Spencer: IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity

IPCC Crushes Scientific Objectivity, 91-0.

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

crushed

Unquestionably, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed to build the scientific case for humanity being the primary cause of global warming. Such a goal is fundamentally unscientific, as it is hostile to alternative hypotheses for the causes of climate change.

The most glaring example of this bias has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system. In Chapter 9 of the latest (4th) IPCC report, entitled “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”, you would think the issue of external versus internal forcing would be thoroughly addressed. But you would be wrong.

The IPCC is totally obsessed with external forcing, that is, energy imbalances imposed upon the climate system that are NOT the result of the natural, internal workings of the system. For instance, a search through Chapter 9 for the phrase “external forcing” yields a total of 91 uses of that term. A search for the phrase “internal forcing” yields…(wait for it)…zero uses. Can we really believe that the IPCC has ruled out natural sources of global warming when such a glaring blind spot exists?

Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.

Thus, small changes in ocean circulation can lead to small changes in the Earth’s albedo (how much sunlight is reflected back to space), which in turn can lead to global warming or cooling. The IPCC’s view (which is never explicitly stated) that such changes in the climate system do not occur is little more than faith on their part.

The IPCC’s pundits like to claim that the published evidence for humanity causing warming greatly outweighs any published evidence against it. This appeal to majority opinion on their part is pretty selective, though. They had no trouble discarding hundreds of research papers supporting evidence for the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age when they so uncritically embraced the infamous “Hockey Stick” reconstructions of past temperature change.

Despite a wide variety of previous temperature proxies gathered from around the world (see figure below) that so clearly showed that centuries with global warming and cooling are the rule, not the exception, the Hockey Stick was mostly based upon some cherry-picked tree rings combined with the assumption that significant warming is a uniquely modern phenomenon.

2000-years-Loehle

As such, they rejected the prevailing “scientific consensus” in favor of a minority view that supported their desired outcome. I suspect that they do not even recognize their own hypocrisy.

As I have discussed before, the IPCC’s neglect of natural variability in the climate system ends up leading to circular reasoning on their part. They ignore the effect of natural cloud variations when trying to diagnose feedback, which then leads to overestimates of climate sensitivity. This, in turn, causes them to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming, and so no natural forcings of climate change need be found.

But all they have done is reasoned themselves in a circle. By ignoring natural variability, they can end up claiming that natural variability does not exist. Admittedly, their position is internally consistent. But then, so is all circular reasoning.

Our re-submitted paper to the Journal of Geophysical Research entitled “On the Diagnosis of Radiative Feedback in the Presence of Unknown Radiative Forcing” will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate.

I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons, like Al Gore and numerous environmental writers in the media who get to over-simplify the climate issue without ever being corrected by the IPCC. Natural climate change continues to be the 800 lb gorilla in the room, and I suspect that some within the IPCC are slowly becoming aware of its existence.

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Neville

Strange things do happen when the climate changes NATURALLY.
For eg the sea levels around Australia were so low at the end of the last ice age that you could walk to Tasmania, but within 8,000 years the sea level exceeded the present level by about 1.5 Metres ( 5 feet).
From that period ( 4,000 years ago ) we have lost 1.5 metres, so just what NATURAL mechanisms are in play to bring this about.
To find this search ABC Catalyst Narabeen Man, a very interesting story.

Gene Nemetz

“You imagine that we live in an age of reason… and the global warming alarm is dressed up as science but it’s not science. It’s propaganda.”
–Paul Reiter,
Pasteur Institute, Paris, France
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Gene Nemetz

“Let us always remember that he does not really believe his own opinion, who dares not give free scope to his opponent.”
~Wendell Phillips

Joe

The mechanisms for the large time-scale changes plotted in the final graph of the entry by Bill Ellis “Searching the PaleoClimate Record for Estimated Correlations: Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level” published on this blog on 10/16/09 remain to this date unfathomable as far as I can tell. Find those answers first so the fine detail might make more sense.

BCC

So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.
Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”
If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.
Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.
The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.
I know Spencer has a paper in the works on this topic; let’s see it.

Thank you Dr Spencer for a short clear and sober article. Lets hope that such messages cut through the hysteria now rising on both sides, so as to seed some doubt in the minds of those good people who have previously deferred to the authority of the experts in this complex field of science.

Gene Nemetz

BCC (22:25:37) :
So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.
——————
Yes BCC, you are. Mr. Spencer did not say what you portray.
You must have read this, didn’t you? :
The most glaring example of this bias has been the lack of interest on the IPCC’s part in figuring out to what extent climate change is simply the result of natural, internal cycles in the climate system.
So I ask you : have you ever heard any emphasis put on natural variability in any public statement of the IPCC — ever? And if not then what would be some reasons for that?
Mr. Spencer also says this :
…will hopefully lead to a little more diversity being permitted in the global warming debate….I don’t think the IPCC scientists are as opposed to this as are their self-appointed spokespersons
Did you see that?

Richard Hill

The IPCC itself is being demonised more than necessary. The summary (lead author Pachauri (I think)) explicitly says that it is “very likely” that greenhouse gases influence the climate. Very likely is carefully defined as greater or equal to 90 percent probable. As an earlier commenter said, it is the self appointed spokespeople, not the IPCC, who are using words like “certain”.
Proponents of immediate action on CO2 should be asked what they will do if the agreed 10 percent chance that CO2 is innocent turns out to be true. Do Cap and Trade Bills include some form of repayment if CO2 is found to be innocent?

Gene Nemetz

BCC (22:25:37) :
BCC,
I get the impression from people like you that you just want to tear down the reputation of people like Roy Spencer. Or, at the very least create doubts about them.

Gene Nemetz

“…The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will soon find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your legs and hands, and fly into your face and eyes.”
~John Adams

savethesharks

BCC (22:25:37) :
So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.

Uh huh….and I see you are very good at that game as well….by leaving out more of the salient points of his article.
Let me help by picking a few big fat ripe juicy [and important] cherry bunches from this article for everyone to enjoy and digest:
“They [IPCC] had no trouble discarding hundreds of research papers supporting evidence for the Medieval Warm Period or the Little Ice Age when they so uncritically embraced the infamous “Hockey Stick” reconstructions of past temperature change.”
“As I have discussed before, the IPCC’s neglect of natural variability in the climate system ends up leading to circular reasoning on their part. They ignore the effect of natural cloud variations when trying to diagnose feedback, which then leads to overestimates of climate sensitivity. This, in turn, causes them to conclude that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations alone are sufficient to explain global warming, and so no natural forcings of climate change need be found.”
MMM… I love a big football-field of Cherry Pies.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

Noblesse Oblige

One can argue that the IPCC science strategy itself is set up so as to lead inexorably to this kind mischief. The IPCC set out to show that, since we can’t do experiments on the climate over reasonable time frames, we must approach the problem by testing the hypothesis that natural effects cannot account for observed climate change. Once that is done, we are left with, “It must be greenhouse gases, especially CO2.” This does two things:
1. It lets them off the hook on the scientific method, which requires prediction and the opportunity for falsification.
2. It generates a huge confirmation bias, which leads in turn to the kind of things Roy observes.
Once the determination that natural effects are too small, despite the superficiality of that ‘determination,’ infalliblity sets in. Isn’t it amazing that a field in which results depend so critically on subtleties in data gathering and choices; in data processing methods; and on assumptions and parameter choices in models, not a single piece of science has ever been acknowledged to be wrong.
The hockey stick is a good example. No objective person can accept the validity of this work which is draped in statistical errors and choices that shout confirmation bias. Yet it continues to be treated and defended in ever more shrill and ever less technical ways.
Or the refusal to simply acknowledge that models did not predict the last decade or so of temperature flat line. Instead we get bogus statistical arguments and more recently an explanation in terms of — guess what — natural cycles. But those cycles did not contribute to warming when they were in their warm phase. And just you wait, in a few decades it will really get warmer. And this time we mean it.
Someday we will look back on the period as the time that science went off the rails. Hopefully somehow we will get back on track.

BCC (22:25:37) :
So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.
Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”
If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.
Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.
The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.
I know Spencer has a paper in the works on this topic; let’s see it.
—…—…—…
Er, uhm, no. Firmly, most definitely, “No.”
The IPCC has found NO actual evidence of man-caused forcings. They have found an increase in CO2 from natural causes (95% of the CO2 present) + (man-released CO2 (5% of the CO2 present.)
So, they are selectively blaming ALL of the temperature changes they can find (40% manually created by manipulating surface temperature records!) on the 5% of the CO2 that is present.
Further, the IPCC (and their political allies who want 1.6 trillion extra tax dollars) are blaming ALL of the long-term temperature increases that have been going on from 1650 through 2010 on 50 years of man-released CO2 from 1950 through 2000.
(Sicne 2010, they CAN”T really blame man-released CO2 for any temperature increases because there have been no temperature increases. Now, they ARE blaming man-released CO2 for these nonexistant temperature increases, but that also is part of their lie.)
Please show the actual “evidence” for these external (man-released CO2) forcings, and the actual evidence for any relationship between CO2 and temperature:
From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.
You CANNOT use flawed and approximate computer simulations as “evidence” because I can also (and at much less cost than 79 billion dollars!) create a computer program that clearly proves 1+ 1 + 1 = 5.

Michael

Most of the people out there are indifferent on the subject of man-made global warming. A very small minority of us geeks, scientists, big business, and political types obsess about it. Maybe 12% of the population. We’re doing a good job waking the sheeple up. The sheeple could go either way on the subject, but now the people are going our way because we got the message out. Power is a funny thing. When you really don’t have the people on your side, the thing they worked their whole lives to achieve, can collapse in a very short period of time. Watch them panic.

crosspatch

Well, if you have a problem (or can convince people that there is a problem) then you can create an entire new UN agency to staff with your pals in order to “manage” the problem forever. You want to be careful not to actually solve it, though, because then a lot of people lose their jobs.
And, the politicians of the world’s countries would gladly turn over responsibility of the problem to the UN because the UN can’t be held accountable. We don’t vote for them. Nobody does. If the UN proposes some “regulation” the politicians of any given country can say “hey, not the fault of my administration, the UN did it, it is ‘international law'”. So the politicians can’t be held responsible and the UN can’t be held responsible. What … are they going to be “kicked out” of office? Heck no. It (the UN) provides jobs for academics and cronies who can’t get work anywhere else.
It is sort of like “middle east peace negotiations” that serve to provide perpetual jobs for the graduates of “middle east studies” academics without actually accomplishing anything. It is about the process for them, not about the result. Endless process is the desired result. Solving the problem would ruin a perfectly good process and paycheck.

Richard

Its funny I posted this just a wee while back here :
Joel Shore “..explain to me this: .. Given that the most direct effect of there being no “hotspot” is that the models have a negative feedback, the lapse rate feedback, that is not justified if no hotspot exists, why do you think the lack of a hotspot means the feedbacks are more strongly-negative?”
Joel Shore…. I cant be bothered trying to explain why exactly the hot spot is not there. I am pointing out that the models show it and the observations show it is not there. The theory says it should be. The theory is wrong here and in many places.
There are more things in the atmosphere and on earth than are thought up by you or the IPCC. That is what I am trying to get you to understand.
The lapse rate is not the only negative feedback one can think of. If warming causes more water vapour, it is conceivable that more water vapour can cause more clouds. More low clouds can be a negative feedback. There are somethings that keep our climate stable within certain bounds and it fluctuates naturally between those limits. So far we are within those limits.
Find out the facts and then theorise why this is so. Do not try and fit the facts into the hypothesis.
CO2 may cause a slight additional warming to any natural warming taking place. But CO2 is not a driver of our climate, just an impotent follower of the natural processes. It has consistently failed to stop the earth cooling when it has cooled repeatedly during the ice ages and the cool periods in between, like the little ice age.
Why cant you understand these simple things?

Bulldust

RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
1+ 1 + 1 = 5
As an engineer I have known for a long time that 1 + 1+ 1 = 5, for extremely large values of 1.
Maybe the IPCC have been dealing with engineers too much >.>

Tenuc

“Admittedly, we really do not understand internal sources of climate change. Weather AND climate involves chaotic processes, most of which we may never understand, let alone predict. While chaos in weather is exhibited on time scales of days to weeks, chaotic changes in the ocean circulation could have time scales as long as hundreds of years, and we know that cloud formation – providing the Earth’s natural sun shade – is strongly influenced by the ocean.”
How refreshing to see a scientist admit that we still know little about how our multi-connected, dynamic chaotic Earth system works.
We also only have a primitive understanding of the effects of the solar system on our climate, and beyond that virtually no knowledge of galactic effects.
All these elements are part of one huge chaotic system and at the moment mankind does not have the intellect to even start to understand it or make meaningful predictions about the future.
It’s time the IPCC and the politicians understood this too.

Richard

BCC (22:25:37) : So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.
If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.
Spencer uses the terms “natural, internal workings” to contrast against external forcing. Substitute “processes” for “workings” and you’ll find discussion of that in the IPCC chapter.
The IPCC is “totally obsessed’ with external forcing because they find evidence for it.

1. I think “natural climate processes” would be different from “internal forcings”. Natural processes could include solar, volcanoes and in fact anything that is not Anthropogenic.
2. There are exactly 6 instances of “internal processes” and these are dismissed perfunctorily.
3. Is “”internal processes” the same as “internal forcings”? Is it just a matter of terminology?
If so how may times does IPCC use “external processes” in the document? After all this could be used interchangeably with “external forcings”, if they were equivalent.
Answer 0

Ted

No, BCC is right. That was a silly and useless example of bias, using the term “internal forcings” in a search. Really, it’s like Dr. Spencer didn’t even read the IPCC report. Which is a ridiculous notion, I know … but it’s also ridiculous to ignore the actual terms the IPCC uses.
Hell, just search for the term “internal” (115 hits) vs. “external” (144 hits). Frankly, I don’t even think “forcing” would be the proper word to describe an endogenous effect. And the authors do distinguish between natural external forcings and man-made ones, so even the term “external” doesn’t capture the impression Dr. Spencer creates; i.e., “external” forcings are all man-made.
Anyway, I completely agree with Dr. Spencer’s general argument. All the chicken littles out there drive me nuts with their thoroughly bad science and spurious attacks.
And others have mentioned the tendency – either by “spokesmen” or in the IPCC “summary for policy makers” – to overstate the actual report. What this work actually says is “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.” Translation: there’s a 90% chance that 51% or more of the warming in the last 50 years (so, about 1/3 of a degree C) was caused by man. That’s not a very strong statement, actually. But you’d never know how weak it was when all these wankers go on about “It’s worse than we thought!” and “We’re all gonna die!”
Anyway, my point is: don’t use careless examples, such as the bogus search term “internal forcings.” This just undermines the argument being made. It gives the warmists something to latch onto, and allows them to ignore the bigger issues.
We’re the ones with the good science and sound logic, remember? We can’t afford to give the bastards an inch.

RhudsonL

Was the crushed truck in the cash for clunkers program?

Rhys Jaggar

You’ll find that this is a feature of many parts of society right now, not just ‘global warming’.
For many years now, ALL mainstream politicians in the UK have maintained a policy of laxity with regard to EU movement of peoples. This is fine if things remain in balance, but cause hardship, stress and strains if not. With the opening up of the EU to Eastern Europe, balance has not been present.
This has effects on local services, be that affordable housing, schools, antenatal care etc etc. It has been indisputable fact that heads buried in the sand would accurately describe the politicians’ response to that.
Now we have an odious bunch of toerags who call themselves the ‘British National Party’ gaining popularity as they believe in ‘repatriating foreigners’. Racist little shits would describe them pretty accurately, but they have been winning some local government officer seats and, horror of horrors, two seats to the European Parliament.
Ah: so now the politicos see THEIR gravy train threatened. So we have the army generals reeling off a round of automatic political vitriol, to which the BNP minded them to consider their role in Iraq and what happened to Nazi soldiers who followed orders in WWII. Very unpleasant.
We have the Labour Party saying the BNP is ‘unconstitutional’ as it won’t allow blacks to join, so they can’t go on television having crossed the threshold of voting popularity which the BBC uses as its test of ‘national appeal’. The BNP response is to say that they are going to change the constitution, no doubt in the expectation of large numbers of Jamaicans signing up immediately. Ho hum…..
What ordinary voters would prefer of course is for the politicians to develop an adult approach to immigration. Nothing to do with skin colour or language. More to do with ‘available places to live’.
Sounds just like what sentient folks think about ‘climate change’. By all means recycle goods, by all means diversify energy supplies, by all means introduce energy efficient construction practices.
But for gawd’s sake, do shut up about this claptrap on carbon dioxide, human footprints and carbon trading. It’s all nonsense.
And the fact that the ecowarriors have targeted youth does make a comparison with the Nazis apposite.
Because the way to change opinion for good is to brainwash the young.

Gerard

@BCC: I think that you are right in pinpointing at this sentence about the search for internal forcing in the IPCC report. It is a nonsense argument that weakens the overall logic of this piece. Dr Spencer would make a stronger statement without it in my view. But that is because I am allergic to demagogic language, probably also why I have become a climate sceptic.

http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/climate/images/ipcc_global_temp_1906_2005.gif
If the bottom blue line shows their idea about natural effects, IPCC authors have no clue:
1) they somehow admit that 1910-1940 warming might be caused by the Sun; but the strongest 19th cycle peaked in 1960, so natural trend should not peak in 1950, but in 1960
2) even PDO/AMO have been defined in early 2000s, it somehow did not find the way into IPCC 2007 climatic models, obsessed with radiative forcing and aerosols
3) IPCC models need just two ingredients – CO2 causing the temperature to rise exponentially, and aerosols ad-hoc input, explaining the inconvenient drop of global temperatures between 1950-1980. But there is no reasonable explanation of recent cooling – no volcanos, no aerosols. As some climate scientist from MetOffice told recently “we have no explanation for recent cooling”. [snip] climate scientist? Sad to say, but today, amateurs have often better grasp of reality than those fossils at governmental institutions.

RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
…..
From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.

What is the source which leads to this conclusion: “From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree”

It would help, for the less scientific among us, to have a bit more information on some of the graphs that are presented. Roy Spencer’s article is right on the money and clearly this IS and 800 lb gorilla and needs to be given a run out of its cage. The graph of 2000 years of temperature anomalies is accredited to work by Loehle (2007) and mentions 18 previous proxies. Can we know what these proxies are? Are they ice core, tree rings, sediments etc? I am also still a bit hazy about the proxies used in the infamous Hockey Stick. A simple statement for laymen might help. Thanks to McIntyre we know a lot more about the Yamal tree rings, but what other proxies were used to creat the hockey stick? Are they adding new proxies as time goes by? Or are they just recalibrating their computer models to produce spagetti? Forgive my ignorance, but when arguing with AGW enthusiasts on the basis of their poor record of openness and transparency on core data we have to make sure that we have all the counter arguments and data sorted.

Alan from Australia

Richard Hill and Ted
Let us not place too much faith in the IPCC’s use of the phrase “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”, with “very likely” corresponding to 90% confidence. This pseudostatistical interpretation has absolutely no mathematical basis because no statistical tests were ever performed. The “very likely” interpretation was simply a guess by a small group of very biased scientists pushing their agenda. The link to a confidence level (90 % is stated by the IPCC) was simply a ruse to provide the appearance of a scientific analysis.
Leaving aside the obsession with external factors, the use of this statistical con is perhaps the most unscientific feature in their reports. After years and years of advice by statisticians to scientists about doing properly planned analyses, it is truly a wonder that they were not jumped on by most in the scientific and statistical community. Please, never allow this so-called confidence level to have any credibility. Put simply, it has none.

Roger Knights

Gerard: I agree. A more sophisticated search, using multiple terms, is needed to get an apples-to-apples comparison.

Chris Schoneveld

Ted (00:45:14) :
“No, BCC is right.”
Ted, you beat me to it. I was going to say something along the same lines.

TerryS

We start with:
x = 1
y = x
z = y
Multiply x = y by x:
x2 = xy
Subtract y2
x2 – y2 = xy – y2
Simplify:
(x + y)(x – y) = y(x – y)
x + y = y
Since y = x
2x = y
And since y = z
2x = z
Therefore:
x + y + z = x + 2x + 2x
x + y + z = 1 + 2 + 2 = 5
But, x = 1 and y = x and z = y
Therefore:
1 + 1 + 1 = 5
Reply: Very cute. I won’t call out the sort of obvious trick. ~ ctm

Diogenes

Since we have a terminological expert in the house, explain me this.
Why, if I believe the climate has always changed am I a climate change denier? Yet I’m not if I believe the climate was constant until the 20th century.

Patrik

Here is a link to a new statement from KVA (the Swedish Royal Science Academy):
http://www.kva.se/Documents/Vetenskap_samhallet/Miljo_klimat/Yttranden/uttalande_klimat_090922.pdf
In a way, it says exactly the same things as Dr Spencer (and many of us) do, that many natural factors (clouds, sun, ocean streams) and anthropogenic ones (aerosols…) have not been accounted for correctly.
However their conclusion is in part what one would expect from an academy like this in times like these, that we should move to mitigate…
On the other hand, they do call for more work in the area of climatology, satellite tech., paleoclimatology, because the understanding of the system is still low.
I think that their recommendations are mostly sound and logical. 🙂

anna v

Alan from Australia (02:58:24) :
Richard Hill and Ted
Let us not place too much faith in the IPCC’s use of the phrase “Greenhouse gas forcing has *very likely* caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years”, with “very likely” corresponding to 90% confidence. This pseudostatistical interpretation has absolutely no mathematical basis because no statistical tests were ever performed. The “very likely” interpretation was simply a guess by a small group of very biased scientists pushing their agenda. The link to a confidence level (90 % is stated by the IPCC) was simply a ruse to provide the appearance of a scientific analysis.
Leaving aside the obsession with external factors, the use of this statistical con is perhaps the most unscientific feature in their reports. After years and years of advice by statisticians to scientists about doing properly planned analyses, it is truly a wonder that they were not jumped on by most in the scientific and statistical community. Please, never allow this so-called confidence level to have any credibility. Put simply, it has none.

It is one of the first things I latched on when I started discussing in blogs on the skeptic side.
from the horse’s mouth, AR4 8.1.2.2 Metrics of Model Reliability
The above studies show promise
that quantitative metrics for the likelihood of model projections
may be developed, but because the development of robust
metrics is still at an early stage, the model evaluations presented
in this chapter are based primarily on experience and physical
reasoning, as has been the norm in the past.

If there is no likelihood, confidence levels are nonsense.
I have pointed this quote out several times, and none of the statisticians has replied to the negative. On the other hand, they do not seem to ascribe to this fact any catastrophic weight.
In my discipline, ( particle physics), where we continually fitted models to data, often using monte carlo simulations, lack of a likelihood function , or a chisquare per degree of freedom of the fit not near 1, meant that no statistical error bars could be ascribed and one had to go back to the drawing board.
I strongly suspect that if statistical error bars were given for the spaghetti graphs, they would be so large that the whole plot would be clearly nonsense, and that is the reason the likelihood function is not pursued. Relying on the experience and physical reasoning of modelers is much more productive of scary scenaria.

Philip_B

With respect to Dr Spencer, he doesn’t zero in on the real problem.
Which is,
Temperature measurements over the 20th century and specifically the use of minimum and maximum temperatures collected at highly non-random locations, together with even worse ocean temperature measurements, are given an entirely spurious precision as a measure of the Earth’s climate, and then fed into climate models which extrapolate this data out into the future resulting in an entirely spurious precision to future temperature predictions.
The truth is we don’t know how much the atmosphere warmed over the 20th century, nor have we any way of finding out. And this ignores the fact atmospheric temperatures are a poor measure of how much the climate has warmed. Not least because we know that the amount of heat lost to space by the Earth’s climate is a direct function of atmospheric temperatures.
And for those of you who think I am talking through my hat, why do the paleo temperature reconstructions from diverse sources almost all show cooling starting around 50 or so years ago? The so called Divergence Problem.

JimB

O/T…
Every morning I have my set of websites I scan, as most of us do. This morning a few clicks took me off my regular path and landed me on the Telegraph’s page where I discovered this article regarding nimby alive and well in Cal:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/environment/6389384/Lizards-and-tortoises-hampering-Californias-solar-energy-efforts.html
More evidence that building even so called clean-green power sources will never be tolerated.
JimB

blcjr

My bias (I’m biased, but not prejudiced — there is a difference) is to listen sympathetically to anything Dr. Spencer has to say. So it is perhaps telling that I also wondered if “internal processes” was the best term to search for. It seems to me that the historic term of art here would be “natural climate variability.” And it so happens that I have actually searched chapter 3 (where I would expect it to be discussed) of WG1 AR4 for this expression, or variants of it. And there are some references to natural climate variability in chapter 3, but any impartial observer would have to admit that they failed to take it seriously. At the end of chapter 3 is a lengthy bibliography, which contains very little reference to what would be “the relevant literature” on natural climate variability. If chapter 3 where a Ph.D. thesis, no respectable scholar overseeing the thesis would let it pass. It is clearly an example of rhetorical “special pleading” — selective citation of the literature to support a particular agenda. It is not a credible survey of the relevant literature. So while I might quibble with the choice of expression that Dr. Spencer chose to focus upon, I think his main point remains valid. Anyone who thinks AR4 is a complete and unprejudiced survey of the relevant literature has blinders on.
A Google Scholar search of the exact phrase “natural climate variability” turns up over 4500 scholarly articles on the subject. There is a substantial literature to suggest that (a) climate models do not capture natural climate variability very well, and (b) it is hard to extract any anthropogenic influence against the noisy background of natural climate variability. Was this given any serious consideration in AR4? Of course not. Just like all the papers that were ignored documenting the MWP, these papers were ignored because it didn’t fit “the narrative.”
So I agree with Dr. Spencer’s point, even if I might question the search term he used.

anna v

BCC (22:25:37) :
So now we’re playing the terminology cherry pick game.
Page 667 of the chapter in question: “Climate change may be due to internal processes and/or external forcings … A key objective of this chapter is to understand climate changes that result from anthropogenic and natural external forcings, and how they may be distinguished from changes and variability that result from internal climate system processes. ”
If you search for “internal processes” (a more generic term than “internal forcing”), “natural climate processes”, etc., you’ll find that, in fact, the IPCC does not pretend that these processes don’t exist.

I was intrigued.
I searched for “internal processes” 6
“external processes” 0
“natural external” 19
“natural internal” 21
“anthropogenic” 317
and the ones Spencer searched:
“internal forcings” 0
“external forcings” 65
So let us put some weights on this study.
365 +65=430

anna v

continuing, my laptop threw me on the submit 🙂
365+65-19=411
10 +21= 40
So the mention is 1 to 10 between presumed guilty and presumed innocent :).

anna v

sorry, that is 19+21 that is 40, not 1+1+1=5 :).

tallbloke

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf
Here’s the key passage as I see it:

In all simulations shown in Figure
6.13, the late 20th century is warmer than any other multidecadal
period during the last millennium. In addition, there
is significant correlation between simulated and reconstructed
variability (e.g., Yoshimori et al., 2005). By comparing
simulated and observed atmospheric CO2 concentration during
the last 1 kyr, Gerber et al. (2003) suggest that the amplitude
of the temperature evolution simulated by simple climate
models and EMICs is consistent with the observed evolution
of CO2. Since reconstructions of external forcing are virtually
independent from the reconstructions of past temperatures, this
broad consistency increases confidence in the broad features of
the reconstructions and the understanding of the role of external
forcing in recent climate variability. The simulations also
show that it is not possible to reproduce the large 20th-century
warming without anthropogenic forcing regardless of which
solar or volcanic forcing reconstruction is used (Crowley, 2000;
Bertrand et al., 2002; Bauer et al., 2003; Hegerl et al., 2003,
2007), stressing the impact of human activity on the recent
warming.

So by ignoring all the studies whose reconstructions show a warmer medieval warm period, they are able to claim that the models and the reconstructions mutually reinforce each other. And by downplaying medieval temps, they can claim a good correlation with co2 and therefore the AGW hypothesis is strongest in explaining C20th temp rise.
Mann is debunked, Briffa is debunked. What’s left?

Tom in Florida

RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) : “You CANNOT use flawed and approximate computer simulations as “evidence” because I can also (and at much less cost than 79 billion dollars!) create a computer program that clearly proves 1+ 1 + 1 = 5.”
In 1968 I wrote my very first program as an exercise in my first high school computer class. We were using Focal. (anyone remember that language!).
I titled the program “Personality Analyzer”. The program asked for a persons height, weight, hair color, eye color, nationality and date of birth. Of course the only thing that mattered to the output was the person’s height because I wrote the program that way. Why? Because I knew the height of a person who was in the class that would see the results and I was playing a trick on him. When you put in his height as 69″ the personality analyzer spit out “slightly less intelligent, highly jealous with no athletic abilities”. Of course he got angry and I got a “A+”. It remains one of my better practical jokes.

John Finn (02:41:48) :
RACookPE1978 (23:25:37) :
…..
From 1905 – 1940, CO2 constant, temperature rose 4/10 of one degree.
From 1940 – 1975, CO2 constant, temperature fell 3/10 of one degree.
From 1975 – 1998, CO2 rose, temperature rose 5/10 of one degree.
From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree.
What is the source which leads to this conclusion: “From 1998 – 2009, CO2 rose, temperatures fell 2/10 of one degree”
—…—…
Pick your month in 2009,
Pick what “trend line” you are going to accept for the spike in temperatures in 1998 – 2000. You can really make the short term numbers become you like.
May and June 2009 had a satellite temp anomaly of 0.0 C. Jan through Mar were right at 0.2 C. Sept was higher at 0.4 C. I chose 0.2 for a nominal 2009 temperature.
(On average in 2009, we are right about at the same general global temperature anomaly as we were in 1995.)
And (apparently) 1930 and 1945 as well. Surface temperature “records” publicized by GISS and HADGCRUT have been changed to uniformly lower all early 20th measurements made before 1972 by 0.2 to 0.3 degrees, while increasing post 1972 temperatures by about a little under 0.1 degrees.
The generally accepted anomaly in 1998 was highly distorted by the El Nino that year (0.7 degrees), so you have to extrapolate through that period to discuss any trends before or after 1998. Most writers have used 0.5 degrees for 1998, and a rise of 0.7 for the entire 20th century.

Vincent

The idea of the climate as a chaotic system is something Dr. Spencer has mentioned previously, and in somewhat more detail than in this post. Yet, the implications are devastating to the AGW hypothesis.
If I have understood correctly, when a system exhibits chaotic behaviour, it never remains in a constant state, but continually bifurcates from one state after another, even if driven by a constant input. Dr. Spencer stated that for the oceans themselves, they exhibit chaotic cycles of hundreds of years in duration. If this is indeed the case, then that is all that is needed to explain the twentieth century warming trend. So, I don’t understand why the IPCC are so quick to dismiss “internal processes”.

Peter Plail

Philip_B (03:48:37)
Well said, that man.
I would add that a lot of the predictions make use of proxies for temperatures, and divergence problem notwithstanding, their provenance is suspect to say the least.

Vincent

I have often puzzled over the 90% claim that it was “CO2 wot dunnit.” Not being a climate scientist I am guessing here, but to arrive at any kind of probability value they would probably have to compare all past temperature estimates with past CO2 estimates to get the correlation, and compare those past values with the present values.
You could only get a value like 90% if the data you were working with showed flat temperatures and CO2 levels for thousands of years, and a big spike upwards in the twentieth century. Where would they have got data like that from?

Back2Bat

“However their conclusion is in part what one would expect from an academy like this in times like these, that we should move to mitigate…” Patrick
Precisely. Nearly everyone seems to think that it is “prudent” to restrict carbon emissions. However, it is almost certainly not economically prudent or it would already have happened. The Great Depression was a major cause of World War II which killed 50 – 80 million and caused huge environmental damage.
Most scientists are economic ninnies is my experience. Science is simple compared to economics, IMO. But that makes sound economics very simple: Liberty plus enforcement of basic laws against fraud and theft.

Trevor

TerryS:
I WILL call you out. In the step labeled “Simplify”, you divided by (x-y). But y = x = 1, therefore x – y = 0. You cannot divide by zero.
I grant, however, that this mathematical sleight of hand is no worse than the models that “prove” anthropogenic global warming.

Jari

The UK government is also lacking scientific objectivity in their recent ad campaign. However:
“A £6m government ad warning about climate change is to be investigated by watchdogs over claims it is misleading and too “scary” for children.”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8317998.stm

RR Kampen

Gene Nemetz (22:48:59) :
BCC (22:25:37) :
BCC,
I get the impression from people like you that you just want to tear down the reputation of people like Roy Spencer. Or, at the very least create doubts about them.

I think BCC just showed Spencer has tore down his reputation once again. Don’t shoot the messenger.

That IPCC story is an old one. Why not to apply some “external forcing” to its very existence. Why not some of the most important UN states stop it?. Do all countries agree with its crazy conclusions?