A surprising change in the 'eye roller' public slogan of NOAA

I got this regular press release from NOAA this morning announcing an upcoming press conference. Ho Hum…but wait, buried at the bottom of the copy is a little nugget that brings me some hope. I know many NOAA employees read WUWT. Maybe our collective exasperation at the way they portray their Earthly understanding finally made it up the food chain. – Anthony

MEDIA ADVISORY

NOAA to Issue 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will release its initial seasonal outlook for the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season during a press conference in Miami. NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco will discuss the outlook with FEMA Deputy Administrator Rich Serino highlighting the critical need for storm preparedness. They will be joined by a diverse group of NOAA hurricane experts available for questions and interviews.

What: Press conference announcing NOAA’s 2010 Atlantic hurricane season outlook

When: Thursday, May 20, 11:00 am EDT

Where: NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

4301 Rickenbacker Causeway

Miami, FL 33149

Todd Kimberlain, hurricane specialist with NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is available for onsite interviews in Spanish.

Media may also participate via conference call. Please call Susan Buchanan at the phoie number above to obtain the number and passcode.

Who:

  • Dr. Jane Lubchenco, under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator
  • Rich Serino, deputy administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency

This event will be conducted by Dr. Robert Atlas, director of NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Other NOAA hurricane experts attending will be:

  • Dr. Gerry Bell, NOAA’s lead hurricane seasonal forecaster
  • Dr. Ed Rappaport, deputy director, NOAA’s National Hurricane Center
  • Dr. Frank Marks, director, NOAA/AOML Hurricane Research Division

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.

– 30 –

============================================

Note the new wording in the slogan:

“NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment…”

That’s a significant change from the slogan we’ve all rolled our eyes at in the past which previously said:

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment…

You can read that old slogan at the very bottom of this May 6th, 2010 press release here:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100506_spillsampling.html

Is NOAA finally admitting they in fact don’t “know it all” or is this just a fluke from a copy writer with a conscience? I look forward to the next NOAA press release.

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75 thoughts on “A surprising change in the 'eye roller' public slogan of NOAA

  1. Perhaps they’ve finally woken up to the derision that the old slogan used to generate. It made them look like a bunch of arrogant fools. Say no more.

  2. I think they got hit with a flavor of the month management craze and had to come up with a “Mission Statement” That sort of crock is all the craze in the “ISO” Government is always way behind on these management craze thingies.
    “According to ISO 9004, a mission statement explains why an organization exists. It defines its reason for being (its raison d’être).” http://www.praxiom.com/iso-definition.htm

  3. Perhaps they are beginning to follow the advice of George Carlin: “Hey buddies the earth is OK it’s not going anywhere, WE DO, so pack your sh*s folks!”

  4. They are located in Miamai? Maybe they can explain if Cuba is really gone as algore pic depicted or if the can still see it. maybe they can check on the counter rotating hurricane also before they go underwater.

  5. Slowly but surly they are backing themselves out of the corner they had painted themselves into.
    Or maybe they realized their “looking foolish” quotient would impact their ability to keep a snout in the taxpayer funded gravy boat.

  6. I feel bad about mocking the afflicted (so my mamma told me) but sometimes you have to call a spade a spade.
    The “groupthink” psychology gets entrenched when someone like Hansen uses their position and strong, insistant personality to lead and drive the movement. People see the writing on the wall and resistance is futile.
    It may still take a while, but no one likes to be ridiculed and someone will have to take the (early retirement) blame. Rubbing their faces in it should be done with class and subtlety. The high road is the best road to a happy ending.

  7. On the “zealot percentage of total staff” scale, NOAA is not so bad. Yeah, I know there are egregious exceptions. Well, ain’t that life?
    A useful change. Make it “NOAA’s mission is to seek to understand. . . ” and they’d get a thumbs-up from me.

  8. “NOAA’s mission is to understand…the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
    That is beautiful, very catchy! Mention the Earth’s geomagnetic field, and the connections between them all, and you’ve got a keeper.
    To boldly go where no science has gone before–though they should have, God knows.

  9. Hmm. Or even “NOAA’s mission is to seek a more perfect understanding. . . ”
    That way they get the straddle that politicians so dearly love. On the one hand, they express some modesty and please the skeptics with an acknowledgement of not knowing everything.
    On the other, they’ve got a broad wink in there that their understanding is already pretty darn good. . .just not “perfect”. And they get a little hommage to the US Constitution (and it’s “more perfect union” aspiration) too. Sweet!
    So you NOAA employees reading this. . .send that one up the senior staff flagpole and see if anyone salutes. 🙂
    Oh, and I, Geo, hereby relinquish all IP rights to NOAA re use of the above suggested tagline.

  10. I always thought that should have been “NOAA seeks to understand…”
    Either way, they don’t. But I give them credit for finally admitting it.

  11. Most people didn’t believe them in the first place,
    …..the rest of you spit the gum out

  12. How about:
    “NOAA’s mission is to understand , in order to possibly predict, changes in the Earth’s environment…”
    I guess it’s a start, or maybe is it just a typo?
    Predictions, are what got us into this mess.

  13. Damn it, now that “more perfect” allusion I made upstream has me singing the preamble to the Constitution in my head.
    If you’re an American over 40, you probably know what I mean. And I probably just did it to you too. 🙂

  14. I sincerely doubt that Lubchenko has become less arrogant when it comes to AGW bias. It is far more likely that administration insiders were getting a lot of flack for the “eye roller” as you put it Anthony.

  15. and in keeping with the press release:
    “NOAA to Issue 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook”
    Here’s my prediction of their prediction.
    May – 6,784 hurricanes
    June – downgraded to 1,112 hurricanes
    July – downgraded to 12
    second half of July – downgraded to 10
    August – downgraded to 8
    Sept – downgraded to 7
    October – downgraded to 5
    November – announced how accurate they are

  16. Why do they seek understanding for that which they already understand? Their “mission” is not to determine whether AGW exists, is or will be a problem, they already believe that. They aren’t skeptics.

  17. “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
    This observation by the great Danish physicist, Niels Bohr, seems appropriate. In fact, he made a number of memorable statements which seem to relate to climate science perfectly.
    “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes, which can be made, in a very narrow field”
    “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
    “Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself it’s own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.”
    “Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think.”

  18. From NOAA’s paleotempestology resource center (been there since 2001 with little comment) http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/hurricane/
    “Recent paleoclimate research reveals that relative to the past 5,000 years the most recent millennium has been a period of less intense hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin. More work to examine both frequency and intensity of severe storm events is currently underway in order to assess the 20th century in the context of the past centuries and the past millennium.”
    Perhaps someone at this conference will ask them to explain why hurricane activity is at a 5000 year low?

  19. I guess most Climate Scientists at NOAA (and at RC) must have voted against this change. Obviously from their email exchange, they know it all and better than any other.

  20. Maybe with some more letters we can get NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenko; to repeat her experiment to prove that corals, and shellfish can grow in ordinary tap water that is dyed blue with a common laboratory blue dye. Except this time she should ask the Australian Embassy to send her over a few gallons of water harvested from the Great Barrier Reef, where we know for sure that corals and shellfish certainly do grow.
    So Jane; try dyeing that water blue with your ordinary laboratory blue dye, and then show us if it turns yellow when you chill it with a few pounds of dry ice.

  21. “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment…”
    They realise they are not God. Or someone accused them of false advertising.

  22. Will they apply their new Carbon foot-print profiling?, that would be against our rights as CO2 exhalers.

  23. Niels Bohr should be required reading at NOAA. Apparently he is not.
    “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future. ”
    “Never express yourself more clearly than you are able to think. “

  24. geo says:
    May 14, 2010 at 12:53 pm
    > Damn it, now that “more perfect” allusion I made upstream has me singing the preamble to the Constitution in my head.
    Right, and I’m going to get you for that!
    BTW, the next Klotzbach/Gray forecast from Colorado State will be out June 2. It goes into much more detail than NOAA’s.
    http://tropical.atmos.colostate.edu/forecasts/

  25. May – 6,784 hurricanes

    They’ll have to announce a different number, now that you’ve stolen their thunderstorms.

  26. We all need to understand the nature of bureaucracy. The first rule of any bureaucracy is to protect itself.

  27. geo, your too fast for me. Just dittoed my whole comment I had meticulously composed.
    But I’ll add: I’m still waiting for NOAA to say something like this on the radio one day…
    “We at NOAA know a tornado is going to appear 5 minutes from now at this location and you might think it is going to lower to the ground, but it isn’t, and here are the reason we know for a fact …”
    Maybe then NOAA could expand it’s expertise of knowing and predicting into the hours, then weeks, then months, then years of the future with some better level of confidence. Baby steps, NOAA, baby steps… (and put the word “strive” in your mission statement)

  28. By the way; How many days are left now for Gordon Browns tipping point?
    He annonced we had 50 days left?
    I have lost the count, and feel a certain panic growing now.
    I’m sure this Cameron fellow keeps track on the days left, so I will whatch the news all day long when the day comes. I’m sure there ill be an announcement from the british government.

  29. If they predict “changes in the earth’s environment”, do they publish how accurate their predictions were? I’d like to see them pressed for that data. And, as someone else pointed out above, if there is a failure to predict – there is a failure to understand. They need to be pressed for explanations for each failure to predict correctly since they supposedly understand. Is there a scorecard of past predictions? I wonder if there is a crossover between astrology and climatology? I’m talking serious peer-reviewed astrology here, not junk science.

  30. I think the change in wording is the result of millions of monkeys typing on millions of typewriters… this is eventually what the Head Monkey decided to use.
    Andrew

  31. Gail Combs says (May 14, 2010 at 11:53 am): “According to ISO 9004, a mission statement explains why an organization exists. It defines its reason for being (its raison d’être).”
    Here’s my suggestion for Congress:
    “Our mission is to buy our constituents’ votes with their own money.”

  32. Maybe its time to start boycotting “Science” (Journal), University of Tennesse, Penns State, Nature (Journal) etc for demeaning science and what it means apart from time to start some serious legal action. A lot of people need to be removed to return these establishments to acceptable academic standards (read ISO 2009, good practice)

  33. I bet they just decided that they needed a mission statement. The current one was ok, but just to make sure people understood that they did have a mission statement, it needed to be… well, er.. re-stated as something that said it was a mission statement…
    I also bet that the people who did that devoted not one brain cell for one nanosecond to the analysis of their predictive capability or anything remotely concerned with it.

  34. “”” Gary Hladik says:
    May 14, 2010 at 3:38 pm
    Gail Combs says (May 14, 2010 at 11:53 am): “According to ISO 9004, a mission statement explains why an organization exists. It defines its reason for being (its raison d’être).” “””
    Show me an organisation with a “mission statement” and I’ll show you an organisation that does not need to exist.
    When I was in “college” as in University; not High School; all of the really smart students belonged to “The Society for Independent Intelectuals.” For the entirety of my College days; as far as I am aware, their meeting deliberations consisted of trying to put English Language words to what would today be called their “Mission Statement”. I’m not sure they ever succeeded.
    And no I was not a member; I wasn’t nearly smart enough to belong to such an outfit; but one of the chaps who did; filled me in on their goings on.
    So watch out for all the time that is wasted trying to come up with “mission statements.” You know damn well they are trying to come up with some sanitary way of explaining how come they can waste so much money on basically nothing.

  35. What man knows, you can write a short paper. What man doesn’t know, would fill an entire library.
    Buying constituents votes with other people’s tax money also works for me. Until, as Greece found out, trouble starts, when other people’s money runs out.

  36. The silly old slogan can be made clearer by my adjusted statement:
    NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Universe…
    NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment…
    The question I have is which is more chaotic – the Earth or the Universe?

  37. The surface of the Sun sounds promising. The last round of sunspot counting out of SWPC/NOAA has to be a sore point.
    Here’s hoping they get some healthy discussion going and come up with something realistic to portray the weakenss/miniscule spots better.

  38. George E. Smith says (May 14, 2010 at 4:13 pm): ‘When I was in “college” as in University; not High School; all of the really smart students belonged to “The Society for Independent Intelectuals.”’
    Is it my imagination, or is the name of that society just a bit oxymoronic?

  39. The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. – Albert Einstein

  40. Don’t get too excited, they just don’t want to be blamed for the BP oil spill mess, hence their dropping of the managing coastal resources tagline.

  41. The word that comes to mind is hubris: “extreme haughtiness or arrogance. Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality and overestimating one’s own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubris
    If we had discovered that Earth’s average temperature can be regulated by simply adjusting the trace amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, it would be one of mankind’s greatest accomplishments. But the facts do not support this hypothesis and our understanding of Earth’s climate system is much too rudimentary to be assigning primary driver status to anything. We don’t understand how the sun works, we don’t understand how the clouds work, we barely understand how the oceans work and volcanic activity is a complete wild card. Our understanding of Earth’s climate system is rudimentary at best.
    We have 130 years of highly suspect surface temperature data and 31 years of reasonably accurate satellite data, on an approximately 4,500,000,000 year old planet. Our understanding of the history of Earth’s climate system and its average temperature is rudimentary at best.
    Based on our limited understanding of Earth’s climate system, any predictions about Earth’s climate system and the long term trajectory of its average temperature are, at best, educated guesses. We are still learning how to accurately measure Earth’s temperature, much less accurately predict it 50 – 100 years into the future. Those who claim to be able to accurately predict the long term trajectory and likely future state of Earth’s average temperature, are either deluding themselves, or lying.

  42. See now NOAA, was that so hard?
    Now you seem to be more in touch with reality.
    All you need to do now is to distance yourselves from Mr. Gore’s religion. Something about how it’s difficult to separate anthropogenic influences from natural variability, and that there are far more serious environmental issues facing mankind than that of CO2.

  43. See this:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14agency.html
    NOAA and the Mineral Management Service seem to be embroiled in a finger pointing contest re permits and such for drilling. As I said above, I think their dropping the protecting the environment from their tagline has nothing to do with an outbreak of humility and everything to do with an outbreak of CYA and/or politics.

  44. “NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment […]” – This is refreshing.
    “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment […]” – This was just wrong.
    Good work Anthony & Others. Bravo.

  45. If you are near Rickenbacker Causeway, then skip the press conference and go to the Seaquarium instead- more bang for the buck.

  46. Phillip Bratby says:
    May 14, 2010 at 11:39 am
    Perhaps they’ve finally woken up to the derision that the old slogan used to generate. It made them look like a bunch of arrogant fools. Say no more.

    I posted the following on Nov. 26, 2008 — maybe it had an effect:

    Re “NOAA understands and predicts changes …” = Hubris
    Why didn’t they just say, “NOAA strives to understand and predict changes …”?

    Here:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/26/atlantic-hurricane-season-sets-records/#comment-59783

  47. PS: A poster above pointed out that “predict” doesn’t mean “accurately predict.” So I suggest a second wording change: “NOAA’s mission is to understand and foresee changes …”

  48. Media may also participate via conference call. Please call Susan Buchanan at the phoie number above to obtain the number and passcode.
    —…—…—…
    Yes, ’tis true they ay mneed a phoie number for their phooey press conference …..

  49. I noaa nasa when I see one.
    Ok. Poor attempt at humor. Sorry.
    Having read that Anthony knows that employees from NOAA frequent this site, I’ll try to be more mindful when I comment.
    Actually, this might be the first time I actually have something positive to say about NOAA. Well, sorta.
    NOAA manages a website called tidesandcurrents @ http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/index.shtml
    I was actually using their sea level maps to explain why global sea level predictions is so misleading and why the media just love stories of gloom and doom.
    Unfortunately, the information and graphs that I used from NOAA really don’t support global warming and using their own information to further my own research into the matter has been a bit of a struggle for me.
    There is so much disinformation from governmental websites, that I attempt to distance myself from them. But in this particular case, It really helped me prove a point.
    If you care to check it out, go view my post on sea level predictions @
    http://climate4all.wordpress.com/2010/05/14/sea-level-rise/#more-170
    Have a great day,
    D. Alan

  50. PPS: A ditty I wrote a few months ago may also have needled NOAA a bit. Here’s my latest version:
    NOAA knows
    All above, all below
    By the way
    The wind blows

  51. Sounds more like a minor adjustment for budget funding purposes. After all, if they already understand, what do they need more research dollars for? The denial of responsibility angle from Severian is good too.

  52. “NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, …”
    Does the Earth’s environment really extend to the surface of the Sun?

  53. Sleepalot says:
    May 15, 2010 at 4:45 am
    “NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, …”
    Does the Earth’s environment really extend to the surface of the Sun?

    Well, maybe they should say “environment and environs,” if that wouldn’t be too wordy.

  54. Maybe this is why if they can’t get it right in real time how are we to believe?
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20100514/D9FMI8SG1.html
    Where’s the oil? Model suggests much may be gone
    SO IF THEY CAN’T EVEN GET THIS RIGHT WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING OH MY??
    Not yelling well just a little!
    Catherine
    I think this is why the markets have started crashing?
    Remember what P.Charles said what was it only 50 days to pass the GW bill to tax the people?
    Carbon trading bottom falling out

  55. When I was a graduate student, I was a research assistant to a distinguished scientist, who always said that there was a huge difference between science and government science. I would include government funded science in that as well.

  56. @just the facts. Long diatribe and overstated. Humanity does not need to understand 4.5B years worth of climatology to understand the present. We know climate has changed greatly over those 4.5B years. Do we understand how and why those changes came about – nope. You were correct in that. However, we don’t need to understand those changes to understand the present state. Do we understand the present state completely – nope. I’d wager few climatologists would state the degree of understanding we currently have. They might overestimate. You would underestimate. As usual, the correct is most likely in the centre. The difficulty is planning for the worst while hoping for the best. Twiddling our thumbs about it gets us no where.
    I also find it interesting that we know a great deal about, and most accept, that volcanoes have a large effect on climate. Yet, when comparisons are made between volcanic emissions and human emissions, human emissions greatly exceed the volcanic estimates. Humanity pumps, day in, day out, enough to overwhelm even the largest volcanic events, yet we concede volcanoes have an effect and we do not. Maybe I overestimate and underestimate. I’ll concede that, but I won’t accept doing nothing about it.

  57. jlinzel says:
    May 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm
    “@just the facts. Long diatribe and overstated. Humanity does not need to understand 4.5B years worth of climatology to understand the present. We know climate has changed greatly over those 4.5B years. Do we understand how and why those changes came about – nope. You were correct in that. However, we don’t need to understand those changes to understand the present state. Do we understand the present state completely – nope. I’d wager few climatologists would state the degree of understanding we currently have. They might overestimate. You would underestimate. As usual, the correct is most likely in the centre. The difficulty is planning for the worst while hoping for the best. Twiddling our thumbs about it gets us no where.
    I also find it interesting that we know a great deal about, and most accept, that volcanoes have a large effect on climate. Yet, when comparisons are made between volcanic emissions and human emissions, human emissions greatly exceed the volcanic estimates. Humanity pumps, day in, day out, enough to overwhelm even the largest volcanic events, yet we concede volcanoes have an effect and we do not. Maybe I overestimate and underestimate. I’ll concede that, but I won’t accept doing nothing about it.”
    I’ll address in pieces:
    “@just the facts. Long diatribe and overstated. ”
    How can one overstate the facts?
    “You would underestimate.”
    I don’t estimate, I realize that it’s currently an exercise in futility…
    “Twiddling our thumbs about it gets us no where.”
    When you are completely lost, often the best thing you can do is sit tight, conserve energy/resources and contemplate what’s next.
    “I also find it interesting that we know a great deal about, and most accept, that volcanoes have a large effect on climate. Yet, when comparisons are made between volcanic emissions and human emissions, human emissions greatly exceed the volcanic estimates.”
    “What? The primary concern about volcanoes are sulfate aerosols that caused the year without summer:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_Without_a_Summer
    “Maybe I overestimate and underestimate. I’ll concede that, but I won’t accept doing nothing about it.”
    Ok, that’s fine. Do whatever you want, just use your own money. I’d like to save up mine, because I think that human’s have limited predictive capacity and I’d like to prepare for whatever may occur…

  58. @justthefacts
    I’m confused by your reply. Your original post had little facts within it. I was not stating the few facts you listed were overstated. I thought I made it clear it was your statements about our level of understanding and estimations based on this understanding that was understated. If people cannot understand this difference, it is not surprising climate science arguments get based on opinion .
    ‘exercise in futility’ – Are you trying to say we will never understand or explain therefore we should not try? If so, horrible statement. Maybe YOU should stop trying and let those who care, continue to investigate and improve our understanding.
    Straw man on the twiddling thumbs. Neither I nor you really consider us ‘completely lost’. If you do, then you are wrong – thats a fact. I know that opens all kinds of doors for you to attack me, but I do not care. There’s also some predictive capacity for you to boot. I would agree that in some scenarios it would be good to sit and wait. In this case I do not accept your opinion that this is one of them. We sit and wait and do nothingn MAY result in climactic shifts that at best have limited effect on our lives, at worst threaten human civilization as we know it [this is economically AND ecologically]. However, if we decide to act [better yet, had 20 years ago] the shift away from fossil fuels into a sustainable, renwerable, alternative energy future will bring more reliability, security, stability and diversity. Will there be an economic cost? Absolutely. The effects which are as predictable as climate change. Both rely heavily on models that are reasonably well understood on small scales but more difficult to deal with all complexities.
    In all, I agree with the fact that chaotic systems are difficult to model and study, both economic and ecological. I also feel our ability to model them is better than you suggest. I restate that sitting an doing nothing may seem like a viable strategy to you but to many of us, it is not. The cost of ecological collapse dwarfs economic costs. I don’t know if you play poker but if you do maybe you can understand that even though your 88 may be a 55/45 favorite over AK, risking an entire tournament on these odds is not the best strategy to win the tournament.
    Now I can predict that if you know poker, we make the call without risking our whole chip stack to see the flop. Its time for us to make that call.
    Blah blah blah. Like you, I’m sure you get tired of these same old debates. Who’s right? Who gives a crap anymore. We both need to understand that as much as I see the data and think its a no brainer. I realize others see it in the reverse. I hope the common, intermediate ground is good enough.

  59. jlinzel,
    If you are confused by JTF’s reply, imagine how confused we are by your response.

  60. jlinzel says: May 24, 2010 at 4:35 am
    “I’m confused by your reply. Your original post had little facts within it.”
    I would argue that every single sentence in my original post is factual. I haven’t come across many little facts in my day, but I would challenge you to select any of the sentences in my original post that you believe are not in fact a fact and I will argue why I think that they are not only my opinion, but also facts. If you (or anyone else for that matter) can demonstrate that any of the statements in my original post are not factual, then I will readily admit my error and make the correction in future posts.
    “‘exercise in futility’ – Are you trying to say we will never understand or explain therefore we should not try? If so, horrible statement. Maybe YOU should stop trying and let those who care, continue to investigate and improve our understanding. ”
    The exercise in futility I speak of is in terms making estimates that are highly speculative and/or subjective. Whether estimating Earth’s average temperature 50 -100 years in the future or estimating the exact degree of human’s current understanding of Earth’s climate system, these are exercises in futility, that in no way advance our understanding of Earth’s climate system or further human knowledge.
    “Straw man on the twiddling thumbs. Neither I nor you really consider us ‘completely lost’.”
    I like how you think you know how I think… In terms of Earth’s climate system, at present, I consider us completely lost. The chances that Earth’s climate is going to do what we expect are essentially nil.
    “Blah blah blah. Like you, I’m sure you get tired of these same old debates. Who’s right? Who gives a crap anymore. We both need to understand that as much as I see the data and think its a no brainer. I realize others see it in the reverse. I hope the common, intermediate ground is good enough.”
    Well maybe it’s the data you’ve been looking at. Take a look at the figures in the two links below, which show the array of variables that are involved in Earth’s climate system:
    http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7y.html
    http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/climate/factsheets/whatfactors.pdf
    Would you agree that this is an astoundingly complex system?

  61. When I received the update from your reply to my comment I thought ‘excellent! links that I might learn something from.’ but then you disappointed me. 🙁
    Is that what you consider ‘astoundingly complex’? to the point of believing we are unable to understand, quantify and model? I’m surprised.
    I’ll agree with complex, I’ll disagree to the degree with which we understand it. 🙂
    Lets agree to disagree?
    As for thinking what you think, I have no idea what you are thinking. And any presumption I make might make you state further to which degree I don’t know what you are thinking. So I won’t presume to think what you think of my thoughts on your thoughts. Got it? Clearly you think your thoughts and I think my thoughts and perhaps never the twain shall meet – or perhaps they might.
    @smokey. Perhaps but I cannot measure your confusion let alone why you may be confused. 🙂
    Cherrio

  62. jlinzel says: May 25, 2010 at 9:55 am
    “When I received the update from your reply to my comment I thought ‘excellent! links that I might learn something from.’ but then you disappointed me. 🙁 ”
    I am not one to disappoint, I just didn’t want to pour too much info on at once. Let us explore what we do know about Earth’s climate system and its average temperature. There seems to be reasonable evidence of a significant ocean component based on the cycles of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation;
    http://icecap.us/docs/change/ocean_cycle_forecasts.pdf
    http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/PDO_AMO.htm
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_egec.htm
    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~mantua/REPORTS/PDO/PDO_cs.htm
    And there also seems to be a significant volcanic component based historical observation:
    http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/climate_effects.html
    http://www.longrangeweather.com/global_temperatures.htm
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1991vci..nasa…..R
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011222.shtml
    Would you agree that these are both significant variables in Earth’s climate system and have a significant impact on its average temperature?
    “Is that what you consider ‘astoundingly complex’? to the point of believing we are unable to understand, quantify and model? I’m surprised.”
    I absolutely consider Earth’s climate system astoundingly complex. There are a plethora of variables, many interdependencies, an array of feedbacks, both positive and negative, and its all continuously evolving. What other systems share similar complexity, the global economy, highly complex organisms, galaxies, etc.? I am not saying that “we are unable understand, quantify and model” Earth’s climate system, I am saying that at present we are in the early stages of this process. It will likely take generations of research to fully explore and understand Earth’s climate system, and even then models will struggle to effectively predict its future behavior. The biggest challenge for the models is the continuously evolving nature of Earth’s climate system, i.e. each future event can fundamentally alter the equation, such that long term predictions must rely on assumption upon assumption, any of which could be incorrect.
    “Lets agree to disagree?”
    The best way to resolve these type of disagreements is to debate them. Just letting them sit out there, by agreeing to disagree, doesn’t help to move forward our understandings. Furthermore, if you just wanted to spend your own money trying to limit anthropogenic CO2 emissions, I’d wish good luck. But you want spend my money, and thus you and your peers are going to have to present some very well reasoned arguments before I’m going to allow that to happen…
    “Clearly you think your thoughts and I think my thoughts and perhaps never the twain shall meet – or perhaps they might.”
    I am completely open-minded, and other than shouldering the potential costs of limiting anthropogenic CO2 emissions, I have no horse in this race. I am receptive to arguments supporting the need to limit anthropogenic CO2 emissions and will give them reasoned consideration. I am a pretty good barometer of logic and reason and if you and your peers cannot convince me of the merits of your viewpoints, chances are that you and your peers are going to lose this argument on a global scale.

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