Mainstream climate scientist pushes back against Lewandowsky's 'seepage'

The indefatigable Barry Woods has left this comment over on Lewandowsky’s “Shaping Tomorrow’s World” blog on “seepage”. It features IPCC lead author Professor Peter Thorne, who is none too happy about Lewandowsky’s latest “seepage” paper and pulls no punches in his pushback.

Barry Woods at 05:32 AM on 17 May, 2015

Professor Peter Thorne (IPCC lead author) commenting on an article about all this in the Guardian:

“As a contributor to the hiatus box in IPCC AR5 and an author and reviewer of several relevant papers frankly this whole thing is depressing and shows extreme naivety as to what constitutes the scientific process and the accrual and acceptance of scientific knowledge. Indeed the only relevant part is the final sentence. That as climate scientists we have to develop thick skins.

To maintain that as scientists we should not investigate the pause / hiatus / slowdown (there I used the phrase …) is downright disingenuous and dangerous. It is important to understand all aspects of climate science and that includes recent and possible future decadal timescale variability and its causes. We all experience climatic variability so we should understand it. The large volume of papers on the hiatus will undoubtedly have served to improve our knowledge of climate variability and the climate system and will almost certainly lead to improved climate projections in future through improved climate modelling.

If it had been decided to ignore the hiatus then those benefits and insights would not have accrued. So what if some of those papers resulted from segments of society asking questions about this? First, its an entirely reasonable and policy relevant question because what has caused it has very real implications as to what we should do vis-a-vis short-term adaptation decisions. Second, even if it weren’t a reasonable question, then it would still be entirely reasonable to address it to explicitly head off mis-conceptions.

So, this whole thing is a side-show and as such depressing.”-Peter Thorne


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May 18, 2015 9:29 am

pause / hiatus / slowdown …..implies predictive skills that you just do not have
…as long as you continue to toot your horn, the rest of us will continue to laugh at you

Craig Hossfeld
Reply to  Latitude
May 18, 2015 9:46 am

“Pause/hiatus/slowdown” relies on an evaluation of historical data and does not require any predictive skill whatsoever. Criticism should be based on a competing analysis of temperature trend data and analysis of associated climate mechanisms. Projecting whether the pause/etc continues is a different story.

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 11:03 am

absolutely not……“Pause/hiatus/slowdown” implies it will keep going in the same direction after the “Pause/hiatus/slowdown” …that would require predictive skills
Something they have zero of………

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 11:19 am

Not at all. The “whatever you want to call it” is an established observational fact. You need no predictive skills at all. What is needed, and Woods’ criticism of Lewandowsky makes the point, is to understand it. If that means that models need to be changed, then so be it. There is no implication of future from the past record, and the Woods knows that. The hiatus or whatever may reverse any time (it may alrady have done so) but that existence of the record is an inescapable empirical fact. He also knows is that it is inconsistent with the models in use.

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 11:29 am

That would be Thorne not Woods, sorry.

D.J. Hawkins
Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 3:16 pm

So when I throw a ball in the air and it “pauses”, that implies that it will continue upward at a later time??

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 4:22 pm

the “pause” in global warming implies that global warming will continue…”slowdown” implies the same…….and so does “hiatus”
It’s the context not the ball………

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 5:49 pm

Personally I’ve always preferred “plateau” as that doesn’t imply a direction at the end.

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 6:00 pm

What’s wrong with “halt”?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 18, 2015 8:17 pm

What’s wrong with the Pause Before The Inevitable Fall?

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 19, 2015 6:37 am

Here’s the argument: hypothetically, we are dealing with 1,000 data points overall in order to create a profile with zero guess work. But we’ve only to date compiled 30 data points and some of those are on shaky ground. The data we have can be considered to be representative but the resolution at our disposal is not accute and so much might be missed and therefore the data we have may not be representative. No we task ourselves with building a model of the subject using what we have, we fill in the blanks…a lot if blanks, we make educated inferences based on physics and the geological record…which itself draws on inferences, then we present what may or may not be an accurate representation of our subject. Doesn’t mean that we have wasted our time, quite the opposite. But we should not claim that we are in possession of facts.

Reply to  Craig Hossfeld
May 19, 2015 6:43 pm

Craig, so one could call the 18 year 10 month plateau in RSS lower tropospheric temp; “Peak,” “Apex,” or “Pinnacle.” All implying that the future temps would decrease and you would have no problem with that?
I agree.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Latitude
May 18, 2015 10:29 am

Plateau, people, Plateau. It could end in cooling or warming.

Reply to  Ron Clutz
May 18, 2015 10:56 am

You got it!

Reply to  Ron Clutz
May 18, 2015 11:11 am

“It could end in cooling or warming.”
In any event, it will fluctuate as it always has in the past.

Reply to  Ron Clutz
May 18, 2015 11:30 am

I say for right now….Code Blue…..flat line

Reply to  Latitude
May 18, 2015 5:51 pm


Reply to  Latitude
May 19, 2015 2:36 am

How would global warming be implied, if the pause can be followed by global cooling. Seems like in you zeal to take no prisoners you seem to be imputing the future into the word. While this whole discussion is about the past.

Reply to  Latitude
May 19, 2015 9:58 am

“Pause/ hiatus / slowdown” is appropriate as long as we’re still in an interglacial warming period. This is probably true, but we may be close to the end.Take a look at the paleoclimatology page from NOAA that I have linked below. Also, take note of why the global cooling scare from the 1970s was somewhat more sensible than the modern warming scare – even though CO2 doesn’t appear to be a factor in either case.

Sturgis Hooper
May 18, 2015 9:31 am

Good to see testy internecine fighting among the Carbonari.
Could also be nervous CYA in case the “pause” keeps turning down into a decline. This recognition of reality could be loss of faith in the “cause” or a genuine resurrection of real science.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
May 18, 2015 10:05 am

… fighting among the Carbonari Gestapo.
The Italian Carbonari are a legit crime fighting police force. The Gestapo existed solely for reasons of enforcing ideological purity through terror, mortal threat, and murder extending to genocide of whole classes and races. Gestapo, as defined above, very accurately describes what the Climate Change adherents have in mind for the near future.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 18, 2015 11:21 am

That would be “Carbinieri.” Carbonari are charcoal burners, and historically were a secret society of revolutionaries.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
May 18, 2015 12:08 pm

People who eat bacon and cream sauce with pasta?

Reply to  PiperPaul
May 18, 2015 2:59 pm

As long as you add an egg…

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
May 18, 2015 10:08 am

my comment #1937948 seems to have gone to the moderation-spam folder.
[Reply: Next time, can we have more than 3 minutes?… ~mod.]

Stephen Richards
Reply to  Sturgis Hooper
May 18, 2015 11:37 am

Sturgis, It is absolutely certain that the climate mafia know only too well where the climate is going in the next 10 yrs or so and it is not in the direction of their ‘projections’. Paris is all about frightening enough European leaders to persuade them to commit economic suicide and leave the world markets to Russia, india and china. There will be the usual ambiguous clap trap after the meeting but it amount to no more than the UK and Europe committing economic death.

Robert B
Reply to  Stephen Richards
May 20, 2015 1:09 am

Are you talking about the actual surface temperatures of GISS LOTI?

Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 9:39 am

In my opinion, anytime the words forecasting and modeling come in to play, it ceases to be science.

Dudley Horscroft
Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 9:48 am

No, Ralph, forecasting and modelling are very appropriate to science. One has data with no explanation, so one invents a theory. From this one develops a hypothesis which can be tested. If A does not follow then the hypothesis is wrong, and must be amended or given up – replaced by another hypothesis. This is forecasting, pure and simple. If your hypothesis is right, your forecasts should be accurate. And if the theory is complicated, then a mathematical model may need to be used to develop the forecasts. Your theory may be wrong, your model may be bad, and the resultant forecast may be out. But they are still part of science – until you decide that the theory was right, the forecast was right and the model was right, even if the hypothesis does not pan out. Then you have to decide that the data is wrong! And when you do that, you have abandoned science.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 10:00 am

But the warmistas seemed to have decided they knew the theory was solid, that the models were infallible, and what would happen was assured, before they had much if any reason to be so sure of anything.
That along with no real debate ever taking place, or contrary opinions weighed, or objective third party analysis of the modelling and forecasting techniques having been done, all weigh in favor of Mr. Knapp’s opinion.
The scientific method is a process, not a con, or a vote, or a dodge.

Theo Goodwin
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 10:19 am

“And if the theory is complicated, then a mathematical model may need to be used to develop the forecasts. Your theory may be wrong, your model may be bad, and the resultant forecast may be out. But they are still part of science…”
That is the tightest circle that I have seen in a long time. You cannot assume that your model is part of your science. All a model does is generate scenarios. Models do not do predictions. If you think I am wrong on this then tell me, what is the logical relationship between a theory and its model.
Theories specify all the facts and they do so by implying them. But no theory implies a model. In fact, for any given theory, indefinitely many different models can be constructed. Models are just scenarios. Computer models are merely scenario generators. Models do not embody theories. If they did they would imply the facts and would be theories. Models can be compatible with theories but there are indefinitely many of them compatible with any given theory and all those models can conflict with one another.

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 10:55 am

Theories specify all the facts and they do so by implying them. But no theory implies a model. In fact, for any given theory, indefinitely many different models can be constructed.

Pretty much every single bit of this statement is incorrect. Theories that are less than theories of everything need not specify all of the facts. Furthermore, the “facts” in theories are provisional facts, not “certain” facts, as certain facts about the real world do not exist outside of mere tautology. Theories do not “imply” facts — an implication is a consequence, something that follows from logic, and theories are based on premises or hypotheses, not facts, and so things implied by theories are equally hypothetical, or if you prefer provisional or contingent.
All useful theories imply not one, but many models. Take the theory of gravitation (at any level you like — near earth gravity \vec{F} = -mg\hat{y} or Newton’s Law of Gravitation \vec{F_{12}} =  - \frac{G Mm}{r_{12}^2} \hat{r}_{12}. I can use this theory to model what happens to mass $m$ if it is e.g. dropped to the floor from one meter of height. Every “physics problem” solvable using a given set of theory is a model, because a model is an abstract representation of the real world, not the real world itself, just like a plastic battleship that snaps together out of small parts is not the real battleship it represents, even if it has “real” working swivelling turrets.
Finally, for a given theory, while one can pose many problems and build and solve many models of those problems to a greater or lesser degree of idealization or abstraction, that does not mean what I think you mean, that one can build infinitely many correct models based on the theory. If I want to know how fast a mass is moving after falling from from rest from height H using the Galilean “theory” of near-Earth gravitational acceleration being constant and no other forces, there is just one correct model answer — \sqrt{2 g H}. I routinely mark other model answers wrong.
All of these things are just as applicable to climate science as to gravitation, except that the science underlying climate science is physics, and includes e.g. gravitation and much more. The problem with climate science isn’t the underlying theory per se — we are pretty sure that we understand the theoretical basis of physics well enough to specify a fairly unique model.
The problem is that in order to plausibly solve the model requires an absolutely insane amount of computer time and initial conditions we have no hope in hell of ever measuring at a granularity some 30 or more orders of magnitude finer than any scale yet reached.
Consequently the models being solved are not models of the actual physical theory. They aren’t even as good a representation of that theory as dropping a dense mass a short distance and ignoring drag forces etc (which can easily give you answers accurate with in a percent or three). They are toy models that no one with any actual sense would take seriously unless and until they were empirically proven to work, as there is no good reason to expect that they should work and some excellent reasons to think that they won’t work.
When you add to that the simple empirical fact that they are not working, it isn’t that “modelling is bad”, or “we don’t understand basic physics”, it is just that we cannot seriously be surprised at getting bad answers, any more than we could be surprised at getting terrible answers to the simple gravitation problem if we integrated the equations of motion numerically with a single Euler step instead of adjusting the stepsize and/or integration methodology until we got reasonable numerical convergence.

Joseph Murphy
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 11:53 am

Is that the depth of our ability to predict climate? A single Euler step? The models do look a tad linear now that you mention it 😉
good read as always

Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 11:45 pm

Thanks rgbatduke – I was having this same debate (albeit in far simpler lay terms) with someone arguing against my simplistic remark that models aren’t science. I was hamfistedly driving for the same points you made so eloquently. What AGW supporters seem reluctant to acknowledge is that the climate models are incredibly poor. Therefore it seems odd to me that any scientist wanting to be taken seriously would stake their reputations on such models. For some reason we don’t see the same degree of “certainty” with macroeconomic models, possibly because economists are happy to debate different positions and have slightly thicker skins. It strikes me that the AGW supporters Lewandowsky appears to be describing are what we (in Australia) would refer to as “precious.”

Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 9:52 am

Ralph, I’m sure you don’t mean that, because that would be a self-contradictory definition of science. Are you saying meteorology isn’t science? Every scientific formula is a model. Without prediction, it cannot be science, yet every prediction is based on models. Without empirical data, it cannot be science, yet all empirical data relies on models.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 12:06 pm

empirical data relies on models ? you are kidding right …

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 12:33 pm

Care to revise?

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 1:02 pm

No, I’m not kidding. Your idea of “model” seems to be: that which people use to fool us. However, every scientific formula is a model of reality. A model is our conceptual idea of how reality works.
As for empirical data, it’s very difficult to measure anything directly. For example, temperature is not measured directly. It’s typically measured using a “model” of how mercury expands and contracts. This method also depends on a model of reality called the zeroth law of thermodynamics.
I’m 1.82 meters tall. You might think that’s empirical data that doesn’t depend on a model, but you would be wrong.
From 1793 until 1983, a meter was defined as:

one ten-millionth of the distance at sea level from the Earth’s equator to the North Pole

This depended on a model of our planet that did not change shape and where sea level didn’t change.
In 1983, it was changed to:

distance traveled by light in a specific fraction of a second

The model of reality is that the speed of light is constant. To sweep this under the rug, light is defined as a certain number of meters/second, while the meter is defined in terms of the speed of light in a vacuum, whatever that is. Let’s move on and pretend that there is no circular thinking going on here.
The point is that models are crucial to empirical data.

Ursus Augustus
Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 1:42 pm

VE there is a bit of a difference between the explicit formulae of say Newtons laws, Ensteins E=mc^2 etc and the sort of massive, multi component implicit mathematical matrix models that can only be solved iteratively, have a whole set of issues with convergence to a true solution not to do with the notional mathematics of the model but the comparative fineness of the model mesh compared to the rate of local change of the phenomena being modelled and other practical considerations like that.
Ultimately the issue is not the ‘model’ per se but the practical ability to evaluate it to a sufficient level of accuracy and therefore what reliance one should place on what are just plain crude results. So crude as to be effectively wrong.

Alexej Buergin
Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 2:05 pm

Actually, for obvious practical purposes, the meter was originally defined as the lenght between marks on a platinum-iridium stick; the first example of which was placed in Paris, and US-people are still sulking about that, and therefore kept their 0.0254 m-unit.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 18, 2015 2:22 pm

The difference is one of degree, not kind. Almost ANY analysis of a real world system will involve many, many scientific first principles (i.e. laws, i.e. models). Anyone who has gone through an engineering curriculum and then worked as an engineer will know that problems that can be resolved with nice analytical solutions are typically restricted to school. They work out that way because the professor has designed them that way, in order to teach the concept.
In the real world, systems consist of many components that interact with each other. The only way to analyze these systems is to create complex models of these systems and iterate numerically with a computer. I once had to determine the magnetic field at a certain point in space near a coil. This involved iterating the Biot-Savart integral numerically. Any thermodynamic system involves systems of differential equations, which can only be solved numerically.
Except for an extremely simple system, only a computer model will be capable of the analysis. I would bet that Ralph and everyone complaining about computer models will generally believe that the google maps app ETA is about right, and will probably bring along an umbrella when another computer model predicts rain.
The idea that there is something unscientific about models is so ludicrous that only someone completely ignorant about science could possible utter such nonsense.
For the record, no one is more anti AGW than myself, and I would speculate that climate models are missing some extremely important first principles. However, based on results alone, they are only off by like .1%.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 19, 2015 4:16 am

Actually, for obvious practical purposes, the meter was originally defined as the lenght between marks on a platinum-iridium stick; the first example of which was placed in Paris, and US-people are still sulking about that, and therefore kept their 0.0254 m-unit.

Actually, we kept our 1 inch unit because:
a) It substantially predates the definition of the meter.
b) It was invented and specified by the British (King John, actually, IIRC) and while the ex-British have their issues with the British, at least it’s not the French…/sarc
c) The unit is specified on a fundamental pillar of human civilization, the standard Barleycorn. That’s right,”3 barly cornes dry and rounde” make up an inch.
How can a silly platinum bar compete with that? Who is going to travel to Paris to take a look at it to build their standard meter sticks? But everyone in the civilized world has access to “dry and rounde” barleycorns, because that is the fundamental ingredient in Beer, and without Beer there is nothing.
Incidentally, the “grain” is the unit of weight, and hence of mass. Guess which kind of grain? Uh-huh, the barleycorn is the basis both length and mass! Can the silly French unit compete? Does that platinum-iridium stick have a mass of exactly 1 kg? I didn’t think so…

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 19, 2015 4:34 am

For the record, no one is more anti AGW than myself, and I would speculate that climate models are missing some extremely important first principles. However, based on results alone, they are only off by like .1%.

Also for the record, I agree with everything you are saying and said much the same above, except for your very last statement. Climate models are off by more like 1 % when you look at individual runs for global average temperature, and by the maximum of the sensible local variability nearly everywhere per run as well. They are off by much more than 1% when it comes to predicting e.g. global patterns of rainfall and drought. They produce things that “look like a future climate”, but that look nothing like the actual climate that is the future of their starting point.
I can barely tolerate the idea of using Monte Carlo to average over many chaotic runs of a single model, given the enormous uncertainty in the initial conditions and underlying physical parameters and the many, many, many assumptions built into the way they simulate the averaged effect of smaller scale microdynamics at the macro (really macro!) scale of their spatiotemporal step size. At this point it stops being a scientific model and becomes more of what I would call a “statistical prayer”, as the models have egregiously incorrect dynamical spectra and absurdly large fluctuations around their “mean” behavior (which is prima facie evidence that they have the wrong internal dynamics) and because there is no theoretical basis that I’m aware of that ascribes any sort of meaning to the average of an ensemble of chaotic trajectories in any dynamical problem where chaos occurs. However, this process does smooth out the otherwise obviously absurd levels of deviation and structurally incorrect noise and leaves one with a comparatively smooth curve that can fool the eye into thinking that it has “reasonable” fluctuation spectra and which reflects the built-in mean-field biases of its designers with regard to the effect of CO_2. And I can’t abide the standard practice of then using a superaverage of these Monte Carlo averages over all the non-independent models, without even reweighting the individual results to reflect the number of runs or its granularity, to get an even more smoothed composition of the model builder biases.
This is the truly silly thing. The climate models are truly pointless. They make a big deal of how they solve local equations of motion (at a granularity that would make a grown man cry) but in the end that produces nonsense so that they average the nonsense until it reflects precisely the garbage they built into it, at a mean field level. They could have predicted their mean field results pretty much cold using a single layer model and greybody temperatures — and regularly present them in this way with up and down forcing arrows because everybody knows that that’s what boil down to as far as “success” is concerned.
Talk about smoke and mirrors.

Reply to  VikingExplorer
May 19, 2015 7:42 am

Climate models are off by more like 1 % when you look at individual runs for global average temperature

That would imply that they are off by 2.88 C.
As of 2014, it was more like .3 C off of “reality”:
Also, I agree that an average of averages over space (2 dimensions) and time for just one slice in the 3rd dimension has very little physical meaning. It certainly does NOT mean much in terms of climate. The ocean temperature are far more meaningful in terms of climate. Alas, as long as it’s well defined.
Anyways, they are about .1% off.

Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 1:51 pm

ralph, I’m an engineer with 40 years experience. I was taught to prepare models in college, more models at work, supervised engineers and scientists preparing models, recommended we develop better models, purchased faster computers to be able to run more complex models, and exchanged information with scientists who worked in government labs, developing models. As far as I know we weren’t practicing religion.

Sun Spot
Reply to  fernandoleanme
May 18, 2015 6:49 pm

and you weren’t doing science

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  fernandoleanme
May 18, 2015 8:21 pm

good engineers are worth 5 scientists in today’s market economy.

Reply to  fernandoleanme
May 19, 2015 7:46 am

Sun Spot, that is probably the most ignorant statement I’ve ever seen on any blog. I had no idea that anti-AGW had morphed into a rebellion against science itself, even against critical thinking.

Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 2:00 pm

Here, here. Forecasting and modeling are only very slightly separated from those other sciences….astrology, palmistry and tarot card reading. If results of the former were on par with those of the later we would likely not be having this debate.

Reply to  dam1953
May 18, 2015 4:12 pm

The difference between astrology, palmistry and tarot card reading and climate science is that in .astrology, palmistry and tarot card reading money changes hands; oh that doesn’t work does it! Maybe the difference is soothsayers make ambiguous prognostications so they’ll always appear correct, where Climatologist forecast that it’ll get warmer, cooler, wetter and drier; oh wait that doesn’t work either!

Reply to  dam1953
May 18, 2015 7:30 pm

In my mind there is no difference between a witch doctor who throws some bones on the ground and declares a good growing season (really based on the fact the last three have been good growing seasons) and a climate “scientist” who tunes his cloud formation parameter to be within reasonably expected values and when tested, gives a good match to the last 30 years of satellite readings.
Apparently one of those activities is scientific.

Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 18, 2015 7:56 pm

Here is a model. F=ma. I have heard it said that all mechanics can be summarized as F=ma and you can’t push on a rope, everything else can be derived. Pretty good model. To disparage models is to illustrate your ignorance of the word. And science. Science spends a lot of time coming up with models like F=ma. Scientists spend a lot of time comparing real world data to models and determining if those models are in need of adjustment. As I recall, we used to call that “test of hypothesis”. So don’t look down on models. Look down on people who can’t abandon a model when it cannot predict. Look down on people who have to hide the divergence problem or who seek the missing heat in the deep oceans. They can’t admit that the real world data does not match the model. They can’t admit that the model is flawed. There is nothing wrong with a model. There something cardinally unscientific (and if I might dare arrogant) with failing to admit when it fails to predict and hence must be abandoned.

Reply to  John Eggert
May 19, 2015 5:11 am

Well said, sir, and note (for those who are still stubborn) that it is all classical mechanics that can be so derived. The reason that we use quantum mechanics now is because this fundamental model failed when applied to atomic scale phenomena, so we had to find a new dynamical model that:
a) reduced to F = ma for large scale phenomena
b) correctly described the empirical data for small scale phenomena
One can actually go down a rather long list of times that this has happened in physics. The model for Galilean coordinate transformations is so obvious and intuitive that one can literally not imagine it failing, but sadly it proved inconsistent with the “model” known as “Maxwell’s Equations”, the laws of classical electrodynamics, and hence had to be replaced by a new model that again reduced to the Galilean transformation and standard mechanics for low relative speeds between frames but was radically different at higher speeds. Maxwell’s equations themselves proved empirically inconsistent in their quantum form when it came to describing very small scale nuclear phenomena and had to be unified with the weak nuclear interaction to again achieve better (but still imperfect) consistency with observation.
Let’s just summarize this discussion (again) for the ignorant who wish to use logical fallacy to denigrate climate models because “all modeling is not science” as if there is something that is science which is not modeling.
All Of Science Is Modeling
That’s right. All of it. 100%. Starting from the very first human experiences of doing things like learning about object permanence, burning your hand on the stove and learning that “stove hot” means that you should not touch a hot stove or you’ll get burned. In science the principle is called “induction” or “inference”, and it consists of looking at data, guessing at regularities of the data, building a mathematical, logically consistent model of those regularities, and then testing the predictions of the model against future data.
Some of the models work so well we upgrade them with the label “law” or “principle” to indicate that they work so well and are so consistent with other things that work equally well that we no longer seriously doubt that they are the way things work, at least at some observable scale. We maintain a tiny bit of doubt even about these laws because tomorrow somebody could measure a violation, but for the most part we accept them as very, very likely to be “true” or a damn good approximation of “true”. Some models may be consistent with what we know but simply not be computable — climate science is one of these. It isn’t that the physics underlying the climate isn’t known — it is, pretty darn well. It is that the Earth is really, really, big, and really, really complex so that the answer we seek is not computable at any scale likely to give us a good approximation to the real climate.
The IPCC knows this perfectly well. It is written in black and white in e.g. AR3/TAR. Climate modeling consists of solving a crude approximation to the physical climate at an absurdly coarse granularity, solving what amounts to a toy model of the Earth in a toy approximation of an initial state with guessed at parameters and numerous pure assumptions and then averaging the resulting chaotic trajectories to get a kind of a mean-field smoothing of the climate model in question. There is absolutely zero theoretical or mathematical basis for this last step, and I don’t know of a single other chaotic problem (outside of SHORT term weather forecasting, things like hurricane trajectory prediction) where this is done as if the result is a sensible answer. In short term forecasting, there is a great deal of skill (human, not statistical) used in building the averages, based on decades of observational feedback, and the results still suck more than around 5 or 6 days out, although at this point they have pretty good skill (statistical, not human) at predicting up to 3 to 5 days in advance.
This still pales compared to just superaveraging the average results of many independent models and asserting that this is a good, um, “projection” of the Earth’s future climate.
Observe the difference between this critique and yammering about how “all models are bad”, or “models are not science”. Of course models are science, or can be — all science gives us is (hopefully) working models, and the scientific method is a prescription for building working models in a feedback loop involving observation, hypothesis/model building, and comparison of the predictions of the model with further observation. I don’t criticize building models of the Earth’s climate per se, I criticize the specific weaknesses of the actual models that have been built! We are decades to centuries away from being able to predict the climate with any skill (statistical) at all, and in the meantime, the climate models are a fancy, very, very expensive way of obfuscating the simple fact that their Multimodel Ensemble superaverage reflects pretty much the average of the mean field assumptions of the underlying models in a simple one layer model, plus some toy dynamics to give the result enough noise and variability to have some superficial credibility. There are no convergence theorems, there is no statistical proof that averaging over (say) 1000 computational models instead of 36 will give a better approximation of the actual climate, there is nothing to support the assertions of “confidence” in any sort of axiomatic statistical sense.
The problem isn’t with modeling. Modeling is just super. I’m going to go teach the classical model for mechanics pretty much all day shortly. In the end, the students will have a much-improved physical model of the Universe they live in in their heads, and be much better equipped to make accurate predictions of all sorts of things on the basis of that model. It is that the specific models used in climate science suck for some very good reasons, and that the assertions of “confidence” used to present their results to the public as a basis for very expensive public policy is a confidence game in which the uncertainties and vast list of assumptions underlying the conclusions are carefully hidden in the Summary for Policy Makers under a veneer of statics-speak language making assertions of confidence that are utterly indefensible.

Reply to  John Eggert
May 19, 2015 5:34 am

That is superb! It is true, succinct and accurate while being comprehensible to anybody with average or above average intelligence.
Thankyou for providing it.

Reply to  John Eggert
May 19, 2015 7:49 am

Well said John and rgbatduke!

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Ralph Knapp
May 19, 2015 6:11 am

It may clarify this excellent discussion to define “model” in the context of meteorology. There are essentially two types (plus a third that mixes the two). One is statistical the other is dynamical.
A statistical model is what we use when projecting the path of a hurricane, the likely areas of tornadic development, or the development of an oceanic process, such as an El Nino. Past episodes that provide a good initial match are used to statistically predict the development of current phenomenon. This is similar to playing a game of chess based on experience against a computer. The computer makes moves based on the likely development of the next few moves it has stored in its data base. The game plan against a computer must be statistically played.
The other type is one based on assumed processes that are in play to produce a climatological phenomenon. These processes are than mathematized. Random factor variables are added to allow for random variations, and then a mean is calculated from the random runs. Tweaks are also added at the beginning, middle, and/or end based on a priori biases and theories, such as the build up of CO2 back radiation. This is more like playing a game of chess with an unknown adversary and neither of you have years of experience with each other to draw on. You are guessing, as best you can, how the other player will play the game. The game plan against an unknown adversary must be dynamically played.
The El Nino/ENSO weekly prediction comes from these two types of models. And like the superiority of the statistical models, I will hazard a guess here related to playing and winning at chess. Statistical chess players form the majority of chess masters. I am far more convinced that what has statistically happened before on Earth in terms of temperature trends, will happen again, whether humans are here to dynamically enter into it or not.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
May 19, 2015 7:56 am

All good except for: a priori biases
However, we can only speculate about how any specific climate model was constructed. I can’t respect anyone who simply denigrates ALL climate models based on their own political agenda (even if I agree with that political agenda).

Pamela Gray
Reply to  Pamela Gray
May 20, 2015 5:08 pm

I have no problem with a priori biases in models. These biases are a necessary part of figuring out what might be causing an observed phenomenon where a clear cause is not immediately evident. The biases are then tested via modeling. This is exactly what scenario A, B, and C in Hansen’s original projections were built with. The a priori bias is based on the theory that the only way temperatures will continue to rise is through a build up of anthropogenic CO2 driven back radiation, which then increases temperatures. Hansen’s a priori bias continues to be tested with new and improved models. That it takes so long to throw his biased assumption out is irksome to some of us. Nonetheless, Science will eventually settle on a model that has such reduced a priori CO2 biases in it that we can safely go about business as usual. In other words, this too shall pass.

David Wells
May 18, 2015 9:46 am

Exactly why do we have to devote even more taxpayer cash to trying to find out when it isn’t warming when Co2 emissions continue to rise? Even if we did find out something that categorically proved humans are responsible if it was something other than breathing there is very little we could do anyway other than committing mass suicide next Friday which I don’t believe many people accept as a rationale solution to in their minds an insoluble problem. Give the opportunity turkeys would note vote for Christmas.
0.04% of anything unless its a very toxic nerve gas is unlikely to cause anything let alone dangerous runaway warming, is it not time to inject some simple logic into this hideously idiotic affair?

May 18, 2015 9:53 am

He better get out his fire extinguisher, they will be burning him at the stake for disagreeing with the orthodoxy.

Winnipeg Boy
Reply to  dbakerber
May 18, 2015 11:12 am

Carbon based fuels are verboten! Magnafying glass only.

Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 9:59 am

re David Wells Even on Venus there is no “runaway” warming. The surface is warm and the atmosphere is in motion. So there is turbulence, and air rising and falling. With a vacuum at the top of the atmosphere, and about 99 atmospheres at the bottom, the rising and falling air is subjected to expansion as it goes up (so it gets colder) and compression at the bottom (so it gets hotter). I can’t do the calculations, but it looks rather like this would be sufficient to explain the temperature gradient between top and bottom, and hence the surface temperature of Venus. With such an atmospheric temperature at the bottom, the normal decay of uranium, etc, in the core will result in a natural warming of the surface – no way would the surface be cold with a heat source (radioactivity) below and hot compressed air above. Effectively, Venus is like the earth would be with the top 100 miles or so of the shell removed and replaced by a dense blanket of air.

Ron Clutz
Reply to  Dudley Horscroft
May 18, 2015 10:32 am
May 18, 2015 10:01 am

I’m honestly surprised that the Grauniad hasn’t elected to Memory Hole Professor Thorne’s comment.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
May 18, 2015 10:16 am

Maybe they are afraid of a headline like “Guardian deletes even the posts of IPCC Lead Author’s they disagree with”. That would provide empirical evidence that they are willing to silence, bully, ignore even real scientists for not towing the line…and we all know that empirical evidence scares the crap out of them.

Reply to  Aphan
May 18, 2015 12:17 pm

It’s TOEING the line dear sir. Please.

Reply to  Matt
May 18, 2015 3:58 pm

It’s Mrs, not Sir, and I meant towing as in hooking a big old heap to one’s rear “axle” and dragging it behind you indefinately. 🙂

Reply to  Aphan
May 19, 2015 9:20 am

Toeing pinched my fleeted foot,
Now the towing rope flays back.

Reply to  LeeHarvey
May 18, 2015 10:50 am

Professor Thorne is just carving out the “reasonable” fall back position just as other participants in the December conference are starting to demure that 2 degrees is not a tipping point but just a target for goal setting. It doesn’t mean he’s conceded ANYTHING with respect to the dog and pony show that’s been going on regarding AGW just that he understands they are in a poor position to ride the pony if they don’t conceed a few of the dog’s tricks are unnecessarily risking failure.

mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 10:02 am

Intellectuals can carry on doing what they do but the warming debate is over. Extraordinary changes are happening around the globe which no human has ever faced before. Sane people are just getting on with the task of mitigation and preparation to face the inevitable difficulties.

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 10:37 am

Ok, I’ll bite. “Extraordinary changes” such as….
Also, please explain by what magic CO2’s warming powers have morphed into these “changes”.
We’ll wait.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 10:44 am

Mike, perhaps you could enumerate some of the extraordinary things that are happening. Presumably they would not have ever happened before or only with much less ferocity and much lower frequency. When you can provide those the debate about what to do about them can begin.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 10:51 am

Mike, dont believe the hype, this is all regular day to day variability

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 10:56 am

Care to give us any examples of “extraordinary changes” happening right now due to CO2 that have never happened before? I am very interested in your list. One of the reasons I’m a skeptic is because all those “irreversible” consequences predicted by alarmists in the past were wrong and never came to pass. In fact, the consequences that have occurred, such as the increased greening of the planet, are net positive in my view. So tell me what I’m missing so I’m not left unprepared. But since climate change is the cause of heat waves and cold waves, flooding and drought, and a whole host of contradictory consequences, please also tell me what exactly I should prepare for. It doesn’t do any good to mitigate for or prepare for the wrong event.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 12:03 pm

Mike, you need to file your “Extraordinary changes” report with the IPCC. The AR-5 report actually debunked most claims of “extreme weather” alarums in the Technical Summary sections of the WG-1 (Ch. 2) and SREX Reports. There has been no uptick in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes, drought, flooding etc. Heat waves were the only form of Extreme Weather that was said to have increased.
Even Dana Nuccitelli was forced (quite reluctantly in a purple rage) to admit this is what the IPCC reported and was unable to offer a refutation.

Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 1:05 pm

Please give us an example of the extraordinary changes you claim no human has ever faced.
Thanks in advance,

Just an engineer
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 2:44 pm

mike, you forgot to add /sarc footer

wayne Job
Reply to  mike hamblet
May 18, 2015 4:00 pm

Mike any extraordinary changes happening around the world have nothing to do with the climate.
Try the UN’s continual push to govern the world scaring everyone with a hobgoblin called AGW as the manufactured excuse.
Try all the no go zones created by ISIS as they also wish to control the world, the UN are quite about that.
Extraordinary things indeed.

May 18, 2015 10:05 am

“A side show”, Island of Misfit Scientists, Acadumbia Club…all so accurately describe this little rag tag group of people. The more they do, publish, say, the more they undermine their own careers. In fact, when I want to show someone how idiotic and unscientific the AGW side can be, I just direct them to read Lew, Cook, or Nuttycelli and ask for their impressions. Every single time the response has been “Who is that?” and after “Wow. That isn’t science, it’s propaganda!”
I celebrate every time Lew and company publish a paper. Even one more scoop of manure on a steadily growing pile raises the odds of people noticing where the smell is coming from.

F. Ross
May 18, 2015 10:08 am

“… Lewandowsky’s ‘seepage’ …”
Suggested spelling change >>>”sewage”

Reply to  F. Ross
May 18, 2015 10:30 am

Lol! I know right? Why is it that Lew, a cognitive scientist, repeatedly chooses words and terms that so naturally cause people to form negative-but-accurate mental associations between him and his work? Seepage-sewage. Agnotology-Antagonistic. Conspiracy-conspiracist. Projection? Narcissism? Mental disorder? Why isn’t someone studying him?

David Ball
Reply to  Aphan
May 18, 2015 10:48 am

That is why the picture heading up this post is so apropos. Lew’s sewage.

May 18, 2015 10:16 am

Not just Peter Thorne. We’ve already seen Richard Betts challenging the Lew and Oreskes nonsense.
Also Doug McNeall has written some comments on twitter, collected together by Howard Goodall here:
ending with
@STWorg @richardabetts @NaomiOreskes I mean, you guys know that you are feeding the skeptics’ paranoia about social control of academics?

Theo Goodwin
Reply to  Paul Matthews
May 18, 2015 10:27 am

“@STWorg @richardabetts @NaomiOreskes I mean, you guys know that you are feeding the skeptics’ paranoia about social control of academics?”
What a scream! All Oreskes lives for is social control of academics and, ultimately, of everyone. She sees Herself as Head of the Avant Garde.

May 18, 2015 10:20 am

I added my own comment:
I would imagine that scientists at the Met Office are refering to the following graph/data, when they discuss a ‘slowdown’, ‘pause’, ‘lack of warming’, hiatus (or whatever word/phrase is ‘allowed’ for public consumption these days in the media) in surface temperatures
(not a cherry picked 1970, start date, in a graphic earlier in the comments above)
Observing a higher decadal rate of warming in the 1980’s & 1990’s, and a slower decadal rate of surface temperature warming so far this century, scientist seek to explain it, and there have been dozens of papers, with dozens of hypothesis.
Surface temperature is not the only measure of global warming, but it is (or has been) THE measure of global warming. The 2C political target is that of the surfcae temperature anomaly (1.2C to go!)
So, when the early decadal forecaset (Met Office) were announced in 2007 with strong predictions of warming by 2014, briefing and advice to governments given on theback of it and subsequently in Dec 2013, were replaced by a flatter trajectory, with the BBC’s Roger Harrabin observing that this would suggest 20 yrs of a ‘slowdown’ in temps, which caused quite a bit of fuss. Researching this phenomenon became of greater media interest, (though scientists had been looking at it for a number of years)
I’m sure that whatever the surface temperature does, in the next decade, be it pause, plateau, slowdown, warm faster, cool slightly, or whatever. The scientist at the Met Office will not see it as a problem, but be very interested in explaining it..
It seems more politically minded sociologists and psychologists seem to think it would be a problem…..
ref from the [Shaping Tomorrows World] article above:
“This matters because political momentum for mitigative action is difficult to sustain or mount while the public believes that there is a “pause” in global warming. Talk of a “pause”, when there is none, therefore has political consequences and, by implication, also carries ethical risks. ” – Prof Lewandowsky
Dr Thorne has made numerous comments at the Guardian,
and the usual climate concerned gang go after him..

Bruce Cobb
Reply to  Barry Woods
May 19, 2015 8:02 am

I’m sure that whatever the surface temperature does, in the next decade, be it pause, plateau, slowdown, warm faster, cool slightly, or whatever. The scientist at the Met Office will not see it as a problem, but be very interested in explaining it.

Wow. Not sure if that is mind-numbing naivete or stunning disingenuity on your part. Perhaps a bit of both?
Of course they are interested in “explaining” it. They have a vested interest in keeping the CAGW gravy training rolling along for as long as possible.

Brian J in UK
Reply to  Barry Woods
May 20, 2015 9:43 am

This graph is very interesting. Taking it at face value, the rise in global average temperature of ~ 0.5 deg from 1975 to 2005 is almost exactly matched by the similar 0.5 deg rise from 1910 to 1945. To my simple eye it appears identical – except that the earlier rise was before the industrial society really got going – before it was putting all that nasty bad CO2 into the air. Also – since the industrial society did really get going in the second half of the 20th century – what is the explanation for the hiatus/pause/flat spot in the temperature record between 1945 and 1975 when CO2 increase was going apace? This pause seems to be identical to the one we are having now – except that it lasted 30 years. So the current behaviour of the atmospheric temperature is not unprecedented – its all happened before. How do the warmistas explain these features and why is what’s happening now described as cataclysmic/end of the world/we all have to stop living etc etc??

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)
May 18, 2015 10:21 am

I have to wonder: does naomi oreskes know that IPCC authors disagree with her stance that ‘the Pause’ never happened? She should be Incensed!

Dodgy Geezer
May 18, 2015 10:22 am

IPCC lead author Professor Peter Thorne is straightforward in his view that doing proper science is the important thing, and political shenanigans detract from that. A point I agree with.
However, I suspect that he may not fully appreciate that political shenanigans were what gave him the grants and the standing in the community to become a ‘lead author’. If Climate Science had not become a political football, he would be relegated to the low-status low-grant business of menial data collection and weather forecasting – and vying for money with ecologists classifying butterflies.
It may be a bitter pill to swallow, but people are starting to realise that these scientists are not ‘saving the world’ as has been presented over the last decade….

Reply to  Dodgy Geezer
May 18, 2015 12:43 pm

“…people are starting to realise that these scientists are not ‘saving the world’…”
Perhaps that’s why Lewandowsky’s site is called “Shagging Tomorrow’s World.”

May 18, 2015 10:22 am

I just visited skeptical science, and made a few comments on some of Lews posts. He is a class A (@$#). Common sense is lost on him. Anyway, the moderators of SS are gate keeping nicely, making it very difficult to employ logic which is diametrical to their assumptions. I exit that experience thinking the attack creatures are denied something to feed on, so they will go hungry searching for dissent or they will cannibalize their own. There exists so much variability between climate scientists regarding AGW and its scope/impacts; there’s enough food to go around. Let them eat

Reply to  owenvsthegenius
May 18, 2015 11:29 am

“I just visited skeptical science”
*hands you a can of disinfecant for your keyboard and directs you to the decom showers down the hall*

Reply to  owenvsthegenius
May 18, 2015 2:02 pm

I don’t bother with the ignopedists at SKS. They are intellectually onanistic.

May 18, 2015 10:28 am

oops duplicate link, first one should have been this one:

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Barry Woods
May 18, 2015 8:55 pm
May 18, 2015 10:34 am

If you can understand the science that temperature change occurs as a transient in response to the time-integral of net forcing, you can discover that CO2 has no effect on climate.
Proof that CO2 has no significant effect on climate and identification of the two factors that do cause climate change (95% correlation since before 1900) are at

john robertson
May 18, 2015 10:41 am

Natural progression of every cult.
They eat their own.
The Cult of Calamitous Climate is impervious to measured data.
The failure to warm globally in lock step with increased CO2 emissions by man, should give any scientist pause.
The mindless ranting of the “Lews” is just confirmation.
Buy popcorn..
“I never ever said CAGW was a dangerous..”
“I was misled by my experts”
Or last weeks beauty..”It is because of science”, that we went full blown activist on so little information.
What was that crack about infighting in academia being so savage because the rewards were so insignificant?

May 18, 2015 10:50 am

Question…isn’t the entire reason the word “PAUSED” got introduced into the dialog in the first place was so that words like “STOPPED” or “HALTED” did not? Wasn’t it the AGW crowd that was so adamant that global warming could not possibly have reached its peak or almost reached it for this interglacial period… that ANYONE who wanted to discuss the current situation was forced to use words like “pause” “slowdown” “hiatus” in their conversations because such words imply a temporary condition?

May 18, 2015 10:51 am

Reading the comments rebutting Thorne over at the Guardian, it’s enjoyable to see Alarmists engaged in “eating their young.” Such reactions might even prompt a few Warmistas to rethink their position.

Peter Miller
May 18, 2015 10:58 am

People like Lew and Mann are two of the best advertisements for why today’s ‘climate science’ is mostly, such a shabby, money-grabbing, pseudo-scientific movement.
I believe we should encourage them in their efforts to dig their holes ever deeper.

May 18, 2015 11:04 am

[snip -unnecessary -mod]

Tom O
May 18, 2015 11:12 am

I have stated in the past and will say so again – you cannot model that which you do not know. Climate “modeling” therefore is a joke since every paper on the current trend in climate suggests yet some new “variability” that is causing the climate to vary from the “models.” They are computer “simulations,” along the same lines as SimCity or SimFarm, and ought to be called SimClimate for that is all they will ever be. There just is not enough predictability in climate to be able to be “modeled.” At least not with the current knowledgebase.

Mike Maguire
May 18, 2015 11:36 am

Professor Thorne is exactly right. The tactic of one side has been to ramp up the exaggerations, increase the confidence of previous projections in the face of data that contradicts and worst of all……… shut down the other side via attacks.
In today’s politics, this marketing of a person or idea has been very successful to get them elected or their policy passed. It works great in advertising/selling products too. After the objective is achieved, it doesn’t matter what the strategy to get there was.
In science, however and in particular, climate science there is eventually accountability.
There are too many measurements for too long, to hide the slowdown in warming from the 1980’s/90’s forever.
You can’t continue to churn out studies that show increasing CO2 will reduce crop yields (from models that predict extreme warmth and/or drought adversity) while atmospheric fertilization greens up the planet, with crop yields and world food production exploding higher…………year after year, decade after decade.
The price that you pay in the end is a loss of credibility. Continuing the alarmist in the face of the best weather and climate on this planet in 1,000 years(since the Medieval Warm Period) backfires.
The “Boy that cried Wolf” was very effective in the beginning in triggering a reaction.
The climate scientists that cried “Imminent Catastrophic Warming” had the world fooled a decade ago. Heck, I was on board until around 15 years ago.
For 15 years, the same message of “Imminent Catastrophic Warming” is going out with very non scientific ways to spin the message in order to preserve the sanctity of the ideology in the minds of those receiving the propaganda.
Part of this message, includes targeting and silencing skeptics of the “settled science”. Inventing the name “deniers” or “flat earthers” as Obama uses for questioning the rate of warming. This is about as anti scientific as you can get.
It’s backfiring and understandable for Professor Thorne, who has a good point would be depressed by it.
Fast forward to 15 years from now. Considering how much we have learned about climate during the past 15 years and even more so, how much we now realize that we don’t know about climate vs the year 2000, we have to assume that in the year 2030, we will have acquired at least as much new understanding of how the climate system works.
Shutting down those that want to put more weight on what we don’t know(but want to learn about it) vs what we think we know with certainty, really is depressing for an authentic scientist to see unfolding.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
May 18, 2015 12:27 pm

To your last sentence: not just “authentic scientist(s). How about all that believe that science is an evolving process of discovery. But point well taken, is there a QED in science?

The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 18, 2015 11:39 am

Breaking news:
The Indian Ocean is storing all that paused heat!

Reply to  The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 18, 2015 12:01 pm

The paper seems to have really stirred up the other Heat Seekers. The final para of the Nature article says it all:
For now, it seems that the hunt for the missing heat may continue. But scientists say it is important to get to the bottom of the story to fully explain the current hiatus and prepare for others that might occur in the future. “We need to understand the energy imbalance of the Earth,” Lee says.
Settled science??

Reply to  Old'un
May 18, 2015 12:27 pm

I thought the missing heat was all contained in the blob in north Pacific Ocean. Oh well, what the hell, they shall find it eventually.

Bill Illis
Reply to  The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 18, 2015 4:57 pm

In the last 9 years, 4.2 X 10^22 joules of energy has accumulated in the Indian Ocean (according to the NODC, with data mostly coming from the Argo floats).
Here is the math –> 4.2 / 9 / 1.62 = Watts/m2 stored per year = 0.28 Watts/m2/year.
Global Warming Theory is looking for 2.3 W/m2/year in direct GHG forcing and 1.7 Watts/m2/year in feedback forcing to be showing up.
So the Indian Ocean accounts for 0.28 W/m2/year of the 4.0 W/m2/year which is supposed to be showing up.
One of the issues with climate scientists is that math does not come easily to them (they have to work very hard in order to get it). But what does come easily, is emotionally-driven exaggeration and emotionally-driven disaster scenarios.

Reply to  The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 18, 2015 7:03 pm

I thought it was the Pacific then the Atlantic now the Indian Ocean. Global warming is either very mobile or they are running out of Oceans.

Chris Hanley
Reply to  The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 18, 2015 11:04 pm

“The water seeps between the islands of Indonesia and into the Indian Ocean, bringing heat with it”.
Seep: ooze, trickle, exude, drip, dribble, flow, issue, discharge, excrete, escape, leak, drain, bleed, sweat, well, leach, filter, percolate, permeate, soak; Medicine extravasate; rare filtrate, transude, exudate.
‘Seep’ is catching on.

Reply to  The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley
May 19, 2015 2:17 am

I see that the arch “denier” Kevin Trenberth has rubbished this little attempt to explain the plateau.

Stephen Richards
May 18, 2015 11:41 am

May 18, 2015 at 10:55 am
Thanks Prof Brown, for bringing precision and sanity to my world. Go DUKE

May 18, 2015 12:03 pm

We saw “The Musicman” this weekend and the biggest difference between Prof. Hoarold Hill and Lewandwosky, Oreskes & Mob is that the Harold Hill had more scruples and a stronger conscience.

Reply to  hunter
May 18, 2015 12:50 pm

And he knew the territory.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
May 19, 2015 9:25 am

Oreskes gives me pause, the sadder Budweiser refresher for me.

May 18, 2015 1:02 pm

IMHO, the “pause / hiatus / slowdown” actually disproves the foundational argument for catastrophic climate warming caused by human CO2 emissions because that theory relies upon the concept of positive feedback causing an acceleration of warming. All of the models reflect that theory by showing an upward non linear acceleration. The only difference between the models was the rate of positive change of acceleration. That is, the 2nd order derivative is above zero for all models. However, the slowdown is a negative 2nd order derivative because the rate of warming in the 1990’s was higher than the rate of warming (actually almost no warming at all) of the 2000’s right into 2015. Such a scenario is considered practically impossible in all of the global warming models. Therefore, they are ALL wrong. Models that based themselves upon positive feedback and acceleration of warming simply could not have predicted 15 years of zero warming – and surprise, surprise, they were utterly incapable of predicting the last 15 years of almost zero warming. The theory is wrong because the models based upon it all (bar 1 or 2 at this point) demonstrate zero predictive ability.

May 18, 2015 1:32 pm

Rats in a sack , springs to mind .
But like mad Mann , we should do all we can to encourage Lew paper to ‘greater heights’

Reply to  knr
May 18, 2015 6:19 pm

Rats in a sack! I love that! I agree in encouraging Lew to keep on a publishin’! I mean, what is more hilarious/arrogant/disturbing/idiotic than a bunch of social scientists telling the entire climate science community to stop using the word “pause” because THEY (and unnamed others) have determined that there is NOT one, and therefore talking about it “lends credence” to “phenomena that do not even exist”! I can’t make this stuff up! Here’s Ben Newell responding to Richard Betts-
Ben Newell at 17:55 PM on 18 May, 2015-
“Dear Richard
The phenomenon referred to in the final sentence is the “hiatus” or “pause” (which we and others argue/conclude is not one – hence “does not exist”)”

May 18, 2015 1:32 pm

Lewandowsky is part of a more general movement in society. I believe Kirsten Powers recently wrote a book called “Silencing of free speech” or something like that. It is about a deliberate and pervasive effort to silence an open exchange of ideas.
You ask questions about the rape culture on college campuses, you are a rape denier. You ask questions about climate temperature methodologies or models you are a science denier. You question tax policies for the rich and and you are against growth and innovation, you question entitlement programs and you hate poor people. You are against teacher led prayers in school and you have declared war on Christians. You question the effectiveness of public education and you are anti-education. When Elizabeth Warren challenges Obama trade policies, she is an “Elizabeth” and not a “Senator”. And on and on it goes.
When the norm is to marginalize or impugn anyone who challenges a controversial subject or any public subject for that matter, it is an express train to a society of stupid. When exactly did we decide to make important decisions by cutting off ideas and discussion before they start? I do not know, but Lewandowsky certainly likes his role in perpetuating stupid.

May 18, 2015 2:00 pm

I found it depressing. So-called scientists, arguing that they should avoid skepticism.
unprintable, unprintable!&/§%*%#%§$=!!!!

Paul Sarmiento
May 18, 2015 4:40 pm

Viking said: “Except for an extremely simple system, only a computer model will be capable of the analysis. ”
Ancient people have created sophisticated models without computers. The human mind is not limited to the tools it has.

Reply to  Paul Sarmiento
May 19, 2015 9:16 am

Paul, ancient people did not do any significant time domain analysis of complex physical systems. First of all, the scientific first principles were only discovered in the last 200 years or so. Even after their discovery, it was too tedious until about 50 years ago.
For example, integrating the Biot-Savart required adding up millions of vector values, which are calculated from a vector cross product.
The human IS limited by the tools it has available.

May 18, 2015 6:11 pm

I’m torn as to whether the situation is sad or funny.
Watching the usual consensus pushing crowd turn out to rip on a Climate Scientist (they can’t be wrong remember?) because a social scientist says the topic he worked on for AR5 is a figment of so called D#nier imaginations is sad.
For years an adequate defense has been “you aren’t a climate scientist” has been good enough to dismiss any criticism… Apparently so long as it disagreed with their chosen political motives. Here we have a social scientist dismissing the work of a climate scientist and apparently qualifications no longer matter. That’s sad to.
On the other hand tons of scientists have been complicit in what is a massive politically motivated machine that doesn’t support science, it supports science that supports certain political and economic actions. This machine has lobbied for funding, attacked their enemies and made a lucky few eco-super stars. After years some of these scientists who have been complicit or silent in the face of watching this machine eat rivals and colleagues are being cannibalized. That’s kind of funny.
I’m not a scientist but I’m fortunate enough to know many, several of whom are involved in Climate Science sensitive fields. I’ve witnessed their distress at being attacked, having their jobs threatened and being slandered by activists when they publish, what they feel, is honest science that even alludes to minimizing or undermining a portion of the catastrophe we supposedly face. I don’t know Thorne personally, but I can’t find him ever attempting to defend in any significant way a colleague in distress from those above forces. Given that I don’t feel sorry for him in the least. He’s too important to lose his job and his level of professional achievement is such that even if this incident roadblocked him forever, he would still have gone further then most could ever dream. Therefore I won’t lose any sleep. He won’t end up homeless regardless of how bad the machine he seems to have stood by and watched chew up other scientists reams him.
Last of all it is both funny and sad that skeptics are supposed to be conspiracy theorists. Meanwhile proponents proclaim manipulation by an ultra secret group of, by their own words, small individuals able to warp and distort the best scientists and high integrity organizations on the planet. Apparently believing the Koch brothers are reaching out and distorting the science presented by UN organizations and scientists across the world isn’t a conspiracy. Seems textbook to me.

May 19, 2015 1:01 am

Read Peter Thorne’s follow-up comments too –
“… In particular the ‘statistical practices’ sentence is an assertion with precisely zero basis in reality. As such, it is highly offensive.
This paper and the resulting discussion is very definitely not a way to win friends or influence people.
Bear in mind that the norm is to read the abstract then conclusions before deciding whether to read the remainder and frankly my take home has been that this paper is an unhelpful and unwarranted criticism of our significant work in the area. Work that I have no doubts has added substantially to the scientific knowledge basis. Sorry if that offends you somehow. My twitter feed says I am far from alone amongst my colleagues in concluding this.”

Reply to  Paul Matthews
May 19, 2015 2:48 am

UK climate scientists hit back at Royal Society – which gave a generous grant to allow Dr Lew to settle in Bristol. That seems worth noting.

Chris Wright
May 19, 2015 2:44 am

Our ex-Energy secretary, Ed Davey, used the term “plateau”.
Maybe he knows something that the IPCC doesn’t.

May 19, 2015 5:42 am

we can do more to ensure that we do not inadvertently allow contrarian, skeptical, and denialist claims to seep into our thinking, leading us to overstate uncertainty, under-communicate knowledge, or add credence to erroneous claims by spending undue amounts of time responding to them, much less ‘‘explaining’’ phenomena that do not even exist.”
I find it worrying that Lew, as a supposed ‘academic’, doesn’t recognise his ‘work’ as something that could just as easily have come out of the old USSR or National Socialist Germany. Simply change the targets of his venom in the above paragraph. The very last thing we want is for anything ‘contrary’ to ‘seep into our thinking’.
Lew is a worrying phenomena because I’m forced to support him via my taxes. Where exactly are we heading in a world where we are forced, by (tax) law, to support someone who believes that “The very last thing we want is for anything ‘contrary’ to ‘seep into our thinking’.”
That, “The very last thing we want is for anything ‘contrary’ to ‘seep into our thinking”, is something that ‘The Poison Dwarf’ may have come up with. Juden,nien danke! (simply take out the ‘Juden’ and replace it with ‘denier’)
BTW … Hillarious comments under Thorne’s criticism of Lew. Thorne – is now some kind of climate denier (along with Richard Betts).
_____________________________ mostly off topic __________________
If you happen to be American and are really, really bored at work right now then …
Should pirk you right up. This is these people, parading around their living space, wearing their grand mothers panties while receiving live election results.
God bless The Guardian.

May 19, 2015 9:23 am

The methodology of the attack on people who do not agree with their views is nicely set out in papers John Cook has written. He even has a course for budding missionaries It seems to me that the Lewandowsky paper fits into the same pattern of accusing the opposition of all the things the alarmists are actually doing. From accusing ‘deniers’ of not listening to scientific argument to claiming that climate scientist are embarrassed to make their case because they are constantly being told they are in the minority. Really? False claims of 97% come to mind.

May 20, 2015 3:25 am

Reblogged this on The GOLDEN RULE and commented:
Two important issues here.
We see a credible climate scientist who participates in the IPCC circus making some critical remarks about the lack of scientific integrity in this particular issue of the published surface temperature averages, (strangely accepted as authentic), showing a significant current failure to follow the IPCC published trend projections.
What can be said? For anyone to suggest the “science is settled” is clearly nonsense. Absolutely no evidence to support that, heaps of evidence to support otherwise.
Regarding the actual departure of the real temperature from the projected graph – besides scientists arguing about it, what does it mean technically? Firstly an inability of the computer models, as created by scientists, to accurately forecast future temperatures. Perhaps, just perhaps, the longer future term trends will make this difference less significant than it seems. The point is that nothing in the computer modelling accounts for it, and there are other similar omissions anyway.
What we might be seeing is an unforeseen natural climate change that will prove IPCC projections, and more importantly, its political ambitions of supporting new government strategies becoming universally known as exactly that, without any scientific basis at all!
The author’s conclusion –
“So, this whole thing is a side-show and as such depressing.”-Peter Thorne”

May 20, 2015 7:20 am

Before I placed a bet on something as fundamental as whether we are in a temperature “pause” within a rising trend, or a temperature “peak” preceding a plunge into the next glacial period, I would look at two things.
First I would check the NOAA paleoclimatology page at:
And I would consider this statement therein:
“however, full interglacials occur only about every fifth peak in the [solar] precession cycle. The full explanation for this observation is still an active area of research.”
I would ponder the graph on that page and consider that it could be argued that solar activity is falling from its fifth peak for this cycle.
Next I would look at one of many data sets which show temperatures rising since the end of the Little Ice Age, with a steady secular trend containing an inscribed 60 year (+-) oscillation or “wave”.
In the end I would reconcile myself to the conclusion that my final decision would simply be a random wager. Too many variables. Too little accurate history. Too many unknowns, both known and unknown.
Within that context, I consider the hippocratic oath, including:
“I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those …. in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.”
“I will apply… all measures which are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.”
“I will not be ashamed to say “I know not,” nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed…”
“I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings…”
I observe the Lewandowskys who would insist that models which cannot account for both the 60-year “wave” and the 5-peak cycle should become the basis for world order and draconian action, without further research or debate. I observe such activists, but I cannot take them seriously as scientists.

Arno Arrak
May 20, 2015 8:01 pm

This seepage business looks like another angle to deny the existence of the hiatus. As such, it must take its place among the more than fifty articles of that type that Anthony Watts has recorded. Is it not obvious that they all cannot be right? Peter Thorne, who is a mainstream guy, thinks that ‘… this whole thing is a side-show and as such depressing.” It should be depressing to a mainstream guy since it is another dead end. First, we have the hiatus. Carbon dioxide keeps increasing but there is no warming. But the Arrhenius greenhouse theory requires warming. Absent this expected warming, the Arrhenius greenhouse theory is invalid and should be cast into the waste basket of history. The correct greenhouse theory to use is the Miskolczi greenhouse theory or MGT. It is based upon Miskolczi’s observations of NOAA radiosonde records. Miskiolczi showed mathematically that there exists a fixed greenhouse-gas optical thickness TauA which controls transmittance in the infrared. He then calculated that its value is 1.86756. His measurements using NOAA database of radiosonde observations showed that while TauA remained constant for 61 years carbon dioxide at the same time increased by 21.6 percent. Since this substantial addition of carbon dioxide to atmosphere did not increase absorption it did not create any warming either. That makes it an exact parallel to the hiatus we are living through right now: Carbon dioxide is increasing but there is no warming. What Miskolczi has done both theoretically and experimentally is show that the hiatus phenomenon is not only possible but has actually already happened in the past. Even more to the point is the existence of a hiatus in the eighties and nineties that has been hidden by fake warming thanks to the GISS-HadCRUT-NCDC global temperature monopoly. They call it late twentieth century warming. I proved its existence when doing research for my book [1] in 2008. The hiatus is shown as figure 15 in the book. There is also a wave train created by ENSO. The centers of these waves line up in a horizontal straight line, proving absence of warming. In addition, I also proved that the warming was fake in figure 32. That took care of the fakery of HadCRUT3. The other two I got later when I found that all three had used computer processing to bring their data together. It shows up as sharp upward spikes near ends of years, in exactly the same places in all three. According to MGT which uses the properties of TauA, addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere does not warm the air. When the global warming gang got wind of that in 2007 they blacklisted it. You could not mention it and grad students were kept ignorant of it. According to MGT, carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere will form a joint optimum absorption window in the infrared whose optical thickness is 1.87 (TauA). If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere it will begin to absorb in the IR just as Arrhenius says, But this will increase the optical thickness. And as soon as this happens water vapor will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original optical thickness is restored. The added carbon dioxide will of course keep absorbing but the reduction of water vapor keeps total absorption constant and no warming is possible. With that, the IPCC doctrine of positive water vapor feedback on the greenhouse-gas optical thickness is shown to be false.
[1] Arno Arrak, “What Warming?> Satellite view of global temperature change” Figures 15, 32

May 23, 2015 11:23 pm

It seems there are two issues today that the western world must not question, discuss, debate or challenge. The first is the flawed global warming doctrine. The other is the contents of the islamic texts.
Because to question, discuss, debate or challenge expose some very uncomfortable and politically incorrect issues, which the custodians of such ideologies prefer to remain hidden.

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