Uh, oh. It's models all the way down

Dr. Judith Curry lets an announcement slip in comments.

My understanding of climate is not helped much by climate models. Stay tuned, our big paper on natural internal climate variability just got accepted by Climate Dynamics

Ask yourself why the common sense stuff that I say is regarded as news.

Source: http://judithcurry.com/2013/09/17/consensus-denialism/#comment-381667

I understand also that there’s a meaty essay coming in a major newspaper by Curry, I know which one it is, but I don’t want to give anti-skeptic zealots a head start into pressuring the editor ahead of time. They’ll just have to ask he be fired afterwards like they usually do.

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It’s a hell of a world when common sense has to fight to be heard alongside patent lunacy.

And pressuring publishers to fire people who allow criticism of an established theory to appear in print is considered to be pro-science?
The science channel on cable with its motto “question everything” now has a clearer understanding of science then the actual scientists involved in the research.
What is the world coming to?

C.M. Carmichael

If you want to make God laugh, show him your model outputs.

Frank K.

“My understanding of climate is not helped much by climate models.”
Hmmm. This should be interesting!
Alas, climate “models” are simply computer codes which presumably solve a set of non-linear, coupled differential equations, and their associated boundary/initial conditions, forcing/source terms, and sub-models, which supposedly faithfully represent the dynamics of the Earth’s climate system. Those who think they contain proper representations of ALL the essential physics so as to achieve accurate predictions are fooling themselves…

Gary Pearse

Yes, it’s time to jump all over them while they are sinking down. Normally, I would think it reprehensible piling on when an antagonist is down but these guys have nine lives. For example, Ehrlich, the most get-it-wrong Malthusian of them all, is still being feted by a shrewdness (perhaps someone can suggest a better collective noun) of top scientific institutions including the (once) illustrious Royal Society. He was the big push behind the coming ice age in an earlier generation and he simply morphed into an CAGW type – it didn’t take any orientation, it just had to be against humans. He may even start protesting natural variation and blame it on humans, too.

George

We cannot appropriately odel or predict the pattern when a child puts a drop of food coloring into a glass of water. How in the world could we model the complex interaction between the atmosphere, space, and the mixing in undergoes daily? No chance.

J Martin

And judging by the failure of the climate modellers to re-assess their models in the face of the significant disparity between their models and reality I think it is fair to also say that;
The climate modellers understanding of climate isn’t helped much by climate models either.

Catcracking

Judith,
“Ask yourself why the common sense stuff that I say is regarded as news.”
Profound statement, well said.
It seems as though this applies to lots of things that are going on today including global warming, climate change, alternative fuels, and government spending .
Thanks for speaking out from a community that has gone astray and few are willing to do so.

graphicconception

“a shrewdness ”
My favourite collective noun is a “bidet”, as in a bidet of non-executive directors.
So called because they add class but no-one quite knows what they are for!

William Astley

The extreme AGW paradigm is dying the death of a 1000 cuts.
Looking forward to the new paper and the Curry’s editorial article.

Theo Goodwin

Chris Marrou says:
September 19, 2013 at 6:28 am
“It’s a hell of a world when common sense has to fight to be heard alongside patent lunacy.”
Spot on. Here in the US our ruling class has bought into Political Correctness lock, stock, and barrel. They look down upon us with considerable anxiety. Not many years ago, I commented at websites dedicated to politics or national issues. No longer. My comments are restricted to websites that discuss science only. The reason is that Political Correctness has not yet become dominant in science, though the IPCC and such folk have tried ever so hard. Scientific Method continues to have traction in science and it does not mix with PC.

Jean Parisot

Any one have a short list on the next prominent alarmist who is going to publicly go soft?

Some models are useful, if only to tell you that your batch of CPUs are still responding.

John

Our green friend David Appell had the first comment on Judith’s blog entry, which is entitled “Consensus Denialism.” Here is what he said about Judith:
“The distressing thing is how some people are all ready to attack models, instead of helping make them better.
Is your end goal to understand climate, or to get your name in the newspaper?”
Here is my comment back to David:
“David, aren’t you the green advocate that claimed, falsely (on Roger Pielke Jr.’s site) that the IPCC doesn’t “make predictions”? Only makes “projections” (a weasel word if there ever was one)? And used a very snide tone to imply the Pielke was knowingly hiding things from readers?
Within minutes, an expert who relies on the reality of IPCC documents, not “I wish it was like this” fantasies, quoted chapter and verse for you, from an actual IPCC document which said that they were projecting various outcomes.
But your snide, accusatory tone keeps up here. Kind of like you are denying actual facts, again, no? This time the are facts about actual temperature trends.
Judith’s goal is not to get her name in the papers. You may have read about all the nastiness that someone who leaves the IPCC island voluntarily will be subject too. Judith would have been much more comfortable NOT doing what she does, NOT getting her name vilified. But thank goodness she has decided that bringing science back to its roots of inquiry was more important to her than the comfort of not being constantly attacked.
Yes, her goal is very much to understand climate. You do that by examining factual data. You make models better by comparing them with on the ground factual data.
Judith’s goal is to understand climate, contra your snide comment.
Your goal, on the other hand, is to attack those who are trying to understand both reality, and the failure, to date, of climate models.
You owe Judith a public apology. I don’t expect you will give it, but I will think more of you if you do.”

The extreme AGW paradigm is dying the death of a 1000 cuts.
I am not so optimistic. I think the next year is going to resemble a bad Zombie movie. CAGW is neither alive, nor dead, and will be haunting our daily lives with much ugliness and screaming.
Get out the pitchforks and don’t worry about “piling on”. Zombies do not play fair.
If you learn nothing else from “B” movies, don’t turn you back on zombies. In the 2012 Presidential Election Mitt Romney thought the CAGW zombie was dead and ignored it. Now, “It’s Baaaack!” and Romney is a dead man walking.
/(tongue only partially in cheek)

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

I’m flipping TV channels for background noise, antenna usually only gets in two digital useable stations. The one side/add-on channel has Godzilla vs. Megaguirus. Science literacy at its best, they have an orbital satellite weapon that shoots miniature black holes.
Has there ever been any Godzilla movie ever that wasn’t “But the models assured us this would stop him!” After all those many decades, did they learn nothing?

Cheryl Johnson

How refreshing to to have a climate scientist bring us back to the scientific process as it was meant to be carried out–without a predetermined outcome!

@Jean Parisot at 7:20 am
Any one have a short list on the next prominent alarmist who is going to publicly go soft?
You mean like Richard Muller, who says he was a skeptic when he formed BEST, but has converted [back] into a believer of CAGW after much objective study?
An alarmist who publicly goes “soft” is not to be trusted. Instead of going “soft” they have to go “FOIA“, go “Snowden”, go “John Dean“. They have to give up the goods on their former bretheren. They have to do real damage to the “Cause.” Short of that, they are likely just going “Peter Gleick”

John Robertson

So David Appell is saying that one should not attack models, but strive to make them better? Yes, that would be nice if the models worked better…He hasn’t seen the paper, only Judith’s comment that models don’t help her understand climate. Her comment seems to me to be a statement saying the models don’t appear to provide valid data and thus are invalid as sources of information or prediction. I’m sure her paper will list the shortcomings of models and possible solutions to aid in improving them – she is a real scientist after all. And that is what real scientists do: point out flaws and provide explanations. Even better, (IMHO), is where they follow the falsifiability process and show how to predict outcomes where predictions work or break down.
Judith is trying to work out the science of why we should, or should not, follow the outcomes of climate models as if they mean anything more than weather predictions greater than five to seven days or the farmers almanac.
I consider that to be a valid investigation of what is starting to look like a pseudo-science – climate models…

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Yogyakarta

@kadaka
“After all those many decades, did they learn nothing?”
Well, it appears they learned that they are not able to predict global temperature rise based on CO2 and other forcings. That much is clear enough. I guess that is a ‘null result’ and null = nothing.

Thomas

How much simpler science would be if nature only worked as “common sense” told us it ought to work.

David

“I am not so optimistic.”
Agreed. It is now an ideology, a religion and the Alarmists simply ignore evidence contrary to their position (which is pretty much all of it sans the erroneous models), and chant their mantra ever-louder.
I’ve noticed when confronted with evidence showing AGW to be baseless people initially respond with a counter-article usually from Skepticalscience because the site name sounds objective and high-brow, or desmogblog, realclimate etc.
When their article is easily debunked and exposed as baseless smears and often lies, they respond with the I would rather believe 97% of climate scientists than fringe nutters.
When the 97% figure is torn apart easily, particularly the Cook ‘study’ they resort to the old pseudo-precautionary principle, claiming that even if the science is wrong we’re still doing the right thing for the planet.
When confronted with the fact that the poor people are going to suffer and in many cases die they simply don’t believe it and claim that the tribal life is romantic, natural and the way we’re meant to live, they say this as they message on their Iphone and drive home to their warm homes.
Cognitive dissonance and ignorance is hard to fight.

Tom G(ologist)

To; Theo Goodwin
“The reason is that Political Correctness has not yet become dominant in science, though the IPCC and such folk have tried ever so hard. Scientific Method continues to have traction in science and it does not mix with PC.”
Unfortunately, that is not quite correct in all fields. I invite you to read this post on my blog to see how political correctness tainted paleoanthropology for a long time before new discoveries made things OK.
http://suspectterrane.blogspot.com/2010/04/neanderthal.html
In my usual style, this was framed for my students at university, but if you spend the five minutes to read it, you will see what I am talking about.

Eustace Cranch

Make the models better? Here’s a suggestion: Dart Board.
Lots cheaper too.

Theo Goodwin

John says:
September 19, 2013 at 7:26 am
Whoa! Excellent! Saint Judith she is.

more soylent green!

John Robertson says:
September 19, 2013 at 7:55 am
So David Appell is saying that one should not attack models, but strive to make them better? Yes, that would be nice if the models worked better…He hasn’t seen the paper, only Judith’s comment that models don’t help her understand climate. Her comment seems to me to be a statement saying the models don’t appear to provide valid data and thus are invalid as sources of information or prediction. I’m sure her paper will list the shortcomings of models and possible solutions to aid in improving them – she is a real scientist after all. And that is what real scientists do: point out flaws and provide explanations. Even better, (IMHO), is where they follow the falsifiability process and show how to predict outcomes where predictions work or break down.
Judith is trying to work out the science of why we should, or should not, follow the outcomes of climate models as if they mean anything more than weather predictions greater than five to seven days or the farmers almanac.
I consider that to be a valid investigation of what is starting to look like a pseudo-science – climate models…

So according to Appell, if you’re not part of the solution you’re the problem?
Anyhoo, if the models need to be made better, isn’t that really an admission they don’t work properly and perhaps we should reconsider not changing the course of our civilization based upon the output of said models?

Scott Basinger

The GCMs obviously need to be improved. Mosher had a good suggestion a while back that we pare back on the models which have proven to be inaccurate and focus on a couple of the better models.
You could set a baseline for predictive skill – say the Guy Callendar model which Steve McIntyre recently showed to be better than pretty much every GCM the climate science community has been using – and don’t allow the software guys to mess up and go backwards on the key metric (predictive skill) for these one or two ‘good’ GCMs.
This would be a good Engineering approach. God knows the climate science community should start using it to solve their many problems.

Theo Goodwin

Tom G(ologist) says:
September 19, 2013 at 8:00 am
Thanks, Tom. I will have a longer comment a bit later. Yes, some areas of science have suffered more under PC than other areas. Given that “anthropology” is part of “paleoanthropology,” it must take quite some courage for you to set matters straight.

M Courtney

David says at September 19, 2013 at 7:58 am…
Exactly right for the honest Alarmist – of which there are legion.
But increasingly there is another step on the end:
To silence the debate by smear or (if in control of the medum) censorship.
These other Alarmists don’t care if you can beat them in debate so long as no-one else finds out. They don’t care about the truth.
They only care about hiding the exposure of the untruth.

Theo Goodwin

Scott Basinger says:
September 19, 2013 at 8:13 am
First task: specify the logical relationship between model and world that enables models to substitute for scientific theories. Scientific theories specify their data by implying their data.
Second task: to the usual standards of Scientific Method, explicate the claim that the models are “based on” the best physics or “contain” the best physics.
Third task: show us, apart from the models, the “best physics” that is “contained” in the models.
Fourth task: recognize that no science has ever been based on times series analysis and none ever will.

Thomas

Scott, The problem with your approach is that there are so many different ways to evaluate models. Look at global mean temperature and you get one result, look at how well they reproduce rainfall, wind patterns, seasonal changes and so on and you may very well get a different winner.

NotAGolfer

Great headline!

Colorado Wellington

Ms. Curry would make it in the west. She knows to drink upstream from the herd.

Skies and Stars Abound

David Appell is to Cognitive Dissonance what peanut butter is to jam.
You can almost hear the “hummmmmm” coming out from between his ears.

Gary

I think “David” sums it up nicely with his comment, as to what people like Judith are up against. I won’t repost his whole comment, but he ends his, “cognitive dissonance and ignorance is (sic) hard to fight.” And it isn’t just the topic of “climate change” where this disorder is manifest. Science has long battled its own internal urge to go religion where pet theories are concerned, organized religion be damned. I know most of those engaged in science recoil from established religion, thus it’s very strange to see academia adopt the same mindset.

Jimbo

Anthony, see Dr. Roy Spencer too.

17 September 2013
(We also have our own paper, slated to be published on October 31, which will present new results on climate sensitivity and the role of natural climate variations in recent warming.)http://www.drroyspencer.com/2013/09/a-turning-point-for-the-ipcc-and-humanity/

Jimbo

See, that is a nose for news. I read that comment yesterday, and did not think much of it. Anthony did the addition.
And of course made me even more eager to read her announcement!

CRS, DrPH

William Astley says:
September 19, 2013 at 7:07 am
The extreme AGW paradigm is dying the death of a 1000 cuts.

ARRRRR! I approve of this message! Happy Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day, ya swabs!
-Cap’n Otis
p.s. kick ’em on the way down, they’ve earned it.

Bottom Line: the MODELS spit out exactly what they are told to based on what SCIENTISTS tell them is important or not important. i.e. Water vapour = positive feedback; the sun doesn’t exist, etc.

beng

Not to party-poop, but the SOP of neo-marxists was for decades, at least in the US, to hide & work behind the scenes avoiding exposure (with the collusion of the mass-media). Any exposure now can be met by simply returning to the old operating procedures — stealth, lies, history-revisionism, indoctrination-thru-education, infiltration & eventual usurpation. They are practiced experts at this, and the slithering tentacles of their ideals are everywhere.

pesadia

Graphicconception
“Bidet” Wonderful collective nown.
I also like a “Grasping” of climatologists.
My favourite phrase is “there in no “F” in CAGW.

Paul Westhaver

Wink.
It’s [turtles] all the way down.
Very funny headline. Very obscure, but funny.

pesadia

oops
that should read “there is no etc

Admad

The best time to kick a bully is when he’s been knocked down.

Bart

Paul Westhaver says:
September 19, 2013 at 9:31 am
You should have included a link. I had to hunt one down.

Theo Goodwin

Tom G(ologist) says:
September 19, 2013 at 8:00 am
Very interesting article, Tom. Yes, it does seem that Scientific Method overcame PC in this particular community of scientists. It is really wonderful to see that you are teaching Scientific Method, with its inherent emphasis on criticism, to students of paleoanthropology.

Theo Goodwin

beng says:
September 19, 2013 at 9:26 am
Agreed, but if PC had not gained such huge institutional backing in the media, the universities, the NGOs, and the environmental groups then attempted advances by Marxists would not have met with the success that they have enjoyed for 25 years or so. In the US, even the tiniest little colleges have “Diversity Deans” which represent permanent institutional commitments to PC. “Diversity Deans” can accomplish some good and important things but the office is a platform for PC initiatives.

Mike Smith

Congratulations Dr Curry on the acceptance of your paper. I’m sure WUWT readers are looking forward to publication although it does not appear to be well aligned with the MSM meme and will likely not see much attention elsewhere. For that I am very, very sorry.
Nevertheless, as one of the very few climate scientists that actually practices science versus religion, I wish you well and ask that you keep up the great work.

As the CAGW scare starts to die …. the population explosion scare Part II starts to rise. There will be no respite, another cause will always be found when the current one dies.