Needed: Accurate climate forecasts

Focusing on carbon dioxide (because that’s where the money is) threatens forecasts, and lives

accuracy[1]Guest essay by Paul Driessen and David R. Legates

President Obama’s agreement with China is about as credible as his “affordable care” pronouncements.

Pleistocene glaciers repeatedly buried almost half of the Northern Hemisphere under a mile of ice. The Medieval Warm Period (~950-1250 AD) enriched agriculture and civilizations across Asia and Europe, while the Little Ice Age that followed (~1350-1850) brought widespread famines and disasters. The Dust Bowl upended lives and livelihoods for millions of Americans, while decades-long droughts vanquished once-thriving Anasazi and Mayan cultures, and flood and drought cycles repeatedly pounded African, Asian and Australian communities. Hurricanes and tornadoes have also battered states and countries throughout history, in numbers and intensities that have been impossible to pattern or predict.

But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans – and computer models can now forecast climate changes with amazing accuracy. These models and the alarmist scientists behind them say greenhouse gases will increasingly trigger more “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people, species and ecosystems,” a recent UN report insists.

In reality, carbon dioxide’s effect on devastating weather patterns is greatly overstated. We are near a 30-year low in hurricane energy (measured by the ACE index of “accumulated cyclone energy”), and tropical cyclone and storm activity has not increased globally over that period. In fact, as of November 18, it’s been 3,310 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland – by far the longest stretch since records began in 1900. This Atlantic hurricane season was the least active in 30 years.

Moreover, there has been no warming since 1995, several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, the 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada – and the cold spell could continue.

Accurate climate forecasts one, five or ten years in advance would certainly enable us to plan and prepare for, adapt to and mitigate the effects of significant or harmful climate variations, including temperatures, hurricanes, floods and droughts. However, such forecasts can never be even reasonably accurate under the climate change hypothesis that the IPCC, EPA and other agencies have adopted. The reason is simple.

Today’s climate research defines carbon dioxide as the principal driving force in global climate change. Virtually no IPCC-cited models or studies reflect the powerful, interconnected natural forces that clearly caused past climate fluctuations – most notably, variations in the sun’s energy output.

They also largely ignore significant effects of urban and other land use changes, and major high-impact fluctuations like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (El Niño and La Niña) and North Atlantic Oscillation. If we truly want reliable predictive capabilities, we must eliminate the obsession with carbon dioxide as the primary driver of climate change – and devote far more attention to studying all the powerful forces that have always driven climate change, the roles they play, and the complex interactions among them.

We also need to study variations in the sun’s energy output, winds high in the atmosphere, soil moisture, winter snow cover and volcanic eruptions, Weatherbell forecaster Joe D’Aleo emphasizes. We also need to examine unusual features like the pool of warm water that developed in the central Pacific during the super La Niña of 2010-2011 and slowly drifted with the wind-driven currents into the Gulf of Alaska, causing the “polar vortex” that led to the cold, snowy winter of 2013-2014, he stresses.

“The potential for climate modeling mischief and false scares from incorrect climate model scenarios is tremendous,” says Colorado State University analyst Bill Gray, who has been studying and forecasting tropical cyclones for nearly 60 years. Among the reasons he cites for grossly deficient models are their “unrealistic model input physics,” the “overly simplified and inadequate numerical techniques,” and the fact that decadal and century-scale circulation changes in the deep oceans “are very difficult to measure and are not yet well enough understood to be realistically included in the climate models.”

Nor does applying today’s super computers to climate forecasting help matters. NOAA, the British Meteorological Office and other government analysts have some of the world’s biggest and fastest computers – and yet their (and thus the IPCC’s and EPA’s) predictions are consistently and stupendously wrong. Speedier modern computers simply make the “garbage in, garbage out” adage occur much more quickly, thereby facilitating faster faulty forecasts. Why does this continue? Follow the money.

Billions of dollars are doled out every year for numerous “scientific studies” that supposedly link carbon dioxide and other alleged human factors to dwindling frog populations, melting glaciers, migrating birds and cockroaches, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions. Focusing on “dangerous human-induced” climate change in research proposals greatly improves the likelihood of receiving grants.

American taxpayers alone provide a tempting $2.5 billion annually for research focused on human factors, through the EPA, Global Change Research Program and other government agencies. Universities and other institutions receiving grants take 40% or more off the top for “project management” and “overhead.” None of them wants to upset this arrangement, and all of them fear that accepting grants to study natural factors or climate cycles might imperil funding from sources that have their own reasons for making grants tied to manmade warming, renewable energy or antipathy toward fossil fuels. Peer pressure and shared views on wealth redistribution via energy policies, also play major roles.

When Nebraska lawmakers budgeted $44,000 for a review of climate cycles and natural causes, state researchers said they would not be interested unless human influences were included. The “natural causes” proposal was ultimately scuttled in favor of yet another meaningless study of human influences.

The result is steady streams of computer model outputs that alarmists ensure us accurately predict climate changes. However, none of them forecast the 18-years-and-counting warming pause, the absence of hurricanes, or other real-world conditions. Nearly every one predicted temperatures that trend higher with every passing year and exceed recorded global temperatures by ever widening margins.

The constant predictions of looming manmade climate disasters are also used to justify demands that developed nations “compensate” poor and developing countries with tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in annual climate “reparation, adaptation and mitigation” money. Meanwhile, those no-longer-so-wealthy nations are implementing renewable energy and anti-hydrocarbon policies that drive up energy costs for businesses and families, kill millions of jobs, and result in thousands of deaths annually among elderly pensioners and others who can no longer afford to heat their homes properly during cold winters.

Worst of all, the climate disaster predictions are used to justify telling impoverished countries that they may develop only to extent enabled by wind and solar power. Financial institutions increasingly refuse to provide grants or loans for electricity generation projects fueled by coal or natural gas. Millions die every year because they do not have electricity to operate water purification facilities, refrigerators to keep food and medicine from spoiling, or stoves and heaters to replace wood and dung fires that cause rampant lung diseases. As Alex Epstein observes in his new book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels:

“If you’re living off the grid and can afford it, an installation with a battery that can power a few appliances might be better than the alternative (no energy or frequently returning to civilization for diesel fuel), but [such installations] are essentially useless in providing cheap, plentiful energy for 7 billion people – and to rely on them would be deadly.”

By expanding our research – to include careful, honest, accurate studies of natural factors – we will be better able to discern and separate significant human influences from the powerful natural forces that have caused minor to profound climate fluctuations throughout history. Only then will we begin to improve our ability to predict why, when, how and where Earth’s climate is likely to change in the future. Congress should reduce CO2 funding and earmark funds for researching natural forces that drive climate change.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death and coauthor of Cracking Big Green: To save the world from the save-the-Earth money machine. David R. Legates, PhD, CCM, is a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware, USA.

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103 thoughts on “Needed: Accurate climate forecasts

  1. Reblogged this on Catholic Glasses and commented:
    Obama is only a liar. CO2 is expiration as O2 is inspiration during Breathing. How quack Politicians like him hope to make money out of scaring uneducated morons into doing his outrageous notions is beyond me. He must get a “insane kick out of it.” Obama and Al Gore are out of their Pay Grades: and should stick to Fairy Tales.

    • Got to hand it to them though, selling the idea that a gas we use in breathing is leading to the ruination of the earth is pretty amazing. Amazingly stupid that anyone would buy it and amazingly ballsy that they would even attempt to sell it.

    • Obama and Al Gore are out of their Pay Grades: and should stick to Fairy Tales.

      Pretty ironic coming from a site called “catholic glasses”.

  2. Needed:
    Wings, so we might fly to the moon.
    And when we get there, we can study our navels for the oracular powers there within.
    Thus climate forecasts.
    The ice age is coming, but when?

  3. Global warming is alive and well. This I know because when I comment on weather/climate stories in the MSM, I get many responses – most telling me how stupid and uninformed I am to not believe that a warm year means climate has NOT changed!!. I always respond and if the opponent has enough patience to correspond a few times it always becomes clear how completely uniformed they are. I will sign off with that wonderful line by the great but late John Daly…”Still waiting for Greenhouse“!!

  4. But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans …

    That would be a rather silly argument to promote since quite obviously climate varied long before we existed as a species.

    … and computer models can now forecast climate changes with amazing accuracy.

    Where exactly did the IPCC ever say “amazing accuracy” in an assessment report?

    • Can’t find the report atm but I have recently read a statement by an IPCC author/whatever to the effect that the models are “amazingly accurate” … was as recent as the flurry of support for the models around the time that Richard Betts at the UK MO queried why people think that they take much notice of the models anyway (refer BH).

      • Streetcred,
        Betts recently and quite (in)famously went on record saying “we don’t know” whether the changes are going to be large or small in a comment at Bishop Hill. Perhaps you’re thinking of the same thread. I applauded because the substance of his comments conformed with my understanding of the current state of the science and I’m a big fan of plain speaking.
        Clearly examples individual IPCC authors privately touting the accuracy of models can be found, but if a charge is levied against the IPCC as a body, then I’m of the opinion that the official policy documents ought to be explicitly and accurately cited, and those citations ought to be the main substance of the critique.

      • I applauded because the substance of his comments conformed with my understanding
        So that makes it OK then ?

    • Brandon, if not explicitly stated, it is implied. Hence the draconian measures governments in the U.S., Great Britain (with apologies to the Scots and Welsh) and other countries are undertaking or attempting to undertake. In other words, leaders (and I use that term sarcastically) like Obama are wasting billions of dollars and causing misery for millions of people because those leaders are exploiting the implied accuracy of the computer models.

      • jayhd,

        Brandon, if not explicitly stated, it is implied.

        Now you’re giving yourself carte blanche to make crap up. If the allegation is that official statements contain some nefarious subtext, the statements need to be directly quoted with a citation. I don’t put much stock in vague paraphrases to unnamed sources, and frankly that’s the exact sort of rhetorical chicanery the OPs are accusing the IPCC of doing. If you truly respect transparency and honesty you’ll demand the same of everyone, not just your political and ideological adversaries.

  5. So, the Chinese agree to keep increasing emission until at least 2030, while the US and EU agree to commit economic suicide.
    Already Chinese emissions are the largest on the planet, and the Chinese are only 1/2 way through industrialization. They still have another 600 million people to bring out of poverty, to finish creating by far the largest consumer economy on the planet.
    The announced 40% reduction by the EU and 25% reduction by the US are not nearly enough to offset the doubling (or more) of Chinese emissions that will take place by 2030. They are however enough to ensure that China will surpass both the EU and US economically long before then.

    • This article is wrongheaded and misleading even evaluated against the high bar of wrongheaded misleadingness set at WUWT.
      “In fact, as of November 18, it’s been 3,310 days since a Category 3-5 hurricane hit the US mainland – by far the longest stretch since records began in 1900.”
      Whether a hurricane hits the US mainland is irrelevant, what matters is the overall number or strength of hurricanes.In fact, in the 24 year period 1976 – 2000 there were 24 cat 4 and 7 cat 5 hurricanes;in the 13 year period 2001 – 2014 there were 20 cat 4 and 8 cat 5 hurricanes.
      ” there has been no warming since 1995″
      Demonstrably untrue. 2014 will be the hottest year ever recorded, beating out 2010 and 2005. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/
      “several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, the 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada”
      There is strong evidence that the crazy winter weather is caused by a jetstream gone wonky due to a warmer Arctic. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/20/theres-growing-evidence-that-global-warming-is-driving-crazy-winters/
      And anyone – especially a climatologist – who says that science has not considered other causes of warming is either exceedingly ignorant or being disingenuous. It’s only because researchers have examined other causes that they can be so certain the current changes are caused by human emitted greenhouse gases.Anyone with access to the internet can quickly confirm this.
      Once again we’re left with the explanation that the truth is being covered up by a conspiracy which includes hundreds of thousands of scientists, media, politicians and regular folks etc etc, and yet for which there is zero hard evidence. I often wonder if people understand how crazy they sound to those engaged in more critical thinking.

      • Flash claims there is no evidence of a conspiracy…
        …for which there is zero hard evidence. I often wonder if people understand how crazy they sound to those engaged in more critical thinking.
        Evidence is right in front of his face, if Mr Flashman would simply open his mind:
        http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0809/0809.3762.pdf
        As for the bogus claim that 2014 is “the hottest year on record”, that nonsense is being parroted because the alarmist cult believes in the “Big Lie” tactic. In fact, this year is only about average for the past decade:
        click1
        click2
        click3
        Notice that global temperatures have exceeded 2014’s regularly. This year is nothing special.

      • At your Arctic jet stream link, Francis goes over her theory of a warm Arctic causing a more North/South stretched, slower and meandering jet stream. Tsonis et al 2007 said, “One of the most important and mysterious events in recent climate history is the climate shift in the mid-1970s. In the northern hemisphere 500-hPa atmospheric flow the shift manifested itself as a collapse of a persistent wave-3 anomaly pattern and the emergence of a strong wave-2 pattern.” This might mean we have had wave-3 anomalies before and we have them again starting 1998-2001, if the shifts match the time line suggested by Tsonis. Tsonis seemed to me to be saying that a wave-2 anomaly coincided with a warming period, 1978-1998. A wave-2 anomaly seems to be associated with less meridional heat transport which would tend to warm the Earth’s atmosphere. I think it’s possible that cold Winters are consistent with the Earth trying to cool itself to a greater extent that before. Why don’t the waves even out with us getting some warmth as well? Perhaps it’s geographical factors. Perhaps Francis has confirmed Tsonis 2007 coauthor Swanson: https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/kswanson/www/rc_fig1.jpg who suggested we are in a cooling/pause regime. Swanson’s chart that appeared at Real Climate suggests a boring 0.9 C per century underlying trend.

      • “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period.”
        “So with a somewhat cynical shrug, I added the nuclear option – to match every WMO possible, and turn the rest into new stations (er, CLIMAT excepted). In other words, what CRU usually do. It will allow bad databases to pass unnoticed, and good databases to become bad, but I really don’t think people care enough to fix ’em, and it’s the main reason the project is nearly a year late.”
        “Mike’s Nature trick.”
        “Hide the decline.”
        “I think we have to stop considering “Climate Research” as a legitimate peer-reviewed journal. Perhaps we should encourage our colleagues in the climate research community to no longer submit to, or cite papers in, this journal.”
        ‘Nuff said, but there is so much more showing the Team’s conspiracy at work and play.

  6. Nicely summarised précis of all the scaremongering that’s been happening. Let’s hope that the alarmists’ are starting to take note and begin back-pedalling.
    Do I also note that their has been an utter absence of anything ‘Al Gore’ of late? Has the perpetrator gone into hiding? Does the man regret all the zealous hood-winking he caused? Are we to soon see a press release saying ‘I’m sorry’?

    • No, he’s enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle, in a fossil fueled controlled climate…….paid for by suckers like us. Such is arrogance of the man, he wont even say thank you !!

    • He is now living what he was preaching.
      Not using any carbon based fuels for anything, from traveling to energy.
      Now he finds he can’t get a word out.

  7. The learning curve is a way of estimating the time that it will take to improve something like a forecast. The daily forecast based on numerical computing has been around about 30 years. That’s some 10,000 iterations. In that time at a guess we’ve probably doubled the time over which they are accurate.
    Therefore, the best estimate we have for the time it will take to improve the climate forecast is that after 10,000 iterations, the time we can reliably forecast will halve.
    Unfortunately, we can’t reliably forecast any time period at all. When I last looked the yearly forecast was not much better than just sticking a pin in a number card.
    So, it is obvious to me, that we have to learn to walk before we try running. That is to say, the next step up from accurate daily forecasts at a local level, would be weekly-monthly forecasts at a regional level.
    They would have a dramatic and tangible benefit. Examples given at the Royal society included bringing in food to areas before the rains started. 8 day flood warnings in Bangladesh which saved thousands of lives and the potential to spot when conditions favouring malaria were likely.
    Then hopefully, the understanding we gain at a regional level on weekly-monthly forecasts would allow us to slowly extend this to global forecasts at up to a year.
    But to be honest, the best we can ever hope for in our life time is that we have even a vague idea what the climate is going to be next year. As for next decade or next century – leave that to the soothsayers and charlatans.

    • You bring up an interesting idea; lets try to improve weekly-monthly forecasts at a regional level before jumping decades. I think it is a good idea, however it does highlight how even a weekly forecast for one region is a very difficult thing to do.
      Climate and weather both are incredibly dynamic things and while we understand the basic physics involved we are far from understanding the relationships between all the factors involved. We are not even sure if we know all the factors. We can predict winter comes after Autumn, amazingly without need of computer models due to centuries of direct observation. We also can safely conclude that no human intervention is involved, at least the IPCC has not yet claimed we can change the cycle of the seasons. They have claimed they can predict the particulars of each season which in chaotic complex and most importantly living system is impossible. Scientsts need to get out of the gypsy fortune telling business and stick to the rules of forecasting which is a very specific metod with great self-awareness of its limitations.

      • Can’t be done. Chaos. If the numerical accuracy of the computers doesn’t get you the numerical accuracy of the measurements will.
        The feedbacks and delays on every scale are too numerous to model. And mostly unknown.

  8. Interesting statistic. The 3 gorges dam in China is the largest hydro-electric facility in the world. Today it supplies 3 percent of China’s energy requirements. Twenty years ago it supplied 10 percent. That is how fast China is growing. Energy requirements more than tripled in 20 years. 2030 is 15 years away. Energy requirements could easily double yet again.

    • ferdberple,
      Here’s another interesting statistic or two: http://www.worldcoal.org/coal/where-is-coal-found/
      It has been estimated that there are over 861 billion tonnes of proven coal reserves worldwide. This means that there is enough coal to last us around 112 years at current rates of production. In contrast, proven oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 46 and 54 years at current production levels.
      Note that it’s current rate of production which is cited, not projected demand. CO2 calamity or no, we’re likely going to need other sources of energy which are not fossil fuel based within the IPCC’s projection window. Myself, I think nuclear fission is the best near and mid-term solution but quite annoyingly that puts me at odds with a significant fraction of my fellows here on the climate consensus side of things.

      • Brandon: Thanks for being one who talks TO us, rather than DOWN at us.
        What’s your thoughts on Molten-salt Thorium?

      • You confuse “proven reserves” with total supply.
        All of us will be long dead before the world runs out. The future will deal with it.

      • Latest generation nuclear fission designs are much safer than previous designs. IMHO, most of the base load should be provided by nuclear and coal power, with variable loads supplied by other sources like nat-gas. That will buy civilization enough time to develop compact fusion or something else. Advanced civilization requires high power density, but solar and wind are very low density and very inefficient with scarce resources.

  9. It would be good if the term ‘warming pause’ was replaced with ‘cessation of warming’. Warming might or might not resume some time in the future.

    • ColinD,
      Atmospheric surface temperatures are undeniably stagnant over the past two decades relative to the 1980-98 runup. What leads you to believe that the planet is not still accumulating energy and that CO2 is not significantly causal?

      • Brandon, from what I have read you offer one hypothesis from among many. For example maybe a decline in solar activity has seen the end of warming. The missing heat theory is also getting a bit stretched as time goes by. Why did the link between CO2 and increasing atmospheric temperature break when it looked so clear for a while?

      • “accumulating energy” is rationalizing. There was no claim of an “accumulating energy” protocol until the warming trend stopped, even though you’d have to be brain dead to not recognize that heat accumulates in many things other than atmosphere.
        “CO2 is significantly causal” is so fuzzy as to be meaningless. More causal that water vapor, the moon that controls the tides, the biology of the planet which as we know with evolution changes continually, deep ocean currents, the sun, the tilt of the earth, underground volcanic activity or changing routes of underground water and gasses. All if these things are causal. To claim one as the significant factor is not even a valid hypothesis since it has to discount all other factors singularly and in total as non-significant.

      • Our energy secretary Ed Davey, the well-known climate change expert, has used the term ‘plateau’. Of course, it could just be that he didn’t think it through. Or maybe he knows something we don’t….
        Chris

      • What gives me pause about co2 being such a strong force in nature is that despite the very large record amount of co2 that has accumulated in the atmosphere over the last 17+ years, global temps remain flat.
        1900 to 1997 = 65ppm increase in co2 over 97 years
        1997 to 2014 = 36ppm increase in co2 over 17 years
        If co2 was the cause of the rise in temps during that first period, then why do we not see a further increase afterwards during that record setting rise in co2?

  10. “Speedier modern computers simply make the “garbage in, garbage out” adage occur much more quickly, thereby facilitating faster faulty forecasts. Why does this continue? Follow the money.”
    What has tended to happen as a result of numerical models is that those from a computing background have taken over places like the Met Office. The result is that they now believe that “throwing computer power at the problem” will lead to better forecasts – because the people in charge rely on computers.
    This is in sharp contrast to the times when they used to do hand forecasts. Then you needed to be have a good understanding of the physical science. Unfortunately, by moving from hand forecasts to computers, we more than likely saw a down-skilling of forecasting skills and a removal of people who had developed their own understanding of the weather rather than relying on what a computer told them.
    Ironically, the only sure number we have is that CO2 is a greenhouse gas which if doubled should cause about 0.6C warming (Hermann Harde using latest HITRAN database – unlike IPCC). And please note: this single solitary bit of science on which this whole scam is supposedly built and upon which the whole credibility of it being “science” is built – has not once had the figure mentioned in the IPCC reports except as a footnote

    • Computers are only as smart as the people programming them. What I find interesting is not only that climate science is bad at forecasting, I mean not only in results but in methodology, but they are equally bad at computer science.

  11. ColinD,
    ColinD,

    For example maybe a decline in solar activity has seen the end of warming.

    There are a rather large numbers of solar activity data available to investigate that hypothesis: ftp://ftp.ngdc.noaa.gov/STP/SOLAR_DATA/SOLAR_IRRADIANCE/
    Surely someone has analyzed it after going through the trouble of gathering it. It’s public access, have you looked at it yourself?

    The missing heat theory is also getting a bit stretched as time goes by.

    Well if it’s not mostly in the oceans (the most obvious place to look since their heat capacity dwarfs the atmosphere’s) where did it go, and how do you know that’s where it went?

    Why did the link between CO2 and increasing atmospheric temperature break when it looked so clear for a while?

    A very similar thing happened between 1940-1980. If you put any stock in HADCRUT4, I just happen to have this handy from an earlier convo with dbstealey: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1940/to:1979/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1940/to:1979/trend It’s pretty clear to me that the steepness of the runup from 1980-98 is largely explainable as being the opposite side of that cycle of internal variability. There are many other factors to consider, and they have been, but I think this is a sufficient start.

    • “Well if it’s not mostly in the oceans (the most obvious place to look since their heat capacity dwarfs the atmosphere’s) where did it go, and how do you know that’s where it went?”

      This is the kind of non-scientific response you get from an intelligent design proponent; “Well it is wasn;t designed by an intelligenc (hint God) than who was it designed by.”
      Science does not make up a defaul position and claim when we do not know something, it must be the default position.

      the steepness of the runup from 1980-98 is largely explainable as being the opposite side of that cycle of internal variability

      .
      That’s speculation, one of many that could be made from the many different data sources in various states of adjustment over time. Yours or anyones speculation as to the meaning of the quite malleable data is not scientific proof of anything.

      • Alx,

        This is the kind of non-scientific response you get from an intelligent design proponent …

        In my book, one hypotheis is independently falsifiable, the other one isn’t; therefore I’m firmly agnostic about one of them.

        Science does not make up a defaul position and claim when we do not know something, it must be the default position.

        On that much at least we agree.

        That’s speculation, one of many that could be made from the many different data sources in various states of adjustment over time.

        Yet you’re so convinced that I’m wrong. Do first principles of physics simply not apply to climate for some particular reason? Aside from that, why do you assume that I, or anyone else for that matter, has left it with 0th approximations based on long known thermodynamic properties of air vs. salt water? Do you think we deploy XBT bathythermographs and ARGO floats then just ignore the gathered data? Are all the SST data from surface buoys and satellites put in three-ring binders somewhere and left to collect dust? Do you think the people analyzing the data aren’t aware of their deficienices and issues? I mean for cripe’s sake, how is it that you know all you do about the problems with the data in the first place?
        Do you understand that there is no such thing as “proof” in non-trivial scientific inquires relying on inferenential reasoning applied to observation? Do you comprehend the utility of convergence of results via multiple lines of inquiry across several different disciplines?
        If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? Have you ever seen a monkey evolve into a human?
        I don’t think I’m the one invoking creationist logic here, however I don’t presume to be a mind reader so feel free to set me straight.

    • If “A very similar thing happened between 1940-1980”, then why didn’t the highly regarded climate scientists take note of that and project the re-occurrence well in advance? So that everyone could have said “See they were right about the plateau. They must be right about their co2 premise.”.

      • goldminor,

        If “A very similar thing happened between 1940-1980″, then why didn’t the highly regarded climate scientists take note of that and project the re-occurrence well in advance?

        Ignoring the sarcasm, you ask a good question. The short answer as I understand it is that most (if not all) the GCM runs used in AR5 explicity, intentionally, did not attempt to forecast the timing of internal variabiliites like ENSO, PDO, AMO etc. The only signal based on observation that jumps out at me in the hindcast portion of the model runs are aerosols, and I only see them as dips in the temperature output coinciding with major volcanic eruptions.
        “Forecast the timing” is key here. A great deal of effort goes into vetting the frequency and amplitude of internal variations against real-world observation. I often ask how energy exchanges within the system can cause long term rising or falling trends. Just about as often I don’t get an answer.

        So that everyone could have said “See they were right about the plateau. They must be right about their co2 premise.”

        That calculus likely figures into the rather newish decadal forecast concept. It’s not at all like nobody has been working on ENSO predictions, we’ve been doing it for a very long time for reasons that are not strictly AGW related … so there are potential practical applications employing GCMs to do this in addition to the political expedience.
        Here’s one very short note (erm, an abstract actually) asking these kind of questions: http://www.lse.ac.uk/CATS/Talks%20and%20Presentations/Talk%20Abstracts/Do-quantitative-decadal-forecasts-from-GCMs-provide-decision-relevant-skill.pdf
        A slide deck from the same authors, same topic: http://cats.lse.ac.uk/homepages/ema/documents/EGU-2012.pdf
        A whitepaper by a different crew: http://www.wcrp-climate.org/documents/GC-regionalINFO-Draft2.pdf
        A much meatier article, but a bit older (2009) than the rest of these: http://www.geos.ed.ac.uk/homes/ghegerl/Meehl_Bams.pdf
        That’s a pretty good introduction to the concept.

  12. The focus often is on how energy prices affect old age pensioners with the heat or eat choice, but this regressive tax affects anybody forced onto welfare. Particularly hard hit are, yes, pensioners, the infirm or ill, particularly with respiratory disorders (eg CPD) which the cold will likely kill. Persons requiring the aid of life support machines. Disabled, and debilitated persons, single parents and their babies, particularly where the single parent is unable to work, babies being particularly vulnerable to cold. All these groups will face the heat or eat decision, as government ruthlessly and uncaringly, unendingly drive up energy costs

  13. Again Brandon you offer some possibilities but no one really knows. We could be at the equivalent of being near the top of a low frequency sine wave where assuming that things will continue as they have in the past, i.e. onward ever upward, would be an error. I’m attracted to the chaotic view where long term future outcomes are unpredictable.

    • ColinD,

      Again Brandon you offer some possibilities but no one really knows.

      Well sure, I’m not big on claiming that I or anyone has a crystal ball. But some guesses carry more weight with me than others.

      We could be at the equivalent of being near the top of a low frequency sine wave where assuming that things will continue as they have in the past, i.e. onward ever upward, would be an error.

      That’s a logical possiblity, yes. But in the world I live in, physical systems do things for observable reasons.

      I’m attracted to the chaotic view where long term future outcomes are unpredictable.

      Funny you should mention attraction in the context of chaos since attractors bound chaotic processes. So we may not be able to predict the future timing of the cycle (i.e. the exact frequency), but we can attempt to constrain the amplitude. I’d start with the very unlikely possibility that the thermal properties of ocean water will be radically different 10-100 years from now. I am mindful of a favorite Max Planck quote: “We have no right to assume that any physical laws exist, or if they have existed up to now, that they will continue to exist in a similar manner in the future.” But that seems a rather extreme form of philosophical skepticism to apply to the physical properties of the planet. Were I to venture toward that rabbit hole, I may as well say, “It’s pixies wot did the warming” and drop the argument — and the practice any science — altogether.

      • Hi Brandon, so pleasant to read someone who wants to engage. Theres a lot that I agree with you about. But my take on it is that currently science is advancing very rapidly and consequently we are only now finding out about the detailed functions of climate and oceanography. Now that we are more readily able to read temperatures and other factors much deeper down in to the ocean and similarly right through the atmosphere we have learnt that temperature, in particular, is much more complex than we realised. The recent understanding and recording of El Nino events is a case in point. But instead of looking at the events and saying ‘so thats how it works’, alarmists phrase it as ‘crikey, its worse than we thought look at all that heat in the ocean – thats where its gone’, but we have little or no reference to whether this is normal or abnormal as the accuracy and number of readings dont yet give enough historical data. Until there is enough, models are only good at reconstruction and collation – prediction is completely futile – a ruler and red pen is an equally viable graphical prediction tool in the hands of a knowledgeable climatologist.
        Where we actual place the line for optimum global climate and temperature does not even get debated. To just stab your finger at the start of records and say thats where we must put point zero is absurd. 2 degrees above a randomly selected point is a still a random selected point.
        So if we dont know where to make an accurate datum point, if we are still unable to order a chaotic system, if we are still unable to predict weather over short periods, if we are still unable to define where an upper dangerous limit lies, if we are unable to quantify the effect of changing biomass and if we are unable to understand what triggers the earth to go into and come out of warming and cooling periods in the past – especially glaciation; I dont really see how any form of model or prediction is even slightly credible.
        Up until that knowledge point I will stick with cyclical variation – it has been a far better predictor of climate trends than anything else and even that is more often wrong than right!

      • But some guesses carry more weight with me than others.
        These must be the so called educated guesses then? The ones that are rarely correct and form a major part of all climate models.

      • “It’s pixies wot did the warming” and drop the argument — and the practice any science — altogether.

        I am afraid this describes the the climate science default position that has not proof other than being a default position. “If it’s not pixies thant it must be……humans.”

        “But in the world I live in, physical systems do things for observable reasons.”

        Physical systems do things for reasons we can observe or deduce from observation but you have to define the scope of the physical system. Mixing chemicals in a beaker, or creating a controlled experiment to isolate a certain behaviour is one thing, exptrapolating that to claiming we understand the earths climate to the point of not only predicting it’s behaviour but being able to control it is a bizarre leap. In other words the climate is physical system that is too large, with too many factors observed and not yet observed, too many choatic relationships observed and not yet observed, to make sweeping declarations of certainty.

  14. Whenever a politician, or indeed an ordinary person, says “Climate Change”, you can be sure they haven’t a clue what they’re talking about.
    ‘Climate Change’ is a meaningless pablum fabricated by Alarmists, the media and politicians to convince the masses we need them more than ever. Eventually, they will be found out and the entire scam will collapse like the banking system did. I hope this time, the fraudsters and crooks see the inside of a prison cell.

    • I got absolutely slaughtered on an Australian ABC thread of a segment of a Q&A program once when commenting on what Ben Elton said about Tony Abbott and “carbon” emissions recently. Elton is a writer, past his prime IMO, he also has no training in any science relevant to climate on this rock. And yet he received much applause when he disrespected Abbott. Left/Liberal leaning ABC much? I am glad to see the LNP defund the ABC to the tune of AU$50 p/a, not enough, but a start.

  15. Otter,

    Thanks for being one who talks TO us, rather than DOWN at us.

    Thanks for recognizing that, though I have been known to cop a condescending attitude when my blood’s up.

    What’s your thoughts on Molten-salt Thorium?

    What I’ve read indicates promise. I particularly like the Uranium alternative from a sustainability perspective as well as the potential non-proliferation aspects (which is controversial, but what fission topic isn’t …). I also think the technology is out of reach for the near term. For the near term I like what the Europeans (lead by France and Germany) are doing with the EPR (a PWR design), but I suspect GE would pitch a fit if someone tried to license building one or several of them here. Whatever we do, we need focus on cookie-cutter plant design (like the French did) which would have a number of construction and operational benefits. Not to mention (hopefully) reducing the amount of NRC red-tape to cut through for design permitting.

  16. Climate is the great unobservable of our time – it is an attempted integration of observable metereological (and oceanographic) conditions into a generalisation about how they are changing on a regional or global basis. As such climate is a conceptual artefact borne of theory occasionally conditioned by observation. The IPCC has driven a process whereby modern climate theory is extrapolated into the future by computer models. Unfortunately (for them) the putative goodness of fit of those models with past observation has been undone by the hiatus or ‘pause’ in global warming. The warming of the last century could only be explained (we were assured) by the (anthropogenic) emission and growth of CO2 in the atmosphere. The current hiatus can only be explained by some unknown natural causes.
    Rational scepticism rightly asks whether, even allowing for the theoretical but limited impact of increasing CO2 (c.0.8K per doubling) on global mean temperature, the rapid warming of the 20th Century could also be due to unknown natural causes? It seems to me that the answer is obvious and that the right strategy for climate science has, and always has been, to establish the magnitude and impact of all the drivers of climate and not to engage in the endless ex-post and ad-hoc rationalisation of why the failed predictions based upon a CO2 –centric view of climate change will one day be proven to have been correct all along. Climate scientists (and particularly those who cleave to the IPCC view of the world) seem to me to have forgotten that science proceeds by observation and discovery and is best not conducted in the bowels of a computer program.

  17. In reality, carbon dioxide’s effect on devastating weather patterns is greatly overstated.

    “Greatly overstated”? Any claim of the supposed effect of CO2 on weather, and indeed climate is based on fiction, not fact. In short, it is nothing but a lie. No scientific connection has ever been made.

  18. Rather interesting that the human factor is never raised when climate science’s quite catastrophic failures and faults are being discussed.
    Running through nearly every comment on every blog is an undercurrent that somehow climate scientists both as individuals and collectively are different and intellectually superior to the ordinary business person, the main street lawyer, the builder, farmer, brickie, welder, you name it.
    Climate scientists are no smarter and in a lot of cases are proving by the papers they supposedly pass off as representing some specter of climate science, are a damn sight dumber than most street level citizens who are exposed to the rough and tumble of every day business and employment.
    Quite unlike those same climate scientists who have managed to wangled themselves a generally unjustified by performance, extremely well paid and comfortable academic sinecure for themselves.
    The street level citizens don’t ever get to enjoy the privileges and protection of a lavishly financed university academic position although they are still forced to pay for the academically credentialed leeches of climate alarmist advocacy science through their taxes .
    Like a builder or a small time lawyer or a wannabe but never quite makes it business man the third rate scientists who got themselves a nice comfortable sinecure in a second rate university somewhere are just doing what all those other wannabe’s out of the great mass of citizens,do. They just keep on doing the same old thing over and over again as that is all they know or worse can think of.
    All in the expectation that next time they will get a different result and knowing in any case that there are no performance checks or auditing ever of their scientific performance. And despite the complete lack of any evidence of any intellectually distinguishing contributions to science and society they will still continue to collect their munificent salaries.
    The academic Old Boys network makes sure of that.
    By far the greater bulk of climate scientists are right down there in the pits in intellectual capabilities along with any of those mediocre or even lousy performers from every other walk of life.
    It is the exceptional intellect and personality in every field who will break out into a new path of thinking and go on to reveal and discover and design new and better outcomes.
    It is the rare intellect in every walk of life that comes up with the real ground breaking advances that take us onto the next step what ever the circumstance dictate.
    And there is NO evidence that any such intellects at any level are anywhere in sight anywhere in climate alarmist advocacy science.
    There is no evidence whatsoever that climate science and the mass of academic lizards that inhabit climate science are any smarter or more intelligent than anybody else at every other level in any society.
    In short climate scientists at best are no more than very average intellectually and just average in every other possible way one could judge them against their fellow man.
    And some of them, judging by the papers they put out which they try to pass off as some sort of supposed science seems to indicate quite a lot of them are a god deal less intellectually equipped than the average street wise citizen.

  19. The only ‘human influences’ in climate are provided by the global elite. It’s heartening to see sites like this now explaining that we’re talking politics and propaganda as much as science. The only science these people are interested in is ‘simple simon science’ for the next simplistic PR / press release ‘news grab’ for the sheeple mass market.

  20. Accurate climate forecasts are NOT needed, as they are entirely progressive from a mature and demonstrably successful technology. Progressivism is the political-bowel movement to make-things-better, leaving US the unintended consequences. Its better to adapt than be robust to change. See N. N. Taleb.

  21. Having better forecasts would be nice, but promoting the enrichment of mankind would be even better. A richer people are better able to adjust to climate changes than are poor people. I have read that the hard winters in the UK were especially hard on those trying to make it on a fixed income. Heat or eat was the phrase I am told.
    But if you do want to spend the poor people’s money on government bureaucracies to try to figure out what the weather will be next year, there is little hope of improvement as long as the magic molecule (CO2) is the center of all focus. After all, in the lower atmosphere it is convection that dominates — and the oceans are also a major force in the weather — and clouds, … who could forget the clouds? Do the multimillion dollar climate models consider cloud cover yet?

  22. “However, such forecasts can never be even reasonably accurate under the climate change hypothesis that the IPCC, EPA and other agencies have adopted.”
    Nor under any other hypothesis. Studying weather globally (not “climate”) is basic research. Trying to make it applied research is fraud.

  23. Dr Libby’s work from the 1970s still stands as the longest running successful climate prediction. Dr Easterbrook also has 10+ years of accuracy. Those would be good places to start. The other place would be those 1 or 2 models that are actually close to reality. I’ve seen the graphs and most of the models are way out of touch with reality but there are always a couple hanging in just above what has really happened.
    I’m wondering why funding to all the way off ones isn’t cut and sent to those 2? I’m betting the people who made the accurate pair included CO2 reluctantly and are saying “we’d have nailed it if we didn’t have to include this political nonsense”.

  24. Maybe what we need is my grandma. She prepared for all events related to weather pattern variations. That training came from her dad, who crossed over from the East coast on the Oregon Trail. Now that is schooling in being prepared for all weather conditions.
    We should be so prepared. This nonsense about knowing what the climate will do is fantasy. Pure and simple. But we don’t live in a Disney script. We live in real life. Unpredictable. At times plentiful and at times dangerous. Even deadly. Prepare for it, don’t predict it.

    • We live in an age of instant gratification, and the desire to predict the future and control it is an extension of that. We fervently want to believe we can, so when the media offers us a consensus of authorities who claim to be able to provide gratification to that effect, we clamor to follow and embrace what we don’t quite understand and don’t care to investigate, because our heroes promise to assure a better future, even if they require us to make sacrifices for our children’s sake.

  25. We first need accurate weatherforecasts before anyone can talk about accurate climate forecasts. 25% accuracy at 3 days out (and that’s being generous) is NOT commendable.

    • How can we predict climate for 100 years if we can not predict weather for 100 hours? Climatologists, you have a lot of homework. Back to a weather table.

  26. The thing to always remember about the global warming movement (and the climate industry, so-called as it consumes billions of dollars every year) is that it is first and foremost a POLITICAL movement and the science is secondary at best. There would be ZERO interest in climate studies if it were not for the fact that left wing, progressive political goals are intimately tied to scaring common folks into believe they must subjugate themselves to a progressive, socialist/communist government in order for our “planet” to survive. You should keep this in mind as you read the endless stream of MSM climate scare stories and the so-called scholarly “research”.

  27. Paul Driessen writes:
    “Moreover, there has been no warming since 1995, several recent winters have been among the coldest in centuries in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, the 2013-14 winter was one of the coldest and snowiest in memory for much of the United States and Canada – and the cold spell could continue.”
    Which is exactly what I was hoping to see. That strong negative values of weekly AO/NAO and regional cold land temperatures since 2009, have been as extreme as in previous solar minima, despite a rise in the global mean surface temperature. Which suggests to me that such events are caused by solar changes, at the scales that the weather events occur, independently to the global mean surface T, as there is essentially nothing else to explain them.
    So what needs to be forecast first is weather rather than climate. Being able to forecast a short term solar signal at long range is the only way to give a meaningful precipitation outlook in many regions, as the short term temperature/rainfall relationship reverses from summer to winter.
    From forecasting the short term solar signal at long range and its impact on the AO&NAO, one can then extrapolate likely seasonal ENSO status, and on a longer term even AMO status.
    Looking at the last two solar minima, Dalton and Gleissberg, the coldest periods for the mid latitude land temperatures span roughly between the sunspot maxima of the first two weaker sunspot cycles, 1807-1817 and 1885-1895. Which in this minimum translates to roughly 2015 to 2025. On top of that, appropriate heliocentric analogues of the short term planetary ordering of solar activity at the scale of weather, also show a generally very cold period from late 2015 to 2024. The period analogue being 1836-1845, which was within ~0.01°C of 1807-1817 on CET:
    http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/tcet.dat
    My forecast for the start of it is linked here:
    http://judithcurry.com/2014/11/12/challenges-to-understanding-the-role-of-the-ocean-in-climate-science/#comment-647762

  28. A good article, we do need accurate climate forecasts. Where the IPCC, this article, and virtually all the comments go off the road is that climate forecasting, like weather forecasting, is impossible. The climate, like the weather, cannot be precisely forecasted in a useful manner. They are CHAOTIC systems so any forecast at best will be a statiscal probablility forecast- as in the high temperature tomorrow in Chaos City will be near 32 deg.F with light winds from the northwest and a windchill that feels like 27 deg F, or from the IPCC the climate forecast that in 2100AD we will likely face more extreme droughts, bigger storms, and more erratic weather. That is unlike a spacecraft launch that can put a satellite in orbit withing 100 miles of a point after 4 million miles, or an interplanetary mission that can hit 5 miles in 430million after 10 years(with a couple small course corrections) Neither the IPCC nor any other climate model can come anywhere close to useful precision or statistical certainty. Just look at the storm track forecasts that vary from 50 miles to 500 miles in just days.
    Even if we had really studied and knew the majority of the major climate variables including CO2, and knew how how they acted and interacted, the results would still be realistically useless because model of a chaotic system never NECESSARILY follows the same path from the same starting point. The prediction may be close, but it also may be very wide of the mark. Any long range economic planning, such as 2100AD, will be expensive, and still likely to fail catatrophically when the model misses by a few percentage points.
    There is only one useful long range strategy available right now. Do everything possible to bring the less developed countries out of poverty and at least above(guesstimate) where the lowest 20% of the world economies are now. Wealthier countries can weather cyclones, hurricanes, droughts, Ebola, volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar storms, and other natural or man-made catastrophes much better than the lowest 20% can now. That wealth doesn’t even have to be evenly distributed. Right now the “poor” in the USA and most developed countries(even the one trying to deindustrialize for the sake of climate) are in the second or third quintile of wealth globally. That is enough that disasters, while irksome, inconvenient, disrupting, and costly, can be weathered without destroying the society.
    As a side note, the future changes most likely to really seriously damage the global community are social, cultural, and economic “panics” caused by extremists of any sort- political, religious, nationalistic, or cults of some sort. Especially with the Internet damaging thought paradigms or “memes” can spread so fast they cannot be counteracted.
    Phil Cartier

  29. mwh,

    Hi Brandon, so pleasant to read someone who wants to engage.

    Thanks. We’ll see how well I hold up.

    But my take on it is that currently science is advancing very rapidly and consequently we are only now finding out about the detailed functions of climate and oceanography.

    One hopes that the rate of knowledge gained in any field accelerates as research is done. I like progress.

    Now that we are more readily able to read temperatures and other factors much deeper down in to the ocean and similarly right through the atmosphere we have learnt that temperature, in particular, is much more complex than we realised.

    Another case in point is the paper on ocean salinity Anthony covered in this recent post: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/21/surprise-sea-water-salinity-matters-to-sea-level-on-long-time-scales/
    From the Discussion section of the paper itself: Our study confirms that halosteric contributions to steric SL changes are non-negligible on regional to basin-scales. This result has not been acknowledged in previous works as most long-term SL change assessments have been largely focused on GMSL change, thereby explicitly excluding the consideration of halosteric effects.
    The paper is open-access and may be read in full here: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/9/11/114017/pdf/1748-9326_9_11_114017.pdf I encourage you to do so because it’s full of good stuff — contrary to popular belief amongst posters on that thread, the conclusions were not based on models, rather they were based on observational data sets. The intent was to point out that previously GCMs have not taken regional changes into salinity into account resulting in localized inaccuracies.
    IOW, doing the exact thing the contrarian community has been going blue in the face criticizing consensus climatologists for not doing. [1]

    Until there is enough, models are only good at reconstruction and collation – prediction is completely futile – a ruler and red pen is an equally viable graphical prediction tool in the hands of a knowledgeable climatologist.

    I’m glad that you recognize the utility of models for reconstruction. They’re extensively used for hypothesis formation as well. I’m not so happy with your statement “but we have little or no reference to whether this is normal or abnormal as the accuracy and number of readings dont yet give enough historical data.” How much data is enough? Put a quantity on it.
    I’m being rhetorical of course. There are never enough data, period, let alone accurate data. We always want more and better, so we’re constantly gathering it all the while improving the sophistication of the instrumentation. You mention ARGO; I think that’s a perfect example. Satellite observation for temperature, radiative flux, aerosol and cloud characteristics — all hopefully superior methods of constant global monitoring that will yield better and better results and understanding.
    In the meantime, we must do the best we can with the data we have. A good part of the reason you know about deficiencies in climatology is because good scientists are rigorous about detailing them in literature.

    Where we actual place the line for optimum global climate and temperature does not even get debated.

    LOL, the heck it doesn’t. You’re doing it right now … 🙂

    To just stab your finger at the start of records and say thats where we must put point zero is absurd.

    I unequivocally agree with you. I think I have a good understanding of how we arrived at this absurdity, but this post is getting longish and there are some references I’d want to dig up first that may take some searching. If you’re interested I’ll expand on this in a follow up comment.
    Re: chaos, short-term prediciton failings and glaciation. Since Milankovic’s seminal research I think we’ve been able to reasonably explain the mechanisms of glacial/interglacial cycles in the current “icehouse earth” regime we find ourselves in at present — as opposed to the “hothouse earth” regime of, say, the Cambrian when temperatures, sea levels and CO2 were far greater than anything we’ve seen over the past million years. Of course dealing with paleo observations is an art and one can tell pretty much any story desired picking through the data we’ve got.
    Frex, contrarians are fond of noting that CO2 lags temperature. [1] No sane consensus climatologist denies this, after all they’re the ones who figured it out in the first place. Reading their work it’s abundantly clear to me that they’re doing their level best to understand long term gradual climate changes absent our influence to establish a baseline for comparison to present-day observation so as to be able to tease out and quantify any influence we are having. It’s extraordinarily challenging work fraught with uncertainty and I’ll be the first to say that the massive amount of naive assumptions and facile explanations offered up in popular media and public dialog simply do not cut it.

    Up until that knowledge point I will stick with cyclical variation – it has been a far better predictor of climate trends than anything else and even that is more often wrong than right!

    Just imagine the scorn this forum would heap upon me if I said that I’ll stick with GCMs even if they’re more often wrong than right ….
    ———————-
    [1] Which I dispute, with the added note that maybe the reason AGW critics think it’s not being done is at least partially explained by not reading papers like this due to falsely assuming it’s “just another” study which relies on models for its conclusions.
    [2] Y’all are also fond of saying Greenland used to be green and that Mann, et al. quashed the MWP with schlocky (and/or mendacious) application of useless treemometers coupled with bogus statistical techniques.

    • Nice reply and I am not arguing with most of it and thanks for the ref I will have a read as I have become very interested in salinity and Ph recently. Progress on this subject would be not to be dismissive of anothers work just because it doesnt fit your own or ‘consensus’. Not checking the negative feedback to scientific research or hypothesis is to be unscientific.
      I have no problem with models at all, they are tools at the end of the day – the use to which they are put is what I have a problem with. bad imputs have to make bad outputs. Reconstruction and aids to observation should be about good imputs. I am convinced that if used properly instead of obsessively crunching CO2 information in like they do, they would find out what is missing and what the mechanics of warming forcings is all about. The current increasing CO2 level must have a part to play, especially with the worlds green biomass…. there is something that really doesnt add up here IMO. Whether the CO2 increase will prove to be permanent or a balancing mechanism that produces a negative forcing that regains equilibrium, I think remains to be seen. Completely dismissing ‘warmist’ CO2 theory is equally unscientific as their almost religious adherence to it
      Its not the understanding of how the prehistoric climate worked as such that I was alluding to, but what triggers the sudden start and finish of a glaciation period. What mechanism causes the rapid rise and even quicker falls in temperature.
      The period of time for the ARGO buoys (for instance) is probably pretty indefinite but I can see a time coming when perhaps we can predict decadal trends and variation with better accuracy using models. One would have to say that time is probably not now! I really dont see how anybody can predict how long it will be, it will be when a consistent and explainable forecast can be made.
      I like to think I read papers and information from all sources, I find contrary views fascinating and entrenched ones frustrating. As for Greenland they may not have had thermometers but they are part of a written record and recent history so using it (and other records) to say there was an MWP is valid, to dismiss it using just one rather poor record – not so valid.

      • mwh,

        Nice reply and I am not arguing with most of it and thanks for the ref I will have a read as I have become very interested in salinity and Ph recently.

        Thanks. It’s a popular topic recently.

        Progress on this subject would be not to be dismissive of anothers work just because it doesnt fit your own or ‘consensus’.

        It goes both ways, I assure you.

        Not checking the negative feedback to scientific research or hypothesis is to be unscientific.

        So is saying, “There’s no scientific evidence of y caused by x” when gobs and gobs of it exist.

        bad imputs have to make bad outputs.

        What are the bad inputs and how do you know that they’re bad?

        Reconstruction and aids to observation should be about good imputs.

        But of course.

        I am convinced that if used properly instead of obsessively crunching CO2 information in like they do, they would find out what is missing and what the mechanics of warming forcings is all about.

        Earlier today I spammed Alx with several links to FAR and one paper from 1987 which talk about all sorts of non-CO2 related climate dynamics, plus links to NASA’s GISS model forcing portal which puts quantifiers to various non-CO2 forcings: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/24/needed-accurate-climate-forecasts/#comment-1797988
        The argument that climatologists only look at CO2 is easily falsifiable and rings very hollow to people like me who know better.

        The current increasing CO2 level must have a part to play, especially with the worlds green biomass…. there is something that really doesnt add up here IMO.

        I’m not understanding your argument.

        Completely dismissing ‘warmist’ CO2 theory is equally unscientific as their almost religious adherence to it.

        Yes to the first half. The second half implies the warmies are completely faith-based in their beliefs. I have a problem with that because the same argument can, and has, been applied to many controversial scientific fields. Show of hands, how many climate contrarians here believe the Earth is 6,000 years old? I can cut and paste climate contrarian arguments into archaeology, cosmology, evolution, medicine … it doesn’t matter. The construct of the rhetoric is very similar — focus on the complexity of the subject, gaps in the evidence, alleged nefarious motivations of the researchers and then triumphantly declare that anyone who believes the research is a member of a religion. Well, I’ve done religion and I darn well know the difference between my approach to climate — or any science — and how I was taught “truth” in Sunday school.

        What mechanism causes the rapid rise and even quicker falls in temperature [in glaciation cycles].

        You’ve got that backward, the runups generally have the steeper slopes: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/MilankovitchCyclesOrbitandCores.png

        As for Greenland they may not have had thermometers but they are part of a written record and recent history so using it (and other records) to say there was an MWP is valid, to dismiss it using just one rather poor record – not so valid.

        I very much agree with the last. As for the former, yes we have records of a guy called Erik Thorvaldsson who settled Greenland near the time of the MWP that may just have had a flair for marketing. As good a speculative rebuttal as any when the temperature proxy is the word “Green”.
        I don’t much care for the more common consensus rebuttal “Yabbut, the Greenland ice sheet is 400,000 years old” because it would take a long time for a major portion of the sheet to melt. It is certainly possible that the fringes were more fertile than normal due to 300 years of a relative warm spell. Some climate researcher or 50 out there might tell me how very wrong I am about that, but I can’t possibly chase down every single little thing and there are so many other things I’m a lot more interested in researching for myself. Cheers.

  30. Stephen Richards,

    These must be the so called educated guesses then?

    I can’t recall reading any climate-related primary literature written by anyone with the letters “GED” after their name. Not even a contrarian paper.

    The ones that are rarely correct and form a major part of all climate models.

    Well you know, only God is alleged to be omniscient but unfortunately He hasn’t published in ~2,000 years according to the western world. If you know of a non-IPCC approved model that is consistently more correct running over out of sample observations, I’m all eyes.

    • Brandon Gates
      If you know of a non-IPCC approved model that is consistently more correct running over out of sample observations, I’m all eyes.

      An odd phrasing to be sure. EVERY non-IPCC model is more correct than ANY IPCC-approved model over EVERY series of real-world measurements. (Unless you know of ANY IPCC-approved model run that has EVER been correct. )

  31. This seems like an overreaction if not false dichotomy being put forth by the authors. When I go to the NOAA Climate Program website, for example, nowhere do I see any distinction between natural and human-caused climate change. The objective is simply to better understand climate change, regardless of the cause.
    http://cpo.noaa.gov/ClimatePrograms.aspx

  32. Alx,

    I am afraid this describes the the climate science default position that has not proof other than being a default position. “If it’s not pixies thant it must be……humans.”

    You’re echoing the OPs’ statement “But today we are supposed to believe climate variability is due to humans …” which I responded to in my first post on this thread. My objection is the same now as it was then. If you’re going to attack an argument, attack the actual argument. Provide direct and complete quotes with citations so that any and all can read them in full context and rebut specifics. Otherwise all you’re doing is the same arm waving you accuse those you’re attacking. Not exactly compelling.

    Physical systems do things for reasons we can observe or deduce from observation but you have to define the scope of the physical system.

    Academic. You’d think someone would have figured that out already.

    Mixing chemicals in a beaker, or creating a controlled experiment to isolate a certain behaviour is one thing, exptrapolating that to claiming we understand the earths climate to the point of not only predicting it’s behaviour but being able to control it is a bizarre leap.

    I think it’s bizarre that you think the sum total of climatology is extrapolation of lab experimentation. Do you actually think nobody has ever even attempted a direct observation out in the wild?

    In other words the climate is physical system that is too large, with too many factors observed and not yet observed, too many choatic relationships observed and not yet observed, to make sweeping declarations of certainty.

    I really wish some people would shut their traps on the “science is settled” meme. I refuse to carry their water for them because I don’t go for those sort of hubris-feeding statements when the subject of study is such a complex system. They painted a big target on their posteriors when they came up with that one and I really don’t like the collateral damage being done to those of us who aren’t so nitwitted, but who still get caught in the crossfire.
    Now that speech is out of the way, you might do well to look into the difference between forward-looking uncertainty in projections relative to observational uncertainty. Predictions, projections, forecasts are universally more difficult than analysis of what’s already been written, very much so in climate. People that do have their wits about them on the climate consensus side of things understand this and take care to make the distinction.

  33. RACookPE1978,

    EVERY non-IPCC model is more correct than ANY IPCC-approved model over EVERY series of real-world measurements.

    I don’t know about EVERY. I do know that my own unrealistically simple linear regression models beat the CMIP5 hindcasts published in AR5 on global SAT. But any curve fitting monkey can do that. The meddle of a model is in its ability to make accurate prediction. IPCC-approved GCMs unarguably do worse over out of sample data than in hindcasts tuned to observational data. No dispute on that point from me.
    My challenge stands. Show me a contrarian model that beats the IPCC on forward looking projections/predictions/forecasts and you will have my full and undivided attention. Bonus points if its output is gridded and does more than just spit out surface temps.

  34. Gamecock,

    You confuse “proven reserves” with total supply.

    No, I go with the best evidence, which in this case is proven reserves. A better critique of my post is that I’m trusting a coal advocacy group to tell the truth about proven oil and gas reserves. In this case I believe from multiple independent sources that there is indeed far more known coal in the ground than known gas and oil.

    All of us will be long dead before the world runs out.

    Based on proven reserves I know that’s true of me. Based on prior experience, we’re awfully clever when it comes to finding out ways to extract and process previously unobtainable resources. The thing about me is that I don’t make statements of confidence in future outcomes without at least an attempt at an evidence based analaysis.

    The future will deal with it.

    We’re a tenacious intelligent and creative species to be sure, but not without limits. The great irony of contrarian arguments about the foolish assumptions and overconfidence of the IPCC is that you lot don’t often recognize you’re flying just as much in the dark as you say the warmists are.

  35. Alx,

    There was no claim of an “accumulating energy” protocol until the warming trend stopped, even though you’d have to be brain dead to not recognize that heat accumulates in many things other than atmosphere.

    I couldn’t have said that last part better myself. I wouldn’t be caught dead writing the first bit since it’s patently false. Here’s a paper from 1987, well before The Pause; http://202.41.82.144/rawdataupload/upload/insa/INSA_2/200059d7_745.pdf Formulation and Analysis (p. 2 of the pdf):
    Observations have shown that the constant-amplitude component of the solar radiation hardly undergoes significant changes even over long stretches of time. Thus, a linearly increasing global radiative trapping effectively increases linearly the percentage of the direct solar energy stream that is globally retained within the troposphere and at the Earth’s surface [… just as] an increase in the constant-amplitude component of incoming solar energy would result in relatively more energy being retained in the atmosphere and at the Earth’s surface.
    One would also have to be brain dead to not recognize that the reason temperature changes is because masses are either absorbing more energy than they receive, or are dispersing more energy than they absorb. It’s implicit in discussions of energy balance and equilibrium temperature that the mechanism is all about energy flux on balance resulting in net retention or loss of energy.
    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_chapter_01.pdf Section 1.1 Introduction (p. 7 of the pdf):
    The Earth’s climate is dependent upon the radiative balance of the atmosphere, which in turn depends upon the input of solar radiation and the atmospheric abundances of radiatively active trace gases (ie, greenhouse gases), clouds and aerosols. Consequently, it is essential to gain an understanding of how each of these climate forcing agents varies naturally, and how some of them might be influenced by human activities.

    “CO2 is significantly causal” is so fuzzy as to be meaningless.

    That’s why climatologists are specific about timeframes and quantify their results when they publish on this topic:
    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_chapter_02.pdf Executive Summary (p. 5 of the pdf):
    2 The major contributor to increases in radiative forcing due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gasses since preindustrial times is carbon dioxide (61%) with substantial contributions from methane (CH4) (17) nitrous oxide (N2O) (4%) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) (12%).
    Estimate of 1750-2000 Climate Forcings: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/efficacy_fig28.gif
    Estimated radiative forcings over time relative to 1880: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/RadF.gif
    Raw data for the above chart from 1880 through 2011: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/Fe.1880-2011.txt

    More causal that water vapor, the moon that controls the tides, the biology of the planet which as we know with evolution changes continually, deep ocean currents, the sun, the tilt of the earth, underground volcanic activity or changing routes of underground water and gasses.

    Here’s the reason you know so much about water vapor:
    https://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_chapter_02.pdf
    Although water vapour is the single most important greenhouse gas the effect of changes in its tropospheric concentration (which may arise as a natural consequence of the warming) is considered as a feedback to be treated in climate models, similarly changes in cloud amount or properties which result from climate changes will be considered as feedbacks.
    How do tides, which are twice-daily oscillations of local sea levels, have any effect whatsoever on long term trends in temperature? Earth’s orbital parameters, tectonic activity, ocean currents etc. are all extensively studied. Not all well understood, but not being ignored, discounted or glossed over either.

    • Posts about tides have been discussed here at WUWT, at Chiefio – E.M. Smith, and clivebest, among others. Search those sites for a start. I think Willis Eschenbach did a post but don’t find it – maybe just comments on others.

      • John,
        Willis’ post is here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/09/time-and-the-tides-wait-for-godot/
        As a result, I fear that the common idea that the apparent ~60 year cycle in the HadCRUT temperatures is related to the 54-year tidal cycles simply isn’t true … because that 54 year repeating cycle is not a sine wave.
        From which I infer there’s been a discussion about how the tidal cycle may affect something like AMO. Which is an interesting thought, but regardless it doesn’t address how an oscillation translates to a rising or falling secular trend over several cycles.

  36. I was reading this blog post by Dr. Jeff Masters of Weather Underground:
    New Lake Effect Snowstorm Pounding Buffalo With an Additional 2 – 3 Feet of Snow.
    By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:46 PM GMT on November 20, 2014
    http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2864
    He mentioned the extreme snow storm in Buffalo of January, 1977. As they say, context is everything. In regards to climate change, it is notable, this was during the period of the 70′s when extreme Winter temperatures led some, but not all, scientists to speculate about a coming ice age.
    I predicted earlier this year there would be another polar vortex this year like last year. I based this on the rebound of arctic ice the last two years. NOAA in contrast predicted no polar vortex:
    Feds: Don’t expect winter to be polar vortex redux.
    http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2014/10/20/dont-expect-winter-polar-vortex-redux/17630033/
    NOAA also predicted an El Nino this year, associated with warming temperatures, which is now also appearing increasingly unlikely. I suggest if climate scientists would consider the large rebound in the arctic ice rather than trying to ignore its existence they would be doing much better with their predictions.
    The “ice age” some predicted in the 70′s didn’t occur. Instead it was followed by a warming trend. But those extreme cold temperatures of the 70′s were part of an approx. 30 year cooling trend that began in the 40′s. Then the consecutive cold Winters we are seeing might be indicative of another cooling trend. I’d like to find out if there were also large arctic ice increases accompanying those years with extreme Winter temperatures during the 70′s.
    Bob Clark

  37. When you mention evolution, no possibility of the involvement of intelligent beings is permitted.
    When you mention climate, no possibility that NO involvement of intelligent beings is permitted.
    Such is the thing called “science”, don’t prove, reason, or discuss, but have your own dogmas and dissent is heresy. Questions are not allowed to be asked.
    Until recently “we all know fat causes obesity, energy in, energy out” displaced the earlier wisdom that carbs caused obesity. Now, given the general decline in health which is hard to miss, the role of carbs is coming back and being researched.
    Of course during the 1970s the science was settled that smog was going to cause another ice-age.
    Then there’s plate tectonics.
    “Science” has been turned into a religion, with its own priesthood.
    Yet there will always be those who seek the truth.

    • If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?
      Something to do with peanuts still being a form of currency.
      sort of a troll question best left alone, moderator?

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