last, realised that the assumption of positive feedback, leading to enhanced water vapour content might be false? Pity he has not listened to those pesky deniers!

  20. No matter how biased toward a particular conclusion one begins, if the data diverges far enough you have to recognize there is a problem. This could really happen to either side of the climate debate going forward. This appears to be a critical inflection point, and the next 20 years will be fascinating to see which way it breaks.

  21. Well, I still think it’s a bit unfair to Gavin (and I am no fan of his). But hey, it’s Anthony’s site.

    For a good review of the many failures of statistical modeling in social sciences (and one or two successes) see the book “Statistical Models: Theory and Practice” by David Freedman. Whether or not climate modeling has devolved to the point where it is social science rather than physics, well, I hope it’s not quite that bad…

    REPLY: And I think it is more than a bit unfair to us, that if he believes what he tweets, he should re-examine his own assumptions about climate modeling. We have economies, taxes, livelihood, etc. hinging (or perhaps failing) on the success of these models to predict the climate in the future. The models aren’t working, and Dr. Schmidt knows this. Unfortunately his job is tied to the idea that they do in fact work. I feel no regrets at making this comparison front and center. – Anthony

  22. It’s probably good to read a great rendition of the “History of Physical Science” . . . . as it demonstrates that for every answer comes many more questions. Wiki is brief, incomplete; but, a good start. Maybe others can recommend some good reading. I can not site the source of my first reading on “History of Physical Science” as it was long long ago and far far away. Gavin gives me pause to hope!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_physics#The_physical_sciences

  23. Both assumptions & math are wrong in climate forecast modeling. Gavin won’t admit it, but deep down he must know the facts of the case.

  24. Interesting that those two should be talking. Taleb is a financial guy with a big interest in probability statistics. He has written a couple of books about how probablility applies to investing. I believe that he is a hedge fund manager and his teqnique is to bet on very low probability events (black swan events). The events rarely pay off, but when they do, they pay off big in comparison to the small investment that was made to place the bet. I didn’t realize that he had an interest in climate change.

    I think that Gavin has it right in this case. He made bad assumptions about CO2 forcing feedback. He made bad assumptions about Svensmark being wrong. He made bad assumptions about the importance of ENSO. He made bad assumptions about cloud behavior. He made bad assumptions when he decided that he understood enough climate factors to model the climate. And there is also the GIGO factor. When fitting your models to instrument data that has been maximized by adjustments, the chances of the models having a good future are slim.

  25. Interesting comment. I wonder what Nasim Taleb’s views are regarding climate models and AGW. Just curious really.

  26. If Gavin is willing to admit that Climate Models have problems and do not match the real world, then I think that someone should mention this to the UK Met. Office.

    Because they have just said that their stats may be questionable, but physics Climate Models back them up. Effectively they are running a circular argument – the physics must be right because the Climate Models built from it work, and the Climate Models must be right because the statistically modified temperatures match these (with assumed ocean warming!), and the temperatures must be right because they follow the physics….

    What’s not to like…! :)

  27. Gavin is exactly right. His climate models and the entire literature on impacts and policy based on them and all the futile CO2 emision cap nonsense – in short the whole CAGW house of cards are buillt on three illogical and irrational assumptions.
    1, That CO2 drives temperature- when obviously it is the other way around- they clearly have the cart before the horse.
    2. Their climate sensitivity for CO2 includes the effect of water vapour as a feed back to CO2 when again clearly it too is driven by temperature quite independently .
    4.They assume that when they iterate their programs they can specify the initial parameters with such precision that the output will bear some relation to reality.
    Naturally the ecoleft democratic politicians and MSM pundits lack the ordinary common sense to see that this quixotic emperor never had any clothes to begin with.

  28. I just finished reading the UN’s Post-2015 plans for all of us so I wouldn’t get too excited that anyone is seeing the light. They are using climate change literally as the basis for remaking societies, economies, and new mindsets and values.

    With David Cameron as the UK’s representative on the “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons” and John Podesta of the Center for American Progress representing the US, we may not be paying attention to the UN’s plans for all of us. But the UN certainly is paying attention to us.

    I especially love the part about how all this restructuring is necessary. Otherwise “we will be on a path to at least a 4-degree Celsius warming over pre-industrial levels by this century’s end.”

    It is BS but it is coming in through education and especially videogaming designed to get students to visualize false scenarios. It will be difficult later to dissuade the adults who have spent their school years modelling all these false, Limits to Growth, Club of Rome scenarios that reality is different.

  29. So, what were they tweeting about? Is there a ‘social model’ gone wrong that either of these folks has an interest in? Was this exchange over anything in particular? Just 2 guys commenting on QE2? To buy bonds or not buy bonds, that is the social model of the era!

    The multi-color chart out to be linked to the original WUWT post where it was introduced. As I recall the chart needs clarification.

  30. Anthony, re your response “And I think it is more than a bit unfair to us..”, I agree, and that was well said.

  31. Kurt in Switzerland says:
    June 1, 2013 at 8:36 am
    “I agree that the title of the post ought to be changed.
    Gavin wasn’t [consciously] talking about climate models in their exchange.
    But he HAD to realize that the statement could be equally applicable in another discipline!”

    Probably a Freudian slip.

    As for assumptions in GCM’s I found something that I overlooked at the time and that is absolutely stunning. It touches on the Loschmidt / Miskolczy / Virial theorem complex but goes further:

    The principal and terminal fault with climate science and climate models seems to be that they assume the atmosphere to be hydrostatic. It is known that it isn’t yet this simplification allows them to use the barometric equation.

    In other words the models don’t contain vertical mass exchange and assume that the atmosphere as a whole does not expand when warmed and contract when cooled.

    Quite amazing isn’t it?

    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-loschmidt-gravito-thermal-effect-old-controversy-new-relevance/comment-page-1/#comment-13004

    And this is probably related; the QBO is an oscillation in the stratosphere. Density waves. They don’t simulate it, citing too high computational effort.

    WG1 of the IPCC says GCM’s cannot simulate the QBO.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/279.htm

    Now maybe I’m wrong, and the GCM’s don’t assume hydrostasis. If a climate modeler reads this and can show that I’m wrong I would be interested in source links. Thanks.

    • Dirk H:

      Good comment — probably a Freudian Slip.
      I find it hard to fathom that Climate Models fail to handle vertical mass exchange, however.
      That would be a major fail.

      We’ll just have to see if the climate continues to fail to cooperate in the coming years.
      These guys must be praying for warming by now! (Bad form for atheists).

      Kurt in Switzerland

  32. Every engineer learns the saying “it works in theory”. This is the real difference between science and engineering. Scientists develop theories about what should happen. Engineers try to use those theories to predict in real world situations what actually does happen.

    Perhaps Climate “Science” is finally learning after many decades what any scientist in an engineering company learns in the first few weeks of their job?

  33. Coupla things:

    Note to Gavin: That erroneous assumption would be the sensitivity. Multiply it by 0.40 and GISS comes much closer to reality. How hard is that?

  34. But is anyone on that side, even Gavin, willing to concede that reality trumps models?

    That’s the big question.

  35. I work in engineering. I’ve been bombarded recently by people who throw theory at me and ask that it be applied in a system with a slightly different set of circumstances to the actual testing that was done. My response is that it works in theory, but we have to test it in our specific system before we implement it – especially if it has safety implications.

    The scariest thing is the thought of sitting in court saying ‘we hadn’t considered that…’.

  36. If you want Nassim Taleb’s opinion about anyone who claims they can predict anything about the future based on statistical modelling, read his book The Black Swan. His thesis is that you cannot predict a future calamity. The only way you can prepare for it is to have a surplus of wealth that allows you to recover from whatever happens. This is very similar to Lomborg’s thesis, which may not be too surprising given that they are both economists.

  37. What did Gavin and Mann mean when they stated the following in a paper a while back?

    “Modellers have an inbuilt bias towards forced climate change because the causes and effect are clear.”
    Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, et. al. – 2004

    http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/shared/articles/Schmidtetal-QSR04.pdf

    Then there’s this from WUWT in April.

    Michael Mann says climate models cannot explain the Medieval Warming Period – I say they can’t even explain the present

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/11/michael-mann-says-climate-models-cannot-explain-the-medieval-warming-period-i-say-they-cant-even-explain-the-present/

    Yet they are baffled by the temperature standstill. They have yet to learn what GIGO is.

  38. If Our Gav thinks he is being misrepresented here he is more than welcome to come along and defend himself. He’s a big boy now.

    Having said that he doesn’t like debating – see his puerile performance against Professor sSpencer recently…..

    He used to think he was good at debating – before he got wiped across the floor by Professors Stott and Lindzen and Michael Crichton.

  39. “Is it maths or assumptions (or both) that cause the divergence?”

    Assumptions. Developing from Willis’ volcano stacking, it is pretty clear that the assumption that climate takes a heavy energy deficit after major eruptions is totally erroneous.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=278

    However the synchronised pattern that emerges is quite significant.

    It basically shows that dip is surface temperature centred two years after an eruption is mainly part of a natural cycle.

    what also comes as a surprise is that this relationship implies there is a relationship between these variations in climate and the timing of major volcanic events. Now that merits further study.

    The erroneous assumption of a strong negative forcing (which exists) leaves and energy deficit at the surface leads to need to exaggerate the real CO2 forcing with hypothesised feedbacks. These feedbacks are not based of “basic science” nor measured nor proven. They are simply there to make up the energy budget on the assumption that volcanoes leave a large energy deficit.

    Willis’ tropical “governor” is simplistic but seems to be a more accurate description.

    However, it will be a long night before those so heavily invested in AGW will be able to admit such a fundamental short-coming. My guess is that they will be hedging around for another ten years with tweaks and adjustments trying to back-pedal so slowly that no one notices and that they can do so without loss of face.

    There is a grudging acknowledgement that climate sensitivity is too high, but this kind of non linear, self-correcting behaviour means abandoning the CS concept altogether.

    There is kudos to be had for the first to come up with a new paradigm that captures this kind of behaviour, but I don’t see an avalanche of researchers working in that direction.

  40. The headline as of now (10:02) still refers to “the state of climate modeling”. This is unfortunate.

  41. Sorry, I had refreshed and still saw “Climate” for some reason; now, I don’t see it. I apologize to Anthony.

  42. Rocky Road–

    No because the purpose of theories and models in the social sciences is not to reflect reality but to change it. The theory or model exist to gain implementation to change behaviors. That’s the purpose.

    It is also why you hear the phrase Best Practices so often. It is a practice that can change human behavior in desired directions if Statism is your goal.

  43. Here is another peer reviewed study stating that CO2 is not responsible for global warming.

    How many more years will it take for Gavin Schmidt to admit he was wrong regarding his CO2/T conjecture? Will he ever admit that he was wrong?

  44. Russ R.-

    “Here’s an excel spreadsheet comparing observed temperatures vs. model projection from: Hansen (1988)”

    Thanks for the excel sheet. Very handy to have the ever-failing predictions and the most grossly tampered observations in one place.

    There is an interesting trend in Hansen’s 1988 scenario C. The CO2 emissions are zeroed out after 2000. The interesting detail is that his model predicts that temperature rises another 0.1 – 0.2 C or so before it stabilizes after 5 – 10 years.
    There is precious little dead-certain heat in the pipeline in the 1988 model.

    It is also interesting that measured temperatures are below scenario C, which Hansen claimed was ‘safe.’ Steven Goddard made this point a few months ago.

  45. @ Russ R. and Anthony–

    This is a very good comparison of the model predictions of successive IPCC reports vs. reality. (If, in fact, GISTEMP is at all close to reality).

    I wonder if Russ R. would consider writing this up as a post for WUWT. As you say, it would need updating to the later IPCC reports.

    The diagram (a) on the IPCC 2001 sheet needs some explanation. I get that the x-axis is different models and the circles are the high-medium-low estimates of IPCC 2001 but the rest of the symbols are somewhat puzzling.

    The one thing still needed is to highlight the prediction/projection that followed most closely the actual increase of GHG. (You could, for example, embolden that curve.) Then we would see that in most cases, it was the highest projection that the IPCC predicted that was closest to the true GHG increase. This makes the failure of their projections even more apparent. A single high-information high-impact graph could be prepared with just their single predictions closest to the true scenario vs actual temperature. The weakness of the Glickstein graph is that he chose their middle predictions to compare to the temperatures rather than those that matched most closely the scenarios. This allowed the alarmists to say that the observed values were still within the uncertainty bands. The better graph proposed here, anchored in the reality of the scenarios, would remove that argument.

  46. Robin says:
    “Rocky Road–

    No because the purpose of theories and models in the social sciences is not to reflect reality but to change it. The theory or model exist to gain implementation to change behaviors. That’s the purpose.

    It is also why you hear the phrase Best Practices so often. It is a practice that can change human behavior in desired directions if Statism is your goal.

    Which _exactly_ why climate science is closer to a social science than a hard science.

  47. At least one model, UCAR’s CAM 5, uses a “dry water” instead of a real one: it neglects a temperature dependence of a latent heat of evaporation of water. That causes an approximately 3% error in a calculation of a heat transfer by an evaporation of water from tropical seas. That happens in each step of an iterative computation.

    Apology to Richard Feynman, who used a term “dry water” for a physical description neglecting a viscosity.

  48. Lance Wallace says:
    June 1, 2013 at 10:14 am

    Sorry, I had refreshed and still saw “Climate” for some reason; now, I don’t see it. I apologize to Anthony.

    The title has changed but the URL has not. I also thought the title was unchanged after glancing at the address box.

  49. The gravy train is now running so slow that even stalwarts of AGW are leaping off it.

  50. Gavin is right in this case, in the social sciences and maybe also in climate science, most of the calculations are perfect.

    No such thing. If the calculations are perfect then it’s the arithmatic that is correct. you know, 2+2=4. Sadly, in science that is a total and utter nonsense.

    Schmidt has no way of knowing that the arithmetics are correct because he cannot and never has vVV&T’d his model(s).

  51. I am growing in my respect for Gavin. It is understandable that he would be highly defensive and unwilling to yield easily, but, as far as I am concerned, all will be forgiven if he mans up over the next few years and admits that the models were overstated and conclusions overdrawn. I think he is starting to reconsider. It would take a lot to lay your life’s work on the altar, particularly when he helped set up a propaganda site for the cause. I have always thought, in spite of those facts, that he makes an attempt to be fair quite often. If he recognizes the errors and turns from them, he proves himself to be a true scientist. Then again, it may turn out that he has basically been right and the 17 year pause we are in is just an anomaly that is quickly erased as the temperatures shoot up…..i doubt it, but it is possible.

  52. Rings a bell:
    “If the administration knew about the problems and chose not to prevent them, then clearly something is rotten in the state of modeling”

  53. WRT jfk’s comment highlighted by Mr Watts. I’m sure that most people are like myself, that they do not expect perfection from science and that it can be a messy business at times. I would never expect climate modeling to be highly accurate, based on my own understanding of the current science.

    The thing is, it is the scientists themselves that have been claiming the accuracy of their models for many years now. They have failed to show proper humility. We now have these IPCC conferences where a bunch of them endeavour to pressure the rest of the world to re-engineer, from the top down, the entire world economy, based primarily but not entirely on these models.
    It is not the failure of statistical modeling that is the underlying issue. It is the failure of the majority of scientists, and of world leaders, to acknowledge the weakness in climate models. Without the cabal of global warming alarmists and the IPCC, nobody would be highlighting comments like these from individuals like Gavin Schmidt.

    Mr Watts is doing us all a service by doing so.

  54. “The same issues applies to climate models.”
    Says you, Anthony.
    I highly doubt Gavin would have made such a statement about climate models and if you read the comments here it is very clear that your readers think he was talking about climate.

    REPLY: So, you are saying that if bad assumptions are used to create initial conditions and process dynamics for climate models, and the mathematics are right, that the climate models will still give the right answer? Do tell. – Anthony

  55. Ryan says:
    June 1, 2013 at 11:58 am
    ““The same issues applies to climate models.”
    Says you, Anthony.
    I highly doubt Gavin would have made such a statement about climate models and if you read the comments here it is very clear that your readers think he was talking about climate.”

    No, Ryan. We have understood it. Please try reading our comments again and with less haste.

  56. Mark in Montreal says:
    June 1, 2013 at 11:08 am
    “I am growing in my respect for Gavin. It is understandable that he would be highly defensive and unwilling to yield easily, but, as far as I am concerned, all will be forgiven if he mans up over the next few years and admits that the models were overstated and conclusions overdrawn. ”

    Standards vary. I find the behaviour of the IPCC climate modelers entirely inexcusable for years now. And no, waiting a few more years until gavin goes into retirement will not do it.

    The omissions they have in their models totally discredit them, remember these are attempts at iteratively modeling a chaotic system which is all but impossible even when you have the physics correct. Which they don’t. Yet they have the chutzpah to run their models for thousands of years.

    They know very well that their models are parameterized in such a way that they simply confirm the underlying assumption of CO2 driving up temperatures; a hugely complicated machinery that hides the fact that it is all basically curve fitting.

    They are therefore not scientists, but crooks, and should be fired on the spot.

  57. Totally fair to make the connection. Gavin probably doesn’t realize the implication on his own, so making the connection for him is a service for us all.

  58. These guys must be praying for warming by now! (Bad form for atheists).
    Kurt in Switzerland

    No they’re probably praying for another stratospheric eruption. That way the models will have the illusion of giving the right answer again and they can try to waffle about the last 17 years just being temporary departure from a model that is basically correct.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=280

    1883 1902 1912 1963 1982 1991

    since most of those dates seem to fall on a 9 year grid , I’m guessing we will have a major event around 2018.

  59. Greg Goodman (June 1, 2013 at 10:04 am) wrote:
    “what also comes as a surprise is that this relationship implies there is a relationship between these variations in climate and the timing of major volcanic events. Now that merits further study.”

    Certainly it does merit further study, but it’s not a good sign if it comes as a surprise.

    Let’s give credit where it’s due:
    Ulric Lyons has been directing attention towards this for years.

    Years later along comes a different messenger with the same message and the new messenger is hailed by wuwt readers as a hero. Frankly: Too funny.

    This clarifies and acutely emphasizes that the readership here overwhelmingly bases trust on messenger rather than message.

    Tip for anyone looking into this: You can get well ahead the new messenger if you just go back and pay attention to what Ulric Lyons & Piers Corbyn have been saying for years.

  60. I saw a claim regarding a paper on Hockeyschtick that Co2 levels were ~425 ppm about 12,750 years ago. Is this correct? If so then talk of highest co2 in millions of years can be called into question???

    Abstract – 15 May 2013
    Stomatal proxy record of CO2 concentrations from the last termination suggests an important role for CO2 at climate change transitions
    See Fig. 7

    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.02.003

  61. Robin says:
    June 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I just finished reading the UN’s Post-2015 plans for all of us so I wouldn’t get too excited that anyone is seeing the light. They are using climate change literally as the basis for remaking societies, economies, and new mindsets and values.

    With David Cameron as the UK’s representative on the “High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons” and John Podesta of the Center for American Progress representing the US, we may not be paying attention to the UN’s plans for all of us. But the UN certainly is paying attention to us.

    I especially love the part about how all this restructuring is necessary. Otherwise “we will be on a path to at least a 4-degree Celsius warming over pre-industrial levels by this century’s end.”

    What a laugh for us at them if there’s a severe temperature drop by 2015.

  62. “Here’s an excel spreadsheet comparing observed temperatures vs. model projection from:”

    Divergence from model projections is more than is shown by the GISTEMP plotted. Based on pundits of Global Warming having a: failed to compensate for UIH, b: biased averaged “corrected” temperatures higher, and c: cherry picked and lemon picked weather stations to use in averaging. Thus, actual average global temperatures for recent Alarmist “warm years” are 0.2 to 0.4 C cooler than claimed by Global Warmers.

  63. Nothing happens in the U.S. as far as treaties without 2/3 of the U.S Senate approval. Last vote in 1997 was 95 to 0 against destroying the U.S. economy to save the planet. They may be stupid liberals, but they’re not crazy.

  64. I sent N. N. Taleb, “Your twitter with Dr. Gavin Schmidt has become topic @ Watts Up With That?” That he may speak for himself.

  65. Ryan says: “… if you read the comments here it is very clear that your readers think he was talking about climate.”

    Buzzzz, wrong. Anthony was clear as to what Gavin was Tweeting about, and readers here understood Gavin was referencing social models.

  66. Roger–I think the official response to that awful tragedy in Woolwich tells us that reality that differs from the assumptions needed to justify the UN’s restructuring simply get ignored. With the media going largely along.

    I am going to explain the media aspect by the way soon. The UN really does want the media to be its partner in selling the desired beliefs and new values. Basically education creates the desired new mindsets with few accurate facts and lots of erroneous supplied concepts that filter daily perceptions in predictable ways. Then media reenforces by what it covers and does not. Of course I had to track to servers near the ends of the Earth to get those particular blueprints from 2010. But I have them now.

    The illusion of catastrophic climate change is front and center as the selling point to bring in what Irina Bokova calls the New Humanism. And it bears a striking resemblance to Uncle Karl’s human development model. And his small c social and economic model.

    And I wish I was kidding or being a tad hyperbolic.

  67. Well I don’t think it matters a hill of beans, whether Dr Schmidt was discussing social “science” (there’s a laffer ), of finance “science” (another one) or climate science.

    Math is almost never wrong. After all, we made it all up ourselves, and defined how it was to be used. Well you can simply fail to add correctly, and you could use the wrong maths, but so long as you use the wrong maths correctly it will give the answers you would expect to get when you use the wrong math correctly.

    But clearly the problem is that the model assumptions do not mimic reality.

    If the sun beats down on a clear sky earth, at about 1kW/m^2 normal to the sun vector; but in your model, you use 240 W/m^2, or some other made up fictional number, that absolutely nobody, ever actually measured, anywhere on earth; well wake me up if you get the correct result, that matches reality.

    A tornado with 200 mph winds can do a lot of damage, but if you use 50 mph, instead of the measured 200 mph, you won’t get much damage at all in your model.

    So nyet Gavin; nothing wrong with maths, but maybe wrong maths; but first you have to model what is real.

  68. @jfk says:
    June 1, 2013 at 7:44 am
    Wait a minute, is Gavin talking about climate models or social science models? Let’s try not to put words in his mouth that he didn’t say:
    ++++++++++++
    Wrong: He is talking about climate models. A quick search will take you to his NASA page here:

    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/staff/gschmidt/

    He writes:
    “Research Interests
    My main research interest lies in understanding the variability of the climate, both its internal variability and the response to external forcing…”

    If this is about his main research, that is what he is talking about. Don’t be confused by words and their meaning. There comes a point where human beings have to be able to judge words into a context. He was talking about climate models, not models in general.

  69. Perfect maths plus bad assumpsions equals BS is not enough. If one is using computing to evaluate chaotic systems, then even if the maths is perfect the prediction will be wrong because computers truncate during calculations, hence they push the time evolution onto a false track at each step and the result will be more and more wrong as time passes. Hence any attempt at say regional predictions will be wrong. Frequency of events will be unpredictable. Threats of flood, drought, hot, cold for a region will be wholly unjustifiable in longer term predictions. Just try and predict how the jetstream will behave and hence the climate of Europe..

  70. Robin says: “No because the purpose of theories and models in the social sciences is not to reflect reality but to change it.”

    Almost same purpose behind theories and models of Global Warming.

  71. “if your prediction is wrong then your hypothesis is wrong. Period.” – Richard Feynman

    “No theory is carved in stone. Science is merciless when it comes to testing all theories over and over, at any time, in any place. Unlike religion or politics, science is ultimately decided by experiments, done repeatedly in every form. There are no sacred cows. In science, 100 authorities count for nothing. Experiment counts for everything.” – Michio Kaku, a professor of theoretical physics at City College of New York

    “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” – Ernest Rutherford

    http://pathstoknowledge.net/think/

  72. Jimbo says:
    June 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm
    ———————————–

    Not buying that higher CO2 played much role in seesawing climate during the termination events, but stomatal data themselves are revelatory.

    Thanks!

  73. The model with 0 GHG growth is the same as real world observations. Then the GHGs they are counting are not the GHGs that matter. Perhaps water vapor (effectively a constant) is the only GHG that matters, from which we easily infer CO2 is of negligible importance to climate. Except CO2 is vital to keep plants alive, having the primary role of stabilizing the atmosphere. And for that purpose, more is better.

  74. Where is Mann? So much debunking of global warming this past week and I haven’t seen any tweets from him. Is he on vacation?

  75. jim2 says:
    Dr. Schmidt is stating the obvious and frankly I am aghast that Taleb would make such a obviously idiotic statement. Math is exact, but as Gavin points out, essentially, garbage in –> garbage out.
    Dear Jim2:

    Having read Nassims fine popular publications (none of his formal papers)…I think that I can defend what he says. Let’s put this way. Do you know what a Fourier Series is? Do you know what a SQUARE WAVE is…..? How MANY terms in a Fourier Series does it take to PERFECTLY match and create a SQUARE WAVE? Answer: An infinite number.

    But, if you want an approximation, you can use a “few” terms. Now in the INFINITE DIMENSIONAL situation of doing a climate Model (and that is what it is, essentially an “infinite” number of variables…) how does one determine one has “summed enough terms” to have a “useful” construct? That really is a good question to ask. Schmidt is inherently IMPLYING that there exists some sort of “perfect” model. And if they just get the “assumptions” right, they can have perfect modeling.

    AND THAT CONCEPT is what Nassim Taleb is denigrating. More power to him. (In fact, I’d recommend 10^78, or there about…the number of atoms estimated in the universe. Give or take a few 10^50 assemblies to 10^50…)

  76. Analogy with things we study in social issues? How about that wonderful word ‘inoperative’ and its rich history? Or the streaker’s defence – it seemed like a good idea at the time. Or LBJ’s Theorem which here becomes ‘it’s better for politicians to have the greens inside the tent p***ing out than conversely’.

  77. What is the mystery here? Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t all these models have a dependent functional relationship between increasing CO2 causing increasing atmospheric temperature?

    So of course there would be an increasing air temperature regardless… they were depending on the broken clock to be correct for the next 25 years. No?

  78. Max Hugoson says:
    June 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm
    Max, it worse than that… they have to get ALL THE BOUNDARY conditions right too. Which in reality must be matched by the direction of change in each boundary variable for the first step of the first calculation. And as we all know they are also trying to model a chaotic & stochastic system. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

  79. The models and assumptions worked fine, until they hit reality. Once they came out from the shadows and into the sunlight they become garbage. Sunlight is a wondeful disinfectant, especially if your propaganda and ideology is based on science and that science is false. Tricks with numbers won’t get you far either. If they stay naked in the sun too long there are going to be some pretty bad burns, they had better scurry back to the shadows or cover up with reality.

  80. Mike jarosz (June 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm) wrote:
    Nothing happens in the U.S. as far as treaties without 2/3 of the U.S Senate approval. Last vote in 1997 was 95 to 0 against destroying the U.S. economy to save the planet. They may be stupid liberals, but they’re not crazy.

    No treaties needed when the Executive is allowed to rule by bureaucratic fiat (i.e. the EPA).

  81. goldminor (June 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm) suggested:
    “Consensus starts to fade, understanding blossoms.”

    We’ll see — ( not holding my breath … )

    ___

    Greg Goodman (June 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm) wrote:
    “[...] 1883 1902 1912 1963 1982 1991 [...]
    [...] most of those dates seem to fall on a 9 year grid [...]“

    Are you going to keep ignoring the role of the sometimes-synchronized ~11 year grid?

    Hint: Do a 1/4-cycle gaussian smooth of VEI sorted by solar cycle phase.
    Then behold: the simple ellipse.

    Dead simple, but beyond the reach of mainstream modeling “science” (which appears intent on drowning society & civilization in a cesspool of darkly ignorant &/or deceptive assumptions).

  82. The models and assumptions worked fine, until they hit reality. Once the sunlight was let in it revealed garbage science, it is an excellent disinfectant. People are going to get badly burnt and they can either scurry back to the shadows or cover up with some reality. It will be interesting who chooses to do neither and stay in the sunlight naked.

  83. well let s admit math are correct. there are assumptions, but there are uncertainties as well .how can error be estimated after thousands of calcultations?

    well there are assumptions but in case of modelisation you have mathematical uncertainties as well,,the point is ..you don’t know them.

  84. What I meant to add to my last post is that there will be three types of climate scientists, I think Mann will scurry, Dr Scmidt looks like a scurrier but I think will in the end cover up and Dana and Cook are going to stay naked and burn.

  85. Have a look at the green line on the NASA et al projection. It assumes no CO2 increase after 2000 and it shows no temperature rise after 2000. That means it is saying there is no long time constant, no locked in inevitable further catastrophic rise, any response to rising CO2 is immediate. Even if all the temperature rise of 0.6C is due to rising CO2 (exceptionally unlikely given the steady temperature despite rising CO2 for the last 15 years) a projection of 560ppm by 2100 would only give a further 0.6C rise!!! This plot by itself is enough to debunk the CAGW argument.

  86. Max Hugoson says: June 1, 2013 at 2:28 pm “AND THAT CONCEPT is what Nassim Taleb is denigrating. More power to him. (In fact, I’d recommend 10^78, or there about…the number of atoms estimated in the universe. Give or take a few 10^50 assemblies to 10^50…)”

    Archimedes’ Number (The Sand Reckoner) and Eddington’s Number is 10^80 nucleons and is related to Dirac’s LNH

  87. Reminds me of this old joke on the shortcomings of mathematics:
    Problem: If a girl of 16 can go in the forest and pick 4 pounds of berries in 5 hours and a boy of 17 can pick 5 pounds in 6 hours, how many are they going to pick if they work together for 7 hours?
    Answer: probably not very many.

  88. I find Russ R’s graph to be most interesting. As noted before,the closest match to reality is that model which assumes zero CO2 growth after year 2000. Since we all know that is not the case, then it appears that the additional CO2 we have added to the atmosphere has had no impact.

    I think it would really help the average person if a simple graph were made: one line showing the average results shown by the models using the assumption that the climate is dependent on CO2; one line showing the results if CO2 levels were ignored (had no impact on climate); and the last line showing actual temps. Let the reader decide which scenario more closely fits reality.

  89. Paul Vaughan says:
    June 1, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    goldminor (June 1, 2013 at 2:21 pm) suggested:
    “Consensus starts to fade, understanding blossoms.”

    We’ll see — ( not holding my breath … )
    __________________
    Agreed. Governments have been overturned for less than what we’ve seen by some stunning climate- related revelations of the past week, yet there’s the US Congress, making lots of noise about carbon tax. I had one Liberal lady friend practically go F5 on me for pointing out the MET office’s admission of no statistical significance to any warming the past century or so. Some people never do catch on.

  90. Instead of CO2 as the driver, put in 10.7 cm Flux appropriately scaled. Then run forward/backward projections. Start from1900, for instance.

  91. I can’t help but get the feeling troll central have dispatched minions to divert the heat off Gavin’s gaffe. That’s the unavoidable downside of a no debate with deniers policy – you end up having your viewpoint represented by rather obvious shills, who do more harm that good to the “cause.”

    Pointman

  92. The task ahead is not to debunk several assumptions individual computational climate models may be based on, but to debunk the entire modelling paradigm as it is practiced in contemporary climate science.

    What they are doing is to fit multiple, mutually inconsistent computational models of high Kolmogorov complexity to a single run of a unique physical instance (the “climate system”), which is far too large to fit into the lab, therefore can never be studied experimentally. Even observational evidence of the system’s unrepeatable history is patchy at best and for basic parameters (like “Planck weighted average thermal IR optical depth of the atmosphere” or “short wave planetary albedo”) are lacking.

    This is why the concept of experimentum crucis can never be applied in this field of inquiry to incrementally eliminate models of poor performance and choose unequivocally between the few remaining competitors.

    With enough free parameters to draw detailed representations of superheroes in comics, any such model can be fitted to any history, which means even if their basic assumptions are mutually exclusive, none of them can be falsified. This dire situation is supposed to be rectified by the slogan “All models are wrong, but some are useful”, with no operational definition of the concept “useful”, of course. Which makes choosing the useful ones arbitrary, to be based on preferences unrelated to the actual subject matter.

    No wonder predictions of these models diverge widely. They would even more, if “useless” models were included, whose predictions utterly defy (political?) expectations.

    The climate community responded to lack of falsifiability, mutual inconsistency & diverging predictions of models in a most curious way. They have invented the concept of “ensemble average”, which is supposed to “wash out” individual quirks of models and produce an outcome which, in a mysterious way, comes closer to reality than any member of said ensemble. However, we can see clearly, that ensemble average can only mirror the fuzzy concept of “useful” at best (preferences of “experts”), nothing else.

    The other device introduced to fight uncertainty is the concept of “projection” (as opposed to prediction), which is justified by the existence of several different future “scenarios”, but which, in fact, is good for nothing but to kick unpredictability under the rug. In a sane world it could easily be replaced by genuine predictions over the field of all possible scenarios (emission trajectories & whatnot), but that would make them all too vulnerable to falsification.

    The entire hullabaloo is justified by the phrase “there is no other way to make predictions in climate science than by modelling”, with the additional hidden assumption that with modelling it is indeed possible. But, as we have seen above, this hidden assumption is untenable. Which, if we suppose the the first proposition concerning models was true, would imply the unpredictability of climate. But that conclusion is never drawn.

    The grave process described above has effectively slipped climate science down on a slippery slope to the level of a full fledged pseudoscience, where outcomes are not determined by nature, but wishful thinking and expectations.

    ________________________________________

    Note all pseudosciences are organized around issues of utmost practical importance (health, fate, inexhaustible energy). On the other hand genuine science never even tries to be practical. The Earth with all its wonderful weather phenomena is something, but who’d care how optical depth determines the statistics of temperature distribution in a fluid, enclosed in a semitranspatent container, put onto a thermally well insulated rotating table in a pith black vacuum chamber whose walls are kept cool by liquid nitrogen wile irradiated by powerful lasers or such? No one but a bunch of weirdo scientists.

    Still, that’s the only path that holds some chance to understand climate, because practical appliations usually come quite late in the game, if ever.

    For genuine science does right the opposite climate modellers are trying to do. It seeks a single consistent model of low Kolmogorov complexity (a.k.a. “simple”), applicable to multiple runs of a wide class of physical entities, with certain members of said class being suitable to be studied experimentally in the lab.

    With no general understanding of closed non-equilibrium quasi steady state thermodynamic systems with a vast number of nonlinearly coupled internal degrees of freedom, radiatively coupled to their environment (one of the many gaping holes in semi-classical physics) one has no hope to make any progress in bringing back climate science to the narrow path which may (or may not) lead to salvation.

  93. “Perfect maths plus bad assumptions still equals BS”

    Nice mirror you have there Gavin.

    Let the walking back of all the climate fearmongering and hysteria you have been shovelling off the back of the truck for many years begin.

  94. Robin says:
    June 1, 2013 at 8:54 am
    “I just finished reading the UN’s Post-2015 plans for all of us so I wouldn’t get too excited that anyone is seeing the light. They are using climate change literally as the basis for remaking societies, economies, and new mindsets and values.”

    There is currently a huge lovefest of ICLEI / Agenda 21 in Bonn, Germany, and you might not be surprised that all they talk about is how The Climate Change is the most serious problem for the development of cities (and that while the planet hasn’t warmed in 15 years)

    You can’t make it up:

    http://www.iclei.org/en/our-activities/our-agendas/resilient-city/resilient-cities-2013-live-blog/day-2.html

  95. Things that make you go hmmm…

    The black line (observed temps) and green line (model projection based on zero growth of GHGs) are tracking pretty well.

    Doesn’t that prove that whatever Hansen’s model does (internally) with GHG’s is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT to temperature, because when the model assumes no change in GHG’s, it gets it RIGHT, no matter what GHG’s do in real life. LOL!

    Remove all GHG-code from his model and it works!! GHG’s are innocent!!
    Talk about “Hoist by his own petard!”

  96. Unlike most here, I’m something of a fan of Gavin’s despite his CAGW promotion efforts. He is usually very precise in his use of language, as a good scientist should be. When Gavin says ‘assumption’, I think he means exactly that.

    Assumption – something taken for granted

    As opposed to a theoretical prediction.

    Gavin is saying that something outside of the theoretical basis for the model, we haven’t really considered, is an important determinant of what happens. In the context of climate models, he is saying is, that important stuff, we don’t know much about, is missing from the climate models.

    Which is a position many here could agree with.

  97. Gavin, bad assumptions forming model + correct maths =rubbish. For those social science models.
    But not for my models.
    Damn fine comment Anthony, Gavin knows his models are FUBAR or he is an absolute fool.

  98. Robin is correct when he wrote above
    “Basically education creates the desired new mindsets with few accurate facts and lots of erroneous supplied concepts that filter daily perceptions in predictable ways. Then media reenforces by what it covers and does not.”

    This is very visible in other areas of science as well as that of climate. For example, Monsanto, whcih has taken over swathes of the US goverment and even its legal system by strategic placement of former company officials, is also now susidising educational establishments. It lobbies goverments and the EU relentlessly

    Meanhwile the worldwide ‘March on Monsanto’ against GMOs in which hundreds of thousands participated was met with a blanket blackout, save for a tiny mention on CNN.

    And as with ‘climate science’, the entire food testing system is now in the hands of people paid to poduce a certain result, favourable to those who pump us full of chemicals, preservatives and sterile GMOs. The very few independent scientists who attempt to publish non-food industy-funded research highlighting the dangers of this new kind of ‘food’ find their reputations trashed and their jobs terminated, all with not a peep from the MSM

    The purchase and subsequent perversion of science is very far advanced, in all areas

  99. I have claimed for years that climate science was an infant science. The study of the climate has only 30 (60) years of reliable data for the last 4 billion years unless you ask a geologist or two. Modern geology is also a relatively young science.

    The study of man’s behaviors has been pursued for millennia.

    It really is absurd for some one to claim that we have the climate figured out, yet cant predict how much rain will fall tomorrow and where it will fall.

    It is as absurd to claim the climate models parameters are ‘assumed correctly’ based on 10 years of real research, than to claim that 1000’s of years of study of the human can’t correctly assume parameters. Of course both are chaotic systems and can never be modeled using accepted maths and common assumptions.

    It can’t be stated enough that the climate models are falsified. Period. The scientists can’t keep saying just wait another decade. We are approaching two decades of no warming. Richard Feynman said if observations don’t match the guess, then the theory is wrong. It don’t matter how much we have spent, who we are, who we work for, how much my colleagues agree with me, one falsification and the theory is falsified forever. Enough said. Next theory?

    What a joke for the philosopher to tackle.

    EJ

  100. The point that Anthony is making here is that Gavin is holding others to higher standards than he holds himself to, so Anthony’s entire post is right on the mark.

  101. Berényi Péter,
    We can probably agree that if challenged with “Your model is not useful”, a climate-modeler could legitimately answer “Well it’s useful to me!”

  102. the failure of models to match real world
    ===================
    Gavin did not limit his remarks to Social Science Models. He is making a general statement about models; that the errors are far more likely to result from erroneous assumptions. Thus it is fair comment to consider how his remarks apply to climate models.

    Mathematical errors can also result from faulty assumptions. One assumes that the data is suitable for a specific type of analysis, while in reality the assumption is wrong. For example, the notion of “calibration” of tree rings to thermometers. This is a classic example of “selection by the dependent variable”, which is a huge statistical No-No, yet is routinely accepted by climate science peer review.

    Unfortunately, this points to a problem in peer review. No reviewer is fluent in all disciplines, so when a climate paper deals with statistics, unless the reviewer is a statistician they are likely to miss statistical nonsense. This problem allowed tree ring calibration to corrupt mathematical analysis of past temperatures, creating the shaft of the infamous hockey stick, and much of the public hype and panic over global warming.

  103. Dr. Taleb says:

    1) Climate Change. I am hyper-conservative ecologically (meaning super-Green). My position on the climate is to avoid releasing pollutants in the atmosphere, on the basis of ignorance, regardless of current expert opinion (climate experts, like banking risk managers, have failed us in the past in foreseeing long term damages and I cannot accept certainty in a certain class of nonlinear models). This is an extension of my general idea that one does not need rationalization with the use of complicated models (by fallible experts) to the edict: “do not disturb a complex system” since we do not know the consequences of our actions owing to complicated causal webs. (Incidentally, this ideas also makes me anti-war). I explicitly explained the need to “leave the planet the way we got it” .

    We can’t “leave the planet the way we got it”. Anything we do, or don’t do, will change the planet. Wrecking the economy, with the dream of not changing the plant, will cause much worse environmental consequences. Many people have pointed out that the best thing for the environment is for us to have enough economic surplus that we can afford to protect the environment.

    The economy, as Taleb well knows, is a complex system. If he follows his own advice he will realize that making wrenching changes to the economy will have unintended consequences and many of those consequences will adversely affect the environment.

    Is it possible for people with enhanced thinking skills to make poor decisions? Yes it is. It happens time and time again. Having a PhD is not a magic shield against being grindingly stupid. The education just makes it possible to be stupid in a more sophisticated manner. The examples are numerous and everyone has seen many. It’s just that they think that they, themselves, are somehow immune. That leads them to do really dreadful things.
    “Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.” – Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays

    The facile mantra that we must “leave the planet the way we got it”, is either stupid or intellectually dishonest. It is also sure to create much evil and human suffering. {/rant}

  104. The problem with the Gavin’s like models is both mathematical and physical.

    These models fail to properly reconstruct the climate oscillations at multiple scales such as the multidecadal-to-millennial ones. Thus, they are missing proper physics. The missing physics has to do with astronomical forcings of the climate and with the climate response to them because the missed oscillations are synchronous to astronomical oscillations related to the sun, to the moon and to the planets in general.

    The models also fail mathematically because to recover the 20th century warming despite the missing physics, they have exaggerate the GHG effect by arbitrary parameterization of the internal feedbacks of the models.

    All these things are clearly explained in my papers. For example in

    Scafetta N., 2012. Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models. Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics 80, 124-137.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611003385

    and more recently in

    Scafetta N., 2013. Discussion on common errors in analyzing sea level accelerations, solar trends and global warming. Pattern Recognition in Physics, 1, 37–57. (open access)

    http://www.pattern-recogn-phys.net/1/37/2013/prp-1-37-2013.pdf

    In particular, in the latter paper (in particular in section 2) there is a detailed discussion of the mathematical/physical errors made also by Gavin to exaggerate the man-made global warming.
    There it is demonstrated that the GISS model underestimate the solar signature on climate by a very large factor both at the decadal and millennial scale.

  105. jim2: “I am aghast that Taleb would make such a obviously idiotic statement.”

    Why? Taleb wrote a whole book of obviously idiotic statements, his thing on “Black Swans.”

  106. Mike jarosz says:
    June 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    Nothing happens in the U.S. as far as treaties without 2/3 of the U.S Senate approval. Last vote in 1997 was 95 to 0 against destroying the U.S. economy to save the planet. They may be stupid liberals, but they’re not crazy.

    You are assuming that they did not vote against the treaty because it would have taken away power from them.

    As for volcanos, don’t make the same mistake as climate scientists . Do not assume that the last 100 years is a normal iteration in anyway NATURALLY to the state of affairs on a 4 billion year old planet that has cycles volcanically, weather, and in its climate system that we can not even dream of. In other words, you do not have enough data to make any assumptions about future volcanic eruptions. Any predictions based on 100 years of data are nothing but conjecture and in essence a blind-ass guess which is what climate scientists do. Please don’t scare people in other words on something you do not know anything about. Perhaps there will be an eruption in 2018. Perhaps CAGW will hit and prove us sceptics all wrong. Perhaps a unicorn will fart in China and cause a huge hurricane to hit the US. I have not studied any of these topics to give you a probability based on educated guesses, but I can tell you that the probability of having a volcanic eruption in 2018 is the same as it is for the year 2017 and just a tad lower than that of 2016 when leap year gives an extra day via our calender to make the event just that slightly more likely.

    So if you are a betting man, I will bet on 2016 and take my chances with the extra day. If I was you, I would do the same thing if you are betting on the future.

  107. Mike jarosz
    June 1, 2013 at 1:23 pm
    That vote in the Senate (Gores pet) occurred before the Socialist purged themselves of anyone approaching moderation and before the, now two generations produced by our ‘Socially Enhanced’ re-education system, decided that handing the keys to the Federal Government over to the Chicago mob would be a good idea.
    David is right, they are just going around Congress with Executive Orders and Department Mandates. Another reason why this President has refused to appoint Inspector Generals to five key departments including the EPA.

  108. The folks that spend their time studying ENSO statistical and dynamical models are having the same discussions. The old standby statistical models have, in my opinion, out-performed the newer dynamical models in predicting what the ENSO pattern will be. What is interesting is that there is a group of scientists who meet to discuss the whole enchalada and then make a “consensus” guess as to what the oceans and atmosphere will do. This week the consensus dipped below both the dynamical models (which always seem to favor boiling oceans), and the statistical models (which are never as El Nino-ish as the dynamical models are). Could it be that models have lost their shine in all climate circles?

  109. “So, you are saying that if bad assumptions are used to create initial conditions and process dynamics for climate models, and the mathematics are right, that the climate models will still give the right answer? Do tell.”
    No, I’m saying Gavin probably has a better idea about the quality of those initial conditions than someone who doesn’t do his job. And trying to co-opt his words into making your arguments for you is about as honest as lifting Darwin’s quote about eyeballs.

    By the way, I counted 20+ comments from people who think Gavin was recanting his confidence about climate models before I quit counting. Perhaps changing the title and removing the references to climate would help. You are the only person these people trust, and they are getting a message from you here that is just not true.

    As it is it reads like:
    “Anthony Watts: The Mathematics are right…the climate models will still give the right answer.”*

    insert chart that shows models working

    Note:Anthony said nothing like that.(they don’t read this part)

  110. “Buzzzz, wrong. Anthony was clear as to what Gavin was Tweeting about, and readers here understood Gavin was referencing social models.”

    Their comments indicate otherwise.

  111. DirkH says:
    June 1, 2013 at 9:14 am

    Now maybe I’m wrong, and the GCM’s don’t assume hydrostasis. If a climate modeler reads this and can show that I’m wrong I would be interested in source links. Thanks.

    I’d like the see the answer to this as well.

  112. Steven Devijver says:
    June 1, 2013 at 7:47 am

    Gavin Smith disappoints. — Gavin Smidt

    Wow. Double fail.

  113. There is no such thing as a error in Maths. Mathematics is *always* correct. By definition. The models are not Mathematical Models. They are Physical Models. Physical Models *always* are in error. *always*. The question is whether or not the error is larger than the process being modeled. In the case of Climate Models the error *is* much larger than the process being modeled (i.e. man made co2 vs natural variation as a cause of the observed increase in temperature following the last ice age).

  114. @ Greg Goodman….the solar minimum will likely be in 2017/18, but the neutron min/max does not follow the solar cycle min/max. Yes it does seem to be around a 9 year pattern in it. Another thought from looking at the current neutron data. It looks like the flow will reduce this year, possibly as much as 15 points. From where it sits now that would likely be the next low on the graph, although that process should extend into early next year. Will there be another significant Earth event as there has been in the last 3 lows on the graph? Perhaps around Feb/March of 2014.

  115. Taleb is talking about mathematical models, and the way I read Schmidt’s tweet that he agreed with Taleb to a degree that there are always math errors, but his reply highlighted faulty assumptions for model error.

    I don’t know the complete context of the discussion, but I don’t think Taleb would make the challenge unless he could back it up. Schmidt is no dummy, either, ant it is possible they are talking past each other.

    Taleb’s latest book, “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder” is a good read.

  116. People that say, “maths”, instead of just “math” are almost as annoying as people who constantly want to “raise my awareness”.

  117. PiperPaul says:
    June 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    People that say, “maths”, instead of just “math” are almost as annoying as people who constantly want to “raise my awareness”.

    Nah! It’s you colonials who get it wrong – I suggest you raise your awareness … :-)

  118. If [self snip] Gavin doesn’t [self snip] say hello to all his [self snip] fans at Watts Up With [self snip] That. Then I’m just not going to tell him how much I love him. I’m kidding! I think he’s full of crap.

  119. All this dances around the central, philosophical question: What are we to make of these models? Should a model be regarded as a sketch made by Newton or Einstein might have been to motivate a theory or experiment? Or should a model be regarded as data, like an experiment that yields real information? Is it possible to move a model from the former to the latter state by some process of evaluation, testing, refinement, etc? We are in the infancy of using and understanding models. Before powerful computers, no such thing would have been imaginable. It is going to take a long time before methods, standards, review processes, openness agreements, evaluation processes, etc have been developed that we will even understand what we are talking about with regards to models, including climate models.

  120. Article title:

    A frank admission about the state of modeling by Dr. Gavin Schmidt

    The esteemed ‘Doctor’ Schmidt appears to be on a par with the esteemed Doctor O. Winfrey.☺

  121. PiperPaul says:
    June 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm
    People that say, “maths”, instead of just “math” are almost as annoying as people who constantly want to “raise my awareness”.

    Maths is a contraction of mathematics, a noun, math appears to be a contraction of mathematic, usually mathematical, and adjective here being used as a noun in math.

    There are a lot of words used in the US from the older usage in England, what was a common language a few centuries ago in both places changed in England and didn’t in the US – “ain’t” is the one I recall being given as an example, so, I’ve looked up math and it fits in with this:

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/mathematics

    “Definition of mathematics
    noun
    [usually treated as singular]the abstract science of number, quantity, and space, either as abstract concepts ( pure mathematics), or as applied to other disciplines such as physics and engineering ( applied mathematics):
    a taste for mathematics•[often treated as plural] the mathematical aspects of something:
    James immerses himself in the mathematics of baseball
    Origin:
    late 16th century: plural of obsolete mathematic ‘mathematics’, from Old French mathematique, from Latin (ars) mathematica ‘mathematical (art)’, from Greek mathēmatikē (tekhnē), from the base of manthanein ‘learn'”

  122. Robin says: June 1, 2013 at 8:54 am

    I just finished reading the UN’s Post-2015 plans for all of us so I wouldn’t get too excited that anyone is seeing the light. They are using climate change literally as the basis for remaking societies, economies, and new mindsets and values.

    I found these UN’s post 2015 plans somewhat telling (if not, well, alarming) as well [see UN word-salad of the day: sustainable development will end poverty]

    On the Gavin Schmidt may be seeing the light (and/or the writing on the wall) front …

    I thought it was equally telling that while the likes of Mann, Gleick, Weaver, Hansen, Karoly, Ehrlich, and Suzuki gladly (and/or without reading that which they were supporting) endorsed the latest and greatest “Statement” of “unequivocal” all-encompassing doom-and-gloom-must-act-now “Scientists’ Consensus” on “Maintaining humanity’s life support systems in the 21st century’”, Schmidt’s name (amongst others) was conspicuously absent. [see Crisis of the week: the biosphere … new “Statement” percolated, circulated and endorsed]

    Well, at least it was as of May 21, 2013. It is not entirely certain – or beyond the realm of -possibility – that, in the interim, Schmidt may have been persuaded to sign on the new, improved we-are-doomed dotted line.

  123. 16 years of no warming has not affected the IPCC reports or the media coverage of climate ‘change’. The carbon dioxide mania continues unabated. A tweet that something is fundamental incorrect with the IPCC models (which is now obvious to everyone that is following this saga) is not going to stop the mania. It appears the planet is starting to cool, in response to the solar 24 magnetic cycle change. There is record sea ice in the Antarctic (all months of the year) and as Arctic temperatures have started to cool, it appears Arctic sea ice will ‘recovery’ if ones idea of nirvana is a massive amount of Arctic sea ice and extremely cold winters.

    The warmists can try to explain a lack of warming with heat hiding in the ocean. It is difficult to imagine what will be the explanation for and what will be the public reaction to, step cooling.
    The paleo climatic record has unequivocal cycles of warming and cooling that correlate with solar magnetic cycle changes.

    Antarctic Sea Ice, 2013 compared to 2012 and compared to 1979 to 2008 mean

    2013

    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php

    Compare to 2012 (data at above site by year.)
    Compare to 1986 (data at above site by year.)

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2003GL017115.shtml

    Timing of abrupt climate change: A precise clock by Stefan Rahmstorf
    Many paleoclimatic data reveal a approx. 1,500 year cyclicity of unknown origin. A crucial question is how stable and regular this cycle is. An analysis of the GISP2 ice core record from Greenland reveals that abrupt climate events appear to be paced by a 1,470-year cycle with a period that is probably stable to within a few percent; with 95% confidence the period is maintained to better than 12% over at least 23 cycles. This highly precise clock points to an origin outside the Earth system; oscillatory modes within the Earth system can be expected to be far more irregular in period.

    This graph, Greenland ice sheet temperature, last 11,000 years (roughly determined from ice core analysis, Richard Alley’s paper shows nine (9) Dansgaard-Oeschger (D-O) cycles of warming and cooling. The D-O warming and cooling cycles have an interval between occurrence of 950 years, 1350 years, and 2000 years.

    The warming that we observed in the 20th century has occurred before.

    http://www.climate4you.com/

    The following is a link to the late Gerald Bond’s paper “Persistent Solar influence on the North Atlantic Climate during the Holocene”. Bond published this paper in 2001.

    http://www.essc.psu.edu/essc_web/seminars/spring2006/Mar1/Bond%20et%20al%202001.pdf

  124. Sparks says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:38 am
    Myrrh,
    It is “Math”. take a deep breath and calm down fatty!! :)

    Twit.

  125. If your models are written round a science that does not exist on this planet then you will be wrong regardless of the accuracy of your math.

  126. Is Gavin Schmidt close to retirement? I suspect that we will see more of these mea-culpas as the guilty parties lock in their taxpayer funded pensions, and leave the public eye. They know that they are wrong, that they’ve been wrong for years. Can they not be sued by the taxpayers to claw their pensions back?

  127. “The failure of models to match (the) real world (is) far more likely due to erroneous assumptions”
    This quote should appear on the WUWT home page.

  128. “Insofar as the propositions of mathematics give an account of reality they are not certain; insofar as they are certain they do not describe reality.”
    Albert Einstein

  129. Most people don’t understand climate models. To them they are black boxes. GIGO doesn’t really apply either in my opinion, nor is even initial values the problem. The nature of climate models should overtake the initial value problem in the time frames we are concerned about.

    When it comes to math, essentially your breaking down a continuous world into a discrete re-creation where differential equations are replaced with linear equations that approximate the real world, which introduces inaccuracies.

    But the computer system that these models have to run on have severe limitations.
    Almost every math calculation done increases the errors and so to compensate you have to us large significant digits, which means more memory and if you exceed the natural maximum size of the machine, for example you use 128 bits or 256 bits on a 64 bit machine, there are extra CPU cycles or clock ticks which increases the time to do the enormous numbers of calculations. This also increases the memory requirements which can also exceed the natural capabilities of the computer system being used whereupon hard drive storage (virtual memory) has to be used.

    Then there is the time resolution whereupon increased accuracy means decreasing the time step which increases the time it takes for results. Then there is the spatial resolution whereupon the resolution of the volume or area affects both memory requirements and time requirements. Higher accuracy takes more time and memory.

    Then there are the number of variables used whereupon a combinatorial explosion takes place. For example 8!=40,320
    9!=362,880 and 10!=3,628,800 increasing from 8 variables to an additional 2 for 10 variables increases the required number of calculations by 100 times. Note that this is just an example and sometimes more efficient algorithms might be able to be used. But imagine a scenario where you can’t do that and your run into a 20!=2E18 number of calculations that are required for a good approximation to the real world.

    I don’t think todays computers are capable of calculating a future climate, nor do scientists want to twiddle their thumbs with a extremely expensive super computer for several months till one test run job gets done.
    I honestly believe that todays climate models use outdated obsolete coding techniques and languages that are very difficult to tweak and improve. The climate models are pretty much the last bastion left for the alarmist climate scientists, and I want to know more about them.

    I am using my 35 years of computer science skills and a somewhat recent acquisition of a solid foundation in calculus knowledge via my daily study of calculus over several years as well as studies on various topics related to physics spread over almost 4 decades and my intense interest in climate science since starting my daily studies of climate science almost 4 years ago and I am directing my efforts to investigating and researching climate models. I am also involved in several software projects related to climate science that I can’t talk about at this time.

    So that was just some quick thoughts, and I may have some things wrong, but it’s early days into my research and I probably have many years to go, and I am also working on being a mathematician at a PhD level, if there is such a thing.

    P.S. I simply don’t like being lied to.

  130. garymount says:
    June 2, 2013 at 6:02 am
    “But the computer system that these models have to run on have severe limitations.
    Almost every math calculation done increases the errors and so to compensate you have to us large significant digits, which means more memory and if you exceed the natural maximum size of the machine, for example you use 128 bits or 256 bits on a 64 bit machine, there are extra CPU cycles or clock ticks which increases the time to do the enormous numbers of calculations. ”

    It is far far worse than that.
    An increase of precision, say from 32 bit to 256 bit, gives you a constant factor of 8 of overhead. One could live with that ; if an unreliable simulation became reliable simply by increasing the computer power by a factor of 8, this would be splendid.

    But the very definition of a chaotic system – the mathematical definition of chaos – is exactly that the deviation between the real system and a finite resolution simulation of the system grows beyond all bounds as time progresses. If the deviation does not grow beyond all bounds then the system is not chaotic.
    (Where deviation does not mean the error in one metric like “average global temperature” but the deviation of the state of real system vs. the simulated system. A suitable metric might be a vector difference between the respective state vectors.)

    NO constant increase in precision suffices to suppress the deviation under a predetermined bound. Not an increase to 256 bit, not an increase to 1024 bit, not an increase to a million bit.

  131. DirkH says:
    June 2, 2013 at 6:36 am
    “NO constant increase in precision suffices to suppress the deviation under a predetermined bound. Not an increase to 256 bit, not an increase to 1024 bit, not an increase to a million bit.”

    The mechanism that causes this chaotic behaviour is the iterative feedback of the system that AMPLIFIES low order state bits and shifts them leftwards, to more significant bits, over time. The state word of the real analog chaotic system is unlimited in precision (well maybe limited on the Planck scale, but if you were able to simulate on that level you would have to solve the Schrödinger equation for the entire universe).

    The simulation must emulate this amplification of low order state bits but due to its very limited precision it runs out of low order state bits quickly and metaphorically speaking has only zeros left to shift upwards after a few timesteps.

  132. @ Berényi Péter says:
    June 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    A thoughtful post, aiming to deal the the nub of the matter, or at least that part which is reflected in the processes that claim to justify these models as having a legitimacy based on reality.

    Virtually all commentary on this issue concerns itself – when looking at the “science” or “technical” aspects – with what is essentially nit-picking. This may be understandable, and may have been a necessary response, at least from some, in past years. However, as is always the case when fundamentals are overlooked or assumed by participants in such an area of contention, which is depressingly normal as perspectives are suborned and subsumed by the course dictated by the dominant proponents of anything, simple understandings which underpin the entire edifice, and which, if looked at properly, render all the noise and fury moot, lose their essential place.

    It is obvious, and has always been obvious, that this issue has no intellectual underpinnings that justify a public policy response. This has nothing to do with science; it is about a (moderate) application of intelligence and the obligation to recognize the results of that.

    The precise nature of what has happened to “science” which independently of public policy response has plainly failed to the point of non-existence, must be seen and known.

    I think your distinction – almost a definition – between science and psuedo-science as being in effect related to the nature of intent, and the cultural context in which this occurs, is interesting.

    It is clear that, not just in science, human undertakings developed over centuries which require and reflect certain sensibilities, practices, and disciplines, have been comprehensively polluted.
    Without addressing these things at a foundational level, which cannot be done without reviewing the basic principles and identifying where, how, and why they have been perverted, nothing can be done, regardless of who or what “wins” in any one issue including this.

    Your delineation between scientists and modellers as being in fact antithetical is – like most things that go to the bone – simply and convincingly put. There will be of course many who will argue that such a distinction cannot be made with such certainty, and will claim a legitimate synthesis born of necessity, utility, and superior evolution of understanding. I very much doubt that away from all the noise such people might make, they would be able to justify this on first principles.

    In any case this is the level things really depend on, and this is the level that has failed. This approach is the only way to retrieve reality and meaning.

  133. You didn’t point out the really interesting thing about this twitter exchange — the other party was Nicholas Nassim Taleb, author of “The Black Swan”! In other words, one of the contemporary deities in the world of catastrophe statistics or predictive modeling of highly nonlinear systems on the (stupid, stupid, stupid) basis of presumed linearity and Gaussian constraint to some sort of “normal” behavior. No wonder Schmidt was being deferential — Taleb would eat him alive if they went head to head, and in all probability was eating him alive in this exchange.

    Taleb, of all people alive, knows the stupidity of pretending we know enough to model an enormously nonlinear system with unknown feedbacks and multiple attractors and parametric variables with a simple one-parameter linearized model. It doesn’t work for the market, and it doesn’t work for climate science either. It is news to me that he’s taking an interest in the climate issue — quite possibly bad news from the point of of the promoters of oversimplified models that fail even in the quite short run.

    rgb

  134. John F. Hultquist asks:
    “So, what were they tweeting about? Is there a ‘social model’ gone wrong…”

    Robin says:
    “I just finished reading the UN’s Post-2015 plans for all of us … They are using climate change literally as the basis for remaking societies, economies, and new mindsets and values.”

    Hopefully the UN is not using social modeling to determine how best to corral the world’s sheeple into obeisance to the First Church of Climatology.

  135. As G. Schmidt obviously still believes, chaos can be filtered out over a long timescale like “noise”, he could have learned from these two excellent posts/papers, that it’s the Lyapunov-exponent problem he’s dealing with! (WUWT.com/2011/06/13/the-chaos-theoretic-argument-that-undermines-climate-change-modelling)and (drroyspencer.com/2009/03/weather-chaos-and-climate-change)
    The fact about “models” he and all of the CAGW-adepts must accept is : – antsh.. in, – bullsh.. out!
    Perhaps Niels Bohr’s apercu will comfort Dr. Schmidt :”Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future!”

  136. The entire purpose of the Scientific Method is to get a reality check on our assumptions about how the universe works. Only Reality can sign that check.

  137. Gavin Schmidt is the mouthpiece for a working consortium of funds scamming frauds who had their work surprisingly highlighted by Al Gore in his comeback tour after losing the election.

    When the searchlight came onto what they were doing and came apart Big Al just kept upping the ante declaring George Bush the man he lost to, a terrorist: financing terrorists who got their money from oil proceeds.

    Gavin Schmidt and Englishman Phil Jones were involved with the weather scam,

    Al Gore’s financial partners with whom he scammed the Carbon Sin Forgiveness Certificates
    were in Germany.

    Oddly enough, the MAIN group of people who NEVER BOUGHT Al Gore’s end-of-the-world story
    were Creationists.

    The entire rest of the world went along with it declaring it “flat earth” to not admit it – while the men modeling Green House Gases laughed among themselves because their Stefan – Boltzmann mathematics pertains to a FLAT circle: the earth, as flat.

    The entire scam is massive political crime, from Hansen to Gore himself, to Schmidt and Mann and Jones, to Trenberth with his “Wow, there’s more heat coming out, than going in”

    “budget” of energy for the earth, drawn up while he was high on who-knows what.

    No one has any regard for a pure sycophant lackey. Only people looking for a reason to further the lackey’s story have anything to do with them.

    Gore, Hansen, Schmidt, Trenberth, tried to take a frigid nitrogen bath with a shot of water added, as a phase change refrigeration component of the cooling

    that had a warm solid rock at the bottom of it, swirling submerged in it at a thousand miles per hour

    into a big warm blankie, that was going to get ever hotter until the end of the world.

    Unless we all just went ahead and installed Al Gore’s energy policies in spite of the election.

    So Big Al could jack up the price of the Alternative Energy stocks his dad had left him, in oil/alternative energy giant, ‘Occidental Oil.’
    ———-
    Then as one last insult Al Gore sold his cable company to Al Jazeera: the corporate property of the Oil Baron Royalty of Oman.

    Just to let you guys know that if you don’t mobilize the media for Al,

    he won’t be bothered to mobilize the media, for you.

    Oil financed terror or not.

    That’s who Gavin Schmidt is: the gum on the heel of the shoe, of the heel of the story.

    A sycophant nobody whose sole claim to notoriety is as the mouthpiece for the biggest energy markets scam in 75 years.

  138. Gavin Schmidt: “While errors in maths undoubtedly exist, the failure of models to match real world far more likely due to erroneous assumptions”

    Although I think it looks ridiculous and silly, I do understand that residents of some other countries for whatever reason have taken to pluralizing a dual-purpose world like “math” to “maths”. But what is Gavin’s excuse as he is an American and is based in NYC? I grew up there and I do not remember ever seeing that “word” taught to or used by anyone.

    This is the twitterizing devolution of a very simple language. The word he was looking for was “mathematics”. And yes, this is giving that twit a giant pass on the rest of the grammar in that tweet.

  139. Hi Anthony – Climate models are engineering code with quite a few tunable parameters, and fitting functions in their parameterization of clouds, precipitation, land-atmospheric interfacial fluxes, long- and short-wave radiative flux divergences, etc. Only a part of these models are basic physics representations – the pressure gradient force, advection, the Coriolis effect.

    The tunable parameters and fitting functions are developed by adjustment from real world data and a higher resolution models (which themselves are engineering code), but only for a quite small subset of real world conditions.
    I discuss this issue in depth in my book
    Pielke Sr, R.A., 2013: Mesoscale meteorological modeling. 3rd Edition, Academic Press, in press. http://www.amazon.com/Mesoscale-Meteorological-Modeling-International-Geophysics/dp/0123852374/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370191013&sr=8-2&keywords=mesoscale+meteorological+modeling

    The multi-decadal global climate model projections, when run in a hindcast mode for the last several decades are showing very substantial errors, as I summarize in the article

    http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/b-18preface.pdf

  140. Roger A. Pielke Sr. says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Hi Anthony – Climate models are engineering code with quite a few tunable parameters, and fitting functions in their parameterization of clouds, precipitation, land-atmospheric interfacial fluxes, long- and short-wave radiative flux divergences, etc. Only a part of these models are basic physics representations – the pressure gradient force, advection, the Coriolis effect.

    The tunable parameters and fitting functions are developed by adjustment from real world data and a higher resolution models (which themselves are engineering code), but only for a quite small subset of real world conditions.

    Two questions then please:

    1. Do these models actually represent the real earth: as a globe with sunlight varying by latitude, season, and day-of-year? With albedo and clouds varying annually and with oceans and land boundaries accurate?

    or are they Trenberth’s “flat earth” model – a half-disk perpetually bathed in sunlight at at an “average earth” with no oceans, lands, and only average albedos?

    2. Have any models been run from 1850 through today’s conditions with 160 years of actual volcanic and aerosol levels? Or do they all begin at 1995 and become worthless (to 97% inaccuracy) within 20 years?

  141. Blade says:
    June 2, 2013 at 9:33 am
    ———————————–

    Gavin is British. Americans, as you know, say “math”, but the British “maths” because it’s short for “mathematics”.

    Given that Gavin has lived in the US for so long & ostensibly works for the American taxpayer, his continued use of British English suggests he thinks that “maths” is correct & that 300 million benighted colonials are wrong. In fact, both uses are acceptable.

  142. commieBob says:
    June 1, 2013 at 6:52 pm
    ” Anything we do, or don’t do, will change the planet.
    ———————————————————————–
    By coincidence, I learned that little fact at the tender age of 6, and I remember that lesson to this day. It all started with the Great Flood of 1955/56 in the Pacific Northwest. Being as young as I was, I do not recall the storm itself. It was the aftermath that made me aware of ‘change’ in the natural world. My birthday is at the end of May. In 1956 I turned 6 years old. Every year our parents would take us camping several times to Samuel P Taylor Redwood Park in Marin County. Lagunitis Creek runs through there. A beautiful creek, which in the 50s still had good fishing. Being that this was redwood country, there were some awesome huge stump ‘forts’ for the kids to play in. Prior to this year, my mom wouldn’t trust me to run with the older boys, as I was a bit small. The older boys would have wars in their forts and throw redwood cones, sticks, and small rocks at one another. I had been told that I would have to grow a bit first, so here I was old enough to run with the older boys. Except that the 2 finest forts had been destroyed by the flood from the 55/56 winter. Believe me that struck a note within me, right then at that moment, and I had learned an important lesson of the natural world. Everything changes with the passage of life.

  143. “No wonder Schmidt was being deferential — Taleb would eat him alive if they went head to head, ”

    That’s a fact!

  144. I have been reading Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” in which Nassim Taleb is frequently cited. While global warming is mentioned only once in passing and then only obliquely, the whole book is a forensic examination of the traps that seem to plague climate science. It really is quite extraordinary. Every chapter is a detailed description of the kinds of errors we have noticed in climate science, quantified and examined in rigour detail, for which he received a nobel prize in economics, without once mentioning the group that falls exactly into category he studies. While it means that climate science is not alone in human endeavours making these mistakes, it shows exactly how they are making mistakes by comparison to groups who are doing the same kind of thinking, but have been proven to be wrong.

    Here are some little tasters:

    Speaking of Bournelli’s law of utility and their (the author and his partner) discovery of Prospect theory:
    “All this is rather obvious isn’t it? ….The mystery is how a conception of the utility of outcomes that is vulnerable to such obvious counterexamples could survive for so long. I can explain it only by the weakness of the scholarly mind that I have often observed in myself. I call it theory-induced blindness: once you have accepted a theory and used it as a tool in your thinking, it is extraordinarily difficult to notice its flaws. If you come upon an observation that does not seem to fit the model, you assume that there must be a perfectly good explanation that you are somehow missing. You give he theory the benefit of the doubt, trusting the community of experts who have accepted it.”

    And how about this:

    – Speaking of overconfidence:
    “the result (of a study into autopsy reports versus diagnosis): ‘clinicians who were ‘completely certain’ of the diagnosis antemortem were wrong 40% of the time.”

    His chapter on overconfidence is highly illuminating. in general, experts making assessments over the future (for example say in stock prices or economic performance) tend to perform worse than chance. That is to say, if you ask someone who is considered an expert in a complex field, they are more likely to be wrong than right. I therefore blame the ridiculously cold weather we have been having in Europe on climate science. Had they predicted cooling we would have had a better chance of some decent warm weather. Which reminds me of the last time they predicted cooling….

    And this extremely interesting and pertinent point:

    “If subjective confidence is not be trusted, how can we evaluate the probable validity of an intutive judgement? When do judgements reflect true expertise? When do they display the illusion of validity? The answer comes from two basic conditions for acquiring a skill:

    • an environment that is sufficiently regular to be predictable
    • an opportunity to learn these regularities through prolonged practice.”

    Neither which can be said for climate science.

    Finally, he talks a lot about WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is) and how we take the information to hand and make causal story based on the ease and “plausibility” with which it comes to mind. For example, we know that CO2 has heat trapping properties, we know that temperature has been rising at about the same time as CO2, therefore it must be CO2 that is causing the rise in temperatures.

    I am quite amazed at how applicable this mans life’s work is to the examination of climate science and how over-confidence and inability to characterise uncertainty and ignorance has blighted it to the extent that modern society has bought so easily into the alarm over our future. If anyone wants to understand how it is that we got to this state of affairs, this book answers it with a clarity that I find breath-taking.

  145. Agnostic says:
    June 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm
    “For example, we know that CO2 has heat trapping properties, we know that temperature has been rising at about the same time as CO2, therefore it must be CO2 that is causing the rise in temperatures.”

    While I enjoyed your comment, please, not the heat-trapper! CO2 does not trap heat. It absorbs IR photons at color temperatures of about 200K and 600K ; and re-emits them, as due to Kirchhoff’s Law, absorptivity must equal emissivity at local thermal equilibrium.
    Meaning, it redistributes infrared of these frequencies; it does not keep energy in the atmosphere. The redistribution leads to 50 % of the caught photons being directed downwards again.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/08/05/co2-heats-the-atmosphere-a-counter-view/

    And for all those interested, notice how stretched the IR range is and how narrow the IR absorption bands are, and notice that they do not coincide with the roughly 300K at which surface objects typically have their blackbody spectrum peak.

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

    “Sunlight in space at the top of Earth’s atmosphere at a power of 1366 watts/m2 is composed (by total energy) of about 50% infrared light, 40% visible light, and 10% ultraviolet light.”)

  146. DirkH says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:14 pm
    “Sunlight in space at the top of Earth’s atmosphere at a power of 1366 watts/m2 is composed (by total energy) of about 50% infrared light, 40% visible light, and 10% ultraviolet light.”)
    ————————————————————————————————————
    What is the breakdown in percentages at the surface from those 3 sources? Do they maintain the same ratio in energy delivered at the surface?

  147. RACookPE1978
    In answer to your questions:

    1. Do these models actually represent the real earth: as a globe with sunlight varying by latitude, season, and day-of-year? With albedo and clouds varying annually and with oceans and land boundaries accurate?
    or are they Trenberth’s “flat earth” model – a half-disk perpetually bathed in sunlight at at an “average earth” with no oceans, lands, and only average albedos?

    The global climate models represent the real Earth, with continents and oceans, and seasonally, latitudinally and dirunally varying solar insolation. The atmospheric part of the climate models, is the same type of model as used for short term weather prediction.

    2. Have any models been run from 1850 through today’s conditions with 160 years of actual volcanic and aerosol levels? Or do they all begin at 1995 and become worthless (to 97% inaccuracy) within 20 years?

    The models do try estimate volcanic and human emissions of aerosols over that time period.
    The models, thus, are excellent tools to assist with the better understanding of climate processes. However, they do not yet have the skill to predict changes in climate statistics on the local, regional and (as is appearing more likely) the global scale.

  148. Agnostic says: June 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm “I have been reading Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Fast and Slow” in which Nassim Taleb is frequently cited.”

    If I recall correctly, Taleb cited Kahneman in one of his earlier books, leading me to read Thinking Fast and Slow while I waited for ‘Antifragile’. Recently someone here WUWT mentioned Bayesianism, inference or statistics. E. T. Jaynes’ Probability Theory: The Logic of Science (Cambridge 2003) will be as valuable and fully formal.

  149. EJ said @ June 1, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Richard Feynman said if observations don’t match the guess, then the theory is wrong. It don’t matter how much we have spent, who we are, who we work for, how much my colleagues agree with me, one falsification and the theory is falsified forever. Enough said. Next theory?

    The orbit of Neptune falsified Newton’s Law of Gravity. It must be very disappointing for you that the equation remains in use to this very day.

  150. goldminor says:
    June 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm
    “What is the breakdown in percentages at the surface from those 3 sources? Do they maintain the same ratio in energy delivered at the surface?”

    No. Water droplets absorb IR photons and build up charge separation(*) with them. Clouds reflect short wave. Ozone absorbs some UV. Water vapor and CO2 absorb and re-emit LWIR.

    Let’s see, do we find the average spectrum at the surface. Hmm, I find no averaging of measurements, only spectra of unknown provenance or marked as Modtran simulations.

    https://www.e-education.psu.edu/earth103/node/484

    (*) = https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVBEwn6iWOo

  151. The Pompous Git says:
    June 2, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    … It must be very disappointing for you that the equation remains in use to this very day.

    Every equation we use has a domain in which it is valid to the required accuracy. My standard problem for first year students is this: Measure the resistance of a standard tungsten filament light bulb. Given a 120 volt supply, calculate the current, calculate the power. Why is the bulb rated at 100 Watts?

    The explanation is that the filament changes its resistance as it heats up. The naive application of Ohm’s Law results in a totally wrong answer if one uses the cold resistance of the bulb. In other words, just because there is an equation, it doesn’t mean you can rely on it.
    You actually have to understand the conditions under which it is valid.

    Newton’s Law of Gravity applies where it applies and doesn’t apply where it doesn’t apply. If you don’t know the difference, too bad for you!

  152. Nice thread – better than many I have seen here.

    I think that the topic of what is wrong with general circulation models has to be preceded by a conversation about what is right with them. They are far better constrained than economic or social models are.

    I think we are finding out that the deeper layers of the ocean are taking up a lot of the heat imbalance. This means that the rate of change of surface temperature is lower than expected, which is good news. But it does NOT mean the equilibrium sensitivity is lower than expected, which leaves us still in a difficult spot. First, sea level rise and ocean acidification are unabated. Also, the final outcome remains a dramatically changed planet, especially if we continue to use all available fuels. The good news seems to be only that it will take us longer to get there.

    I admire garymount’s efforts, but I think he has a long way to go. The combinatorial explosion to which he refers is moot because the system and its models operate under a varierty of global constraints (conservation laws). This is what makes climate modeling possible to the extent that it is possible. Again it is probably best to begin by determining what is possible before determining what is impossible.

    But the bottom line is still Steven Schneider’s: “You can’t add four watts per square meter to this system and expect to have nothing happen.” Whether the science is solid or not, the risk remains real. Things are changing rapidly. Whether global mean surface temperature changes rapidly or not doesn’t settle very much about where we are heading.

  153. I hate to divert attention from the exact topic but I would like to point out that Milton Friedman once argued that it did not matter how unrealistic the premises were as long as the predictions of the models were acceptable. I wonder how many of our Monetarist friends who are correct to attack the climate models do not have the moral courage and consistency to do the same to their own assumptions and models.

  154. commieBob said @ June 2, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Newton’s Law of Gravity applies where it applies and doesn’t apply where it doesn’t apply. If you don’t know the difference, too bad for you!

    The ad hoc explanation for Neptune’s apparently errant orbit was the existence of another planetary body that was duly discovered where Newton’s Law said it must be: Pluto. Belief in naive falsification would have greatly impeded this discovery.

    What makes you think that Newton’s Law does not apply to Neptune? Have you been imbibing too much Myrrh?

  155. mtobis, I’m curious which planet you live on.

    I think we are finding out that the deeper layers of the ocean are taking up a lot of the heat imbalance.

    No, we’re not finding that out. Someone has theorized it. There is no actual evidence, just a belief.

    First, sea level rise and ocean acidification are unabated. Also, the final outcome remains a dramatically changed planet, especially if we continue to use all available fuels.

    Sea level rise is where it has been since anyone ever tried to measure it. There is no increase. There are decreases. And the whole “acidification” thing is a load of BS. Let’s see some proof before you start spouting this stuff.

    Things are changing rapidly.

    No, they’re not. Things are staying the way they were, rapidly.

    It’s this sort of post that makes people laugh at alarmists. You just threw in a bunch of unsupported and incorrect assertions as though they were facts. They are not.

  156. mtobis wrote: “You can’t add four watts per square meter to this system and expect to have nothing happen.”
    ++++++++
    I’ve heard this claim before and it really bothers me the way people talk about the “theoretical” effect of CO2 such that it increases surface temperature by adding energy to our planet. How can something that has no energy, contribute energy to a system? And CO2 is not an energy source and can not be modeled as such, I think.

    When people start to assume that CO2 is an energy source, all sorts of nonsense follows.

    SOMEONE here help me out and set me straight on calling BS here.

    Mario

  157. @DirkH

    While I enjoyed your comment, please, not the heat-trapper!

    I do fully understand the physics of IR absorption and emission, and while the lack of precision may excise you (for which I apologise) it is just short-hand that is sufficiently descriptive and avoids pedantry.

  158. John Tillman [June 2, 2013 at 10:55 am] says:

    “Gavin is British. Americans, as you know, say “math”, but the British “maths” because it’s short for “mathematics”.

    Given that Gavin has lived in the US …”

    No kidding? Okay, I didn’t know that he was from the UK. Don’t know how I missed that for all these years. Thanks.

    P.S. any chance they want him back?

  159. Vangel Vesovski says:
    June 2, 2013 at 7:16 pm
    “I wonder how many of our Monetarist friends who are correct to attack the climate models ”

    Who are those monetarist friends you are talking about?

    • @DirkH

      Who are those monetarist friends you are talking about?

      The people on the right who rightfully argue that the assumptions that go into the climate models are unrealistic and as such we should ignore the AGW crowd. I wonder why it is that they can’t understand that many of their financial models suffer from the same problem. They tend to worship Milton Friedman but he argued that unrealistic assumptions did not matter very much because they could still lead to the ‘right’ conclusion.

  160. mtobis (@mtobis) says:
    June 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm
    “I think that the topic of what is wrong with general circulation models has to be preceded by a conversation about what is right with them. They are far better constrained than economic or social models are.”

    That is a fallacy. They are iterative models. They can be right to 99%, and wrong to 1 %; or they can be right to 99.9% and wrong to 0.1% – this only affects the number of timesteps until they go off the rails.

  161. CodeTech says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:16 pm
    mtobis, I’m curious which planet you live on.
    “First, sea level rise and ocean acidification are unabated. Also, the final outcome remains a dramatically changed planet, especially if we continue to use all available fuels.”

    Sea level rise is where it has been since anyone ever tried to measure it. There is no increase. There are decreases.

    Really?

    And the whole “acidification” thing is a load of BS. Let’s see some proof before you start spouting this stuff.

    “Things are changing rapidly.”

    No, they’re not. Things are staying the way they were, rapidly.

    Like shown in the NOAA sealevel graph?

    It’s this sort of post that makes people laugh at alarmists. You just threw in a bunch of unsupported and incorrect assertions as though they were facts. They are not.

    That’s exactly what you just did!

  162. mtobis (@mtobis) says:
    June 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm
    “I think that the topic of what is wrong with general circulation models has to be preceded by a conversation about what is right with them. They are far better constrained than economic or social models are.”

    Obviously you are not a modeler and have no idea what you are talking about. Contraining variables never makes a model better by itself because the more variables you constrain the more assumptions you are making. This makes the model further divorced from reality, but sometimes constraining a model is a good thing. We could argue whether this makes climate models better, but the fact remains there are more assumptions made and if even one shows an error of 1%, your model is broken beyong any sort of fixing due to iteration as some other posters mentioned. The thing is, there is no way to determine which variable is wrong if your results are bad.

    In my opinion, climate scientists will NEVER find the correct model because their idea on fixing the models involves adding and constraining additional variables when there is a much better chance that one of the earlier assumptions was wrong. This is why as we gather more data, and go longer without warming you will see one of two things happening:

    Climate sensitivity due to CO2 will go down.
    Or other variables will be added that “dwarf” the CO2 signiture.

    There is no other way to account for CO2 not being a driver when the models were programmed as such. And the scientists are so stubborn and arrogant that they will never admit they were completely wrong and will only step down gradually.

  163. Mario Lento says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:57 pm
    mtobis wrote: “You can’t add four watts per square meter to this system and expect to have nothing happen.”
    ++++++++
    I’ve heard this claim before and it really bothers me the way people talk about the “theoretical” effect of CO2 such that it increases surface temperature by adding energy to our planet. How can something that has no energy, contribute energy to a system? And CO2 is not an energy source and can not be modeled as such, I think.

    When people start to assume that CO2 is an energy source, all sorts of nonsense follows.

    SOMEONE here help me out and set me straight on calling BS here.

    OK, it’s called ‘feedback’, the sun is the ultimate source, more CO2 results in more energy being fed back which otherwise would leave the planet. Since the sunlight continues the energy reaching the surface increases.

  164. The Pompous Git says:
    June 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    … What makes you think that Newton’s Law does not apply to Neptune? Have you been imbibing too much Myrrh?

    No Pompous, you have it backward. Students (and climate scientists) will invariably misapply any equation but they will do it in a manner that is close enough to being right that one has to work to figure out what, precisely, they have done wrong. That causes the consumption of alcohol.

    My light bulb experiment doesn’t invalidate Ohm’s law. It does, however, demonstrate that it gives junk results if there are other factors you haven’t accounted for. Similarly, Einstein didn’t invalidate Newton’s laws of motion. He just re-defined their domain.

  165. Phil, you’re funny.

    You posted a graph that shows sea level rise from 1992 as if that proves something, and it’s even deliberately scaled to look alarming. You’ll have to try harder than that. Read what I wrote, since you quoted it.

    Do you not understand the word “Alarming”?

  166. Phil. says:
    June 3, 2013 at 6:16 am
    “OK, it’s called ‘feedback’, the sun is the ultimate source, more CO2 results in more energy being fed back which otherwise would leave the planet. Since the sunlight continues the energy reaching the surface increases.”

    And of course, as 50% of the sunlight that hits the “top of the atmosphere” is infrared, more CO2 in the stratosphere leads to more efficient radiative cooling.

  167. @ commieBob

    I argued against Feynman’s general statement: “one falsification and the theory is falsified forever” by pointing out that a falsification of theory, or law is invariably overcome by an ad hoc explanation. You argued “against” this by providing an example where saving Ohm’s Law requires the ad hoc explanation that electrical resistance varies with temperature, hence my remark about Myrrh. It is logically impossible to support the Feynman quote by providing contradictory examples. If you wish to support Feynman’s statement then you must do so by providing evidence in favour of it.

    This has nothing directly to do with students, climastrologists etc; it is a matter of logic and what actually happens in science.

  168. @Phil. says “OK, it’s called ‘feedback’, the sun is the ultimate source, more CO2 results in more energy being fed back which otherwise would leave the planet. Since the sunlight continues the energy reaching the surface increases.”
    ++++++
    Thank you. Yes, I know that’s the theory. But I am a bit skeptical that it’s certain that there is a 4 Watts per meter square of energy that is kept in our system at such a level of CO2 in the atmosphere. That theory is used as if there was a certainty of extra energy, when some would argue that CO2 eventually lets out as much as it keeps in or at least some or most of it eventually escapes –and we do not know for certain that it adds a net amount of energy to our system. I’d say it has some affect, but the jury is still out on how much.

  169. The Pompous Git says:
    June 3, 2013 at 6:58 pm

    … If you wish to support Feynman’s statement then you must do so by providing evidence in favour of it. …

    I have no desire whatsoever to defend Feynman’s statement. Any theory, law, or equation is an approximation of reality. Any engineer who loses sight of that will eventually end up in serious deep doo-doo.

    A counter-example does not always invalidate a theory. The fact that a cannon ball falls faster than a feather does not invalidate the laws of gravity. It does, however, demonstrate that the laws of gravity do not account for all the factors that may determine how fast a feather falls.

    … This has nothing directly to do with students, climastrologists etc; it is a matter of logic and what actually happens in science. …

    Actually, I have spent a fair portion of my career working with and among scientists. What actually happens in science is quite removed from what most people think actually happens in science. In particular, the vision of the scientist, as an idealistic, dispassionate seeker-of-truth, is mostly wrong. Scientists suffer from biases, cognitive blind-spots and outright stupidity just as much as the rest of us. :-) Nobody escapes the human condition*.

    Anyway Pompous, we seem to be talking at cross-purposes because I had no idea that the conversation was about Feynman.

    ============================
    *The Human Condition – “the agonising, underlying, core, real question in all of human life, of are humans good or are we possibly the terrible mistake that all the evidence seems to unequivocally indicate we might be?” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_condition

  170. DirkH says:
    June 3, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    And of course, as 50% of the sunlight that hits the “top of the atmosphere” is infrared, more CO2 in the stratosphere leads to more efficient radiative cooling.
    +++++++++++++
    Thank you DirkH. That is the kind of point I was trying to make. We cannot just assume that CO2 is causing the 90% of warming, 75% of warming or 50% or???… and not responsible for the cooling… or even statistically discernible at all! No one has been able to convince me that we know what the effect of CO2 really is, except those who say probably 1C with each doubling up to a point of severely diminishing returns –hence the logarithmic argument. But that is still not a fact, just a pretty reasonable guess.

    I’m sort of excited about the increase of CO2 since we do know that it is needed for life to thrive and non toxic at the levels we will ever see even if it quadruples from 300ppm.

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