Wheel! – – Of! – – Silly!

I thought I’d seen the end of this after we first saw it back on May 26th of this year. I wrote then:

How not to make a climate photo op

You have to wonder- what were these guys thinking? The only media visual they could have chosen that would send a worse message of forecast certainty was a dart board…or maybe something else?

prinn-roulette-4

MIT’s “wheel of climate” – image courtesy Donna Coveney/MIT

But no, they apparently didn’t get enough press the first time around. I mean, come on, it’s a table top roulette wheel in a science press release. Today we were treated to yet another new press release on the press mailing list I get. It is recycled science news right down to the same photo series above which you can see again in the press link below. The guy on the left looks slightly less irritated in the new photo at the link. Next, to get more mileage, I think we’ll see the online game version.

So what I think we need now is  a caption contest for the photo above. Readers, start your word skills. I’ll post the best three captions from comments in a  new post later.

Oh and if you want to read about the press release, here it is below:

From MIT Public Release: 2-Oct-2009

There’s still time to cut the risk of climate catastrophe, MIT study shows

A new analysis of climate risk, published by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, shows that even moderate carbon-reduction policies now can substantially lower the risk of future climate change. It also shows that quick, global emissions reductions would be required in order to provide a good chance of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level — a widely discussed target.

How to limit risk of climate catastrophe

prinn-roulette-4

To illustrate the findings of their model, MIT researchers created a pair of ‘roulette wheels.’ This wheel depicts their estimate of the range of probability of potential global temperature change over the next 100 years if no policy change is enacted on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo – Image courtesy: MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change

Comprehensive analysis of the odds of climate outcomes under different policy scenarios shows significant benefits from early actions.

David L. Chandler, MIT News Office

October 2, 2009

A new analysis of climate risk, published by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, shows that even moderate carbon-reduction policies now can substantially lower the risk of future climate change. It also shows that quick, global emissions reductions would be required in order to provide a good chance of  avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level — a widely discussed target. But without prompt action, they found, extreme changes could soon become much more difficult, if not impossible, to control.

Ron Prinn, co-director of MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change and a co-author of the new study, says that “our results show we still have around a 50-50 chance of stabilizing the climate” at a level of no more than a few tenths above the 2 degree target. However, that will require global emissions, which are now growing, to start downward almost immediately. That result could be achieved if the aggressive emissions targets in current U.S. climate bills were met, and matched by other wealthy countries, and if China and other large developing countries followed suit with only a decade or two delay. That 2 degree C increase is a level that is considered likely to prevent some of the most catastrophic potential effects of climate change, such as major increases in global sea level and disruption of agriculture and natural ecosystems.

“The nature of the problem is one of minimizing risk,” explains Mort Webster, assistant professor of engineering systems, who was the lead author of the new report. That’s why looking at the probabilities of various outcomes, rather than focusing on the average outcome in a given climate model, “is both more scientifically correct, and a more useful way to think about it.”

Too often, he says, the public discussion over climate change policies gets framed as a debate between the most extreme views on each side, as “the world is ending tomorrow, versus it’s all a myth,” he says. “Neither of those is scientifically correct or socially useful.”

“It’s a tradeoff between risks,” he says. “There’s the risk of extreme climate change but there’s also a risk of higher costs. As scientists, we don’t choose what’s the right level of risk for society, but we show what the risks are either way.”

The new study, published online by the Joint Program in September, builds on one released earlier this year that looked at the probabilities of various climate outcomes in the event that no emissions-control policies at all were implemented — and found high odds of extreme temperature increases that could devastate human societies. This one examined the difference that would be made to those odds, under four different versions of possible emissions-reduction policies.

Both studies used the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model, a detailed computer simulation of global economic activity and climate processes that has been developed and refined by the Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change since the early 1990s. The new research involved hundreds of runs of the model with each run using slight variations in input parameters, selected so that each run has about an equal probability of being correct based on present observations and knowledge. Other research groups have estimated the probabilities of various outcomes, based on variations in the physical response of the climate system itself. But the MIT model is the only one that interactively includes detailed treatment of possible changes in human activities as well — such as the degree of economic growth, with its associated energy use, in different countries.

Quantifying the odds

By taking a probabilistic approach, using many different runs of the climate model, this approach gives a more realistic assessment of the range of possible outcomes, Webster says. “One of the common mistakes in the [scientific] literature,” he says, “is to take several different climate models, each of which gives a ‘best guess’ of temperature outcomes, and take that as the uncertainty range. But that’s not right. The range of uncertainty is actually much wider.”

Because this study produced a direct estimate of probabilities by running 400 different probability-weighted simulations for each policy case, looking at the actual range of uncertainty for each of the many factors that go into the model, and how they interact. By doing so, it produced more realistic estimates of the likelihood of various outcomes than other procedures — and the resulting odds are often significantly worse. For example, an earlier study by Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research estimated that the Level 1 emissions control policy — the least-restrictive of the standards studied -would reduce by 50 percent the odds of a temperature increase of more than 2 degrees C, but the more detailed analysis in the new study finds only a 20 percent chance of avoiding such an increase.

One interesting finding the team made is that even relatively modest emissions-control policies can have a big impact on the odds of the most damaging climate outcomes. For any given climate model scenario, there is always a probability distribution of possible outcomes, and it turns out that in all the scenarios, the policy options have a much greater impact in reducing the most extreme outcomes than they do on the most likely outcomes.

For example, under the strongest of the four policy options, the average projected outcome was a 1.7 degrees C reduction of the expected temperature increase in 2100, but for the most extreme projected increase (with 5 percent probability of occurring) there was a 3.2 degree C reduction. And that’s especially significant, the authors say, because the most damaging effects of climate change increase drastically with higher temperature, in a very non-linear way.

“These results illustrate that even relatively loose constraints on emissions reduce greatly the chance of an extreme temperature increase, which is associated with the greatest damage,” the report concludes.

Webster emphasizes that “this is a problem of risk management,” and says that while the technical aspects of the models are complex, the results provide information that’s not much different from decisions that people face every day. People understand that by using their seat belts and having a car with airbags they are reducing the risks of driving, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still be injured or killed. “No, but the risk goes down. That’s the return on your decision. It’s not something that’s so unfamiliar to people. We may make sure to buy a car with airbags, but we don’t refuse to leave the house. That’s the nature of the kind of tradeoffs we have to make as a society.”

===

UPDATE: WUWT commenter Deborah via Jim Watson implies in comments that she has too much time on her hands 😉

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Douglas DC

Must be how NOAA and the Met office do the long range forecasts.
Snow down to 4000′ in NE Oregon tonight tru the weekend…
Winter storm watch for the Blue Mountains too…

Greg S

Is this how they verify their climate models?

Richard P

The MIT Conifer Ring Analysis Program (CRAP) has narrowed the selection of the Pivotal Inference Tree (PIT) to six. Wanting this choice to be random they have converted print outs from their climate models into the Crap Pit selection device. We should know soon the result from this highly advanced use of Model output. The fate of the world rests on the CRAP PIT Model output.

higley7

How about: “How wrong can we be, let us count the ways.”
MIT really is a white tower, truly cloistered from the real world. Too bad that they are so enamored with their computer models.

kuhnkat

The caption should be:
We don need to do no stinkin’ RESEARCH!!!!

Kath

Well, according to Prof. Clive Hamilton, a psychologist at the Australian National University : http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/6253912/Most-people-in-denial-over-climate-change-according-to-psychologists.html
“…Prof Hamilton said the majority of people use “maladaptive coping strategies” such as ignoring the situation, blaming someone else or simply having a good time. ”
and recommends:
“Personally I cannot see any alternative to ramping up the fear factor.”
So ramping up fear is a good thing and those who deny climate change are not sane….

They keep on bathering about their models as if they actually represent reality. These modelers violate a number of principles of scientific forecasting:
http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/files/WarmAudit31.pdf

“One interesting finding the team made is that even relatively modest emissions-control policies can have a big impact on the odds of the most damaging climate outcomes. For any given climate model scenario, there is always a probability distribution of possible outcomes, and it turns out that in all the scenarios, the policy options have a much greater impact in reducing the most extreme outcomes than they do on the most likely outcomes”
DUH!!!!!
IF I base the assumptions on a “year over year” linear projection of cumlative risk of impact and then do something that I detrmined in the model that mitigates the rate of progression I change the trajectory lower, quantified by the impact or reduction in linear progression of the risk. Hence lessening the possibility of the extreme outcome, additionally the earlier you act the more impact there is farther out the time series you go.
Business Mathematics in the 10th Grade calculating compound interest for the basic understanding.
Gee I just saved myself a fortune on a MIT education.

Russ Blake

MIT’s “Spin on Climate”
This could be the same group that was featured in the movie 21. Instead of busting Las Vegas, they now plan to bust the USA.

“All these years you thought we were actually doing MATH?”

Mariss Freimanis

The wheel is biased towards >560nm wavelengths. It is prejudiced against the cyan, blue and violet colors. It is wrong to discriminate against wavelengths <560 nm just because these colors have negative temperature rises of -3 to -4C, -4 to -5C and more than -7C associated with them.
Guessing at future temperatures must not exclude those socially marginalized temperatures that happen to have negative signs in front of them. The cold colors should be given an equal opportunity.
Mariss

Tom

Al Gore’s Wheel of Scorchin’.
It has at most a 1 in 200th chance of predicting future temperatures. When the input to an equation relies on wild guesswork, this is what science becomes.

TinyCO2

With some consternation, it didn’t matter how many times the MIT boffins spun the Global Warming Roulette Wheel, it kept landing on the thin slice of blue. After some deliberation the team expressed confidence in their model but said that it was the real time observational element that was at fault. When pressed for more details they just said ‘balls’. They also explained that the failure of the ball to land on the other areas of the wheel was purely a statistical anomaly and the expected results would resume in a year or two. In fact they had already predicted such a run of blue results and that this was in no way significant of any model malfunction. They were however in the process of upgrading the model to a much more expensive system that would eliminate the inconvenient blue section altogether, therefore saving the public from any confusion that might arise. When asked about other boffins who had expressed doubt in the quality and honesty of the model they assured us that those detractors were in the pay of evil Black Jack companies and their opinions were invalid. They were somewhat cagey about what it would cost members of the public to gamble on the Global Warming Roulette Wheel but assured us that everyone would be a winner in the long term so long as they kept paying… I mean playing.

steve

For the caption contest:
“The Spin Doctors”
“Bust a deal and face the wheel!”
“I can haz funding?”
“SCIENCE FAIL”
“The spin on the science goes round and round, round and round, round and round…”
“Kindergarten Climatology”

janama

The caption should read
“Climate Change Spin”

Layne Blanchard

Plywood cutout – $4
Neon Paint in appropriate shades of alarm -$18
Studious looking digital photo with your nifty creation -$.00001
Forgetting to put the negative sign on all of the numbers? – Priceless.

Frank A

What???!! What happened to the famous “tipping point”?

Cassandra King

The dice are loaded,
the tables are rigged,
we have the coolers on standby?
Now everyone remember why we are here,
Never give a sucker an even break,
Every minute a sucker is born!
You cant fool all of the people all of the time, so lets fool as many as we can while we can!
ITS SHOWTIME!

DoctorJJ

I think we should just call it “The Wheel of Insanity”. What’s next? A climate “Jump to Conclusions Mat”????

tokyoboy

OT, but our Sun appears to have gone to bed again.
The Cycle 24 is still ahead?
A professional, teach me please.

Antonio San

Oh this is from the same Warmist PR group that has been set at MIT because Lindzen, the MIT most renowned climatologist was not an AGW convert… Just as when Jeffrey Simpson, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Chantal Kreviazuk write about the climate in the Globe and Mail… LOL

Robert Wykoff

They don’t need the wheel. The IPCC already has pinpointed the temperature increase by 2100 to be approximately 6.31277394296 degrees. Furthermore they have said it is unstoppable whether we do anything or not.

“To illustrate the findings of their model … ”
C’mon guys, I’ve had trouble getting Microwave SPICE to converge on a 7 pole elliptical filter after fighting it for a week and then I had good luck using the simpler Touchstone (linear time-invariant) simulator; not remotely news either …
.
.
.

par5

The wheel of funding…

Mark

I believe that these guys really believe what they say. That said, what I’ve always wanted to know was, who determined the CO2 warming equation and how was this done?
Off the top of my head, I imagine that somebody build a bunch of identical greenhouses next to each other and filled them with different levels of CO2 and came up with the equation.

Keith Minto

Caption……
Pick a color, I’ll spin the recycled Tree-ring wheel, and, whoever gets that color is first out.
It sounds like the parameters of uncertainty are widening to accommodate cooling.
“One interesting finding the team made is that even relatively modest emissions-control policies can have a big impact on the odds of the most damaging climate outcomes. For any given climate model scenario, there is always a probability distribution of possible outcomes, and it turns out that in all the scenarios, the policy options have a much greater impact in reducing the most extreme outcomes than they do on the most likely outcomes.”
Sorry guys, I think I understand you, try this…….”loosen the criteria and cast the net wide enough and we may be right”.

The Climate ‘Science’ Wheel of Fortune….
Beth down under.

Layne Blanchard

Or maybe a little better….
Plywood cutout -$4
Neon Paint in appropriate shades of alarm -$18
Photo/Press release to forever immortalize your team with nifty creation-$.0001
Foolishly choosing positive values on ALL estimates of ^T ? – Priceless

Joe Miner

MIT Breakthrough! – Human Powered Climate Forcasting Computer.

K

A new analysis of climate risk, published by researchers at MIT and elsewhere, shows that even moderate carbon-reduction policies now can substantially lower the risk of future climate change.
Their “new” analysis just happens to answer the objection that carbon taxes et al won’t do anything to stop AGW !! Hurray!
What we need are modelers of politically influenced scientists. They would have seen this one coming a mile away. Even without a computer model.

Doug

The climate science team setting goals for the modelers.

Philip_B

Indeed, the climate models have as much scientific validity as the models used to predict whether the stock market will go up or down. The methods used to produce are them are remarkably similar and the fervor of their developers belief in them is also about the same.
We don’t have a good theoretical understanding of climate and hence can’t produce a good theoretical estimate of the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 (net feedbacks).
Therefore, we have to rely on empirical measures of CO2 sensitivity. The dirty secret of climate science is that the effect of CO2 is too small to measure empirically.
And my entry,
We need one more model run for the next IPCC report. Whose turn is it to spin?

Duncan

“published by researchers at MIT and elsewhere”
So, they don’t rate the title scientist, MIT won’t allow them to claim association…
At this point I think trying to get inside their heads to understand what they were thinking would be a bad idea. My psyche might be permanently scarred if I temporarily understood them.

Antonio San

Will the Canadian Press and reporter Bob Weber pick that one for the Globe?

KW

What does Dr. Lindzen think of this?!

Lance A.L.

Here’s my old caption that I made back in May,
http://i20.photobucket.com/albums/b238/XY-SATAN/Climategamble.jpg
I think I need to make a better one. lol!

Pragmatic

Caption: “Shut up and take the picture Lindzen!!

Trevor

“Grumpy, Dopey, Doc and Happy introduce gambling into Tomorrowland”

Phillip Bratby

Caption “Throw the dart and let’s see where the science settles today – and make sure you hit the board this time, my hand still hurts like hell”

Jerry

“Take a chance on the wheel of misfortune. Win a polar bear and a tax increase.

If it weren’t for global warming, we would all be living in igloos.

L

“Even a broken thermometer can be right twice a day.”

Gene Nemetz

It is recycled science news right down to the same photo series above
Speaking of recycled photos : how long until we see the photo of the crack in Antarctic ice again :
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/16/listening-to-the-antarctic-ice-shelves-they-say-no-climate-change/

Willy

“How hard is the sky falling?”

I actually think this is pretty smart.
Assume for the moment that we are dealing with natural variability about which we can do nothing.
If we do nothing nothing will change and there will be no extreme temperatures.
If we do a little something…nothing will change and there will be no extreme temperatures and, hey, most of the crazed soccer moms and the honest scientists will be good with that.
Or we could go the whole reduce CO2 emmissions by 80% and destroy our economy there will be no extreme temperatures thing.
I say toss the loonies a bone. It is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than the collapse the economy to 1892 thing idea.
Maybe twisty light bulbs for outdoor applications will be enough to feed the climate change tiger.

sylvain

the caption should say:
Climate model are no better than a spinning wheel

Hmmm… I imagine they will keep spinning the wheel until it falls off 🙂

“Step right up, step right up, try your luck on the Wheel of Misfortune! Bets are only your entire industrial economy!”

Pops

I’m putting all my chips on red. Let ‘er rip!

“Three days of losing at the blackjack table led the MIT brain trust to tackle an easier payoff – global warming grants from the US Government.”