How to tell a good scientist from a bad scientist

Below is an article from TheStatsBlog that I found interesting. Here is what they say about the organization behind it.

Since its founding in 1994, the non-profit, non-partisan Statistical Assessment Service (STATS) has become a much-valued resource on the use and abuse of science and statistics in the media. Our goals are to correct scientific misinformation in the media and in public policy resulting from bad science, politics, or a simple lack of information or knowledge; and to act as a resource for journalists and policy makers on major scientific issues and controversies.

This is exactly what is needed. An arbiter of the validity of statistically presented information. The article they wrote below provides some insight into their mindset.:

In a series of interviews with New York Times science writer Gary Taubes on scientificblogging, psychology professor Seth Roberts turns to the question of how do you go about making the judgment as to whether a scientist is trustworthy, especially when the topic is controversial. Taubes responds:

I’m a stickler about the use of words like “evidence” and “proof”. So if someone tells you there’s no evidence for some controversial belief, you can be fairly confident that they’re a bad scientist. There’s always evidence, or there wouldn’t be a controversy. If somebody says that “we proved that this was true” or “we set out to prove that this was true” that’s another bad sign. The point here, as [Karl] Popper noted, among others, is that you can never prove anything is true; you can only refute it. So researchers who talk about proving a hypothesis is true rather than testing it make me worried.

SETH: Yeah, I see what you’re saying. They overstate; they twist things around to make it come out the way they want. They are way too sure of what they…

TAUBES: Yes, and the really good scientists are the ones, almost by definition, who are most skeptical of evidence that seems to support their beliefs. They’re most aware of how they could have been fooled, how they could have screwed up, or how they might have missed artifacts in their experiment that could have explained what they observed. They’re very careful about what they say. If you ask them to do play devil’s advocate, and tell you how they could have screwed up, then at the very least, they’ll say “Well, if I knew how I could have done it, I would have checked it before I made the claim”. So when I’m talking about discerning the difference between a good scientist and a bad scientist, I’m talking about how they speak about their research, the evidence itself, it’s presence or absence.

Worth bearing in mind when you hear something which appears to overturn consensus expressed in strident terms: Where all the other possible explanations for the phenomenon considered? How did the researchers test their theory and data against the best possible countervailing research? Why do their conclusions offer better explanatory power?

I would add that telling them apart would also extend to graciously being able to admit to mistakes. Recently in this blog, one chemist who goes by a lagomorphic pseudonym made a simple mistake citing pH trends.

Decreasing pH is more acidic, increasing more basic. A solution with pH 8 is more basic than a solution with pH 9.

I pointed it out, as did others, and yet he goes on if nothing has happened a few comments later. Some may argue “well, he didn’t see it” and I would argue “always recheck your work”. Granted its a small and simple mistake, but I can’t understand why not simply admit, apologize, and move on? We’ve seen examples in comments where it is obvious that ego and vanity get in the way of clear thinking. I don’t think anyone is totally immune from that in the scientific process. Sometimes the need to be “right” exceeds accurate representation of results. Thus, the need for a statistical arbiter like the Statistical Assessment Service. Since they haven’t done any climate science work that I know of, perhaps MBH98 (Mann et, al and the “hockey stick”) would be a good first start.

That being said, don’t be afraid to point out my mistakes.

45 thoughts on “How to tell a good scientist from a bad scientist

  1. Hi Anthony,
    One of my pet peeves is when someone says CO2 is causing the warming and I will say let me see your data on that. Then I just get the IPCC models show that this is so. I have yet to see any real world data that CO2 is causing the warming. Now me being a skeptic this throws up some red flags when data other than computer generated is not given. The only data given is that CO2 is rising and so is temperature. But I will point out that the solar AMO, PDO, ENSO and land use have more influence than CO2. For some reason these factors are so often overlook or dismissed out of hand. How do you feel about this or am I being too close minded.
    REPLY: It is my contention, and that of others that the models don’t truly reflect our dynamic atmospheric-oceanic-solar open system, its drivers, feedbacks, and biases. The CO2 scenarios are simplified models of such, and thus either leave out or incorrectly represent many of the hundreds if not thousands of factors, counter factors and +/- feedbacks.
    The NASA models (such model E) are based on code with legacy that goes back some years and with multiple authors. I have the additional concern abouts it’s integrity due to that leagacy.
    I’d point out that regularly accepted quality assurance procedures like ISO9000 aren’t used for such endeavors. Given the decision tree sprouting from the models, such procedures should be in place.

  2. Actually wouldn’t “rabbett” be a woodworking pseudonym? Jointly speaking… 😉
    REPLY: [groan}

  3. That being said, don’t be afraid to point out my mistakes.

    Just to note that most blogs post corrections as an update or strike out the original text that was in error, rather then just noting the corrections or changed text of the post in the comments.
    You are very good about making corrections and I know there isn’t a written blog standard and the practices tend to be fluid, but making and noting the corrections on the actual post gives makes the process open and transparent.
    DKK

  4. Well, I have a question about gridding.
    I was tooling around that weather station link I dug up for Mt. Charleston. The main thing I took away from it was a strong impression that measurements are taken from urban sites are far more frequently than from rural sites.
    So what happens? They average with the nearby sites, right? With an emphasis on which sites have been more frequently.
    Yeah, some of the rural sites are pretty awful, but I figure that a UHI bubble is going to be worse, at least on average. What if my brief scan is right and urban sites are read more often than rural? What if LaDochy and McKitrick are correct in that UHI is lowballed?
    Wouldn’t that result in a disproportionate adjustment bias to rural stations?
    Maybe we need to look at the reading frequency statistics?
    Or am I off in left field here?

  5. Anthony,
    Last fall in this post which linked to a video presentation by Dr. Bob Carter, I made a comment regarding his observation that the station at The University of Arizona at Tucson was a typical station. To my utter surprise he acknowledged my comment and asked for a clarification. I posted the following: (which I also emailed to him along with the addition of the 2nd paragraph:
    Bob, I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation, and I’m honored that you would
    >address my lowly, layman’s comment. I am anything but a “local expert”, but
    >I have been following Anthony’s project since near the beginning, and while
    >the site at the University of Arizona may not be the worst one he’s
    >highlighted on this blog, it certainly has to be one of the most egregious
    >examples of a site run by people who should know better. If, after the total
    >survey is complete, it ends up being representative of the “typical” site,
    >then things are in even worse shape than many of us thought.
    >I could have sworn that, in the original post, Anthony described the
    >University of Arizona site as “the worst yet”, but upon reviewing the post,
    >I couldn’t find that terminology. As I said, I’m flattered that someone
    >with your credentials would respond to what I said. I have no scientific
    >background, just a BS in Business Administration. I’m a retired Navy Spook
    >(Cryptologic officer) and currently self-employed manufacturer’s rep. who
    >just happens to be fascinated with the climate change/global warming debate.
    >
    >While I’ve got your attention, and, assuming you have time to respond, I am
    >curious as to how you think this whole debate will shake out.
    >
    >Keep up the good work.
    >
    >Stan Needham
    >LCDR, USNR-Retired
    I was pleasantly surprised to receive the following reply from Dr. Carter:
    Dear Stan,
    Thank you for taking the trouble to write.
    You sound as if you have had a fascinating professional career, which really shouldn’t be described as “just” anything! Besides, the essential science of the global warming issue is actually very simple (despite all the attempts by the IPCC and others to obfuscate the issue), and able to be understood and assessed by any interested, normally educated person.
    I take your point about the Arizona station. My choice of words was sloppy in that I actually had in mind that the station was a “typically flawed” one rather than typical of the whole set of stations. As you will appreciate, however, when one is on one’s feet sometimes the brain and the tongue make a less than perfect connection. Thank you again for the caution, and I will try to be more careful on future occasions.
    Finally, to your question.
    It is apparent that the AGW “shake out” is going to take many years if not decades to occur. Despite the complete lack of alarming evidence, and the low likelihood of either evidence or dangerous warming eventuating, the political world is in the grip of an amazing anti-scientific hysteria on the issue. Hysteria is, of course, not treatable by using rational arguments (i.e. scientific method), and especially not if it is suffered by people who have the power of democratic vote.
    The blame for this state of affairs lies with a now tightly integrated (though not initially consciously conspiratorial) group of corrupted people and organizations foremost amongst which are doctrinaire environmentalists and green NGOs, self-interested scientists and science organizations, and ignorant, moralistic journalists and public celebrity figures.
    The environmental debate in general, and AGW in particular, have already inflicted profound damage on our post-enlightment society and are attacking the very roots of the scientific method, and future historians are going to look back and marvel at our stupidity which, Lysenkoism apart, is unparalleled in history. Most sinister of all is the fact that around 3 generations of school children (all since around 1990) have now been indoctrinated with an anti-scientific attitude to environmental matters, and the most able and oldest of these persons are already starting to move into senior managerial positions.
    We are therefore going to pay dearly for a long time yet for our abandonment of the enlightment principles of the use of evidence and experiment to understand the world around us, and participation in rational discourse to deal with its problems. Democratic politics that are based instead upon post-modernism and fuzzy warm feelings towards environmental issues are disastrous.
    Sorry to go on so, but you did ask!
    Kind regards.
    Bob Carter
    Professor R.M. Carter
    Marine Geophysical Laboratory
    James Cook University
    Townsville, Qld. 4811
    AUSTRALIA
    The part in BOLD dovetails nicely with a post about “bad scientists”. Many thanks for offering one of the few forums where the discussion is, for the most part, rational, civil and enlightening.

  6. Anthony,
    In one post the rabbit explained that as a trained physics guy, he knew the earth was a sphere. I posted that as a trained poet I knew it was an oblate spheroid.
    A minor gotcha. Since that day, I have blocked from the site.
    Volumes spoken by that. Timid bunny.

  7. how about the lies and misrepresentation in the great global warming swindle, does that count as ‘bad science?’ Or the lies and manipulation in OISM? Or the overall sloppiness of people like Bob Carter and Roy Spencer. How dare people talk about bad science and bring up the proponents of AGW. I would try to take examples from the peer reviewed literature, but there is just about none to support a no-AGW thesis, whereas the thousands of peer reviewed articles, and say, NASA, NOAA, AGU, AIP, AMS, IPCC, EPA, National Academies, etc are in one big delusion…
    And what has eli ever said that is wrong, and why can’t you correct him rather than groaning?
    MODERATORS REPLY: He (Eli) was corrected Chris, but wouldn’t acknowledge it. That was the point. Why not try reading the post Eli made rather than jumping to conclusions. The “groaning” above is for a bad pun made by the commenter. You seemed to have missed a couple of things. Besides, its hard to damage a scientist that doesn’t have the courage to use their own name. In that area, “Eli” doesn’t get much respect.
    “How dare people talk about bad science and bring up the proponents of AGW”. We’ll talk about anything we like here, thank you. If you want to have a one sided conversation or demand that there be limited discussion on your terms, (as you did in the very first post you made here) there’s plenty of other places for that.
    “how about the lies and misrepresentation in the great global warming swindle, does that count as ‘bad science?’ “
    Possibly, but by that measure so does Gores AIT movie, also riddled with errors, misrepresentations, and some would say ‘lies’. Polar bears for example.
    We discussed that too. You can read about the problems with Gore’s movie here.

  8. sorry; before I take criticisms about Gore, I should make sure the source has its facts straight. In the case about Kilimanjaro, glaciers, hockey stick, the new warmest years on record, the CO2 lag, and almsot everything on that list is wrong or selective in some way. I will not take the time to write a counter essay, but as a suggestion (rather than a demand), I strongly suggest you see the peer-reviewed literature on all of these subjects.
    MODERATORS REPLY: You make the assumption that participants on this blog haven’t [read the literature]. I’d be careful with the generalizing that you’ve been doing. As far as not wanting to comment on Gore’s movie, I’d point out that you opened that door.

  9. ahhh water vapor, ordovician arguments…those are just as good. I loved this one- “the description of the greenhouse effect was oversimplified.” Yes, because everyone wants to hear vast physics and information in radiative transfer…I suppose tamino was right, some garbage never dies.
    MODERATORS REPLY: Chris, you’ve earned a time out. Cool off and come back later please.

  10. I’m fine, I just really don’t understand how people can accept these counterarguments so blindly…
    MODERATORS REPLY: And others don’t understand how some can accept the primary arguments so blindly…

  11. I’m fine, I just really don’t understand how people can accept these counterarguments so blindly…
    Chris, a wise woman I know came up with an answer to your question a while back. It was such a good one that I archived it:

    My life experience also teaches me that when any group chooses a highly emotionally charged approach to anything, depending on demagoguery, dismissive of contrary evidence, accompanied by accusations of stupidity and/or some other evil motivation for simply not buying into it, the basic premise is always suspect.

  12. Chriscolose,
    What about the surface stations? What is your take on that?
    I ran the basic numbers on all the observed stations and their CRN ratings. The results are =>2 degrees K warming bias so far. Most of this bias is recent, the result of exurban creep and the fiasco of the switchover to the MMTS systems. All of this has happened since the lows of the late 70’s.
    What say you to this?
    P.S., Recent history bears out what Stan is saying. Look at the population and resource depletion scares from the 1960s on, GW taking up the slack just about when the other panics died out for lack of buckshot. And the “solution” is always suspiciously the same for every crisis: curb “growth”.
    I’m not saying the wolf-criers are always necessarily wrong. I’m just sayin’ . . .

  13. chriscolose, I wasn’t familiar with OISM, and a little googling led me to the Real Climate page countering whatever OISM claims.
    I nearly fell out of my chair laughing at RC’s claim that,
    our breathing is carbon neutral
    It neatly encapsulates perhaps the biggest issue in the whole climate ‘debate’. There are good scientific arguments for GHG driven AGW, but even supposedly strongly scientific sites like RC seem to feel defending political positions is more important than the science. And with a straight face say things which are scientifically nonsense as long as they fit the political agenda.
    So, to answer your question, to many of us it is a choice between scientific argument on the sceptic side versus political rhetoric decorated with science on the warming side. We find the sceptic arguments more persuasive because the science is better.

  14. And I believe that it has been very cool in NE Alabama this year. Do ya think it is global cooling?
    hehehe
    Bill
    REPLY: probably not Global cooling, but more like a PDO shift/pattern shift

  15. “The NASA models (such model E) are based on code with legacy that goes back some years and with multiple authors. I have the additional concern abouts it’s integrity due to that legacy.”
    One of the worst things about Model E is that it is not properly documented. Take a look at this:
    http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/modelE.html#part7
    No equations or algorithm descriptions – just terse descriptions of various modules and pointers to various papers (which are not of themselves proper documentation as any one with scientific programming experience can tell you).
    Of course you do have the source code. Good luck trying to interpret that, as it’s poorly documented too.
    Why am I singling out Model E? Because other groups like NCAR do a ** much ** better job at this. Look at this documentation for CAM3:
    http://www.ccsm.ucar.edu/models/atm-cam/docs/description/
    Until GISS gets serious about documenting their codes, there is no way anyone can trust or verify that what is provided in the fortran code listing.

  16. how about the lies and misrepresentation in the great global warming swindle, does that count as ‘bad science?

    At least the producer of “Swindle” acknowledged obvious errors and either explained them, or made changes to the the newly distributed version. Of course the basic message was still there, that we just haven’t observed what the models predict.
    Has Al Gore even acknowledged that his film is severely flawed? He won’t even debate his film, much les AGW. He’s a complete and utter fraud. Do you really want to be aligned with him?

  17. Jeff,
    see parts 1 and 2 in this youtube clip of an interview with Durkhin. If you call that honest acknowledgment of the BS in his film, I don’t know what to say
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7743720986474141119
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9042968069569623793
    Philip,
    Not better, but perhaps more persausive for the target audience. More “lit up” would be a good description. If you take time to look into the carbon cycle, you probably won’t find the statement that hilarious. A simple wiki search might go over these points.
    Stan,
    accusations of stupidity and dismissal is one thing…but when the counterarguments presented carry the same intellectual weight as creationists saying that evolution violates thermodynamics, I’m not sure how you’d like me to respond. Treating venues such as this as being serious, by engaging in intelligent conversation, and discussing the relevant academic papers, probably does an equal injustice to the science by creating a false impression that 1) there is a large debate 2) that such counterarguments are worth addressing and need paying attention to 3) that lies and manipulation of evidence should be tolerated. This confuses laymen, but not scientists, and I suppose the point on “us breathing CO2” would be an example of that.
    One more thing: I use the peer reviewed literature, not Al Gore, or Ch. 4, and so being ‘aligned with him’ was probably misguided. I realize there is not much peer reviewed literature to speak of when it comes to the denial arguments in reputable journals like Science, Nature, GRL, Journal of Climate, etc., but media outlet, opinion article, documentary protocol does not work with me. I realize that now whipes away just about every argument you’ll find for skeptics, maybe Roger Pielke has some interesting stuff in a decent journal, maybe you can hope Lindzen’s 2001 hypothesis is still going to hold, but I don’t think you’ll find much support for lack of an anthropogenic signal which has withstood scrutiny.
    Evan,
    following up on that note, I do not see any attempt at honest verfication of the surface data, but an implicit (more like explicit) assumption that the people who handle the data are frauds, with the very goal to attack Hansen, AGW, etc. Sorry, I don’t get into that stuff. There is plenty of other verfication tools for global warming, and I can only go on the decades of data that are available in the literature and public archives, and used for a wide variety of reasons other than global warming (of course, it is just the global warming people who are the frauds when it comes to data). The U.S. makes up around 2% of the globe, so Watts and co. will need a lot more time to take pictures (and I assume extensively go over the data), but ignoring basic radiative physics during that time won’t help us, and there will be impacts so action is needed. I’m not an expert on temperature reconstructions and data analysis thereof, that isn’t what I do, but if I needed information I’d much rather go to GISS or other sources which have posted their methods in the peer review and have survived much scrutiny.
    Some USCRN info can be found at http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/programoverview.html and some pictures at http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/uscrn/documentation/site/photos/StationsByState.pdf . I’ve not gone over this in much detail, but I do not believe that the people running these surface stations are sufficiently ignorant as to micro-scale factors. As another thought, what would be meaningful is the change in station over time, since anomalies (not absolute temperatres) are reported.
    MODERATORS REPLY: Chris, the USCRN is not yet in operation, it is scheduled to be completed late this coming year. This network was setup in response to the poor exposure conditions and problems with the COOP/USHCN network. To Thomas Karl’s credit (NCDC director) he recognized that the old network had serious accuracy and reliability issues, many of which are microsite biases. In fact the director of the network, Dr. Bruce Baker of NCDC asked for a copy of my surfacetstations slide show presentation to show at NCDC because even he was surprised at the broad level of problems discovered. The idea then is to determine what bias might be in the existing networks record. The new USCRN network should be bias free and provide an accurate record, but that will take some time. – Anthony

  18. “our breathing is carbon neutral”
    Actually, the question has occurred to me: How many metric tons of carbon (or what fraction thereof) does an average man exhale in a year? Forget what he eats, I am interested in atmospheric exchange, only.

  19. “The results are =>2 degrees K warming bias so far.”
    Really? Where is this analysis published? If it’s unpublished, why not publish it. Writing comments on blogs is therapeutic, I know, but science moves forward by informing other scientists.
    As for the offer to point out mistakes on this site, I’ll just take you up on that, Anthony. The “CO2 is coming from the oceans” threads are wrong, just for starters. But I’ll try to keep up with the rest.
    REPLY: I agree that blog writings are therapeutic. And, other scientists are being informed. In Dr. Spencers case, he’s trying out an idea…essentially a fast track review so that he can discover what works and what doesn’t. He himself admits that he’ll likely be ostracized for the idea. I think he deserves the chance to find out and thus I’m providing the opportunity.
    The “CO2 is coming from the oceans” threads are wrong. Well thats an opinion, yours. For the analysis to be wrong, it would have to be proven as such, and an opinion does not constitute a burden of proof, same thing goes for it to be correct. Since one of your tactics is to point out things like “where is this published?” I’d point out also that not a single one of your opinions is published either. At least Mr. Jones, Mr. Spencer, and Mr. D’Aleo have the courage to offer their opinions with full names attached, whereas you are just another Internet phantom with an opinion.

  20. Boris,
    See
    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/01/29/how-not-to-measure-temperature-part-50-how-to-make-a-rural-station-urban/#comments
    Evan Jones (16:01:37) :
    For method of calculation.
    Go a couple of posts down for the results.
    I am not a scientist. I don’t publish. I merely propose, and let the real scientists pick me apart. But unlike certain “scientists” we’ve seen lately, I show how I got here from there.
    And yes, I know there is more I have to figure in before it’s done. Such as station reading frequency vs. gridding as a function of UHI-lowball factor.

  21. “following up on that note, I do not see any attempt at honest verfication of the surface data”
    What you see is a photographic record of surface stations. Those stations are then rated by CRN standards. The effect I calculate is based on what CRN itself calculates to be the effects.
    It can be confirmed or disproven, too. With relative ease, in relatively short period of time, and at relatively low expense.

  22. The U.S. makes up around 2% of the globe, so Watts and co. will need a lot more time to take pictures
    And 6% of land mass. Bear in mind that the US station net is considered to be the crown jewel of the world in terms of coverage, quality and accuracy. Only Australia’s seems comparable (and with many of the same problems). There have been some shocking reports coming out of China, Russia, India, Brazil, and even (or especially) Western Europe.

  23. The CO2 “not” coming from the oceans is far from an opinion….read a journal on it. IT is 100% certain that the extra 100 ppmv CO2 rise is anthropogenic. I’d spend less time getting Roy Spencer’s “opinion.”

  24. Chris it is also possible that the scenarios depicted by IPCC are wrong.
    The anthropogenic accumulation model necessitates a very long residence time for CO2, which means a very gradual reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels even if man-made emissions were abruptly to cease. Some say the scenarios show recycling occurring at much too fast a rate.
    If we were to stop CO2 emissions today, then a few years from now you’re likely to see only a 3 or 4 percent decrease.
    This might be because the majority of the CO2 trend is naturally driven.
    I don’t think we could quickly overcome the larger natural source in a substantive way, no matter what policy changes are implemented, such as Kyoto etc.

  25. chriscolose said: (18:17:29) :
    “sorry; before I take criticisms about Gore, I should make sure the source has its facts straight.”
    So you’re saying that Gore had his facts straight before releasing the movie?

  26. see parts 1 and 2 in this youtube clip of an interview with Durkhin. If you call that honest acknowledgment of the BS in his film, I don’t know what to say

    You’re presenting a loaded question. You’re saying his whole film is BS, in your opinion, and since he doesn’t ackowledge that, he’s dishonest. Why don’t you present some scientific evidence of the “BS” then we can go forward.
    On the other hand, let’s see Al Gore answer similar questions about his crockumentary. He refuses. Durkin has 10 times the balls Gore does, and 10 times the ethics.

  27. chriscolose, I am familiar with the carbon cycle. The statement is still very funny.
    Otherwise, you seem to concede my point that no one is presenting the scientific case for GHG driven AGW rather than the politicized case.
    Your posts illustrate how the arguments of AGW proponents seem never to rise above accusations that sceptics are liars and frauds, and if you say the magic incantation “peer reviewed science” enough times that constitutes a scientific argument.
    It doesn’t.
    And concerning the surface temperature record, we know that observer and experimenter bias is a pervausive problem in science irrespective of the good (or otherwise) intentions of scientists.
    We know from Anthony’s Surface Stations project that there are many site problems with the network.
    Your and others reflexive dismissal of these and other documented problems in the best climate network in the world, make me and others wonder who are the frauds in this debate.
    regards,

  28. Hi,
    Anthony, Sorry about the miss post, my fault for not carefully considering that. I guess I caused a little firestorm over at Tamino but I honestly thought it would never post.
    REPLY: No worries, it doesn’t take much to set off Tamino these days.

  29. Stan, accusations of stupidity and dismissal is one thing…but when the counterarguments presented carry the same intellectual weight as creationists saying that evolution violates thermodynamics, I’m not sure how you’d like me to respond.
    Chris, I assume you must have read that somewhere — but not here. Nice strawman, though.
    Treating venues such as this as being serious, by engaging in intelligent conversation, and discussing the relevant academic papers, probably does an equal injustice to the science by creating a false impression that 1) there is a large debate 2) that such counterarguments are worth addressing and need paying attention to 3) that lies and manipulation of evidence should be tolerated. This confuses laymen, but not scientists
    I’ve read some pretty elitist, condescending post from those on the GW Alarmist side, and this rates right up near the top. If your goal is to enlighten us or change our minds, you’re using the wrong approach. So I’m curious; just exactly what is your purpose for posting here?

  30. Hi,
    On CO2 trends I have seen lately that CO2 is trending downward, this could be due to the strong La Nina. The cooler waters seem to be allowing more CO2 to be dissolved. I agree that even if man made CO2 stopped today it would have little or no impact. I do think market forces will have a greater impact on man made CO2 in the near future with oil at $100.00 a barrel. Higher prices will force more efficient energy production.

  31. Your and others reflexive dismissal of these and other documented problems in the best climate network in the world, make me and others wonder who are the frauds in this debate.

    I stopped wondering a long time ago when stories of 30 meter sea level rise within 100 years, 40,000 species going extinct every year, Food, water and oil about to run out (for the past 40 years) are bandied about as fact.

  32. wattsupwiththat,
    CO2 is actually rising in rate, and decline in natural sinks only makes for more concern. CO2 accumulates, and lasts a considerably long time in the atmosphere, with a good amount removed in decades, still more removed in centuries, but at least a fifth of it staying around for tens of thousands of years. There is no plausible way of reconciling the magnitude, rate, and isotopic signatures of the CO2 rise with natural variability, and this has been known for decades. See Suess (1965) paper for instance.
    Philip, there are many good references on natural and anthropogenic variabiltiy, and today’s attribution of climate change, and how it relates to today…some good ones include
    http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=10139
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/~nathan/pdf/hegerletal_jclimate_clivar.pdf
    https://e-reports-ext.llnl.gov/pdf/315840.pdf
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/309/5732/284
    http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap1-1/finalreport/default.htm
    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/ccr/publications/meehl_additivity.pdf
    http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/104/10/3713.pdf
    Declaring jihad on the surface stations is not going to change infrared radiative physics, ice loss, sea level rises, satellites, etc. It is hard to do justice to the vast literature on this, which has evolved over decades, with foundations set back in the time of Fourier and then Arrhenius and others. If the science is substantially flopped on its head, it is going to come from honest scientists, with expertise and real data, not people like Roy Spencer and Tim Ball, who are known for everything but that. Sorry, if calling such people out, as well as the lies they throw out in the laymen community doesn’t make me friends, then so be it.
    Stan,
    ????? It was an analogy, I never said anyone here said that specifically. As for my approach, I’m sufficiently convinced that a handful of people, generally ones without expertise in their field, are confusing a lot of people. They know people do not read documents like those presented above, but rather youtube and the vast blogosphere. It is very easy to write bad arguments, and get away with it, when people are not required to properly document their claims, with scientifically sound information (like solar and PDO), and when you can twist facts around like the points about water vapor, CO2 lag, (solar and PDO), etc.
    Have to go now, Glenn Beck is on, can’t wait…
    MODERATORS REPLY: “declaring jihad”? I find that statement insulting. I surmise then you don’t care about accuracy in temperature measurement. Let it be known henceforth that Chris Colose has no interest in finding out the true value of the surface temperature record, but would rather utter political statements as a substitute for such knowledge.
    Mr. Colose, since you starting posting here, you’ve made some good scientific contributions to the discussion, but at the same time you have been rude and condescending to me and to others. I don’t much like your characterization that the work I and the volunteers are doing is in any way like “jihad”. Because I have expectations of respect for others in the exchange, and since you don’t seem to offer any level of respect for anyone’s opinion other than your own, thus, your welcome is worn out.

  33. BTW, Rev, I’d like to point out that in your more recent post you put CRN3 violations at a 1C bIas.
    But in your earlier post on the matter, it reads “=> 1C”. Since a Type 3 violation is heat source nearer than 30m but outside 10m, there would seem to be a wide range of variability, so for now I am going for now with the “=> 1C” interpretation.
    Also, do you think a CRN violation might also include cooling bias? If so, how much?
    And what is the NOAA version of the high range for the violations? I would really, really like to know that!

  34. Alright. I went to the NOAA handbook and it said “1C”. It makes less sense, but that’s what it says. I will adjust my medium/high numbers to fit.
    I do NOT understand why, if a Class 1 site requires a heat source to be 100m away, while a Class 2 site is defined as having a heat source (building, driveway, etc.) between 30m and 10m away, yet no bias is assigned. It does not say “OC bias”, it just says nothing on the subject one way or another. This seems illogical.
    They make no comment whatever what they mean by =>. They never say how much >.
    BASED ON THE ABOVE, treating CRN2 violations as 0 bias and CRN3 violations as 1C for low, med., and high estimates, here is a recalculation:
    For 482 stations
    Low: 1.99 Revs
    Medium: 2.90 Revs
    High: 3.81 Revs
    (1 Rev = 1K warm bias)

  35. Hi,
    Anthony I was re-reading the Tamino posts and came across where Tamino says he doesn’t post links to denialist propaganda sites. Well I tried to post these “denialist propaganda” site links and he never post them. LOL look at the sites. Now those are a denialist propaganda sites.
    http://ulysses.jpl.nasa.gov/education/Ulysses_Wallsheet.pdf
    http://gammaray.nsstc.nasa.gov/colloquia/abstracts_summer06/presentations/Hathaway.pdf
    http://lwsscience.gsfc.nasa.gov/TRT_SunClimate.pdf

  36. chrisclose,
    I know this is a one-sided response since the welcome mat has been pulled out from under you. However, so be it.
    Why the animosity towards Anthony? On his own time he has been primarily investigating the accuracy of the American surface station record. Based on what I have seen from his photo records, in my field of engineering if I found the functional equivalent of significant UHI biases in the temperature records, problems with the types of thermometers employed, etc. just in the U.S., I would have no confidence making any policy proscriptions to my clients based on what is increasingly looking like poor scientific background documentation. And if, as a result of Anthony’s efforts, we can legitimately question the actual magnitude of the U.S. temperature rise since the Little Ice Age (pre- and post-1940), then many of the other issues such as radiative forcings, sea level records, etc. will have to re-evaluated to determine what, if any, temperature change is due to anthropogenic influences. And if human influence decreases as a proportion of the entire temperature change, then determining actual human influence becomes more difficult given the confidence intervals in the records. And the sketchy temperature record outside the U.S. (Russia, China, etc.) makes accurate global temperature projections even more difficult. Yet the costs for “doing something about CO2” don’t change. So the bang for the buck on the U.S. achieving any meaningful reduction in its contribution to GW may drop precipitously. A lot of money lost for little, if any, return.
    But this whole discussion on the science ignores the socio-geopolitical issues that will make any significant anti-AGW campaign crash within a decade. China produces as much CO2 as the U.S., but only 1/4 per capita (ignoring the U.S. forest CO2 sink which will probably decrease with time). If the U.S. reduced our per capita CO2 emissions by half by 2050 at a horrific cost in economic growth, China will still increase its per capita CO2 emissions by 5-10% per year based on data from the last few decades, and by 11% per year based on the last decade. That means that per capita China CO2 emissions will probably double by 2020 and equal the U.S. per capita number. That number will double again by 2033, and double again by 2050. The Chinese alone will be producing 4 times the per capita CO2 the U.S. number by 2050. And the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, and others have said they have no intent to cut back their economies until they have matched the U.S. level of economic wealth. Do you honestly think that the American electorate will allow the government to enact anti-GW policies that will put us at such an economic, military and geopolitical disadvantage vis a vis the Chinese? Won’t happen.

  37. The entire point of Chriscolose (aka Eli Rabbett?)’s disjoint diatribe was to change the subject. Anthony’s insistence that arguments about climate return to rigorous testing, remains valid.
    Forcing climate arguments and hypotheses to meet high standards will be a hardship for “realclimateorg” style thinkers, but it is necessary, if climatology is ever to “grow up” and become a real science.

  38. Bravo, Jerry. And, this one sentence sums up the crux of the issue:
    A lot of money lost for little, if any, return.
    The one aspect of the AGW/Climate Change debate that baffles me the most (well, maybe baffles is not exactly the correct word) is that Chris and those who share his views rarely, if ever, present solutions, only “I’m right and you’re wrong”, I’m right, and I can’t believe how stupid you are”, etc. My guess is that Chris is young enough that he doesn’t remember predictions of world famine, depletion of resources, global economic collapse, “The Population Bomb”, new ice age, and on and on.
    I’ve been in countless blog discussions about this issue. Inevitably the discussion drifts toward: “OK, if the situation is as bad as you claim, how do we fix it?” And invariably, aside from CFL’s, Hybrid vehicles, windmills, solar panels and carbon taxes, the AGW Alarmist side produces mostly “crickets”. The most interesting question (to me) that is NEVER answered by the Alarmists is, “if we would do EVERYTHING you suggest, how much would it reduce the average global temperature?”

  39. Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories is pretty interesting, especially in the first section of the book. He describes how a small clique of vocal scientists became convinced that eating too much fat and cholesterol is the cause of early death from heart disease, even though clinical trials and epidemiological studies did not show a correlation. Those who disagreed with them were demonized as tools of the meat lobby. According to Taubes, they were able to scare the government (Senator McGovern and Congressman Waxman), media, and NGOs into recommending dietary guidelines, and now we have an epidemic of obesity and diabetes.
    Does any of this seem familiar?

  40. On the subject of ‘Climate Science’ vis a vis accepted scientific practice:
    Recalling Dr. Wegman’s assessment of MBH(1998), noting that this fledgling discipline has parted company with, e.g., professional statisticians many other similar indications of its insularity are evident.
    A simple comparison might be made regarding a ‘top pedigree’. In mature fields, e.g., molecular microbiology, a top student gets their PhD. at a school other than that granting their undergraduate degree. Then, if they’re really good they get a post-doc at yet another institution, serving an apprenticeship with a top P.I., teaching, authoring, writing grants, learning the practice of science.
    In ‘Climate Science’ we have icons, like Hansen, who got his degrees all at one school and jumped straight into government. While this example doesn’t detract from his work, the fact that it is reinforced by the abscence of accepted scientific practice in his work it’s an emblematic point of departure in an assessment of problems with ‘Climate Science’.

  41. On the subject of ‘Climate Science’ vis a vis accepted scientific practice:
    Recalling Dr. Wegman’s assessment of MBH(1998), noting that this fledgling discipline has parted company with, e.g., professional statisticians many other similar indications of its insularity are evident.
    A simple comparison might be made regarding a ‘top pedigree’. In mature fields, e.g., molecular microbiology, a top student gets their PhD. at a school other than that granting their undergraduate degree. Then, if they’re really good they get a post-doc at yet another institution, serving an apprenticeship with a top P.I., teaching, authoring, writing grants, learning the practice of science.
    In ‘Climate Science’ we have icons, like Hansen, who got his degrees all at one school and jumped straight into government. While this example doesn’t detract from his work, the fact that it is reinforced by the abscence of accepted scientific practice in his work it’s an emblematic point of departure in an assessment of problems with ‘Climate Science’.

  42. Before we forget, one of the basic tenets of science is peer and independent review.
    It is incomprehensible to me that anyone purporting to be a scientist would consider withholding data, methods, algorithms, code, or operating manuals from public scrutiny.
    And what is this nonsense I read above about data being “withdrawn”? I think we are going to need to archive it in the future and make sure it remains available for the scrutiny of any interested/disinterested parties in perpetuity.

  43. This is my first post so excuse me if I inadvertantly break any rules. I have been impressed with the level of scientific debate on this blog. It is very refreshing.
    I am very interested in the CO2 lagging temperature claim that was made by various scientists in Martin Durkin’s Great Global Warming Swindle.
    I have been searching the web for Ice Core data so I can check the claim myself. I managed to get some data that had a 250 year sample interval for CO2 but I had to use temperature data from a separate core.
    When I processed the data there did appear to be a lag but it was far from conclusive. Can anybody point me to site where I can find high resolution CO2 and temperature data or alternatively a peer reviewed scientific paper that can shed some light on the issue.
    REPLY: Welcome, no rules broken. Folks can we help Mr. Harper find what he is looking for?

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