Is Climate Science Settled Because It Cannot Be Settled?

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

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Al Gore even made some hardened liberal journalists sit up and question when in 2007 he told a joint session of the House Energy Committee and The Senate Environment Committee that the climate debate was over, “the science was settled”. The journalists knew, as any moderately informed person does, that science is never settled. But, what does “settled” mean in this context? The most reasonable definition is linked directly to a simple definition of science, namely the ability to predict. If you can’t predict then your science is wrong, as Feynman and others made clear. Failed predictions prove that the science isn’t settled. Gore and the supporters of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) version of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) claim the science is settled, but their climate predictions (projections) are consistently wrong. The problem is wider because the weather predictions of national weather agencies who are, through the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) the IPCC, don’t work either.

The climate is the average weather, which raises the question; when does weather become climate? Since climate is an average of the weather, the average temperature for a 24-hour period is the climate of the day. If the science is settled, then the weather forecasts should also be accurate, but they are still increasingly unreliable beyond 48 hours. One use of the millions of weather data points created for my doctoral thesis was by a statistician, Alexander Basilevsky. He was working on Markov Chains defined as follows:

A Markov chain is collection of random variables clip_image004 (where the index clip_image006 runs through 0, 1, …) having the property that, given the present, the future is conditionally independent of the past.

He needed a continuous long-run data set derived from nature. He wanted to address the issue of probabilities and accuracy of predictions in nature, particularly weather predictions. I never spoke with him about his results but assume, since the work was done 20-years ago, they achieved nothing applicable because prediction accuracies didn’t improve.

In fact, weather forecasting accuracy has not significantly increased since it began officially in 1904. In that year, Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862-1951) introduced the idea of numerical weather predictions by solving mathematical equations. This assumes you have adequate and appropriate data to put into the equation, but that is still not the case, and that is the root of the problem.

Prediction failures are a situation obvious to those who make empirical observations because their lives and livelihood depend on the weather. Robin Page, farmer/author in his book “Weather Forecasting: The Country Way,” wrote,

“Yet it is strange to record that as the weather forecasting service has grown in size and expense, so it’s predictions seem to have become more inaccurate.”

 

New Scientist reports that Tim Palmer, a leading climate modeler at the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts in Reading England said:

I don’t want to undermine the IPCC, but the forecasts, especially for regional climate change, are immensely uncertain.

Then in an apparent attempt to claim some benefit we’re told:

…he does not doubt that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has done a good job alerting the world to the problem of global climate change. But he and his fellow climate scientists are acutely aware that the IPCC’s predictions of how the global change will affect local climates are little more than guesswork.

Roger Harrabin, BBC Reporter, made a comment about a climate conference in Reading:

So far modellers have failed to narrow the total bands of uncertainties since the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1990.

Koutsoyiannis et al., confirmed this in April 2008 where in an article they found:

The GCM (General Circulation Models) outputs of AR4 (FAR) as compared to those of TAR, are a regression in terms of the elements of falsifiability they provide…

Is there a common denominator here? Weather predictions don’t work, especially if you consider their accuracy for severe weather, and climate predictions don’t work either. The common denominators for the failure are the lack of spatial and temporal data and little understanding of the mechanisms. It is assumed that if we knew those, then accurate predictions would occur.

The IPCC were the first official group to make climate predictions that caught world attention and they were wrong from the start. Because their objective was political, they deliberately chose to separate claims about the accuracy of their forecasts. The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) deliberately misleads and as Figure 1 by Roy Spencer shows they increased the misdirection as the gap between their claims and reality widened.

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Figure 1

The IPCC Physical Science Basis Reports of Working Group I all identify the problems and severe limitations of the data and knowledge of the mechanisms.

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The only thing predictable is that as their forecasts fail the claims of success are magnified and amplified.

In the 1990s, one segment of the climate debate involved the US and western nations support for Chaos Theory. The other segment promoted by the Soviet Union, China and Eastern nations supported the cyclical explanation of climate change. Many, especially the western media saw the division as a Cold War ideological difference. In fact, it was a legitimate scientific difference and debate. It was fuelled by the establishment of translation services of Soviet science by Jewish scientists who escaped to Israel.

In the Third Assessment, Science Report the IPCC wrote,

In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

Essex and McKitrick identified the chaos portion in their book Taken By Storm.

“Fluids are governed by nonlinear, as opposed to linear equations… … these represent major distinctions in times of great importance. However, the misleading averages can yield exact average equations of quantities describing fluids that are linear! This is especially remarkable because the correct differential equations for fluids are some of the most notorious examples of nonlinear differential equations there are. In a non-mathematical world, a differential equation being notorious seems hard to imagine, but some really are. They aren’t to be found in People magazine, but nonlinear equations have notoriety among those who know about them, because we cannot solve most of them. We are left to rely on computer approximations of solutions. Furthermore, unlike linear equations, they can and do exhibit a kind of peculiar unpredictability in their solutions, not unlike randomness, known as chaos.”

The most obvious difference between them (Kinetic theory and Navier-Stokes) is that we have no guide in the larger climate world to any key structures and relationships. There is no one living on climate scales to observe structures, do experiments, or establish physically meaningful structure for us. Without a climate structure analogous to Navier-Stokes to act as a beacon to climb toward in our averaging schemes, we are little better than bacteria in a test tube trying to deduce from first principles what the laboratory ought to be like.

I tease chaos theory supporters that their only hope is that chaos theory is correct so, when they are finally asked about their failed predictions by the mainstream media, they can then explain why their predictions consistently fail.

So, according to Essex and McKitrick, the theoretical approach is not possible because of internal mathematical problems. Actually, the problem is more basic. We don’t have the data on which to perform our “averaging schemes.” From the start, the data was completely inadequate. Lamb knew what was going to happen as he recorded in his autobiography (1997). He created the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) because

“…it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important.”

Lamb told me that he determined the need for better historical records because of the failure of the weather forecasts he gave Royal Air Force pilots flying over Europe in WWII. He thought that a better understanding of past weather patterns could provide a base for improved forecasts. Unfortunately, the objective did not last long.

“My immediate successor, Professor Tom Wigley, was chiefly interested in the prospects of world climates being changed as result of human activities, primarily through the burning up of wood, coal, oil and gas reserves…” “After only a few years almost all the work on historical reconstruction of past climate and weather situations, which first made the Unit well known, was abandoned.”

As we know from the leaked emails, it was all downhill from there.

The cyclical approach is similarly limited by lack of data. How long and accurate a record is required to determine the existence of cyclical events? Apparently the mathematical answer is partly provided by the length required for spectral analysis, but that doesn’t address the quality and spatial resolution of the record. Cyclical analysis has a better chance of producing reasonably accurate general forecasts because it is based on empirical data that is somewhat independent of the small scale mathematical and physical problems Essex and McKitrick and others identify.

All the manipulation, corruption, and deception carried out in climate science were possible because of the use of mathematics and statistics with inadequate data. As Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli said, “There are three types of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics.” When the data was inadequate, the AGW proponents compounded the problems by making it up. The extent of the data fiasco was acutely displayed in Bob Tisdale’s recent article and reinforced by Werner Brozek’s article asking if two data sets, presumably from the same original data source, can both be right.

The 2001 IPCC Report, using data prepared by Phil Jones, Director of the CRU said the global temperature average, reportedly using the best modern instrumental database over the longest period of data available, rose 0.6°C over 100+ years. The problem is the error factor was ±0.2°C or ±33.3%. So, the modern instrumental temperature record, which is supposedly many times more accurate than any paleoclimate temperature record, is useless. Compare the Jones number of temperature change in a 100+ record with the difference between GISS and HadCRUT in any given year. If for the sake of argument, the difference is 0.1°C then it is one-sixth of the difference for the total change in 100+ years.

The science of climate and weather predictions may be settled, but only in the sense that they are not possible? If you pursue either of the current practices, the climate physics of the IPCC and most skeptics or the cyclical approach favoured by most Russians and others, the data is inadequate. Despite my respect for the work of H. H. Lamb and his reconstruction of historical records, it is not possible to reconstruct weather records with the degree of accuracy claimed necessary for the IPCC or WMO approach to climate and weather predictions. It is why there was a tendency to leave out error bars in much early work. They underlined the severe limitations, if not the impossibility, of their work.

This brings us back to the cyclical approach that might allow for the educated speculations that climate change will continue, and the global temperature may go up or down. Right now, my more specific speculation based on historic records is that it is more likely to go down. Based on the evidence, I clearly have a better probability of being correct than the AGW and IPCC speculators.

There is no more common error than to assume that, because prolonged and accurate mathematical calculations have been made, the application of the result to some fact of nature is absolutely certain. – A. N. Whitehead (1861 – 1947) Mathematician and Philosopher

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157 thoughts on “Is Climate Science Settled Because It Cannot Be Settled?

  1. if you group climate science into knowable-and known, knowable but yet unknown, and unknowable and unknown, then settled science means that the knowable and known draws a sufficiently comprehensive picture for us to make decisions without worrying about the other two categories.
    i owe this insight to Nils-Axel Mörner.

    • You seem to have missed the punch line in this storey.

      Since the “unknowable and unknown” bits are by definition unknowable, one can NEVER tell whether the knowable and known draws a sufficiently comprehensive picture.

      Science is never settled.

      • That’s right Greg, and though I acknowledge the
        insight of Nils-Axel Mörner, we owe this gem to
        that olde bacteria-meister …the other “Donald”.

        Substitute the Climate Epithet of your choice for “Baghdad”.
        and some outlandish theoretical political intergovernmental
        organisation instead of some “Terrorist Organisation” …
        …. err, wait a minute, isn’t that what we’ve got ?

        Classic !

      • The Editor,

        Thanks for posting the link to Donald Rumsfeld’s comments. His analysis is clearly based on his business experience of the Boston Square and as such is logically incomplete. The Boston Square (or Chart) is a business tool for guiding investment decisions, and consists of four segments. The missing element in Rumsfeld’s analysis is of course “Unknown Knowns”.
        So what are “Unknown Knowns” and are they not logically impossible? My contention is that “Unknown Knowns” can exist, they are the things that were once known but are now forgotten. Ask any historian, there is much that our ancestors once knew but now lost and awaiting rediscovery.

        There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
        Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
        – Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

        Mabillard, Amanda. Shakespeare Quick Quotes. Shakespeare Online. 20 Nov. 2009.

      • Greg, science is settled by experiment, by comparing observation with hypotheses and theories. Within the range tested by experiment, the predictions made by a well validated theory will not change even if that theory is later shown to be incomplete or invalid. We can use z = -gt^2/2 to predict the distance an object falls with time when air resistance is negligible near the surface of the earth (that science is settled), even though a different formula is needed thousands of miles above the surface, or when air resistance is significant. And Newton’s Law is inaccurate in some situations and has been replaced by general relativity. And general relativity and quantum mechanic appear incompatible and a theory for “quantum gravity” is currently being pursued. None of these complications interfere with our using z = -gt^2/2 in appropriate situations, because those situations have been carefully studied experimentally.

        Some areas of climate science ARE settled. The interaction between GHGs and thermal infrared radiation has been studied experimentally and understood theoretically for about a century. The chances are negligible that a new theory will replace quantum mechanics AND make radically different predictions about the behavior of thermal infrared in our atmosphere. It is reasonable to call that settled science.

        It is grossly unreasonable of Dr. Ball to totally ignore this settled science when discussing future climate change. Climate sensitivity is uncertain. Unforced variability is poorly understood. The instrumental temperature record is limited and contains artifacts. The proxy record (such as ice cores) contains less precise, though still useful, information. The existence of ice ages is generally. accepted. 20th century warming is generally accepted. Global warming in the satellite era is settled qualitatively, but debated quantitatively.

      • Frank says “Some areas of climate science ARE settled.”

        Being settled exists only in a human mind; it is not a property of science.

        Three people out of one hundred can decide a thing is settled, and to give it no more thought, but the other 97 may decide that it is not settled, or more likely such things exist on a scale of certainty for each or any person you ask about it.

        I insert some words automatically to your words in these cases: Some areas of climate science are settled to me or it can be stated, “I accept that some areas of climate science are sufficiently well researched that I no longer question it.” YMMV

      • Frank said: “Some areas of climate science ARE settled.”

        Michael 2 replied: “Being settled exists only in a human mind; it is not a property of science. Three people out of one hundred can decide a thing is settled, and to give it no more thought, but the other 97 may decide that it is not settled, or more likely such things exist on a scale of certainty for each or any person you ask about it. Some areas of climate science are settled TO ME or it can be stated, “I accept that some areas of climate science are sufficiently well researched that I no longer question it.” YMMV

        Frank amends: Some areas of science ARE considered settled by all (or essentially all) of the scientists familiar with the field. These areas are settled because they have been carefully studied by experiments (not just theory) that knowledgable scientists consider definitive. This is the case for the interactions between GHGs and thermal IR in our atmosphere. AFAIK, every prominent skeptical climate scientist believes that radiative forcing exists. Even Dr. Ball and our host presumably believes that definitive experiments on this subject have been performed (since I’ve never heard them express doubts).

        Those who haven’t studied spectroscopy and conducted measurements with a spectrometer may not consider this area of science settled. I personally did some form of spectroscopy in the lab almost daily for decades. I took the time to read a few scientific papers about measurements on GHGs in an attempt of understand the limits and confidence intervals of these experiments. If others took the trouble to understand what has been done and learned, their disagreement would have some significance. Opinions based on ignorance are worthless.

        IMO, blank statements saying that science is never settled reflect a lack of experience and understanding of science. We don’t have absolute knowledge about anything, but it makes sense to make plans assuming the sun will rise tomorrow morning and the forcing from doubled CO2 is about 4 W/m2. Scientific theories have changed in revolutionary ways (perhaps a few times a century) and could change again. However, new theories will need to make the same predictions as current theories about subjects that have been well-studied experimentally.

      • Frank wrote “Some areas of science ARE considered settled by all (or essentially all) of the scientists familiar with the field.”

        How could it be otherwise? ;-) It is agreement that creates a “field” in the first place.

        “Opinions based on ignorance are worthless.”

        And yet all those ignorant people pay taxes and elect legislators.

      • Michael 2: Scientific fields are not created when scientists agree upon a set of ideas or facts. New scientific fields develop because of unexpected observations, because new technology makes it possible to address old questions, or because there is an unmet need or market. Once an area of science is settled (and the uncertainty in measured parameters minimized), many
        scientists move to new fields where the science is not settled.

        The “ignorant people” who pay taxes and elect legislators deserve to be told the whole truth with all of the caveats, not Schneider’s scary stories, over-simplifications, and over-confidence. Politics and law are adversarial systems for determining the “truth” or best policy, where each side is guaranteed equal time to present their information without expecting either side to tell the whole truth. Science is not an adversarial system with equal time and all parties ARE expected to tell the whole truth. In democracy, properly informed citizens are supposed to decide, not elite experts from ivory towers.

      • Frank’s post about what parts of climate science are established prompts this long festering, somewhat lengthy rant. Sorry in advance, but this time I’m going to post it, instead of deleting it.

        To me, the real corruption of climate science comes when politically and economically motivated people pose as scientists, but then assume a foregone conclusion and tendentiously work backward from that conclusion looking for “proof.” This is the state of most modern climate science today. It is certainly the case for alarmism based on back-radiation. I can accept that the back-radiation exists. I reject as uncertain, and probably too high, a result of 4 watts per sq. meter, and I cannot fathom why anyone thinks there is a risk of our ocean boiling away, as claimed by James Hanson. The man has Venus on the brain, and forgets that we have a biosphere that loves CO2 here on Earth.

        People pretending science but working as rent-seekers or piety proving activists, naturally ask the wrong questions. The IPCC charter, for example, says in it’s introduction that it’s purpose is to to study the harmful effects of human use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions. Is does not say to study “the effects” but “the harmful effects.” The tendentious assumption of harm from our use of fossil fuels is taken for granted before they even started. And that’s not how science works. If the IPCC people were lawyers, advocating in court, I would I object. I would say the Harmful effects are not yet in evidence. And what harmful effects? Do they mean the harmful effects of heating our homes in winter, the harm of enjoying efficient electrical grids, of driving cars, of having a modern transportation industry, jet travel, air-conditioning, modern agriculture, supermarkets full of food? Of course, all that splendor cannot come without some environmental cost. But the benefits are not zero. But zero is how the glories of modernity are generally valued if you ask, “how much damage is human generated CO2 “pollution” doing to our climate.” The Utopians among them assume NO loss of production or standard of living without fossil fuels. The evil misanthropes among them perhaps DO suspect much suffering, and look forward to watching humans die off in large numbers, and a reduction in the number of “parasitic humans” on our planet. But those types keep quiet about that part of the program, because they’re smart enough to know they cannot openly lobby for human suffering and death and still push a political agenda. Climate alarmism (not science) stems for two equally Malthusian, equally wrong, but differing impulses. The ugly, human-hating misanthropes stay in the background, fronted by Utopian, useful idiot magical thinkers who believe in eliminating fossil fuels and switching to wind and solar power can be done with zero costs to civilization. These rummies cannot even ask the fair question about the immediate benefits of CO2 on the biosphere. They could be asking how much more happy and healthy life could be when more plants get more CO2. Or at least ask BOTH questions to get a fair understanding of the balances and the trade-offs. But no, the impact risk section of the IPCC reports is always a horror show. To be an honest scientist, you have to ask an honest question. You are NOT a scientist if you’re asking tendentious, politically motivated questions and spewing out canned narratives for an answer.

        Here’s my advice to help climate scientists become REAL scientists. Ask real questions. Ask a first principle question: how can the Earth heat up if total energy within the climate system stays the same? Its logical to assume that, given the huge variability of what geology and ice ages tell us, that the climate can only warm or cool if the Earth receives more or less light energy from the sun over extended periods. So study whether the Sun actually outputs more or less energy (yes, this is being done, and there does appear to be variability, but the alarmists won’t have any of it, insisting that the Sun’s output is, for all intents and purposes, a constant). For people who say the Sun is effectively constant, isn’t the only thing left to study about climate the Earth’s reflectivity? At its heart, climate science is either about the variability of the Sun or the variability in the Earth’s albedo. Climate science must be about clouds, cloud cover, aerosols (in both their direct reflective properties and in their likelihood to cause clouds). In albedo studies, of course human impacts can occur. These will almost all be in the land use arena. Changes from agriculture, forestry , grazing and urbanization are going to have a far greater impact on climate than CO2 or back-radiation. For major feedback loops, climate science, to a lesser degree, is about ice and snow cover, although this is more important when continental ice sheets exist. And please stop studying the feminist glacial narratives. Those are going to reveal a lot about you, but very little about glaciers. If I were going to honestly try to observe the effects of CO2 on climate, I would design a fair experiment. How about something like looking at the change in minimum night temperatures over time in very dry desserts, found at many different latitudes and altitudes as possible. In our experiment, we would predict an anticipated rise in temperature for each additional bit of CO2. We would correct our minimum temperatures for higher or lower humidity levels, and nothing else. Would not something like that give us our best chance to see what CO2 is actually doing to change climate? Ask the right questions. Put away your precious super-computer GCMs. Stop selling statistics from obscure things thought to be valid climate proxies, when no one knows if they really are a proxy or not. A 9000-year-old (carbon dated) fir tree stump exposed by a receding Greenland glacier, 100 miles north of the current tree line, is a thousand times more powerful as a proxy than are 1000 Yamal larch tree ring cores, interpreted by some bogus, secretive statistical formula invented by a weasel word loving, government funded academic.

        Here’s one last point to people who study or are interested in climate science. Don’t accept as honest scientists, anyone who says that some magical event took place at some point that changed the behavior of nature, magically and conveniently, to the favor or his or her pet hypothesis. Famous climate “scientists” (and yes the scare quotes now are necessary), men and women we’ve all heard of, who claim to have won the Nobel Prize, have done this at least twice, in major and horrific ways. The first time is their misinterpretation of the 800 year lag between global warming and CO2 levels found in the high resolution ice cores. 800 years in, the cause of the initial warming magically switches off, and CO2 magically takes over. You can read the ridiculous analysis on RealClimate, and Michael Mann and Greg Laden will fight you to the death over this bit of magic. The second incident I recall was when Michael Mann tried to explain away the proxy tree-ring divergence problem of the 2nd half of the 20th Century, by claiming that something (again, magical) happened around 1960 that made the tree-ring proxy no longer valid, but that it was perfectly valid prior to 1960, thereby justifying his deletion of the late 20th century proxy data from one of his hockey stick shaped climate graphs. My derision for this tendentious logic, for these lies, for the alarmist people that support this kind of crap-science almost cannot be overstated. I won’t believe ever again, anything such people say about something as complex and nuanced as is the Earth’s climate variability. And furthermore, if they’re academic grant seekers, I don’t want to fund them (or their Universities) anymore. And if they are US government employees, I don’t want to employ them anymore. I prefer the money to go to people like Tim Ball, Richard Lindzen, UAH remote sensing, Willie Soon and Susan Crockford.

      • Mickey Reno says “Its logical to assume that, given the huge variability of what geology and ice ages tell us, that the climate can only warm or cool if the Earth receives more or less light energy from the sun over extended periods”

        It is neither logical nor, a better word, reasonable. Excellent backpacking cookstoves go to great lengths to *retain* heat produced by a small butane flame. An ordinary cookpot is losing heat on its sides and top while heating only at the bottom. If you insulate the sides and tops, suddenly you can get more heat with less fuel. Carbon dioxide is one of several insulating substances surrounding the Earth and has the interesting property of letting sunlight in but is reluctant to let heat out.

        Conceptually it is simple. The big thick insulating blanket is water vapor but its proportion changes rapidly and unpredictably, nor is there much we can do about it, so it is easier to focus on carbon dioxide. Nor is there much we (as western society humans) are actually going to do about it until the fuel is gone or nearly so.

      • MIchael2: See, this is exactly what I mean about not asking good questions; about focusing on minor things and ignoring bigger, more important ones. What percentage of total heat within the climate system would you think is held by the atmosphere vs. by the oceans and by land? I’d guess the atmosphere holds less than 1% at any given time. So when I think of the atmosphere as a blanket, I think of it as a very thin, tenuous blanket. Then I ask myself why a tiny change in smallest blanket drives the climate more than potentially huge changes in the primary forcing that pushes all the energy into the system in the first place? And I can’t think of a good reason to worry about CO2 at all. You may disagree, but if you refuse to ask this type of question in an honest way, to paraphrase Dan Quayle, you risk failure.

      • Mickey Reno wrote “What percentage of total heat within the climate system would you think is held by the atmosphere vs. by the oceans and by land? I’d guess the atmosphere holds less than 1% at any given time.”

        The Word for the Day is “Global Warming”, not global heating. For the past 20 years not much attention is paid to how much *heat* exists in all systems everywhere, but only the thermometer reading near the surface of Earth where people and plants live. It doesn’t matter how much is in the oceans. People don’t care, plants don’t care. It is that thin, tenuous atmosphere that matters. The oceans only only started to matter when the air wasn’t warming on schedule and as planned.

        Where’s the missing heat? It’s in the oceans! Maybe so; but why is it only now going into the oceans? That seems a bit too convenient. At any rate, water vapor and co2 help keep it there. Water has an emissivity near unity and could easily radiate its energy if only that thin, tenuous atmosphere would allow it.

    • I’ll add more to that. The “knowable but yet unknown” in other disciplines such as, say, chemistry, is a deterrent to those who would spout BS based upon theoretical models. They are more cautious about making claims of the knowable-unknowns because they know there is a good chance somebody may prove them wrong before they retire or die.

      To paraphrase Oscar Wilde: Real scientists are often proven wrong in their own lifetimes. That is their tragedy. Climate scientists are not, and that is their tragedy.

      • Did al gore actually say that phrase, ‘the science is settled’?

        For the answer we need to look to William Connolley citing a deleted wiki article of his- delicious irony, new readers need to google Connolley and Wikipedia.

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2015/12/19/userwilliam-m-connolleythe-science-is-settled/

        al gore had a somewhat verbose style and might have meant that the science is settled but I doubt he said this in those precise words, thereby allowing quotation marks to be inserted.

        It was possibly victor venema, being somewhat ironic who might have used those words.

        Whatever, al gore certainly meant there was no room for doubt, strange, as his book ‘earth in the balance’ which predate an inconvenient truth, cited numerous examples of warmer times than now and extreme events.

        Tonyb

      • Garbo

        What a pompous, sanctimonious windbag al gore is. I thought he was entirely unconvincing. Now, I may easily have fallen asleep, but nowhere in that rambling 37 minute speech did I hear him say ‘ the science is settled.’ please direct me to the appropriate place and I will listen again, but as it stands I can not see that those words should be attributed to him with speech marks.

        Now, I need a lie down…

        Tonyb

      • Gabro: It’s a 35 minute video. It would be gracious of you to give us all a hint about where in it Gore uses the term “settled science”. I tried listening to the whole thing looking for it but frankly I have a very hard time listening to more than about 5 minutes of this loon so I tried the beginning, middle and end; it was as much as I could stomach. I wasn’t successful, but I did manage to vomit several times.

      • Bartley

        So I get the prize for listening to the whole thing?

        As I mentioned above, I could not hear him utter the phrase. We must have both dozed off…

        Tonyb

      • My deepest apologies for forcing such torture upon one and all to no avail.

        Gore said that the science was settled in the question period not included in this video. Not just NPR but other media covering the hearing reported it. I can’t find video of the Q&A session. I’m sorry for not checking to see that the follow on video didn’t include that period.

        Chairman Dingle, as a member of a now practically vanished breed of Democrat, looked grumpy for a reason. He represented a Michigan blue collar district populated by auto workers, who like to hunt.

      • “Did al gore actually say that phrase, ‘the science is settled’?”

        You think that’s bad?

        How about this – from Roger Harrabin, BBC Environment correspondent:

        I remember Lord May leaning over and assuring me: “I am the President of the Royal Society, and I am telling you the debate on climate change is over.”

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10178454

      • Gabro June 18, 2016 at 11:53 am
        “Gore did indeed use those exact words, as have many other hypocritical liars:”

        Ha ha that’s very funny. You get all upperty and call Gore a hypocrite liar, then provide a thirty five minute video that doesn’t have him saying the words “the science is settled” then you provide a different quote just to show you have no idea what you are talking about. I’m wondering who the hypocrite liar is?

      • Garbo

        My agents are searching the world looking for you after putting me through 37 minutes of hell. :)

        You owe me a drink.

        So al gore is apparently not on record as saying that particular phrase? Whilst he undoubtedly was confident of the science the words can not be attributed to him by using speech marks.

        Didn’t the Chairman look bored!
        Tonyb

      • Simon,

        Being mistaken could be construed as lying. I don’t see the hypocrisy, however. But if you genuinely do, I happily plead guilty.

        In any case, how is Gore’s repeatedly saying that “the scientific debate is over” different from saying “the science is settled”? And why did reputable news media report Gore’s having said the science is settled, if he didn’t?

        I however didn’t live off my dad’s ill-gotten Occidental stock for decades or sell my TV channel to Big Oil, while denouncing Big Oil.

        Tony,

        Next time I’m in the UK, it’s bitters or better for you. How will I contact you?

        Actually, I found Gore’s comments interesting, since he made idiotic proposals that I hadn’t heard before.

        The Chairman was Dingle, whom I describe above.

      • Gabro
        Having daddy help out is not necessarily a bad thing. Trumpy had a huge hand up from pops.
        The fact is a good deal of the science is no longer in question. CO2 warms …. blah blah blah. Humans are producing the excess CO2 recorded …. blah blah blah. What is still awaiting an answer is how much warming will follow and how much damage will result. Mr Ball is really just playing with words when he says no science is settled. Technically he could be right, but in reality some science is beyond question.
        And thank you for the invite. I’m in London at Christmas.

      • “Technically he could be right, but in reality some science is beyond question.”

        Utter drivel.

        You really haven’t a clue, have you?

      • Simon,

        Is it your contention that Mr. Gore did not intend to portray the relevant science as settled, in that and other presentations? Seriously?

      • PS ~

        ” Mr Ball is really just playing with words when he says no science is settled. Technically he could be right, but in reality some science is beyond question.”

        Not including “climate science”, right? You’re sort of playing with words yourself, but realize climate science is NOT settled science, right?

      • Simon,

        “Is it your contention that Mr. Gore did not intend to portray the relevant science as settled, in that and other presentations? Seriously?”
        Nope. I mean no it’s not my contention.

      • JohnKnight June 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        “Not including “climate science”, right? You’re sort of playing with words yourself, but realize climate science is NOT settled science, right?”

        I realise that much of the science is well understood. Like if you have more CO2 things will warm up. And, well, that’s what is happening.

        But I also realise that there are and will always be questions. Phew, got that out of the way.

      • Readers who are not yet well informed about this matter, please think carefully about what this person Simon is saying, here;

        “What is still awaiting an answer is how much warming will follow and how much damage will result.”

        Note how he *forgets* about how much benefit will result. Note how he speaks as though even a tiny bit of temperature boost from more CO2 (which “beyond question” is helpful to plants) will only cause harm, when obviously it would cause some good. He’s conning you, I am certain, and knows damn well those better informed about these matters are aware that benefits might very well outweigh any harm a modest boost in temperatures would result in. It’s ONLY a large boost that even warrants serious concern.

      • JohnKnight
        Most things that are harmful have some benefits….Even smoking has it’s pluses. Made a lot of people a lot of money, some people may have liked the yellow colour it stained their ceilings. And so it is with warming and CO2. Yep folks there will be some greening of the planet and some people may will have an improved climate. But …… many species will not cope. We are already seeing concrete examples. The Great Barrier Reef is in serious trouble. There are many others ecologists are seriously worried about. But hey I’m conning you. Time for your head in the sand trick.

      • Simon,

        ” But …… many species will not cope.”

        Many might be “saved” by a bit of warming, and extra plant food gas, right? It’s not like we know we are (or were before modern times) in some sort of ideal climate state, that maximizes species continuance rates, right?

      • Most things that are harmful have some benefits…

        First, I apologize for misspelling Garbo’s handle. Gretta? Apology accepted?

        Second, I’d like to refute the above. To the best of my knowledge neither arsenic or cyanide are beneficial to humans in any way. Arsenic isn’t even considered a valuable trace element. “most things”? I have to toss that in the “weasel words” bin. I also have to mention I’m a great fan of weasels, I raise them, they live in my house, and I consider them friends. Still, traditionally words like “may” and “might” and “could” fall into a category I frankly despise. If you don’t know, you don’t talk about it. How difficult is that?

    • The original post contained: “when they are finally asked about their failed predictions by the mainstream media, they can then explain why their predictions consistently fail.”

      They aren’t worried; the MSM will NEVER E V E R ask about the failed predictions. The MSM “has their back” protected continuously, and provides a free and amplified funnel to their front, which promotes the Alarmists’ spew in every media outlet there is, except Fox and Breitbart.

      I only hope that the next two decades will be such a major cooling that we skeptics can scream out the hypocrisy loud-and clear, until Dore and Mann — if they are still alive — will be forced to recant their lies. But I’m dreaming!

    • You forgot the unknowable and known category. There are many things we know are unknowable: the result of the next coin flip, the exact position and speed of anything, what the weather will be tomorrow or in a hundred years.

    • The CS community didn’t know all the heat from 20 years could go into the ocean between 1000-3000 foot depth. The CS community didn’t know that satellites would show significantly different temperatures than land thermostats. The CS community has denied the existence of the LIA and MWP for decades until being forced to by overwhelming evidence. The CS community didn’t predict or accept the PDO/AMO phenomenon and still can’t explain it even though it seems correlated with 50% of all climate change. The CS community didn’t know that aerosol forcing had to be much smaller than they had assumed. The CS community was and is not aware of the fact that underwater volcanoes or ridges are opened by gravitational forces of the moon and wobbling of the earth in its orbit drastically changing the shape of the earth and opening the ridges nor that shifting weight from glaciers during ice ages would deform the earth and cause opening and closing of fissures possibly explaining all of the ice ages and many other lessons in the last 30 years of this “settled” science that has been discovered. The idea that these effects are too small to affect the final determination of what is causing or will cause atmosphere temp change is absurd. We still lack massive amounts of data on the sun and its weather. My blog outlines these and other failures: https://logiclogiclogic.wordpress.com/category/climate-change

  2. I have a different assessment of Markov Chain Analysis. In the 1970’s working on the island of Java (Indonesia) I had access to weather records for over 100 stations going back to the 1800’s. Thanks to the Dutch colonizers, these records were kept and preserved. I had a HP 9100 desktop computer in those days (16k memory and one line of display) and fed all the daily rainfall data into it to perform a Markov Chain analysis. It turned out that there was a good predictability of the persistency in rainfall patterns. This analysis was one of the secondary propositions in my doctoral defense. (my primary was about soil erosion control on Java).

    • There is an apocryphal story in climatology that if you say tomorrow, that is 12 hours from now, is going to be the same as today, you have a 63 percent probability of being correct. The argument is this is based on a persistency factor, namely the fact that weather systems, especially in the middle latitudes, take 36 hours to pass a station. If true, then the approximately 70 percent accuracy claims by national weather services is an expensive 7 percent.

      • I have a weakness for all this. Climate science and modeling have stumbled right into my area of expertise. But like a lot of neos, these guys promptly fall victim to what historian (and wargame designer) Al Nofi was pleased to refer to as “Rommel Syndrome”.

        I think these things (models, adjustments, etc.) have value. But they lose their value if they are overvalued.

  3. The warmists claim it is all “basic physics” when they argue that increased CO2 levels will definitely result in a dangerously warming atmosphere. It is pure “cause and effect” to them. They have put their faith in that principle and they say there can be no argument about it despite actual observations that dispute their contention. It must be nice to be able to be so certain about the future based on faith.

  4. “the science was settled”….

    I would tend to agree with this….they don’t have a clue and never will

  5. Good review of why the modeling is such a pain. The arbitrary evaluation I make of science as “known” is whether it is useful as an input to engineering, that one can rely within certain definable bounds what a given system will do. A lot of “known science” isn’t at that level yet.

    • This was the point engineer Pierre Latour made at the Heartland Climate Conference in Las Vegas. He added that his career and peoples lives are dependent on the accuracy of his work. Climate scientists have no such accountability, but the responsibility exists.

    • Tom Halla- from an engineering perspective, that is one of the most important things we learned about modelling. The models only work within certain bounds and if they require too many iterations to produce a solution, the results are garbage. I wonder what controls the “Climate Models” have to flag when they have gone rogue.

  6. My guess if that Harry, (of harry_read_me Climategate fame) while working for Phil Jones, destroyed all of Dr Lamb’s historical work.
    A lifetime’s work wasted by the folks that brought us The Cause.

  7. “There are three types of lies; lies, damn lies, and statistics.”
    ===
    I would say there’s four…….anomalies

    Anomalies are the best way to hide the data changes

    • No, in the spirit of the original quote, 4 types, the last computer models.
      In the spirit of math a linear connection?

    • That should be “damned lies”. Those are lies that will send you to Hell for telling them. Statistics are, of course, lies that emerge from Hell.

    • Agreed – and the mere suggestion that departure from a meaningless “average” of an equally meaningless 30 year period is “anomalous” is absolute nonsense, and only serves to feed the nonsense.

  8. “Right now, my more specific speculation based on historic records is that it is more likely to go down. Based on the evidence, I clearly have a better probability of being correct than the AGW and IPCC speculators.”

    If I was going to bet money on it, I would bet on your take.

  9. The IPCC mentions solar wind, but says the findings are ambiguous:
    https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch2s2-7-1-3.html

    The large increase in negative North Atlantic and Arctic Oscillations through the slow solar wind episodes that regularly occur around a year after each sunspot minimum, driving strong El Nino, and at some sunspot maxima, and especially through specific solar magnetic phases of solar minima, does not seem ambiguous to me. Calling it Internal Variability, is like Plato’s shadows in the cave.

  10. Regarding weather forecasting not improving: My experience in indicates otherwise. 5-day forecasts now are at least as good as 3-day forecasts were in the late 1970s. 2-day forecasts for snowstorms are now as good as 1-day ones were in the late 1970s.

    • ..That is your “opinion” and “faith” in Glo.Bull Warming, not scientific proof !! What you FEEL isn’t worth two pieces of cow dung !!

    • my experience offshore sailing for many years was that I could predict the weather 5 days in the future with much greater accuracy than hi-seas radio. when your life depends on being right about the forecast, you do a much, much better job than someone working 9-5 in an air-conditioned office thousands of miles away.

      i expect the same is true for farmers. The human mind is incredibly good at recognizing patterns in nature. Be it cloud patterns, wind and humidity, or aching joints. In Australia when we were there 20 years ago they fired all the weather forecasters because it was discovered that simply predicting today’s weather tomorrow was more accurate than what the weather service was providing.

  11. Even though the IPCC’s predictions mostly have failed, many climate scientists still believe the IPCC is largely correct about climate change.

    That situation ladies and gentlemen is the essence of a faith-based religion masquerading as science.

  12. Does “Figure 1” spaghetti chart still include all the forward looking carbon scenarios (business as usual assumption vs no CO2 increase etc etc)? I’m pretty sure many of the low outliers are from the draconian CO2 reduction assumption model runs.

    Is there a chart that only includes the IPCC model runs that assumed CO2 levels close to the (what is now) historical record? That would show a much tighter grouping, eliminate variance based solely on CO2 assumption scenarios, and better illustrate the flaws in the underling models .

  13. “The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

    Source: IPCC working group I – executive summary

    That sounds like game, set and match to me.

    • Yes – amazing how the Eco-Nazis manage to miss such things when they discuss how the IPCC science “proves” AGW exists. LMAO.

  14. Thank you Dr. Tim Ball for another clear and logical assessment of the science underlying the climate debate. Many years ago I made my living modeling water quality in streams and estuaries and using the validated models to predict the effects of various pollution abatement scenarios. The relationships were linear and the models became useful tools for decision makers responsible for implementing pollution control measures. I once received an award for my ability to convince local decision makers of self-evident facts. The award was given in jest, of course, but I wonder if the AGW alarmists don’t think their view is “self evident” and use the models to “prove” their position to the uninformed.

  15. Al Gore: “The science is settled.”
    Member of the audience: “Rubbish”

    For those with a memory of these things, think: Ceausescu.

    I wish to see that day.

    • It’s rumored Ceausescu’s wife (a Maj. in the Romanian Army) was shot 3 times for every bullet they put in him. She wasn’t liked much either.

  16. Science is a frame-based philosophy with accuracy inversely proportional to the product of time and space offsets from an established reference. As for chaotic processes (e.g. evolution), the climate system, human life, etc., are incompletely and insufficiently characterized and unwieldy to model outside of a limited and perhaps closed frame of reference.

  17. Around the time of Gore’s proclamation…describing conclusions of a panel led by Jagadish Shukla (yes, that Shuka)…

    “…Many in the modeling community are growing wary of such spurious certainty. Last year, a panel on climate modeling assembled by the UN’s World Climate Research Program under the chairmanship of Jagadish Shukla of the George Mason University at Calverton, Maryland, concluded that current models “have serious limitations in simulating regional features, for example rainfall, mid-latitude storms, organized tropical convection, ocean mixing, and ecosystem dynamics.”

    Regional projections, the panel said, “are sufficiently uncertain to compromise the goal of providing society with reliable predictions of regional climate change.” Many of the predictions were “laughable,” according to the panel. Concern is greatest about predicting climate in the tropics, including hurricane formation. This seriously undermines the credence that can be placed on a headline-grabbing prediction in May that the future might see fewer Atlantic hurricanes (albeit sometimes more intense).

    This might not matter too much if politicians and policymakers had a healthily skeptical view of climate models. But most do not, a meeting of modelers held in Oxford heard in February. Policymakers often hide behind models and modelers, using them to claim scientific probity for their actions. One speaker likened modern climate modelers to the ancient oracles. “They are part of the tradition of goats’ entrails and tea leaves. They are a way of objectifying advice, cloaking sensible ideas in a false aura of scientific certainty”…

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_limits_of_climate_modeling/2028/

    • In my criticisms, I’ve likened climate modeling to tossing the chicken bones (Voodoo) as opposed to scrying goat entrails, but it’s basically the same idea.

      • Don’t insult voodoo. It’s a great religion. Worship involves rum, cigars, and wild, abandoned, dances by lissom young women. At the ceremonies you often get to meet the Gods, and they will give you help in dealing with your enemies.

        Climate modelling is nowhere near as useful, and certainly not as much fun.

      • I had absolutely no intention of insulting Voodoo. Not at all. In any way shape or form. Do you think I’m a fool?

        I contrasted chicken bones with crying goat entrails. I consider the two techniques similar. I didn’t say I felt one was superior to the other.

      • “scrying” not “crying”.

        PS: I was comparing Voodoo to climatology and also scrying goat entrails. There was no value judgement expressed on my part, I just mentioned the similarities.

      • “In my criticisms, I’ve likened climate modeling to tossing the chicken bones “

        OK. I get it now. This is what they call Micro Aggression?

      • Voodoo like other faith based religions including climatology was invented by cunning people who found they could manipulate and control people and even get rich off people who they get to believe their made-up crap. So long as their made up stuff sound somewhat reasonable and there is no way to disprove the belief, like the Christian god or Islams allah or in this climate case that it is caused by human activity. You can’t prove or disprove it and it sounds somewhat reasonable. So these scam scientists are using AWG like a god that can neither be proven or disproven and so long as they get the right people in power and a majority of weak minds to believe this crap, they get money and a bit of control. Like proving the existence of god, which ever one, this will never be settled. In my mind, this climate stuff is just another stupid religion preying upon the weak of mind.

      • Bartleby,
        The difference is the chicken bone method has a real probability of being right just by chance. The models are designed to run hot. They have little to no chance of being correct.

    • One should always take writing by people who are not scientists with a grain of salt. Here’s an example from the 8 year old blog article linked to above:

      “… a paper in Earth and Planetary Science Letters in March reported finding fossilized ferns in central Siberia that suggest that in the late Cretaceous era, temperatures there were like modern-day Florida. Yet current climate models predict that the area should have had average temperatures around zero Celsius.”

      Where i live, far to the north of Florida at 3000 feet higher elevation, the ferns are taking over my land. Besides, consider the fact that ferns are quite happy in Alaska’s national forests:

      http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5391721.pdf

      If the sea-ice extent continues to decline, the resulting warming could produce in a climate in Siberia not much different than Alaska at similar latitudes…

  18. This is all to unsettling, Michael perhaps up is down after all. I’ll check my Mann patented spike spin a graph once more!

    PS. Michael the solar panels go on top of the roof!

  19. Excellent article. For all the discussion about prediction methods, the future is inherently unpredictable. How often has tomorrow turned out quite different than you predicted? How accurate was your prediction 20 years ago of where you find yourself today?

    And yet you have millions upon millions of examples of people in similar situations to what you find yourself on which to base your predictions. According to climate science, you should be average all the people 20 years older than yourself and know exactly where you will be in 20 years. Yet this simply does not work.

    Future climate cannot be predicted as an average of all possibilities anymore than your own future can be predicted as a average of the people around you. And if you look closely, you will find very few people that exactly match the average, no matter how accurate your numbers. Most are either taller or shorter, older or younger, fatter or thinner, richer or poorer.

    So why should climate act any different? Future climate will be hotter of colder than current climate, and while we might be able to assign some probabilities, that in no way ensures the result.

    Quite simply, there is not a single climate scientists alive that can tell you with any degree of certainty that the future climate will be hotter or colder. The very best they can give you are odds, and these are very likely wrong because no one knows the natural trajectory for climate.

    The simple fact that 100+ climate models are all running hot, with only a single model matching reality, establishes with very high certainty that any model based prediction by climate scientists will be wrong, and will overstate the probability of warming.

    • Except they all do not run hot.
      and further it doesnt matter if they run hot, 10% hot 20% hot.
      all models will of necessity run hot or cold.
      all models will of necessity never match observations.

      and, yet they will still be useful

      Useful to policy makers who dont read blogs or listen to anonymous folks.

      • “and, yet they will still be useful”

        Yeah, they earn a salary for their authors.

        But beyond that, they are utterly worthless.

        As you are well aware.

      • Useful to policy makers.
        ——-

        That’s the problem in a nutshell. Useful to policy makers for pushing their agendas. Not useful for getting to the truth of the matter.

      • Steve, I don’t really know how to respond. Yes, it does matter. The subject is too large to discuss here and I’m very sad for you and I believe there should be a charity devoted to children like yourself. I think it’s very encouraging you can type and I can only hope you continue to develop.

        Good Job Steve!

    • How accurate was your prediction 20 years ago of where you find yourself today?

      It’s ironic you should ask this question Ferd, since I’ve enjoyed the luxury of being in the same place today I was 35 years ago. I left for awhile and came back, but the continuity is still there.

      I’d say I had a 65% chance of being right predicting things would be about the same now as they were 35 years ago. Observation has proven my chances were actually much better than that; I honestly can’t see any difference at all.

    • I watched the whole talk. Tim Palmer made the usual qualifications about “uncertainty” but then completely by-passed that concept when talking about the impact of CO2 emissions.

      That is, he implicitly assumed that the theory of climate is sufficiently advanced to predict the response of the physically real climate to emissions, despite that uncertainties in the physical response channels are hundreds of times larger than the perturbation.

      It’s always true in science that the devil is in the details. One’s deductions (calculations) are only as good as the level of known detail. Experimental scientists (and engineers) incessantly struggle with this truth, and know it very well.

      Tim Palmer is skating over the details.

      It’s no matter that he is a very smart physicist. Perhaps it’s his training as a theoretician that causes this blindness to gritty detail. But one observes the same neglect of detail throughout consensus climatology.

      Gotta say, though, I was very impressed with that young man who asked the first question. He looked to be maybe 10 or 12 years old, and asked a very well composed and very astute question about using pixel mathematics to represent the fractal structure of clouds.

    • Regarding his simple model Tim Palmer states without the ‘CO2’ wedge and over time and accepting the apparent short-term chaotic behaviour, the bob would be expected to hover over each of the four magnets an equal number of times for equal periods.
      That in no way is analogous to the Earth’s pre-Climate Change™ climate system over any time frame.

  20. The storyline that is called “global warming” is for certain settled.

    They are not going to change it now.

    It is settled because they are never going to do anything different in the basic assumptions. CO2 doubling produces 1.1C of warming. Then water vapour goes up 7.7%, then cloud albedo falls 3.3%. Temperatures increase even further and then water vapor goes up again, cloud albedo goes down again, ice albedo falls. Then temperatures are up again and water goes up again (now we are into the 3rd round of feedbacks and etc. etc. etc. (after 11 rounds of feedbacks, we finally get to 3.0C of total warming per CO2 doubling).

    They are NOT going to change any of that storyline. They have “settled” it.

    But that does not make it correct.

    Science becomes stuck/settled/religious-like.

  21. All the manipulation, corruption, and deception carried out in climate science were possible because of the use of mathematics and statistics with inadequate data.
    ===
    I would say that was the justification…

    The real trick was blowing up the scale so this looks scary….

    ….when in reality, no one would even notice

    • It’s worse than that. The correct way to graph is on a scale with the zero visible. The zeros in the Fahrenheit and Celsius scales are not true zeros for thermodynamic purposes. You need to use the Rankine or Kelvin scales that do have the true thermodynamic zero. If you do that, the whole temperature variation of the last couple of Centuries looks like jitter.

      • Agree from a thermodynamic point of view, but still I think this scale is better as it approximately shows the lowest and the highest temperatures humans are experiencing except for some very extreme lows.

  22. This is off-topic and it is a continuation of a conversation on another story.

    A website says that Dr. Mann’s suit against you has been pitched out because he hasn’t produced discovery. Is that true, false, or are you prevented from talking about it?

    • That is not correct. There has been no action for five years on the lawsuit brought by Andrew Weaver. It was brought nine days before the Mann lawsuit and is likely silent because Weaver is now leader of the Green Party and a sitting member of the British Columbia Legislature.

      The Mann lawsuit continues and is scheduled for trial in the British Columbia Supreme Court on February 20, 2017. That will be some 6 years since it was filed.

      I am preparing evidence and witness lists. All I will say here is that every high school math exam I ever wrote said “Show your work.”

      Incidentally, I had a previous lawsuit to these two and all filed by the same lawyer. That lawsuit involved Gordon McBean, former Deputy Minister of Environment Canada who chaired the formation meeting of the IPCC in Villach, Austria in 1985. The lawsuit was dropped because I chose not to fight and withdrew what I wrote.
      The Weaver lawsuit came next and I chose to fight because I was not going to be bullied anymore. As I said, the Mann lawsuit followed nine days later and is an action by an American in a BC Canada Court for something I said in the Canadian Province of Manitoba.

      • Thanks Tim. It seems to me that Michael Mann really, really doesn’t want to produce discovery. I hope that the recent judgment that his buddies have to produce FOIA documents is some help to you.

        You are taking a hit for all of us. It is greatly appreciated.

  23. ” The common denominators for the failure are the lack of spatial and temporal data and little understanding of the mechanisms. It is assumed that if we knew those, then accurate predictions would occur.”

    I.e., if we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.

  24. The science went out of the climate debate when Global Warming was replaced by Global Climate Change.

  25. Lamb told me that he determined the need for better historical records because of the failure of the weather forecasts he gave Royal Air Force pilots flying over Europe in WWII.

    Weather forecasting was a big deal during WW2. Ever since the invention of the electrical telegraph, we have been able to do short term forecasts because we can see weather systems coming. wiki

    The need for met information led to the North Atlantic Weather War.

    • Ever since the invention of the electrical telegraph, we have been able to do short term forecasts because we can see weather systems coming.

      I’d argue the telegraph improved weather forecasts because we could talk to people upwind of us to find out was happening there, then project (given wind speed) what would be happening wherever we were 24 hours later with high confidence.

  26. Once again Dr. Ball, you’ve made incisive and inarguable observations. The beauty of your argument is its certainly its simplicity and clarity.

    If you click on my “handle” on this site (Bartleby) you’ll be taken to a short essay I wrote on this subject about 10 years ago and published on a small (and now deceased) web log called “Intelligent Debate”, which presents many of the same points in its criticisms of “settled science” and particularly of those “measurements” and statistics derived from the so called paleo-record in the early attempts at climate modeling. I’m particularly gratified by your references to the Navier-Stokes equations and the intractability of modeling systems of dependent partial differential equations. The mathematical shortcomings alone should be enough to put the last nail in the coffin, but it seems few understand this. Perhaps repetition is our only hope?

    I won’t bother amplifying each of your points, I’ll only say it’s very refreshing to read them and know they’re are still reputable scientists working ethically in the cesspool “climateology” has become. My hat is off to you sir.

    Very Sincerely,
    Bartleby

  27. If climate science is really settled then funding for climate research should end because there is nothing more that can be learned. According to their reports, the IPCC after more than two decades of study has learned nothing new about the climate sensitivity of CO2. They keep quoting the exact same range of possible values and ignore the research of others that indicates that the climate sensitivity of CO2 may in actually be far below the range that has been quoted by the IPCC.

  28. “If the science is settled, then the weather forecasts should also be accurate, but they are still increasingly unreliable beyond 48 2 hours.”

    Fixed it for ya.

  29. Oops, should have been:

    “If the science is settled, then the weather forecasts should also be accurate, but they are still increasingly unreliable beyond 48 2 hours.”

    Fixed it for ya.

  30. “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible …”.
    ===========================================
    It’s not just the future, in Climate Change™ ‘science’ even the past is unpredictable:

    There is a list of all the scientific bodies that supposedly endorse IPCC science and it’s puzzling.
    Seriously how can people from other disciplines thoroughly trained in the scientific method take this pseudoscience seriously?

    • Seriously how can people from other disciplines thoroughly trained in the scientific method take this pseudoscience seriously?
      Those of us who went through education in any branch of natural or applied science, have a default position when we read the conclusions of scientists in other disciplines than our own – we tend to assume that they used the scientific method and that their conclusions are based on evidence. It is really no different when we read about other scientists’ conclusions in the popular media, or semi-technical media. We just assume that they know what they are talking about.

      It’s a long, slow road from that default assumption to the realisation that there’s a branch of science that seems to have been subverted or perverted into the service of political and/or radical environmental aims. It’s a very distressing realisation; it tends to make you feel a sense of despair for the future of human civilisation.

      Knowing that it is funded by a torrent of public money, whose continued flow depends on “favourable” conclusions, makes it more understandable, but somewhat less deserving of sympathy. It’s one thing to be deluded by a superficially attractive hypothesis; it’s quite another thing to have to accept payment for maintaining that delusion. No doubt it’s easier when you’re surrounded by colleagues who share the same delusion.

      There are other fields of science that are also corrupted by money – the pharmaceutical research filed is another obvious one where huge profits can result in tweaking test results from totally inconclusive to showing a miniscule benefit from a new product.

      Being a geologist helps because it allows you to think in terms of long time intervals. The next glacial period will probably set things right, even though we won’t live to see it. Survival will become more important than academic advancement.

      PS – just started using Opera and now WUWT doesn’t crash every 30 seconds because of something called shockwave, which I never asked for but can’t get rid of.

      • Screwed up the quote again.

        It should have said

        Seriously how can people from other disciplines thoroughly trained in the scientific method take this pseudoscience seriously?

  31. Trying to predict climate is like trying to predict what your own average body weight is going to be based on what it has been. The variables in life that affect weight are just as unpredictable and chaotic as the factors that drive climate. Weight tends to slowly rise but I could not have predicted the biggest looser challenge at work that gave me the will power to loose 8 pounds in a couple months. You just can’t anticipate climate when you can’t see when an if what unknowns are going to come along and change everything you expected to see.

  32. Weather and climate prediction are different problems. Weather prediction is sensitive to the initial conditions, climate to the boundary conditions. Weather prediction is severely limited by the exactness to which we measure the initial conditions from our scattered and unreliable balloon network. The worse the initial conditions we use to initialize the model, the worse the weather forecast. This is why bigger computers that run at finer resolutions will not help weather forecasts much if at all. Climate prediction is an ill-posed problem that will not be solved in my lifetime. I have no idea why anyone with any scientific training would believe climate models. I learned from my short stint at the Climate Prediction Center that climate models have no skill at making even short-term forecasts. Dr Feynman would be horrified.

    • “I have no idea why anyone with any scientific training would believe climate models.”

      +100

    • David, you should look at the Tim Palmer lecture Steve Mosher linked up above.

      Tim Palmer is a Ph.D. physicist, who trained in relativity mechanics. He represents himself as completely convinced of the danger of CO2 emissions. He even surmises an existential threat for humanity.

      For him it’s apparently radiation physics all the way.

      Although he acknowledges uncertainties, he never recognizes the fact that large uncertainties in the physical theory of climate means that no one knows how, or even whether, CO2 emissions will cause a rise in air temperature.

      This apparent inability to be modest in the face of obvious ignorance seems to perfuse consensus climatology.

      That isn’t an explanation for why it happens, but it seems that everyone in that culture is submerged within it and can’t see outside it. Group coherence and bounded thinking seems to be a common human failing (cf. Progressivism). The fact that even the APS buys into it is the real conundrum for me.

      • Truly IR-transparent containers (mylar balloons) full of CO2 cast no heat shadow. Game, set, …

    • Unfortunately for us, the initial conditions affect the attractor basins, actual and calculated, that become boundary conditions. Both weather forecasting and climate forecasting are initial and boundary condition problems. Climate is a statistical summary of the previously realized weather. You are correct about the problem being ill-posed. It doesn’t help that people are asking the wrong questions.

  33. When forecasting future climate useful accuracy for advising policy makers is attainable by identifying just those major and most obvious natural cycles which are reasonably obvious by simply eye-balling the temperature record. These are the millennial and sixty year cycles. These both happened to peak more or less simultaneously in about 2004.This millennial temperature peak correlates with the millennial solar activity peak seen in the neutron count low at about 1991. The 13 year delay is due to the thermal inertia of the oceans.The temperature projections of the IPCC reports – UK Met office and NASA models have no solid foundation in empirical science being derived from inherently incomputable and specifically structurally flawed models. For estimates of the timing and amplitude of the coming cooling see .
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-imminent-collapse-of-cagw-delusion.html

  34. Let’s get even more basic here. I don’t think we even have a science. We have about 150 years of raw data, badly distributed geographically, for a planet that’s been around several billion years. We have proxy data that goes earlier, but its accuracy is questionable and by no means complete. We haven’t established what drives climate, most likely it isn’t one thing but a combination of things, and even if we knew what they were, we don’t have the mathematics to solve them. We don’t fully understand all the physics and chemistry of all the interactions. When you don’t have a science, the thing to do is gather data. Every “Climate Scientist” should be out there in the field, collecting and measuring things. But I guess this would be too much like work, when they could be in an air-conditioned space, looking at computer outputs.

    • Excellent discussion.

      Is there an current version of Figure 1? It is nearly 3 years out of date.

  35. Essex and McKitrick identified the chaos portion in their book Taken By Storm.


    “Fluids are governed by nonlinear, as opposed to linear equations… … ”

    I just wanted to point out that this statement is incorrect. Fluid behavior is described by an equation, not governed by it.

  36. JohnKnight June 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    ” Mr Ball is really just playing with words when he says no science is settled. Technically he could be right, but in reality some science is beyond question.”

    Wrong

    Some science works really well in the conditions in which we apply it but it is never beyond question.
    There may be circumstances in which it doesn’t work.
    Newtonian physics worked well for nineteenth century applications, working out the trajectory of an artillery projectile for example, but can’t explain how a gps works.

  37. What is beyond question is the process of heat energy effectively being captured by atmospheric gasses and that there is now an imbalance caused by extra gas, of anthropocentric origin, and that imbalance is causing the average temperature to rise.
    Further that lag in temperature rise is of the order of decades behind the gas emissions – in other words today’s warming is in response to emissions from 30 years ago.

    • “What is beyond question is the process of heat energy effectively being captured by atmospheric gasses and that there is now an IMBLANCE caused by EXTRA gas..”
      ============================================================
      What unscientific nonsense, IMV. The word “imbalance” is human opinion, non scientific, as is the word “extra”. Todays warming is in response to the recent El Nino, not the fact that I drove a gas hog SUV on a long trip 30 years ago. Also GHGs capture nothing, they redirect SOME LWIR energy lower into the atmosphere. The debate is on the feedbacks, and the observations support the skeptics.

  38. Dr Ball
    Thank you for yet another excellent article making sense of the complexities in a way everyone can understand.
    I have myself tried to explain the same argument based on the Navies Stokes and mostly failed in getting the ideas and the beauty of the equations across, even when trying to explain the fluid motion modeled in i.e. computer games is based on an application of the equation.

    Several years ago I spendt years in university trying to understand the equations, working from the theoretical side and the FEM side of the equations, implementing parametric models into the overall FEM framework. Just for the fun of it, I also did a two semester politically correctly called Air Pollution, which was basically atmospheric physics.
    I used this knowledge indirectly in later work, doing physical modeling and later economic modeling based on the general insight it gave me, but I never believed I would actually need the knowledge directly as I have after I started following the GW debate some 30 years later.

    Navier Stokes is in my opinion the very beatutiful peak of mechanics, possibly all physics, but unfortunately I found out that I would never get any of the two Noble prices embedded in the equation; proving continuity, and explaining turbulence.

    Indeed my favourite joke is the alleged true story about Niels Bohr on his dying bed being asked: What will you ask Our Lord when you pass over to the other side, will you ask him about turbulence? The answer: No, I will not in any way embarass Him asking a question He can’t possibly answer.

  39. This is meant as a reply to Frank June 19, 2016 at 2:52 am:
    I can’t seem to reply to the comment I wanted to reply to, so I’ll state it down here.
    Michael Crichton states in his autobiography, Travels, that Newton’s Law has been disproved, and it isn’t correct to claim Einstein improved it, he disproved it is far more correct way of stating it.
    I believe that is a correct assessment. E=MC^2 is correct even for speeds very much slower the speed of light, Just because F=MA works reasonably well for objects traveling at relativistic insignificant speeds, that does not mean that F=MA is correct, nor does it mean the science is settled and Einstein is right. All it takes is one particle to move faster than light and Einstein will be wrong, whether or not he is wrong is an unknown.

    Science can give us useful working knowledge, but it can’t ever be settled. What Dr Ball is saying is that the divergence of the models from the data, shows that the models are not a useful tools for predicting the future climate, he is not saying everything about climate is unknown.

    • Tom Trevor: You are correct in believing that general relativity has replaced/invalidated Newton’s Law of gravity. However, my point was that science is not settled by the existence of a validated theory – it is settled by careful experiments for situations covered by those experiments. One can confidentially calculate the force of gravity on the surface of the earth because many experiments have measured this force. Both Newton’s law of gravity and general relativity and any new quantum law of gravity will all make essentially the same predictions about this force – and none of these theories would be accepted as valid if the did not. Theories can change, careful experiments should not. General relativity and Newton’s gravity only make different predictions under conditions far different from those normally found on earth. We can apply either theory in climate science without fear that a new theory will come along, because ANY new theory will need to make similar predictions about the force of gravity under conditions already studied experimentally. Science is settled by experimentation and those experiments can be summarized by an equation. Sometimes we use an equation to extrapolate predictions far outside of the range tested by experiment, but such extrapolation should not be called “settled science”.

      • I’m with you , Frank . It’s extreme edge conditions where it’s found that perhaps a term is needed in an equation or a more general form of an equation covers a broader domain . But I like the view that the experiential results don’t change .

        I don’t know an exception to fundamental physical laws having the property of elegant simplicity – such simplicity that there can be no near by neighbors . For instance , special relativity can be summed up in a single metric matrix
        1 0 0 0
        0 1 0 0
        0 0 1 0
        0 0 0 i

        in x y z t . It’s hard to contend that something as minimal as that might be a little wrong .

        Or the equation for the equilibrium temperature of a radiantly heated colored ball I’ve presented :
        dot[ sourceSpectrum ; objSpectrum ] = dot[ Planck[ T ] ; objSpectrum ]
        which has to be classically known , tho likely expressed in integrals . That equation alone , when the Divergence Theorem is considered , is enough to “disprove” Hansen and the warmists’ contention that the bottoms of atmospheres are hotter than their tops due to some GHG spectral effect .

  40. I strenuously dislike the science is never settled meme . I felt compelled to wade into this slough of nonscience as an APL programmer for whom claiming to understand something quantitative implies being able to implement it so I can explore the parameter space . Thus , I understand physics one parameter at a time as I code its relationship with previously implemented relationships . I am on Richtmyer’s side in this slide in my Heartland talk , http://cosy.com/Science/HeartlandBasicBasics.html ,

    not Michael Mann’s .

    That’s why I keep repeating in bold 278.5+-2.3 as the temperature of a gray ball in our orbit assuming an effective solar temperature of about 5780 . THAT is settled science . And it’s one of the few parameters measured to the 4th+ decimal place accuracy predict anything about the entire 0.3% variation in our temperature this Pinky & The Brain ( Gore & Hansen ) plan to take over the world is about .

    ( It’s nice to see Willis has just posted some analysis of this peri- ap- helion variation . It’s several times larger than the total estimated warming at issue . )

    I do consider the science settled . The GreenHouseGas spectral hypothesis presented by James Hansen as the reason the bottoms of planets’ atmospheres are hotter than their tops is false . As can be proved by distinctly undergraduate classic heat transfer equations and confirmed by experiment . There is no material spectrum which can explain Venus’s surface temperature being 2.25 time the gray body temperature in its orbit . Our surface , under our much less dense atmosphere is only 3% warmer than the 278.5+-2.3 gray body temperature in our orbit , but no equations nor experimental demonstration of such asymmetric accumulation and containment of energy by spectral filtering has ever been presented .

    On the other hand , I have never seen the necessary terms for the difference in gravitational energy from the tops to the bottoms of atmospheres included in any explanation other than some rejected as fringe because they reach outside of the spectral GHG paradigm .

    • Bob “That’s why I keep repeating in bold 278.5+-2.3 as the temperature of a gray ball in our orbit assuming an effective solar temperature of about 5780 . THAT is settled science.”

      Settled is not a property of science. It is neither settled nor unsettled. It is only in your mind that a claim is settled (satisfies your curiosity) or not.

      “And it’s one of the few parameters measured to the 4th+ decimal place accuracy predict anything about the entire 0.3% variation”

      If you perform the measurements yourself then you have extra sauce on your settlement. If you verified the calibration back to a national standard then bonus points for you.

      “I do consider the science settled.”

      Science does not settle. People settle, and once they do, tend to become resistant to further unsettling.

      • Frankly , I think this is pedantic . By “science” I mean physics . I generally describe my religion as math and physics older than I am . And we rely on its exact and timeless continuing truth — settledness — to the limits of our ability to measure every day , every hour , every minute , every second , every microsecond as we sit here depending on its continued state of settledness to communicate with each other over these globally connected devices making up the World Wide Web .

        Normal science converges . “Climate Science” has not because it has rejected the analytical approach of classical physics and masturbates in computational clouds of NavierStokes without ever having internalized , taken as absolute “settled science , groked to use Heinlein’s great neologism , the most basic constraints of classical heat transfer .

        Again , from my perspective , it is absolute settled physics that the equationless experimental demonstrationless GHG spectral explanation for the bottoms of atmospheres being hotter than the space next to them in orbit is false . This is why “climate science” does not converge : http://cosy.com/Science/AGWppt_UtterStagnationShavivGraph.jpg . It does not even try to construct a quantitative step by by step “audit trail” from the output of the sun to our surface temperature . It is nonscience which is never settled .

      • Bob Armstrong wrote “Frankly , I think this is pedantic.”

        Give that man a star! I am an equal opportunity pedant. Just ask our friends over on ATTP on the occasion that any of my comments go through. Science says nothing. People say things. Dogs also but their vocabulary is somewhat limited. Ravens can be unexpectedly articulate in their own language.

        Well-repeated scientific experiments are settled for most or all practical purposes. I don’t need to know how many atoms of silicon is the new official kilogram.

      • Michael 2: Are you a practicing scientist? Philosophy asks us to think about how or why we know what we know. How do we know that we aren’t living in some kind of virtual reality, such as “The Matrix”? How do we know that the quantum and relativity revolutions in physics won’t occur again? Einstein believed that “God doesn’t dice with the universe”, but quantum mechanics is inherently probabilistic. What happens if QM is replaced by a deterministic theory? What about groupthink and other human failings? These overarching philosophical questions interfere with making PRACTICAL use of the scientific method. As the rapid progress of science over the past several centuries has shown, the scientific method is a vastly better way than intuition, logical deduction, religion or other method for analyzing SOME aspects (but certainly not all) of the world. The social sciences attempt to apply the methodology of physical sciences, but they often can’t perform definitive experiments. The harder it is to run definitive experiments and the more important the conclusions are, the greater the temptation to exaggerate what is settled science or claim that progress is being made.

        In areas of physics that are well-studied experimentally, the next revolution will change nothing – except perhaps the explanation for some phenomena. The acceleration of gravity at the surface of the earth will still be 9.81 m/s^2. CO2 will still absorb and emit essentially the same amount of thermal radiation and create a forcing of about 4 W/m2 (2.5-5 W/m2) when it doubles.

        Climate sensitivity, on the other hand, can’t be thoroughly studied experimentally. Every AOGCM (and AOGCM with one or more re-tuned parameters) is a different hypothesis about how our climate system behaves. Chaos and data limitations make it difficult to use the historical record to determine which of these models – if any – provides a reliable method for predicting how much warming a doubling of CO2 will produce. And these limitations could easily persist for several decades more. By then, we will be much closer to doubled CO2 and 2100 and simple extrapolation will narrow the range of possible answers.

        Don’t say science isn’t settled! Ask about the uncertainties in the experiments have shown that an area of science has allegedly been settled.

  41. Some years ago I found myself joined on a golf course with a man who said he was a recently retired statistician with the National Weather Service. I said I hoped he could answer a question that had bothered me for awhile. The question was what it meant when the public was told there was a 90% chance of rain. I could imagine several answers. It could mean that every point in the area had a 90% chance of rain or it could mean that at least one point had a 90% chance of rain or it could mean that some percentage of the area had that chance of rain. It could mean something else entirely. I asked him what it really meant.

    He said that it wasn’t really all that precise.

  42. I notice that “Lurch” (John Kerry) is up in Greenland spouting his usual alarmist nonsense again. Seems he likes to display his ignorance on climate with his most publicized statements during the month of June as he did in 2009 and 2010.

  43. “A Markov chain is collection of random variables”(ugly image)

    You are apparently using 1997 state of art technology…

    Ever heard of modern LaTeX conversion tools?

  44. “The problem is the error factor was ±0.2°C or ±33.3%.”

    1) During this time period, most of the records only had a resolution of 1C. You can’t have error bars less than your resolution.
    2) Given the fact that only 5% of the earth’s surface came even close to having a sufficient number of sensors. 73% of the earth’s surface was so sparsely measured that saying it was unmeasured is not unreasonable.

    The reality is that the real error bars are way, way, north of the bogus numbers given by the alarmists.
    I maintain that 5C or even 10C would be more appropriate.

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