Unequivocal Equivocation – an open letter to Dr. Trenberth

This essay from Willis appeared on WUWT overnight Saturday while I slept. After reading it this morning, I decided to make it a sticky at the top of WUWT (I also added the open letter reference) because it says everything that needs to be said about the current state of affairs in climate science and the skeptic position. I ask readers not only to read it, but to disseminate it widely at other websites and forums. Hopefully, the right people will read this. Thanks for your consideration, and thank you, Willis.

UPDATE: I’ve made this essay available as a PDF here: Willis_Trenberth_WUWT_Essay suitable for printing and emailing. – Anthony

UPDATE2: Trenberth reacts: edits speech to fix copying, leaves “deniers”


Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach

I would like to take as my text the following quote from the recent paper (PDF, 270k also on web here) by Dr. Kevin Trenberth:

Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence [on the climate].

Figure 1. The game of Monopoly’s “Community Chest” card that was randomly drawn by Dr. Kevin Trenberth. Some guys are just lucky, I guess.

The “null hypothesis” in science is the condition that would result if what you are trying to establish is not true. For example, if your hypothesis is that air pressure affects plant growth rates, the null hypothesis is that air pressure has no effect on plant growth rates. Once you have both hypotheses, then you can see which hypothesis is supported by the evidence.

In climate science, the AGW hypothesis states that human GHG emissions significantly affect the climate. As such, the null hypothesis is that human GHG emissions do not significantly affect the climate, that the climate variations are the result of natural processes. This null hypothesis is what Doctor T wants to reverse.

As Steve McIntyre has often commented, with these folks you really have to keep your eye on the pea under the walnut shell. These folks seem to have sub-specialties in the “three-card monte” sub-species of science. Did you notice when the pea went from under one walnut shell to another in Dr. T’s quotation above? Take another look at it.

The first part of Dr. T’s statement is true. There is general scientific agreement that the globe has been warming, in fits and starts of course, for the last three centuries or so. And since it has been thusly warming for centuries, the obvious null hypothesis would have to be that the half-degree of warming we experienced in the 20th century was a continuation of some long-term ongoing natural trend.

But that’s not what Dr. Trenberth is doing here. Keep your eye on the pea. He has smoothly segued from the IPCC saying “global warming is ‘unequivocal'”, which is true, and stitched that idea so cleverly onto another idea, ‘and thus humans affect the climate’, that you can’t even see the seam.

The pea is already under the other walnut shell. He is implying that the IPCC says that scientists have “unequivocally” shown that humans are the cause of weather ills, and if I don’t take that as an article of faith, it’s my job to prove that we are not the cause of floods in Brisbane.

Now, lest you think that the IPCC actually did mean that ‘humans are the cause’ when they said (in his words) that ‘global warming was “unequivocal”‘, here’s their full statement from the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Summary For Policymakers (2007)  (PDF, 3.7 MB):

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level (see Figure SPM-3).

Despite the vagueness of a lack of a timeframe, that is generally true, but it says nothing about humans being the cause. So he is totally misrepresenting the IPCC findings (which he helped write, remember, so it’s not a misunderstanding) to advance his argument. The IPCC said nothing like what he is implying.

Gotta love the style, though, simply proclaiming by imperial fiat that his side is the winner in one of the longest-running modern scientific debates. And his only proffered “evidence” for this claim? It is the unequivocal fact that Phil Jones and Michael Mann and Caspar Amman and Gene Wahl and the other good old boys of the IPCC all agree with him. That is to say, Dr. T’s justification for reversing the null hypothesis is that the IPCC report that Dr. T helped write agrees with Dr. T. That’s recursive enough to make Ouroboros weep in envy …

And the IPCC not only says it’s true, it’s “unequivocal”. Just plain truth wouldn’t be scientific enough for those guys, I guess. Instead, it is “unequivocal” truth. Here’s what “unequivocal” means (emphasis mine):

unequivocal: adjective:  admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion (“Unequivocal evidence”)

Notice how well crafted Dr. T’s sentence is. After bringing in “global warming”, he introduces the word “unequivocal”, meaning we can only draw one conclusion. Then in the second half of the sentence, he falsely attaches that “unequivocal” certainty of conclusion to his own curious conclusion, that the normal rules of science should be reversed for the benefit of … … well, not to put too fine a point on it, he’s claiming that normal scientific rules should be reversed for the benefit of Dr. Kevin Trenberth and the IPCC and those he supports. Probably just a coincidence, though.

For Dr. Trenberth to call for the usual null hypothesis (which is that what we observe in nature is, you know, natural) to be reversed, citing as his evidence the IPCC statement that the earth is actually warming, is nonsense. However, it is not meaningless nonsense. It is pernicious, insidious, and dangerous nonsense. He wants us to spend billions of dollars based on this level of thinking, and he has cleverly conflated two ideas to push his agenda.

I understand that Dr. T has a scientific hypothesis. This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs)  go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply. GHGs rule, OK?

Which is an interesting hypothesis, but it is woefully short of either theoretical or observational support. In part, of course, this is because the AGW hypothesis provides almost nothing in the way of a statement or a prediction which can be falsified. This difficulty in falsification of the hypothesis, while perhaps attractive to the proponents of the hypothesis, inevitably implies a corresponding difficulty in verification or support of the hypothesis.

In addition, a number of arguably cogent and certainly feasible scientific objections have been raised against various parts of the hypothesis, from the nature and sign of the forcings considered and unconsidered, to the existence of natural thermostatic mechanisms.

Finally, to that we have to add the general failure of what few predictions have come from the teraflops of model churning in support of the AGW hypothesis. We haven’t seen any acceleration in sea level rise. We haven’t seen any climate refugees. The climate model Pinatubo prediction was way off the mark. The number and power of hurricanes hasn’t increased as predicted. And you remember the coral atolls and Bangladesh that you and the IPCC warned us about, Dr. T, the ones that were going to get washed away by the oncoming Thermageddon? Bangladesh and the atoll islands are both getting bigger, not smaller. We were promised a warming of two, maybe even three tenths of a degree per decade this century if we didn’t mend our evil carbon-loving ways, and so far we haven’t mended one thing, and we have seen … well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.

So to date, the evidentiary scorecard looks real bad for the AGW hypothesis. Might change tomorrow, I’m not saying the game’s over, that’s AGW nonsense that I’ll leave to Dr. T. I’m just saying that after a quarter century of having unlimited funding and teraflops of computer horsepower and hundreds of thousands of hours of grad students’ and scientists’ time and the full-throated support of the media and university departments dedicated to establishing the hypothesis, AGW supporters have not yet come up with much observational evidence to show for the time and money invested. Which should give you a clue as to why Dr. T is focused on the rules of the game. As the hoary lawyer’s axiom has it, if you can’t argue facts argue the law [the rules of the game], and if you can’t argue the law pound the table and loudly proclaim your innocence …

So now, taking both tacks at once in his paper, Dr. T. is both re-asserting his innocence and proposing that we re-write the rules of the whole game … I find myself cracking up laughing over my keyboard at the raw nerve of the man. If he and his ideas weren’t so dangerous, it would be truly funny.

Look, I’m sorry to be the one to break the bad news to you, Dr. T, but you can’t change the rules of scientific inquiry this late in the game. Here are the 2011 rules, which curiously are just like the 1811 rules.

First, you have to show that some aspect of the climate is historically anomalous or unusual. As far as I know, no one has done that, including you. So the game is in serious danger before it is even begun. If you can’t show me where the climate has gone off its natural rails, if you can’t point to where the climate is acting unusually or anomalously, then what good are your explanations as to why it supposedly went off the rails at some mystery location you can’t identify?

(And of course, this is exactly what Dr. T would gain by changing the rules, and may relate to his desire to change them. With so few examples to give to support his position, after a quarter century of searching for such evidence, it would certainly be tempting to try to change the rules … but I digress.)

But perhaps, Dr. T., perhaps you have found some such climate anomaly which cannot be explained as natural variation and you just haven’t made it public yet.

If you have evidence that the climate is acting anomalously, then Second, you have to show that the anomaly can be explained by human actions. And no, Dr. T., you can’t just wave your hands and say something like “Willis, the IPCC sez you have to prove that what generations of people called ‘natural’, actually is natural”. There’s an arcane technical scientific name for that, too. It’s called “cheating”, Dr. T., and is frowned on in the better circles of scientific inquiry …

(N.B. – pulling variables out of a tuned computer model and then proudly announcing that the model doesn’t work without the missing variables doesn’t mean you have established that humans affect the climate. It simply means that you tuned your computer model to reproduce the historical record using all the variables, and as an inevitable result, when using only part of those variables your model doesn’t do as well at reproducing the historical record. No points for that claim.)

Third, you have to defend your work, and not just from the softball questions of your specially selected peer reviewers who “know what to say” to get you published in scientific journals. In 2011, curiously, we’ve gone back to the customs of the 1800s, the public marketplace of ideas — except this time it’s an electronic marketplace of ideas, rather than people speaking from the dais and in the halls of the Royal Society in London. If you won’t stand up and publicly defend your work, it’s simple – you won’t be believed. And not just by me. Other scientists are watching, and considering, and evaluating.

This doesn’t mean you have to reply to every idiot with a half-baked objection and a tin-foil hat. It does mean that if you refuse to answer serious scientific questions, people will take note of that refusal. You must have noticed how such refusal to answer scientific questions totally destroyed the scientific credibility of the website RealClimate. Well, they’re your friends, so perhaps you didn’t notice, but if not, you should notice, here’s an example. (PDF, 147K) Running from serious scientific questions, as they make a practice of doing at RealClimate, makes you look weak whether you are or not.

And Always, you have to show your work. You have to archive your data. You have to reveal your computer algorithms. You have to expose everything that supports and sustains your claims to the brutal light of public inquiry, warts and all.

Dr. T., I fear you’ll have to get used to the sea change, this is not your father’s climate science. The bottom line is we’re no longer willing to trust you. You could publish in the Akashic Records and I wouldn’t believe what you said until I checked the figures myself. I’m sorry to say it, but by the actions of you and your colleagues, you have forfeited the public’s trust. You blew your credibility, Dr. T, and you have not yet rebuilt it.

And further actions like your current attempt to re-write the rules of science aren’t helping at all. Nor is trying to convince us that you look good with a coat of the finest English whitewash from the “investigations” into Climategate. Didn’t you guys notice the lesson of Watergate, that the coverup is more damaging than the original malfeasance?

Dr. T, you had a good run, you were feted and honored, but the day of reckoning up the cost has come and gone. Like some book said, you and the other un-indicted co-conspirators have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting. At this point, you have two choices — accept it and move on, or bitch about it. I strongly advise the former, but so far all I see is the latter.

You want to regain the trust of the public, for yourself and for climate science? It won’t be easy, but it can be done. Here’s my shortlist of recommendations for you and other mainstream climate scientists:

•  Stop trying to sell the idea that the science is settled. Climate science is a new science, we don’t even have agreement on whether clouds warm or cool the planet, we don’t know if there are thermostatic interactions that tend to maintain some temperature in preference to others. Or as you wrote to Tom Wigley, Dr. T,

How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or whether clouds are changing to make the planet brighter.  We are not close to balancing the energy budget.  The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not!  It is a travesty!

SOURCE: email 1255550975

Curious. You state strongly to your friend that we’re not close to knowing where the energy is going or to balancing the energy budget, yet you say in public that we know enough to take the most extraordinary step of reversing the null hypothesis … how does that work again?

At this point, there’s not much about climate science that is “unequivocal” except that the climate is always changing.

•  Don’t try to change the rules of the game in mid-stream. It makes you look desperate, whether you are or not.

•  Stop calling people “deniers”, my goodness, after multiple requests that’s just common courtesy and decency, where are your manners? It makes you look surly and uncivilized, whether you are or not.

•  Stop avoiding public discussion and debate of your work. You are asking us to spend billions of dollars based on your conclusions. If you won’t bother to defend those conclusions, don’t bother us with them. Refusing to publicly defend your billion dollar claims make it look like you can’t defend them, whether you can or not.

•  Stop secretly moving the pea under the walnut shells. You obviously think we are blind, you also clearly believe we wouldn’t remember that you said we have a poor understanding of the climate system. Disabuse yourself of the idea that you are dealing with fools or idiots, and do it immediately. As I have found to my cost, exposing my scientific claims to the cruel basilisk gaze of the internet is like playing chess with Deep Blue … individual processors have different abilities, but overall any faults in my ideas will certainly be exposed. Too many people looking at my ideas from too many sides for much to slip through. Trying anything but absolute honesty on the collective memory and wisdom of the internet makes you look like both a fool and con man, whether you are one or not.

•  Write scientific papers that don’t center around words like “possibly” or “conceivably” or “might”. Yes, possibly all of the water molecules in my glass of water might be heading upwards at the same instant, and I could conceivably win the Mega-Ball lottery, and I might still play third base for the New York Yankees, but that is idle speculation that has no place in scientific inquiry. Give us facts, give us uncertainties, but spare us the stuff like “This raises the possibility that by 2050, this could lead to the total dissolution of all inter-atomic bonds …”. Yeah, I suppose it could. So what, should I buy a lottery ticket?

Stop lauding the pathetic purveyors of failed prophecies. Perhaps you climate guys haven’t noticed, but Paul Ehrlich was not a visionary genius. He was a failure whose only exceptional talent is the making of apocalyptic forecasts that didn’t come true. In any business he would not have lasted one minute past the cratering collapse of his first ridiculous forecast of widespread food riots and worldwide deaths from global famine in the 1980s … but in academia, despite repeating his initial “We’re all gonna crash and burn, end of the world coming up soon, you betcha” prognostication method several more times with no corresponding crashing burning or ending, he’s still a professor at Stanford. Now that’s understandable under tenure rules, you can’t fire him for being a serially unsuccessful doomcaster. But he also appears to be one of your senior AGW thinkers and public representatives, which is totally incomprehensible to me.

His string of predicted global catastrophes that never came anywhere near true was only matched by the inimitable collapses of the prophecies of his wife Anne, and of his cohorts John Holdren and the late Stephen Schneider. I fear we’ll never see their like again, a fearsome foursome who between them never made one single prediction that actually came to pass. Stop using them as your spokesmodels, it doesn’t increase confidence in your claims.

•  Enough with the scary scenarios, already. You’ve done the Chicken Little thing to death, give it a rest, it is sooo last century. It makes you look both out-of-date and hysterical whether you are or not.

•  Speak out against scientific malfeasance whenever and wherever you see it. This is critical to the restoration of trust. I’m sick of watching climate scientists doing backflips to avoid saying to Lonnie Thompson “Hey, idiot, archive all of your data, you’re ruining all of our reputations!”. The overwhelming silence of mainstream AGW scientists on these matters is one of the (unfortunately numerous) reasons that the public doesn’t trust climate scientists, and justifiably so. You absolutely must clean up your own house to restore public trust, no one else can do it. Speak up. We can’t hear you.

•  Stop re-asserting the innocence of you and your friends. It makes you all look guilty, whether you are or not … and since the CRU emails unequivocally favor the “guilty” possibility, it makes you look unapologetic as well as guilty. Whether you are or not.

•  STOP HIDING THINGS!!! Give your most private data and your most top-secret computer codes directly to your worst enemies and see if they can poke holes in your ideas. If they can’t, then you’re home free. That is true science, not hiding your data and gaming the IPCC rules to your advantage.

•  Admit the true uncertainties. The mis-treatment of uncertainty in the IPCC reports, and the underestimation of true uncertainty in climate science in general, is a scandal.

•  Scrap the IPCC. It has run its race. Do you truly think that whatever comes out of the next IPCC report will make the slightest difference to the debate? You’ve had four IPCC reports in a row, each one more alarmist than the previous one. You’ve had every environmental organization shilling for you. You’ve had billions of dollars in support, Al Gore alone spent $300 million on advertising and advocacy. You’ve had 25 years to make your case, with huge resources and supercomputers and entire governments on your side, and you are still losing the public debate … after all of that, do you really think another IPCC report will change anything?

If it is another politically driven error-fest like the last one, I don’t think so. And what are the odds of it being an honest assessment of the science? Either way the next IPCC report won’t settle a single discussion, even if it is honest science. Again, Dr. T, you have only yourself and your friends to blame. You used the IPCC to flog bad science like the Hokeyschtick, your friends abused the IPCC to sneak in papers y’all favored and keep out papers you didn’t like, you didn’t check your references so stupid errors were proclaimed as gospel truth, it’s all a matter of record.

Do you truly think that after Climategate, and after the revelations of things like IPCC citations of WWF propaganda pieces as if they were solid science, and after Pachauri’s ludicrous claim that it was “voodoo science” to point out the Himalayan glacier errors, after all that do you think anyone with half a brain still believes the IPCC is some neutral arbiter of climate science whose ex-cathedra pronouncements can be relied upon?

Because if you do think people still believe that, you really should get out more. At this point people don’t trust the IPCC any more than they trust you and your friends. Another IPCC report will be roundly ignored by one side, and cited as inerrant gospel by the other side. How will that help anyone? Forget about the IPCC, it is a meaningless distraction, and get back to the science.

That’s my free advice, Dr. T., and I’m sure it’s worth every penny you paid for it. Look, I don’t think you’re a bad guy. Sadly for you, but fortunately for us, you got caught hanging out with the bad boys who had their hands in the cookie jar. And tragically for everyone, all of you were seduced by “noble cause corruption”. Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s happened to me too, you’re not the first guy to think that the nobility of your cause justified improper actions.

But as far as subsequently proclaiming your innocence and saying that you and your friends did nothing wrong? Sorry, Dr. T, the jury has already come in on that one, and they weren’t distracted by either the nobility of your cause, nor by the unequivocal fact that you and your friends were whitewashed as pure as the driven snow in the investigation done by your other friends … instead, they noted your emails saying things like:

In that regard I don’t think you can ignore it all, as Mike [Mann] suggests as one option, but the response should try to somehow label these guys a[s] lazy and incompetent and unable to do the huge amount of work it takes to construct such a database.

Indeed technology and data handling capabilities have evolved and not everything was saved.  So my feeble suggestion is to indeed cast aspersions on their motives and throw in some counter rhetoric.  Labeling them as lazy with nothing better to do seems like a good thing to do.

SOURCE: email 1177158252

Yeah, that’s the ticket, that’s how a real scientist defends his scientific claims …

w.

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January 15, 2011 3:03 am

unequivocal: adjective: admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding
It would seem that he used the correct word… climate scientists admit no doubt or misunderstanding.
(whether what they admit is fact is a different matter)

JimBrock
January 15, 2011 3:32 am

Willis: My suggestion is that we NOT refer to “climate”. That is another pea. Refer to “global warming”, which is their underlying claim. And then poke holes in the “anthropogenic” part. Language has subtle effects.
Jim B

Sam Hall
January 15, 2011 3:33 am

“Look, I don’t think you’re a bad guy.”
I am not so sure. He is doing everything he can to push AGW, trash our economy and cause millions of deaths. There is a name for people like that and it isn’t a nice one.

Baa Humbug
January 15, 2011 3:40 am

Hmmmm I think there’s somebody cringing right now. (or kicking his cat)
I agree with almost everything in this essay Willis except…

Look, I don’t think you’re a bad guy.

Lay with dogs, get up with fleas. A years supply of Advantix won’t fix his problem.

January 15, 2011 3:45 am

What a fine piece of writing. Congratulations.

Steeptown
January 15, 2011 3:46 am

Just one word: Excellent

thingadonta
January 15, 2011 3:50 am

Yes, I have often seen the conflation of 2 ideas-global warming real, humans the cause mixed together-in surveys, in papers etc etc. If you say the global warming threat in future has been exagerated you are, of course, denying the world has warmed. Politicians are the worst at this. Talk about lumping things together.

Robb876
January 15, 2011 3:55 am

Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??

Peter Plail
January 15, 2011 4:03 am

Thank you Willis for such a clear exposure of the failure of Trenberth to abide by neither logic nor scientific principles.
He referred to sceptics as charlatans, let me quote a definition: “A charlatan (also called swindler or mountebank) is a person practicing quackery or some similar confidence trick in order to obtain money, fame or other advantages via some form of pretense or deception.”
I’ll leave everyone to draw their own conclusions as to which side of the fence the charlatans sit.

Joe Lalonde
January 15, 2011 4:03 am

Willis,
Once it is published, then it is a reference that needs no defending as it is absolute.
Would you like to use that as a defence for garbage science?
Climate science has. Any mistakes shown mean nothing as it was published by their peers of the same like minded.
Arrogance now reins and no defence is required.
I feel so sorry for the kids being taught this as 100% accurate. Been done now for generations.

John Marshall
January 15, 2011 4:06 am

I agree with everything above. The problem is that Trenberth’s paper on atmospheric heat exchange is the one the IPCC values and he claims is the truth and real science. He can’t even make his energy flow picture balance and assumed that heat will flow from cold to hot which the 2nd law of thermodynamics states is impossible. Sorry Kevin you talk c**p

kwik
January 15, 2011 4:07 am

Fantastic post Willis. You got it right.
Message to the 91 Norwegian representants in Cancun;
Read and weep. Find something else to do. Your carbon footprint is “unequivocally” too large.

John Innes
January 15, 2011 4:10 am

Best summation I’ve seen to date. Inspired writing. Well done, Willis!

LDLAS
January 15, 2011 4:14 am

Mister Trenberth lost it and it, is still missing.

Sera
January 15, 2011 4:15 am

Dr.T- denier of science.

David L
January 15, 2011 4:17 am

This reminds me of “cold fusion”. Two guys claimed they demonstrated it. The theory seemed right. However nobody could reproduce the results. So where is “cold fusion” today? It’s dead. The AGW crowd claims they demonstrated their theory of CO2 connection to climate, and the theory seems right, but nobody can reproduce the results. However after all these decades and millions spent, it won’t die. It’s kept alive by shady dealings of the primary authors to the story (as found in their own emails) and public fear mongering (as found on the nightly news and elsewhere). It’s certainly not kept alive by increased scientific substantiation nor vindication of accurate predictions.
When Einstein came up with an outlandish theory of gravity, that mass warped the space around it, there was nor universal acceptance until they predicted such warping would manifest itself in the image of stars behind a solar eclipse. Decades later astronomers observed exactly what was predicted. What do we have with the AGW meme? “Snows are just now a thing of the past” in the UK….then three years in a row and snow: record snow: guess what Einstein? FAIL!
And how many times have they failed yet the old story won’t die?

CVH
January 15, 2011 4:20 am

A stunning, excellent piece of writing.
Well done.

Brian S
January 15, 2011 4:22 am

That Monopoly card does say Community Cheat, doesn’t it? What an appropriate card for him to draw!

Keitho
Editor
January 15, 2011 4:22 am

I , truly, have no idea whether the globe is warming or not, let alone in an unprecedented way. I do know that here in Harare things feel and change like they have over the last 60 years of my life.
What I do know for certain is that our generated CO2 has not been proved to be consequential in any way for any change that might be happening.
That’s the fundamental thing here in my mind. If the climate is changing is man made CO2 responsible in any significant or worrisome way? It would be good for unequivocal evidence for this and so far it has not been presented. Our little spirals off into betting on Sea Ice areas or forest fire frequencies are just interesting in a time filling kind of a way. All too debatable and easily modified by statistics used by whichever team you are rooting for.
Is there unequivocal evidence of a global temperature increase at all rather than just “needle hover” ?
Is their equally unequivocal evidence that CO2 is doing things that will bring excessive stress to earth and all that lives on her?
Every time you see a move like Trenberth’s little arabesque you know that the core to his argument is non-existent. It’s like being asked by a Christian to prove there is no God, failing which there must be one. It might be religion but it most certainly isn’t science.
Well done Willis for once again re-centering the debate. We all need to know if the “global temperature” is actual an item, likewise if it is going up or not, and what is causing it not what Trenberth , without any convincing evidence, blames on Man Made CO2.

wayne Job
January 15, 2011 4:30 am

Nicely and roundly roasted. Well done.

TinyCO2
January 15, 2011 4:31 am

Yeah, what Willis said. All of it.
And one more thing. If CAGW is correct, future generations will put the blame for inaction onto climate scientists who don’t take Willis’s words to heart. They won’t be blinded by tribalism into blaming the sceptics who asked reasonable questions or demanded decent standards in the science. They’ll condemn those people who should have met those challenges.

Frank K.
January 15, 2011 4:32 am

Great essay, Willis! Thanks.
This episode reminds me that to nineteenth century physicists, it was “unequivocal” that light must have a medium within which to propagate, leading them to develop the idea of the luminiferous aether. After all, Maxwell’s equations required such a medium, as explained in the Wikipedia article:
“In addition, Maxwell’s equations required that all electromagnetic waves in vacuum propagate at a fixed speed, c. As this can only occur in one reference frame in Newtonian physics (see Galilean-Newtonian relativity), the aether was hypothesized as the absolute and unique frame of reference in which Maxwell’s equations hold. That is, the aether must be “still” universally, otherwise c would vary along with any variations that might occur in its supportive medium. Maxwell himself proposed several mechanical models of aether based on wheels and gears, and George FitzGerald even constructed a working model of one of them. These models had to agree with the fact that the electromagnetic waves are transverse but never longitudinal.”
Even as problems were found with the theory, scientists at the Royal Institution in England still defended its existence as late as 1908:
“Contemporary scientists were aware of the problems, but aether theory was so entrenched in physical law by this point that it was simply assumed to exist. In 1908 Oliver Lodge gave a speech in behalf of Lord Rayleigh to the Royal Institution on this topic, in which he outlined its physical properties, and then attempted to offer reasons why they were not impossible. Nevertheless he was also aware of the criticisms, and quoted Lord Salisbury as saying that “aether is little more than a nominative case of the verb to undulate”. Others criticized it as an “English invention”, although Rayleigh jokingly corrected them to state it was actually an invention of the Royal Institution.”
So, to paraphrase Lord Rayleigh’s quote above, one can suggest that CAGW theory is “actually an invention of the IPCC.”

Ken Harvey
January 15, 2011 4:35 am

“Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence [on the climate].”
I like that a lot, Dr. Trenberth. It is my belief that the core of Saturn is made of vanilla ice cream, and, as I believe my own hypothesis, then that surely is so and it is unequivocal. So far as I am aware no one has ever denied it to be the case: unequivocal. Supporters for my position? I have little doubt that with some application of effort I could drum up several thousand from the internet. They would, of course, lack something in the way of letters, but, so what? According to your own rules the onus would be upon the more learned to prove the nul hypothesis. Difficult that. Some of the most brilliant minds ever to be gifted to this planet have said, unequivocally, that the nul hypothesis can never be proved.
So there you are, Dr. Trenberth, for all practical purposes the supply of vanilla ice cream is without limit.

pesadia
January 15, 2011 4:40 am

Brilliant article, long as it was, i wanted more.
I think that the hockey stick team have made a fundamental mistake by putting all their eggs into one basket. Everybody knows that this is a bad idea.
Looking forward to your next posting.
Pesadia

björn
January 15, 2011 4:40 am

Trenberth wants proof there is no God, sorry.. I mean, AGW.
Im sure I have seen this kind of inductive reasoning in ancient debates on Gods existense. I never took them serious though, maybe I should.

Alexander K
January 15, 2011 4:45 am

As ever, Willis, your communication skills allied with your ability to unpick a statement and lay out all the costituent parts for us all to see so clearly are combined in an object lesson in critical analysis of language.
Like other posters, the only thing I disagree with you about, is your very generous assessment that Trenberth is ‘not a bad guy’. A person that has the education, training, intelligence, opportunities and privelege that Trenberth has, must surely have knowingly selected his strategies to make his way through the post-Climategate era; those strategies suggest to me that ‘he IS a bad guy’.

Jeremy
January 15, 2011 4:49 am

Dr T just got pwned!

January 15, 2011 4:54 am

I’m sorry, but this is too far. What is Mr. Trenberth’s email? And his bosses? We need to directly tell him how foolish he is. He has now completely overstepped the scientific method. What a fool.

MalcolmR
January 15, 2011 4:54 am

Brilliant piece of writing, Willis – thank you. I particularly appreciate your positive comments, such as “I don’t think you are a bad man”, and I happen to agree. I don’t think that Phil Jones is a bad man either, nor even Bill McKibben – they have been seduced by a noble cause, and their life’s work is at stake.
“Seduction by a noble cause” has happened for centuries, and once seduced, it is exceedingly difficult to break free despite the evidence there may be against your beliefs. Escaping from an abusive cult, even an abusive marriage, can be the hardest thing in the world, once you have committed your life to it.
We have the same thing in medicine – the noble cause of preventing heart attacks has seduced the majority of mainstream medicine to worship at the feet of cholesterol-lowering statin medication. Many billions of dollars have been spent already in putting the fear of death into people and vastly enriching the inner circle of big pharma. The mainstream medics who go along with it, research for it and promote it are not part of a big conspiracy, but have been seduced by the noble cause. Once their academic lives have been committed, it takes a very big, magnanimous person to be able to stop and consider that they may have been barking up the wrong tree.
I greatly appreciate your gentle, conciliatory approach to Dr T. I hope very much that he reads, listens and deeply ponders your excellent advice.
Malcolm

Bruce Cobb
January 15, 2011 5:05 am

“Prior to the 2007 IPCC report, it was appropriate for the null hypothesis to be that “there is no human influence on climate” and the task was to prove that there was.”
Hasn’t the good doktor just erected a classic straw man argument there? No one has ever argued that humans have no influence on climate, and that was never the null hypothesis. The null hypothesis was, and still is that natural climate variation driven by various factors, primarily changes in the sun and oceans have always been the major drivers of climate. But his strawman is even more insidious – a double strawman, if you will, because the argument isn’t even about “human influence”, but rather specifically about human-produced C02, and its effect on climate. Now, I have to wonder why would Trenberth want to talk about “human influence” instead of manmade C02? His dishonesty knows no bounds.

David Jones
January 15, 2011 5:08 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??
Yes, and I pretty much understood every word of it. What’s up Robb? To heavy and complex for you?

Lew Skannen
January 15, 2011 5:08 am

Very thorough. Says it all.
Very nice article.

January 15, 2011 5:10 am

“We haven’s seen any acceleration in sea level rise. We haven’t seen any climate refugees. ” <– "haven't seen".
" Stop re-asserting the innocence of you and your friends. It makes you all look guilty, whether you are or not … and since the CRU emails “unequivocally” favor the latter possibility, it makes you look unapologetic as well as guilty. Whether you are or not."
"favor the latter possibility," shouldn't this be "favor the former possibility"
or "whether you are or not" should be in parentheses, "(whether you are or not)"
Excellent article!
A+

Mark Twang
January 15, 2011 5:13 am

How sad the ecofascists must be to know that no matter how much they agree on their schemes to defraud us, Congress is never going to buy their bull. Their last best chance was voted out in November.

Steve C
January 15, 2011 5:17 am

Excellent post.
There’s another point I don’t think we make nearly enough of. Before the alarmist camp can claim that GW (or anything else climatic) is not just a natural phenomenon but mankind’s doing, they really have to show that they are including – and accounting for – every factor with any significant effect on weather/climate in their models.
Not only do they not do that, but it only takes, say, a week’s reading of WUWT to show why they don’t – can’t yet – get close. Climate science is still at the infant stage of collecting evidence and making preliminary hypotheses, never mind trying to scare us all with half-cocked “predictions” inferred from “trends” which are down in the statistical noise.

David L
January 15, 2011 5:24 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??”
Pretty much everyone with an attention span longer than a gnat’s

Jack Simmons
January 15, 2011 5:25 am

Great summary. Well written.
Another side point:
I am really getting tired of certain words and phrases such as:
robust
unequivocal
“Back in the day…” – a reference to a time when things were better, people did their job right, etc. Why not say something like: “back in the mid-sixties…”
“At the end of the day…” – People used to say “In the final analysis…”. That was wrong too, because there is no final analysis on anything. Why not say something like “My conclusion is…” or “The evidence suggests…”
awesome – used when someone accomplishes anything such as remembering to pull up their zipper.
perfect – used as awesome.
These latter two words are sprinkled liberally in the speech and writings of people under thirty. My theory is we are seeing the results of a generation taught to have high self esteem. Teachers encouraged their students not by challenging them to do better, but by telling them spelling the word CAT correctly was ‘awesome’. Not punching Sally out at lunch time was ‘perfect’. My teachers encouraged me by refraining from drawing red check marks all over my papers. This happened when I got the correct answers. No one was awesome or perfect; language of that nature was reserved for truly awesome things like landing on the moon or a politician telling the truth.
Of course robust and unequivocal are terms used by people trying to add credence to their theories; as regular readers of this blog site can attest.
Its too bad. All of these are nice words, overused by a generation losing its ability to talk and write with precision and accuracy. When a people loses its language, they lose the verbal symbols of ideas and their world is diminished.

David
January 15, 2011 5:31 am

How is it that the IPCC can link ‘unequivocal’to ‘melting of snow and ice’..?
Where is this happening..?
Every year, with relentless reliability, the Arctic ice melts in the summer, and with the same relentless reliability, freezes up again in the winter.
I would say THAT was unequivocal….

rc
January 15, 2011 5:34 am

C’mon you gotta love these guys, they’re now allowed to reverse the null hypothesis at will. Can’t wait for their next ‘trick’.

Venter
January 15, 2011 5:34 am

Steve McIntyre has shown below that Trenberth has lifted a lot of the text verbatim from a Nature Geoscience article.
http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/14/12736/#more-12736
So in addition to being a shameless peddler of false information, he’s also a cheap plagiarist. It’s a shame on climate science and everyday they find new lows to sink to.

January 15, 2011 5:36 am

That is a thorough, well written, well articulated and brilliant stomping.
I thank you dearly, my good man Willis!

January 15, 2011 5:36 am

I have the negation. Sea level rise. It will reverse shortly.
JE

January 15, 2011 5:41 am

Great post Willis thanks.
Verity Jones said at CA that Trenberth forgets that for every finger he points away from himself, there are three fingers pointing back. Now here are three fingers I would like to keep in view.
One – Steve Mosher’s comparison of Trenberth’s IPCC AR4 words with what they should say. Note the pea under thimble again.
Two – Ross McKitrick showing how crucial this sleight-of-hand removing UHI is for the whole IPCC position.
Three – (look under link 2) Trenberth has now added to the phrases people will quote and remember him by.
Track back from my posts linked here to the originals who deserve the credit and follow-up, Steve and Ross.

Buzz Belleville
January 15, 2011 5:43 am

What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming. And the point is that — with the strong la Nina of the last half of 2010, the end of a prolonged solar minimum, the negative PDO and AO, and even the Milankovich cycles tranding towards more NH ice formation and cooler temps, all combined with the fact that 2010 tied for the warmest year on record and we are seeing a record number of AGW-related extreme weather events — we’ve reached the point where the IPCC “very likely” conclusion has become even stronger. At some point, when all the variables line up to anthropogenic warming causing catastophic events, the burden does shift to the skeptics to provide an alternative explanation. Spencer has tried with the PDO, and Lindzen has tried with the iris theory, but neither is supported by observed events of the past few years.
Another strawman — No one says natural forcings have ‘no effect.’ They have taken a back seat to human emissions as the dominant forcing, but natural cycles and other natural variables continue to influence, even significantly, our weather and global temps on short-term, even decadal, timeframes.
The point that we haven’t warmed the past decade and that the past 30 years are consistent with natural variability …. kind of shameless. You have to do some serious manipulations with starting years or peak years to come to those conclusions. Nine of the 10 warmest on record within the past decade (1998 being the other). The rolling 5-year or 13-month averages on a steady upward trend. In fact, including the last two years, we are well within the 0.2-0.3 degrees C per decade. And the last 30 years show a marked departure from the previous 300 in terms of the rate of temp increase and the temp levels reached.
This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.

mareeS
January 15, 2011 5:48 am

That was a great essay, Willis. How amazing that a supposed scientist would seek to reverse scientific process. I’m a financial person, and nothing changes the laws of money, just as nothing changes the laws of science, no matter how much people fiddle about with them.

wsbriggs
January 15, 2011 5:52 am

One more thing, Willis, please stop letting them get away with saying that all of the investigations exonerated the ClimateGate Fools. The one serious violation was the FOI, and they got away with that due to the statute of limitations. That is not the same as exoneration at all! The other white washes were just that, but they narrowly escaped a real problem on a technicality.
Other that that quibble – dead on!

Mike
January 15, 2011 5:54 am

I am going to throw this ball at your face. But don’t duck unless you can prove it isn’t made of soft cotton. It is after all most likely a hoax perpetuated by elitist scientific journals that it is made of rock. And even if it is a rock, it could just be a natural cycle. Rocks happen, they have always been around. Many people have been killed by rocks in the past, in fact whole species have been wiped out by them. Hence there is no need to duck. Quack!

January 15, 2011 5:54 am

Robb876 says:
“Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??”
I thoroughly enjoyed it. But if someone who has bought into the notion that a harmless and beneficial trace gas is going to cause thermogeddon, then, as they say, “the truth hurts,” and turning one’s eyes away is a relief.
CO2 has risen about 40%. That is significant. If increased CO2 caused global harm, we would surely have seen evidence of it by now. But there is no verifiable evidence that anything unusual is occurring, except for the substantial increase in agricultural production.
In a world where a billion people subsist on less than $1 a day, more CO2 means life for many of them. But I think Dr Trenberth cares more about keeping the grant gravy train rolling than he cares about starvation.

MattN
January 15, 2011 5:55 am

It is difficult, if not impossible, to prove something *didn’t* occur. That, of course, is what they are counting on…

Keith
January 15, 2011 5:56 am

Slash all federal taxpayer support to agencies, institutions, universities performing so-called climate research. We have wasted enough resources over the last 30 years supporting apocalyptic climate fraud. The only real man-made apocalyptic catastrophe we face is the threat of nuclear war. Unlike the brinkmanship rules played during the Cold War the rules today are different.

Richard111
January 15, 2011 5:58 am

Willis, all the adjectives lauding your work are all used above so all I can add is “Thank You” for writing this.
Now a layman’s question for the education authorities; How can cool carbon dioxide in the atmosphere absorb a portion of the warmer radiation from the surface and, without ever getting anywhere near the temperature of the surface, re-radiate some half of that absorbed radiation back to the surface and so warming it some more?

David L
January 15, 2011 6:01 am

So in other words, since they can’t prove their hypothesis the burden now is to disprove the hypothesis?
Wow. Think about it. I almost hope they can reverse the null hypothesis, and fire everyone! It would make my job in big Pharma so much easier! I could then say ” the drug is safe and efficacious because I said so, and so did all my colleagues. Now it’s the responsibility of the FDA and other agencies to prove it’s not”. Then i could take the afternoon off golfing.
Can I sign up for the “null hypothesis reversal” petition? I see great advantages with it, overall.
/sarc

January 15, 2011 6:03 am

Magnificent Willis! Many thanks.
If I might add one more thought: Regardless of all the errors you have pointed out in Trenberth’s howler, it is also the case that the null hypothesis is defined by the question, not by the accepted answer. The null hypothesis is the absence of a connection.
Consider: “Traffic collisions increase the accidental death rate.”
It is so obvious we all believe it. And it is certainly true, unless we are all going mad. But regardless, the null hypothesis is “There is no correlation between traffic collisions and the accidental death rate.” Of course no one believes that null hypothesis, and any number of traffic statistics can easily be produced proving beyond doubt that this particular null hypothesis is wrong. We go further, we do not even bother looking for that evidence because we are so convinced by the most elementary observations of the world, that people sometimes die in traffic collisions.
Nonetheless the null hypothesis (clearly and comprehensively disproved though it may be) remains forever “There is no correlation between traffic collisions and the accidental death rate.”
Likewise the null hypothesis in the climate case remains “There is no human effect upon the climate.” Some divergences from that null hypothesis will surely exist, but each and every one of them needs to be established by evidence, utterly without regard for people’s opinions (or the amount of trees used in publishing refereed papers or IPCC reports on the topic).

Martin Brumby
January 15, 2011 6:08 am

Willis
It would be really great to see a collection of your pieces published as a book.
Go on – it would be a very useful reference work and make a great present!

January 15, 2011 6:09 am

Robb876 asks “could anybody actually make it through that entire post”
I know that Robb 876 has already moved on to “boobs aplenty com.” but his retort highlights one of the problems we face today. The public will not or can not engage for more than 183 seconds without becoming bored and changing the channel. I think that Robb876 should read the whole post. My neighbor should read the whole post. After I told my neighbor that AGW was overblown he told me I should get out more.

January 15, 2011 6:10 am

MalcolmR says: January 15, 2011 at 4:54 am

Brilliant piece of writing, Willis – thank you. I particularly appreciate your positive comments, such as “I don’t think you are a bad man”…

I agree, and thanks for that post Malcolm. It reminds me that there seems to be a positive correlation between those who are generous in their assessments of people, those who are willing to say “I was wrong” over both science and attitudes, and those who are scientists right through to the core, who are most staunchly helping the very sick Climate Science undergo medical treatment and attain good prognosis for the future.

Lockean
January 15, 2011 6:12 am

Rather than supposing Dr. Trenberth’s illogical statements are possibly evil in intent, perhaps Willis and we should perceive them as the sincere best effort from an inferior talent that is quite humanly fearful of facing up to his intellectual lacking. I know I do.

David L
January 15, 2011 6:15 am

Mike says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:54 am
I am going to throw this ball at your face. But don’t duck unless you can prove it isn’t made of soft cotton. It is after all most likely a hoax perpetuated by elitist scientific journals that it is made of rock. And even if it is a rock, it could just be a natural cycle. Rocks happen, they have always been around. Many people have been killed by rocks in the past, in fact whole species have been wiped out by them. Hence there is no need to duck. Quack!”
Here’s how the null hypothesis works in science, using your analogy. The null hypothesis is that the ball thrown at my face will not harm me. I do the experiment. I get harmed. Now I know, for all future reference, that a ball can harm my face. (I did get hit in the face in High school so I do know this to be true). Now I can act on this knowledge because it’s not a hypothesis but a good theory. Will some ball be soft and not hurt my face? Yes, but that’s called an interaction term and more experiments would be needed to fully describe all the ways a thrown ball could hurt your face.
Now in the case of CO2 causing thermagedon, what proof (experiments) do we have to prove this? I’ll spare you the response: none. It’s all speculation. And Dr. T. now wants to argue the experiment doesn’t need to be done. But go ahead and spend trillions and change the entire world economy merely on the precautionary principle. That’s not science, that’s politics based on fear.

Lonnie Schubert
January 15, 2011 6:18 am

Anthony, thanks for having Willis write.
Willis, thanks!

Fred from Canuckistan
January 15, 2011 6:19 am

Warmista Theology is reaching new heights of desperation. They can’t even deceive well any more, let alone tell outright whoppers & lies.
Their gods have abandoned them, their High Priests no longer can interpret instructions from Gaia and they have lost their ability to predict, or at least convince the people they could predict, the future.
The skies didn’t and aren’t falling. The People now realize we don’t need the Warmista High Priests to tell us what to do and how to live.
Another pseudo religion bites the dust and joins the legions of other useless and failed causes on the garbage heap of history. Each generation throws up its own causes and each, in turn, runs its course and fades away.
The sad part about AGW is the $trillions of dollars of pathetic and useless Public Policy decisions that have been made to appease that theology’s demands.
Truly sad when you think about what that treasure could have done for humanity.

January 15, 2011 6:24 am

A fabulous read Willis. Excellent work.

Henry Galt
January 15, 2011 6:25 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
So good I read it twice, which is why my comment is allll the way down here and yours is… froth. I have bookmarked it so as to stuff down the throats of globalists and priests at every opportunity in the future. I have emailed it to myself so that I may produce it, instantly, on any computer at any location I find myself in need of a concise, coherent, nay elegant exposition on the climatologists fairytale “position”.
I have a question for Willis.
Are you now or have you ever been called to the bar?
🙂

Doc Stephens
January 15, 2011 6:28 am

In your essay, you state the following:
“I understand that Dr. T has a scientific hypothesis. This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply. GHGs rule, OK?”
More precisely, the AGW hypothesis of Dr. T., asserts that if carbon dioxide gas goes up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. They usually ignore water vapor, clouds, ice crystals, aerosols, and other GHGs. They also ignore any question of the source of the increase in carbon dioxide assuming it must be from human activities rather than from the natural heating of the oceans and other obvious possibilities.
Over most of our planet, carbon dioxide plays a relatively insignificant role in thermal regulation. It’s absorption of IR is only important in cold, dry, and dark places. GHGs are an important thermostat, but the influence of the trace gas carbon dioxide is quite variable and relatively minor.
This was a wonderful essay. That we share your exasperation is unequivocal—a word that has no place in scientific inquiry.

Alexander K
January 15, 2011 6:30 am

I like to re-visit posts I have enjoyed to catch up on the comments, but Buzz Belleville, your contribution left me with my jaw dropped for a while. Your ‘sustainable energy law class’ sounds like something that would have been taught during the 1960s in a commune not far from Haight-Ashbury.

Henry Galt
January 15, 2011 6:31 am

Snip away. I am probably not the only one thinking;
[snip]

Warren in Minnesota
January 15, 2011 6:32 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??
Yes…

January 15, 2011 6:46 am

The guy is a clown. Once we thought he was just a somewhat deluded professional scientist. Now we know he is a purveyor of charlatanism. Charlatans try to reverse the null hypothesis – just look at the empty rhetoric and fallacious argument of any snake oil salesman.
But the bottom line is this: Trenberth is on record several times in saying that he can’t find his ‘missing heat’, and that it’s a travesty that he can’t. What that means is that he can’t get his calculations to add up, which means that some or all of his assumptions, his understanding, his observations, his models, his physics and his mathematics are false. Some or all. Now what real and honest scientist would seek to reverse the burden of proof and the null hypothesis when we all agree that AT LEAST ONE of those essential parts of his science (assumptions, understanding, observations, models, physics and mathematics) are FALSE? Now THAT would be a travesty.

Roger Welsh
January 15, 2011 6:50 am

Buzz Belleville says: ….
“Oh dear. Another who eschews the facts to suit themselves. “Energy law class”? where ever do you come from!

bill bowie
January 15, 2011 6:52 am

I happen to agree with the content ( so may be a little biased), but would like to praise the clear, concise and gentlemanly way that Willis has phrased his arguement. Well done and thanks!

Eric (skeptic)
January 15, 2011 6:59 am

thingadonta talked about lumping as a tactic. It could also be sloppiness. The easiest way to tell who are true scientists on either side are if they define and use words correctly. Those who say GW but mean AGW are being political or sloppy. Those who say GW but mean CAGW are hopelessly politicized.

OldOne
January 15, 2011 7:00 am

Great post Willis.
So now that CAGW is the null hypothesis (according to Dr. T), then we don’t need to spend billions more proving it, right?
All government funding from here on should go to the scientists trying to prove the scientific hypothesis that natural effects are causing the change in climate that we are seeing. Think that might change the results? … remember, only results confirming the hypothesis will get further funding.

Steve Keohane
January 15, 2011 7:00 am

Great piece Willis, love your writing style and allusions, e.g. “Akashic record”, brilliant.

January 15, 2011 7:02 am

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
When I started reading your comment, I thought it must be irony or satire or some sort of tongue-in-cheek affair, but when I got to the end was left thinking that you might really be as deluded as you write.
“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.”
I’m still not sure whether you are having a joke, and this is the punchline, because it sure sounds like it. If not, I suggest you do a bit of reading. You’ve obviously be given or selected a propagandized reading list.

Editor
January 15, 2011 7:11 am

Seconding Mr. Cobb, Trenberth isn’t just reversing the burden of proof, but is lowering it all the way to the ground:

…placing the burden of proof on showing that there is no human influence [on the climate].

Nobody has ever denied that increasing CO2 must have SOME warming effect. So that means the alarmists win? When that was never the debate?
Parallels the perversion of the interstate commerce clause, where post FDR the Supreme Court no longer required that regulated activities had to be a “direct” matter of interstate commerce, but that anything that affected interstate commerce no matter how indirectly could now be regulated by the feds, annihilating our system of limited enumerated powers of government. Just lower the bar on those limitations to zero and they no longer exist.

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 7:19 am

Superior work, Willis. Everyone should print a copy of your essay in large print and attach it to the wall just behind the monitor. Trenberth’s essay and your essay provide a perfect snapshot of the state of the debate about climate science at this time. In brief, Trenberth and his crowd avoid debate at all costs and push the “science is settled” meme. As you show so very well, Trenberth does it by moving the pea. By contrast, your analysis says exactly what must be shown, what has not been shown, and how to show it. We owe you a great debt of gratitude.

Dave Springer
January 15, 2011 7:20 am

@David L.
“This reminds me of “cold fusion”. Two guys claimed they demonstrated it. The theory seemed right. However nobody could reproduce the results. So where is “cold fusion” today? It’s dead.”
It’s dead in the U.S. by DOE decree. I’m not sure I trust US gov’t agencies to give the unwashed masses the unvarnished truth. If I did I wouldn’t be an CAGW skeptic as according to NASA it’s settled science. Japan is still officially engaged although they’ve abandoned the original electrolysis rig used by Fleischmann & Pons and are now using solid substrates with nano-engineered surfaces to bring the deuterium atoms close enough together for spontaneous fusion. They call it “solid fusion” now.
Don’t be too quick to discount unexpected results in physics. We still don’t know how high temperature super-conductors work. Theory only predicts low temperature superconductivity. High temperature superconductors are as unexpected as cold fusion. There’s a lot of [snip] happening in this universe that our theories can’t explain.

Gary
January 15, 2011 7:41 am

@ Buzz Belleville says: January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am

What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming.

C’mon, guy. You’re trying to move the pea under the walnut shell yourself! The post is about the unscientific and ultimately self-condemning behavior of scientists, not IPCC conclusions.
Whether you believe it or not.

Girma
January 15, 2011 7:43 am

“We were promised a warming of two, maybe even three tenths of a degree per decade this century if we didn’t mend our evil carbon-loving ways, and so far we haven’t mended one thing, and we have seen … well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.”
Here is what the data says regarding this issue:
http://bit.ly/dQ8S9i
Global mean temperature flat at 0.4 deg C for 13 years!
Where is their 2.4 to 6.4 deg C warming going to come from?
Only from their models.

Ron Pittenger, Heretic
January 15, 2011 7:52 am

WOW!!! BRAVO!!! STANDING OVATION for Willis!!!
This gets my nomination for “Best Rant” ever. Best is that it’s all true.

RockyRoad
January 15, 2011 8:02 am

David L says:
January 15, 2011 at 4:17 am

This reminds me of “cold fusion”. Two guys claimed they demonstrated it. The theory seemed right. However nobody could reproduce the results. So where is “cold fusion” today? It’s dead.

Would you please do some research and stop making a fool of yourself by denigrating “cold fusion”? Start by looking up “LENR”, an acronym for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, which is the term that has replaced “cold fusion”. The current centers of research for this exciting (and real) phenomenon happen to be Israel and Japan–multiple patents have been awarded and there is currently a second-generation medical device that works on the principle of LENR. Recently, the US Navy looked into it and provided detailed proof that it exists. But don’t despair–you’re not alone: The theoretical physicists are looking pretty silly now with their complete reliance on equations they’ve worshiped for over 100 years. However, the chemists that went into the lab and ran the experiments and found new reasons to adjust past unassailable dogma are looking pretty good.
Funding for hot fusion in the US has gobbled up all the research dollars in this field, which is unfortunate–they’ve spent unimaginable amounts of money and have not much to show for it. Indeed, honest experts conclude that hot fusion isn’t viable.
I’d much rather have a half-fridge-sized unit in my basement generating all the electricity I need for the next 50 years (just add 3 liters of heavy water), than some monstrosity trying to replicate the interior of the sun outside of my city; the comparison is staggering. Besides, researchers expect the delivery date for the basement-positioned LENR unit to be around 3 – 5 years in the future. I predict you’ll be using energy from a LENR unit before you’re ever going to get it from a miniature sun.

Kitefreak
January 15, 2011 8:05 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??
—————
I did and I thought it was excellent. Very glad to read it. Grateful to WUWT for hosting such excellent minds and conscientious writers.

roger
January 15, 2011 8:07 am

“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class,”
Now if “sustainable energy law” is a Law of Nature and unequivocal, please feel free to fill this gaping hole in my knowledge. If, as I suspect, it is a mickey mouse subject that makes media studies look like rocket science, then please forgive me for rolling about in lachrymose hilarity.

alan
January 15, 2011 8:08 am

“…serially unsuccessful doomcaster” Wonderful! The history of AGW in a nutshell.

Ben Palmer
January 15, 2011 8:08 am

Truly brilliant post, kept me breathless down to the last line.

Bruce Cobb
January 15, 2011 8:15 am

As far as whether or not Trenberth is a “bad” or even “evil” man, that is not up to us to decide. He will need to search his own conscience and/or visit his local clergyman for those answers. Suffice it to say, however, that deceitfulness is not generally the mark of someone who is a good person, and Trenberth’s rant positively oozes both deceit and self-delusion. Perhaps he can be forgiven the delusional aspects.

M. Jeff
January 15, 2011 8:16 am

Perhaps I misread, but isn’t “not” the latter possibility?
• Stop re-asserting the innocence of you and your friends. It makes you all look guilty, whether you are or not … and since the CRU emails “unequivocally” favor the latter possibility, it makes you look unapologetic as well as guilty. Whether you are or not.

Jeff B.
January 15, 2011 8:20 am

That will leave a mark.
It is a tough thing for a man to admit his life’s work was all a sham. Unfortunately, I think this is going to have an ugly ending when Trenberth finally realizes the game is over.

Shane Muir
January 15, 2011 8:23 am

I read it all.. I did not read all of the the references.. but I will.
I think it is the best work I have read on climate science to date.
It is SO good, in fact, that it scares me.
How come this site is still up and running?
These people murder people for less than this.
I cannot get my local newspaper to print my ‘letters to the editor’ about ‘climategate’ for goodness sake.
Its not about science.. its about public perception.
And that is a very very serious business.
Is it possible that The Powers That Be are controlling the weather?
Geoengineering is mentioned by Dr T in an email referenced in this article.
If they are controlling the weather.. it might explain why this page on the internet still exists.
Start talking about the science of 911, Anthony, and then see how long this site stays online.

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 8:27 am

Venter says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:34 am
Steve McIntyre has shown below that Trenberth has lifted a lot of the text verbatim from a Nature Geoscience article.
http://climateaudit.org/2011/01/14/12736/#more-12736
“So in addition to being a shameless peddler of false information, he’s also a cheap plagiarist. It’s a shame on climate science and everyday they find new lows to sink to.”
You have to worry that all these guys are using the same boilerplate passed down from the Kommissar. People who use this boilerplate are either stupid, crooks, or terrified that their careers hang in the balance. Whatever the case, they are hellbent to destroy whatever moral authority Galileo and his successors had earned.

Dacron Mather
January 15, 2011 8:34 am

Congratulations to Willis for reversing the sense of the science discovering a low molecular weight gas which reduces radiative forcing by watts/m2 at 100 ppm concentrations.
Now will could you please tell us what it is ?
We’ll all feel better when you do.

Snotrocket
January 15, 2011 8:35 am

Robb876 said:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
“Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??”
I sure could! And I’d do it again. There is something about reading such elegant prose, especially when constructed in such well-delivered argument. I shall probably read it again before the day is out.
As for you Robb876 (My! You really are way down the scale of Robbs, aren’t you? Couldn’t think of something a little lower in the order of names? – Just gentle joshing 😉 ), I can only urge you to really take the trouble to read all the way to the bottom – comments an’ all. It will open your mind, and maybe blow in the fresh winds of truth with which to fumigate it. Who knows, your lethargic comprehension might improve with use.

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 8:36 am

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
“… all combined with the fact that 2010 tied for the warmest year on record and we are seeing a record number of AGW-related extreme weather events — we’ve reached the point where the IPCC “very likely” conclusion has become even stronger.”
I could have selected any one of your points for refutation of your position, but I favor empirical matters and selected those points. Sir, the weather that we are experiencing is totally normal, totally within normal variation in less than one human lifetime. I have documented this many times on WUWT. Just search on my name. You will learn the story of the three “thousand year floods” that I survived in one midwestern city over a period of twenty years. Think Brisbane has flooding. I saw the Missouri River rise sixty feet. You use one of Trenberth’s techniques, assuming what you should be proving or at least substantiating.

csanborn
January 15, 2011 8:38 am

Excellent! For anyone unfamiliar with the whole AGW issue (now better known as scam), this cogent piece is where they should start. It gets them familiar with some AGW player’s names, it shows there is pushback to the AGW scam, and it educates on what constitutes good science; that science is not the pursuit of declaring a winner to a hypothesis by whomever achieves critical mass of public opinion first.

Kitefreak
January 15, 2011 8:41 am

Mr T is beyond the pale. His words are repulsive. Truly, deeply repulsive.
What he is saying should not be under-estimated.
“At the end of the sencond world war, the Nazis didn’t lose – they just had to move” – former CIA agent involved in the MKULTRA program.
See also Project Paperclip.

Mike Haseler
January 15, 2011 8:44 am

The last time I was hearing “unequivocal” was when Tony Blair was saying that the evidence that WMD in Iraq existed was unequivocal and that is why we had to go to war. And I quote:
Iraq-gate
(1) In Iraq, the overwhelming consensus amongst the experts was: that there were WMD, the threat was “real & imminent” and, the public was told the evidence was “unequivocal”. We were being told one thing in public by a campaign using the fear of WMD to sway public opinion, whereas in private experts like David Kelly were far from convinced.
“SIR WILLIAM EHRMAN:In terms of chemical and biological, particularly through the spring and summer of 2002, we were getting intelligence, much of which was subsequently withdrawn as invalid, but at the time it was seen as valid, that gave us cause for concern,
… March 2002: the intelligence on Iraqi WMD and ballistic missiles is sporadic and patchy.” 1
(2) How did Parliament and the public come to be so misled as to the certainty of WMD? Why did those against the Iraq war have to disprove the negative: to provide proof that every location in Iraq, where facilities for WMD might have been installed, had been searched?

Saaad
January 15, 2011 8:45 am

Lots of interesting stuff here but I really think you nailed it when you focussed on KT’s refusal to defend his work with any kind of public debate. It seems to me that this is the ultimate Achilles heel: to avoid debate, given the ever increasing volume of informed citizens via the blogosphere, is an anachronism.
Trenberth at times seems genuinely nonplussed that his agenda lacks the traction he feels it deserves amongst the “great unwashed”. Until he wakes up to the reality of the new paradigm ie the internet, and engages with his critics in a truly interactive medium, he will remain something of an embarrassment IMO.

Jim G
January 15, 2011 8:45 am

Mark Twang says: January 15, 2011 at 5:13 am”How sad the ecofascists must be to know that no matter how much they agree on their schemes to defraud us, Congress is never going to buy their bull. Their last best chance was voted out in November.”
Unfortunately, the left wing activists in the EPA and a variety of other departments in Washington are going forward with their schemes to kill coal and oil without the cooperation of congress. They will use anything they can invent from endangered species to environmental protection to accomplish their goals. Plus the well funded “green” organizations will file legal actions if they do not get their way and they can always find a liberal judge to file injuctions.
We need to spend more time pointing out the negative results their policies will most certainly produce in every case visa vi any POTENTIAL benefits. Major examples are the economic and social costs of carbon elimination from our energy supplies. Good minor example is that it has been found that wind farms make excellent eagle killers. This when many coal bed methane production activities are curtailed by the mere presence of an eagle roost near those activities.

Hector M.
January 15, 2011 8:47 am

I think throughout the T. paper (and also to some extent in Willis’s response) there is a conflation between two different concepts: “burden of proof” and “null hypothesis”.
The burden of proof, in a court of law, lays with the claimant (in criminal cases, with the prosecutor). In science, there is no “presumption of innocence”: ALL claims have the burden of proof. You have to prove everything you claim.
On the other hand, null hypotheses refer to the STATISTICAL significance of claims, in the framework of random variations (e.g. sample means relative to the true mean). When you find a statistical relationship (say, a correlation coefficient, or a difference in percentages or propensities or whatever), there is always the possibility that it is a fluke, coming from the peculiarities of your measurement method, sample, or other sources of random variation. The most common situation is one where errors (of your observations compared to the “true” value) are normally distributed, with a mean that tends to coincide with the true mean. Then you establish a “level of confidence” (say 95%), and deduce a “confidence interval”, i.e. an interval around your observation where there is a 95% probability that the true value is. The “null hypothesis” in that context is usually what would happen by mere chance if there is no relationship or non-random effect at play. Statistical tests allow you to “reject the null hypothesis with 95% confidence”. Suppose you claim that the size of a temperature anomaly is 0.5° C. You claim that your anomaly of 0.5° is outside the normal variability range. You know temperature is affected by random variation about a historical mean. The historical mean has a standard error of, say, 0.2°. About 95% of cases, actual temperatures in that case will be within about 2 standard errors, i.e. +/- 0.4°. The 95% confidence interval of the historical average would be from -0.4° to +0.4°. Therefore, the chances of the anomaly to be outside that normal range would be less than 5%. The null hypothesis would be that your observation is within normal variability. Given such numbers, you can “reject the null hypothesis with 95% confidence” because an anomaly of +0.5° is outside the range from -0.4° to +0.4°. There is always a small (2.5%) probability that normal variability goes upwards of 0.4°, as there is also a small (2.5%) probability that it may produce temperature anomalies below -0.4°, but 95% probability is enough for you (and your opponent).
Notice that null hypotheses do not refer to the substantive issue at hand, but to the statistical properties of your data.
Scientists cannot avoid the null hypothesis either. Whenever they are dealing with variables affected by random effects, the hypothesis that whatever you observe is just a fluke should be considered. That is the role of the null hypothesis.
Once the statistical validity of your claim is established within a given confidence level (say 95%), then you can address the substantive question: what is going on, what is the cause of the observed phenomenon, what are the mechanisms at play. The burden of proof remains with whoever makes a claim in those regards.

Matt Schilling
January 15, 2011 8:48 am

I think I stand with a majority of the readers of this site in being not merely skeptical of the claims of AGW, but actually cynical because of the seemingly obvious motives and agenda of the AGW crowd, as well as their past record of playing fast with the truth.
Yet, I bet I am nearly alone on this site in thinking the entire episode of AGW has been merely a miniaturized replica of the macroevolution gambit. Just as the author points out the sly attempt of a prominent AGWer to conflate unsupported ideas with others that are strongly supported, so, too, evolutionists have glommed their religious myth of macroevolution onto the patently obvious truth of microevolution. While it is certainly true that cats and dogs and goldfish and canaries can adapt to the pressures of their environment, it does not therefore follow that dogs can become cats or goldfish become canaries.
Do not doubt it: The AGW tribe wants to arrive at the same happy state as their macroevolution forebears: So entrenched that it simply no longer matters that their ideas are laughably absurd. And, they are employing the same heavy handed game plan to arrive there: Inbred Pal Review, relentless smear campaigns, complete control over funding, willing partners in politics and print, etc.
I ask you to resist the knee jerk reaction toward willful obtuseness and apply the same critical, skeptical thinking to macroevolution that you rightly apply to AGW.

JohnWho
January 15, 2011 8:49 am

Willis said (to Trenberth): “Look, I don’t think you’re a bad guy.”
Perhaps not, but replace the word “guy” with the word “scientist” and I’m inclined to disagree.
Agree wholeheartedly with the rest of Willis’ post however.

Jim T
January 15, 2011 8:54 am

Great article, but I have a couple of issues:
1. As mentioned earlier, under the ‘re-asserting your innocence’ section you should use ‘former’ not ‘latter’.
2. More substantively, you define the AGW hypothesis as saying
“if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply.”
You then state that the “[AGW hypothesis] is woefully short of either theoretical or observational support. In part, of course, this is because the AGW hypothesis provides almost nothing in the way of a statement or a prediction which can be falsified.”
I submit that this is not correct. There is substantial observational evidence which pretty conclusively proves that the hypothesis is FALSE. They claim that CO2 drives temperature, yet the evidence is mind-bogglingly clear that in fact temperature has driven CO2 for ages. If this data doesn’t prove the hypothesis wrong, then what does?

kcom
January 15, 2011 8:58 am

“Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming.”
Would you accept astronomical physics as unequivocal if a scientific body came out with a report saying that it is “very likely (defined as > 90%)” that the reason the earth orbits the sun is because of gravity? Or would you just laugh? That 90% number is just made up hokum. As you say, it’s a conclusion, but not a conclusion from data, it’s a conclusion from feelings. It’s not to be taken seriously.

Craig Loehle
January 15, 2011 8:59 am

There is another pea-thimble thing going on here by Trenberth and by others. They argue that “everyone agrees” that greenhouse gases warm the planet, and that therefore you should sit down and shut up. But that is not the question. The question is “how much” will it warm, which is not explicitly known, and what would be the impacts (with a mild answer given in the IPCC and a hysterical answer given in press interviews and such) and how much would it cost to fix it (the last being a question that one is forbidden to ask). So by getting you to agree to the first point, you are supposed to not ask the latter 3 questions. This tactic came up constantly on the radiative physics threads over at Judith Curry’s, where some climate scientists kept saying that “it is just physics” when they should know better.

izen
January 15, 2011 9:05 am

There seems to be a good deal of opportunistic re-framing of the issue from all sides.
First of all, the ‘Null Hypothesis’ is NOT, “which is that what we observe in nature is, you know, natural”.
That is a deep epistemological claim of science which opens a whole other can of worms…
The initial prediction from the AGW hypothesis was that the rise in CO2 from human sources would cause a global warming trend.
The Null hypothesis was that it would cause no trend in global temperatures.
The UNEQUIVOCAL data is that there IS a trend in global temperature. That overturned the initial null hypothesis which was replaced by the null that explicitly addresses the ‘anthropogenic’ aspect of the theory.
The new synthesis/antithesis became –
AGW is causing the unequivocal warming trend and predicts that there will be greater effects in higher latitudes, in the winter and at night.
The new null hypothesis becomes that any observed trend or regional changes are part of physical processes that are intrinsic to the climate system without any measurable influence from anthropogenic CO2.
As Eschenbach writes there are various lines of evidence that are required to refute the null hypothesis that claims the present climate changes are independent of the present anthropogenic CO2 level. First, that present conditions are anomalous, that they lie outside the envelope of chaotic, quasi-periodic behavior observed in the climate before the rise in CO2 and since the present Holocene stable interglacial period was established ~8000 years ago.
The problem here is that proxy indicators of surface temperature over that period are ambiguous. The LIA and the MWP may show up in some records, and appear comparable to present conditions, but may be absent from other records indicating the conditions may not have been global in the way that the present warming is. Himalayan glacier ice-core records show no LIA and a small MWP that is not synchronous with the peak in N Europe.
Perhaps the best evidence that present conditions are anomalous is the sea level data and ice mass measurements. Eclipse records indicate that the recent rate of sea level rise exceeds the rate for the last 6000 years. The last time sea level rose at comparable rates was during the collapse and melting of the last glacial ice-caps. Ice extent is falling globally and glaciers are melting back to positions they last occupied during the Holocene maximum 8 thousand years ago.
It is less than scientifically helpful if the null hypothesis is defined in a manner that prevents its refutation, just as the AGW hypothesis would be weaker if it was not open to refutation by a number of climate indicators.

Pops
January 15, 2011 9:07 am

…the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class…
Here’s the deal: if the know-it-all elitists can convince enough people that we’ll all die unless we let them regulate everything, they will then be the masters and we, the unwashed masses, will be their slaves. The whole point of an “energy law class” is to teach the avaricious how to game the system for power and profit.
Do the world a favor, Buzz, and switch to a useful discipline such as physics, medicine, or engineering. Seek truth, not power.

gt
January 15, 2011 9:10 am

Anyone going to the AMS? Let’s come up with a list of pointed questions for Dr. T. Post them here (so Dr. T and other members of the climate science cult) can read them before hand, ask him after his talk, and see what type of responses he will give.

Spen
January 15, 2011 9:12 am

Note to BUZZ
You are easily convinced. I suggest you extend your reading and look at the ARGO data on ocean heat content. Ask your teachers to explain why despite being heat sinks for 90% of global heat there has been no increase over the last few years. Even Dr Trenberth is confused.

Jim G
January 15, 2011 9:14 am

Mark Twang says: January 15, 2011 at 5:13 am “How sad the ecofascists must be to know that no matter how much they agree on their schemes to defraud us, Congress is never going to buy their bull. Their last best chance was voted out in November.”
Since the EPA and a variety of other govt agencies are populated by a host of left wing activists the assault on coal and oil continues without congressional authorization. They will invent whatever reason they desire to reach their goal. They also have liberal judges at the ready to support injunctions when “green” groups file legal actions. We must emphasize the socioeconomic costs of their folly more regularly. If more folks realized that 50% of the electricity in the US is generated from coal and that their lights and heating and cooling will either cost much more or perhaps cease to function at all under some of these new policies they would change their attitude.
Also some of the various left wingers might turn against some of these policies if they knew the unintended consequences such as wind farms making excellent eagle choppers. This while coal bed methane production is curtailed by the mere presence of an eagle roost in the area.

juakola
January 15, 2011 9:17 am

Good post Willis, hopefully Dr. Trenberth will read this with thought.

David L
January 15, 2011 9:17 am

To clarify my comment about Cold Fusion: that theory has been around for a very long time. It has not been demonstrated reproducibly. Some version of it may yet be demonstrated in the future: I don’t argue that.
What I will state is that the results of Pons and Fleischmann have not been replicated, true or false? Also it’s dead as research (at least in the US)? True or false? Again: true. Sure there are people still researching it, but people are also research Bigfoot, UFOs and Orgone energy. So does that mean it’s all true? Come on guys…

Vince Causey
January 15, 2011 9:18 am

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.”
Boy, they saw you coming. As they say – one born every minute. But don’t despair – permit me to take you through the points one by one:
“What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming.”
Did you ‘energy law class’ teach you that 90% is the same as unequivocal? But let’s not quibble over a mere 10%. Go to the AR4 report and find the calculations from which the canoncial 90% is derived. Oh wait – it doesn’t exist.
“And the point is that — with the strong la Nina of the last half of 2010”
No – the La Nina began in the last quarter of 2010, not the last half. The effects of Enso events on global temperatures have a delay of a few months – and January to May of 2010 was actually an El Nino event, which is the one that would dominate temperatures, not the much more recent La Nina.
“the negative PDO and AO . . . Milankovich cycles tranding [sic] towards more NH ice, ”
The PDO has only just entered a negative phase that takes 30 years to bottom out – AO is still positive. Are you suggesting that the Milankovich cycle will produce a measurable temperature trend over a couple of years when the shortest cycle is 23,500 years and the longest 100,000?
“seeing a record number of AGW-related extreme weather events”
‘Fraid not. Just seeing old fashioned weather patterns. Even the Russian heat wave was acknowledge by Nasa to be caused by Rosby waves.
“At some point, when all the variables line up to anthropogenic warming causing catastophic events,”
Unlikely – these variables are diverging, not lining up.
“And the last 30 years show a marked departure from the previous 300 in terms of the rate of temp increase and the temp levels reached.”
Absolutely wrong. Even Phil Jones admitted that the rate of warming in the last 30 years was no different from the rate from 1910 – 1945.
None of Hansen’s predictions from 1988 have come true, so if that fits your definition of ‘nailing it’, then good luck in your exams.

Grumpy Old Man
January 15, 2011 9:23 am

Back in 1947, when Britain experienced a devastating Winter and came close to being bankrupt (we were bailed out by the US). The then Socialist Govt. put bread on ration. (It had never had been during WWII). I do not speak as an eye witness – I was less than one year old. The reason was that Germany, which lay in ruins, was desperately short of wheat and so the British Govt. ordered that supplies would be diverted to our recent enemy.
You put up a great post, Willis and I feel sorry for those who found it too much. I do not advocate ad hominen attacks on Dr. T. but the the time to be nice to your enemies is when you have them well and truly beaten. Please don’t give credit where it is not due. I’m sure readers of this site can spot a charlatan when he appears.

Tom Kennedy
January 15, 2011 9:27 am

Gary Taubes has identified a similar situation in the nutrition field in his book – “Why We Are Fat”. (he calls it an “insidious problem” on page 185 of his book) I paraphrase some of his observations below and relate to the current “Trenberth affair”.
The situation with Trenberth and all the AGW “researchers, organizations, and public policy institutes committing to a belief early in the evolution of “climate science” at the stage when they know least about it also has happened in other areas of science.
In nutrition, we were advised (in the late 1970s)that a high carb low fat diet was the healthiest. When study after study showed this to be false authorities didn’t respond by acknowledging that they had made an error all along. “Doing so might make us question their credibility, as it should.” Instead, they tell us that the studies (and any contrary information) must be flawed and the results should be ignored.”
The AGW researchers, organizations, and public policy institutes have created a house of cards. They then used an Orwellian method and tried to label all those observers of how inaccurate their early proclamations in climate science have been as “deniers”.
“Castles made of sand wash into the sea eventually.” (with apologies to Gary Taubes and Jimmy Hendrix)

latitude
January 15, 2011 9:27 am

I’m amazed at the amount of people that have bought into the “extreme weather event” line…
…but even more amazed at the amount of people that have bought into a science based on elevated CO2 levels
….when CO2 levels are at an all time low

mycroft
January 15, 2011 9:28 am

OOhhh that’s gotta sting, great post Willis.
Trenberth must be crazy coming out with his rant. How can something be ‘unequivocal’ when he does not undestand/know the heat budget of the earth?
Science settled…in a computer model and his mind yes… in the real world, NO. It is a travesty that this guy was ever given a Phd and is called a scientist!!

January 15, 2011 9:30 am

izen says:
“The initial prediction from the AGW hypothesis was that the rise in CO2 from human sources would cause a global warming trend. The Null hypothesis was that it would cause no trend in global temperatures.”
You misstate the null hypothesis, which does not refer specifically to trends. It compares the current climate to the climate’s past natural variability parameters. As Dr Roy Spencer explains it, “No one has falsified the hypothesis that the observed temperature changes are a consequence of natural variability.” Natural variability is the null hypothesis.
An alternate hypothesis is tested against the null hypothesis. For example, if current temperatures exceeded the past parameters of the Holocene, that would be evidence supporting the alternate hypothesis. The extremes during the Holocene can be seen here.
If you wish to include trends as part of your argument, and claim that the current trend is outside past parameters, I refer you to Phil Jones’ data going back to 1850, which shows that the current trend has occurred repeatedly in the past.

Pamela Gray
January 15, 2011 9:31 am

Excellent use of logic-based counter arguments. 4 marks!
REPLY: No, the 4 marks are Hansen, Mann, Jones, and Trenberth 😉 Anthony

DJ Meredith
January 15, 2011 9:32 am

I see fodder for Josh here….
Dr. T, resplendent with mohawk and a 1/2 ton of gold necklace bling…caption:
It’s HOT, fool!

REPLY:
LOL! I’ve sent the idea along. – Anthony

write_thesis
January 15, 2011 9:34 am

sad

Mike Jowsey
January 15, 2011 9:35 am

Jack Simmons says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:25 am
These latter two words are sprinkled liberally…
Should be “These last two words are sprinkled liberally…” (when choosing between last and latter, the latter is used only where there are two options).
Sorry to be pedantic, but your post demanded it.
Excellent, clear and enjoyable post Willis – thank you.

P Wilson
January 15, 2011 9:37 am

It s a fine essay. I would have emphasised that Trenberth suffers from *projection*, or transference, as caused by advocating a cause – the cause of AGW theory. Thus accusing others of what he practices (null theory, denialism – which in his case is a denial of the pertinent facts in question that should be comparitive over time. At least 2000 years)

RomanM
January 15, 2011 9:38 am

Craig, the entire diatribe is rife with peas and shells:
First, we establish an unsubstantiated spurious connection:

So we frequently hear that “while this event is consistent with what we expect from climate change, no single event can be attributed to human induced global warming”. Such murky statements should be abolished. On the contrary, the odds have changed to make certain kinds of events more likely. For precipitation, the pervasive increase in water vapor changes precipitation events with no doubt whatsoever. Yes, all events!

Then, we make it the most important feature of the game (again, by mere assertion with NO scientific substantiation needed):

It is not a well posed question to ask “Is it caused by global warming?” Or “Is it caused by natural variability?” Because it is always both. It is worth considering whether the odds of the particular event have changed sufficiently that one can make the alternative statement “It is unlikely that this event would have occurred without global warming.” For instance, this probably applies to the extremes that occurred in the summer of 2010: the floods in Pakistan, India, and China and the drought, heat waves and wild fires in Russia.

Now comes the shell hiding the pea under it. Since it has been unequivocally established that ALL weather events of any type are the result of global warming, their very existence becomes new independent evidence that we are heading for catastrophe. This technique has already been used in the “melting glaciers” meme reasonably successfully in the past.

BSM
January 15, 2011 9:40 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??
I did. Easily.
And I applaud it!

Doug in Seattle
January 15, 2011 9:43 am

Another home run Willis. Thanks.

Robb876
January 15, 2011 9:48 am

Ok… I finally made it through the post … It was tough getting away from boobs.com for that long but I finally trudged threw it… Anyway.. This really is a good site with loads of good skeptical info, based on fully tested and well thought out hypothesisiss… And you guy have done a lot to change my mind, especially now that the conspiracy is trying to throw “hottest year” crap at us again even though it’s cold where I live…. Anyway… Willis just convinced me the other day that the earth was cooling… I even plotted a best fit trend over the last 12 years to prove it to myself… But now… It seems be be back to warming…. I just cant keep up… Boobie pics don’t treat me like this….

Kitefreak
January 15, 2011 9:51 am

gt says:
January 15, 2011 at 9:10 am
Anyone going to the AMS? Let’s come up with a list of pointed questions for Dr. T. Post them here (so Dr. T and other members of the climate science cult) can read them before hand, ask him after his talk, and see what type of responses he will give.
—————
He’ll just do an Al Gore and refuse to take questions from the media. These guys have learned well. Too well.
You’ll probably find yourself in a ‘free speech zone’, anyway.

January 15, 2011 9:52 am

Hi Willis
I think I proved already here in this report that an increase in GHG’s did not cause ahttp://letterdash.com/HenryP/assessment-of-global-warming-and-global-warming-caused-by-greenhouse-forcings-in-pretoria-south-africany global warming
If you have some time to look at it, I would love to hear your opinion on this report?

Kev-in-Uk
January 15, 2011 9:53 am

Excellent article and very well written.
Somehow though, I don’t see Dr.T having the
conviction/knowledge/honesty/integrity*
to furnish a reply.
* – delete whichever is not applicable.

Allen Cichanski
January 15, 2011 10:03 am

Every scientist should read this article. Every introductory science course in college should have the students read this as their first assignment. Every graduate student of science should read this before they begin their research. Everyone at NSF should read this before giving out any grant money for any subject. This may be as important a piece of science as any I’ve ever read. Thanks Willis.

pwl
January 15, 2011 10:05 am

“the core of Saturn is made of vanilla ice cream”
What are you talking about Ken? The core of Saturn is made up of chocolate ice cream!!! Have you no sense man?

GARY KRAUSE
January 15, 2011 10:05 am

Looks like at the moment of this post with 124 comments that the “Read it all” is 123 with one outlier.
Excellent commentary, Willis, on ridiculous “Mr. T.” AGW propaganda. Sad the funds supporting the warmista machinery are not going to real education.

John F. Hultquist
January 15, 2011 10:06 am

Willis,
Thanks for this excellent post. That took a lot of effort. I also took the time to read your example from June 2006. That, on your part, also took a lot of work and effort. To finish with the lazy and incompetent e-mail quotes is outstanding wordsmithing. Bravo!
I think it is time for Josh to do a cartoon of “Lazy Willis” with sharpened pencil and abacus, maybe a spreadsheet held down at the corners by walnut shells, and – off in the back – the worried face of Dr. T. showing in a port hole.

pwl
January 15, 2011 10:10 am

Excellent article Willis. Keep the fire of the scientific method and the spirit of the philosophy of science alive!!!
Those who make the positive claims, e.g. Dr. Kevin Trenberth, must fork over the evidence. Stand and deliver Dr. Kevin Trenberth, and while you’re at it please stop making doomsday claims that are not published “word for word” in a peer reviewed journal with all the evidence and the means of verification of that evidence to back it up!
Oh, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth you get a fail in the philosophy of science.
Willis you get a gold star!

JPeden
January 15, 2011 10:12 am

izen says:
January 15, 2011 at 9:05 am
The initial prediction from the AGW hypothesis was that the rise in CO2 from human sources would cause a global warming trend.
The Null hypothesis was that it would cause no trend in global temperatures.
The UNEQUIVOCAL data is that there IS a trend in global temperature. That overturned the initial null hypothesis….
[my bold]
No, the null hypothesis that Willis is referring to is not that there would be no trend in global temperatures. That’s only what the CO2AGW hypothesis said! It’s that hypothesis itself – no trend without CO2 – which is the actual “denial”, of the effect of non-CO2 agents, “natural” agents, and of the actual null hypothesis; and it’s that hypothesis which “begs the question” as to the cause of the increase in temperature claim. According to CO2CAGW as you stated it, the increase in temperature has to be due to CO2….by definition! Not by science.
izen, you just did the same thing Trenberth did: ~”there is warming, therefore it has to be AGW.”

jaypan
January 15, 2011 10:22 am

Great piece. Superb work. Thank you Willis.
Isn’t the AGW hypothesis already dead by showing the graphs when temperatures during the last century went up and down, no matther that CO2 level was constantly rising? For me, that’s enough to disprove it.
Anthony, have this piece at the top for a long time is a good idea.
And last but not least, a truescientist here was calling Mr. T a clown. I tended to agree but there is a more accurate description. He and the other (hockey)stickers are “useful idiots” for a more important purpose. That makes them more dangerous than just clowns.
And they know it, but trade in their reputation for a good life at taxpayers’ money … so far.
As one of them has exprssed it in the climategate mails: “who can resist to visit these congesses in Bora Bora” … and Bali … and Cancun etc.

SionedL
January 15, 2011 10:23 am

Since the science is settled and the proof is unequivocal and the other side must now prove they are right, then all funding should cease going into something we no longer need to study and flow the natural cycle side and figure out what the natural cycle is. Of course we cannot spend trillions to stop the natural cycle only adapt to it.

Coach Springer
January 15, 2011 10:25 am

Unequivocal agreement with the points – but equivocating about whether it is succinct and focused enough to have any large effect. It helps hold the dam in place though.
Scientifically, I’m not one of you, but tried to lay out my thoughts and analyses 4 years ago and noticed that the burden of proof was being shifted via illogical claims that we must now prove that AGW is not true, that the AGW hypotheses were not falsifiable or provable with any actual observed warming or cooling, and that the catastrophic (C)AGW theory consisted of the joint probability of a number of these unprovable hypotheses all being true (that warming is caused by anthropogenically generated CO2, will only increase, will be “catastrophic,” and can actually be stopped using methods more advantageous than adaptation).
That hasn’t stopped very human scientists from engaging in the antithesis of science for a variety of reasons – some of those being forms of moralistic self indulgence Trenberth is far from the first and far from the last.

juanslayton
January 15, 2011 10:25 am

Buzz:
I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it.
Hmm. Buzz, why don’t you go to New York and drive up the West Side Highway? You can leave your boat at home. (But don’t tell Jim Hansen)

David Ball
January 15, 2011 10:28 am

Great post Willis. Make them accountable. Full stop.

John Blake
January 15, 2011 10:29 am

Green Gangsters such as Briffa, Hansen, Jones, Mann, Trenberth et al. ain’t ever gonna change either their bullying, thuggish attitudes or their malfeasant ways. What’ll anyone bet that a year from now, in mid-January 2012, communo-fascist hysterics of Ehrlich’s, Holdren’s, lately Keith Farnish’s ilk will be declaiming Maoist China as the cure for democracy’s ills in neglecting to genuflect before Climate Cultists’ divine attributes? Nothing will change unless and until certain AGW Goebbelites appear in orange jump-suits, an overdue circumstance devoutly to be wished.
l

BravoZulu
January 15, 2011 10:29 am

Thanks for the great article. That was such a pleasure, I read it twice.

vigilantfish
January 15, 2011 10:32 am

Willis,
I’d like to reaffirm the call for you to publish your writings in book form. I’d be on the waiting list….
However, as one other reader here has noted, there is a rather puzzling ‘command’ you make near the end, viz.:
“Stop re-asserting the innocence of you and your friends. It makes you all look guilty, whether you are or not … and since the CRU emails “unequivocally” favor the latter possibility, it makes you look unapologetic as well as guilty. Whether you are or not.”
Perhaps I don’t understand the meaning of unequivocal, but my reading of the “CRUtape Letters” led me to the opposite conclusion, as does the quotation with which you end this otherwise wonderful dissertation.

Mark S
January 15, 2011 10:33 am

Willis says “We were promised a warming of two, maybe even three tenths of a degree per decade this century if we didn’t mend our evil carbon-loving ways, and so far we haven’t mended one thing, and we have seen … well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.”
Perhaps you could expound on this statement. All five main temp reporting bodies (UAH, RSS, HadCru, NASA and NOAA) show broad agreement that the decade of the 2000’s was .16c to 1.8c warmer that the 1990s. How do you get zero tenths out of that?

Mark V
January 15, 2011 10:34 am

Excellent writing. A great website. Thank you!

Jim D
January 15, 2011 10:35 am

The current null hypothesis is that no warming is occurring that isn’t natural. How can this hypothesis explain that the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans all now have a warm anomaly? Where is the cold water hiding? How do AMO and PDO explain that? The current null hypothesis is inadequate to even explain current observations. Something else is clearly needed to replace the null hypothesis, unless you want to persist with a null hypothesis that has already been disproved by observations.

Jimash
January 15, 2011 10:37 am

Great post Willis.
I had no trouble reading or digesting it.
Buzz Belleville, man you are what we are scared of.
Propagandized robots, getting ready to practice “sustainable energy law”.
That is the silliest thing I have ever heard.
Your school, parents, and professors should be ashamed for propagating these myths, wasting your time, and threatening the pubic with unrealistic legislation and, I guess, litigation.
I do not see how anyone who can read three sentences in row and understand what they mean, can delude themselves into thinking that there is a macro-crisis, which perversely refuses to reveal itself on a micro-level.
It simply isn’t true.

JJ
January 15, 2011 10:37 am

Buzz,
“What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming.”
What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting that what the IPCC actually said was that human activities are “very likely” the cause of “much” of the observed warming.
And completely glossing over the fact that the “90%” definition of “very likely” is a number pulled from the distal end of the IPCC’s alimentary canal.
And completely ignoring the fact that, unlike the assertive “very likely” the weaseling “much” is not defined.
This is the Trenberth/IPCC way. Make wild assertions, but be sure to throw in enough weasel words like ‘much’ that you can diminish and distance yourself from, and/or further exaggerate and cry wolf, with those wild assertions, depending on your future needs.

vigilantfish
January 15, 2011 10:42 am

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.
———-
Funny, I just started teaching another iteration of my environmental history class. I was a science student in the late 1970s and early 1980s, then thoroughly sold on the environmental alarmism of the era. Currently I am thoroughly unimpressed by the accuracy of those self-same predictions.

January 15, 2011 10:42 am

Willis said, re Trenbeth’s pea-shuffling Monte trick:
>That’s recursive enough to make Ouroboros weep in envy …
Well said. And a nicely-done riposte. Good job!
Trenbeth is one of the least admirable of the “Hockey Team,” in my view. Though there’s some stiff competition there, in the race for the bottom….
Cheers — Pete Tillman

“Fewer scientific problems are so often discussed yet so rarely decided
by proofs, as whether climatic relations have changed over time.”
— Joachim von Schouw, 1826.

Richard Smith
January 15, 2011 10:43 am

Trenberth’s energy flows diagram miraculously generates 396 watts m2 out of a mere 64 watts of solar radiation. Energy from thin air (literally). The man who believes in this fantasy obviously has an unshakeable conviction that is religious in nature rather than scientific. That is why the burden of proof is upon us poor unbelievers.

Douglas
January 15, 2011 10:46 am

Mark Twang says: January 15, 2011 at 5:13 am
How sad the ecofascists must be to know that no matter how much they agree on their schemes to defraud us, Congress is never going to buy their bull. Their last best chance was voted out in November.
——————————————————————————–
Mark I sincerely hope that you are right. The U.S. is the only hope of turning this crap around – Europe and the U.K. are toast just now – finished – kaput.
And Willis – your article was, as always, spot on. I imagined that if that missive was directed at me I would have disappeared up my ‘fundamental’ in abject shame!!
Douglas

sky
January 15, 2011 10:47 am

Kudos for a much-needed unequivocal statement of truth. The only thing now left uncertain is Willis playing third base for the Yankees.

Dr. Dave
January 15, 2011 10:47 am

Like virtually every Willis writes, this was a truly excellent article. Looking around the blogosphere this morning I noticed that just the comment thread for this article is more interesting and entertaining than the lead articles at other sites.
To help put the gravity of Willis’ essay in perspective I suggest reading Art Horn’s article on PJM today about how much taxpayer money is squandered on climate research. It can be found here:
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/how-much-of-your-money-wasted-on-climate-change-try-10-6-million-a-day/

maz2
January 15, 2011 10:54 am

Mcs? Another Mc from Canada.
We know the names McIntyre and McIttrick and their stellar work(s).
Now we can add another Mc to the above; now we have 3 Mcs.
Dr. Bob McMurtry.
Dr. Bob McMurtry may have brought down a Liberal-socialist government. Stay tuned.
More:
“How [Liberal-socialist] McGuinty’s windmill dreams became a nightmare”
“When Dalton McGuinty embraced wind power four years ago, it seemed he couldn’t lose.
Politically, his support for this infinitely renewable form of energy put the Ontario premier firmly on the side of the environmental angels.
Even more important, McGuinty’s Liberals pitched their commitment to wind as part of a comprehensive, green industrial strategy.
The government would not merely use wind turbines to generate electricity. It would also subsidize firms to build the giant machines for export.
In effect, windmills would be to the new Ontario what autos were to the old — the province’s economic driver.
Critics of the premier’s ambitious schemes were dismissed as cranks and nutters infected with a not-in-my-backyard syndrome.
To ensure that these self-seekers and know-nothings didn’t interfere with the government’s bold plans, Queen’s Park stripped municipal councils of their power to regulate wind turbines.
On paper, the plan seemed a sure winner.
But that was before Dr. Bob McMurtry.
McMurtry is neither a crank nor a nutter. An orthopedic surgeon and former dean of medicine at London’s University of Western Ontario, he is part of the country’s medical and political establishment.
He’s acted as a health advisor to the former federal Liberal government. In the early 2000s, he was a key advisor to Roy Romanow’s royal commission into Medicare.
McMurtry’s brother, Roy — a Red Tory and former attorney general — was Ontario’s chief justice for 11 years.
Bob McMurtry began as a strong advocate of wind power, keen to have a turbine built on the 16-hectare Eastern Ontario farm he bought four years ago for retirement.
As he explained in a telephone interview this week, he hoped to generate his own power and sell the rest to Ontario’s electricity network.
But being a scientific sort of chap, McMurtry began by researching the issue.
What he discovered alarmed him.”
http://www.thestar.com/columnists/article/922197–walkom-how-mcguinty-s-windmill-dreams-became-a-nightmare

BSM
January 15, 2011 10:55 am

@Robb876
Good on ya mate. It was well worth the effort wasn’t it?
I just wish more of my mates would take the effort to digest a bit of the content posted on WUWT. But it seems that most of them are still blinded by the light of the CAGW religion. I have tried to point them in the right direction but “Boobie” sites are just so much less mentally taxing. 🙂

Anything is possible
January 15, 2011 11:05 am

Willis said :
• Stop calling people “deniers”, my goodness, after multiple requests that’s just common courtesy and decency, where are your manners? It makes you look surly and uncivilized, whether you are or not.
_____________________________________________________________
Name me one great scientific advance or discovery that was achieved by a scientist blindly following the conventional wisdom of his day. All the great men and women who achieved these breakthroughs did so by proving that conventional wisdom to be incorrect. They were, by definition, “deniers”.
Instead of whining when warmists use this description, I suggest that it should be thrown back in their faces by reminding them of this “inconvenient truth”.

Henry Galt
January 15, 2011 11:11 am

Matt Schilling says:
January 15, 2011 at 8:48 am
I couldn’t agree more.
I came late to this game (2005) because the “weather” was not following the “science” in my anecdotal, non-climate-scientist, frightened-to-face-up-to-facts, out-of-my-field, tobacco-smoking, SUV-addicted, oil baron, flat-Earther opinion. Oh, the insults.
I though, then, that studying the nuances of this black art while it self destructed would help when it came to showing that many other pre-conceived, bottle-fed, media induced “scientific beliefs” were also.. ahem… questionable. Until climategate I was pretty confident, most days, that eventually this whole snake-ball would unravel and the truth would out and the madness would stop some time.
Post climategate? I believe that the inertia of this legend (in the strict MI5/MI6 sense of the word) will be very hard, if not impossible, to turn. I believe that even if someone/anyone should find the golden bullet, even tomorrow, that kills this sick and twisted zombie hypothesis stone cold dead forever that we will all be paying for the lie for the rest of our lives, the truth will never be made available to the masses and the perpe-traitors will never be brought to justice and they will, in fact, be rewarded handsomely.
Now we see what confidence in the powers that be being on your side can make men do. Now we see that funding corrupts and absolute funding produces junk science that is leapt upon by those holding the purse-strings. Now we see that no matter how daft/stupid/counter-intuitive some “peer-reviewed science” actually is there is no platform for dissent. Sad to say even Anthony’s most even handed and egalitarian conference/debating room, probably the greatest hope we have, will not be enough to remove the pork from the eyes of the politicians and/or expose the manipulative, psychopathic scum that feed on the very fear that drives the population we are attempting to enlighten.
Never mind all the other “settled” scientific claims, from “fluoridated water saves teeth” to “The Big Bang” via the war on (fill in the blank) from government and big pharma/war/food/etc.
The ills of this world can be solved. It is not going to happen with the current set up running the show.
“They just takes care of number one and number one ain’t you. You ain’t even number two.” – Frank Zappa.

DirkH
January 15, 2011 11:11 am

Trenberth fears that the flakey state of AGW science will never allow them to prove their “theory” (i put that in quotation marks because i have never seen a closed description of what the AGW theory exactly is, only post-normal ramblings, and will never see one). That’s the reason he wants to change the rules of the game.
He *is* desperate.

January 15, 2011 11:13 am

It would be great if this could be made into a PDF, or if the raw text (with HTML links and such) can be made available so others can post it verbatim (with links intact) on their own sites.
REPLY: Done, here it is: http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2011/01/willis_trenberth_wuwt_essay.pdf
Anthony

Viv Evans
January 15, 2011 11:15 am

Yet another outstanding article, and a joy to read: thank you, Willis!
Anthony – you actually sleep???
Who knew!
:-))

January 15, 2011 11:15 am

SionedL says:
January 15, 2011 at 10:23 am
Since the science is settled and the proof is unequivocal and the other side must now prove they are right, then all funding should cease going into something we no longer need to study and flow the natural cycle side and figure out what the natural cycle is. Of course we cannot spend trillions to stop the natural cycle only adapt to it.

Better yet, all that funding should now go into trying to disprove it. If the theory is strong, they have nothing to fear.

Editor
January 15, 2011 11:15 am

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/unequivocal-equivocation/#comment-574638
Folks, some of you seem to be assuming that Buzz is taking the sustainable energy law class; the truth is he is an Assistant Professor of Law and is teaching it.

Stephen Wilde
January 15, 2011 11:16 am

“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class,”
That is actually rather worrying.
It implies that someone somewhere has set up or is setting up a worldwide regime for ‘controlling’ or attempting to control climate.
Furthermore that a system of laws is being set up to that end. With suitable enforcement methods no doubt.
Did anyone ever vote for that ?

DirkH
January 15, 2011 11:16 am

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 9:48 am
“Ok… I finally made it through the post … It was tough getting away from
[…]
seems be be back to warming…. I just cant keep up…[…] pics don’t treat me like this….”
No more quality trolling. Last troll standing.

Stephen Wilde
January 15, 2011 11:19 am

“All five main temp reporting bodies (UAH, RSS, HadCru, NASA and NOAA) show broad agreement that the decade of the 2000′s was .16c to 1.8c warmer that the 1990s. How do you get zero tenths out of that?”
Easy. No further increase since 2000.
The pre 2000 figures having been skewed down slightly by lower figures in the early part of the period.
Do you understand the meaning of ‘plateau’?

beng
January 15, 2011 11:28 am

*****
Peter Plail says:
January 15, 2011 at 4:03 am
Thank you Willis for such a clear exposure of the failure of Trenberth to abide by neither logic nor scientific principles.
He referred to sceptics as charlatans

*****
Psychologists would call it an example of “projection”. That’s the habit of accusing others of something the accuser practices themselves.
When a politician (or post-modern “scientist”) accuses someone of “X”, you can be sure he or she is an expert executing or participating in “X”. Hence all the accusations of being under the pay of “Big Oil”, while themselves being funded by “Big” taxpayer funds.

dp
January 15, 2011 11:32 am

This should be the unequivocal death nell of Trenberth’s career as a climate alarmist. It would be a travesty if it is not.

tango
January 15, 2011 11:32 am

the day will come when one of these so called climate scientist will end up facing a long spell in jail the quicker it happens the better we will all be

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 11:33 am

GARY KRAUSE says:
January 15, 2011 at 10:05 am
“Excellent commentary, Willis, on ridiculous “Mr. T.” AGW propaganda. Sad the funds supporting the warmista machinery are not going to real education.”
Sadder still is the fact that the funds going to education in this country support ideologues who preach AGW and similar theories. What my 16 year old brings home from an elite high school is no better than a party line written by a Kommissar. Thanks, teachers’ unions. The poor kid would not know that the word ‘criticism’ exists if he had to depend on the educational establishment only.

izen
January 15, 2011 11:33 am

@- smokey –
“You misstate the null hypothesis, which does not refer specifically to trends. … Natural variability is the null hypothesis.”
I take you point that the null hypothesis does not refer to trends. But the problem with ‘Natural variability’ is that if it remains a purely descriptive term it is impossible to refute.
A common method in science is to try and refute the null hypothesis, if ‘Natural variability’ has no defined parameters, points beyond which measured change CANNOT be ascribed to physical processes uninfluenced by the anthropogenic CO2 rise, then it is impossible to refute and becomes an impediment to research in this area.
The link you give for extremes during the Holocene unfortunately only shows temperature derived from the vostok ice-core. This is a proxy measure from O18 ratios of the temperature during ice formation at the pole, rather less indicative of global temperature. The north-south reversal effects where the northern hemisphere is cold while the south is hot and visa versa are measurable in comparisons of both poles. The temperature record from the core samples also stops around a century ago. How does the present temperature on the same scale compare with the record, I suspect it is comparable with the 8000yrBPE levels.
The link you give for similar past trends uses some unrealistically short periods. but is also entirely within the period when AGW is an active hypothesis for observed changes.
But the graph also poses problems for those wanting to ascribe the variability on the changes in solar output. Temperatures appear to have fallen, or at least stabilized for a time in the 1940-1960s when solar output was increasing. But then has been rising recently when solar output has reached historic lows….

FrankK
January 15, 2011 11:34 am

“As I have found to my cost, exposing my scientific claims to the cruel basilisk gaze of the internet is like playing chess with Deep Blue … individual processors have different abilities, but overall any faults in my ideas will certainly be exposed.”
This, has to go into the 21st Century Dictionary of Quotations

January 15, 2011 11:36 am

I first started to read up on the subject of global warming at Realclimate. After a few months I got a feeling of “is this really all there is to their argument”. I began to read other blogs and when a guy called Tim Lambert (if I remember that correctly) confused a model for reality, and all his audience agreed and heaped praise upon him, I started to check the basics. They were not in place.
It is embarrassing to see dr Trenberth extend the logic and reasoning of juvenile blogs to science. One cannot help to understand why the french make such big difference between intelligence and wisdom. The AGW crowd displays an emphatic lack of wisdom.

Jeff Wood
January 15, 2011 11:36 am

Robb876, well done.
Just remember, you have to make up your own mind. Bu tin general, the side trying to convince you with trickery, or trying to scare the living daylights out of you, is the side that is mistaken.

robert
January 15, 2011 11:40 am

“well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.”
Come on dude, show your work? Lets see where this number comes from? Willis, you make a few good arguments and then you lose me by making a blatantly wrong remark. You are being hypocritical by throwing in that dig which isn’t supported by the data. It may win you points with your base but the people in the middle recognize the irresponsibleness of making such a statement that has not evidence supporting it.

Al Gored
January 15, 2011 11:41 am

Another truly superb piece, in a long tradition of them.
I certainly shall repost this every chance I get.
However, it might be more accurate to call Trenberth ‘Mr. T’ – as in the 1980s B-grade TV ‘star’ – as that would seem to fit better.

RockyRoad
January 15, 2011 11:45 am

David L says:
January 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

To clarify my comment about Cold Fusion: that theory has been around for a very long time. It has not been demonstrated reproducibly. Some version of it may yet be demonstrated in the future: I don’t argue that.
What I will state is that the results of Pons and Fleischmann have not been replicated, true or false? Also it’s dead as research (at least in the US)? True or false? Again: true. Sure there are people still researching it, but people are also research Bigfoot, UFOs and Orgone energy. So does that mean it’s all true? Come on guys…

Sorry, David L, you’re wrong on the first count.
And sorry, David L, you’re wrong on the second count, too, unless you’re saying the US Navy’s research (which is reproducible) was performed someplace other than in the US.
You must think the only science/engineering/manufacturing is happening in the US. Unfortunately, that’s becoming a less tenable position all the time. Take, for example, the fact that since 2001, the US has lost 42,000 factories, which had roughly 500 employees each. The jobs didn’t disappear–they headed overseas, where much of what we now use on a daily basis is manufactured.
Science is the same way, especially when people in critical decision-making positions here in the US are lobbied by special interests that don’t have your best interests at heart but have only their own.
Your clarification fell flat. Any attempt to drag Bigfoot and other such nonsense was a mistake.

Al Gored
January 15, 2011 11:45 am

dp says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:32 am
“This should be the unequivocal death nell of Trenberth’s career as a climate alarmist. It would be a travesty if it is not.”
Yes, where is the missing ‘heat’ that should be applied to this pseudoscientist?

RockyRoad
January 15, 2011 11:51 am

Al Gored says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:41 am

However, it might be more accurate to call Trenberth ‘Mr. T’ – as in the 1980s B-grade TV ‘star’ – as that would seem to fit better.

Please don’t elevate Trenberth to Mr. T’s level in the A Team; it’s an unwarranted promotion.

R. Gates
January 15, 2011 11:56 am

This is a very interesting post Willis, and I applaud your efforts. There are many things here I could quibble with, but out of the gate it would be this statement of yours:
“This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply. GHGs rule, OK?”
_____
Truly, that is not what the AGW “hypothesis” states, for GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models, and hardly stipulate that “nothing else matters”. Your simple definition of the AGW hypothesis makes it sound as though climate scientists are blind to the other forcings and simply discount solar changes, ocean cycles, and the rest. This is simply not true and you know it.
Much to the dismay of many AGW skeptics, the scientists who create the various GCM’s actually are dedicated scientists, and really do want to get the science right and understand what is actually happening with the climate. Not one of them would purposely ignore any known and proven climate forcing and simply focus on the primary and secondary effects of the build-up in anthropogenic GHG’s. Hence, as new information about climate dynamics are brought to light, they are, one by one, included in the GCM’s and, in that way, the science advances and the models get better and better. For example, the much talked about urban heat island effect was recently incorporated into a most current global climate model:
http://www2.ucar.edu/staffnotes/research/2563/capturing-heat-islands-climate-models
So, even in this simple example, climate scientists are hardly ignoring other forcings and only focusing on anthropogenic GHG’s. The bottom line is, as much as certain AGW skeptics may think otherwise, the vast majority (99.9% or greater) of climate scientists really do want to understand and advance the science, and are constantly looking for any new way (as in the example above) to make the models better. The insinuation that they are merely concerned with the forcings of GHG’s to the exclusion of all others would be laughable if it wasn’t so sadly mistaken.

stephen richards
January 15, 2011 11:57 am

Willis and Lucy S
I think you are being too generous to Dr T and here’s why.
In France we have Murder, Attempted murder, Murder Involontaire and the fameuse Crime de Passion.
Now We can and forgive the Crime de la passion but the rest NON.
So what is DrT’s crime. Well, he has realised by his own admission that there are problems in his theory of AGW (the email of missing heat). He has read (I assume because he constantly critisizes them) many articles or papers, even peer reviewed ones, which indicate points of failures in his theory and yet he is about to stand up in public and denegrate all who disagree with him and to reinforce the rightness of his theory.
In my book that is pre-meditated. It is not a crime de la passion, crime involontaire it is as you americans would say, 1st degree murder. I for one am not prepared to believe that he is not a bad man. Sorry!!

stephen richards
January 15, 2011 12:00 pm

robert says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:40 am
PRODUCE THE EVIDENCE YOURSELF.!!! Troll
Prof Jones quote. NO SIGNIFICANT WARMING SINCE 1995

January 15, 2011 12:08 pm

Thanks, Willis,
A most excellent article!
I’d go easy on the “I don’t think you’re a bad guy” part. Unless proof to the contrary.

G. Karst
January 15, 2011 12:12 pm

Most/many, lay/professional people, think the debate is about whether the world is warming or not. They assume that we live in the ideal climate. I have seen virtually no debate or science paper addressing the question “What is the ideal climate for the bio-mass and more specifically for Man (and his food supply)?”
If we cannot answer this basic question… then how do we know if the climate changing (as it always has) is away from ideal (hence requiring prophylactic action) or not??
I would truly like to see a lot more research into this question, than all the rest.
Our currently partly frozen earth and it’s reoccurring ice ages do not intuitively (nor logically) seem ideal, to me, personally. GK

fredj
January 15, 2011 12:14 pm

No matter how great the growing numbers of scientists who are skeptical of AGW theory, it is the politicians who need to be convinced. Unfortunately at the present time there seem to be precious few decision makers who are prepared to question let alone refute the idea that CO2 controls climate.
If only Willis could lead an assault, with his excellent logic, on those who are spending billions of tax payers money on fruitless projects to control climate.

ge0050
January 15, 2011 12:14 pm

“Rather than supposing Dr. Trenberth’s illogical statements are possibly evil in intent, perhaps Willis and we should perceive them as the sincere best effort”
Questioning someone’s motives never works and is typically wrong. All human beings generally believe they are acting for the best of motives. Hitler acted to save Germany. Al Capone provided jobs during the Depression.
I have no doubt that “The Team” fully believe that they are acting in our best interests to save us from ourselves. As such, they fully believe the ends justify the means, no matter what means are employed. They fully believe that the problem lies not with the science, but rather with the ignorance of the common person.
Well worth a read is Willis’ paper here, which exposes RC censorship of scientific debate:
https://public.me.com/ix/williseschenbach/Svalbard.pdf
My experience on RC is that it exists for the purpose of indoctrination. If you wish to learn the party line, you will be welcomed. If you try and engage in debate on the merits of the science, you will be heavily censored.

JPeden
January 15, 2011 12:16 pm

Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??
If you already or immediately understood that the opening words of Willis’ article quoting Trenberth demonstrates Trenberth’s [apparent] complete lack of scientific and logical thinking, which Willis later explained so lucidly, you didn’t really have to read very far! Right?

Mike
January 15, 2011 12:18 pm

Redundant, lumbering and meandering. Less would have been more.

Alan Bates
January 15, 2011 12:19 pm

“Robb876 says:
January 15, 2011 at 3:55 am
Could anybody actually make it through that entire post??”
My reply:
Which post did you mean??
The post of Dr T’s draft presentation? Where he knowingly and deliberately makes multiple uses of the offensive (and ultimately, meaningless) term “denier”? I struggled but, no, I couldn’t make it through to the end. I did try but I skipped the last quarter, or so.
The post by Willis? YES. Right through in 2 sittings – I was called for dinner part way through and, sorry Willis, nothing beats “she who must be obeyed”* – not if I want a good meal! Rivetting stuff. All I need now is to recap and read the statistics Appendix Willis referred to.
* For “She who must be obeyed” see Rumpole of the Bailey (UK TV comedy and books).

Matt G
January 15, 2011 12:20 pm

In politics it is called spin, scientists are not suppose to use spin just present the evidence. We will agree that spin has been used because failed to present the evidence.

latitude
January 15, 2011 12:23 pm

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class,
=========================================================
Good Lord
Is there no one left, in any field, that isn’t trying to squeeze more money out of this crap……………..
I guess, a long as the government is giving away billions of our money for it………..
This is what education has come down to, a sustainable energy law class

stephan
January 15, 2011 12:24 pm

There is pretty massive intense cold anomaly over Asia just one map here
http://wxmaps.org/pix/temp6.html
The rest of the world is “normal”. Usually, from previous experience in my view, this drop in ASIAN land temps tends to bring down the global average to below 0C, which is the case now. Check AMSU satellite. My prediction is for a cooling 2011, so once again the trend will be downas in 2008, but this time I do not expect a recovery to +0.2-0.6C which occurred 2010, for quite a few years if it occurs at all, as the AGW crowd would like. Basically, datawise, global warming, even non-AGW, has finished, we are going into a cool phase LOL (BTW J Bastardi wins hands down see bets at Lucia’s)

David L. Hagen
January 15, 2011 12:25 pm

Willis Eschenbach

In climate science, the AGW hypothesis states that human GHG emissions significantly affect the climate. As such, the null hypothesis is that human GHG emissions do not significantly affect the climate, that the climate variations are the result of natural processes. This null hypothesis is what Doctor T wants to reverse. . . .
since it has been thusly warming for centuries, the obvious null hypothesis would have to be that the half-degree of warming we experienced in the 20th century was a continuation of some long-term ongoing natural trend.

The IPCC’s mission was determining

“dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system” in relation to Article 2 of the UNFCCC”

The null hypothesis is therefore more generic:

Nature and mankind are robust and will tolerate a continuation of previous climate variations will continue.

These climate variations include ocean and atmospheric oscillations in temperature, pressure, clouds, atmospheric H2O and CO2, sea level, and weather extremes.
These natural variations have been quantified since the Little Ice Age in:
Syun-Ichi Akasofu, On the recovery from the Little Ice Age, Natural Science, Vol.2, No.11, 1211-1224 (2010), doi:10.4236/ns.2010.211149
Openly accessible at http://www.scirp.org/journal/NS/
The IPCC’s AR4 summary states:

There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.6 {2.2}
Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations. It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica) (Figure SPM.4). {2.4}
During the past 50 years, the sum of solar and volcanic forcings would likely have produced cooling.

Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change. {3.4}

In Box TS.1: Treatment of Uncertainties in the Working Group I Assessment The IPCC defines:
“Very high confidence At least 9 out of 10 chance”,
“very likely > 90% probability”, and
“Likely > 66% probability”
Far from just inverting the burden of proof, with IPCC’s statements, Trenberth has to show far beyond just “statistical evidence” of “anthropogenic global warming” AGW. He has to statistically show a 90% probability that “Most of” (> 50%) the warming during the 2nd half of the 20th century is due to anthropogenic causes. He also has to show that these will cause “dangerous anthropogenic interference”.
I.e., “Catastrophic anthropogenic global warming”. (CAGW).
Trenberth’s challenge is not just to show statistical evidence that recent climate changes are anomalous from the null hypothesis, but
1) that warming rather than cooling is due to anthropogenic causes
2) that these are
“very likely (>90%) due to the increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations”, and
3) that these will likely (>66%) cause catastrophic effects.
Also note above:
Bruce Cobb

The null hypothesis was, and still is that natural climate variation driven by various factors, primarily changes in the sun and oceans have always been the major drivers of climate.

Hector M.

null hypotheses refer to the STATISTICAL significance of claims, in the framework of random variations (e.g. sample means relative to the true mean).
The null hypothesis would be that your observation is within normal variability.

Smokey

As Dr Roy Spencer explains it, “No one has falsified the hypothesis that the observed temperature changes are a consequence of natural variability.” Natural variability is the null hypothesis.

January 15, 2011 12:34 pm

izen,
The null hypothesis does not explain the mechanism of warming, cooling, or trends. No one has all the answers to those questions. What the null shows are the parameters of past variability. Any alternate hypothesis must show at least some changes to those parameters. Othewrwise, Occam’s Razor must be invoked: natural variability is the simplest explanation for the current climate.
And regarding your question about the example of one ice core location, here is another from the Northern Hemisphere. Note that it has been considerably warmer during the Holocene. In fact, warm periods are much rarer than cold periods. And the fact that rises in CO2 follow temperature rises makes it hard to pin the blame on that tiny trace gas.
JPeden says:
January 15, 2011 at 10:12 am:
“izen, you just did the same thing Trenberth did: ~’there is warming, therefore it has to be AGW.’ ”
JPeden points out the fallacy of the argumentum ad ignorantium: “Since I can’t think of any other cause for global warming, then it must be due to CO2.” The null hypothesis says that natural variability has been going on for many thousands of years, and today’s climate is no different. There is no empirical, testable evidence showing that CO2 causes that climate variability.
Jim D says:
“How can this hypothesis explain that the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian and Arctic Oceans all now have a warm anomaly? Where is the cold water hiding? How do AMO and PDO explain that? The current null hypothesis is inadequate to even explain current observations. Something else is clearly needed to replace the null hypothesis, unless you want to persist with a null hypothesis that has already been disproved by observations.”
Again, a misunderstanding of the climate null hypothesis, which does not attempt to explain the mechanism, but only points out that there is no discernable difference between past climate parameters and the current climate. If you cannot measure any difference between a planet with high CO2 versus a planet with low CO2, then the claim that CO2 is causing today’s ordinary climate is a logical fallacy based on an assumption.
The fact that there are no observations showing that past climate parameters have been exceeded supports the null hypothesis. What we see now has happened many times in the past. In fact, we are currently in the “sweet spot” — not too warm, not too cold, but just right.
Now Kevin Trenberth wants to turn the scientific method on its head; to put the cart before the horse, and make his CO2=CAGW hypothesis the null hypothesis. He wants to ignore real world observations showing that nothing unusual is occurring. But that approach is no more scientific than astrology or Scientology. It is non-science.

D. King
January 15, 2011 12:37 pm

Well, this was your best post Willis.
Each paragraph drew you to the next.
An applicable aside. Here in California the fish stocking program was shut down for a while so Fish and Game could prove that a frog did not exist.
You’ve got to love it!

beng
January 15, 2011 12:40 pm

*****
Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class,
*****
Well, isn’t that special! Wonderful! That’s exactly what’s needed, a whole new generation of fresh, young, rosy-cheeked rent-seekers and manipulators, ready to save the world. We don’t need those brutish engineers….

J Broadbent
January 15, 2011 12:44 pm

‘Given that worship is “unequivocal”, to quote the cardinals/ imans/ priests, the null hypothesis should now be reversed, thereby placing the burden of proof on showing that there are no gods.’
I do not have a problem with belief, I do have a problem when a righteous few are able to destroy lives by imposing wasteful regulations thus lining their pockets and retarding our collective understanding.

Ben
January 15, 2011 12:56 pm

Great article.
Edit point for you to consider. First sentence below, choose “is” or “has” not both.
Dr. T, you had a good run, you were feted and honored, but the day of reckoning up the cost is has come and gone. Like some book said, you and the other un-indicted co-conspirators have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting. At this point, you have two choices — accept it and move on, or bitch about it. I strongly advise the former, but so far all I see is the latter.
[Thanks, fixed. ~dbs, mod.]

izen
January 15, 2011 1:05 pm

@- JPeden says:
“No, the null hypothesis that Willis is referring to is not that there would be no trend in global temperatures. …
izen, you just did the same thing Trenberth did: ~”there is warming, therefore it has to be AGW.”
Not intentionally, I am sorry if I failed to explain the point I was making so that you got the impression that I would claim that a trend would confirm CO2 as a cause.
The null hypothesis that there is NO trend was a historical position. I believe some still hold it, claiming measurements taken near cities etc have distorted the entire global record…
The detection of a trend means that observations failed to refute the AGW hypothesis, not that it was confirmed. They do however support it… to what degree depends on the parameters of the ‘Natural variation’ that is posited to be the cause of the observed trend.
That is the problem with the null hypothesis as presently defined – or not defined – which I was trying to point out.
If it is purely descriptive then it fails in comparison with an explanatory hypothesis that invokes physical process to account for the causation of the observed parameters.
‘Natural variation’ as a null hypothesis is nothing more than mystical handwaving by comparison with AGW unless it adopts the same engagement with explanations at the level of the underlying physics and thermodynamics.

January 15, 2011 1:11 pm

robert says: January 15, 2011 at 11:40 am

“well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.”

Read beng: January 15, 2011 at 11:28 am, and think about it. Willis is one of the best producers of graphs that show good information around here. You clearly haven’t researched this man’s work. What you can do is Google Images for a global temperature graph of the last 30 years where you will see that you are correct and so is Will. But Will’s observation is more useful in what it suggests or doesn’t suggest for future trends. Global Warming heat appears to be spent. Think October in the Northern Hemisphere: you can have days as warm as July but sure as hell that’s not the coming pattern.

BACullen
January 15, 2011 1:13 pm

Fantastic post W., as usual!!
And, equally thoughtful responses (well, most)
What is certainly clear is that the content of Trenberth’s character is seriously lacking. (w/ thanks to MLK Jr.)

Jim D
January 15, 2011 1:13 pm

Smokey, if the null hypothesis doesn’t explain why the whole ocean is warmer than average (using the last decade’s average, as I meant to mention in my previous post), it has been proved false. A hypothesis that is already proved false is no good as a null hypothesis. Also a hypothesis that has no explanation of a mechanism is not a useful hypothesis in the scientific sense. A valid hypothesis would at least list the mechanisms it allows for and have some measure of how much effect each mechanism would have, and how it could be verified or falsified. It can’t just say temperatures go up and down and we don’t know the reasons why, but we do know they are natural, because such a statement can’t be falsified by specific measurements like global ocean temperatures. If you look up any definition of a hypothesis, it has to be testable. I say again, the null hypothesis is testable, and has already failed to explain current observations. Either you throw out the hypothesis or the observations.

dp
January 15, 2011 1:14 pm

I’ve another thought and any and all may quote me.
“Any scientist that is not also a skeptic is also not a scientist”
Trenberth is not a skeptic. He has evidenced as much.

Michael
January 15, 2011 1:16 pm

Sunspot number: 0
Updated 14 Jan 2011
Spotless Days
Current Stretch: 1 day
2011 total: 1 day (7%)
2010 total: 51 days (14%)
2009 total: 260 days (71%)
Since 2004: 820 days
Typical Solar Min: 486 days
Updated 14 Jan 2011

Editor
January 15, 2011 1:16 pm

“Admit the true uncertainties. The mis-treatment of uncertainty in the IPCC reports, and the underestimation of true uncertainty in climate science in general, is a scandal.”
“Stop trying to sell the idea that the science is settled. Climate science is a new science, we don’t even have agreement on whether clouds warm or cool the planet, we don’t know if there are thermostatic interactions that tend to maintain some temperature in preference to others. ”
I agree. I think that the underestimation and misrepresentation of the degree of uncertainty about the trajectory and likely future state of Earth’s climate system is one of the largest scientific overreaches/failures in human history. As I pointed out in the El Nino thread there are dizzying array of variables involved in Earth’s astoundingly complex climate system;
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/15/nasa-la-nina-has-remained-strong/#comment-574922
and our understanding of Earth’s climate system, and its continually evolving behavior, is currently 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 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 climate and average temperature, are either deluding themselves, or lying.

DBD
January 15, 2011 1:17 pm

Owie!

January 15, 2011 1:20 pm

According to the 180 year CO2 record published by Beck 2007, CO2 measured 425 ppm in 1825 when temperatures were lower than today. And, we all know Berner and Scotese documented CO2 and temperature for 6E8 years and these histories show no correlation between CO2 and Temp.
So how does Dr. Trenberth or any other member of the Church of AGW reconcile the disparity of higher CO2 levels coming with lower temperatures? Or for that matter, increasing about 800 years after the temperature increases as indicated by GISP2 ice core data? Are these facts dialed into all the computer climate models? I think not.

Anything is possible
January 15, 2011 1:22 pm

R. Gates says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
This is a very interesting post Willis, and I applaud your efforts. There are many things here I could quibble with, but out of the gate it would be this statement of yours:
“This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters. The hypothesis is that the GHGs are the master thermostat for the globe, everything else just averages out in the long run, nothing could possibly affect the long-term climate but GHGs, nothing to see here, folks, move along. No other forcings, feedbacks, or hypotheses need apply. GHGs rule, OK?”
_____
Truly, that is not what the AGW “hypothesis” states, for GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models, and hardly stipulate that “nothing else matters”. Your simple definition of the AGW hypothesis makes it sound as though climate scientists are blind to the other forcings and simply discount solar changes, ocean cycles, and the rest. This is simply not true and you know it.
_____________________________________________________________
At our current level of understanding, sloar changes, ocean cycles and virtually every other forcing you care to mention remain inherently unpredictable. Who saw the protracted solar minimum coming 5 years ago, for example? Do you know how many major volcanic eruptions will occur in the next 5 years? Will there be a La Nina or El Nino in the Pacific in 2015. What will the NAO index be doing? When will the AMO next change into a cooling mode? Has the PDO flipped into a cooling mode and, if so, how long will it remain thus? – 5,10,20 100 years? How is the Arctic Oscillation going to play out in future years?
Neither you, I or, more importantly, the people programming GCM’s, can do any better than make an educated guess as to the answer to any of these questions and, no matter how well-educated, a guess is still a guess. Indeed, the only sensible assumption is that things will continue as they are today, until observational evidence tells us otherwise. Sensible, but almost certainly incorrect.
Just about the only thing that can be projected into the future with any degree of accuracy is anthropogenic GHG emissions.
Little wonder that the GHG tail winds up wagging the GCM dog………….

Helen Armstrong
January 15, 2011 1:30 pm

I wrote agin to Dr trenbath asking him Steve Moshers question. ere is his reply in full.
From: “Kevin Trenberth”
Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2011 6:26 PM
To: “Helen Armstrong”
Subject: Re: Your address to AMS
> Hi Helen
> In AR4 that section was overseen by Phil Jones and the lead author was
> David Parker. I am on travel and can’t check it in any detail. I recall
> that both Parker and also Tom Peterson, and maybe Jones, have done
> relevant work. This may also be detailed in the responses to reviewers,
> which is publically available.
> Kevin Trenberth
>
>> Dear Dr Trenberth
>> It was kind of you to reply to my letter yesterday, thank you.
>> While I am not confident that denigrating sceptics is a good strategy
> for
>> winning their hearts and minds i am somewhat comforted by your statement
> that one should only deal in facts. To that end, would you be so kind
> once
>> again as to answer the following:
>> In AR4 you and Dr. Jones wrote :
>> “However, the locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also
> those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes
> (Sections 3.2.2.7 and 3.6.4), which exhibit large-scale coherence.
> Hence,
>> the correlation of warming with industrial and socioeconomic development
> ceases to be statistically significant.”
>> can you please cite the paper or show the math you did to determine that
> the relation found in Mckittrick 2004 ceased to be statistically
> significant?
>> I look forward to your response.
>> Regards
>> Helen Armstrong

JPeden
January 15, 2011 1:31 pm

Mike says:
January 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm
Redundant, lumbering and meandering. Less would have been more.
Mike, if you already or immediately understood that the opening words of Willis’ article quoting Trenberth demonstrates Trenberth’s [apparent] complete lack of scientific and logical thinking, which Willis later explained so lucidly, you didn’t really have to read very far! Right?
In addition, Mike, why do you think your contentless “grading the paper” tactic works, when it’s actually even worse than a FAIL? It’s old, tired, and irrelevant to the subject of Willis’ post – aha, except that it’s perhaps another example of someone trying to evade thinking about and doing real science as a substitute for real science, which pretty much sums up Trenberth’s and Climate Science’s Post Normal Science CAGW Propaganda Op..

JohnH
January 15, 2011 1:36 pm

Look, I’m a Civil Engineer with no climate knowledge, and I have to apologise, but …
Can I take you up on your ?nineteenth paragraph:
“First you have to show that some aspect of the climate is historically anomalous …”
Well if you look at the Vostock plot, and if you think the last peak of the interglacial was 10,000 to 8,000 years ago, you’ll see that atmospheric CO2 has continued to rise despite the temperature decreasing (starting at a time when the anthropogenic effect was surely tiny, for sheer lack of humans) whereas after all previous interglacial peaks CO2 has followed the temperature down – and I think that’s historically anomalous. And if we can’t explain it, it worries me …

January 15, 2011 1:41 pm

stephen richards says: January 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

Willis and Lucy S – I think you are being too generous to Dr T

I take grumpy old man’s point about being generous to your enemy after defeat. And I see it’s easy to mistake my full intent, from those words. I want this man nailed for what he has done. Read that and my next posts following. See exactly where Trenberth and Jones perverted truth in the AR4 paragraph re McKitrick’s UHI study. Grasp that this single action avoids (1) facing the proper UHI reckoning, (2) the c**p styles hereto of UHI reckoning and (3) data collection and (4) processing, and also (5) keeps hidden the solar correlation. What Steve Mosher and Ross flagged up here is central to legally nailing the whole AGW as fraud. I emailed Marc Morano because I think exposing this is a better alternative than Cuccinelli but it needs to be a Watergate-level legal investigation. IMHO.
It’s in that context that I don’t want to forget that Trenberth could, just could, be driven by noble-cause corruption.
[(Robt takes off mod hat briefly.) But is he (Trenbert) actually “defeated” yet? Has he earned any generosity, or forgiveness, or has he even asked for forgiveness yet for errors and deliberate actions he has taken in the past? Thus, is it time (yet) for “being generous”? Robt]

Editor
January 15, 2011 1:42 pm

DJ Meredith, thanks for the suggestion.
cartoon of Mr T here
http://Www.cartoonsbyjosh.com
Hope you approve,
Josh

John from CA
January 15, 2011 1:43 pm

Great article Willis — I need to come back to it and read in detail but something occurred to me as I was skimming it.
The “null hypothesis” in science is the condition that would result if what you are trying to establish is not true.
Is it possible that this is much simpler to explain. The IPCC was created to study human contribution (AGW) to climate warming with the assumption that Science already had an understanding of the Climate System.
Using the null hypothesis, is it reasonable to propose, IPCC doesn’t understand climate nor its related science.
What evidence do we have that any of the IPCC AR versions are anything more than poorly understood Science Fiction?
I guess its a question of degree (pun intended) of understanding?

Helen Armstrong
January 15, 2011 1:52 pm

Mods – should my post infact have gone to the previous trenberth thread – the one with over 300 comments? I have written again asking if he could attend when he returns, but I am not confident of a repy of any substance. If, as Steve Mosher suggests the evidence is not there, then Dr Trenberth will not be able to produce it.

izen
January 15, 2011 1:55 pm

@- Smokey says:
“The null hypothesis does not explain the mechanism of warming, cooling, or trends. No one has all the answers to those questions. What the null shows are the parameters of past variability.”
That failure to explain is the aspect of the null hypothesis that I am criticizing. No one has ALL the answers to warming cooling and trends but since Tyndall and Milankovitch some people have been using the scientific method to develop credible explanations.
If you are content to exclude mechanism when comparing the AGW hypothesis with the null hypothesis, the issue becomes the uncertainty in the paleoclimate record. But that is a double-edged sword. Given the error ranges for such proxy reconstruction of past conditions it is often impossible to unambiguously define past warming, cooling and trends as equivalent to the present. That is why explanations based in physical processes rather than just data pattern-matching is invoked as an important means of discriminating the AGW and null hypothesis.
“Any alternate hypothesis must show at least some changes to those parameters. … And the fact that rises in CO2 follow temperature rises makes it hard to pin the blame on that tiny trace gas.”
There is one parameter which has changed beyond past Holocene values, the CO2 level. It may be a trace, but it is a trace responsible for ~15% of the warming we derive from LWR absorption in the atmosphere and has now risen to levels unseen in human evolution.
In past records its rise has followed temperature with an initial lag that indicates that temperature rise was the initial cause. But the subsequent correlation shows how the influence is known to be bi-directional.
The physics of LWR absorption within the atmosphere has been studied intensively for over a century. Recently as part of weapons research into heat-seeking sensors.
Co2 and temperature are part of a dynamic interaction.
The extra energy from the extra CO2 has been directly measured by ground-based LWR sensors.
Given the known thermodynamics of CO2 as a part of the atmosphere and the evidence of a very complex interdependent system it strains credibility that you could change one factor, and everything else would continue unaffected. As is often said about biological ecologies, you can never chang3e just ONE thing….

BACullen
January 15, 2011 2:02 pm

“David L said:
January 15, 2011 at 9:17 am
To clarify my comment about Cold Fusion: that theory has been around for a very long time. It has not been demonstrated reproducibly. Some version of it may yet be demonstrated in the future: I don’t argue that.
What I will state is that …..”
Apparently you are not up to date w/ LENR, (however, it is probably(=66%?? ;<)) NOT a nuclear reaction). visit; lenr.org for a quick update.
P&F's work has been duplicated, and some are able to replicate it consistently, since most of the requirements for the Palladium electrode are now known. Whether or not this or similar technology develops into something useful is still up in the air because the excess energy output is still small.

galileonardo
January 15, 2011 2:07 pm

Willis, great work as always. You have a gift for sure. When I finish one of your pieces, I feel as though I shouldn’t bother to try to write another sentence in my life, but nonetheless here I am again. I echo the calls for a book. And I thoroughly enjoyed your mop-up of Buzzard. You routinely offer many memorable quotes, but I love this one:
“You are fighting outside your weight class, against men who participated in the original battles around the time of your birth.”
Keep up the good fight. It is a battle larger than most people realize and there’s a ways to go before it is won.
On the battlefront front, please excuse my pseudonym. I’m not sure what your station in life is, but I have no choice but to go by one. As the only income for my family, I simply can’t afford the inevitable firing and blacklisting I would suffer were I to “go public” (what I do and where I live and work offers little tolerance of skeptic ideology). Not sure what Buzzard’s excuse is considering he is on the good side of the pod people.
Perhaps this makes me a coward in your eyes, though I hope it doesn’t. It’s a simple decision for me: I look into my 4-year-old son’s eyes and realize economic suicide is not an option. I know to choose my battles wisely, and the outcome of “coming out” here fists swinging is utterly predictable: immediate annihilation. That said, I don’t plan on sequestering myself from my sniper nest anytime soon. The view from here is simply too good to give up or expose.

Editor
January 15, 2011 2:07 pm

R. Gates says: January 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
“GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models”
Can you provide any support for this statement?
How do GCM’s account for the Thermohalin Circulation?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermohaline_circulation
“While the bulk of it upwells in the Southern Ocean, the oldest waters (with a transit time of around 1600 years) upwell in the North Pacific (Primeau, 2005).”
How are the GCMs estimating the future state of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), Atlantic Decadal Oscillation (AMO) and El Nino (La Nina) Southern Osccilation (ENSO) given “a transit time of around 1600 years”?
PDO:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/PDO.htm
AMO:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_multidecadal_oscillation
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/AMO.htm
ENSO
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o-Southern_Oscillation
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/ENSO.htm
The best way we have to measure the Thermohalin Circulation is Argo;
http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/
but “Argo deployments began in 2000 and by November 2007 the array is 100% complete. ” so the data we have is negligible on a process that takes around 1600 years to run through one cycle.
Can you show us a Global Climate Model (GCM) that rigorously accounts for changes in the Thermohalin Circulation?

Werner Brozek
January 15, 2011 2:11 pm

Excellent!!
“Here’s my shortlist of recommendations for you and other mainstream climate scientists:”
Who knows if Dr. Trenberth has not done some of these things in his private emails since climategate. Is there any way we can find out?

Snotrocket
January 15, 2011 2:16 pm

@Robb876
You said: ‘OK…it was tough getting away from boobs.com for that long but I finally trudged threw(sic) it… Anyway.. This really is a good site with loads of good skeptical info, based on fully tested and well thought out hypothesisiss (sic)… ‘
(I guess trolls don’t get an English education. That, or they don’t understand those squiggly red lines under their misspellings!)
But I’m glad you read it through, Rob. When you get your homework done I’m sure you’ll be able to post something based on your improved comprehension of the piece. Go for it! You know that you have the arguments already assembled that will make us (deniers!) want to spend the BILLIONS per year to change (hah!) the climate.
Seriously though, (and I mean this most sincerely, no kidding), can YOU tell US what the ideal climate ought to be and, furthermore, how you will maintain it at that level of constancy?

Dave Dodd
January 15, 2011 2:23 pm

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.”
Ummmmmm, Buzz – I was there. In the 1980s they were still warning us we were headed for the Big Deepfreeze if we didn’t change our ways. Will you people PULEEEZE make up your minds! From the “law class” you describe, perhaps you were/are in an alternative universe?? …

Dacron Mather
January 15, 2011 2:24 pm

If you believe in Cold Fusion, but don’t believe in radiative forcing, where do you stand on the so called ‘conservation of matter ‘ ?

January 15, 2011 2:26 pm

Jim D says:
“…if the null hypothesis doesn’t explain why the whole ocean is warmer than average (using the last decade’s average, as I meant to mention in my previous post), it has been proved false.”
Jim, you still do not understand the null hypothesis. It is the statistical hypothesis that states that there are no differences between observed and expected data. The Arctic has been ice-free in the recent past, so a warmer ocean is normal and natural [and the ARGO data shows a cooling ocean].
According to the alternate CO2=CAGW hypothesis, a 40% rise in CO2 was expected to significantly raise the planet’s temperature and trigger runaway global warming. It has not. That is not to say that CO2 has no effect, but the effect is so insignificant that it cannot be discerned from a pre-industrial time when there was no change in the trace gas.
Real world observations show that there are no measurable temperature differences between the past climate with very low CO2, and the current climate. The charts I posted show that today’s climate is no different than the climate over the past ten millennia.
In fact, the current climate is exceptionally benign. As Prof Richard Lindzen of MIT wrote:

Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.

The fraction of a degree variability in temperature over the past century is low compared with numerous times during the Holocene. There is no evidence that the 0.7° rise in temperature is anything but coincidental with the rise in CO2. If CO2 had a significant effect, global temperature would track its rise closely. But it doesn’t.
Thus, the climate null hypothesis remains valid; it has never been falsified. To do so would require empirical, testable evidence showing that the climate was behaving outside of its natural historical parameters. It is not, as has been repeatedly shown.
Again, I refer you to climatologist Roy Spencer: “No one has falsified the hypothesis that the observed temperature changes are a consequence of natural variability.”
The current climate is well within Holocene norms, by every metric except the increase in CO2. Since it cannot be shown that CO2 has caused any unusual warming, the logical conclusion is that the effect of CO2 is too minuscule to measure. Instead, computer models are used as “evidence” to try and show that CO2 will cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe.
But models are not evidence; they are only tools. And they are not accurate tools when used to try and predict the climate. The MET Office uses immensely expensive computers to run its models, and they can’t do nearly as well as one person with a laptop.
Kevin Trenberth is attacking the null hypothesis for one reason: it refutes his CAGW hypothesis. But the null hypothesis is a function of the scientific method, and attempting to replace the null with his own CAGW hypothesis shows the bankruptcy of the catastrophic AGW industry, which either ignores or subverts the scientific method.
Once again: the null hypothesis states that there are no differences between observed and expected data. The alternate CAGW hypothesis states that there will be observed differences [actually, observed harm to the planet] as a direct result of the increase in CO2.
Since there is no indication of runaway global warming after 150 years of rising CO2, Trenberth’s job security is affected, as well as his status as a scientist. That is why he is attempting to turn the scientific method upside down. He can not admit the obvious: CO2 is a non-problem.

January 15, 2011 2:26 pm

The Good Book has it right concerning prophets of any kind:
You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?”
If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him.”
Deuteronomy ch.18:21-22

Scott
January 15, 2011 2:38 pm

Buzz Belleville says:
“This past week, I started into the “international climate regime” part of my sustainable energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.”
You’d do well with a history class first. The Global “Cooling” theory was still in play then.

M Simon
January 15, 2011 2:40 pm

Akashic Records
I haven’t heard that term in decades. I got a very wry smile from it.
Ain, Ain Sof. Ain Sof Or. (which is kind of a transliteration of the Hebrew)

David, UK
January 15, 2011 2:40 pm

An excellent piece Willis – if at times you do appear to be sitting on the fence whether you are or not.
Please tell us what you really think. 😉

R. Gates
January 15, 2011 2:48 pm

Just The Facts says:
January 15, 2011 at 2:07 pm
R. Gates says: January 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
“GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models”
Can you provide any support for this statement?
Can you show us a Global Climate Model (GCM) that rigorously accounts for changes in the Thermohalin Circulation?
_______
The best GCM’s are extremely complicated affairs that take into account tens of thousands of different variables and require massive supercomputers to run. They certainly take into account many aspects of thermohalin circulation on a global basis. One of the most comprehensive models (IMO) is the CESM 1.0. I would suggest you begin here:
http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/cesm1.0/
And explore all the facets for yourself. You’ll see that not only is something as relatively simple as thermohaline circulation included, but more far more variables than you’d guess. The steady accumulation of CO2 is only one of thousands. And as I said before, the best thing is these models are always being refined as the science advances.

jorgekafkazar
January 15, 2011 2:48 pm

Poor Trenberth finally put his foot in it up to his knee. Will he be remembered for pointing out the travesty? Or for becoming a bigger and bigger part of it?

FrankK
January 15, 2011 2:50 pm

23 errors in Trenberth’s opinions
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/monckton/23errors.html

Admin
January 15, 2011 2:53 pm

Willis willis willis,
To sum it up:

Dr. Trenberth, when on a journey, if you do nothing but circle the wagons, you won’t make any forward progress.

Jeff Id
January 15, 2011 2:56 pm

Just want to add my own -hell yes.

pyromancer76
January 15, 2011 3:09 pm

Excellent, Willis. Disseminated, even before Anthony’s suggestion. Thanks to both.

Stephen Brown
January 15, 2011 3:10 pm

A measurable proportion of the rest of my life has been spent in reading and then re-reading Willis’s posting and just about all of the comments to date.
BRAVO Sir!

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 3:11 pm

R. Gates says: January 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
“GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models”
But they are still models. Models are good for analytical work and nothing else. In other words, models are worthless for synthetic work; that is, they cannot be used to make predictions. To make predictions you must have hypotheses. There is not so much as a set of hypotheses that can be used to explain and predict even the familiar La Nina phenomenon. If there are no hypotheses, there is no science. If you had hypotheses, you would have trotted them out long ago and you would have no interest in models, except as they make it easier to see the consequences of your hypotheses.

Jim D
January 15, 2011 3:12 pm

Smokey, on what basis do you think AGW predicts runaway global warming, let alone that it has already started? No one expects that. Three more degrees by 2100 is hardly runaway global warming, and the amount so far is no less than AGW suggests.
You say the null hypothesis is a statistical hypothesis. How can statistics explain the global ocean being warmer than average everywhere? Is this just a random fluctuation? No, it is so unlikely to happen that it disproves even a statistical hypothesis.

stephan
January 15, 2011 3:12 pm

AW: have you seen this probably major major story apologies if already done here
http://www.suite101.com/content/court-orders-university-to-surrender-global-warming-records-a328888
Seems Mann will be nailed

Curiousgeorge
January 15, 2011 3:15 pm

Willis Eschenbach says:
January 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm
Nice reply to robert, Willis. 🙂 The demand for “citations”, as if they were the word of God, has always irritated me. The questioner, it seems to me, assumes that past work is somehow more relevant than innovative and current analysis. Clinging to the past so to speak, or appealing to some authority he/she happens to agree with.

Shub Niggurath
January 15, 2011 3:22 pm

I posted this comment on the earlier Trenberth thread.

Trenberth writes:
…it was appropriate for the null hypothesis to be that “there is no human influence on climate”

He says this has to now be abandoned because:
Given that global warming is “unequivocal”, [to quote the 2007 IPCC report]
This is such a fundamental error it is embarrasing to even point out.
That the ‘globe is warming’ cannot become ‘proof’ that humans are doing it!
🙂

January 15, 2011 3:25 pm

Thank you for sharing this brilliant piece of work with us Willis. As I went through the various points, one by one I could only nod, smile and utter; “yes of course!”
However the paragraph that started; “Stop trying to sell the idea that the science is settled.” was the one that interested me the most. That could, of course be because I see Dr. T’s “Global Energy Budget Plan” as “The No. 1 Icon for the AGW priesthood” (Chief of all their false Gods)
However be that as it may, but why is the producer of, the by now famous “Energy Budget Plan” (numerous clones have been born), which shows that ‘energy in’ equals ‘energy out’ (almost down to the last W/m²) asking: “How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going or —?”
-And then goes on to state; “We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”
Is he not here admitting that “The Global Energy Flow Plan” is a “piece of fraud”, whether he realizes it or not?
By the way (positive = negative) your statement “Climate science is a new science” may not be very well researched but “we don’t even have agreement on whether clouds warm or cool the planet” may be spot on.
OHD.

harrywr2
January 15, 2011 3:26 pm

R. Gates says:
“Truly, that is not what the AGW “hypothesis” states, for GCM’s include every known forcing”
So how accurate are they at predicting something simple and observable, like Hadley Cell Expansion?
http://www.atmos.berkeley.edu/~jchiang/Class/Spr07/Geog257/Week10/Lu_Hadley06.pdf
Fu et al. [2006] estimated the amount of latitudinal widening of the HC over the period 1979-2005 as ~2°latitude. Over the same period the increase in global temperature was about 0.5°C, so that the widening of the HC amounts to ~4° latitude per degree warming. This is much greater than what we find in the simulations of the AR4 A2 scenario (~0.6° latitude /K).
The models are tuned so they are sort of capable of hind casting temperature trend, but in the process they end up getting important components of climate, such as Hadley Cell width wrong.

January 15, 2011 3:29 pm

Regarding Sustainable Energy Law Courses: yes, these things exist. And yes, the law schools are teaching law students what the current state of the law is on regulating energy, with a view toward curbing or capping CO2. It is a “given” that CO2 causes the Earth to warm.
As just a couple of examples, from Fordham University School of Law (New York City):
“Sustainable Energy Law and Policy
Carbon Dioxide emissions associated with the burning of fossil fuels for energy (electricity and fuel) are the leading cause of global warming. This course will focus on new policies being developed and implemented at the state and federal level to enable the transition towards a less carbon intensive economy and the legal issues associated with them. In particular, we will examine developments in utility regulation, renewable electricity and fuels, energy efficiency and policies to cap carbon emissions from power generation and vehicles. As part of the final grade, students will develop a paper that will examine a particular sustainable energy topic, analyze policies and legal issues associated with it and recommend measures to enable the transition.
Credits: 2
Type: SEM (meaning a seminar class – lots of lectures, then write a paper at the end of the semester.) ”
Willamette University College of Law offers a Certificate Program in Sustainability Law.
http://www.willamette.edu/wucl/programs/certificates/sustainability.php
UCLA Law, that bastion of straight-thinking (sarc off now), has totally swallowed the hook, line, and sinker of CAGW. If there were a more frightening word than “Catastrophic” they would likely prefer it. Perhaps “Apocalyptic” or “Doomsday” would do. Their website shows the law school has these offerings: a Center on Climate Change and the Environment, also an Environmental Law and Policy Program.
http://www.law.ucla.edu/home/index.asp?page=841
There are others, of course. The law schools are turning out minds filled with the knowledge to make policies and laws to push “evil” CO2 back into the ground.
I have attended some of the lectures and seminars at UCLA. I am loudly derided for asking pertinent questions. I enjoy every minute of it!
Fortunately, some of us are already in the fight. For every lawyer on the CAGW side in a courtroom or legislative policy-shaping session, there is one on the climate realism side. I am one of the latter.

FrankK
January 15, 2011 3:34 pm

Buzz Belleville says:
January 15, 2011 at 5:43 am
What a dishonest posting. Completely omitting the IPCC conclusion that human activities are “very likely” (defined as >90%) the cause of observed warming. And the energy law class, and I’m always amazed by how accurate those warning of AGW in the 1980s were. They nailed it. We should have listened to them long ago.
Etc etc etc
========================================================
Buzz,
You should read these first before next fronting the class:
file:///C:/Climate%20Change%20Docs/23errors%20by%20Trenberth.htm
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/noaa_and_nasa_proclamations.html
Best wishes to infinity and beyond! Just be sure you have replacement batteries.

valmajkus
January 15, 2011 3:38 pm

Great letter Willis from dry/wet Aust or should that be wet/dry
in respect to the null hypothesis
Warwick Hughes http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=780#more-780 has a Guest article by Pat Frank
Dr Frank says
We’ve all read the diagnosis, for example here, that the global climate has suffered “unprecedented warming,” since about 1900. The accepted increase across the 20th century is 0.7 (+/-)0.2 C. As an experimental chemist, I always wondered at that “(+/-)0.2 C.” In my experience, it seemed an awfully narrow uncertainty, given the exigencies of instruments and outdoor measurements. I did a study which led to the paper that is just out in Energy and Environment [5]. Here’s the title and the abstract:
Title: “Uncertainty in the Global Average Surface Air Temperature Index: A Representative Lower Limit”
(abstract follows and conclusion)
This lower limit of instrumental uncertainty implies that Earth’s fever is indistinguishable from zero Celsius, at the 1σ level, across the entire 20th century.
There’s a link in a comment to the above article by Geoff Sherrington
to http://www.geoffstuff.com/Jane%20Warne%20thermometry%20Broadmeadows.pdf
A Preliminary Investigation of Temperature Screen Design and Their
Impacts on Temperature Measurements
and as for me I’m still running in circles screaming and shouting; I can’t believe we’re getting so heated over such an infinitesmal temperature rise (if it exists at all)

January 15, 2011 3:40 pm

Willis, tremendous piece, therefore details need attention IMHO.

I understand that Dr. T has a scientific hypothesis. This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters.

The AGW hypothesis is that if MANMADE greenhouse gases go up, the temperature must follow…
I know a lot of AGW skeptics believe that we are serious contributors to the rise of CO2 but I’m not one of those, and quite apart from that, the hypothesis should be stated correctly here. I could explain just why I think our contribution to CO2 is virtually zilch and just how the MLO CO2 record could still be a steadily climbing staircase to heaven… but that would be a whole topic for a separate post here…

Jim
January 15, 2011 3:40 pm

*****
David L says:
January 15, 2011 at 4:17 am
This reminds me of “cold fusion”. Two guys claimed they demonstrated it. The theory seemed right. However nobody could reproduce the results. So where is “cold fusion” today? It’s dead.
******
I’m still waiting for my basement ‘cold fusion’ water heater, but it isn’t exactly dead either.
“Friday, January 14, 2011
Bologna, 14/1/11 – cronaca test fusione fredda del reattore Nichel-Idrogeno Focardi-Rossi Bologna, 14/1/11 – record cold fusion test reactor Nickel-Hydrogen Focardi, Rossi ”
http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=it&u=http://22passi.blogspot.com/2011/01/bolognia-14111-cronaca-test-fusione_14.html&prev=/search%3Fq%3D%2522focardi%2522%26start%3D20%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN%26tbs%3Dqdr:w%26prmd%3Divns&rurl=translate.google.com&twu=1
“January 2011
On January 14, 2011, Sergio Focardi and Andrea Rossi held a press conference at the University of Bologna. They demonstrated a 10 kilowatt nickel-light water cold fusion reactor. On January 15, the press conference will be web-cast starting at 10:00 a.m. on Rossi’s web site:
http://www.journal-of-nuclear-physics.com
The press release, in Italian, is here. It is translated into English with translate.google.com here.
Focari and Piantelli have published many papers claiming excess heat from nickel. Here is an example from 1998. No attempts to replicate this by other groups have been reported, although Mills and others have claimed excess heat from nickel using somewhat different methods. Rossi received a patent.”
http://www.lenr-canr.org/News.htm

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 3:43 pm

R. Gates says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:56 am
This is a very interesting post Willis, and I applaud your efforts. There are many things here I could quibble with, but out of the gate it would be this statement of yours:
“This hypothesis, generally called the “AGW hypothesis”, is that if greenhouse gases (GHGs) go up, the temperature must follow, and nothing else matters.”
Willis did not USE the phrase “AGW hypothesis,” but put it in SCARE QUOTES to indicate that it has a non-standard meaning. Actually, it has no meaning, unless you are willing to substitute the word ‘hunch’ for the word ‘hypothesis’. Notice that single quotes are used to refer to the word itself and are not scare quotes. Proponents of AGW have no reasonably confirmed hypotheses aside from the 19th century hypothesis about the behavior of CO2 in the atmosphere. All they have is a collection of no doubt brilliant hunches that might become a science someday. For now, they should stop whining that Mommy should treat their hunches as science.
Back to R. Gates:
“Truly, that is not what the AGW “hypothesis” states, for GCM’s include every known forcing (long and short term) in the models, and hardly stipulate that “nothing else matters”.
You, like all pro-AGW people, are totally incapable of talking about hypotheses. In one breath, you switch from hypothesis to model. Do you really not know the differences between them. Hypotheses are necessary for explanation and prediction in science but models can do neither.
Back to R. Gates:
“Much to the dismay of many AGW skeptics, the scientists who create the various GCM’s actually are dedicated scientists, and really do want to get the science right and understand what is actually happening with the climate.:
Maybe, but we will not know until we can wean them from their obsessive-compulsive fascination with models. They need to dump the models and get to work on hypotheses. So do you.

HAS
January 15, 2011 3:46 pm

In reference to the various recent comments on the thread about the null hypothesis I do think Dr T’s suggestion is worth unpicking a bit, even if I rather suspect the Dr T’s interest here was more about rhetoric than advancing the science
If we take the IPCC statement (paraphrased) the null looks like: man made GHGs produce >50% of the recent warming (@ some confidence level).
To be a well formed null hypothesis we need to know what it means to assume it, and we need to know how to falsify it statistically with the data.
I’d make two points:
First to meet the above criteria the above null needs to be tightened up.
This null asserts causality (“produce”). Without opening up the rich philosophical writings on this subject, I think it is pretty clear that for the null to be falsified at least the nature of the process of causality needs to be asserted as part of the null. At a minimum the null should include an empirical process that show the links from prior GHG changes to temperature increases, and assert the nature and direction of the relationships. Without that we don’t have the basis to assert and hence test causality. (And of course we need the causality model specified prior to testing).
I’d also note in passing that for causality to be demonstrated if any step in the chain (or any cumulatively) can be falsified then so is causality. The null mightn’t be such an easy ride even putting aside my second point.
Which is: to be a useful null it needs to be falsifiable using available empirical tools. If you only have a stick a meter long having a null about the thickness of your toenail is dare I say it, academic.
If the evidence for the causality of GHGs is all swamped in the noise of the observations, you clearly haven’t disproved it, but then you haven’t proved or disproved anything.
To summarise the proponents of the AGW null hypothesis need to give a tight specification that includes the process of causality, and demonstrate that the hypothesis is able to be falsified using the quality of the data we have available (and GCMs output doesn’t count).
Otherwise they are saying nothing.

January 15, 2011 3:47 pm

Thank you for sharing this brilliant piece of work with us Willis. As I went through the various points, one by one I could only nod, smile and utter; “yes of course!”
However the paragraph that started; “Stop trying to sell the idea that the science is settled.” was the one that interested me the most.
That could, of course be because I see Dr. T’s “Global Energy Budget Plan” as “The No. 1 Icon for the AGW priesthood” (Chief of all their false Gods)
However be that as it may, but why should the producer of, the by now famous “Earth’s Energy Budget Plan” (numerous clones have been born), which shows that ‘energy in’ equals ‘energy out’ (almost down to the last W/m²) be asking: “How come you do not agree with a statement that says we are no where close to knowing where energy is going —–?”
-And then go on to state; “We are not close to balancing the energy budget. The fact that we can not account for what is happening in the climate system makes any consideration of geoengineering quite hopeless as we will never be able to tell if it is successful or not! It is a travesty!”
Has he not just admitted that “The Global Energy Flow Plan” = a “piece of fraud”, whether he realizes it or not?
OHD.

Theo Goodwin
January 15, 2011 3:48 pm

robert says:
January 15, 2011 at 11:40 am
“well … zero tenths of a degree for the first decade.”
“Come on dude, show your work? Lets see where this number comes from?”
That number is from Phil Jones, greatest Poobah of all. It is all over the internet. In an interview after the Copenhagen disaster, he said that there has been no statistically significant warming in the last fifteen years.

izen
January 15, 2011 3:51 pm

@- Willis Eschenbach says:
“Or take the latest post – 1980 rise in temperatures. It was no steeper, and no faster, and no larger, and no longer than the 1920-1940 rise in temperatures. The conclusion can only be that it is very possible that the post 1980 rise in temperatures could easily be natural variations.”
That makes the assumption that the 1920-1940 rise was ‘natural’ variation…
But that is the point I am making. If there is no way of distinguishing the cause of a rise in temperature just from an observational, or proxy, record of disputable accuracy, then such a null hypothesis fails to provide a means of differentiating it from the AGW hypothesis.
The quality of the physical explanation of the rise then becomes a means of judging the credibility of the two hypothesis.
If the null hypothesis is unfalsifiable because the climate record is too variable or uncertain to be statistically applicable then resorting to thermodynamic explanations of the rise either in terms of CO2 or solar variation or some other mechanism becomes the only means of making the distinction between AGW and ‘Natural variation’.

Jack
January 15, 2011 3:52 pm

AGW has always been a marketing ploy. They bend the truth as far they can get away with it. A little bit of truth amongst a whole lot of fluff because it confuses the public. Computer modeling is ideal fluff. The Forecasting Society(?) has exposed this years ago but it has been kept out of the mainstream because fluff sells papers. Imagine how quickly they could hqve succeeded if they could have linked bigger boobs and sexy models with it.
This time Trenberth has gone too far.
Thanks for exposing it so clearly and simply