# 'Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring.'

Image from an essay by Cliff Mass on “boring weather” Click

Why you won’t see headlines as climate science enters the doldrums

Guest post by Dr. Robert G. Brown, Physics Department of Duke University (elevated from a  comment on this thread: RSS Reaches Santer’s 17 Years)

This (17 years) is a non-event, just as 15 and 16 years were non-events. Non-events do not make headlines. Other non-events of the year are one of the fewest numbers of tornadoes (especially when corrected for under-reporting in the radar-free past) in at least the recent past (if not the remote past), the lowest number of Atlantic hurricanes since I was 2 years old (I’m 58), the continuation of the longest stretch in recorded history without a category 3 or higher hurricane making landfall in the US (in fact, I don’t recall there being a category 3 hurricane in the North Atlantic this year, although one of the ones that spun out far from land might have gotten there for a few hours).

We (the world) didn’t have an unusual number of floods, we don’t seem to have any major droughts going on, total polar ice is unremarkable, arctic ice bottomed out well within the tolerances slowly being established by its absurdly short baseline, antarctic ice set a maximum record (but just barely, hardly newsworthy) in ITS absurdly short baseline, the LTT temperatures were downright boring, and in spite of the absurdly large spikes in GASTA in GISS vs HADCRUT4 on a so-called “temperature anomaly” relative to a GAST baseline nobody can measure to within a whole degree centigrade, neither one of them did more than bounce around in near-neutral, however much the “trend” in GISS is amplified every second or third month by its extra-high endpoint.

The US spent months of the summer setting cold temperature records, but still, aside from making the summer remarkably pleasant in an anecdotal sort of way (the kind you tell your grandchildren when they experience a more extreme weather, “Eh, sonny, I remember the summer of ’13, aye, that was a good one, gentle as a virgin’s kiss outdoors it was…”) it was unremarked on at the time.

Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring. Even the weather blogs trying to toe the party line and promote public panic — I mean “awareness” — of global warming are reduced to reporting one of GISS’s excessive spikes as being “the fourth warmest September on record” while quietly neglecting the fact that in HADCRUT4, RSS and UAH it was nothing of the sort and while even more quietly neglecting the fact that if one goes back a few months the report might have been that June was the fourth coldest in 20 years. Reduced to reporting a carefully cherry-picked fourth warmest event? Ho hum.

So, good luck in getting any news agency to report reaching 17 years in any or all of the indices — this isn’t news, it is anti-news. It is old. It is boring.

It is also irrelevant. If GASTA (Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly) stubbornly refuses to rise for five more years, stretching the interval out to 20 to 22 years in a way that nobody can ignore, does this really disprove GW, AGW, or CAGW? It does not. The only thing that will disprove GW or CGW is reaching 2100 without a climate catastrophe and without significantly more warming or with net cooling. A demonstrated total climate sensitivity of zero beats all predictions or argument. The “A”(nthropogenic) part is actually easier to prove or disprove in a contingent sort of way, although it will probably take decades to do so. Contingent because if there is no observed GW at all, AGW seems difficult to prove. But since we are in the part of the periodic climate cycle observed over the last 150 years where the climate remains neutral to cools around an overall warming trend, we might well see neutral to very slow warming even if AGW is correct, if there is an anthropogenic component to the long term trend and oscillation that we can observe but not really explain over the last 150 years.

The one thing the 33 years of satellite measurements and increasingly precise surface temperature measurements have been able to prove is the one thing that the 17 year interval is truly relevant to. The GCMs used to predict CAGW suck. The GCMs in CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) that contribute to the conclusions of AR5 are almost without exception terrible predictors of the Earth’s actual climate.

This conclusion is unavoidable. Even if they all cannot be rejected at the “95% confidence level”, almost none of them are close to predicting even GASTA alone, let alone RSS/UAH, global rainfall, frequency and violence of storms, etc. As we leave 2013′s hurricane season behind with almost no chance for an Atlantic storm this year, which GCM predicted the paucity of hurricanes and tornadoes over the last few years? Where are the droughts and floods? Which GCMs actually got the temperature distribution right (when they didn’t get the average or average anomaly right, the answer is almost certainly “none of them”)?

We are told “Catastrophic warming is coming, it is just around the corner”. We ask why and without exception we are told “Because the 30 or more GCMs we carefully built in the 1990′s in response to the CAGW threat and normalized with the warming data from the 70′s and 80′s (not to mention Hansen’s initial model report from the late 1980′s) all say so.” We then quite reasonably ask what they predicted for the last 20 years, and of course we can see that they all did indeed predict shockingly rapid warming. We then compare this to what actually happened, which is almost no warming over the last 20 years — a single warming pulse associated with the 1997/1998 ENSO event and then neutral ever since. We note that the warmest of the models that are still included in the CMIP5 data because nobody ever rejects a model just because it doesn’t work are a whopping 0.5 to 0.6C warmer than reality — they are the models with a total sensitivity of 5 or 6 C by 2100, so they have to warm at 0.5C a decade to get there.

This really is shocking. Shockingly bad science, shockingly dishonest political manipulation of policy makers on the part of scientists who participated in the creation of AR5 and permitted their names to give the report its weight.

As I’ve pointed out once and will point out again, by failing to be honest in AR5, by removing words that expressed honest doubt from the earlier draft and redrawing the figure to obscure the GCM failure, the IPCC has now gone far out on a limb that will end the career of many scientists and politicians before AR6 if there is no significant warming by that time. Not only significant warming, but a resumption of some sort of regular upslope to GASTA. Even if there is another ENSO-related burst of warming (which I’m sure is what they are hoping for) if it is only 0.2 C — and it is difficult to imagine that it could be much more given evidence from the past — it will barely suffice to restore the warming trend to 0.1 C/decade give or take a hair, roughly half of the lowest estimates of climate sensitivity. And they run the very real risk of getting to 2020 with GASTA basically the same as it was in 2000.

At that time, the hottest GCMs are going to be almost a full degree C too hot compared to reality. The people who contribute to the IPCC reports aren’t fools — most of them know perfectly well that the high sensitivity models are trash at this point, and they know equally well that it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2020 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time. Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers, there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.

The only way the IPCC can possibly avoid this as it proceeds is to issue a correction to AR5. Go back in and eliminate the GCMs with absurdly high sensitivity, the ones that obviously fail a hypothesis test when compared to the actual climate record. Personally I would advise eliminating at a much more generous level than 95% — a complete idiot with experience in computational modeling could go into these models and figure out what is wrong, given an additional 16 years of data — simply retune the models until they can manage both the warming of the late 20th century AND the warming hiatus since. Models for which no tuning can reproduce the actual past go into the dustbin, period — ones that can manage it will all have a vastly lowered climate sensitivity and will produce a much larger fraction of warming from “natural” variability, and less from CO_2. Finally, insist that all models use common numbers for things like CO_2 and aerosol contributions instead of individually tuning the largely cancelling contributions to reproduce an interpolated temperature change.

I’m guessing that over half of the participating models will simply go away at this point. They can then reconstruct figure 1.4 in the SPM, note the good news that even though the remaining models will all still predict more warming than actually occurred the warming that they project by 2100 will be between 0.5 and 1.5 C, not 2.5 C or more. This is almost precisely in line with what was observed in the 19th and 20th century without CO_2, and will grant a far larger role to natural variability (and hence a smaller one to CO_2).

Why should they do this, even though it is near-suicide to do it at this point? Because it is sure thing suicide not to do it. Because it is the right thing to do. Because they have a queasy feeling in their tum-tums every time they look at figure 1.4 in the AR5 SPM and realize that the dent that they made in the car isn’t going to go away and Dad is going to be even more pissed when he finds out if they lie about it. After all, everybody knows that the worst models in CMIP5 are wrong at this point. The people that wrote the models and ran the models, they know that their models are broken at this point. It’s not like the failure of a model is difficult to detect or something.

If it were “just science”, all of this would have been happening in the literature for some time anyway. People would jump all over models that fail, because in the usual realm of science there is little money on the line and because trial and error and try try again is the normal order of business and what keeps you getting paid. Not so in climate science. Here it is all political. Hundreds of billions of dollars and the directed energy of the entire global civilization ride on the numbers. Here there is a real risk of congressional hearings where a flinty-eyed committee chair grills you by showing you GCM curves selected from figure 1.4 of the AR5 SPM and asks you “Sir, at what point was it obvious to you that this curve was not a good predictor of the future climate?” Because if the answer was “2012″ — and given the REMOVED TEXT from the earlier draft of AR5 everybody knows that it was 2012 at the latest — that’s contempt of congress right there, given that AR5 directs billions of dollars in federal research money and hundreds of billions of dollars of subsidies and misdirected governmental energy at all levels from federal to state to local to personal.

We pay, pay, and pay again in the form of taxes, higher energy prices, neglect of competing services and goals — and what we pay pales to nothing compared to the terrible price paid by the third world for the amelioration of hypothetical CAGW. Millions of people die every year from respiratory diseases alone brought about because they are still cooking on animal dung and charcoal because coal burning power plants are now “unclean” and have artificially inflated price tags at every level.

If CAGW is a true hypothesis, then maybe — just maybe — it is worth sacrificing all of these people, most of them children under five, on the altar to expiate our carbon sins. But given this sort of ongoing catastrophe, this ongoing moral price we pay on the basis of the “projections” of the GCMs, how great is the obligation of the scientists who wrote AR5 towards “mere honesty”, to put down not their own beliefs but to put down the objective support for their beliefs given the data?

For some time the data has been sufficient to prove that the tools that claim the biggest, scariest AGW are simply incorrect, broken, in error, failed. Yet their predictions are still included in AR5 because without them, the “catastrophe” disappears and we are forced to rebalance the cost of gradual accommodation of the warming while continuing to civilize and raise the standard of living of the third world against the ongoing catastrophe of adopting measures that everybody knows will not prevent the catastrophe anyway (if the extreme models are correct) at the cost of a hundred million or more lives and unspeakable poverty, disease, and human misery perpetuated for decades along the way.

## 177 thoughts on “'Let’s face it. The climate has never been more boring.'”

1. Jim Cripwell says:

Thank you for writing so well, what I have been trying to say for months.

2. Hideki Motosua says:

“most of them know perfectly well that the high sensitivity models are trash at this point, and they know equally well that it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2000 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time.”
Should that be 2020?

3. leon0112 says:

Dr. Brown,
This is a great article. AR5 includes known ****. It should be cleansed.
Thank you for your well done peer review of AR5.

4. Generally an interesting post. Needs to be read over for typos:
“will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2000” [should be 2020?]
“If CAGW is a true hypothesis, them maybe ” [then maybe]
” It is olds. It is boring.” [Not really sure what the first sentence means – is it some idiom?]

5. John Peter says:

“most of them know perfectly well that the high sensitivity models are trash at this point, and they know equally well that it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2000 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time. Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers, there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.” “by 2000” does not sound right to me. Should it be 2020?

6. RC Saumarez says:

Absolutely.
We can only hope that flinty eyed politicians will ask the right questions. Unfortunately, in the EU, this seems a remote possibility

7. Eustace Cranch says:

Dare I say: CAGW is fast approaching its Obamacare moment?

8. Hideki Motosua says:

The oceans boiled in 2020 according to my models therefore we must be in the year 2000

9. Steven Mosher says:

“The GCMs in CIMP5 that contribute to the conclusions of AR5 are almost without exception terrible predictors of the Earth’s actual climate.
This conclusion is unavoidable.”
#########
Actually they are pretty good predictors,compared to everything else. and far superior to a shoulder shrug.
take any metric that has not been tuned for. Lets take sea surface salinity.
I will give you the inputs: concentrations of atmosphere gases and solar.
your task. using those variables generate a hindcast and prediction for sea surface salinity.
When you beat a GCM ( which is not tuned to sea surface salinity ) then you have something interesting to say.
put another way. the average temperature of the earth is around 15C. most climate models get it wrong, ranging from 13.5-16.5C or so.
Now, I’ll give you the same imputs and lets see if you can get within 10%
Given the complexity of the system a model that got within 50% of the right number would be stunning.
Note, this is separate from the question of whether one should use models to set policy.
That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.

10. DirkH says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
“That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.”
And it shows. (You’re ruined.)

11. IanH says:

What is GASTA? Is it a spelling mistake of GOSTA on the glossary pages?

12. Lon Hocker says:

Great Article. A couple of details, though:
“it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2000 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time.” Did you mean 2020?
“if CAGW is a true hypothesis, them maybe — just maybe —” Should be “then” not “them”

” …. there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.”
Yeah, you’d think. Unfortunately, given the complete obliviousness to the unrelenting mendacity of the powers-that-be, from WMDs, yellowcake uranium, if-you-like-your-insurance-you-can-keep-your-insurance, we-do-not-spy-on-millions-of-Americans, al Assad’s sarin attacks, and so on ad infinitum, I’m not hopeful.

• Anthony Watts says:

Typos fixed, thanks to those who pointed them out.

14. milodonharlani says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
The GIGO models of CACA conspirators are worse than worthless, so a shoulder shrug would be better.
The US doesn’t set defense policy based upon models. This is a ludicrous lie which you keep repeating without any basis in fact.
We war-game plans, but defense policy is set by budgets, which are based upon contention in administrations & Congress among various interest groups. Nominally, we base force structure on being able to fight two, or one & a half regional wars, or whatever, but that’s not a model. Defense policy is largely based upon money & political pull.

15. Slartibartfast says:

That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.

You keep saying this. I do not think it means what you think it means.

16. JimS says:

Boring climate is what immediately precedes a major glaciation period, according to my analysis the Milankovich cycles. However, I would imagine that a few centuries of boring climate would qualify as a valid trend.

17. UK Marcus says:

Thank you Dr. Brown for your elegant and concise summary.
Sometimes Masterly Inactivity is a sensible course of action. When so much is known and so little is changing wrt climate, for some people to try to persuade us that we must immediately alter our way of life is willfully to ignore the facts. We require disinterested science and honest political leadership, not endless propaganda. I’m not holding my breath…
In the meantime, thank goodness for Anthony, WUWT and the world-wide community of commentators here.

18. more soylent green! says:

You wouldn’t know it was boring from the media coverage. Earthquakes! Fires! Floods! Draughts! (OK, droughts, Just seeing if you’re paying attention.)

19. milodonharlani says:

IanH says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:29 am
Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly.

20. Speed says:

Steven Mosher wrote, “Now, I’ll give you the same imputs [sic] and lets see if you can get within 10%”
That would be 288 +/- 29 degrees K. Failing that would be catastrophic indeed.

21. John West says:

Dr. Robert Brown says:
”simply retune the models until they can manage both the warming of the late 20th century AND the warming hiatus since”
I’d like to see them tuned to a correctly adjusted data set and then see if they would have predicted the hiatus. If Jim Steele is right about the unfortunate adjusting out of natural climate inflections then that might be all that is needed to fix them. This would probably also result in the models putting more weight on natural variation and less weight on CO2.

22. Speed says:

The climatologists look brilliant compared to those who use climate models as inputs to economic models.

23. Alan Millar says:

“Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
“The GCMs in CIMP5 that contribute to the conclusions of AR5 are almost without exception terrible predictors of the Earth’s actual climate.
This conclusion is unavoidable.”
#########
Actually they are pretty good predictors,compared to everything else. and far superior to a shoulder shrug.
take any metric that has not been tuned for. Lets take sea surface salinity.
I will give you the inputs: concentrations of atmosphere gases and solar.
your task. using those variables generate a hindcast and prediction for sea surface salinity.
When you beat a GCM ( which is not tuned to sea surface salinity ) then you have something interesting to say.
put another way. the average temperature of the earth is around 15C. most climate models get it wrong, ranging from 13.5-16.5C or so.
Now, I’ll give you the same imputs and lets see if you can get within 10%
Given the complexity of the system a model that got within 50% of the right number would be stunning.
Note, this is separate from the question of whether one should use models to set policy.
That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.!”
Are you an idiot?
Send me 1000 random spins of a roulette wheel and I will send you a model that shows you can win money by varying your bets. Send me 100 sets of these spins and i will give you a model every time that shows you can win.
All these models will have the same basic construction but may vary a bit in bet size and period.
However, they will all agree……..you can win money at Roulette by varying your bets.
According to your distorted thinking you plank, there is some utility in these models and it would be in peoples interest to act as if they were accurate.
Well is it?
Alan

24. lurker, passing through laughing says:

Yes. CO2 is a trivial player in the climate, if we are to judge by actual evidence.

25. John West says:

IanH says:
”What is GASTA?”
I read it as: Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly .

26. Toto says:

Steven Mosher says:
Actually they are pretty good predictors,compared to everything else. and far superior to a shoulder shrug.
But can they be improved? Are their developers interested in making them better predictors? Where are the skeptic GCM developers?

27. Doug Proctor says:

A hiatus is not damning of severe GCM warming models IF a hiatus is considered the result of an unexpected STRONG, natural cooling event. Then the strong net radiative forcing of CO2 is merely hidden; once the natural cooling event ends with a natural neutral or (worse!) warming event, the world will writhe with a fever.
With the above line of reasoning, it is too early to discard the high-end temperature range GCM models. As the modellers struggle to explain the hiatus, they can be comfortable that nature is not MORE powerful than CO2. This “comfort” comes from their perception that CO2 is more powerful than natural warmings and coolings, and its effects will worsen over the next 20 years. 350 ppm is what McKibben may prefer, but we can live with 400, 450 ppm, perhaps, but it is 500+ that will kill us. If the perceived relatively weak nature is more powerful than CO2, then the threat of 500+ is not as terrible as projected.
The worst thing the warmist can have happen is a 0.2C drop in global temperatures over the next two years, a decline in line with sunspot and GCR theorists. Then natural forces will be proven by their own models to be stronger than CO2; either they then say that nature is more important than thought (which makes you question the orignin of pre-2000 temperature rises), or CO2 is less important than thought (which truly kills the top end GCMs, and drops the bottom end GCMs into a negative state – imagine that, CO2 makes things get cooler!).
GCMs are dominated by CO2 influences. If nature is random (a statement I would disagree with), then the ups-and-downs-and-flatlines are not material to a linear, long-term result. Which is why a 17-year hiatus does not obviate the high-end GCMs. A new, recognized PATTERN to nature is a big problem and does obviate the “truth” of high-end GCMs, however, as the pattern has to be applied to the history of the last 150 years (you don’t need to be smart to be right, just lucky).
“-0.02 in 2”: that will end scary GCMs, Al Gore and CAGW, nothing less.

28. Geo says:

We haven’t had a Category 2 hurricane in the North Atlantic this year, let alone a Cat. 3. 980mb was the lowest pressure in the Atlantic Basin……thus far…

29. Geo says:

Doug,
Just go back a few years (up to a decade) and you’ll see the claims (consensus) that “CO2 forcing will overwhelm any ongoing cooling”…so while your insight maybe true, it is a back pedal from the consensus stance just a while back….

30. Resourceguy says:

Unfortunately, boring is not good enough to stop pre-fabricated science and interconnected policy distortion.

31. John West says:

Steven Mosher says:
”the average temperature of the earth is around 15C. most climate models get it wrong, ranging from 13.5-16.5C or so.
Now, I’ll give you the same imputs and lets see if you can get within 10%”

Easy! Assume Energy In = Energy Out = Emission proportional to Temperature per Stefan-Boltzmann Law
Tune emissivity to result in 15 degrees Celsius
Qin = Qout =340.2 W/m^2
T = (340.2/(5.670373(21)×10−8)(0.87))^1/4
T = 288.17 K = 15.02 degrees Celsius.

32. richardscourtney says:

Steven Mosher:
In your post at November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am you say of the GCMs

Actually they are pretty good predictors,compared to everything else. and far superior to a shoulder shrug.

Actually, No, there are several predictors of GASTA that are demonstrated to be better than GCMs, for example, this one
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/09/syun-akasofus-work-provokes-journal-resignation/
And, since the outputs of GCMs are demonstrated to be misleading, a “shoulder shrug” is preferable to considering those outputs. This is because admitting you don’t know is less risky than acting on an unfounded assumption that you do know (if you doubt this then try rolling over in bed and asking, “How was it for you, Darling?”).
Clearly, you have never played Contract Bridge: deciding to ‘No Bid’ is much safer than “Seven Spades” when you don’t know what your opponents hold. And nobody knows what the future climate has up its sleeve.
Richard

33. Gil Dewart says:

Well, maybe if fossil fuel burning is outlawed in this country our fossil fuels will go to Africa, and that continent will rise and prosper.

34. Don says:

The Emperor’s New Clothes Thong
by Robert Brown
edited by Steve Mosher

35. Mosher @10:26
For a better prediction method see the comment at 4/11:00

36. Bloke down the pub says:

I think most people would pick rgb for their team.

37. milodonharlani says:

The GIGO GC models do have some utility. They show that high climate sensitivity is an epic fail, hence no worries about CACA are justified.

38. Great article.
Pity about all the acronyms – this would be a good one to share with the uninitiated. A little glossary at the bottom would be sweet. lol Or somewhere on the site.

I’ve often said with few exceptions, climate scientists are glorified social workers. Not in the sense that they have the same job (although they are both creatures of government), but in the sense that they have about the same degree of intellectual rigour: they are both guided by a desired policy result, not the pursuit of truth per se.
As a general rule, physicists are a different animal. One explains in pretty plain terms what is wrong with the mainstream climate models’ continual overestimation of global warming. CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, sure, emphasis on weak. Natural climate change factors are by far dominant and, frankly, the climate now is wholly unremarkable.

39. Jeff L says:

Love the sign / photo at the beginning …. Boring , Oregon, possibly ??
45.429781,-122.355294

40. Reg Nelson says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
Note, this is separate from the question of whether one should use models to set policy.
————————————————-
But this is exactly what they are used for. If these papers had a disclaimer like:
“The results of this paper are intended for entertainment purposes only. Any relation to actual future climate conditions is purely coincidental.”
Then you might have a point.
But instead we have people like Muller (BEST) doing a media PR tour before the ink was even dry on the paper, and well before it was peer-reviewed and published over a year later in an Indian pay-for-play website journal.
BTW weren’t you involved with that project? Do you feel Muller behaved professionally and ethically?
I certainly don’t.

41. milodonharlani says:

Jeff L says:
November 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm
Yes, it’s Boring, OR.

42. waterside4 says:

Brilliant summation Dr Brown.
Sadly with AGW being a political boon doggle, there is little chance of any of the turkeys voting for Christmas.
I liked your photo at the top.
As a matter of interest Boring is twinned with a little hamlet in Perthshire Scotland called Dull, It is being ripped to pieces by a giant power line stretching the lengeth of the pristine Highlands to tie into the useless windmills which our ‘Furrherr’ Alec Salmond is building.

43. David, UK says:

@ Mosh: Don’t be silly. I mean, really.

44. clipe says:

Briefly put, when I had to balance the interests of my own safety, privacy\career of a few scientists, and the well-being of billions of people living in the coming several decades, the first two weren’t the decisive concern.
It was me or nobody, now or never. Combination of several rather improbable prerequisites just wouldn’t occur again for anyone else in the foreseeable future. The circus was about to arrive in Copenhagen. Later on it could be too late.
Most would agree that climate science has already directed where humanity puts its capability, innovation, mental and material “might”. The scale will grow ever grander in the coming decades if things go according to script. We’re dealing with \$trillions and potentially drastic influence on practically everyone.
Wealth of the surrounding society tends to draw the major brushstrokes of a newborn’s future life. It makes a huge difference whether humanity uses its assets to achieve progress, or whether it strives to stop and reverse it, essentially sacrificing the less fortunate to the climate gods.
We can’t pour trillions in this massive hole-digging-and-filling-up endeavor and pretend it’s not away from something and someone else.
If the economy of a region, a country, a city, etc. deteriorates, what happens among the poorest? Does that usually improve their prospects? No, they will take the hardest hit. No amount of magical climate thinking can turn this one upside-down.
It’s easy for many of us in the western world to accept a tiny green inconvenience and then wallow in that righteous feeling, surrounded by our “clean” technology and energy that is only slightly more expensive if adequately subsidized.
Those millions and billions already struggling with malnutrition, sickness, violence, illiteracy, etc. don’t have that luxury. The price of “climate protection” with its cumulative and collateral effects is bound to destroy and debilitate in great numbers, for decades and generations.
Conversely, a “game-changer” could have a beneficial effect encompassing a similar scope.
If I had a chance to accomplish even a fraction of that, I’d have to try. I couldn’t morally afford inaction. Even if I risked everything, would never get personal compensation, and could probably never talk about it with anyone.
I took what I deemed the most defensible course of action, and would do it again (although with slight alterations — trying to publish something truthful on RealClimate was clearly too grandiose of a plan ;-).
Even if I have it all wrong and these scientists had some good reason to mislead us (instead of making a strong case with real data) I think disseminating the truth is still the safest bet by far.

Mr.FOIA

45. Stephen Richards says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
Steven, stop being stupid. What on earth changed you into this blathering idiot. A few years back you at least could challenged people with a sound cogent argument. What made you throw it all away? Funding?

46. Walt The Physicist says:

“This really is shocking. Shockingly bad science, shockingly dishonest political manipulation of policy makers on the part of scientists who participated in the creation of AR5 and permitted their names to give the report its weight.”
====================================================================
It is shocking indeed. As I am scientist, frequently laymen and more frequently laywomen ask me at the parties of what is the reason for highly educated scientists and academics to commit such fraud. I have no answer. It would be interesting to know what Dr. Brown as well as this blog participants think. Is this necessity of producing research funding and vain of awards and prizes that drives Mann, Schmidt, Hansen, Caldeira and multitudes others from Center for Climate Risk Management (CLIMA), Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, Department of Global Ecology, Climate Change Research Center, Climate System Research Center, etc.? Is this dishonesty unique to the climate science, or similar situations are prevailing in all sciences – the proponents of an idea “choke” all competition and the idea finally becomes a dogma supported by fraudulent “science”?

47. MattN says:

Dr. Brown, do you ever get a chance to get over and try to talk sense into Dr. Chameides (www.thegreengrok.com)

48. Jeremy says:

Good article. However, if the models do not work then I am not sure that re-tuning them is the answer – you seem to propose that the climate clowns keep up the whole pretense that there is something of value to their garbage GCM science.
Garbage is Garbage. There is nothing of value in having these incompetents continue. You know it and they know it. They will continue to lie and lie and lie until we throw them out of our research departments,Universities, and political spheres of influence.

49. M Courtney says:

The counter arguments to Steven Mosher have been:
1 If you roll enough dice you will get any number you want eventually. It doesn’t prove that that model which is good for that parameter is right for the right reasons.
2 Even if it did get it right for the right reasons you couldn’t know that and you would still be making unjustified assumptions.
3 It is exactly the stated confidence (worth of making policy upon) that is objected to. It can’t be waved away with an aside at the end.
Also, however, there have been many personal attacks on Steven Mosher. Even questioning his integrity. That is unjustifiable.
It destroys the debate.
Let’s try harder.

50. taxed says:

l don’t think we should be so quick we welcome boring weather.
Because its when the weather does become stable with little in the way of change over the longer term, is just when you do get extremes in climate.
lts what causes deserts to form, and l also think its what causes ice ages to form when the weather gets locked into a certain pattern

51. taxed says:

Sorry should have been a “to” not “we”.

52. M Courtney says:

Walt The Physicist says at November 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm…
Fraud is too strong a word. The framework of the “science” is determined by the field. Climatology uses models to overcome short-term chaos and understand the long-term trend. It may be a daft idea but that is the idea of the field. How can they stop?
Think about that, how can they stop? How many academic subjects have been abandoned? Any?
Lots of new departments have been created in the arts and sciences but none have died out.
That is none have ceased operating in academia. They may be dead.

53. elftone says:

ian005 says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:18 am
…” It is olds. It is boring.” [Not really sure what the first sentence means – is it some idiom?]

“Olds” as opposed to “News”.

54. chris y says:

As Steve McIntyre recently disclosed, Guy Callendar’s 1937 climate model is currently beating the pants off most of the AR5 GCM’s.
http://climateaudit.org/2013/07/26/guy-callendar-vs-the-gcms/
Callendar published his results in 1938.
Callendar wasn’t a scientist, climate or otherwise. He wasn’t even an engineer. He was a steam technologist.
Callendar had to rely on a Royal Society Fellow (Dr. Dobson) to grease the skids for publishing in a scientific journal.
By a wonderful coincidence, this year is the dodranscentennial anniversary of the publication of Callendar’s climate model.
Hopefully SOTA GCM’s can match the performance of Callendar’s model before it’s centennial anniversary in 2038.
🙂

55. Jim Cripwell says:

markstoval Steven is a real person. I have seen a photograph of him.

56. Chairman Al says:

Dr. Brown has great writing skills and arguments that deserve an audience more influential than the readers of this great blog.
We need as many academics and knowledgeable individuals as possible to respond to the UK government enquiry into AR5.
The Committee invites responses, by 10 December 2013, addressing some or all of the following questions:
How robust are the conclusions in the AR5 Physical Science Basis report? Have the IPCC adequately addresses criticisms of previous reports? How much scope is there to question of the report’s conclusions?
To what extent does AR5 reflect the range of views among climate scientists?
Can any of the areas of the science now be considered settled as a result of AR5’s publication, if so which? What areas need further effort to reduce the levels of uncertainty?
How effective is AR5 and the summary for policymakers in conveying what is meant by uncertainty in scientific terms ? Would a focus on risk rather than uncertainty be useful?
Does the AR5 address the reliability of climate models?
Has AR5 sufficiently explained the reasons behind the widely reported hiatus in the global surface temperature record?
Do the AR5 Physical Science Basis report’s conclusions strengthen or weaken the economic case for action to prevent dangerous climate change?
What implications do the IPCC’s conclusions in the AR5 Physical Science Basis report have for policy making both nationally and internationally?
Is the IPCC process an effective mechanism for assessing scientific knowledge? Or has it focussed on providing a justification for political commitment?
To what extent did political intervention influence the final conclusions of the AR5 Physical Science Basis summary?
Is the rate at which the UK Government intends to cut CO2 emissions appropriate in light of the findings of the IPCC AR5 Physical Science Basis report?
What relevance do the IPCC’s conclusions have in respect of the review of the fourth Carbon Budget?
Unless well presented arguments get into the system there is nothing for supporters to work with.

57. rogerknights says:

Doug Proctor says:
November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am
“-0.02 in 2″: that will end scary GCMs, Al Gore and CAGW, nothing less.

I think you meant “-0.2 in 2”
I have a hope that such a drop may occur.

58. waterside4 says:

SandyinLimousin says
Dull is very proud to be twinned with Boring — i could not agree more, more power to their elbow.
As regards your second point that ‘Balfours is very pleased to being half way (to desecrating a nation with poor peoples tax on their energy bills) to build an unecessary power line, then i am afraid we will agree to disagree.
Perhaps you are driving about in a limousine funded by income from windmills
Enjoy France.

59. Pamela Gray says:

I’ve been to Boring…and Dufus! I’ve also been to Christmas Valley and Paisley. Let’s not forget Sumpter and Dead Man Pass. Plus Cabbage Hill, a trucker’s worst nightmare in windy conditions. And you haven’t lived till you have spent a cold night in Meacham or Seneca! Fremont Forest, near Fort Rock, Oregon has 288 days of freezing temperatures year round. Long live Boring!
The interior of Oregon is such a wonderful place. And wild as a March hare! So just how isolated are we? There are not many isolated counties in the US and Oregon has one of the most isolated counties in the US. Wallowa County has just two roads into that county that are open year round: one road in and out from LaGrande, Oregon, a twisty cliff road, and another one in and out to Lewiston, Idaho, yet another twisty cliff road. Neither one are roads a double would want to be on.
My family homesteaded in Oregon and I will forever be an Oregon gal. Love my Oregon. It would be even better if the liberals would go back to Californ I A. I suggest they take the non-native wolves back with them. It isn’t a pleasant site to see the carnage they leave behind just up the hill from where I currently live. Given their ever expanding range, wolves will be at my back door within the next 5 years.

60. rogerknights says:

Chairman Al says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm
…………
The Committee invites responses, by 10 December 2013, addressing some or all of the following questions:

It’s too bad the Committee apparently didn’t number the questions, as that would have made things simpler for all, especially for persons answering only a subset of the questions.

61. F. Ross says:

Dr. Brown is like E. F. Hutton, …when he speaks, people listen.

62. Jeff says:

Dr. Brown – Climate may never have been more boring but your article was the polar (pick your preferred ice cap) opposite. Very good. Sharp and clear.. What do they put in Duke’s coffee? 🙂

markstoval says (November 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm): ‘There is this one name, “Steven Mosher”, that shows up a lot and I am beginning to think it is a parody account.’
Co-author of Climategate: The CRUtape Letters.
http://www.amazon.com/Climategate-Crutape-Letters-Steven-Mosher/dp/1450512437/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383597958&sr=1-1&keywords=the+crutape+letters
I get the impression that Mosh, while a CAGW skeptic/lukewarmer himself, is something of a purist who tries to keep the CAGW skeptics as skeptical of themselves as they are of the warmists.

64. Latitude says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
====
Who are you kidding?…no one would know if it got it right or not

65. I have been reading comments here for a long time. I have made only a few comments myself but have read many. There is this one name, “Steven Mosher”, that shows up a lot and I am beginning to think it is a parody account. Does anyone know if this is a real fellow and not a regular playing games just to keep the comments section lively?
TIA, Mark
[Reply: I have met Steven several times. We disagree on some things, but he is certainly real, and a nice guy in person. — mod.]

66. milodonharlani says:

Pamela Gray says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
The wolves are already literally at the door in my neck of the woods (Umatilla County), taking not only livestock, but pets from backyards. A pack is allowed four confirmed kills before citizens impacted can apply for retaliation with extreme prejudice.
http://www.capitalpress.com/article/20131024/ARTICLE/131029936
The creepy thing is that they’re radio-collared, so an ODFW on-line site allows ranchers like my cousins to watch the wolves watching them & their livestock with impunity from the tree line.

67. Tetragrammaton says:

I am thrilled that Dr. Brown so well expresses the exasperation which so many of us have felt for so long, regarding the ongoing foolishness of basing energy policy on such fallacious computer simulations and models. It would be great if a similarly-gifted analyst — perhaps even Dr. Brown himself — could write a companion screed on head-rolling.
Whose heads should roll? Who should chop them off? What civilized or uncivilized procedures should be brought to bear? Who will construct the required guillotines or sharpen the appropriate axes? Or, on a more realistic level, what political and judicial procedures are needed to terminate the profusion of “climate change” bureaucracies at the federal level? How can these efforts be initiated?
Are there appropriate penalties for fraudulent science at the university level? Is Congressional action necessary to require academic institutions to terminate offenders, dock their pension, or whatever? And can a scientific basis be established, such that fair tribunals can properly make judgments on the guilt or innocence of the “climate change scientists” singled out for attention.
Lots of questions. Few answers. Little or no funding. Big professional public-relations campaigns to be elbowed aside. Few friends in the press. I hope we can get movement towards some elucidation of the appropriate strategies, tactics and participants who can help sweep aside the AGW nonsense.

68. Many thanks to Dr. Robert G. Brown for an excellent commentary on the AR5 and CAGW. He ably removes so many bricks from the wall of Catastrophic Global Warming Mythology. How much longer can this wall hold together? How many scientists are heading for the exit door now?

69. more soylent green! says:

@ Steven Mosher says: November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
You doth protest too much.
I’m from Missouri and don’t need to step in cow manure in order to recognize it and I don’t need to attempt to build a model to know the models are [wrong], either.

70. I guess it is the fewest Atlantic Hurricanes since I was 1, since I am a year behind Dr. Brown.

71. LKMiller says:

Pamela Gray says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
I’ve been to Boring…and Dufus!
******
I think you meant to write, Dufur.
Although not a native Oregonian, I do live not far from Boring on the wet side of the big hills. But not for long. Pamela is correct – OR has been taken over by the progressive left, and they are building a legacy of sanctuary for illegals, sustained high unemployment, windmills,high taxes, and a moribund economy.
Before too much longer, we will be voting with our feet.

72. William Astley says:

I completely agree with all of your comments, however, the warmists have removed reason, logic, and responsibility from the scientific analysis, the formation of policy and acceptance of the consequences of the EAGW policy. The IPCC’s role is as you note to fabricate a scientific sounding argument to support an irrational agenda, even if there was an EAGW problem which there is not. If there truly was an EAGW problem the solution would be to construct nuclear power plants rather than to waste trillions on green scams.
Unfortunately, if the past is a guide to the future, benevolent warming will be replace with nasty cooling, due to the fastest reduction in the solar magnetic cycle in the last 8000 years. Reality does not change due to faulty and manipulated science. 340 times, in the last 250,000 years the Antarctic peninsula has warmed (with the past amount of warming and the rate of warming being greater than or the same as recent warming) and 340 times after warming there was cooling, with the warming and cooling cycle occurring with a periodicity of 1500 years and 500 years matching the periodicity of a warming and cooling cycle that is also found in the Northern hemisphere. A 2012 peer reviewed paper showed that the warming and cooling cycles correlate with solar magnetic cycle changes using high resolution data, with detailed analysis explaining why previous proxy analysis was inclusive or contrary (the key was to find high resolution data and to use an analytical technique that can find concurrent changing variables, i.e. temperature is being forced by the solar magnetic cycle changes it is not changing randomly.) The science is settled, based on recent peer reviewed papers, an overwhelming logical argument can be made to support the assertion that the majority (roughly 75%) of the warming in last 70 years was caused by solar magnetic cycle changes and that the planet will now cool. The question is only how fast and how much cooling will occur and how long it will take before the media and the public notice there is cooling.
http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2013/anomnight.11.4.2013.gif
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/S_stddev_timeseries.png
Planetary temperature changes inversely with cosmic ray flux (high flux cooling planet and low flux warming planet). In addition to cosmic ray flux, solar wind bursts create a space charge differential in the ionosphere which removes cloud forming ions for a few weeks after the wind burst. Both affects need to be taken into account and can explain the majority of the temperature changes in the last 70 years.
http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/query.cgi?startday=02&startmonth=09&startyear=1969&starttime=00%3A00&endday=01&endmonth=11&endyear=2013&endtime=00%3A00&resolution=Automatic+choice&picture=on

73. Theo Goodwin says:

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant work, Dr. Brown.
Your writing style, totally appropriate for the content, reminds me of my wife explaining for the third time on the same day what has to be done to clean the refrigerator. Congress should officially address the movers and shakers in the Climate Alarmism community in exactly this way.

74. Doug Proctor says:
November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am
350 ppm is what McKibben may prefer, but we can live with 400, 450 ppm, perhaps, but it is 500+ that will kill us
===================================================================
Oh no it won’t.
“Although human beings and many other animals would do well with no CO2 at all in the air, there is an upper limit that we can tolerate. Inhaling air with a concentration of a few percent, similar to the concentration of the air we exhale, hinders the diffusional exchange of CO2 between the blood and gas in the lung. Both the United States Navy (for submariners) and nasa (for astronauts) have performed extensive studies of human tolerance to CO2. As a result of these studies, the Navy recommends an upper limit of about 8000 ppm for cruises of ninety days, and nasa recommends an upper limit of 5000 ppm for missions of one thousand days, both assuming a total pressure of one atmosphere. Higher levels are acceptable for missions of only a few days.
We conclude that atmospheric CO2 levels should be above 150 ppm to avoid harming green plants and below about 5000 ppm to avoid harming people. ”
Where did you get that ridiculous idea from?

75. Theo Goodwin says:

M Courtney says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm
Excellent post. Mosher can understand what you wrote.
I no longer respond to Mosher. In my estimate, the utility of doing so is zero.

76. milodonharlani says:

jeremyp99 says:
November 4, 2013 at 3:14 pm
While far below harmful levels, literal greenhouse concentrations of 1000 to 1300 ppm cause some people to get headaches. IMO, if an optimum level exists for life on earth in general as it now is & for humans in particular, then 500 to 800 ppm might be it, but 1000 wouldn’t kill us.

77. Pamela Gray says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
I’ve been to Boring…and Dufus! I’ve also been to Christmas Valley and Paisley. Let’s not forget Sumpter and Dead Man Pass
——————————————————————————-
We have “Dead Woman’s Bottom” near us (we live in the Domesday Book village Mells, some miles south of Bath.

78. milodonharlani says:

jeremyp99 says:
November 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm
Oregon’s place names have been bowdlerized & politically corrected. Cock Rock & Whorehouse Meadows are now Rooster Rock & Naughty Girl Meadows. The many Squaw Creeks have been officially changed to who knows what, although without affecting local use, including by Indians.

79. GunnyGene says:

Yep pretty boring alright. I live in N.E. Mississippi, and it’s been a grand year. No tornadoes, or other extreme weather. Not too hot, not too cold. I’m lovin it.
Which is a problem for the tyrants. Without something to save us from, they have no justification for their existence. Let’s hope the weather holds.

80. Berényi Péter says:

It’s worse than we thought. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Boring is upon us.

81. D.J. Hawkins says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
…Note, this is separate from the question of whether one should use models to set policy…

Then what, pray tell, is the point of including them in AR5? Or any assessment? The IPCC reports are used as a justification for governmental policy. If the models the policy is based on can’t distinguish natural climate variability from anthropogenic forcings (assuming they exist) they have zero real world utility. A model that gets within 50% is stunning? Fine, how many finite element analyses do you think get accepted as workable if they get the stress/strain relationship for various components to within 50%? That might work for a margerine tub, but not a billion-dollar bridge. But sure, let’s try it out on a \$70 trillion world economy just for kicks, eh?

82. GunnyGene says:

@ LKMiller says:
November 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm
Before too much longer, we will be voting with our feet.
*******************************************************
And when the ballot box fails, the bullet box comes into play. Re: The last several years of double digit increases in firearm and ammunition sales across the country, which is not due to millions of people suddenly finding an interest in hunting or recreation, or a few thousand die hard preppers.
It’s due to this CAGW nonsense and other political attacks on Freedom.

83. N.Swallow says:

I’d like to think there were reasons for optimism and people will be held to account by some ” flinty eyed committee chair”. Maybe that could happen in America I wouldn’t know, but I feel it would be unlikely here in the uk. Our politicians of whatever party all sing from the same hymn sheet . It seems impossible to differentiate between them so we’re devoid of choice. Given the leaked early draft reports and comments on this and various other blogs it seemed sanity might finally be returning to the climate debate. Until that is it ran it to the representatives of the worlds governments at SPM meeting. Then suddenly all the uncertainties disappeared the pause went unmentioned despite public statements by high profile scientists within the IPCC that it had to be addressed. To add insult to injury they became even more certain that it is man,s fault. I,m not a scientist,just an ordinary working class guy finding his wages being constantly eroded by insane energy policies. It is the politicians now who are keeping this going along with the usual suspects that have been there since the start. There is no need to name names they,ve been repeated here ad nauseum . So Professor Brown whilst I respect your intellect and your views I fear you are living in dreamland as regards any justice will come about. I have real fears this may end in public disorder should we have many more cold winters . Public unrest is pretty rare in Britain but there have been incidences in the recent past ,mainly triggered by the financial situation, if people start to realise many of the deaths of the vulnerable are attributable to the insanity of this failed theory and the resultant policies the lid may come off spectacularly. If that could happen here of all places god knows what may happen elsewhere. I hope I’m wrong but it may take something like that to bring our so called leaders to their senses.

84. McComberBoy says:

Pamela,
Great names that stick in our minds. I fear, though, that you forgot to tell us where to find a drink in OR. If memory serves, it is better to drive on by Stinkwater Pass and make at least as far as Drinkwater Pass.
pbh

85. jorgekafkazar says:

Fine post, as always, Dr. Brown. You’re my favourite guest poster and commenter here on WUWT.

86. David Ball says:

The climate may be boring, but the politics is making me nauseous.

87. David Ball says:

Fine post Dr. Brown.

88. JohnWho says:

…it will no longer be possible to conceal this fact even from ignorant politicians by 2020 if there is no statistically significant warming by that time. Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers, there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.
Unfortunately, many of the current crop of ignorant politicians will no longer be in office after the damage is done and the truth wills out.

89. Bill Illis says:

One more climate science prediction down the drain.
That there will be more extreme weather.
Exactly the opposite has occurred. There is more boring weather.
The beloved climate models are a huge waste of human resources and monetary resources. Altogether, 0.5% of GDP is being wasted.

90. Geoff Sherrington says:

John West says: November 4, 2013 at 11:36 am
Nice reverse engineering to arrive at 340.2 w/sq m

91. milodonharlani says:

McComberBoy says:
November 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm
Your memory serves you well. Yes, when proceeding east from Burns to Ontario, it is indeed better to bypass Stinkingwater Pass & continue to Drinkwater Pass. If you’re drowsy, you can visit Drewsey, pop. 18, which will help put you to sleep.
If you’re feeling more energetic, you can head south from Ontario to the Basque settlement of Jordan Valley, pop 181, which features a municipal jai alai fronton. The town is situated on Jordan Creek, tributary of the Owyhee River, named for three Hawaiian fur trappers for the North West Company who disappeared in its drainage.

92. Geoff Sherrington says:

Doug Proctor says: November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am
The 17 years of straight line no trend says to me that natural variation is equal to and offsetting all of the proposed increase that could come from CO2.
So natural variation is already at least equal in magnitude to CO2 effects. The rest of your argument has to accept this.

93. Mike Jonas says:

Steven Mosher says “When you beat a GCM [..] then you have something interesting to say.”.
That’s nonsense. If a model is wrong, then it’s wrong, period.

94. Thanks, Dr. Brown. A very good article!
I am thankful to the many scientists that present their work with clarity. I am thankful to the many professional and amateur “climate auditors” that will not let the scientific method be trampled on by politics.

95. Mosher, a funny thing happens when you use different temperature scales in your “accuracy” analyses. if you switch to Fahrenheit, accuracy doubles to within 5%, if you use kelvin, accuracy is an order of magnitude better than the Celsius calculations.
You cant do math with Celsius the way you do because the 0 actually has an additional 273.1 units that are missing from calculations,

96. John West says:

Geoff Sherrington says:
”Nice reverse engineering to arrive at 340.2 w/sq m”
Quite a bit of oversimplification, too (understatement of the year?); my “emissivity” is actually emissivity plus reflectivity (albedo) just to keep it to one tunable parameter.
It would be easy to add in albedo and have two tunable parameters:
Qin = Qout = 340.2 W/m^2
T = ((340.2*0.71)/(5.670373(21)×10−8)(0.6177))^1/4
T = 288.17 K = 15.02 degrees Celsius.

97. Tsk Tsk says:

Wishful thinking at best. Dr. Brown is an academic at an academic institution. How many times has he seen tenure revoked? The Left has thoroughly demonized skeptics and done their best to marginalize them as well (97%…). They’re so invested in the process now that they will never concede the point even in the face of overwhelming evidence. After all, you can’t disprove a religion, and that’s precisely what CAGW has become.
No, the scare ends with a whimper and not a bang. Counterfactuals will be tossed around like so much popping corn, “It would have been worse!!! It’s all in the oceans and in [insert_current_year] + 15years it’ll all come back!!!” Funding will quietly fall a little (can’t have austerity, you know). Perhaps a couple or few of the strongest proponents will decide to “spend more time with their families,” but on the whole not much will happen.
You will have to content yourself with knowing that you helped limit the damage. You will almost certainly never see justice done. Or you can keep dreaming of unicorns…

Steven Mosher says (November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am): “When you beat a GCM ( which is not tuned to sea surface salinity ) then you have something interesting to say.”
When you beat a GCM, I’ll bet it confesses! 🙂

99. Jeff Alberts says:

Anthony Watts says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:47 am
Typos fixed, thanks to those who pointed them out.

There are still a couple CIMP5 up there. 🙂

100. Pamela Gray says:

I once again stand corrected. The local teenagers from Dufur call it “Dufus”. I overheard it at a dance team competition that was held in the Boring, Oregon school district many years ago. The name has stuck in my head ever since. So yes, I often mistakenly write Dufus instead of Dufur. To be sure, both communities, not too far from Portland, are wonderful old communities rich in farming and Oregon Trail homesteader history with well-supported school districts. Those very same teenagers who wished they lived in a city with action instead of the one who’s streets roll up at night will one day wish they were back home.

101. Birdieshooter says:

Dr Brown- Another great dose of common sense .
Mosher- What a dumb analogy to Defense policy using models. You are getting as far out as FOMD.

102. Brian H says:

Edit: “the recent past of not the remote past” if

103. Excuse me Dr Brown but you obviously missed the “catastrophic”, “unprecedented” (for October) bushfires in Australia that were caused by Climate Change. Some academic from a climate science school at the University of New South Wales said so in a TV interview that this was “most likely” the cause. Al Gore agrees with him. End of debate – again. Arghhh……….

104. Brian H says:

Mods, another edit: “because of there is no …” if

105. Brian H says:

Mods, another edit: from the late 1980′s) all say so. Missing close quote.
[All done. Good eyes. Mod]

106. Brian H says:

The main, perhaps the only, time that politicians actually get “flinty-eyed” is when their re-election coffers are under threat. Is there any prospect of that?

107. thallstd says:

Walt The Physicist… No doubt this doesn’t explain the motivations of the main players in the warmista camp but it does do a pretty good job I think of explaining the tagalongs. Oddly, perhaps, it seems to explain the problem in climate science without even mentioning climate science. Or maybe it does mention in passing. It’s been a while since I read it so can’t be sure.
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/12/13/101213fa_fact_lehrer?currentPage=1

108. Gary Pearse says:

Robert G. Brown, you never disappoint- excellent article. The pause kind of sneaked up on these guys, and then it came under broad scrutiny or it would have been homogenized out of the picture. Hadcrut 3, spawned hadcrut 4 in a lame attempt to bend the pesky flatline upwards. Re: seeing what happens by 2020, look for Hadcrut 5 when the pressure gets to high on these tricksters and GISS is fiddling the whole temperature string on a continuing basis. The UAH temps are presently the only one in the hands of unbiased chroniclers but these guys may retire by then. Presently, UAH provides the discipline that restrains unconscionable revision of this embarrassing flat lining predicament. It is the reason that a lot of the fiddling involved bending the early part of the record down several tenths, such that the record 1936 temperature was pushed down below the ENSO spike in 1998 and the 30s decade lost its pride of place. You’ve witnessed how IPCC trimmed out a horizontal strip of their projections to pull the models down into some congruence with the “observations” (I believe they are still called). Recall they stopped recording sea level data for many months because it appeared to be flattening and they came out with an adjustment for Isostatic rebounding – this made the sea level metric no longer a measure of sea level, but some sort of, but not quite, ocean basin volume indicator. One day in the distant future, while flying somewhere, a pilot will be able to say, “Hi folks, we have just climbed above official sea level and we are heading for 30,000ft”.
Pamela Gray says:
November 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
“I’ve been to Boring…and Dufus! I’ve also been to Christmas Valley and Paisley. Let’s not forget Sumpter and Dead Man Pass. Plus Cabbage Hill, a trucker’s worst nightmare in windy conditions. And you haven’t lived till you have spent a cold night in Meacham or Seneca! Fremont Forest, near Fort Rock, Oregon has 288 days of freezing temperatures year round. Long live Boring!”
Pamela, you make Oregon seem a charming cheery place! Re the wolves and lefties closing in, if you had to choose which would you rather put up with? There is another faraway place that might also charm you – Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Here is a small list of the place names there. One, Dildo, is a small whistle stop on what was a narrow-guage railway known as the Newfie Bullet. Tourists used to go there just to get their letters and postcards stamped with the name at the small post office. Scroll down below the picture of the Newfoundland Dog for the name list. They also claim, of course, the Labrador dog, too.
They cleared out the wolves in the 1930s but they have large herds of moose (seen in dozens), caribou and the occasional Polar Bear shows up. The lefties have been trying to ruin their lives, too, part of which is seal hunting when the arctic ice reaches their north shore. Newfies protest that they themselves are the endangered species.

109. David S says:

Kind of reminds me of a plaque I once saw at a friends cottage. It said;
” On this spot in 1878… nothing happened.”

110. Jeff Alberts says:

Let’s not forget the quaint British hamlets of Dorking and Penistone. And the rural Virginia town of Bumpass.

111. Daryl M says:

Steven Mosher says:
November 4, 2013 at 10:26 am
[deletia]
That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.
I’ve always thought that for a warmer, you were at least a reasonably intelligent person. However, when you make a comparison of CGMs and models used for defense, you make it very hard to take you seriously.

112. David Yost says:

I am seeing a rapid drop-off in comments from global warming zealots/ideologues, especially the type that disparage skeptics. I think that this is the most telling of all data coming in. I have never understood how these people can maintain that they are “scientists”. A true scientist is fundamentally always skeptical, even in the face of strong evidence of something. A lot of these “scientists” (Al Gore is in no way a scientist and should be confronted by all good people for his outrageous claims and misrepresentation as someone with climatology credentials) have a complete lack of understanding of the enormous complexity/difficulty of trying to predict climate change. Their extreme sense of “certainty” that they have the answer to me speaks volumes of how truly ignorant they are.

113. Robert G. Brown said,
“…
It [reaching 17 years in any or all of the indices] is also irrelevant. If GASTA (Global Average Surface Temperature Anomaly) stubbornly refuses to rise for five more years, stretching the interval out to 20 to 22 years in a way that nobody can ignore, does this really disprove GW, AGW, or CAGW? It does not. The only thing that will disprove GW or CGW is reaching 2100 without a climate catastrophe and without significantly more warming or with net cooling. A demonstrated total climate sensitivity of zero beats all predictions or argument. …”

– – – – – – – –
Robert G. Brown,
A future disproof of GW or AGW or CAGW based solely on more observations versus a disproof right now based solely on past observations (on all timescales).
The later can be worked on while awaiting the future. It is the prudent course.
John

114. TimC says:

Fabulous article: that there is nothing to “wow” about, nothing to advertise, nothing to print, nothing to tax, legislate or model – just same-old, same-old, stuff. Thank you, sincerely.
And it’s entirely appropriate that the stake will finally be driven through CAGW’s heart not with a bang but a boring old whimper …

115. rgbatduke says:

Should that be 2020?
No, no, I have a time machine in my living room…;-)
Well, ok, you got me, yes. Sorry. No way to edit once posted. Also I seem to have type CMIP5 instead of CIMP5. Probably more — I didn’t proofread it as carefully as I might have a top article.
rgb
[There are two “2020” – should both be 2100? Or neither? But no more CMIP5’s. Mod]

116. rgbatduke says:

” It is olds. It is boring.” [Not really sure what the first sentence means – is it some idiom?]
Yes, a punny joke. Olds as opposed to news (both plurals made singular).
rgb

117. Bruce Cobb says:

Well, according to possible Senate candidate Dave Barton, the “crazy weather” we’re having, which includes floods and tornadoes is “God’s punishment” for abortion. Looniness comes in all shapes and colors.

118. Shockingly bad science? I can’t see how willfully bad science can be considered shocking. What is shocking is the quality of the story. Have you heard about the one with a mysterious threat, a hope of redemption, ascension of the righteous and punishment of the wicked? The current one features CO2, Windmills, Michael Mann and Big Oil. Social democracy not only has an ongoing financial crisis, it also has shockingly bad mythology.

119. Vince Causey says:

Always good to read anything by rgbatduke.
There is however, one cloud in his silver lining. I don’t believe ignorant policy makers will be holding cAGW scientists to account at some future date. I don’t believe the policy makers are ignorant at all (except in the most general sense of the word). Policy makers are, imo, believers in the ideology that cAGW brings, adherents of the higher degrees of control that can be leveraged from it, and enamoured by the promises of endless tax receipts.
These policy makers will do their best to support the dodgy science of the climate scientists long after it becomes blindingly obvious to everyone. Lest anyone forgets, the current UK minister for transport claimed that the olympic games came in on budget, but conveniently forgot to mention that said budget was raised 3 times (from 2.5bn to 10bn). Are these the policy makers who will be holding feet to the fire?

120. rgbatduke says:

evGiven the complexity of the system a model that got within 50% of the right number would be stunning.
Note, this is separate from the question of whether one should use models to set policy.
That said we set defense policy of the nation using models that were much less accurate.

Steven, this was a very reasonable reply and I agree. As I’ve said many time before in different threads, predicting the climate is one of the most difficult tasks humans have undertaken — one is solving at least two coupled navier-stokes systems (arguably coupled to a third magnetohydrodynamic one on the surface of the sun) on a rotating, tilted, magnetized oblate spheroid with a highly inhomogeneous surface in a moderately eccentric orbit around an irregularly variable star. Both fluids (the atmosphere and the ocean) have complex chemistry, complex biology (in the case of the ocean), variable density and complex transport and stratification. The atmosphere is critically saturated with water vapor over a substantial part of the surface daily and precipitates out into clouds at many heights and rain a many locations, causing rapid and contrary changes in both albedo and greenhouse warming, and with an entire cycle of latent heat transport both vertically and laterally. The ocean (and continental sized areas of the land) are both annually and permanently covered with ice and snow with a high albedo. The whole system pulses and has known named structures of atmospheric flow that have (at least) decadal periods — humans haven’t had the tools to verify any such structures with periods longer than decades — even though none of the visible drivers or dynamics in the GCMs are capable of producing coherence on the time scale of a single decade or reproducing the pattern of the shortest period such oscillation (that nevertheless seems to have a major impact on the time development of the climate).
It is a hard problem and it is really unsurprising that we haven’t yet solved it. In the ordinary course of science, this wouldn’t be a big deal — one expects to work on absurdly difficult problems for a lifetime and still maybe not solve it. Look at the search for the Higgs. Look at the discovery of high temperature superconductivity. People spent careers looking for both before either one was found (the former still arguably a bit tentatively, for all that they needed to give Higgs the prize now if they wanted to manage it in his lifetime at all). Looking for the Higgs boson is child’s play compared to accurately solving the equations for the time evolution of the climate. It could take 50 years to even start to get it right — we’re still working on having sufficiently good and accurate instrumentation and a long enough base of sufficiently precise and globe-spanning measurements made with that instrumentation to have what is needed to initialize such a predictive computation. I repeat — if we cannot compute GAST to better than plus or minus a degree C or more — so we are reduced to saying it is “around” 15 C — then claims for accurate computations of GASTA outside of the satellite era are IMO egregious and the estimates of global warming at all become at least highly variable and uncertain.
But my article wasn’t about patting the creators of the GCMs on the back for hard work reasonably well done, because the GCMs have not been used for the purpose of seeing if they get the climate right and then correcting them until they do when they don’t. They’ve been used for the sole purpose of predicting a global catastrophe. They continue to be used for that purpose in spite of the fact that everybody who is actually in the game knows perfectly well that they are unsuited for that purpose at this time. And AR5 was, I think you have to admit, a shameful cover up of that fact. The spaghetti graphs in figure 1.4 of the SPM has no business including models that are currently sitting 0.5C or more above the actual present temperature and you know it.
This would be perfectly obvious if one took every CIMP5 model and plotted it one at a time against the actual data. Some of the models wouldn’t be too bad — they would look plausible. They would also predict far, far less than the “average” climate sensitivity of the whole set of models. Some of the models would be absolutely terrible and have no business being included in the figure at all. Some models would be somewhere in between — almost certainly wrong, but not to the point where one can “reject them with 95% confidence”. Since one has many shots, to avoid data dredging in claims of correlation/correspondence one really has to tighten the criteria for rejection, and at the very least those models should be reweighted to have less probable predictive power than the ones in good correspondence.
But if one did anything like this, the models would no longer predict catastrophe, at least not catastrophic warming.
This, in turn, would completely alter the political landscape. We as a species have to solve cost-benefit problems all of the time. We are trying to opimize our use of global resources to the advantage of an emerging global civilization. Like all decision making processes, where there is garbage in, one gets garbage out. Climate science has been manipulated into a Big Lie, or more properly a series of Big Lies.
* Catastrophe is definite and inevitable. Note that this is true even if we alter our use of carbon based fuels — it is “too late” according to the high sensitivity models and the most shrill of the catastrophists.
* Since warming has apparently all but ceased, CAGW has been quietly transformed to CACC — GW has turned into “climate change” so that we can blame humans and claim catastrophe for GASTA neutral weather events like droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods. Since events of this sort happen literally all of the time, somewhere, the claims that any given event is related to anthopogenic activity cannot be refuted. Sandy was our fault. I’m certain that the storm that just hit England was our fault. If there is a large tornado, to Al Gore it is clear proof that it is our fault. Surely large tornadoes never happened before we got around to increasing the CO_2 content of the atmosphere.
Halfway decent scientists who take the time to actually look at the data know that this is piffle, but how in the world is the average citizen going to figure this out, especially when supposedly reputable scientists stand mute when Gore makes his absurd claims in internationally promoted events. The end, apparently, justifies the means even if the means is turning a blind eye to the evisceration of science on national television. Where are climate scientists who are willing to address not their political certainty but their scientific doubt, not the “97% consensus” but the disagreement of some the models with the data at confidence levels even greater than 97% even though those models are still included in summary reports without any caveat — removing the caveat that was once there — for what one can only imagine is the sole purpose of lying to the policy makers, making what are literally the highest possible claims for future warming.
Where is Bayes’ theorem when you need it? Where are actual statisticians pointing out that the mean behavior of 30 models, many of them obviously failed, is not a statistical predictor of the future to which one can assign confidence intervals? Where is simple honesty?
Not in AR5. Definitely not in the only document of AR5 that matters, the summary for policy makers. Because once you shoot down (let’s say half of) the models in CIMP5, the entire document changes radically. Indeed, the credibility of the IPCC and all prior ARs crumbles.
So damn skippy, GCMs are trying to solve an enormously difficult problem. They aren’t doing a completely terrible job given the difficulty of the problem, but they are decades away from being adequate to control the public use of hundreds of billions of dollars at the cost of millions of lives a year, right now, not in 50 or 60 or 80 years. Ignoring the increasing deviation between the models and the actual GASTA record is sticking one’s head firmly into the sand and praying that the future will not simply lop it right off. If AR5 were honest, it would explain this clearly to the policy makers — after throwing out all of the models that are obviously too inaccurate at this point (whatever their supposed virtues) to be used to guide public policy.
Note very well that I hold no position on what the actual climate sensitivity is. I don’t think we know. It isn’t enough to assert that “physics” predicts CO_2 linked warming — all of the GCMs are supposedly physics based, and yet look at the spread of model results! Look at the deviation (of most) from reality! One can easily build a complex model using valid physical theory and get the wrong answer — especially when studying nonlinear systems with complex, chaotic dynamics, especially when those models are accidentally initialized during a period of strong natural warming under the misapprehension that most of that warming was caused by CO_2.
This is the sad thing. We can even see why the models are getting it largely wrong. It’s just that the political cost of fixing the models so that they hindcast the last 16 plus years (which without any question would eliminate most of the predicted warming, drastically dropping climate sensitivity and which might require the addition of omitted physics) is too great to bear. Careers would end. Heads would roll. An “oops” recantation of claims that have caused the diversion of perhaps a trillion dollars and that have indirectly killed tens of millions of people already in the process would go down in history as one of the most shameful moments in the history of science, and — if and when it happens — will affect the credibility of every scientist on the planet because the promoters of CAGW have taken care to connect all of us to their claims of catastrophe and disaster. 97% of us agree. We will therefore all bear the guilt and shame, if only for our silence, if those claims turn out to be false.
The only possible defense against this is simple honesty. AR5 needs to issue a correction — effectively rewriting its SPM after doing a serious statistical review of the GCMs that are allowed to contribute to its conclusions. How can doing this not be good science? You know and I know that it should be done, that honesty demands it. Tell me that you cannot pick a few models in the collection that just shouldn’t be there because they are absurdly too warm and get lots of other things wrong as well. How can it possibly be wrong to only make statements that are justified by the actual theory of statistics instead of pulling phrases like “high confidence” or “medium confidence” out of one’s ass when talking about future “projections” of warming or disaster? How about removing altogether the assertion that any human alive has any idea what fraction of the 20th century warming in either half was anthropogenic and what was natural? How about removing the term “unprecedented” from the report altogether (since it is incorrect or unknown almost every single place it is used, and it is used only to increase the sense of alarm rather than present the scientific facts and hypotheses)?
rgb

121. Walt The Physicist says:

thallstd says:
November 4, 2013 at 7:17 pm
Thank you, this is a great reference. Indeed, interpreting experimental data is not a straightforward process. And sciences mainly based on statistical interpretation of measurements, like those described in the article plus climate science, can easily become a casualty of erroneous data interpretation. The referenced article demonstrates that some scientists are aware, “self-doubt” (in a good way), and try to eliminate glitches. The result of this “self-doubt” is positive – rejecting inadequate theories, proposing more accurate theories, etc. However, there is a different phenomenon (that I believe is dominating current academic science): some scientist (like Mann, Hansen, Caldeira) propose a hypothesis, formulate theoretical concept, collect data supporting this concept and form a clique that suppress any attempts of either verification, or finding the range of applicability of their model, or publishing any theories that differ from theirs. What are the reasons for such behavior? How widely spread is such behavior? – We learn from Lee Smolin (read “Troubles with Physics…”) that, similarly to climate science, a string theory clique dominates and suppresses theoretical astrophysics. Is it a consequence of the way of how research funding is set?

122. JohnWho says:

John Whitman says:
November 5, 2013 at 3:19 am
Robert G. Brown said,
“…
The only thing that will disprove GW or CGW is reaching 2100 without a climate catastrophe and without significantly more warming or with net cooling. A demonstrated total climate sensitivity of zero beats all predictions or argument. …”
– – – – – – – –
Robert G. Brown,
A future disproof of GW or AGW or CAGW based solely on more observations versus a disproof right now based solely on past observations (on all timescales).

Before we disprove something, don’t the proponents have to prove it first? What would define and prove that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are having an observable, measureable, effect on the overall temperature of the atmosphere?
There is no need to disprove GW – it has been happening recently (since end of LIA) just as GC has happened many times in the past.
I believe, if Dr. Brown is specifically talking about proving or disproving the models, then his assertions seem correct.

123. JohnWho says:

rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am
… How about removing the term “unprecedented” from the report altogether (since it is incorrect or unknown almost every single place it is used, and it is used only to increase the sense of alarm rather than present the scientific facts and hypotheses)?
rgb

Interesting that you would say that.
I would suggest that if you changed the term “unprecedented” to the phrase “not unprecedented” in every incident where it was used, it would still be just as correct (or incorrect or unknown).

124. Speed says:

rgbatduke comment on November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am, should also be elevated to a Guest Post. And maybe introduced into the Congressional Record.

125. Jim Cripwell says:

rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am writes
@@@@@
We will therefore all bear the guilt and shame, if only for our silence, if those claims turn out to be false.
The only possible defense against this is simple honesty.
@@@@@
Once again, you have written a clear statement of the problem. But, with these sentences, you are, I believe, neglecting the realities of what the situation is in the current scientific establishment. Not all of us have been silent. But the scientists who really matter have been silent. And they remain silent.
The cure you propose of “simple honesty”, here on November 2013, is pie in the sky daydreaming. It is NEVER going to happen unless and until the learned scientific societies, led by the Royal Society and the American Physical Society decide that they WANT to be honest. They don’t.
We have the ridiculous situation where the [Astronomer] Royal, and former President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees. can state, publicly, scientific nonsense. http://theconversation.com/astronomer-royal-on-science-environment-and-the-future-18162
I quote “Doubling of CO2 in itself just causes 1.2 degrees warming. But the effect can be amplified by associated changes in water vapour and clouds.”
I would be quite happy to debate Lord Rees and show that he is talking scientific nonsense. But this will never happen.
The scientific establishment is locked into the hoax of CAGW, and is not going to change unless a miracle happens.

126. Jeff Alberts says:

rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 5:05 am
Should that be 2020?
No, no, I have a time machine in my living room…;-)
Well, ok, you got me, yes. Sorry. No way to edit once posted. Also I seem to have type CMIP5 instead of CIMP5. Probably more — I didn’t proofread it as carefully as I might have a top article.
rgb
[There are two “2020” – should both be 2100? Or neither? But no more CMIP5’s. Mod]

Wow, you both got it wrong. CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project) is correct, CIMP5 is incorrect. Right now there is a mixture of both in the head post. I know, it’s a minor nit, but easy to fix.
[“Now” are you happy? 8<) Mod]

127. David S says:

All good points except for this one: “Because it is an open secret that there was a cover-up that deliberately concealed this, effectively lying to policy makers, there will be a public scandal. Heads will roll.”
That would be true if we lived under a reality based government, but we don’t. The government we have is more like that depicted in Orwell’s 1984. Government decides what reality is. If government says 2+2=5 then it does. Anyone who disagrees will be tortured until he does agree. In fact he will be tortured until he actually believes 2+2=5.
Sadly a large portion of the public is so dumb they simply accept whatever hogwash the government tells them. They lack the intellectual ability to distinguish fact from hogwash. Even sadder yet, they vote.

128. To put the current climate alarmism into perspective, let’s look at some longer time scales:
click1
click2
click3
click4
click5
There is nothing either unusual or unprecedented in the current climate, and the Null Hypothesis has never been falsified.

129. Rud Istvan says:

Even those GCMs that can be retuned to incorporate the pause are not fit for popupose for long term projections/forecasts/estimates/predictions (or whatever other words the AGW crowd uses to describe GCM outputs). The most powerful supercomputers do not permit sufficiently small grid cells to accurately model convection cells. Hence they all underestimate rainfall, as a result of which the positive water vapor feedback is overstated and cloud feedback misstated. And AR5 WG1 chapter 7 final draft said this problem was not remedial in the next decade, if ever.
There may be other approaches (cloud superparameterization, tropical rescaling) that could solve the observational problems. But merely selecting the best of a bad bunch is not the way to go.

130. Snotrocket says:

rgbatduke said:

“Where is simple honesty?”

Robert: Four, immensely powerful words: I felt the incredible emotion behind them. They should be engraved in stone and hung above the doors to every CAGW/CACC ‘scientist’s’ lab.

131. waterside4 says:

Clipe above at 1237 4/11/13 shows the piece from Mr FOIA from climategate 2.
Does any blogger/ administrator know what became of Climategate2.
Just curious.

132. JohnWho on November 5, 2013 at 6:25 am said,

@John Whitman on November 5, 2013 at 3:19 am

Before we disprove something, don’t the proponents have to prove it first? What would define and prove that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are having an observable, measureable, effect on the overall temperature of the atmosphere?
There is no need to disprove GW – it has been happening recently (since end of LIA) just as GC has happened many times in the past.
I believe, if Dr. Brown is specifically talking about proving or disproving the models, then his assertions seem correct.

– – – – – – – – –
JohnWho,
When any claims of GW or AGW or CAGW are made then anyone can decide whether to work on disproving them. While intellectual onus of proof of claims may be on those making claims, it doesn’t restrict skeptic analysis by others that leads toward a state of disproving the claims; that is, skeptics can choose to work on disproving claims even though the claims were never even attempted to be ‘proven’ only asserted boldly as true.
As to disproving GW or AGW or CAGW versus disproving the current GCM models, I think they were treated separately in Brown’s lead post.
In my view, disproving the current GCMs does not disprove GW or AGW or CAGW. But I think disproving GW or AGW or CAGW does disprove the current GCMs.
John

133. steverichards1984 says:

I find it strange that some people are willing to accept models that do not work!
That they do not match history, that have no predictive ability what so ever would cause me to sack anyone who used a model output for any reason other than to demonstrate poor programming/logic/theory etc.
The models are wrong.
No model output should be publically discussed unless its hindcasting ability is extremely good.
One could tolerate a model that forecast history well, with a few exceptional events not currently handled well on the basis that the odd error is being addressed.
But here, we have the output of known, failing models, being published, used, acted upon and some people say they a ‘not bad because it is a difficult job to do’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You can perform statistical tests on model outputs to see how close they correlate with observations but first we need model outputs that appear in the right ball park before we do any heavy duty analysis.
Lets hope commentators here do not have jobs that involve safety critical work such as flight control systems, where you need to understand the system be for you touch a keyboard……

134. Theo Goodwin says:

rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am
This excellent post is as strong as your original post. Thanks again for your brilliant work in behalf of science and humanity.

135. rogerknights says:

David Yost says:
November 4, 2013 at 11:55 pm
A lot of these “scientists” (Al Gore is in no way a scientist and should be confronted by all good people for his outrageous claims and misrepresentation as someone with climatology credentials) have a complete lack of understanding of the enormous complexity/difficulty of trying to predict climate change. Their extreme sense of “certainty” that they have the answer to me speaks volumes of how truly ignorant they are.

Hear, hear.

RGB says (in comment):
An “oops” recantation of claims that have caused the diversion of perhaps a trillion dollars and that have indirectly killed tens of millions of people already in the process would go down in history as one of the most shameful moments in the history of science, and — if and when it happens — will affect the credibility of every scientist on the planet because the promoters of CAGW have taken care to connect all of us to their claims of catastrophe and disaster. 97% of us agree.

Including 97% of the world’s scientific societies. (200 in total, according to one warmist comment I read.) The well-organized, well-funded warmist assertion machine made sure to make all those organizations toe the line. When the warm turns, those groups are going to have some ‘splaining to do, because ex-warmist journalists will toss the hot potato of blame into their laps.

136. Walt The Physicist says:

rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am
“…Careers would end. Heads would roll…”
Dear rgb, Thank you for starting such a needed conversation. It would have been great if the clique science lead to unpleasant consequences. The reality is different: those tenured will retain tenure, the centers opened as a result of recently initiated NSF project “The Network for Sustainable Climate Risk Management (SCRIM)” (such as Penn State’s CLIMA or opened this summer Center on Weather Risk Solutions… also at Penn State;) will remain opened and spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars, … Dr. Mann and Dr. Caldeira will continue their careers and keep on contributing to the publication rejections, blocking new faculty hire who does not belong to the clique, and occasionally dining with Bono or Gates and delivering talks. Similar situation is in the astrophysics where the String Theory clique took over (Lee Smolin “The Trouble With Physics…”). I know from experience that similar situation is in the nonlinear optics where “Nonlinear Schrodinger’s Equation and Soliton” clique usurped the power. You write: “…will affect the credibility of every scientist on the planet because the promoters of CAGW…” Not only because of them. It seems that all academia is in trouble state. What is the cause of it?!

137. Toto says:

taxed said:
l don’t think we should be so quick to welcome boring weather.
Because its when the weather does become stable with little in the way of change over the longer term, is just when you do get extremes in climate.
lts what causes deserts to form, and l also think its what causes ice ages to form when the weather gets locked into a certain pattern
========
That is a very insightful comment. Droughts and heat waves happen when the weather gets locked into a certain pattern, for example. How well do climate models predict such patterns in the distant future when weather models can’t even do it into the near future. And the developers of weather models do try to get them right. Pity they don’t get the big funding that climate models do.

138. rgbatduke says:

</itypo: not CIMP5 but CMIP5
CMIP = “Coupled Model Intercomparison Project”
http://cmip-pcmdi.llnl.gov/cmip5/

Yes, big oops. I think I was confusing it in my mind with ChIMP5, the Coupled humaniform Monkey Intercomparison Project. Or it was a sustained, pre-morning-coffee dyslexic moment. Or early signs of alzheimer’s. Or too much tasty beer over the last few days. Thanks for correcting all of this Anthony.
I really need to finish my coffee and THEN type replies. Thanks also to those that have identified (correctly) Global Average Surface Temperature (Anomaly), that is GAST or GASTA. I just get tired of typing it all out and since this isn’t a formal journal (hell, I was just typing a reply on another thread) I didn’t bother to define my acronyms as a lot of regulars know what they stand for.
One more comment regarding replies above. It was pointed out that one cannot falsify the existing GCMs — and one could have stopped right there, as this is sufficient to demonstrate that they are not scientific hypotheses that should be used for any purpose whatsoever — by merely noting that the warmest ones are 0.5 C or more warmer than the present, diverging by this much over only 16 years. After all, we cannot say that natural variability hasn’t cleverly arranged itself to precisely cancel all of the warming these models represent and that once the natural track of the model returns to — um — some imagined “normal”, the warming will come roaring back on us all at once.
You are, of course, quite right. We cannot say that this is not the case. As you will note, I have carefully not taken a stance on whether or not the CAGW hypothesis is or is not correct, as the correctness of a hypothesis is subject to both verification and falsification. If I hypothesize “the sun will appear to rise tomorrow at my location on the planet Earth”, I cannot say that this is or is not certainly the case, all I can do is make my best guess as to the probabilities and then see how things turn out. Tomorrow morning the hypothesis will without any doubt become certainly true or certainly false, verified or falsified by direct observation.
At this point I have a fair bit of evidence — I personally think a compelling amount of evidence — that the hypothesis is true, so I think it is rather probably true that the sun will rise tomorrow. I can support an argument for it that includes things like astronomical observations, the laws of physics (including the law of conservation of angular momentum and the observation that the earth has a huge angular momentum influenced by only tiny, tiny net torque), an argument for the permanance of observed things like suns and planets (conservation of mass energy), the high probability that the sun will neither explode nor go out in the meantime, and some rather unprovable assumptions concerning my experience of sunrise being a real experience and not a simulation being carefully prepared by an intelligent agent, an “evil genius” bent on deceiving me, perhaps because I’m a power unit in The Matrix. At the end of the day (literally) I expect the sun to rise tomorrow far more firmly than I expect to be alive to see it.
Let’s see what sort of similar argument could be raised for a GCM that has produced a 16 year warm-side, systematic deviation of 0.6 C from the near neutral actual behavior (of GASTA) over that same period. If we assume that the deviation is caused by natural variability, that is — first order, simplest linearized hypothesis — equivalent to stating that it is somehow likely that the actual temperature of the planet would have fallen by this amount over the same time frame if it were not for the compensating warming behavior produced by increased CO_2. Now let’s look at the entire thermometric climate record, and see how many 16 year intervals we can count where GASTA varied by 0.6 C. I get zero, how about you? If we allow for some 10 of those intervals (in HADCRUT4, at least), then it seems that based on the sample we have the odds of having such a rapid change in temperatures is pretty small. If we extend this using the increasingly imprecise proxy GASTA data over the last 1000 years, 2000 years, 20000 years, 5 million years, etc (where we have serious resolution difficulties at the end of this, of course) it looks like the probability of such a rapid temperature change is nearly zero. If we look at HADCRUT4 — currently my “favorite” representation of GASTA if only because they publish an error estimate and have some sort of thermometric number all the way back to the mid-19th century — the linear trend over the entire graph:
is less than 0.8 C over the entire curve! If you carefully cherrypick start and end dates you can find a couple of intervals where the temperature went up 0.6 C over 30 years (at half this rate) — but sadly one occurred between 1910 and 1940 before CO_2 was an issue is almost indistinguishable from the second one between 1970-something and 2000-something.
This seems implausible to me. Of course it could be true — no denying it, the world could have managed a state that (without all the extra CO_2, which supposedly accounts for over half of the warming post 1955 according to AR5 — and we could have reached an orbital state that would have started the next ice age in 1980 or 1990, so that global temperatures should really really dropped by perhaps 0.8 C from 1980 to 2013, and would have if it weren’t for all of the anthropogenic CO_2. It does make it a bit difficult to explain the nearly identical warming from 1900 to 1950 vs 1950 to 2000, with a clearly defined oscillation of temperature around the OLS trend (green line) in this figure — quite a coincidence, that. It’s almost as if nothing really changed in the pattern of global climate in 1950 with the advent of anthropogenic CO_2 beyond a slight exaggeration of a preexisting trend we do not understand and cannot retroactively or otherwise explain.
In the end, though, it is quite clear that the actual temperature record post the 1997/1998 ENSO that is associated with the last observed meaningful warming is flat, and it is equally clear that flat temperatures do not support the null hypothesis that any of the models with excessive warming are still correct. They merely may not be sufficient to reject those models at arbitrarily high confidence levels but no one sane will look at them and go “look how well this model is doing” outside of the range of the actual data used to tune the model!
Predictive modeling is one of my professional games. In the actual business, we have a name for a model that systematically deviates from observation the instant one applies it to a trial set outside of the training set. We call it a “failed model”. Not because it is certain to be a failed model, but because if you try to convince a client to put actual money down based on your model they will decline. In fact, if you were forced to put your own money down on your own model, you would (if you had any sense) decline. You would without any possible question doubt your own model, especially given the secular trends in the data that are clearly visible across HADCRUT4. You would probably conclude that your model is quite naive, and overfitting a linear trend on the training set that is coincidentally excessively steep.
So no, I cannot agree with your rationale for keeping the obviously failed models in CMIP5 and moving them all over to AR5’s SPM without any comment like “Figure 1.4 includes models that are unlikely to be correct at this point because they exhibit warming in excess of what any reasonable natural variation could cancel, and spend zero time even touching the actual temperature curve over the last 16 years.” Or without a comment that the “mean” of the models in CMIP5 is a “meaningless” quantity as far as the actual theory of statistics, having precisely zero predictive power compared to the actual temperature, meaningless variance, no possible way to connect the mean and variance to a probability of future warming.
Just because one can imagine an argument that would permit a failed model to still be correct is not an excuse for keeping it. Sure, it could still be correct, and as we wait for the future to unfold we’ll no doubt discover whether or not it is. At the moment however, the data strongly suggest that it is not correct. In no possible universe could you look at one of the failed models vs actual curve and tell me “wow, what a great, accurate, precise model”.
So why, exactly, are we basing AR5’s SPM on all of the models in CMIP5 instead of the actual behavior of the actual temperature? What exactly does the “I” in this acronym stand for? Intercomparison of the models themselves as a standard for the believability of the models, or the more proper comparison of each model, one at a time, to the actual climate?
How exactly can you validate a model with another model?
rgb

139. rgbatduke says:

I know from experience that similar situation is in the nonlinear optics where “Nonlinear Schrodinger’s Equation and Soliton” clique usurped the power.
Yeah, but that’s because solitons are way cool, right? And when you say “usurped the power” it doesn’t mean anything like it does in climate science. One could still get funded and published outside of this — at least I did, where my own work involved microscopic coupled Langevin descriptions of linear optics that reproduced macroscopically nonlinear descriptions with a model where one could track in microscopic detail the disorder and feedback for things like bistability and photon echos. Then I got sidetracked for a decade plus into (dynamic) critical phenomena, which is also quite interesting. Physics can be clique-y and “wars” between competing points of view and a certain amount of gatekeeping have been known to occur, but since journal referees are usually not “tightly” in the field, they don’t really prevent good work from continuing or cause a field to truly become monolithic. And in the end, nobody dies if solitons beat out master equations for a while in nonlinear optics.
rgb

140. Jim Cripwell says:

rgbatduke, you ask “How exactly can you validate a model with another model?”
You cannot. Many of us have known this for years, but few people took any notice of us. Now we have someone of your standing who is starting to ask the right questions. You seem to find the answers surprising. We skeptics have been listening to this scientific nonsense for years.
What I hope is that when more scientists like yourself realise just how bad the science is that the IPCC has been presenting for years, that this realization will creep higher up the pecking order, until someone who really matters starts asking these questions, and finds there are no answers.
The bad science in the AR5 seems to be slowly percolating through the scientific community. Let us hope that this continues, until something actually happens to lay bare the hoax of CAGW.

141. Walt The Physicist says:

“…since journal referees are usually not “tightly” in the field, they don’t really prevent good work from continuing or cause a field to truly become monolithic. And in the end, nobody dies if solitons beat out master equations for a while in nonlinear optics.”
I agree, nobody dies, just science. In 1961 Leo Szilard (who is practically unknown these days to most of the physics students) published a science fiction book “The Voice of the Dolphins”. One of the short stories in this book was about intentional retardation of science – “The Mark Gable Foundation”. He didn’t anticipate that situation described in his story will come true and further evolve into clique science and clique academia.

142. The CAGW meme is built on the outputs of climate models. Many of the modelers and IPCC and Met Office scientific chiefs had a background in weather forecasting In spite of the inability of the weather models to forecast more than about 10 days ahead, in an act of almost unbelievable hubris and stupidity, the modelers allowed themselves to believe, or at least proclaim, that they knew enough about the physical processes and climate driving factors involved to forecast global temperatures for decades and centuries ahead.Indeed, many establishment scientists appear to think that humanity can dial up a desired global temperature by keeping CO2 within some appropriate limit. What arrant nonsense!
In practice the modelers have known for some time that their models have no skill in forecasting and have indeed said so in the WG1 reports. The IPCC AR4 WG1 science section actually acknowledges this fact. Section IPCC AR4 WG1 8.6 deals with forcings, feedbacks and climate sensitivity. The conclusions are in section 8.6.4 which deals with the reliability of the projections. It concludes:
“Moreover it is not yet clear which tests are critical for constraining the future projections, consequently a set of model metrics that might be used to narrow the range of plausible climate change feedbacks and climate sensitivity has yet to be developed”
What could be clearer. The IPCC in 2007 said itself that we don’t even know what metrics to put into the models to test their reliability.- i.e. we don’t know what future temperatures will be and we can’t calculate the climate sensitivity to CO2.This also begs a further question of what erroneous assumptions (e.g. that CO2 is the main climate driver) went into the “plausible” models to be tested anyway. This means that the successive SPM uncertainty estimates take no account of the structural uncertainties in the models and that almost the entire the range of model outputs may well lay outside the range of the real world future climate variability. By the time of the AR5 report this is obviously the case as their outputs and reality continued to diverge.
The key factor in making CO2 emission control policy is the climate sensitivity to CO2 . By AR5 – WG1 the IPCC is saying: (Section 9.7.3.3)
“The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations ”
In plain English this means that they have no idea what the climate sensitivity is and that therefore that the politicians have no empirical scientific basis for their economically destructive climate and energy policies.
In summary the projections of the IPCC – Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them are based on specifically structurally flawed and inherently useless models. They deserve no place in any serious discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a basis for public policy their forecasts are grossly in error and therefore worse than useless.
Continuing to even discuss climate forecasting in the IPCC modeling context is a waste of time.
How then can we predict the future of a constantly changing climate? A new forecasting paradigm is required .
It is important to note that it in order to make transparent and likely skillful forecasts it is not necessary to understand or quantify the interactions of the large number of interacting and quasi independent physical processes and variables which produce the state of the climate system as a whole as represented by the temperature metric. I suggest a simple rational empirical approach to climate forecasting based on common sense and quasi repetitive- quasi cyclic patterns..
For an estimate of the coming cooling based on such an approach see
http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

143. DayHay says:

RGB, love your posts, but really, heads will roll? Simple honesty? Sheesh, you are assuming these folks are like you in some way? These are double down pathological liars who have executive orders and MSM and large universities protecting their grant money. One bristlecone pine, please.? You have no idea who and what you are dealing with. The “I” in IPCC stands for one thing, access to your pocketbook by folks who own the guns. Truth is not even part of the discussion and never has been.

144. rogerknights says:

rgb says (above):
. . . if you were forced to put your own money down on your own model, you would (if you had any sense) decline. You would without any possible question doubt your own model, especially given the secular trends in the data that are clearly visible across HADCRUT4. You would probably conclude that your model is quite naive, and overfitting a linear trend on the training set that is coincidentally excessively steep.

I was doing OK on Intrade betting on annual temperatures against the warmists. Too bad Intrade is gone.
Incidentally, does AR5 cite Foster & Rahmstorf in an attempt to explain (away) the divergence between projections and reality?

145. rogerknights says:

DayHay says:
November 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm
RGB, love your posts, but really, heads will roll? Simple honesty? Sheesh, you are assuming these folks are like you in some way? . . . Truth is not even part of the discussion and never has been.

146. rgbatduke says:
November 5, 2013 at 6:13 am
*
Just my opinion – This really should be posted as an article. Everyone should read this. Brilliantly put, Rgb.

147. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
Kudos for a many-faceted, realistic overview of the situation. In light of the demands of your duties at Duke, unless you type at 1000wpm, it leaves me wondering how you find time for essay-length comments. I only wish you had said “recurrent” instead of “periodic” climate cycle in your presentation,.which minor inaccuracy deflects attention away from the major issues.

148. rogerknights says:

@rgb: Maybe put your posts here into an e-book? And/or maybe Anthony could set up a tab at the top containing links to all your threads and comments.

149. Taking the main post by rgbatduke and all subsequent comments by all commenters on this thread including also rgbatduke’s follow up comments, can one reasonably find the primary fault that is both necessary and sufficient (N&S) for the entire 20+ years of the IPCC that culminated in the AR5? Is it within the environmentalist community or within the certain types of media or within a certain sets of politicians or within certain departments within academia’s halls or somewhere within science’s community or is it somewhere else entirely?
I find the N&S primary fault to be within the portion of the scientific community that supports a philosophy of science thats views science as primarily an adaptable expedient in support of a predetermined climate answer where the answer is supplied by an ideology. Without their complicity I do not see how the IPCC AR5 could exist.
John

150. John West says:

John Whitman says:
”can one reasonably find the primary fault that is both necessary and sufficient (N&S) for the entire 20+ years of the IPCC that culminated in the AR5?”
One could argue that it all hinges on the failure of the educational system to instill good critical thinking skills among the general public and together with the environmental movement for encouraging impassioned personalities to pursue science in order to “make a difference” instead of dispassionately and objectively searching for answers.

151. Mario Lento says:

@Steven Mosher:
Another fly by trolling from Mosher… who gets off on feeling important because we pay attention to his nonsensical musings.
I used to think you understood physics and math, but it seems you don’t. I’ve said this before, Kelvin is not the same as C nor is it the same as anomalies in Celsius. They are orders of magnitude different from each other.
The average test score is 100%
someone scores 98 and another scores 99%
As anomalies, one score would be a -2 the other -1. In your world, the score of -1 would be 50% lower than a score of -2. When you know that’s simply not true.

152. Richard Heyn says:

[snip – you are welcome to resubmit this without the ad homs -mod]

153. Craig King says:

November 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm (Edit)
—————————
There is nothing wrong about Mr Mosher. He is rigorous in his approach and unconcerned with being popular. Many may not agree with him but he always fights his corner and I have never seen him run away or try and defend something when he has been proved wrong. A right royal PITA and the better for all of us that he is.

Craig King says (November 6, 2013 at 9:51 am): “There is nothing wrong about Mr Mosher.”
I’m a bit baffled by your comment, as it doesn’t contradict anything I wrote.

155. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
Allow me to anticipate how the promoters of the AGW meme will attack the realistic views that you eloquently express here. The first thing they will say is that, while absolute levels of global temperatures may be difficult to pin down accurately prior to the satellite era, the trend of “anomalies” is what really matters, since it reveals the effect of inceasing CO2, Then they will point to your own graph of HADCRUT4 as incontrovertible empirical evidence, while soft-shoeing the enormous gaps and systematic biases involved in the manufacture of that “historical” index. Yes, they will admit the presence of natural multidecadal cycles (which have been progressively diminished in all published GASTA time-series by data manipulation via “scalpel” corrections and various other “adjustments”), but they will insist that the “physics-based” trend will continue into the foreseeable future after the present “pause” runs its course,
What may bring about a stronger sobering is the recognition that GHGs introduce no energy of their own into Earth’s climate system; they merely redistribute and modulate, in the case of cloud-producing H2O, the effects of thermalized insolation. You can press that fundamental point very effectively.

156. Mario Lento says:

Craig King says:
November 6, 2013 at 9:51 am
November 4, 2013 at 1:57 pm (Edit)
—————————
There is nothing wrong about Mr Mosher. He is rigorous in his approach and unconcerned with being popular. Many may not agree with him but he always fights his corner and I have never seen him run away or try and defend something when he has been proved wrong. A right royal PITA and the better for all of us that he is.
+++++++++++++
Really – look up his name in posts. He flies by – drops drivel and hides away.

157. rgbatduke says:

There is no need to disprove GW – it has been happening recently (since end of LIA) just as GC has happened many times in the past.
I believe, if Dr. Brown is specifically talking about proving or disproving the models, then his assertions seem correct.

I was specifically referring to proving or disproving the CAGW hypothesis, which is contingent upon the AGW hypothesis. That is, that humans are causing global warming (not that GW has or is occurring) and the contingent proposition that the GW caused by us Anthropes will be Catastrophic.
Those are specific hypotheses, and in the time frame of 2100 disproof would be no observed global warming anthropogenic or otherwise by 2100, where proof would be observed global warming by 2100 AND the positive connection of that warming to human activity. Ditto “catastrophic” AGW. — disproof is the failure of any GW at all, any proven anthropogenic connection to whatever GW occurs, and of course, the failure for any GW (anthropogenic or not) to be catastrophic. Proof would be catastrophe caused by GW that has been sufficiently strongly connected to human activity by experiments.
rgb

158. rgbatduke says:

What may bring about a stronger sobering is the recognition that GHGs introduce no energy of their own into Earth’s climate system; they merely redistribute and modulate, in the case of cloud-producing H2O, the effects of thermalized insolation. You can press that fundamental point very effectively.
Sure, but bear in mind that I personally have absolutely no doubt in the reality of the GHE. It is actually very simple physics, and there is no doubt at all that it occurs. You are welcome to buy Grant Perry’s book if you do not understand this and work through it. The reality of the effect, however, does not suffice to prove the specific pattern of feedbacks that go into the overall climate sensitivity, and even the model for the variation of the GHE with CO_2 concentration itself is open to some doubt. The CO_2-linked GHE we observe is overwhelmingly dominated by the first 100 ppm of concentration. That does not mean that the GCMs are all correct, however, just because they all implement some variation of CO_2 based radiative physics, especially by the time one gets through adding feedback from water vapor, albedo variation from clouds, cloud variation from aerosols, the direct albedo effect of aerosols, the modulation of radiation due to heat redistribution (or the lack thereof), buffering due to the ocean, latent heat transport, variations in atmospheric chemistry due to variations in solar state, variations of insolation with orbital stuff, and more. This is reflected by the fact that the GCMs not in good agreement even amongst themselves.
So I don’t think any climate researchers will be impressed by the assertion that GHGs introduce no energy of their own, as that is a straw man. That isn’t how they work and everybody knows it, so reasserting an irrelevant fact changes nothing. The insulation of my house doesn’t introduce addtional heat, but it sure gets warmer with it than without it once one takes the furnace into account.
rgb

159. rgbatduke says:

Kudos for a many-faceted, realistic overview of the situation. In light of the demands of your duties at Duke, unless you type at 1000wpm, it leaves me wondering how you find time for essay-length comments. I only wish you had said “recurrent” instead of “periodic” climate cycle in your presentation,.which minor inaccuracy deflects attention away from the major issues.
My friends and colleagues have sometimes referred to me as the “rgbbot”, suspecting that I’m actually a beowulf-based AI.
And you are quite right — recurrent would be a far better and more precise term than periodic. It expresses the reservations that I’ve been (of course) holding in my own mind and when I often introduce this as numerology, not science per se.
rgb

160. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
I agree that the atmosphere provides an insulating layer between space,
which keeps the surface warmer than it would be in its absence. Earth’s
atmosphere, however, is warmed primarily by heat transfer via moist
convection, rather than by radiative transfer. This has been shown by
numerous experiments around the globe, in which some of my former
colleagues participated. [You may google “Bowen Ratio” for some
references.]
which leads to unrealistically high temperature calculations. In fact,
Dynamics” reaches the aphysical conclusion that, with enough absorbing
layers in the atmosphere, the surface temperature can exceed that of the
Sun.
Having digested R.M. Goody’s “Atmospheric Radiation” and John A. Dutton’s
“The Ceaseless Wind” many decades ago, I dispute the basis of such
conclusions. And I doubt that “Grant Perry’s book”, which is nowhere
identified on the web, would persuade any field-experienced geophysicist
otherwise. That there always is a radiative exchange between surface and
atmospheric matter is as boring as the exchange between the floor and the
insulated attic in a heated room. It’s the heat source and the net
transfer by all mechanisms, not just directional radiative intensity, that
really matters. That was the thrust of my remarks.
In any event, I don’t wish to detract in any way from your excellent
presentation. And, being an incompetent typist, I simply can’t spare time
from my professional duties for prolonged blog discussions.

161. rgbatduke says:

Having digested R.M. Goody’s “Atmospheric Radiation” and John A. Dutton’s
“The Ceaseless Wind” many decades ago, I dispute the basis of such
conclusions. And I doubt that “Grant Perry’s book”, which is nowhere
identified on the web, would persuade any field-experienced geophysicist
otherwise. That there always is a radiative exchange between surface and
atmospheric matter is as boring as the exchange between the floor and the
insulated attic in a heated room. It’s the heat source and the net
transfer by all mechanisms, not just directional radiative intensity, that
really matters. That was the thrust of my remarks.

Sorry. should have included the link:
If you are a geophysicist (and hence physicist) then I doubt that you will argue with much of the book. I teach graduate-level electrodynamics and quantum mechanics from time to time (at the moment I’m teaching an endless series of intro physics but that’s the way our department rotates teaching) and the physics seems quite sound. In fact, it seems quite elementary. Nowhere in the book does Petty make a concrete assertion about e.g. the total climate sensitivity, BTW. It does, however, contain the TOA and BOA spectrographs that to any physicist are rather concrete proof of the GHE.
As for heat transfer mechanisms, I certainly don’t disagree that heat transfer by all mechanisms is important, but the point of the GHE is that without the atmospheric opacity in the LWIR bands, the troposphere would descend more or less to the surface of the Earth. But I’m guessing that we agree on all of this. I just don’t think there is a smoking gun disproof of CAGW and also don’t think that one can likely point to any particular subroutine in a GCM and say “aha, this is the wrong physics!” The errors are more subtle than that — omission, incorrect initialization, inadequate granularity, and a touch of good old fashioned code tuning to get a desired result.
rgb

162. Gail Combs says:

rgbatduke says: November 8, 2013 at 6:21 am
… I just don’t think there is a smoking gun disproof of CAGW and also don’t think that one can likely point to any particular subroutine in a GCM and say “aha, this is the wrong physics!” The errors are more subtle than that — omission, incorrect initialization, inadequate granularity, and a touch of good old fashioned code tuning to get a desired result.
>>>>>>>>>>>>
Dr. Brown, could you answer the question of whether the Climate Models are projections for the different storylines and scenarios purposed by Ged Davis. If the ensemble is not for business as usual but for an array of futures including a ” much reduced greenhouse gas emissions alternate scenario” then that spaghetti graph is a monumental lie since none of the ‘Projections’ fit reality including their desired scenario.
I can not tell if the climate models in AR5 much discussed here at WUWT are the same models Ged Davis prepared the scenarios for, or if they are for a completely different section of the IPCC’s report.
Excerpt:
Dear Colleagues:
I am sending you a copy of Ged Davis’ IPCC-SRES Zero Order Draft on
storylines and scenarios….
Draft Paper for the IPCC Special Report on Emissions Scenarios…
Contents
1. Introduction
2. Scenarios – overview
3. Golden Economic Age (A1)
4. Sustainable Development (B1)
5. Divided World (A2)
6. Regional Stewardship (B2)
7. Scenario comparisons
8. Conclusions
Appendix 1: Scenario quantification
1. Introduction
The IS99 scenarios have been constructed to explore future developments in the global environment with special reference to the production of GHGs….
1.1 What are scenarios?
Scenarios are pertinent, plausible, alternative futures. Their pertinence, in this case, is derived from the need for climate change modelers to have a basis for assessing the implications of future possible paths for Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHGs). Their plausibility is tested by peer review, in an open process, which includes their publication on the World Wide Web.
There are clearly an infinite number of possible alternative futures to explore. We have consciously applied the principle of Occam’s Razor, seeking the minimum number of scenarios to provide an adequate basis for climate modelling and challenge to policy makers…
2.1 Scenarios: key questions and dimensions
Developing scenarios for a period of one hundred years is a relatively new field. Within that period we might expect two major technological discontinuities, a major shift in societal values and a change in the balance of geopolitical power…. “

163. rgbatduke says:

Dr. Brown, could you answer the question of whether the Climate Models are projections for the different storylines and scenarios purposed by Ged Davis. If the ensemble is not for business as usual but for an array of futures including a ” much reduced greenhouse gas emissions alternate scenario” then that spaghetti graph is a monumental lie since none of the ‘Projections’ fit reality including their desired scenario.
Hi Gail,
I suppose the best answer I could give would be “No”. Both no I can’t answer the question and no the GCMs are not really for that purpose AFAIK, although there have been figures published in the past for 0 emissions, continued emissions, increased emissions that probably are. But the GCMs (however they were USED in AR5) are for the purpose of modelling the climate. They can be judged on the basis of how well they modelled the climate over the trial period that began as soon as the models were initialized in such a way that they did well over the training period. Since they were initialized to show excessive CO_2-driven warming in what was likely a natural spike that had little to do with CO_2, as soon as the natural process responsible for that warming shifted the models all rapidly diverged from nature. That’s by far the simplest interpretation, and one that at this point I think a lot of even the most ardent warmists would agree with.
The solution is simple enough. In the short run, throw out all of the models that failed to reproduce this shift, as obviously they cannot actually predict what nature does, let alone what nature plus CO_2 does. This alone would significantly lower climate sensitivity estimates, and we are starting to see papers that are doing precisely that. We will see more, every year the climate fails to warm, because every year without significant warming further constrains feedbacks and overall sensitivity and even though the researchers are struggling to overcome a really serious bias towards their Bayesian prior assumption of huge sensitivity, data talks, bullshit walks, and those estimates must come down eventually in the face of the data.
In the longer run, build better models. The idea of building good climate models is not itself flawed. The problem has been building climate models that politically interpreted the late 20th century warming as being somehow different from the nearly identical early 20th century warming and blaming the former entirely on CO_2. This was then built right into the models in the form of maximum direct CO_2 forcing and strong water vapor feedback, and compensating for this by cranking up the (mostly unknown) contribution of aerosols until they got a good fit to the 1970s-1990s warming.
The problem with multivariate systems is there is usually more than one way to get a model to agree with training data, but those different ways usually diverge once you get outside of the training set, and at most one of them will be actually correct. Discovering the actually correct climate description almost certainly requires more than a stretch of monotonic warming to use as a training set.
If they trained on data from 1940 to 2013, OTOH, they’d have at least two periods of neutral to negative temperature changes AND a period of positive change (assuming, of course, that the various GASTA/GAST estimates are reasonably correct over this interval, which is far from certain). A model built that could correctly describe those changes would likely be more robust than the ones built and initialized to produce monotonic warming. None of this is really surprising — except that the writers of AR5 and its SPM would completely neglect mentioning it and indeed, would treat this divergence almost as if it is a problem with the actual global temperature instead of a problem with the models.
And it may not be a problem with the models — it is important to remember that this is a possibility too. They could still be right. In a year, two years, global temperature COULD spike up a half a degree C or whatever and the curves could rejoin one another. The hard thing about prediction is that it is about the future, and it isn’t terribly easy to prove or disprove a prediction except by waiting, and imprecise or multivariate predictions are difficult to check even by waiting. It worked over and over again for Biblical prophets — make an obscure prophecy and wait — sooner or later an even occurs that you can point at as proof that your prophecy was correct. So if I prophecy “There will be an enormous storm, the strongest storm in a 100 years” I have zero chance of being proven incorrect, and every chance of being proven correct. Eventually. If I say “There will be an enormous storm this year and it will strike central Florida“, well, only really stupid prophets would prophecy that. Too easy to get wrong, too “final” when you do.
So it really doesn’t matter how many years the climate stays flat and boring. It could always get exciting next year, and since the GCM “prophecies” are non-specific, any excitement at all can be counted as evidence that they are right, or will eventually be. All we can say is it hasn’t warmed the way they predict yet. We could say more, of course, if we used probability theory and statistics theory to assess the models as null hypotheses — we could then say that the probability that the models are correct is smoothly decaying in time as long as the climate remains neutral or fails to warm as they describe. How long should we wait before we reject the null hypothesis — or to put it more precisely, given the probability that this model is correct AND we have the observed climate different from its predictions, how small does that probability have to get before we conclude that the theory given the data is very, very implausible? The usual rule (lacking Bayesian priors that bias the estimate) is less than 0.05, but really this is pretty arbitrary. Less than 0.01 is pretty safe — it is asserting that one would observe the prediction AND the data only one Universe in 100 that were nearly identically prepared, so we’d have to be pretty unlucky to be in that one. Less that 0.001 and there is only one chance in a thousand that the model is right, given the data.
However, given many independent models (not independent runs of a single model), all of them too warm, the odds change. It becomes much less stringent to reject a model because you have so many chances to get the climate right and the models themselves have some noise and variance — you’d expect even a bad model to have a chance of getting the observed climate right at least some of the time. If you roll a 20 sided coin looking for 0.05 acceptance 20 times, you can’t be surprised if you get it around one time and GETTING it one time doesn’t mean you should accept the model, it means you should reject it!
rgb

164. 1sky1 says:

rgb:
Without even glancing at Petty’s text, I offer a few brief caveats and clarifications:
Much caution needs to be exercised in interpreting widely published emission
spectra. They are often selected from ultra-dry regions (e.g. Sahara,
Antarctica) to de-emphasize the usually dominant role of water-vapor, while
casting CO2 in a disproportionate role. Inasmuch as molecular
collision with “inert” atmospheric constituents is what most frequently
grounds the excited state of CO2, there is energy transfer from CO2’s
characteristic spectral lines to the broad continuum (extending into the
microwave region) emitted by those constituents. Such transfer is seldom
properly acoounted for; in fact, it is effectively concealed by displaying
the spectra only in a much narrower range.
Contrary to the impression thus created, total atmospheric radiation is
nowhere near as dependent upon trace gases. I would argue that they cannot
store more energy than their miniscule total mass allows. To the extent
that dry convection can heat the vastly greater atmospheric bulk, GHG’s
strike me as hardly indispensible in maintaining a tropopause at an
altitude roughly equal to maximum convective reach. Furthermore, LWIR
atmospheric backscattering is not on equal thermodynamic footing with
high-entropy insolation. Its low-entropy radiation is almost totally
absorbed in the surface skin of the oceans, thereby sustaining
temperature-lowering evaporation. Instead of being an external “forcing,”
“backradiation” merely recirculates energy within the system.
Perhaps we’ll have an opportunity to take up these issues again in a more
appropriate forum. Have a good weekend!

165. rgbatduke says:

I would argue that they cannot
store more energy than their miniscule total mass allows. To the extent
that dry convection can heat the vastly greater atmospheric bulk, GHG’s
strike me as hardly indispensible in maintaining a tropopause at an
altitude roughly equal to maximum convective reach. Furthermore, LWIR
atmospheric backscattering is not on equal thermodynamic footing with
high-entropy insolation. Its low-entropy radiation is almost totally
absorbed in the surface skin of the oceans, thereby sustaining
temperature-lowering evaporation. Instead of being an external “forcing,”
“backradiation” merely recirculates energy within the system.

Not sure what you mean by a “more appropriate forum”, so I’ll reply here. First, the mass fraction of the GHG’s is almost totally irrelevant to the GHE. The simplest single-slab model of the GHE doesn’t have a stated heat capacity for the atmosphere at all — the atmospheric mass/heat capacity determines the relaxation rates but not the steady state temperature. What matters is the opacity of the atmosphere in certain bands of LWIR. Second, nobody suggest that LWIR backscattering is on an “equal thermodynamic footing” with insolation — the latter is the actual energy source for the system, just as outer space at 3 K is the actual energy sink, within more or less irrelevant perturbations. However, I fail to see your point.
Again, in my house in winter the heat source is burning natural gas, the heat sink is the cold outside air, but insulation in between the two, while producing no energy whatsoever, can and does substantially modify the achievable temperature difference between the inside of the house and the outside by modulating the rate of energy flow from the inside (once delivered) to the outside. In the case of the Earth, the sun delivers energy at the TOA at some rate peaked at SW wavelengths. In a single slab model, this energy is partially absorbed by the atmosphere, hits the surface, is partially reflected (with the reflected component again being partially absorbed by the atmosphere on the way out), is partially absorbed by the surface, is reradiated by the surface as LWIR, is partially absorbed by the atmosphere on ITS way out. The atmosphere gains energy from direct insolation and LWIR surface emission and symmetrically reradiates it, with half escaping and half being returned to the surface. All radiation occurs at rates proportional to temperature to the fourth. This constitutes a system that one can easily solve for the surface equilibrium temperature as a function of insolation rate, albedo, and the atmospheric SW and LW absorptivity. In the limit that albedo is zero, SW absorptivity is zero and LW is unity, one gets the usual $2^{1/4}$ factor between the steady state temperature of the surface with a perfect LW absorber shell and the temperature without any shell at all. I don’t see what the “footing” of LW vs SW radiation has to do with an energy balance formula. Energy is conserved, period.
Can one dress this up and make it more complex? Sure. That’s almost precisely what GCMs are, models that are more complex. And no, they do not neglect LW absorption at the surface of the ocean, surface evaporation and heat transport in the form of water vapor, the substantial GHE from water vapor alone, and so on. They may or may not do the physics of this all correctly, they may or may not have the correct parametric values for the various rates involved, but in fact one of several reasons that the models run too warm is that they do incorporate a substantial water vapor GHE as a net positive feedback, leading to climate sensitivity some 2x (or more) what one expects from CO_2 alone. I think there is some evidence that this is incorrectly treated in models, that water vapor feedback is anywhere from net neutral to slightly negative, because water vapor is tied to a complex water cycle involving latent heat transfer of surface energy vertically, modulating albedo at different vertical heights, and losing heat to space similarly at different heights and wavelengths and rates (after being largely lofted through the CO_2 “barrier”). But it is not the case that models do not have this stuff going on at all, that they leave the physics out.
If you want to look at this to see for yourself, there is an open source GCM here:
http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/atm-cam/docs/description/
The documentation carefully details all of the physics accounted for in the model, how it is initialized, how it is run, and so on. Since the source is open (although a total PITA to build — it is terribly organized and requires modules from multiple sources/sites with separate — but still open — licensing) you can check the physics, add your own physics, modify the code in any way you like, change the parametric initialization, publicly criticize and/or correct any errors you find or wish to assert, and see if you can do better. As can I. With the catch, of course, being that neither of us have time to do so, or the computational resources handy required to integrate the model forward over decades in five minute timesteps. But you look at the documentation and tell me — what is being omitted? There are some real candidates for omission — GCR modulation of albedo, for example — but note well that the model explicitly treats the (single slab) ocean and sea ice. Should they use a multiple slab ocean model? Probably. With ARGO, one might eventually have the data needed to construct one, and of course the ocean is where some climate scientists are looking for the “missing heat” (and if so, good luck getting it out again as the ocean is a heat sink with century-scale heat capacity at the rate of the supposed net radiation anomaly assuming that there is NOT sufficient negative feedback at the surface to eliminate most of its heating). But note well, this is an issue of the model being broken or inadequate or incorrectly parametrized, not the model failing to include the effect.
Third, I do not understand your remark that backradiation “merely recirculates energy within the system”. As noted above, in one sense this is quite irrelevant to the question of whether or not it is a substantial source of power delivered to the surface. If you can measure 200+ W/m^2 in downwelling atmospheric radiation integrated over all wavelengths at nighttime (no sun at all in the sky) the fact that this energy originally came from the sun and is downwelling only after following a complex path is utterly immaterial to the fact that the energy it delivers partially cancels radiative energy outflow from the surface (and, in the event that there is an inversion, can actually MORE than cancel outflow). Nobody is asserting that the atmosphere “produces” this energy, but nobody could possibly argue that this energy is not a substantial factor in the rate that the surface cools and hence in the average surface temperature.
Finally, although I did not directly quote you above, you do remark that often people only look at dry air TOA/BOA spectrographs to demonstrate the GHE. Petty certainly presents several figures of this sort, because without the complication of water vapor one can most easily and cleanly see the relevant absorptive bands associated with e.g. CO_2 and Ozone as well as the “windows” in LWIR where cooling does occur. But Petty also presents several wet air spectrographs and sure, they show a much stronger GHE. All that this means is that the GHE is most certain real, that water vapor is the most important GHG and (as noted) the bulk of the effect from CO_2 was obtained when it first became saturated so that the atmosphere became optically opaque in its primary absorptive bands. It doesn’t mean that CO_2 is unimportant — the Earth teeters along in this particular ice age on the edge of a return to glaciation, and without CO_2 in the atmosphere at all I think there is little doubt that the Earth would devolve to being a permanent iceball everywhere except possibly a narrow band near the equator in a matter of centuries and never emerge. Water vapor alone has a dangerous instability on the cold side and water ice has a huge surface albedo. Even with CO_2 the Earth is at best borderline unstable as evidenced by the glacial record over the last 3 million years.
Do the GCMs get the physics of this sort of feedback and the additional multichannel feedback from aerosols as they play the dual role of nucleation sites for cloud formation and a high-albedo component to the atmosphere in their own right correct? Quite possibly not. This is a really difficult problem. Petty avoids making any positive statements about it — explaining the physical arguments for line broadening and the various methods used to approximate what happens in the absorptive bands and how they might vary with concentration and so on, but this is quite possibly a place where the GCMs don’t do the physics correctly, where they use a smoothed, separable approximation that for one reason or another breaks down in reality because it is non-separable. One cannot just say that they do make this or any other particular error, however, without building a GCM and changing the physics or parameters in a defensible way and showing that one gets a better description of the climate when one does. All once can do without this is what I am doing — note that the agreement between model predictions and actual climate outside of the era used to initialize the models and determine their parametrization is poor, so that it is probable that each GCM in poor agreement contains at least one error responsible for the difference. And IMO, almost certainly more than one. It is a hard problem.
I don’t always agree with Steve Mosher — I think he is too uncritical of the GCMs, and too quick to jump to their defense when there is little benefit in doing so, when the only way to improve them is to acknowledge the fact that they probably aren’t working accurately enough to be used to divert trillions of dollars and negatively impact every human being alive right now on the basis of their predictions of future catastrophe when they manifestly are not doing a good job on the present. But I do agree with him that if it weren’t for the political burden and the fact that an entire community of scientists have essentially bet their careers, their reputations, and a hell of a lot of everybody’s money on what should originally have been considered a very, very, preliminary conclusion, we’d be saying that GCMs aren’t terribly conceived or implemented and that in some ways they do surprisingly well given the complexity of the system.
But surprisingly well is not well enough to trust them to direct the course of civilization itself, especially not if they are in error by a factor of two or even more in their estimates of climate sensitivity, as I think that the mounting evidence suggests that they are. As I point out above, there are real human lives — millions of them — being last as we dick around with “wood burning electricity generation”. We might as well pile our money up and shovel it into the furnaces and use that to make electricity when there is comparatively cheap and abundant coal to use instead, when lowering energy prices by using the least expensive resources affects human health, wealth and happiness worldwide. The only reason not to burn coal to generate electricity in the short run (over the next 20 to 40 years) is the GCM’s prediction of global catastrophe, which then becomes a highly nonlinear, Pascal’s Wager style hidden cost.
Otherwise we’d just burn coal while gradually improving the cost-benefit and safety of nuclear including Thorium, while working on fusion, while perfecting e.g. PV solar and while developing efficient energy storage and transport mechanisms so that we can store solar and use it over 24 hours or more, so that we can transport solar generated electricity from dry tropical and subtropical deserts to moist wet snowy temperate and polar zones. Inside a decade (or at most two), PV solar is going to become one of the least expensive energy resources for a broad band of the Earth’s surface, and if we figure out how to store PV solar energy efficiently to buffer solar energy over (say) 48 to 72 hours (or even more) then nobody will have to advocate solar power as world-saving policy, people will implement it out of simple human greed, a desire to have the cheapest possible energy. By 2050, burning coal will disappear not because it produces dangerous CO_2 but because we have cheaper, cleaner ways of making electricity.
This sort of technological discontinuity is almost completely predictable, although people rarely do make this sort of prediction. Thirty years ago, nearly every household in America and Europe had a rooftop television antenna. The entire planet radiated substantial amounts of electromagnetic energy in certain bands, and we started to look for distant civilizations by means of looking for the “signal” of electromagnetic radiation in those bands, reasoning that any advanced civilization would have TV. Look how well that assumption turned out. no houses have external TV antennae at all any more, and the satellite dishes that many houses do have receive far weaker signals directed straight down. I’ve read proposals to look for remote civilizations by looking for some sort of “pollution signature” in the atmospheres of exoplanets when and as resolution permits, but of course any such signature would also very likely be a short term transient as the civilization evolves to cleaner steady state resources.
I actually think it is perfectly lovely to encourage our global civilization along these pathways, to cleaner energy that doesn’t involve burning coal or oil, since in the long run both of these substances will be far more valuable to us unburned and not used to make energy we can get in other ways without facing long term scarcity issues. We shouldn’t burn diamonds, either. We shouldn’t use Helium in kid’s balloons, or treat Thorium as a toxic waste byproduct of mining rare earth metals. However, the Earth has 7 billion people and is a social and political powderkeg as long as 3 billion of those people are still living in the 17th century, 2 billion of them are living in the 20th century, and only 2 billion of them get the full benefits of living in the 21st century as far as wealth, access to resources, comfort, health, happiness, freedom and all that are concerned. We must choose a path to a steady state civilization that does not advance on the scarred backs and corpses (mostly children) of the poorest people in the world. That means that we should implement political measures that directly raise the cost of energy worldwide only when compelled by near certainty that the only alternative is an even greater catastrophe than the ongoing catastrophe of living in the most peaceful, wealthiest period in the history of mankind, with almost unimaginable wealth and knowledge to bring to bear on any given global issue, and then expend all of this wealth not to bring the gift of civilization to all of the world’s people but rather to prevent it, to keep them energy poor and in the invisible chains of ignorance, poverty, disease, misery, and totalitarian religious beliefs.
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166. Slartibartfast says:

I think he is too uncritical of the GCMs

While being overly critical of a cartoon-version of DoD model validation, I would add. One that he’s gotten horribly, embarrassingly wrong.
FWIW, DoD system test trumps model predictions.
The large, smelly turd in the punchbowl of this dispute is that there is no way for experimental validation of climate models to occur. There’s only one experiment: the one that is happening right now. You can’t ever change the conditions or indeed any of the variables and run a new experiment. Contrast that with DoD missile defense testing, where you by definition have a different missile and different target on a different day having different wind shear, etc. Sometimes you even have different radars supporting the test. This makes DoD simulation models accurate on a micro-scale that climate models cannot hope to emulate in any foreseeable future. When’s the last time you saw a major climate-model prediction anomaly get resolved?
I liken it to economics, in that way.

167. Gail Combs says:

Thank You for the reply Dr. Brown. That probably means there is a second set of models dealing with “What If” scenarios.
Since I asked the question I found another UN document containing:

Title: Special Report on Emissions Scenarios
Sponsor: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

At the launch of its Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES), the IPCC announced that circumstances since the 1992 Report (IS92) have changed dramatically. The SRES team was lead by Nebojša Nakićenović, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria, who
also presented the findings. Also present were Prof. Emilio Lebre La Rovere, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and member of the IPCC, and Ged Davis, Shell International.
The event was chaired by Bert Metz, Co-chair of IPCC Working Group III. Davis stressed the difficulty of predicting what may happen in the next 100 years and noted that today’s circumstances may not provide reliable guidance for future projections. He outlined different energy and carbon scenarios, with variations in population growth, technological change, levels of convergence between poor and rich, and market-based solutions. He stressed that no probabilities can be assigned to each of the total of 40 scenarios.
http://www.iisd.ca/climate/sb12/side/tuesday.pdf‎

So it looks like the Story lines and Scenarios were written for a different section.
Again thank you for trying to answer the question. I really appreciate all the knowledge you impart here at WUWT.