From 90% to 95% confidence level: How IPCC claims can be at the same time consistent and absurd.

We have been expecting too much from the IPCC about its confidence level increase: the explanation may actually be simple… and surprising.

Guest essay by Stephane Rogeau

IPCC_version_confidence

Image: From IPCC FAQs

Many people are wondering what actually made the IPCC raise its confidence level about the fact “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” from 90% to 95%, since its last report in 2007.

Most of the time, it is argued that there has been no warming since 2007 whatsoever, which makes the increase of confidence level in the IPCC’s statement very dubious. But it may be the other way around: because there has been no warming, the IPCC raised its confidence level! And it actually makes sense… at least inside the thought paradigm of the UN organization.

The reason may actually be simple, for one reason: the theoretical warming due to anthropogenic CO2 is, for the IPCC, a given.

It is what makes the climate models “work” (i.e. match more or less historical records). It is actually the basis of the IPCC’s line of reasoning: we cannot find any other way to match our models with the data than by entering feedback assumptions that give climate sensitivity to CO2 the value x… therefore its value has to be around x.

Based on this given assumption that cannot be disproved by facts anymore, and knowing the quantity of CO2 released by human activity, one can easily calculate the theoretical human-induced contribution to global warming since 1951 (let’s call it HIC). Discrepancy with observed global warming (OGW) is, of course, due to natural variability. Therefore, the proportion of human influence in observed warming between 1951 and year “n” is simply p(n) = HIC(n) / OGW(n). If, in year n, the theoretical human-induced contribution since 1951 is for example 0.4°C, and the observed global warming is 0.5°C, then the calculated proportion of human influence is 80%.

Obviously, as we release more and more CO2 into the atmosphere, the human-induced contribution is an increasing function of time: HIC(2012) >HIC(2007). On the other hand, the so-called “hiatus” means OGW(2012) = OGW(2007), as no warming has been observed since 2007. Then it’s just basic arithmetic: p(2012)>p(2007).

Long story short: the proportion of human influence in observed global warming has increased since the last IPCC report because temperatures have leveled off. Translated in terms of confidence level: if the IPCC was 90% certain that human activity was responsible for more than half of the observed warming in 2007, it is not surprising that the confidence level for this same proportion has now risen to 95%.

To conclude: the less warming, the more confident the IPCC about its claims to policy-makers.

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95 thoughts on “From 90% to 95% confidence level: How IPCC claims can be at the same time consistent and absurd.

  1. Cannot discern your sarcasm, but seems IPCC is talking confidence level and you seem to be toying with contribution levels. IPCC contribution fuzzy number is still the weasly greater than 50%

  2. Not sure that I follow the UN’s confidence according to this article…

    … is it suggesting that the more often that they run their flawed models, yet still get the same “fixed” result out of them with regards to their retrospective hindcasting (including using the practice of editing the model after the fact, to retrospectively make it fit what happened before), the more confident they are that the models are still telling them what they need to hear to keep the whole corrupt boondoggle on the road? Regardless of what happens in the actual real climate, their alarmism will ALWAYS be justified?

    Is that about it?

  3. When I studied statistics a long time ago, the 95% confidence level was generally accepted as the lowest figure for useful significance, that is you could repeat an experiment 20 times and 19 of those you would get the same answer, and a 99% level a much better result because of the greater certainty. A 90% level doesn’t mean very much, perhaps there is some relationship, perhaps there isn’t.

    On what basis does the IPCC increase its estimates of probability when the temperature has been flat for 17 years whilst levels of Carbon Dioxide have increased by approx 8 %, in other words no significant statistical relationship between these two parameters?

  4. A plain explanation that the Earth receives more radiation during the day than it loses to space during the night or it would long be an ice planet (or near that), would allow the buffer effect of the atmosphere to be called a ‘greenhouse effect’ but the question of whether CO2 has anything to do with it would not be even addressed. That question arises from this original Arrhenius paper http://www.rsc.org/images/Arrhenius1896_tcm18-173546.pdf which is either wrong, or has been cannibalised by the IPCC pseudo-scientists, or has a point which, however, is trivial, if not totally irrelevant in magnitude, compared to all other natural causes and cycles (my current non-scientist opinion). My quantum-electro-dynamics are about equal to absolute zero, therefore I must wait a bit longer until someone explains ‘Arrhenius-right-or-wrong -or-misused’ in simple terms ‘for dummies’ like me.

  5. Confidence level is based on the idea of repeated sampling. What is sampled here from what? Is it possible to obtain 5 percent of samples in which humans are not reponsible for fifty percent of the warming? If you think about this, you may realize the nonsense of the IPCC confidence statements.

  6. Or to put it another way, the threat of agw doing something nasty to us is equal to the warming multiplied by their confidence that it’s all our fault. To maintain the threat level, and therefore their income, as the amount of warming goes down so the IPCC’s confidence has to go up. What happens after it exceeds 100% is as yet undetermined.

  7. They should have jumped to 100% confidence then. Zero OGW(2012) is infinity (or divide by zero error). Let’s just stick with infinity. — John M Reynolds

  8. Now if you took a bronze statue of Al Gore and put a thermometer in its mouth and applied a large bunsen burner to its feet Year 12 physics students can all see the time lapse outcome here. Now students you need to repeat the experiment with the real live Goracle and predict the result. We’ll discuss this in climatology class next week.

  9. Flydlbee says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Following this technique, if the climate cools, the confidence level will go over 100%.
    —————————–
    Lol – perfect remark. I’m currently @ -30C as I write so this will put the IPCC over the 100% threshold any day now!

  10. cleanenergypundit says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

    “The Earth receives more radiation during the day than it loses to space during the night or it would long be an ice planet”

    You do realise, I hope, that when it is day on one side of the planet it is night on the other. Even if this wasn’t the case, the amount of radiation that the Earth receives and loses is always in approximate balance (The Radiation Balance). If this was not so the Earth would continuously heat up, or cool down. Energy in must equal energy out!

  11. Display edit: p(2012)>p(2007) is used to show p(2012)>p(2007). The ampersand code is unnecessary, and doesn’t work.

  12. I think that the answer as to why the models have failed and confidence has grown is simple.

    One only has to look at the mindless way politians and others ignore the facts and go around saying ‘look, now confidence that we are acusing global warming has increased to 95%, so it must be right’.

    The UN can produce what they like in AR5 (and AR6), it counts for nothing (witness Ban Ki Moons claims that the Philipine storm was caused by man when even the IPCC say otherwise). All that matters is the claim of confidence of 95% – time to act, time to tax, time to re-distribute wealth.

    I am confident that AR6 will ‘confirm’ 100% (probably by bringing down the gavel rather than asking anyone), and we will be lead, like lemmings, into the green hell these people desire to see.

  13. So is the IPCC’s ploy circular bogosity, or bogus circularity? Hard to tell ….

    Mike B;
    On the one hand, some solar energy does work on Earth, and hence is not irradiated away (till the final heat death). On the other hand, the core is slowly cooling. I don’t know how those two factors balance against each other, but there is more going on than diurnal heating and cooling of each hemisphere by the sun.

  14. Brian H,
    Lots of people seem confused that ‘by doing work’ energy is somehow consumed and lost. It isn’t. Energy is always conserved, albeit sometimes in a different form (1st Law of Thermodynamics).
    The cooling of the Earth’s core is negligible in comparison to the energy received from the Sun. For example, we receive approximately 340 Watts/sq.m (TOA) from the Sun, geothermal heat is about 0.08 Watt/Sq.Metre (from memory).
    If you look up Radiation Balance, you will see that, in the equilibrium state energy-in must balance energy-out.
    You are right, however, that in the short term, there may be a slight imbalance due to the points you mention.

  15. I thought the 95% figure of IPCC was pretty much pulled out of the collective a$$’s of a bunch of folks sitting around a table, each of whom said “Sure, 95% sounds OK to me…”

  16. They get more confident over time because of projection and substitution. Projection being what they want to believe is true, and substitution being that what they really mean, is that they think about it not being true only about 5% of the time, whilst they correspondingly assume it is true about 95% of the time, and then they substitute this to mean they are 95% ‘sure’.

  17. I am amused by the graphic. It’s hard to believe that the IPCC produced it themselves when it looks just like the kind of thing that a sceptic would produce in order to take the piss out of them. I mean, gents bog door signs gradually filling up with CAGW certainty, really?

  18. Another way of putting it then would be that they could as well have kept the confidence level the same, but raised the % human contribution to greater than 60% or even greater than 2/3. But, the better confidence trick was to simply raise the confidence level, so that’s what they did. I see now what folks like McKibben mean by “doing the math”. Climate science is so easy, a caveman could do it. In his sleep.

  19. You have to go back to the basic ‘raison d’etre’ of the IPCC…
    It was set up by the UN to ‘prove’ a link between human CO2 emissions and global warming…
    What do you expect them to say..? ‘Nah – no connection. Please send our P45’s (UK end-of-employment document) by return of post..’
    Just THINK how many people world-wide would suddenly lose their funding/salaries…!

  20. MikeB says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:54am

    “You do realise, I hope, that when it is day on one side of the planet it is night on the other. Even if this wasn’t the case, the amount of radiation that the Earth receives and loses is always in approximate balance (The Radiation Balance)…”

    I stand corrected, should be:
    “The plain explanation that the Earth receives sufficient radiation on its day side to compensate in approximate balance for its losses on the night side, or it would long be an ice planet if insufficient, would allow ….etc”

  21. Ah, must be the season to share tortured data.

    albertalad says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Lol – perfect remark. I’m currently @ -30C as I write so this will put the IPCC over the 100% threshold any day now!

    I think you’re enjoying your weather more than anyone should. Must be the season to share torturing data. :-)

    I may be rebreathing some of your CO2 come Sunday….

  22. “e cannot find any other way to match our models with the data than by entering feedback assumptions that give climate sensitivity to CO2 the value x…” — OP

    In the better part of humanity’s time about the planet, if we didn’t know we had 95% confidence that the cause of it was an anthropogenic spirit. In the more enlightened modern era, the era of the rational and scientific man, if we don’t know then we have 95% confidence that it’s anthropogenic.

  23. What some call confidence, I perceive as hysterical desperation. Once a learned person leverages their buttocks to a construct, only the strong pill of delusion will suffice once the construct breaks down. And delusion is easy to spot to those outside the delusion.

  24. What new proof that anthropogenic CO2 is causing the atmosphere to rise has been brought forward since 1990 that gives them such an increasing degree of certainty?

  25. JohnWho says:
    November 21, 2013 at 5:18 am
    What new proof that anthropogenic CO2 is causing the atmosphere to rise has been brought forward since 1990 that gives them such an increasing degree of certainty?
    =======
    the adjusting of past temperatures to make them colder than what was in the original data is much closer to completion.

    people were shorter in the past than now, so when they read thermometers they were looking up, which caused the readings to be too high. Now that people are taller they read the thermometers straight across, making modern readings much more accurate. Thus historical temperatures must be adjusted downwards to be correct.

  26. This article has repeated my objections to using such meaningless issues as “is human influenced
    warming of a larger magnitude than natural warming.” especially in an unconditional sense.
    An answer of yes to the question can be either good or bad, depending upon what’s happening naturally. A significant cooling trend would make one wish for more CO2, not less. Of course, it’s understandable that when the IPCC makes claims in these terms, skeptics reply in those same terms.
    And as long as the time span in question is known, one can make claims, although the answer will pertain only to that particular time span. Mostly, this is a concept that only adds to the confusion of the public, who may think there is a single answer for all time frames. Whether humans are the main cause of some warming trend is not of any particular importance. We really want to know two things : how much warming do we get via human influences, in the future, that is? , and what is the natural temperature trend for the future? We cannot, at this point, provide a firm answer for either question.

  27. @cleanenergypundit: “‘Arrhenius-right-or-wrong -or-misused’ in simple terms ‘for dummies’ like me.”

    I’m not terribly certain what you’re asking, but I’ll take a crack at it in a general sense. Is there a buffer? Surely, so; and we don’t need radiative gasses for it. Remember that if we’re not in a quantum radiative mode, then we’re colliding molecules. Or, essentially, atmospheric gasses act as if they’re in a pinball machine. The surface imparts energy to them by kicking them back up the table, where they go collide with anything and everything. But as the atmosphere is largely transparent to incoming radiation, we don’t heat from the top down, but the middle out. So when the sun comes up heats spreads from the surface to below it, and into the atmosphere. But when the sun goes down it necessarily cools from the radiating surface-ish of the atmosphere. So there’s a hysteresis involved in all cases.

    CO2, for its part, is something of a sad child. For if we consider that CO2 is hung like christmas tree ornaments — fixed in space at tasteful distances — then there are no kinetics involved. It’s purely radiative. And if you sort out what the radiation has to do to reach equilibrium in a layered model, where each layer has a 50/50 shot of catching any given photon of the right ‘type’ then you find the infamous ‘feedbacks.’ That is, from the surface looking up, you will see your normal black body temperature curve that you’d expect to see given the temperature of the atmosphere. And then a large second peak on the portion under feedback. In no manner is it not a feedback, or proper amplification, in every instance.

    Which is exactly the opposite of what we find. Rather than a large second peak in IR, or any other band for a radiative gas, we find a ‘notch.’ That is, there are no feedbacks. No question that the radiation is absorbed, but it is lost by conversion to a perfectly bog standard black body radiation due to collisions. To deal with this, without quantum fuzziness, is the same as what we did to Newton’s child of gravity. Rather than rewrite gravity in a quantum mode, we add a small relativistic correction term and get on our way. It is an epicycle to be certain, but it is also accurate. Likewise, in thermo, we need only add a small corrective to the constituents of the lapse rate equations. Which is to say: It’s works like a non-radiative buffer in every normal manner, if that’s how you wish to consider it. You need only account for the initial absorption of the frequencies of a given ‘type’ being emitted from the surface. Which is also to say that, ignoring convection, heat works in that model just as it does in solid phase matter.

    The only significant hazard in this is when you model the Earth as being in global equilibrium. Which is, you take the total energy received on the daylight side of the Earth, and then distribute it evenly across the entire surface. That is, there is no night time. And as we’d quite rather avoid nasty issues of convection, we simply have a habit of pretending that gas is immobile. Both manners provide absolutely absurd temperature increases at the surface. But the knowably wrong radiative feedback model is far less wrong in magnitude, compared to observation, than acknowledging that there are no radiation feedbacks. As that latter goes up exponentially with the number of layers, while the former at a constant fraction.

    But then, without convection, or a pulsed input for inrradiance: We’re not actually modelling Earth in any fashion.

  28. Ric Werme says:
    November 21, 2013 at 5:00 am

    Ah, must be the season to share tortured data.

    albertalad says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:48 am

    Lol – perfect remark. I’m currently @ -30C as I write so this will put the IPCC over the 100% threshold any day now!

    I think you’re enjoying your weather more than anyone should. Must be the season to share torturing data. :-)

    I may be rebreathing some of your CO2 come Sunday….

    Yeah, Ric, the forecast here in western New Hampshire is for cold, snow, and wind Sunday (single digit wind chills). There’s a 10K Turkey Trot race on Sunday that I always do – may skip it this year if it’s as cold as they’re forecasting…

  29. Flydlbee says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Following this technique, if the climate cools, the confidence level will go over 100%.

    Not only that, but when global temperatures fall off the cliff and we drop into the next Ice Age (which is a certainty), the UN can blame 100% of it on man’s influence.

    What?

    Man is responsible for Global Warming, AND man is responsible for (Extreme) Global Cooling?

    Who knew?

    And here I thought the last 30+ Ice Age episodes were sans humanity!!

    Now, where do I go to find that initial jawbone?

    (I smell a scam–aren’t mathematical limits wonderful?)

  30. I would like to know where the IPCC get their 95% probability that humans have caused more than half the warming, but this article doesn’t explain it. What it sets out to do is explain how much warming is due to humans, which is a different thing.

    IPCC don’t tell us either. They say there is a 95% probability that humans have caused at least half, and one could infer there must be another (lower) probability that humans have caused 2 thirds, and an even lower probability that humans have caused 3 quarters.

    It is interesting to observe that the probability increases with each publication though. Shall we have a vote on what AR6 will produce? I’m going for 97.5%, and I am 95% certain of that.

  31. “Submitted for your consideration:”

    1.- The assertion from AR5’s Summary for Policymakers, that it is “extremely likely” (95%+ confidence level) that human activity has caused “more than half” of the global warming since 1950

    2.- New study shows half of the global warming in the USA is artificial
    Posted on July 29, 2012 by Anthony Watts
    PRESS RELEASE – U.S. Temperature trends show a spurious doubling due to NOAA station siting problems and post measurement adjustments.

    I think Anthony might have identified the “human activity” which caused the “more than half” of the global warming since 1950.

  32. Could some one please tell me how many adjustable parameters a typical climate model has. I would like to know effectively how many pieces of information need to be established from hind casting. My motivation is that ill-posed problems (chaotic problems?) are notoriously limited in how much information can actually be recovered from the existing data series.

  33. observa says:

    November 21, 2013 at 2:48 am
    “Now if you took a bronze statue of Al Gore and put a thermometer in its mouth…”

    Yup that is where I would stick the darn thermometer. Not.

  34. cleanenergypundit says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:31 am

    When you ask if Arrhenius was right or wrong, it is not as simple as that. On the whole his work (as given in your link) is meticulous given the limitations of the primitive equipment available at that time.
    He is certainly right in knowing that CO2 and water vapour in the atmosphere have a warming effect on the surface of the Earth and he correctly determines the effect of CO2 to be ‘logarithmic’.
    He is almost certainly wrong to accept Luigi DeMarchi’s opinion that ‘ice ages’ cannot be caused by celestial events such as orbits, inclinations etc. He thus tries to calculate what changes in CO2 levels would be required to produce glaciation and interglacial periods.
    The warming effect of the greenhouse gases is not “trivial or totally irrelevant”. Although Arrhenius rejects previous estimates that the Earth would be at minus 200 degrees C without these gases, a figure of -20 deg.C would be about right.

  35. This article operates under the false assumption that the period of 2007-2013 is long enough to reliably discern whether there has been warming. Well, it isn’t – statistical reliability needs a sufficient amount or period of obervations. The increase in certainty however is because this period is added to the existing data which were already showing the warming. It’s statistical basics: increasing the amount of obervations increases the reliability of your results.

  36. Jquip says: cleanenergypundit says: MikeB says: Brian H says:

    Nah, What the IPCC is saying is that CO2 radiative forcing increases by 1.5 (w/m)^2 every single day for infinity. To put that in perspective that is 550 more (w/m)^2 every year. So in less than a years time CO2 forcing is higher than the Suns forcing.

  37. Vince Causey says:
    November 21, 2013 at 6:21 am
    It is interesting to observe that the probability increases with each publication though. Shall we have a vote on what AR6 will produce?
    ==========
    next report will be 110% certain, though if they were truly certain they would be 200% certain. 95% certain simply means there is still a possibility that they are wholly and completely wrong.

  38. @Jim Rose: “Could some one please tell me how many adjustable parameters a typical climate model has.”

    Every climate model uses a global temperature model from some vendor. So they all include temperature as one adjustable parameter. How many more they have after that, I couldn’t say.

    @Genghis: “Nah, What the IPCC is saying is that CO2 radiative forcing increases by 1.5 (w/m)^2 every single day for infinity”

    True enough. But in global equilibrium each day is infinitely long.

  39. Flydlbee says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:37 am

    Following this technique, if the climate cools, the confidence level will go over 100%.

    Exactly.
    IPCC relies on models, however their climate models do not have the real physics of CO2 effect in the atmosphere inside, but just a “guesstimation” which is wrong.

    What is the real physics of CO2? What happens to the net heat transfer in the atmosphere?
    1) CO2 has some bandwidth of IR where it is opaque, especially around the main resonance of wavenumber 667. This means that IR radiation in this bandwidth will not travel more then 10-12 meters in the air. If anything happens in this bandwidth between the atmosphere and the soil it happens only in the very first 10-12 meters of the atmosphere. Increasing CO2 concentration shortens the visible path to 9-11 meters etc.
    2) There is no such heat transfer by radiation through CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Nobody has ever done the calculation of the net heat transfer that would be done between the various CO2 strata in the atmosphere as the numbers are infinitesimally small.
    3) Changes in the radiative spectra from the top of the atmosphere to the “universe”. There are some attempts at calculating it and measuring it.

    The models replace this with a guessed “forcing” from the top of the atmosphere which was 3.7 W/m2 and was reduced at 3.4 W/m2 for CO2 doubling + the addition of feedbacks which augment the error with the feedback value.

    It does not fit the real physical process and so they fail again and again.

    This is the reason why they see a hot spot there where it does not exist. This is the reason why they have a warming bias. And adjusting and recalculating the value does not approximate the true physical behavior of the atmosphere.
    It works only for the part where warming went in sync with CO2 increase, but they fail miserably in history, all the tries to model climate from animal farts are the nonsense where this line of thoughts leads.

  40. Jim Rose says:
    November 21, 2013 at 6:31 am
    I would like to know effectively how many pieces of information need to be established from hind casting
    ===============
    There was a posting a while back (Willis?) that showed that various models made very different assumptions about aerosols, but delivered near identical results. This is because the model builders either consciously or unconsciously select the other parameters to match their expectations.

    For example, say you built a model and it showed -5C cooling over the next century. Most model builders would immediately think the model was wrong and reject it – they would adjust the parameters. But what if the model is actually giving you a correct prediction? Similarly, what if the model showed 20C warming over the next century, Most model builders would think this wrong and reject it as well. But what if it was actually correct?

    So, what we see from these extreme examples is that the model builders are allowing their expectations to predetermine the results. Too much warming or too much cooling, as determined by their own beliefs about the future are being used to select the parameters. As such, what the models are showing is not the future, but rather what the model builders believe the future will look like.

    Formally, what the models are trying to do is solve for a system of multi-variant non-linear equations. This would allow them to hindcast the data and solve for the correct parameters. However, the reality is that such a solution is beyond the capabilities of modern mathematics, because of the sensitivity of non-linear systems.

    The sensitivity of on-linear systems is such that many combinations of parameters will provide the same solution within the error bounds, and there is no way to determine which solution is correct.

    for example, you might find that
    a=0.993393, b=3.5533222
    a=1.343432, b=2.3234422
    a=2.345345, b=2.6767867
    both provide the exact same solution +-.001 error, so which solution is correct? There is no way to tell.

  41. It would be interesting to survey/quantify the original “warmists” who posted here years ago and now are changing their minds (or already are committed skeptics/deniers).

  42. @Flydlbee said: “Following this technique, if the climate cools, the confidence level will go over 100%”
    Let’s not mix confidence level with proportion of human-induced contribution. With this IPCC logic, if the climate cools:
    – the proportion of human-induced contribution may exceed 100% (actually, it is almost the case, according to the IPCC, as they wrote that “the best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period”)
    – the confidence level about the fact the proportion of human-induced warming is more than half of observed warming will approach or reach 100% (but will of course not exceed it).

  43. Sorry Stephane but I must take issue with the wording your have on your time line:

    ” the IPCC was 90% certain that human activity was responsible for more than half of the observed warming in 2007, it is not surprising that the confidence level for this same proportion has now risen to 95%.”

    In 2007 that is not what they said (please see the original quote if you can). They said they were 90% certain that human activity was responsible for ‘most’ of the observed recent warming.

    In 2013 they reduced the proportion from ‘most’ to ‘more than half’. They are more certain but only about a smaller fraction of it. They did not say their increase in confidence was for the same ‘most’ fraction. This subtle difference was pointed out to me by one of the AR5 expert reviewers.

    In another thread we are talking about prestidigitation. This is another example. They are emphasizing the increase in confidence level (the Red Scarf), but quickly and quietly changing the thing in which they have so much confidence. I am 95% confident they think we will not notice the swaperoo.

  44. imagine two lines intersecting at right angles. It is easy to find the intersection rather precisely, even allowing for some error in the lines. Now imagine the lines are nearly parallel. Even a small error will through the point of intersection way out. As such, near parallel lines are poorly behaved when it comes to solving for intersections. Similar problems occur with systems of with non-linear equations such as climate models are trying to solve. Very small errors in the data lead to large errors in the results, due to the difficulties in solving poorly behaved problems.

  45. Confidence Game. Also, confidence trick; con game.
    def. – A swindle in which the victim is defrauded after his or her trust has been won.

    The swindle continues….. with higher confidence.

  46. Science par excellence at work.
    But what the “more than half” with the 95% confidence actually means? The GISTEMPS >0.3C or the HADCRUT4 >0.23C (they actually differ 23%) or the HADSST3 >0.15C (which actually differs 34% from the HADCRUT4 and 50% from the GISTEMP)
    Now, I’m lost, when trying to get back to the 95% confidence with 97% consensus my probability calculation apparatus just crashed and doesn’t seem wanting to reboot anymore likely overwhelmed by the weight of the truths.
    So if it actually cools in the future but the confidence in the human contribution is rised over the 100%, wouldn’t it paradoxicly mean the contribution is having negative cooling effect just to confirm the Lenin’s negation of negation thesis and show the leftist hyppeies are right anyway after all, while the rightist fascist deniers are left emptyhanded again in their SUVs and small jets?

  47. @Crispin in Waterloo but really in Ulaanbaatar:

    If this was true, I guess we could call it a nasty way to confuse policy-makers, and it would be a shame for the IPCC, as they are supposed to speak clearly to non-specialists.

    If I look at the image at the beginning of the article, what is written does not reflect what the expert you are talking about is saying.

  48. If there is one event that is capable of stopping the AGW nonsense real quick, it’s this:

    http://rt.com/news/climate-change-walkout-warsaw-050/

    My bets are that within coming weeks many Pro western AGW government spokespersons will be starting to quote “the Pause” and maybe “It ain’t all that bad after all”. Who knows by some miracle they may even start quoting WUWT, CA, Roy Spencer PhD, Dyson Freeman ect?
    It boils down to money #### the science! LOL

  49. It’s called the Little Red Choo Choo effect and concerns the acquisition of super tanker quantities of money and power and control and authority and grandeur and legacy and… Oh, did I say money? Anyway, it’s the belief by the UN that it can acquire these things through the AGW scare and its naughty child, the IPCC, if only it thinks it can. And, with each day, it thinks it can a little bit more. And if it only thinks it can more today than it thought it could yesterday it may find that it’s getting closer to having thought it could enough to where if it thinks it can tomorrow and then thinks it can more on the day after tomorrow it may have thought it could enough to finally get near the crest of that hill of peasant resistance so that with a little bit more of thinking it can it may have thought it can (this is really getting hard) enough to get over the hill if only it thinks it can.

    Now, if one converts, “I think I can,” to percentage points agreement you have the same thing. This is also related to the Alice in Wonderland effect, the Humpty Dumpty effect, the reverse Robin Hood effect, and Larry Flynt.

  50. Looks like the ipcc confidence men (and women) are filled to the eyeballs with “confidence”. Or something else.

  51. well you should focus on the form…

    in real science they would give maximum natural variability with errors bars
    warming with errors bars…
    and then it would be up to you to think is is very likely or not…

    this way they can t be wrong.but unlucky…

    well if i tell you tomorrow it will rain from 0 to 10 mm i can be wrong

    if i tell you tomorrow the probabilty that it rains more than 5 mm is 95% and it actually rain 4 …i am not wrong but unlucky…

    It is not science it is expertise…

  52. @Stephane

    >If this was true, I guess we could call it a nasty way to confuse policy-makers, and it would be a shame for the IPCC, as they are supposed to speak clearly to non-specialists.

    This was discussed in a thread about two months ago and someone looked up and cited the actual wording. At the time, the press were reporting that AR5 was saying that the 95% confidence was in the AR4 2007 wording. The clip you have above has them saying AR4’s 90% confidence is in the AR5 wording – the opposite case and clearly impossible without time travel.

    The texts are different. Simple as that. There is clearly a plan to deceive. The MSM lapped up both of course – after all what would a wordsmith know about verbal weaseling and misdirection?

  53. A good point of confidence: belief in smarts and belief in model will be unchanged with time as along as you allow a variable such as “nature” to have an unknown impact at any given time. Observation then “proves”, really, not your smarts or model, but quantifies the natural portion. If today the temperatures are holding steady, but smarts and model say they should be going up, then observation proves there is a natural cooling force equal to your models warming forces.

    The genie in this IPCC narrative is the unstated natural variable. When it is warming – 1975 to 2001 – they can say that the natural warming MAY be zero or even slightly negative ((which is what their models assume). All temperatures that rise represent the effect of CO2. After 2001, due to aerosols or aerosol-induced clouds, the natural cooling PROBABLY is greater than before, so temperatures that don’t rise represent the negative forces equal the positive forces.

    It is a brilliant set-up. It is just like stockbrokers and the market: when they make you money, it is because they are brilliant, farsighted and your money has been invested wisely. When they lose your money, the market went south due to unknown political or hidden economic parameters (nature), however the FUNDAMENTAL forces of market growth still exist (the US is strong and resilient, and China and India are industrializing), so you should give the ‘broker your money because the future will be very, very profitable.

    Military historians would probably recognize this also. The victories are due to planning and brilliance, the loses due to hidden, uncontrollable forces (like Russian weather). Never is the planning and brilliance in question.

    This view does not bode well for mankind. Forever stepping on our own bootlaces and blaming the irregularity of the ground for our pratfalls.

  54. From the graphic, by 1995 they had only stepped in it. By 2013 they are almost completely full of it.

  55. Oh Look! A lovely graphic depicting the level of Radiative Kool-Aid in the average climate alarmist, over time. Very nice, thank you UNEPt.

  56. I don’t believe people are using the correct definition of confidence in this discussion. It’s not that they are believing they’re confident, the science is now more to be held in confidence. Meaning they are now 95% sure they will hold the science that applies in much stricter confidence. They will be much more secret now than in the past.

  57. And kindly note, since 2001, only gases emitted by Humans, in a UN certified greenhouse, need apply.

  58. How much warming could a warmer warm if a warmer could warm worlds?

    I find the the most ludicrous aspect to be the growth in claims of “we are already seeing changes to….” . ………everything? everywhere?

    The heap of imagined and always terribly worrisome changes attributed to the observed minuscule temperature change has been a lesson in mass delirium unequaled in human history.

    There are literally millions of people having hallucinations triggered by a steady flow of higher authority misinformation and a cause too inflated to fail.

    This far reaching parasite of confusion spreads like a mental pandemic infecting more at a pace
    truth cannot reverse.

    Those IPCC silhouettes above might as well have hockey masks on.

    And with so most of academia and the media making the AGW boogeyman look so real we’re in for many sequels for years to come.

  59. Let us model very simply the probability of the behaviour of the average temperature of the climate system over a 15 year period as follows:

    Temp AGW NGW
    Increase 40% 25%
    Pause 40% 50%
    Decrease 20% 25%

    The numbers in the left hand column (AGW) indicate the probability of the climatic temperature increasing, pausing or decreasing over the period if anthropogenic global warming were occurring. The numbers on the right indicate the same probabilities if recent warming were a random natural event (NGW). As you can see, the probabilities are skewed towards warming in the AGW scenario, and since in none of the climate models was there the suggestion that the climate would pause, we have conservatively assumed a slightly lower probability of a pause.
    In the NGW scenario we have no reason to believe temperature would go up or down, and our best guess is that it will remain broadly stable.

    We also set out current belief that the AGW scenario is the correct one at 90%, and thus in NGW it is 10%.

    Now we bring in the good Reverend Bayes’ theorem. This updates our belief based on the fact that a pause in fact occurred during the 15 year period.

    Probability
    P (Pause │ AGW) 40%
    P (AGW) 90%
    P (Pause │ AGW) x P (AGW) 36%

    P (Pause │ NGW) 50%
    P (NGW) 10%
    P (Pause │ NGW) x P (NGW) 5%

    P (AGW │ Pause) = P (Pause │ AGW) x P (AGW) / [P (Pause │ AGW) x P (AGW) + P (Pause │ NGW) x P (NGW)] 88%

    So under the conditions defined, our belief that AGW is the true scenario has decreased by 2% given that a pause occurred!

    If you play around with these numbers on a spreadsheet so that the probability of a pause in the AGW scenario was only 30%, then the decrease in our belief is 6%.

    I therefore pose to you the question of how an event that is less likely under an AGW scenario than an NGW scenario, and then in fact occurs, can increase our confidence in the AGW scenario by 5%.

  60. Tim: “If you play around with these numbers on a spreadsheet so that the probability of a pause in the AGW scenario was only 30%, then the decrease in our belief is 6%.”

    Not that I don’t understand your point. But it’s worth noting that experimental results are not contingent on belief.

  61. How IPCC claims can be at the same time consistent and absurd.
    Simply put no AGW no IPCC , they are parasitic organisation whose very existence depends on its ability to feed of ‘the cause’
    They really had no choice but to be ‘more certain’ , they cannot ever be less certain or their ‘dead meat’
    That is actual normal practice for UN bodies , so to be fair to them although the scale if far bigger , the actual approach is standard.

  62. I believe the mann bar charts refelect the situation accurately. The only problem I see is that they were done in blue. A more accurate color would have been brown.

  63. Jquip says:

    November 21, 2013 at 9:22 am

    Tim: “If you play around with these numbers on a spreadsheet so that the probability of a pause in the AGW scenario was only 30%, then the decrease in our belief is 6%.”

    Not that I don’t understand your point. But it’s worth noting that experimental results are not contingent on belief
    =======================================================================
    Do you believe that is true about IPCC Climate Science? I thought that the confidence level should be empirically determined, but I don’t see how the IPCC could derive this without data, unless climate models are data. I even wandered off into Bayseian statistics to see if that could be the source. Maybe, but I bet the increase in confidence is a gut feeling wrapped up in mathematical hocus pocus.

  64. The worse their computer models perform the more confident they are. What if temperatures decline up to AR6? What then? 99.99% confidence. Only in Climastrology.

  65. @Tim: your calculation makes sense… but you have to change one thing: for the IPCC, p(AGW)=1

    The % of confidence, for the IPCC, is not about reality of AGW: it is about whether it is responsible for more or less than half of observed warming. Their answer used to be 90%, it is now 95%.

  66. Bob Greene: “Maybe, but I bet the increase in confidence is a gut feeling wrapped up in mathematical hocus pocus.”

    Nah, sophistry works too. Just redefine your hypothesis. eg. If it used to be ‘The planet will warm lots, because people.’ then you need only restate it as ‘The planet will warm less than lots, because people.’ The only trick is to pretend it’s the same hypothesis. This can be done explicitly, or via differing bounds and estimates in the models; which are a concrete implementation of a hypothesis.

    You can take it as a confession that the previous hypotheses in play were overstated; a case of hot air from the researchers.

  67. @Terry Oldberg: I’m not sure there is a right answer, and I guess even IPCC members would have difficulties to really clarify that point.

    The 95% we’re talking about is more a confidence level than a probability, about the fact human-induced contribution to warming is responsible for more than half of the observed warming. The figure is high, as the IPCC thinks that “the best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period”, which is, of course, much higher than half of it!

    But how this 95% is actually calculated is one of the biggest mysteries of science :)

  68. Bloke down the pub says:

    November 21, 2013 at 2:39 am

    Or to put it another way, the threat of agw doing something nasty to us is equal to the warming multiplied by their confidence that it’s all our fault. To maintain the threat level, and therefore their income, as the amount of warming goes down so the IPCC’s confidence has to go up. What happens after it exceeds 100% is as yet undetermined.

    Well, obviously you can’t exceed 100 percent confidence. The problem is that the closer the IPCC’s ‘belief’ moves towards the figure of 100 percent, the more it becomes resigned to the realms of superstition ( I use that word to reflect an SkS post). Climate change and weather events are very diverse and random events over which we have no control. For the IPCC to suggest such high confidence levels is in the realms of religion. “I believe in this – you cannot prove otherwise, therefore it exists”. A bit like aliens really

  69. Wait till the IPCC discovers Bayesian statistical methods! Then we’ll be hearing about probabilities from them and guys like Anthony will start criticizing the IPCC’s priors.

  70. @Jquip

    >Just redefine your hypothesis. eg. If it used to be ‘The planet will warm lots, because people.’ then you need only restate it as ‘The planet will warm less than lots, because people.’ The only trick is to pretend it’s the same hypothesis. This can be done explicitly, or via differing bounds and estimates in the models; which are a concrete implementation of a hypothesis.

    Nail, meet hammer. Once you slip in the small change in terminology, point loudly at the change in the confidence number. Here is a good title for an article on the words and methods used and abused:
    “AR5 – The Confidence Game”.

  71. Tad says:
    November 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Wait till the IPCC discovers Bayesian statistical methods! Then we’ll be hearing about probabilities from them and guys like Anthony will start criticizing the IPCC’s priors convictions.

    FIFY

  72. MikeB says:
    November 21, 2013 at 2:54am

    “You do realise, I hope, that when it is day on one side of the planet it is night on the other. Even if this wasn’t the case, the amount of radiation that the Earth receives and loses is always in approximate balance (The Radiation Balance)…”
    ——————–

    Now I wasa thinking that iffen there was such a thing as the earth having a Radiation Balance ….. then we would not be engaged in all of these long winded discussions about climate and CAGW, …… would we?

  73. Jquip says:
    November 21, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Remember that if we’re not in a quantum radiative mode, then we’re colliding molecules. Or, essentially, atmospheric gasses act as if they’re in a pinball machine. The surface imparts energy to them by kicking them back up the table, where they go collide with anything and everything.
    ———————-

    Right you are, Jquip, the observed “action” of an ole time pinball machine is probably the best example to explain the transfer of thermal energy in earth’s atmosphere to those persons who don’t quite understand it.

    Assign different “atmospheric gas” names to the 5 steel balls and “shoot” all 5 of them out at the same time …………….. and observe the utter randomness of energy transfer when collisions occur.

    HA, …. then ask if they can measure or calculate how much “energy” each of the steel balls absorbed and emitted before it disappeared into the “return slot”.

  74. Stephane says:
    November 21, 2013 at 7:15 am
    Let’s not mix confidence level with proportion of human-induced contribution. With this IPCC logic, if the climate cools:
    – the proportion of human-induced contribution may exceed 100% (actually, it is almost the case, according to the IPCC, as they wrote that “the best estimate of the human-induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period”)
    – the confidence level about the fact the proportion of human-induced warming is more than half of observed warming will approach or reach 100% (but will of course not exceed it).

    The question is if the CO2 effect is detectable:

    http://claesjohnson.blogspot.se/2012/03/can-greenhouse-effect-be-detected.html

    Assuming CO2 increase it is x% of the warming is also an assumption not proven yet.

    As Claes says: “The discussion gets complicated by the fact that “the greenhouse effect” is not clearly described in the literature, but it is somehow connected to the radiative properties of the atmosphere:”

    See further post at Claes site:

    http://claesjohnson.blogspot.se/search/label/OLR

    “When climate skeptics state that for sure they understand very well that there is a CO2 greenhouse effect, as any knowledgable scientist must do, they refer to the radiative forcing of 3.7 W/m2 with 1 C warming from doubled concentration, but then forget that this effect has very weak scientific support.”
    As we have seen this effect is also called into discussion:

    http://joannenova.com.au/2013/05/major-30-reduction-in-modelers-estimates-of-climate-sensitivity-skeptics-were-right/

    “The hallowed forcing due to a doubling of CO2 was 3.7Wm^-2 is being lowered to 3.44Wm-2.”

  75. What caused the rise in confidence?

    “Spin”

    In public relations, spin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing an interpretation of an event or campaign to persuade public opinion in favor or against a certain organization or public figure. While traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics.[1]
    Politicians are often accused by their opponents of claiming to be honest and seek the truth while using spin tactics to manipulate public opinion. Because of the frequent association between spin and press conferences (especially government press conferences), the room in which these take place is sometimes described as a spin room. A group of people who develop spin may be referred to as “spin doctors” who engage in “spin doctoring” for the person or group that hired them.[2]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(public_relations)

    Expected in an organisation where politics are the main aim and all the facts are going against them

  76. What is important is not what they said in the Science Report but what was put in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) and then which part of that got media attention.

    The whole game was and is to get headlines with carefully worded phrases and selected, usually exaggerated data. You only have blue boots on the 1995 person, but provide the phrase about “discernible human influence.” In fact the original portion of the SPM written by the authors of the chapter said there was no human evidence discernible.

    It was changed by the lead author of the Chapter (8) Benjamin Santer, (a CRU) graduate, without his colleague’s approval, to include the phrase human influence. This phrase became the headline and the complete summary for the media and the public of the 1995 Report. I explain the entire corruptive process here;

    http://drtimball.com/2011/early-signs-of-cruipcc-corruption-and-cover-up/

    It was the first major manipulation of results for the political agenda and alone should give the 1995 Report a totally blue person.

  77. Very clever explanation, Stephane. I enjoyed it greatly and will chuckle about it for some time. Your explanation could very well be the truth. Many a time I have seen academic committees produce exactly this kind of brazen stupidity. It seems that academics have to feel themselves to be ensconced in the very lap of truth before they can reason at all.

  78. “…no warming since 2007…”

    ?!

    It may be that this article is for entertainment only. Apologies if I take it more seriously than it was meant.

    Confidence on human contribution is dependent on improved monitoring and analysis of various contributions (forcings/fluctuations) to global temps over the last 60 years or so. This is a completely different kettle of haddock to the slow down in surface warming of the last decade or so (or 5 years!). The attempted conflation of these two issues in the article is putting apples next to turnips.

  79. …Any chance to get explanations from IPCC ? Any contact ? A good scientist cannot feed people results without explanations.
    Thanks Stephane Rogeau for picking up that non-sense.

  80. If I had to close this topic, I would say the following:

    The main message of the IPCC to policy-makers (the fact their confidence level in the proportion of human-induced warming has increased) is basically anti-scientific: as long as the IPCC does not review its basic (ideological) assumptions, their message is strengthen by lower warming rates.

    How ironic: the IPCC managed to use the very sign of its failure as a deception tool in favor of its theory!

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