Hump Day Hilarity – model the bouncing ball

Josh writes: Talking of Climate Models, there is another great Climate Audit post titled “Unprecedented” Model Discrepancy where Richard Betts, once again, provides cartoon inspiration in the comments.

It’s a bit like watching a ball bouncing down a rocky hillside. You can predict some aspects of it behaviour but not others. You can predict it will generally go downhill, and if you see a big rock in it’s path you can be reasonably confident that it will hit it and bounce off, but you can’t predict the size and direction of all the little bounces in between.


Cartoons by Josh

BTW, Josh 2015 Calendars are still available.


64 thoughts on “Hump Day Hilarity – model the bouncing ball

    • Obviously the wicked squirrels are sponsored by “Big Oil” to hasten the “Arctic death spiral” in order to allow the exploitation of the ice-freed arctic ocean of its oil reserves and to produce even more evil CO2 then…
      Really shocking how bad animals can behave nowadays under the influence of Big Oil and the devilish deniers! But wait you squirrel scoundrels – Greenpeace will stop your criminal behavior soon!

    • Onw has to wonder who writes these stories
      “”The team found that this activity meant that their burrows were warmer than the surrounding ground.
      Mr Golden said: “We saw an increase in soil temperature in the soils where the arctic ground squirrels were occupying. “”
      Lets hope that their burroughs were warmer than the Permafrost otherwise they would be little Squirrelcicles

      • So, Arctic ground that has burrows inhabited by mammals is warmer than ground that hasn’t.
        ‘Groundbreaking’ science……..
        Give them all a PhD, tenure, and a big research grant.
        To be fair, spending time in the arctic monitoring ground squirrel habitat might be more pleasant than my job.

    • And how are these little critters going to pay Their Fair Share™ of the money China requires for reducing carbon emissions?

    • Just for once I would like to get a government grant to find out why little boys get dirtier than little girls by the end of the day. What gravy train that would be,

  1. Another fine effort from Josh!
    My Christmas wish…a victory for Mark Steyn in his legal ranglings with Michael Mann, followed by a cartoon from Josh showing a reasonable facsimile of Steyn sharpening up some carving knives, with a porcine figure with a sad round face, scraggily beard, and small beady eyes bound up on a large platter with an apple shoved in its/his mouth.
    The caption? Why “To serve Mann” of course.

    • Refers to one of the most interesting episodes of “Outer Limits”:
      Not service, but serve, as in preparatory to eat.
      “The story is based on the 1950 short story To Serve Man, written by Damon Knight. The title is a play on the verb serve, which has a dual meaning of “to assist” and “to provide as a meal.” The episode is one of the few instances in the series wherein an actor breaks the fourth wall and addresses the viewing audience at the episode’s end. The episode, along with the line, “It’s a cookbook!,” have become elements in pop culture.”

  2. …and when you model the ball bouncing downhill, and it suddenly starts bouncing sideways and refuses to go downhill any more, you adjust the model so that moving sideways is now considered “down.”
    Then, when the ball actually starts moving uphill, you start adding dirt to the top.

  3. What if I were to dēny the validity of any analogy applied to the Earth Atmosphere System (EAS) on the basis that analogy is not a scientifically / epistemologically valid communication? Would I be called a troll?
    The essential problem with climate focused science communication using analogies is they are not actually about the EAS. They are misleading at best.
    Scientists, in order to communicate valid science wrt climate models (eg GCMs), need to explain them with only physics of the EAS or they look like amateurs and poets.
    Betts should know better than his bouncing ball analogy / poetry.

      • Eugene WR Gallun on December 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

        Advancing the humoring onward . . . your point, you say, isn’t about an animal or vegetable or mineral. I think you answered inaccurately. Your point is categorically animal.
        I still do not understand why you just don’t say your point instead of your original comment tactic?

    • Eugene WR Gallun on December 17, 2014 at 3:37 pm
      I believe you have made a valid point — except I don’t think you know what it is.

      Eugene WR Gallun,
      I do not understand your tactic or your purpose in saying that. I am often interested in your thoughts, so please just state the point you perceive about my comment.
      On a Humorous Note: Should we start playing the game of three guesses? : ) I am not against playing the game if you want. Shall I start the game with this question: Is it animal, vegetable or mineral?

      • “I still do not understand why you just don’t say your point instead of your original comment tactic?”
        Because Eugene doesn’t actually know what the point is. He knows you’re wrong, but he doesn’t know how or why. He just knows.
        It’s a faith thing.

      • Schitzree on December 18, 2014 at 9:37 am

        Patience was rewarded because with time and further commenting we saw that Eugene WR Gallun had an important point about poetry in response to my initial comment that referred to poetry.
        We just had to play out the dialog a little more. Patience.
        It wasn’t a faith thing, as it turned out.

      • davidmhoffer on December 17, 2014 at 4:47 pm

        Maybe they are artful/rhetorical devices, but analogies are not scientifically based devices of reasoning. Neither the climate nor the climate models are balls rolling down an incline; it is hokey communication of science. Betts should know better than do that kind of communication on climate focused science.

    • “None of the above” was a correct answer.
      But if you insist upon it being “animal” what can I say but —
      Monkey see, monkey do.

    • John Whitman,
      i believe you have made a valid point — except I don’t think you know what it is.
      “–Say it, no ideas but in things –” from PATTERSON by William Carlos William who, in the 20th century, was a famous American poet.
      Randall Jarrell, also in the 20th century a famous American poet, discussed the point saying — “the subject of PATTERSON is — How can you tell the truth about things? — that is, how can you find a language so close to the world that the world can be represented and understood in it?”
      So you did make a valid point — and I hope the two quotes above help you to understand exactly what you were saying and how to communicate it better.
      Let poets and poetry instruct you. Do not disparage poets and their works.
      William Carlos Williams also wrote — “It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”
      Eugene WR Gallun
      PS — I beg forgiveness from you for my previous “monkeyshines”.

      • John Whitman
        Should have mentioned that in this context the saying “Monkey see, monkey do” examples understanding acquired without words.
        Oh, God! I have to say it! — Data don’t need no stinkin’ analogies! Does that sum up your point of view?
        Eugene WR Gallun

      • Eugene WR Gallun on December 17, 2014 at 9:45 pm

        Eugene WR Gallun,
        Hey, I took no offense at your comment about “monkey see, monkey do” (monkeyshines). I took no offense because our whole 3 questions game was just humor . . . . and your “monkey” comment part in our humorous game of 3 questions was humorous. : )
        Regards to your point about the importance of poetry, it is an important point. I am a lover of poetry and consider it a vital part of how we can understand our human condition. I agree with your point about poetry.
        My mention of poetry in my original comment in this sub-thread was to stress that analogy, which can be a significant part of poetry, is not a valid scientific way to communicate science. By that I did not mean that poetry was incorrect; it is correct for use in the realm of showing human beings the meaning of life and is important in showing human conditions that should be gloried in. I feel the same way about myth being important as I do about poetry being important; although poetry and myth have some significant things not common.

  4. You do not need a multimillion dollar worth supercomputer to predict that the ball is going to go downhill.
    But here what they are calling “downhill” it is actually flat, that is why the model is not working.

  5. It’s called a false analogy. Of course, it’s a fallacy. No surprise there from the ‘science’. It denies logic, so all they have to use in reasoning are fallacies.

  6. A better analogy for climate models is that you can see the landscape upon which it bounced in the past, but cannot see that on which it will bounce in the future. i.e., there my be a rock, or a cliff, it may be uphill, or downhill, there’s just not a lot to indicate this, especially long term.

  7. The problem with these academics is simple: they just won’t understand that the ups and downs they call “bounces” are just small hills, upon larger hills upon larger hills – and all of them natural.

  8. Re Arctic squirrels:
    It pains me to say this but we’ll obviously need to poison all of the little furry bastards to save the world.

  9. Why is the red ball labelled “observations”? Shouldn’t it be something like “Model Ensemble Mean”? The observations would then be down closer to Callender.

    • Yes, is it not surprising that Richard Betts & Tamsin Edwards have not turned over to WUWT for ‘Guest Post’, some of the many non-existent articles that they have published which rebuke the rabid attacks of their fellow Global Warming Industry acolytes thus demonstrating their moral credibility.

  10. What’s the definition of Climateball? “It’s a bit like watching a ball bouncing down a rocky hillside. You can predict some aspects of it behaviour but not others. You can predict it will generally go downhill, and if you see a big rock in it’s path you can be reasonably confident that it will hit it and bounce off, but you can’t predict the size and direction of all the little bounces in between.”

  11. FYI
    The ARS Technica website just emailed that they have been hacked (again!) and advised anyone who vistited them and used a password to change all their passwords on other sites, if it was the same one.
    For a technical blog, ARS seems very loose with their customers’ information. I can’t remember the last time (or even if there was a time) where WUWT was ever hacked.

    • Best not to tempt fate and rattle cages best left unrattled. There’s probably enough people who could if they wanted to.

  12. Did you know that landscapes are often used to visualize the solution spaces of the computer models? Y-axis could be temperature of the grid cell, X-axis CO2 and Z-axis humidity. Calculation rules define how the run, the ball, goes from one timestep to another. Flat temperature areas occur when we hit the melting temperature of the ice.
    The picture describes one big tipping point, the cliff. Getting back out of an ice age valley might take some time.

  13. Climate models are best compared to blind, fat, and ugly women panting down a fashion house runway and all falling off the end.

    • The world is still warming at a long-term rate of about half a degree per century, but it will reach a maximum within 50 years, then cool for nearly 500 years with superimposed 60 year natural cycles.
      Until you take comfort in the valid physics which explains all temperatures in tropospheres, surfaces, crusts, mantles and cores of planets and satellite moons throughout the Solar System and no doubt beyond, you will continue to argue about what is a fictional hypothesis and, in the process, you will be unduly concerned when the next 30 years of warming occurs between 2028 and 2058.

    • One could switch the place of “fashion” and “climate” words within that sentence and still, atguably, be valid.

      • It is said that parents love their idiot child best — and that is why climate modelers protect their models from public criticism. They know they have birthed an idiot child.

  14. The big problem with analogy is no one knows if the hill has a 30° grade or a .1° grade. That’s the real issue.

  15. That unprecedented model discrepancy ball has bounced its way out of ClimSci(tm) onto an active alluvial fan. The computational method for estimating flood flow on the surface of an alluvial fan involves stochastic procedures and Log Pearson III statistics. Quoting from FEMA’s methodology (FAN, 1990): “The FEMA methodology for determining flood hazards from alluvial fan flooding is simply the application of the definition for the 100-year flood. . .A small structure is to be built at a point on the surface of and 477 feet from, the center [apex] of a large cone. However, a man who lives at the peak of the cone makes building this structure a problem. The man has a collection of iron balls, ranging in diameter from 10 to 60 feet. Once a year, this man rolls a die and, depending on the outcome of the roll, chooses a ball from his collection. . .The ball rolls down the cone, taking an unpredictable path, and flattens anything in its way.. .”
    One commenter (cirby December 17, 2014 at 1:32 pm) noted the case where the ball stops rolling downhill and goes sideways. That is allowed for in alluvial fan flow by the “avulsion”.

  16. Why haven’t the alarmists cottoned on to using the perfect excuse?
    We have Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and so we should have the [add climate scientist name here] uncertainty principle whereby…
    It can be hot and cold at the same time, and then there’s entanglement, too
    Quantum Climate, genius.

    • Enough with the measurements already!
      Just let it happen and stop peeking!
      The planet could go meshugganah!
      Oy Vey!

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