The Foibles of Climate Research

Government Created Misuse of Climate Research; Even a Little More Government is Not the Solution.

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt wants to set up a Red and Blue team approach to climate research. It appears to be a commendable goal given the effective exclusion of one of the teams to date. The problem is it perpetuates another artificial division created by government involvement in climate science in the first place. David Middleton’s article comments on Pat Michaels’ proposed, “A Climate Roadmap for Pres. Trump” and identifies the legal problems of rescinding the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling on CO2 as a “harmful substance.” The EPA provided the ‘scientific’ definition used by SCOTUS, so the simple solution is for EPA to change it. Both stories miss the real issues. First, governments should not be involved in scientific research at all because, if nothing else, the freedom of the scientist bureaucrat is inherently compromised. Second, it doesn’t matter what process of analysis you establish, there is insufficient data to prove anything.

“Bureaucracy, the rule of no one has become the modern form of despotism.”

Government’s only function should be to ensure adequate data collection and make it available to all researchers. Most of the corruption of climate science that led to Pruitt’s actions occurred at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU. Ironically, that agency was set up to resolve the real limitation to understanding climate and climate change, the lack of data. Hubert Lamb wrote in his autobiography that he set up the 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.”

That is still not done, indeed the problem is worse now because government employees have reduced and modified already inadequate data. Also, virtually no funding has gone to resolve the most serious limitation to understanding in data collection, not in analysis.

Deliberately Marginalizing People Because of Their Ideas

You know you are winning a debate when your opponent switches from debating the facts to personal attacks. One way this is done is by identifying you with a group, in a mixture of ad hominem and guilt by association; although I am not sure a collective ad hominem is possible. Some general examples include being labelled a “birther” if you question in any way the documentation of President Obama; or being called a conspiracy theorist if you challenge the prevailing wisdom on virtually anything. In the climate debate, those who questioned the prevailing wisdom were global warming skeptics even though we pointed out that all scientists must be skeptics. The isolating epithet changed because global warming became climate change, so, to intensify and further marginalize us we became climate change deniers. It didn’t matter that we all knew climate changes and most had careers trying to educate the public on the extent.

To add insult to injury, we were also called conspiracy theorists. A conspiracy occurs when people knowingly conspire to achieve political power and control by creating false information. The emails leaked from the CRU in 2009 and again 2010 showed that pivotal members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) knew exactly what they were doing as they conspired to deceive the world over the cause of global warming. In summary, we were legitimate skeptics, practicing edifiers of change and there really was a conspiracy.

Many disagreements devolve to both sides agreeing, something avoided by initially defining terms. Definitions direct and limit the entire debate, which means that those who define the terms control and limit the debate and determine the outcomes. This control is a favorite technique of politicians.

Political Inquiries Not What They Appear

I used to think, as most people do, that Commissions of Inquiry were ideal vehicles designed to take the politics out of a conflict. I learned after appointment to my first commission that they are ideal vehicles for politicians to avoid controversial issues and assure the outcome by defining the terms. Relief is immediate because they can deflect all questions pending the outcome of an inquiry. They then closet with the bureaucrats to write definitions and terms of reference that pre-determine the research and, more important, the results.

Such was the case with the United Nations (IPCC). Most people think it studies all climate change. It doesn’t because they were severely limited and thereby controlled by the definition of climate change given to them by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods.[1]

 

The problem is you cannot determine the human effect unless you know the amount and cause of natural climate change. In fact, even if you could determine the human effect it is within the variability and margin of error of every single variable.

Some Things Cannot Be Fixed: Don’t Repeat Error

In a bizarre inclusion, the IPCC acknowledged the limitation of the definition in the 2007 Report. Apparently, in response to criticisms, they included the definition they should have used from the start. However, it only appeared as a footnote in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), the simplified and exaggerated Report produced for the politicians.

“Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity. This usage differs from that in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, where climate change refers to a change of climate that is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and that is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

That is simply not true because it is not possible. It couldn’t alter the 2007 or subsequent Reports because they are cumulative and exclude most variables and mechanisms. Starting over would draw unwanted attention to what they were doing.

Evidence that they did not apply this revised and more appropriate definition is in the failure to alter the “Forcings” diagram. Figure 1 shows the “Forcings” diagram used in the 2001 and 2013 IPCC Reports.

clip_image002

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The only real change is the column labelled LOSU (Level of Scientific Understanding) to Level of Confidence. They are very different terms and extremely subjective, but the IPCC defined them. They rate solar irradiance understanding as (M) medium which, according to their table, is hardly a ringing endorsement and unjustified as the basis for any government policy.

Confidence Terminology Degree of confidence in being correct
Very high confidence At least 9 out of 10 chance
High confidence About 8 out of 10 chance
Medium confidence About 5 out of 10 chance
Low confidence About 2 out of 10 chance
Very low confidence Less than 1 out of 10 chance

Let The Experts Do It.

Pruitt and the Trump regime must remove most politics from the study of climate and climate change. They simply reduce government’s role to nothing but data collection, but the government cannot be trusted to do the job. The current stations are inadequate, and most don’t even meet standard scientific requirements and need dramatic improvement. Anthony Watts now classic Surface Stations study showed that only 7.9% of existing stations achieved accuracies less than 1°C.

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People like Watts and many other climate specialists must be involved or even running the entire operation. Close the weather offices and use the money to set up and monitor a dense network of data collection stations. Once the Trump Administration has that underway, they can do what the Federal government is required to do and choose to work with other nations to set up a climate data collection system meeting the same criteria across the globe. Only then can any meaningful research occur as Lamb noted all those years ago.


[1] http://unfccc.int/essential_background/convention/background/items/2536.php

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118 thoughts on “The Foibles of Climate Research

  1. … governments should not be involved in scientific research at all …

    I’m really torn here. On the one hand there’s Eisenhower’s Farewell Address. Boy was he ever right. CAGW is exhibit ‘A’.

    On the other hand, someone has to fund basic, curiosity driven, science. Scientific breakthroughs are usually the result of accidents and prepared minds. Committees and bureaucrats never produce breakthroughs and we need breakthroughs, desperately. link Private companies don’t usually fund basic research because the odds of making a profit are quite remote.

    • ha – and there it is:
      ‘we need breakthroughs, desperately’
      you keep waving around your ‘we, we’.
      but it’s the nanny state who is responsible for doing this, never you?
      leave it to people at bell labs, dow, monsanto – private individuals who do basic research for commercialization and profit.

      • Q – Why do we need breakthroughs?
        A – Because we’ll die without them. The doomsayers such as Malthus and Ehrlich have predicted that society will collapse because we will run out of the materials we need and we won’t be able to feed ourselves.

        What has actually happened is that, because of technological progress, the world’s population is more prosperous and healthier than ever before.

        Q – What could possibly go wrong?
        A – Belief in CAGW ‘science’ could cause us to handicap our economy.

        Finally, it is only civilizations backed by strong economies that are in a position to do the research and make the necessary scientific, engineering and technological advances to offset environmental threats. Scientific views that undermine economic progress are a threat in themselves, and need a careful and robust justification before they are widely propagated. link

        Q – How do we make technological progress?
        A – Technological progress depends on scientific breakthroughs that may have occurred decades earlier. For example, Kirchoff’s oven raised questions that led to quantum physics. In turn, Gerhard Herzberg’s spectroscopy work led Charles Townes to invent the MASER, from which sprang the LASER. link To this point, most of the work was curiosity driven basic science. Once we had the laser, all kinds of applications presented themselves. link At this point industry was able to take the lead.

        Q – How many fundamental scientific breakthroughs have come from industry?
        A – Not many on this list were a result of industry research.

    • There are plenty of rich people eager to fund foundations in order to attach their name to something that will outlast them.
      That’s how science was funded for generations before politicians decided that they could do it better.

      • “Politicians doing science badly” brought us lasers, the Internet, modern day fracking, major advances in vaccines and other health related areas, the satellite industry (a foundation of modern society), GPS and nuclear power, just to name a few.

      • No, they did not.
        The internet was engineering and the military commissioned it. Government opposed it and wanted to push the X protocols.
        Lasers were designed by two independent physicists with no explicit government grants – in fact they patented it – and saw light of day in the Hughes lab.
        Fracking is engineering and was developed by oil companies.
        Most vaccine research is done either by independent academics, or small biochem startups or large commercial drug companies.
        Modern satellites are all commercial. And they are engineering, not science.. They owe their inception to the cold war guided missile programs, but then what doesn’t?

      • oh! but president nixon made international cooperation in space possible by ordering the creation of – are you ready for it? THE ANDROGENOUS DOCKING MECHANISM!
        there would be no international space station if the apollo/soyuz linkup made one country look like the passive partner in a sex act.
        That’s Political Science in the sky! They have SERIOUS concerns to deal with that commercial interests simply can’t fathom.
        there’s your monument to state science you statist naifs

    • Not too long ago the DOE asked for submission of ideas that could be taken up as projects by national labs that were targeting a particular set of technologies/appliances and which were so difficult, they would take ten years to solve.

      I submitted more than 20, about half were forwarded. That is reasonable.

      The plan seems to be that DOE gives grants to labs with a long term perspective. That is a good use of public funds because it is the foundation of entire new industries. We don’t tweak our way to profound insights.

      So I am in favour of such calls for ‘ideas’ and in favour of basic research. Private capital is too interested in short term gains to deal with blue sky good ideas that will take ten years to deliver.

      • Agree Crispin, but if, and only if, the government is honest and not using science and scientists to gain a political advantage, and if, and only if, a broad spectrum of scientists and projects are supported. Global warming was following a socialist, world government political focus and the scientists had to give the politically right answer, i.e. there is dangerous global warming. Before we go down this path again we need to determine the focus and objectives of government and government funded research. Progressives cannot do this, only patriots can. Finally, President Eisenhower’s warnings should be present in every step of the process.

      • Crispin in Waterloo
        July 18, 2017 at 9:55 pm

        ………….
        So I am in favour of such calls for ‘ideas’ and in favour of basic research. Private capital is too interested in short term gains to deal with blue sky good ideas that will take ten years to deliver.

        I am also in favour of government financed research as long as there is a proviso that no government (taxpayer) money does anything more than prove a process works and is scaleable. Once this position is reached there should be no further support/subsidy involved and no industry should benefit from mandates etc. This should guarantee that only ideas that can make a difference and have a benefit can make headway rather than “get rich quick” “pork belly” schemes.

        SteveT

      • You use the phrase “private capital,” but you are really referring to corporate capital. Only corporations are incessantly looking for short term profit. As was stated by another earlier, wealth used to fund research for the purpose of being tied to it. There was no requirement of “profit.” Corporations require profit because stock holders require profit – most stock holders are not in the capitalization of a corporation for any other reason than personal greed. Money is not the root of all evil, but those that “can’t get enough of it” ARE the evil we fear. So government funds should not be needed to fund research, but I would be willing to “donate” MY money to a foundation set up for the purposes of funding meaningful research. On the other hand, I would rather see MY taxes used to make the infrastructure of the nation more sustainable.

    • One possibility is for government to provide some financial support to companies prepared to allow a level of basic research in their field (broadly interpreted).

      The important consideration is that researchers must be permitted to “go where the science leads”. Nobody but government (in theory) or genuinely neutral philanthropic trusts can afford to do that.

      Presumably if anything comes of this research which will benefit the company involved then some way of reimbursing the grant and/or sharing the proceeds woukd be worked out.

      The difficulty that arises with climate is trying to establish just what measurable benefit there would be in knowing more about how it works except as a part of theoretical physics, like the assorted sub-atomic particles which exist in theory but irrefutable proof of which would not change the world in any meaningful way.

      One thing is certain. The way in which academia is funded and the mindset of “publish or die” needs to change because I can see no other way through the plethora of pointless and in some cases dishonest “research” papers that flood the journals and the internet on a daily basis.

      • One way to make folks sit up and listen is to direct them to numberwatch. The amount of money wasted on basically junk science is staggering.

    • Look back a few decades at the fate of those private companies who funded basic research using their own funds and without government funding AND DIRECTION from on high: For many of them the DOJ found reason to bring suit on some charge: usually operating as a monopoly. (Take a look at the past half century or so of the history of AT&T. There are others.) If you are a private business and wish to remain in business, don’t mess around with ol’ Uncle Simple: He will activate his figurative DOJ operated guillotine and use it to eventually kill you, your business and your business ambitions.

      • And, oh, by the way…..look around. How much of the sad state of affairs that exists in this country’s once thriving, prosperity producing private sector economy do you reckon has been caused by the various types of regulatory dictates that came from the parasistoid fascistas who occupy the swamp in the strange little foreign country that’s called The District of Columbia?

        F. U. B. A. R.

    • 1984……. That stuck out like a sore thumb – different phrasing would be very good.

  2. I disagree a “dense network of climate stations” is a solution to the data collection problem. Variability among instruments alone, without consideration for any other factor, would make that effort impotent.

    The future of climate and weather measurement is in satellite technology. We need instruments capable of uniformly measuring the entire planet using the same instruments. We certainly need a representative sample of measurements using other technology (e.g. Radiosonde data), but the idea of placing thousands of ground stations all over the planet, keeping them all uniformly calibrated, then checking them against some other source would be absurdly expensive and, frankly, doomed to failure.

    • Bartleby

      I am ok with direct measurements. Issues with calibration (which is what I think you refer to) are easily handled by standard operating procedures. It is not very difficult to measure reliably to 0.02 degrees C.

      The problem comes when people start making claims to have detected a 0.001 degree change using instruments accurate to 0.02. Without that last significant digit they can’t prove the oceans are warming. That’s another way of saying, “We can’t tell but we think…”

      They can try to think, but they cannot tell.

    • Variation amongst instruments doesn’t matter if its stochastic and the distribution is known. I am afraid ‘no instrument is that accurate’, is as much faux science as global warming models are.

      One of the very first experiments we did in physics was to use pendulums to calculate the force of gravity, from the period/length/g relationship.

      Everyone did this, and the results were plotted – a perfect bell curve with one outlier. The outlier was discarded, and the mean of what was left was G, accurate to three places of decimals.

      No single measurement was anything like that accurate.

      • If I know that I’m looking for a sine wave of a certain frequency, I can detect it from under just about as much noise as you want using just a comparator. It’s necessary that the sine wave doesn’t change in amplitude or phase for as long as I’m trying to detect it. The noise actually increases accuracy.

        The above is a pretty special case. Somehow lots of folks act as if it is the standard case. If all the thermometers were in the same ice bath and were being read by different observers at the same time, I would accept that you could get improved accuracy by averaging the measurements.

        If we consider the case for satellites, we still have a miserable time calculating some kind of global temperature. The thing is that the satellite case is simple compared with the problem of dealing with surface station data which has very uneven temporal and geographical coverage. (ditto for Argo buoys) It’s hard to justify saying that, in that case, many thermometers result in more precision and accuracy.

    • That won’t help because, unless we can project those ‘climate stations’ into the past, we have no basis for comparison. All we will have is a much more accurate idea of what the temps are going forward. TBH, we have such a system in place although I’m not sure how dense it is. It isn’t used much because of the aforementioned issue.

  3. For less than $1 billion you could put a $1,000 weather station on every 200 square mile patch of land on the planet. Even if they cost $10,000 each, that is a drop in the bucket one time expense.
    If this is really the biggest problem in the history of ever, why aren’t we collecting data?

    (I already know the answer to that question, it was rhetorical)

    • You suggest we hike to every 200 sq. mile patch of land? With a compact weather monitoring station on our back? Let’s think about this?

      So maybe we enlist a small fleet of C-130s and drop them from 15,000 feet. Some will probably make it, some won’t. Even if they all get calibrated in a lab before we place them, impact with dirt, rocks, water, those sorts of things, has an effect on instruments; their accuracy and precision.

      We’ll just assume all these measuring stations are solar powered (off grid) and communicate via a satellite network we’ll also need to build? They all land upright?

      And this is supposed to be a simple, cheap solution?

      • D.J.

        Strawman? So how exactly would you suggest placing a $4000 weather station every 200 sq. miles?

        Enlighten all of us. It’s a real problem D.J. Real. Problem. Happens in the Real World. Got that?

      • PS:

        For Walter: I was on the NASA C-130 flights that did downward looking radar surveys of Arctic ice back in the late 70’s. Dropping instruments out of the back of a 130 is exactly what we’d have done. No “strawmen” involved.

      • Every weather/ temperature monitor station would need to be hand placed, oriented, and calibrated on the spot. No way around that as each would also require a Solar Panel power source and a communications device for remote data collection. (an far better utilization of the $1bn Global Climate Fund Obama payments if you ask me) Just for redundancy’s sake though, 2 stations should be installed at each location.

      • Actually, he said “put”. “drop” was part of the phrase “drop in the bucket” and referenced cost.

      • And I presume these weather stations, besides being automagically calibrated, configured and oriented, will be powered by a combination of solar panels and batteries. You know, the technologies that are regularly lambasted on this site.

      • Submarine detection buoys are routinely dropped in vast quantities out of aircraft, survive the drop and radio back data to the aircraft.

        Its not rocket science. Its not even that expensive, but it has one drawback

        It would provide data that no one wants, because it would contradict cherished theory.

    • Well Bartleby, we have these things called “cars”, and “trucks” and “ships” and “helicopters” and, if you really need them, “pack mules” or “camels”. How do you think the US Geodetic Survey got it done when it started in 1807? You are a bonehead of the first degree.

      • Camels in the Arctic. Even Better! Camels in the South Pacific? Aquatic Camels!

        Why not wrap you lips around the butt of a Camel D.J.? Walk a mile for a Camel?

      • Camels.

        Now that was really a choice example of high technology delivery…

        Whatever gets the job done. You must be the guy on every project who explains ad nauseum how it can’t get done. Maybe you should run over to NOAA and explain how that Argo float thing will never see the light of day.

      • Images of the heat shield during the re-entry of STS-1 (Columbia): me.

        Got letters of commendation from U.S. President Jimmy Carter (no, I’m not a Democrat) and Principal Investigator Dr. Debra Strange for that one.

        You’re up!

      • “You are a bonehead of the first degree.”

        D.J., I just wanted to immortalize this comment. It was compelling. It made me find the error in my ways. I’m so sorry I expressed an opinion contrary to yours. You can’t know the shame it causes me to be considered a “bonehead of the first degree” by a person of your esteem.

        I prostrate myself before you and plead forgiveness for my abject stupidity.

      • “Is your wife available?”

        Well, yes. Odd you should ask? How much money do you have? I’m thinking somewhere near $20,000? She’s a bit older but there are still quite a few miles in those tires…

        /s

      • For Dick Johnson (aka “D.J.” Hunter).

        Had a good time trading barbs with you. I hope you eventually find education :) Good luck and God Speed! It was fun.

      • @Bartleby

        Well, yes. Odd you should ask? How much money do you have? I’m thinking somewhere near $20,000? She’s a bit older but there are still quite a few miles in those tires…

        I’m thinking slide that decimal point to the left about 6 times for true valuation. Camels have low street value to begin with.

        And you can’t seem to keep track of the conversation here, hurling snark at Bryan that seemed meant for me. You won’t keep many allies that way. I’d express my sorrow at your slide into dementia, but then I’d be lying.

      • That’s what I love about you “D.J.” You just don’t know when you’re beat :) You take a likin’ and keep on tiken’! Timex and the Energizer Bunny would love you!

      • @Bartleby

        Tsk. Now you’re not even trying.

        You were right when you typed “ick”. There’s less to you than you think.

      • “You are all hat and no cattle.”

        That’s sort of funny. First you want my wife, now my cattle?

        DJ, really? Cattle? I do have cattle if you must know, but you’d rather have cattle?

        There are support centers near Salt Lake for folks like yourself. Honestly. Don’t be shy?

      • On a final note, I’d just like to say you’re the least interesting troll I’ve encountered on this site and you appear to have no sense of humor. You aren’t entertaining at all.

        Work on entertaining. Your audience expects it, you owe it to them, and if you aren’t doing it you have no value. So get with the program or STFU. Learn to be useful, or at the very least witty.

        OK?

      • “If it’s $20,000 for your wife, how much for your daughters?”

        Now you’re really asking for trouble. My daughter frequently kills with her bare hands. If you need to ask the price, you can’t pay it.

      • You have already revealed the fact that you are a pimp, offering up your wife. You’ve also revealed you have a daughter, so as of now, the only issue is price.

    • Other’s have dealt with your cost calculations.
      My point is that having a great system for gathering land based temperatures is useless if you aren’t measuring the other 80% of the planet. The oceans.

      • we already have sats and radiosonde, we dont need weather stations, just resolve any sat limitation/issues, average surface anomalies are useless

    • “If this is really the biggest problem in the history of ever, why aren’t we collecting data?”

      We are collecting data – in a huge and urgent way. A massive effort is going into discovery on land sea and air, and from space. We have a growing fleet of increasingly powerful satellites able to give us real-time data.
      The data is pointing increasingly powerfully to the fact that Earth’s heat balance is seriously out of whack and we have to mend our ways.
      Unfortunately we are saddled with a section of the population who refuse to see it. It’s very fortunate that those unhelpful people find themselves talking nonsense to each other in forums like this one.
      Is that the answer that you already knew?

      • JD, if you really believe the data bases like GISSTEMP are not stepped on, you are delusional or ignorant beyond credibility.

  4. I don’t believe you should just get rid of the EPA’s etc that have done such good work in the past.
    Get rid of the politics of opinions being sold as science.
    Define clearly what each body deals with and simply manage it dear boy (thanks to Lord Olivier).

  5. Good basic review of the dispute. I wonder what the defenders of the IPCC will comment.

    • At a guess the terms “peer reviewed” and “consensus” will appear along with percentages around 97%. If they are really panicked hate words like “den-eye-r” and “sceptic” will also get a gig.

  6. I tend to think the climate research problem is not data. We have decent sat temp data from 1979. We have decent ocean data from ~Argo 2005. Both show minimal warming since 2000, a period when about 35% of the atmospheric increase since 1958 occured. This says three things. 1. Attribution of the temperature increase from ~1975-2000 to GHE is false; there is significant natural variation. 2. Sensitivity must be significantly lower than modeled. 3. The models– upon which all CAGW is based– are flawed. Christy’s testimoney March 2017 is exactly the keynpoint. It is the reasoning and the models that need to be redone from the bottom up.

  7. Hansen is publishing a new paper in support of the children suing the government for not fighting climate change. In it he claims temps now are higher than the Holocene and matching the Eemian, so we should expect comparable sea levels.

    Paper is here:
    http://www.earth-syst-dynam.net/8/577/2017/

    Abstract. Global temperature is a fundamental climate metric highly correlated with sea level, which implies that keeping shorelines near their present location requires keeping global temperature within or close to its preindustrial Holocene range. However, global temperature excluding short-term variability now exceeds +1 °C relative to the 1880–1920 mean and annual 2016 global temperature was almost +1.3 °C. We show that global temperature has risen well out of the Holocene range and Earth is now as warm as it was during the prior (Eemian) interglacial period, when sea level reached 6–9 m higher than today. Further, Earth is out of energy balance with present atmospheric composition, implying that more warming is in the pipeline, and we show that the growth rate of greenhouse gas climate forcing has accelerated markedly in the past decade. The rapidity of ice sheet and sea level response to global temperature is difficult to predict, but is dependent on the magnitude of warming. Targets for limiting global warming thus, at minimum, should aim to avoid leaving global temperature at Eemian or higher levels for centuries. Such targets now require negative emissions, i.e., extraction of CO2 from the air. If phasedown of fossil fuel emissions begins soon, improved agricultural and forestry practices, including reforestation and steps to improve soil fertility and increase its carbon content, may provide much of the necessary CO2 extraction. In that case, the magnitude and duration of global temperature excursion above the natural range of the current interglacial (Holocene) could be limited and irreversible climate impacts could be minimized. In contrast, continued high fossil fuel emissions today place a burden on young people to undertake massive technological CO2 extraction if they are to limit climate change and its consequences. Proposed methods of extraction such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) or air capture of CO2 have minimal estimated costs of USD 89–535 trillion this century and also have large risks and uncertain feasibility. Continued high fossil fuel emissions unarguably sentences young people to either a massive, implausible cleanup or growing deleterious climate impacts or both.

    Antidote would appear to be here:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/01/ice-core-data-shows-the-much-feared-2c-climate-tipping-point-has-already-occurred/

    • RK, the Hoskins post has a minor confusion. Indeed GRIP ice core showed ~6C warmer—there in Greenland where there is polar amplification. Mostly marine sedimentnpaleoproxies suggest that globally the Eemian peak was something between 1 and 2C higher. Apples and oranges. I think the better Hansen rebuttal is my comment immediately below about rate of change.

    • The models are wrong as are all models. And these models are not even useful because they are built on assumptions of a metastable climate. Feedbacks are assumed to be forcings which are massaged by back casting without consideration of sign error.

      • They are not real models.

        They could be called failed models.

        They could be called failed hypotheses.

        They could be called a waste of taxpayers money.

        But after 30 years of grossly inaccurate climate (average temperature) predictions,
        the GCMs are definitely not models of what they claimed to be modeling.

        All models are not wrong.
        They may not be precise.
        But they can make right predictions much better than flipping a coin.
        If not, they are failed attempts to model a process — not real models of that process

    • “and irreversible climate impacts could be minimized.”

      When and where in history has an irreversible climate impact occurred on the Earth?

      • …hopefully the stable climate we now enjoy- at least until the sun becomes a red giant.

  8. What Hansen does not say is the the increase from present sea level to the Eemian highstand also took ~3000 years, about 2.2mm/year or the current rate measured by diff GPS corrected long record tide gauges. So even if his facts are correct, his conclusions are ludicrous CAGW.

    • And over 3000 years, carbon sinks positively as most are photosynthetic life. Life finds a way.
      See the missing carbon conundrum.

      • RC, great chart. I just learned something about the Eemian, which I I thought I had sufficiently studied. Man, would that have been a killer add to the OLeary academic misconduct takedown in essay By Land or by Sea. Now permalinked for future reference.

  9. The USCRN was created because the National Research Council determined that the original weather station surface data had deteriorated into garbage.
    https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/crn/why.html
    Unfortunately, the USCRN is not global, and the full network of data only begins about 2005.

    The few existing surface weather stations in rural locations that do have high quality data are the ones with the lowest or zero warming trends. Reject the station data that fail to match adequate siting criteria.

    • BW, equally important is that what they show matches the satellite trend estimates. Agree that the surface stations project showed most US land records to be junky. And there is no reason to think the rest of the world is any better.

  10. If government funding is often the only way climate research can be done by many, then how can government stay out of it, if government is not allowed to try to understand what it is funding?

    Government says, Okay, we are funding you to collect this data as best you can. Why do you need THIS data? What will it tell you? Why is this something that needs to be known? What are the underlying reasons, premises, motivations for wanting this funding to collect THIS data, as opposed to collecting data on the number of lightening bugs murdered by motor vehicles each year?

    • I was just thinking about such a study having returned from driving 2,000 miles and trying to clean off all the dried bug innards from my car, (someone should research some of these bug guts for a better glue). I was also wondering about how many honey bees I impacted – not to speak of the 25 deer carcasses I counted along the freeway.

  11. Despite the irreconcilable differences between sides of the science, there’s only one single disagreement at the root of all others. This is the sensitivity of the planet to forcing. The sensitivity should not be controversial since the physics that the macroscopic planet must obey tells us exactly what this is and whose results are easily derived and easily tested. The problem is that when you apply physics to ascertain what the sensitivity is, the resulting value is not big enough to justify the IPCC and UNFCCC.

    It’s exposing this conflict of interest that leads to dismissing skeptics as conspiracy theorists, but to me, a conspiracy should refer to some kind of hidden agenda for personal gain, while the IPCC and UNFCCC are quite transparent about their stated agenda of redistributive economics under the guise of climate reparations.

    The real problem is that the IPCC, despite the obvious conflict of interest, is the de-facto arbiter of what is and what is not climate science. Climate science will not self correct until the IPCC’s standing as the de-facto authority is overwhelmingly de-legitimized which can only happen once the impact of this conflict of interest is widely understood. This is hard to achieve when the truth about the conflict of interest is misinterpreted as a tin foil hat conspiracy, which is a consequence of politics choosing sides of the science.

    • Very nice comment and perspective. I exposed the IPCC biases in the climate chapter of Arts of Truth and in quite a few Blowing Smoke essays, but never provided a succinct summary like you just did.

    • CO2,
      RE: “The problem is that when you apply physics to ascertain what the sensitivity is, the resulting value is not big enough to justify the IPCC and UNFCCC.”

      That is a very perceptive and revealing observation!

    • Excellent statement of the problem. The difficulty is that the principal actors who should be de-legitimizing the IPCC are the very scientists who have have benefitted handsomely from the unrestrained IPCC’s generous funding, with some very honourable exceptions.

  12. Back in the day when Climategate was the subject of a ‘thorough UK Inquiry’ (Arf!!) our old friend Andrew Montford at Bishop Hill had this nicely summarised. He knew what was what and exactly how the UK establishment arrive at their pre-determined outcomes. Always makes me chuckle. Have a read; you’ll learn and laugh.
    ********************
    by Bishop Hill
    Overheard
    Apr 17, 2010
     
    Readers may be interested in this conversation, which might have been overheard recently in the Reform Club in London. The speaker appeared to be a senior civil servant..
    “You know, Bernard, for one so new to the vice-chancellor’s position, Edward has shown commendable facility in the arrangements for the outcome of these inquiries. Watch and learn, Bernard; watch and learn. If you can handle yourself half as well as Edward has then you have a bright future ahead of you.
    Picking the right team is the sine qua non. A panel of sound people, leavened with a handful of neutrals (purely for effect, you understand) will produce the required result every time. Edward’s appointments to the emails panel were a case in point. True believers are not going to let you down, Bernard. Of course, old hands might criticise Edward for making his choices slightly too obvious, and there was some unfortunate public criticism, but the public really shouldn’t be concerning themselves with minutiae like the membership of panels of inquiry. How could they possibly understand? And the important thing is that Edward will get the right result, and it’s the result that counts, eh Bernard?
    Of course it’s important to have the right chairman too. I though Edward’s played a delightful variation on his earlier theme here. Instead of picking someone who was an obvious follower of the cause, he chose Ronnie, whose financial interests in the outcome of the inquiry all but ensured the correct result was delivered. Marvellous! Watch and learn, Bernard. Watch and learn.
    It’s important not to overdo things though. You don’t want to have everyone on side, at least not obviously so. Be subtle. You can get to where you want to go simply by ensuring that the majority of one’s travelling companions are like-minded. The others simply have to be discreet. Of course, it goes without saying that the panel should not have anyone from “the other side” on board. It wouldn’t do to risk any indiscretions, would it Bernard?
    Make life easier for the panel by setting terms of reference that help them reach the answer you want them to. Think of this as a map for your travelling companions, ensuring that everyone arrives at the same destination. So much more harmonious that way, don’t you think? For one so new to this kind of thing, Edward has been masterful in this area. By splitting the inquiry across two separate panels, he has made it simplicity itself for them to let important questions “slip between the gaps” and very difficult for anyone to see where this has happened until it is too late. It was a stroke of genius to avoid publishing the terms of reference for Ronnie’s scientific panel at all.
    Edward potentially had a tricky issue here, with one of those awful colonials saying that parts of one of the official reports were fabricated. Do you see how wonderful Edward’s sleight of hand was? His “division of labour” trick allows the emails panel to say that they are not qualified to assess the problem. Meanwhile, the scientific panel will miss it because they are looking only at the scientific papers and not the official reports. Do you see, Bernard? Genius!
    Witnesses can be a problem. It is always possible that one or two of them might have minds of their own. Some might even know what they are talking about as well. Never, ever take evidence from people like this, Bernard, and particularly make sure that nothing is heard from those who combine both of these irritating qualities (unless you are quite sure that they will do as they are told).
    Edward’s two panels, on the other hand, took the “no platform” approach and refused to hear anything from “the other side”. While this was a trifle obvious, it is certainly very safe and all manner of difficulties can be carefully overlooked. It wouldn’t do to have someone point these out in public, would it Bernard?
    At some point it will become necessary to examine the evidence. Or at least to appear to examine the evidence. Edward has again showed some neat footwork here. In the case of the scientific panel, telling the panel which papers to look at was a neat and tidy way to avoid any hiccups. Where the allegation is one of “cherrypicking” data series, the panel only looks at papers where no cherrypicking has taken place. Where the allegation is one of “bodging” results, cross that paper off the list too. It’s easy when you know how. You should also see why it was important for the panel not to speak to “the other side”. We wouldn’t want oversights like this to be pointed out, would we?
    The emails panel has come up with another splendid wheeze in this area. Where important allegations are made, they have simply declared that these are potentially actionable in a libel court. The immediate effect is that they can refuse to publish the evidence. This of course means that when the “not guilty” verdict is reached, the actual accusations made remain unseen. But more wonderful still is that they can then simply ignore the accusation, because to find in favour of it would be actionable too. Tricky questions put where they should be, Bernard: under the carpet.
    With the ground so effectively prepared, the result is a foregone conclusion and a clean bill of health can be delivered. The icing on the cake has been the setting up of a scapegoat. By reporting that the IPCC are to blame for misrepresenting the scientists’ work Ronnie neatly diverts attention away from the civil service and onto someone else. This was a good idea, but risky nevertheless. It was probably inevitable that someone would notice that the authors who misrepresented CRU scientists’ work were those self same CRU scientists. It will probably turn out right in the end because these things are a little subtle for the press corps, but it was a risk all the same.
    Still, it was a good day’s work by Ronnie and his team.
    What’s that you say? Two days work? Ronnie is thorough isn’t he?
    Another biscuit, Bernard?”

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/4/17/overheard.html

    • Bit of nostalgia there, CR. I did not hit my Damascus road moment until 2011 (discovered a blatant NRDC lie researching future crop yields for a completely different purpose (my first ebook Gaia’s Limits). Resulted in my first climate blog guest post stupidly submitted and published both by AW here and Judith Curry there), so had not seen this before. Very funny. AM is probably able to do more for the cause at GWPF (I visit every day) than at BH. I have all his books. Now, what do we do to motivate Josh?
      BTW, in such a ‘long war’ one pauses to remember the ‘fallen’. Carter, de Frietas, Pielke Jr. Lets hope AW comes back from an extended vacation fully recharged. Good news, we got CTM back meanwhile. Doing a great job.

    • That sounds much like the advice given to Bernard by Sir Humphrey Appleby (Yes Minister/Yes Prime Minister).

      • Oh yes, classic British Establishment-speak. There’s an updated Yes Prime Minister with a 2-part hit on Global warming. Will be on You Tube. Very prescient so whoever wrote the script was definitely off-message from the alarmist BBC. Very funny and worth digging out.

  13. “The problem is you cannot determine the human effect unless you know the amount and cause of natural climate change. In fact, even if you could determine the human effect it is within the variability and margin of error of every single variable.”

    Climate science measures the empirical human effect as the so called “TCRE” or Transient Climate Response to Cumulative Emissions. It is a correlation between cumulative emissions and cumulative changes in climate variables. The TCRE is used to forecast future climate scenarios.

    For example, strong correlations between cumulative changes in atmospheric CO2 and cumulative emissions and also between cumulative changes in surface temperature and cumulative emissions are presented. But all their TCRE correlations contain a fatal statistical flaw because correlations between cumulative values are spurious. Please see:


    https://papareers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2997420
    https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3000932

    • Nice observation. The DMI August ice charts to 1939 show declining summer ice from 1921, and Larsen’s 89 day one year transit of the Northwest Passage in 1944 provides a qualitative confirmation. We know there was a ‘global cooling’ and some alpine glacier advance until ~ 1975. So as we cycle back toward/past another quasicyclic Arctic minimum, these 1942 bodies get re-exposed. Probably overly simplistic given the complexities of glaciology– but a great PR narrative for the common man.

    • If you fall into a “crevasse” then there has to be a glacier surrounding it. So far from showing that the glaciers were shorter in 1942 it shows the exact opposite.

      • Don’t understand your logic, did you read the article?
        “Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, the parents of seven children, had gone to milk their cows in a meadow above Chandolin in the Valais canton on August 15, 1942.”
        …. meadow, milking grazing cows, etc.
        If the it was late, getting dark the footpath along the edge of a crevasse etc. Many alpine crevasses, not exposed to the direct sunlight, would have snow and possibly ice further down in the summer months.
        Ice locked within a crevasse does not move, however it may later be covered by a moving glacier.
        “They were perfectly preserved in the glacier and their belongings were intact.”
        If the bodies were ‘dropped’ into the crevasse by a moving glacier, that wouldn’t be the case. If the two people suddenly died in the open, considering it was summer, bodies would show some signs of decay before covered by the first snows, even if search party failed to find them, however two bodies would be fully preserved after falling into a snow filled ravine.
        Whatever the case, the surrounding area would have been ice free in 1942, but it is not now.

      • This may not have much relevance, but Otzi the Alps mummy supposedly from 5300 years ago, died on the ground in a natural pocket, and the glacier covered him up for 5300 years, from what I have heard. Does that mean the earth was never warmer than 5300 years ago until 1991?

      • Germinio
        July 18, 2017 at 7:52 pm

        If you fall into a “crevasse” then there has to be a glacier surrounding it. So far from showing that the glaciers were shorter in 1942 it shows the exact opposite.

        What it shows is that these bodies have been preserved since 1942 and have now been uncovered to the point where they would deteriorate if left where found. This would suggest that the temperature is similar to that in 1942.

        SteveT

  14. Great quote:

    “Bureaucracy, the rule of no one has become the modern form of despotism.”

    Mary McCarthy, “The Vita Activa,” The New Yorker (18 October 1958).

  15. The IPCC reports were designed to replace reality. For government purposes (i.e. legal purposes), the IPCC reports are given legal standing as fact. No further evidence is admissible. The legal framework needs to be changed, but that would be difficult.

    • Also the IPCC reports by themselves are authoritatively cited in many marine biological scientific works as a given that the climate will warm. I have not noticed the NIPCC or journal papers that might raise such questions as those discussed here. There are more often various negative effects emphasized, or value judgement conclusions such as cold water species are superior to warm water. Not very good biology, but consistent with the crisis mentality or funding interests. If the climate cools we are going to have a lot of catching up to do.

      • Example from Limnology and Oceanography, 54(5), 2009, 1634–1642, “Salt marshes and eutrophication: An unsustainable outcome” From references—-
        “IPCC WORKING GROUP IFOURTH ASSESSMENT REPORT. 2007. Climate change 2007. The physical science basis [Internet]. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Summary for Policymakers [accessed 2008 July 6]. Available from: www. ipcc.ch”
        and
        “WATSON, R. T., AND OTHERS. 2000. A summary for policy makers. Land use, land-use change, and forestry. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change special report on land use, land-use change and forestry [Internet]. United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [accessed 2008 July 4]. Available at: http://www.ipcc.ch.”

    • From 2011 and earlier posts:

      EVERY DIRE PREDICTION THE IPCC ET AL HAVE MADE HAS FAILED TO MATERIALIZE.

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/06/nasas-november-solar-prediction/#comment-790377

      RE : “Follow the money”

      For me, it Is difficult enough to follow the science.

      The unscientific nonsense emanating from the IPCC and NASA/NOAA (Hansen et al) can be managed by assuming that everything they say is wrong.

      That assumption is an over-simplification, but it saves considerable time, and has been demonstrated to be more correct than incorrect.

      Every dire prediction these parties have made has failed to materialize.

      • If a 100 year prediction fails to materialize in the first 30 years,
        your words “failed to materialize” would be premature, and biased.

        “Failed to materialize after the first 30 years of a 100-year forecast”
        would be an unbiased and accurate.

        The IPCC really doesn’t make “predictions”.

        They were GIVEN the “right prediction” at the beginning
        and told to support it with scientific mumbo-jumbo
        or perhaps that was scientific jumbo-mumbo.

        Man made runaway global warming was the
        prediction they were given and their “assignment”
        was to make the prediction more believable.

        So they presented computer game simulations.
        Other people took the simulations to be predictions,
        and eventually noticed how inaccurate they have been for three decades.

        Since no one ever bothered to figure out exactly what causes climate change,
        there can be no real models of the process — just complex wild guess pretend models,
        designed to impress laymen, which is what the IPCC was formed to do.

  16. Slightly adjacent to this discussion – but maybe highlighting a problem with the current scientific mindset, did any UK resident catch the BBC Radio 4 interview yesterday in which someone was quizzed about T Rex dinosaurs. The scientist had used computer modelling to determine their top speed. He actually said that the modelling allowed him to accurately ‘predict’ T Rex couldn’t run fast. The use of ‘predict’ when referring to the past seems to be the sort of doublespeak that the climate scientists use.

  17. So, you are cold in your bed at night.
    You think ‘A blanket may be useful, I’ll go get one’

    Possibly being of a scientific inclination you think whilst going to the wardrobe that ‘Blankets trap layers of air. Air has low thermal conductivity and low specific heat capacity. That’s why it will keep me warm’

    Consider that when you get to the wardrobe and because of a recent water leak in your loft, you have a choice between a wet blanket and a dry blanket.
    Again, The Scientist in you speaks up and says that the wet blanket, by virtue of the Green House Gas Effect, will reflect the heat radiation coming off you as you lie in bed. It will still trap air so will be better at keeping you warm than the dry blanket.

    Is that so?

    Go one step further with a thought experiment.
    Remove the mass of wool, polyester, silk, whatever rocks your boat from your chosen blanket to leave dry or wet air.

    Which will have greater insulation properties and keep you warmer? Wet or dry.

    This is the problem the Red vs Blue have to resolve first.

    PS
    See now what they say about Grenfell Tower…
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40645205

    It burned like petrol (gasoline)

    And THAT was mandated by Government, egged on by people who have come to believe a wet blanket will keep you warmer in bed than a dry one.

    Surreal

  18. How have I never seen that IPCC confidence translation table before? That’s simply absurd!

    “Correctness” is a binary proposition – something either is correct or is not. A statement that there is only a 2 in 10 chance of something being correct is identical to the statement that there is an 8 in 10 chance that it is incorrect. That’s not “low confidence” of correctness, that’s high confidence of INcorrectness.

    “Very low confidence” means that I’m basically guessing – that is, a 50/50 shot that the thing I’m guessing about is correct. This is a big deal. The average readers are taking the IPCC assessments of “medium confidence” to mean “we’re pretty sure but not positive” when their own definitions really mean “we don’t have a clue”.

    That changes their table to (assuming the IPCC’s own assessments):
    CO2 and N2O – we’re pretty sure
    CH4, halocarbons and aerosols – we’re kinda sure
    CO, NMVOC, NO2, land-use changes and solar irradiance – we’re just guessing
    cloud adjustments – we’re probably wrong

    That’s insane.

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