By Larry Kummer.
Summary: This is a story of climate science, tracing from its enthusiastic beginnings as small field – warning of a global threat –to its rich and increasingly desperate present. It is a long story, with a climax at the end.
From the Fabius Maximus website.
The climate change campaign hits a dead end
On 24 June 1988, James Hansen’s testimony to the Senate began the campaign to fight anthropogenic global warming. During the following 31 years we have heard increasingly dire forecasts of doom. Some describe the distant future, beyond any reasonable forecasting horizon (due to both technical and social uncertainties). Some describe the near future. Many attribute almost all current extreme weather to our emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) – using impossible to validate methods.
Karl Popper said that successful predictions, especially of the unexpected, were the gold standard of science (see here). That is a problem for climate activists. The Earth has been warming since the mid-19th century, when the Little Ice Age ended. The rate of warming in the past four decades (since 1977) is roughly the same as that during the four decades up to 1945. Anthropogenic GHG became a major factor only after WWII. So warming has occurred as predicted, but a naive forecast (without considering GHG) would have also predicted warming. There are explanations for this, but it makes model validation difficult (perhaps why it is seldom attempted: see links in section f in the For More Info section of this post).
Worse, the weather has not cooperated. Major hurricanes avoided America for 11 years, ending in 2017. Warming slowed during what climate scientists called the “pause” or “hiatus” (see links about its causes). And most forms of extreme weather have no obvious increasing trend. So surveys show little public support in America for expensive measures to fight climate change.
Activists grow desperate.
“The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells in New York Magazine –
“Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: what climate change could wreak
– sooner than you think.”
Expanded into a book: The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming.
“The five ways the human race could be WIPED OUT because of global warming.”
By Rod Ardehali at the Daily Mail. H/t to the daily links at Naked Capitalism.
Promo for Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?, a book by Bill McKibben.
Activists responded to the uncooperative weather by making ever-more dire predictions (many of which have passed their due date and been proven false). All extreme weather was “climate change.” They made more vivid propaganda (e.g., the 10:10 video, showing a teacher exploding the heads of students who do not accept her propaganda). They increased the volume of their claims, with more 2-minute hate sessions for dissenters (with lies about even eminent climate scientists). The long-term effects of this are (hopefully) small, since these fear barrages have been the Left’s go-to tactic since the 1960s (see some classics of the genre).
But one tactic might have awful long-term consequences. Many activists are climate scientists (see the many stories about depression among them, overcome by fears about their worst-case scenarios, such as this and this). Some have reacted with noble lie corruption (from Plato’s The Republic). However well-intended, it might weaken the public’s trust in science (as might the replication crisis, of which this is an example, if they learn about it).
The Noble Lie in action
Obvious evidence of this is climate scientists’ relentless focus on RCP8.5, the worst-case scenario in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. As a good worst-case should be, it is almost impossible to happen without unlikely assumptions (details here; also see Dr. Curry’s articles). Yet it receives the majority of mentions in the climate science literature – usually with no mention of its improbable nature (see this history). Activists exaggerate these papers, whose stories are uncritically reported by journalists. A decade of this bombardment has a fraction of the Left terrified, certain that we are doomed.
For a recent example, see “A glacier the size of Florida is on track to change the course of human civilization” by “Pakalolo” at the Daily Kos. Widely reposted, quite bonkers. See the details here.
Worse, climate scientists remain silent when activists exaggerate their work, even when they materially misrepresenting it. The most extreme doomster predictions are greeted by silence. Even over-top climate doomster claims receive only mild push-back. For example, see the reactions to “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells. WaPo: “Scientists challenge magazine story about ‘uninhabitable Earth’.” Climate Feedback: “Scientists explain what New York Magazine article on “The Uninhabitable Earth” gets wrong.” It was too much even for Michael Mann.
Yet leading climate scientists are quick to loudly condemn skeptics – even fellow climate scientists – for questioning aggressive claims about climate change. Allowing activists to call scientists “deniers” for challenging the current paradigm is imo among the most irresponsible actions by leaders of science, ever. By ancient law, silence means assent to activists’ behavior. They are guilty of “aiding and abetting.” For more about this, see About the corruption of climate science.
But in the past few years, activist scientists’ desperation appears to have pushed them to take another step away from science.
Papers to generate alarmist news!
As Marc Morano of Climate Depot says, recent studies often appear designed to produce media stories for alarmists. I see several of these every week. The most recent is “Key indicators of Arctic climate change: 1971–2017” in Environmental Research Letters (April 2019), by scientists at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in Copenhagen. Abstract:
“Key observational indicators of climate change in the Arctic, most spanning a 47 year period (1971–2017) demonstrate fundamental changes among nine key elements of the Arctic system. …Downward trends continue in sea ice thickness (and extent) and spring snow cover extent and duration, while near-surface permafrost continues to warm. Several of the climate indicators exhibit a significant statistical correlation with air temperature or precipitation, reinforcing the notion that increasing air temperatures and precipitation are drivers of major changes in various components of the Arctic system. …
“The Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th Century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic. The indicator time series of this study are freely downloadable at AMAP.no.”
Ecowatch describes it in their usual apocalyptic fashion: “Researchers Warn Arctic Has Entered ‘Unprecedented State’ That Threatens Global Climate Stability.”
The paper is odd in several ways. It is evidence showing the broken peer-review process. Five times they describe conditions in the arctic as “unprecedented.” But they start their analysis with data from the 1970’s. Given the various kinds of long-term natural fluctuations, five decades of data is too brief a period to draw such a bold conclusion.
The authors neglect to mention that the Arctic was also warm in the 1930’s. Which is strange since one of the authors, Uma S. Bhatt, was also a co-author of a major paper on the subject: “Variability and Trends of Air Temperature and Pressure in the Maritime Arctic, 1875–2000” in the Journal of Climate, June 2003. She did not even cite it in their new paper. Abstract …
“Arctic atmospheric variability during the industrial era (1875–2000) is assessed using spatially averaged surface air temperature (SAT) and sea level pressure (SLP) records. Air temperature and pressure display strong multidecadal variability on timescales of 50–80 yr [termed low-frequency oscillation (LFO)]. Associated with this variability, the Arctic SAT record shows two maxima: in the 1930s–40s and in recent decades, with two colder periods in between.
“In contrast to the global and hemispheric temperature, the maritime Arctic temperature was higher in the late 1930s through the early 1940s than in the 1990s. …Thus, the large-amplitude multidecadal climate variability impacting the maritime Arctic may confound the detection of the true underlying climate trend over the past century. LFO-modulated trends for short records are not indicative of the long-term behavior of the Arctic climate system.
“The accelerated warming and a shift of the atmospheric pressure pattern from anticyclonic to cyclonic in recent decades can be attributed to a positive LFO phase. It is speculated that this LFO-driven shift was crucial to the recent reduction in Arctic ice cover. Joint examination of air temperature and pressure records suggests that peaks in temperature associated with the LFO follow pressure minima after 5–15 yr. Elucidating the mechanisms behind this relationship will be critical to understanding the complex nature of low-frequency variability.”
Starting their analysis in the 1970s is misleading without disclosing that was a cold spell. There was concern then about global cooling (but not a consensus). See here and here for details. Starting in the 1970’s makes current conditions look extraordinary. Since we are in the warming period following the Little Ice Age, robust comparisons should include previous warm periods, such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Holocene climatic optimum.
A later paper provides more detail, showing the temperature anomaly in 2008 was aprox. 1°C warmer than the ~1940 peak: “Role of Polar Amplification in Long-Term Surface Air Temperature Variations and Modern Arctic Warming” by Roman V. Bekryaev et al. in Journal of Climate, 15 July 2010. Is that a one standard deviation from the long-term mean? Three? Are temperatures a normal distribution? They do not say. Climate science papers often use arcane statistics, but usually ignore the basics. (Here is an as yet unpublished estimate of arctic sea ice back to the 1880s. Here is a 2017 paper with arctic temperatures and sea ice extent back to 1900)
Two comments from climate scientists on this paper.
“It is normalization of data cherry picking.”
— Dr. Judith Curry (bio). She her analysis of arctic sea ice trends here and here. She writes at Climate Etc.
“Of course, if these changes are predominantly due to the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and/or the LFO, we should see a reversal. If not, the trend would continue. Time will eventually sort this out. But a proper literature summary should still be provided with papers that might disagree with the theme of a newer paper. All peer-reviewed perspectives on this subject should be given.”
— Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. (bio).
See other examples in the comments. These kind of stories are coming along like trolleys.
This is a follow-up to About the corruption of climate science.
Science has been politicized, distorting its results, before. It will be again. But climate science provides essential insights on several major public policy issues. Losing reliable guidance from it could have disastrous consequences. Worse, the high public profile of climate science means that a loss of public confidence in it might affect science as a whole.
Let’s hope that the leaders of climate science come to their senses soon, despite their personal, institutional, and ideological reasons to continue on this dark path.
For More Information
Hat tip on the ERL 2019 paper to Naked Capitalism’s daily links, who uncritically run climate alarmist articles, a one-side flow of information without context – terrifying their Leftist readers (other than that, their daily links are a valuable resource – which read every morning). Hat tip on the JoC 2003 paper to Marc Morano at Climate Depot; see his article about it.
For more information, see these …
- Focusing on worst case climate futures doesn’t work. It shouldn’t work.
- Roger Pielke Jr.: climate science is a grab for power.
- Secrets about the 1.5°C world temperature limit.
- A crisis of overconfidence in climate science.
- A look at the workings of Climate Propaganda Inc.
Scientists may be wrong about this, but thank goodness they were right about leeching, eugenics, and DDT. /sarc/
Don’t make fun of leeches,
they actually have medical uses:
Two companies are approved by FDA to sell medical leeches in the United States: Rimcarimpex, based in France, which estimates that it ships about 80,000 leeches to the United States each year, and Biopharm Leeches, which estimates that it ships about 20,000 leeches per year to the United States.
Just wait. More odd and bizarre things coming down the pike from alternative medicine:
Leeches are not “alternative” medicine. They are approved therapy that has been shown to work IN SPECIFIC SITUATIONS. Not anecdotal evidence, which is what is evident in the “eating worms” article. We are back to the “noble savage” here. I agree that complete sanitation of everything is probably bad. Germs are part of life. But eating worms???? Parasitic worms. People really don’t get any brighter as life goes on. PT Barnum was 100% right.
“I agree that complete sanitation of everything is probably bad.”
A friend of mine who was doing research on autoimmune diseases agreed completely. “A little clean dirt never hurt anybody” he used to say.
Indeed, they quite mainstream. I got details from an acquaintance who is a nurse in a plastic surgery clinic. According to her they are indispensable for certain types of operations where it is essential to avoid blood accumulations that can result in scar tissue forming. E g certain types of facial and hand surgery.
She also told me that they usually apply them under a bandage and without telling the patient. And the patient won’t notice. Believe me, I have extensive field experience of leeches. You almost never notice anything until they have finished their meal and drop off, and you notice that you are bleeding like a stuck pig.
It’s worse than that if key manipulators know medium and long climate cycles are about to turn down and don’t speak up or actively work to distract audiences from the early evidence.
The key manipulators have no idea
what the future climate will be.
They don’t even know if it will be’
colder or warmer in 100 years.
You are wrong about “climate science” being corrupt.
There are many branches of science that
get involved with the climate, but don’t call
themselves climate modelers or climate
Real climate science is alive and well .
I try to read at least one study a week.
Real climate science studies the past climate,
and tries to explain it — not that well so far,
but the 100,000 year cycles may have a good
What gets almost all the attention in the mainstream
media is not climate science at all — it is junk science.
To call that “science” is to give it respect
it has not earned.
Scary wild guesses of the future climate,
with a track record of being 100% wrong,
have absolutely nothing to do with real science.
Here’s the sorry track record:
60+ years of wrong wild guesses about
a coming global warming crisis,
starting with Roger Revelle in 1957.
55+ years of wrong wild guesses about
various environmental crises, from acid rain,
to global cooling, to the hole in the ozone layer.
30+ years of wrong wild guesses about the
future average temperature using computer games.
All those 100% wrong wild guesses don’t add up to
real science — they add up to a HUGE falsification
of the theory that CO2 controls the climate,
and will warm the planet +0.3 degrees per decade !
Back to real life:
We’ve had +0.6 degrees C.
of global warming
since 1940, when the era of
man made CO2 emissions began,
( assuming you believe the numbers )
— that’s only +0.077 degrees C. warming
per decade since 1940, causes unknown,
and +0.077 degrees C. per decade
is only one quarter
the of +0.3 degrees C. per decade
warming rate that the average
computer game predicts
( excluding the Russian model
that is obviously colluding
with Donald Trump ! )!
Predictions that far from reality
have absolutely nothing to do with
The current climate is wonderful, and has been
improving since the cold period in the 1690s.
We should be celebrating the climate !
But the miserable leftists are
never happy unless they have
a crisis to fight, whether a
real crisis, or a fake crisis
like the coming global warming
‘catastrophe ( that will never come )
which allows them to virtue signal:
“We’re trying to save the planet for the children !”
Leftists love crisis, and virtue signalling,
and telling everyone how to live.
They are never happy,
unless under the influence
of drugs !
My climate science blog:
Wag the Dog
“Let’s hope that the leaders of climate science come to their senses soon”… Yes, we can hope, but they have too much invested now. With no fear of ever being proven wrong in their lifetimes they can continue to ride the AGW horse into the sunset. The science debate has transformed into a social debate over the consequences of societal and industrial change for a future that is uncertain (as are all futures).
One day at a time, is all we have EVER had. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Exactly, but even worse, it’s hopeless. The climate change/global warming meme has contaminated all Western societies. For this to change, it would take unimaginable events, such as the IPCC issuing a report openly saying that they have completely changed their opinion about the whole thing.
Climate Sceance will never reform itself voluntarily, incrementally and from internal reform.
Richard Lindzen has the right idea.
MIT Climate Scientist Dr. Richard Lindzen urges Trump: “Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90% until the field cleans up’
Also terminate/fold up the IPCC
There is no other solution
“Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90% until the field cleans up. …There is no other solution”
History shows that to be false. Institutions often break. A well-functioning society must know how to fix them. It’s not easy, but few important things are easy.
Cutting their funding is insanely disruptive, the kind of thing that sounds good on talk shows – and gives the crowd a cheap thrill. Governments and other funding have almost total control of climate science, and can exercise that to change the leaders and the rules.
I recommend some simple (not necessarily easy) steps here (see section f):
“Cutting their funding is insanely disruptive”
They want to insanely disrupt our lives.
Gotta disagree. The sooner this scam is killed, the better.
Lindzen has pointed out a number of times that the whole Apocalyptic fantasy was initiated by pouring money at a very limited and obscure field, and that many people entered the field as a result.
(See quote from GGWS below )
If one wants to fix the problem (rather than simply let it continue to fester ) one needs to take the money away. One will never get the charlatans to voluntarily determine that they should put themselves out of a job, and particularly as many have become true believers. (CAGW pseudo science is destructive and not an institution worth saving.)
I wouldn’t consider this disruptive but rather liberating. Think of creative destruction.
I’ve been quite encouraged more recently by commentary at WUWT, because it has long been my view that this whole hysteria was politically driven from the start.
As far back as the 1972 Stockholm meeting which he chaired, Maurice Strong was bleating about climate change, and I believe Crispin Tickell’s first version of his little book (which apparently warned of global cooling) came out mid late seventies. (1977?)
However, the CAGW agenda burst upon the public scene in 1988 with James Hansen’s testimony to Congress and shortly thereafter Thatcher made her famous speech at the behest of Tickell.
If instead of a Carbophobia Apocalypse, the Politicians had insisted that it was absolutely urgent to take a Political Position on and prepare for a “Biblical Apocalypse”, and had lavished bazillions of dollars on the “experts” to study the issue, everyone would have understood what was going on, and it would have been clear that this agenda was in violation of the US 1st amendment. : )
The Carbo- Apocalypse provides a pretext to institute a single world culture(read Religion) that just co-incidentally or not : ) was exactly what was advocated by Julian Huxley, first director General of UNESCO, and Tickell’s older cousin. He called it Scientific or Evolutionary Humanism.
Michael Ruse provides some very useful analysis in an article I’ve sublinked.
Crispin Tickell (CAGW Godfather) and Cousin Julian Huxley
Nigel Lawson: Global warming has turned into religion
I don’t agree that one should pussy foot around in this case.
An example I could cite would be one involving Thatcher and UMW/Arthur Scargill. There one had “institutions” at complete loggerheads. Scargill/UMW was committed to holding the rest of society hostage. Breaking the impasse by breaking the union was exactly what was required.
The” institutional” imbalance in the above case had grown and festered for a long time and abrupt and long overdue correction was required. I’d say the same is required wrt “Climate Sceance”.
Furthermore, we have very important issues to work such on as our Energy Supply future. This should be addressed directly, not via the backdoor of a CAGW “Proxy”. Demonizing C as CO2 functions as a “Proxy” for HC Depletion. However it is an imperfect Proxy.
The Energy Supply issues need to be addressed directly.
Note Lindzen comments 42 min
“Prior to Bush the elder, I think level of funding for climate and climate related science was somewhere around the order of $170 million per year. Which was reasonable for the size of the field. It jumped to $2 Billion per year. More than a factor of ten. And yeah that changed a lot. .. A lot of jobs, brought a lot of new people into it who otherwise were not interested. So you developed whole cadres of people whose only interest in the field was that there was Global Warming “
The Great Global Warming Swindle – Full Documentary HD
Alarming Global Warming: What Happens to Science in the Public Square. Richard S. Lindzen, Ph.D
Science is always problematic as an institution, and often valuable as a process.
Lindzen details the usefulness of science as an investigative process. And problems with supposed science as a “source of authority”
“Cutting the funding of people attempting to ruin our entire economic system would be insanely disruptive”?? I beg to differ most vociferously. It would be insane not to cut them off at the kneecaps when we know for absolutely certain they are exaggerating and outright lying to achieve a political goal. Maybe some of the scientists are foot soldiers and can only see their next grant, but I do not excuse them for that any more than Hitler’s foot soldiers.
Larry Government Institutions rarely get smaller. Power is what they seek.
Cutting their funding is insanely disruptive,
That’s a good thing. The scam needs to be totally disrupted because it’s goal is to disrupt modern society:
“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
“Cut the funding of climate science by 80% to 90%”
A simple way to do that would be to divert that money to gen 4 research. It would pull the rug out from under them. “The science is settled”, so why continue its excessive funding? Instead redirect that money to what they themselves say is necessary – low carbon energy. Gen 4 is one such technology. Opposing such is an indefensible position. Their heads would explode, but they wouldn’t have a leg to stand on. It would be like the Dems setting up sanctuary cities for illegals to have places of refuge, and then calling Trump evil for planning to send all of the illegals to those cities.
There’s a big irony here. The CAGW agenda is driven by math models that have never been validated in the first place and have obviously failed. Nuclear depends critically on valid models. So it’s a bit ironic for those who buy into CAGW, but then promote nuclear without noting this inconsistency.
This is not to say I’m against the Gen4 research. In fact I view this favorably.
But they can always turn to violence when their arguments are shown to be false. After all they are saving the planet.
London protesters SMASH UP Shell headquarters as Extinction Rebellion demo turns VIOLENT
The mask slips
Good article- “climate science” is the antithesis of science. From fake data and rigged peer-review to the endless cherry-picking without context, the whole racket collapses long ago without the help of the Journ-o-list media functioning as Orwellian Ministry of Truth and Thought Police. Sad…
I noticed (or maybe someone pointed out to me) that if a subject has the word “science” in its title, that is a pretty good indication that it is not actually science.
Much like a country with ‘democratic’ in it’s name probably isn’t…..
I have the same observation Martin A. No one ever says Physics science or Mathematics science.
“Anything that’s the something of the something isn’t really the anything of anything.”
– Lisa Simpson
There’s some real cartoon wisdom, there!
“Climate science” fails Richard Feynman’s definition of science (paraphrasing), which is the testing of hypothesis by experimentation; all else, he said, is research. So far as I know, the only experimentation in the field is being conducted with high-atmosphere phased-array microwave “heaters” — apparently studying weather modification, not climate remediation and certainly not “climate change.”
Just as “social justice” has nothing to do with justice…
Right up there with “nutritional science” that keeps selling us hog-fattening chow. With similar results.
The problem society faces is mass apathy, resulting in mass ignorance of science in general. This opens the door for agenda-driven quasi-scientific jargon, designed to frighten the uninformed through the deployment of subjective, guilt-inducing propaganda, based on classic bandwagonism techniques.
I see it as mirroring the tactics used to convince early 20th century Germans that Semites were genetically inferior and threatened the “purity” of the human race. In particular, the indoctrination of young minds into the concepts of other-ism and the ridicule of dissenting views.
The drive of the Left to “Combat climate change” is essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we let it overcome us and we actually let the illiterate children, posing as adults wrapped in child-like fears (AO-C, Sen Markey, Eric Holthaus), take us on Green New Deal fantasy chases. The resultant economic destruction such intentional “noble cause” actions would precipitate would be very real. Once allowed to go too far, the damage then that a desperate self-induced energy-poor humanity would unleash both on each other and the environment would be biblical Revelations. Following that path would bring conquest, plagues/diseases, famines, wars. Started with our own hands in an immensely hard to correct downward spiral.
Indeed, the Green New Deal supporters with their alarmist rhetoric could reasonably be seen as the first of the 4 horsemen, the White Horse, representing Conquest.
In medicine and patient diagnoses, it is a analogous to a psychosomatic illness.
So a very real “physical disease”, such as extreme headache, or pain in the chest, brought about by mental factors.
Dr Michael Crichton describes this very well as a societal fear in one of his talks. Crichton brings up the population of Ukraine and Belarus. They were told repeatedly by “experts” after the Chernobyl radiation release that many tens-thousands (and even hundreds of thousands) were going to die horrible deaths of radiation-induced sicknesses, cancers, and their children were going to born horribly deformed on a society-wide scale. None of this has been borne out in the 3 decades since that disaster. But people were put in fear for no other reason than “experts” and the media wanted to sell themselves as important.
And now with Climate Change alarmism, with the Left’s claimed attempt to eliminate fossil fuel use, they are imposing on humanity and ultimately the ecosystems around us, the very thing they are claiming to want to prevent. It is for this reason, I will not sit silently and let them do take us down the path to ruin without fighting back with reason and logical rhetoric wherever I can.
Whether they realize it or not, the Climate Change alarmists are the White Horseman of Conquest. The other 3 Horsemen would surely follow.
It’s worth noting that they don’t restrict their methods to the issue of climate change.
A well thought-out and very articulate piece. Thank you.
You seem to be moving your position from being somewhat of a lukewarmer (sometimes you seemed to be bending over backwards to sound reasonable), to a full-fledged skeptic. This is good. It’s healthy. You’re getting angry. As you should be!
The increasingly strident tone of the increasingly dire predictions of the warmists, making it feel as if they’re getting increasingly desperate, tends to suggest that we’re moving towards some sort of climax in the climate scene. Perhaps a slow-moving climax, as the “12 years to save the planet” plays out over time. Possibly even an anti-climax, with the climateers just giving up and going on to the next manufactured existential crisis. Mr. Mann going to a well-earned (/sarc) retirement, perhaps (we can always hope).
Be sure to stay on the right side of history.
“You’re getting angry. ”
Absolutely, We began the FM website project in 2007 in a spirit of optimism, to help “reawaken the spirit of a nation gone cold.” Over the years my co-authors (all smarter than I) gave up, one by one, in different ways.
Early this year I too had a change of “perspective.” Here is my new view: A new, dark picture of America’s future. We are experiencing widespread decay of America’s institutions. This series about climate science describes one example of what’s happening.
The clock is running. Time is not our friend.
I have written 15 posts about the use and danger of anger in politics. This is a good starting point: A simple thing you can do to start the reform of America: get angry.
Another example, as mentioned in the post (#1)
An example of the climate reporting that terrifies liberals: “A glacier the size of Florida is on track to change the course of human civilization” by Pakalolo at the Daily Kos. Reposted at Alternet. Number 5 in today’s daily links at NakedCapitalism, one of the major nodes in Liberal America. It will be seen by pretty much the entire Left in America by sunset. The headline photo is about a crying person after a hurricane. Here is the opening:
This is just the first two paragraphs. Long quotes from reporters follow from Wired and Rolling Stone. The article runs for 2300 words, disaster after disaster.
About that statement by Eric Rignot in 2014. It is from a NASA press release “West Antarctic Glacier Loss Appears Unstoppable” that announces “Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica, from 1992 to 2011” in GRL, 12 May 2014. The paper’s conclusion (with the only mention of timing):
Rignot provides additional detail in the press release. No mention of timing in the story, or of uncertainty.
This is a subject I’ve wondered about: searching regional datasets for changes in some weather metric. None of these that I’ve seen make much effort to determine the significance of the finding. The NE US is almost 1/1000 of the Earth’s surface area. Divide the earth into 1000 grids, then examine three metrics (wind, temperature, precipitation) for changes over 35 years. What are the odds of finding significant changes (called “trends”) in many of them? Lots of exciting papers can be written about those areas. Climate change!
“Changes in Extreme Precipitation in the Northeast United States: 1979–2014” in the Journal of Hydrometeorology, in press.
Their conclusions are bold stated, and in my amateur opinion reflect quite wrong calculations. This looks like an all too typical failure of peer review,.
Natural variation is directly mentioned only once, near the end – in a pro forma manner:
Most of the other 999 grid results are found in the Journal of Negative Results. This is probably especially true for the Southern Hemisphere.
It is likely the result of the +PDO which includes a higher number of El Nino events. These events lead to more evaporation of tropical moisture which then has to fall as rain somewhere.
The PDO went positive around 1977 through ~2006 and then back into positive territory at the start of 2014. That means about 80% of the time period in the study has a +PDO.
Yup, it is pretty much all natural.
I have checked several weather stations around the world using GHCN and HadCRUT3 (which I believe is a gridded and lightly homogenized version of GHCN). Ottawa, Ontario, for example, has exactly the same climate today that it had in 1880. That doesn’t get reported very often for some reason. The same is true of almost all the other sites I checked, except for cities that have become giant metropolises over the last 50 years, like Sao Paolo, or Mumbai, or Calcutta. Then I calculated the waste heat that such huge cities can generate, and I came up with somewhere in the region of 5 to 10 watts / sq. m. just for electricity consumption, plus of course more for fossil fuel combustion. (That was for Toronto, Ontario.) So if CO2 is only responsible for about 1 W/m2, according to Trenberth, and waste heat puts out 5 to 10 times that much in large cities, that would entirely account for that urban heat island. Everywhere else there is no measurable warming over the last century or so…
Examples #3 and #4
Here are two alarmist articles in the daily links at Naked Capitalism on March 21 (despite this, they are useful and I read them every morning). The first is “Study shows IPCC is underselling climate change” at Phys.org, reposting a press release from the University of Adelaide, 19 March 2019.
The accompanying graphic at Phys.org isn’t underselling!
The paper is “Statistical Language Backs Conservatism in Climate-Change Assessments” by Salvador Herrando-Pérez et al. in Bioscience, 1 March 2019.
But that isn’t the scariest climate doom article in Naked Capitalism’s links today. That honor goes to “New Climate Change Visualization Presents Two Stark Choices For Our Future” by Brian Kahn at Earther. Fear the scary colors showing the almost impossible RCP8.5 scenario!
Confidence is science in general has already been eroded by two largely unrelated trends:
1. Those on the left are systematically using (abusing) science to get their way. They cite selective data and junk science and the use the science denial argument to discredit their opponents. Science is just a political tool to people like Al Gore and has nothing to do with the search for truth and understanding.
2. Corruption pure and simple where fraudulent results are published for money.
In both cases, noble cause corruption sucks additional players into the quagmire.
It’s all pretty sad.
That’s an important point. Climate science is just one of the affected fields in the larger replication crisis. We hear most about the replication failures in the social sciences – driven by careerism and ideology. But many of the physical sciences are affected, more often chasing dollars (e.g., grants, fame/money, other money from powerful special interest groups).
For more about this see The replication crisis in science has just begun. It will be big..
My paste didn’t work above (bold emphasis mine).
I referred to Mike’s opening insight: “Confidence is science in general has already been eroded by two largely unrelated trends”
I see it more in terms of the debasement of the science establishment into post-normal and post-modern science. Driven by careerism of scientists.
For example. I’m sure there are many here with a science education who were taught experiment is the core activity in science. Humanity speculated about how things worked since science began, 2600 years ago, among the Greeks living in Ionia (Thales and Anaximander). Only since Galileo, after we embraced experimentation, did we get significant results. The 2200 years of prior speculation were essentially wasted time. Such experiments, as we do today, are ideally done under controlled conditions. Scientific laws are inferred from repeated observation and experiment, such that a scientific law, itself, gains the status of fact; because it is never contradicted. In contrast a theory begins as a hypothesis to explain and unify the various facts. When the hypothesis always in agrees with every fact relevant to it, it attains the status of theory. I was never really taught Popperian falsification but I can see it makes a lot of sense. This (above), for me, is the established view of science.
Is this what youth are taught today? I was recently looking at a beautifully produced, 2015 textbook “Understanding Weather and Climate“, by Jim Burt and Edward Aguado, contains 1½ pages explaining the scientific method. It did not describe the term ‘controlled experiment‘ at all. It elided the difference between observation and experiment. Finally they say an “experiment can be … a computer simulation“! The word ‘experiment’ is used 35 times in the book but not once properly explained. The root-word ‘control‘ is used 31 times. At no stage are control and experiment used together to explain the term ‘controlled experiment’, or explain why we might want to control certain variables during an experiment. Their 1½ page explanation of the scientific method amounts to a manifesto for post-normal science.
The corruption is one of scientists. The purpose is the further their careers. There’s no noble cause corruption at all. It’s base, greed and ambition. As always.
In 2012 Schmidt and Sherwood published a paper in which they state, “we will explore specifically to what extent complex simulation in climate science is a new ‘pillar’ of inquiry…” Climate modelers have convinced themselves that climate model output is on an empirical footing with experimental data. They called Feynman’s statement “If it disagrees with experiment, it is wrong” a “naive positivism”, “over-simplistic for the study of very complex systems…”
In a way this is fundamentally worse than any ordinary corruption of careerism, chasing funding, greed, ambition. The distinction (discovered by Francis Bacon) between the information content of prospective data versus everything else—–retrospective data, coincidence, correlation, and now climate models—remains difficult for humans to grasp.
Good reporting. So, what’s worse: stupid, fanatic, or corrupt? The AGW crowd seems to be divisible into these camps. When us geologists present a history of normal earth fluctuations, as diligently recorded in geology, the AGW crowd has no reply. Instead they revert to either saying “denier” or quoting AlGore (how do you flunk out of Seminary College?). This whole scheme won’t stop until there is a penalty for the corrupt part, stupid and fanatic will continue, although might shift focus to the soup of the day.
“So, what’s worse: stupid, fanatic, or corrupt?”
Wow. That’s a great triptych! These kinds of easy to understand insights are powerful. I’ll be using that (with a h/t to you).
Plato’s “noble lie” targeted religion for a dose of his humanist philosophy. Therefore, the “noble lie” can never be applied to climate science. Because climate science is … rational, objective, unbiased … science. Right? Climate science isn’t a … religion. Climate science doesn’t promise salvation … if behavior changes. Climate science doesn’t predict … hell, hades, and a future of weeping and gnashing of teeth … if you don’t change your ways and worship its every word and tenet of the “science”. Climate science never presents itself as the ONE true way, the ONE true truth.
No, climate science isn’t operating as a religion at all. Therefore, climate science could never be described as a “noble lie”.
I’m sorry, I love science topics of all sorts, but this statement:
“Science has been politicized,…Losing reliable guidance from it could have disastrous consequences. ”
When did Science EVER offer reliable guidance to anything we hadn’t already screwed up? In many cases, it was a science breakthrough that led directly to the screw up (think nuclear bomb and fallout here).
Science offers us great guidance in fixing issues we have already created, but I can’t think of a single instance where it helped us to avoid a screw up. This is because science works best when you have a known problem to research and resolve, as compared to an unknown possible problem it is trying to predict on far too little data and understanding.
I think this belief that science can help us adjust policy for future states that we have never actually seen is a canard – a trick – a slight of hand – by “scientists” who do not understand their own field. That is why it can be so easily corrupted into propaganda, no one can prove you are wrong if your predictions lie far enough into the future, and you are allowed to keep moving the goal posts.
All modeling can do is offer up best guess scenarios, and if you have control of just which variables are tweaked, you get to offer up a biased set of scenarios (like the IPCC does), so even that becomes a trick.
“When did Science EVER offer reliable guidance to anything we hadn’t already screwed up? ”
I believe your explanation is more precise than your headline statement – referring to “science’s guidance about the future, rather than fixing known problems.” Like public health, vaccines, etc.
That’s an interesting observation, and worth some thought!
Personally, I think any ‘nobility’ in this corruption is long-past-tense.
The “noble” in “noble corruption” refers to the intent. I know many climate activists (from 30 years living in the San Francisco Bay area). Most had good intentions.
But that is not enough. As the old adage says, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Hence ‘long-past tense’.
We’ve got a bit of ‘I-Robot’ going on – where one priority has justified the corruption of the others. I’m from Portland, and I know many marching brooms who don’t know any better – but the tactics the high-priests in the movement have trickled down to the foot-soldiers and it is generally accepted among the activist community (across the board, not just climate science) that if what they want (or rather ‘demand’) will not be freely given, it will be taken.
That’s how a lot of historical atrocities happened.
People who go into journalism are not people who go into industry, two very very different groups. Journalists are people who in general hate mining of all types, wish no one would ever disturb Mother Nature in any way at all, so they rail against it, in print and on the Net and TV. And, in this the Information Age, they have more ways to distort the truth in favor of their “feelings.”
It is not rational, as prosperity is based on mining, metals, hydrocarbons found in the Earth. But journalists do not think this through, they just write from the heart, based on emotion not logic.
Somehow the University Presidents have adopted this same philosophy, and have granted “Climate Scientists” the imprimatur of legitimacy.
But Lincoln said it best, “You cannot fool all the people all the time.” Truth will come to light. It does take a while. “This, too, shall pass….”
For a thought provoking read I recommend Ludwig von Mises essay, “The Anti-capitalistic Mentality.” It’s available online from the Mises Institute at Auburn University. It’s much easier to understand how the “Left” thinks, or rather emotes.
Thanks, but all I have to do is talk to my genius Progressive sisters. I know how the Left thinks. They think people with money should help people without money, who obviously never had a fair chance in life or else they WOULD have money. Not a lot of logic goes into this. There is NO logic in a hatred of mining, explains the entire GREEN movement.
You call it thinking? You are an optimist.
My guess is that if you took all the money in the world and distributed it evenly, most of the people that were broke that morning, would be broke again by the end of the week or soon thereafter.
And I think within that first 24 hours, at least a third would have gambled, alley-catted, or drank away their share.
Capitalism would simply begin again – because it’s Darwin.
Shouldn’t that be the ignoble corruption?
“Shouldn’t that be the ignoble corruption?”
No. See my reply to Joel above:
Keep seeing this claim repeated, but there’s no evidence for it. The HadCRUT4 data set starts in 1850 (so mid-19th century) and the first ~80 years of the data, right up to 1930, show no trend whatsoever. It’s not until the second half of the 20th century that the distinct warming trend becomes apparent, most obviously from the mid-1970s.
I’m not a fan of the surface instrument temperature record in the 19th C (and not confident about it until after WWII). Too little coverage of the poles and most of the oceans.
Look at one of the many hard data indications of warming: the central England temperature record (also see records of glacier action, which are more global).
The CET record doesn’t show any significant warming trend for the ~80 year period 1850-1930 either. From 1800 to 1930 it’s just 0.01C/dec. The linear trend is +0.02C per decade, which is within the error margin of ~0.05C/dec. That compares to +0.10C per decade from 1930 and +0.22C per decade since 1975.
The early warming from the start of the CET record (1657) to the early-mid 1700s could probably be described as a ‘recovery from the LIA’, but the period 1800-1930 shows little or no warming in CET.
“The CET record doesn’t show any significant warming trend for the ~80 year period 1850-1930 either.”
Warming, natural or anthro, is not like heating water on the stove. It comes in phases. As in from ~1880 to ~WWII, total aprox 1C.
“but the period 1800-1930 shows little or no warming in CET.”
Trends are usually described peak to trough. It’s a convention. Look at glacier movements for confirmation.
As I’ve said several score times. these discussions quickly degenerate into having fun with numbers, picking dates to suit your view. More detail requires simple statistical analysis of the data, bizarrely infrequently seen in climate science . If you think so many are wrong, go to it. This w/b a great paper!
“Keep seeing this claim repeated, but there’s no evidence for it. ”
If you think that they’re all mistaken, write it up!
The date range I used was the one initially suggested by you (mid-19th century to present). You say the warming comes in phases; well, the first 80 years of a ~170 year period is quite a long ‘phase’ – almost half of it with no warming trend at all.
You say you don’t like HadCRUT because of coverage issues. BEST resolves many of these and also provides a global temperature database since 1850. It’s exactly the same story as in HadCRUT: virtually zero signal for the first 80 years and rapid warming from the mid-1970s.
There’s no need for anyone to ‘write it up’. they can just look it up in the various global temperature records.
It’s exactly the same story as in HadCRUT: virtually zero signal for the first 80 years and rapid warming from the mid-1970s.
You ignore the cooling from the 40s to the 70s. You know, the cooling that sent Mr. Nimoy “in search of …. the coming ice age” in the 1970s. Play with the numbers however you want, the fact remains that from the depths of the little ice age (Note I said depths, not end as there is no consensus on what the actual begin and end dates are) it warmed (until the 1930s, with periods of “pausing”), then it cooled (1940s to 1970s) then it warmed (1980s & 90s) then it “paused” again (2000s). In other words, it’s always changing always has, always will.
well, the first 80 years of a ~170 year period is quite a long ‘phase’ – almost half of it with no warming trend at all.
And the same could be said of the “(not really) rapid warming” of 1980s to present. nearly Half of that was “the pause”.
Terrestrial ice increasingly spilling into lower valleys during the little ice age. Receding since the early 19th century. What is the slope of the underlying trend line driving it?
Virtue signaling gone robotic. The back-patting would power a small boonie town, were it easily harnessed.
“So warming has occurred as predicted, but a naive forecast (without considering GHG) would have also predicted warming.”
While I understand and agree with your main point, I have to question the first phrase. What ‘prediction are you referring too? And what record of warming? Or, are you just stating that they got the ‘sign’ right, and nothing more?
That said, I really enjoyed reading your article. Your tone is measured and collegial; two qualities that are in very short supply in climate change discussions, including my own. Thank you, Mr. Kummer.
From the article: “Air temperature and pressure display strong multidecadal variability on timescales of 50–80 yr [termed low-frequency oscillation (LFO)]. Associated with this variability, the Arctic SAT record shows two maxima: in the 1930s–40s and in recent decades, with two colder periods in between.”
That reminds me of the Hansen 1999 temperature chart profile:
Hansen 1999 also shows two maxima: in the 1930’s and in recent decades such as 1998 peak.
From the article: “In contrast to the global and hemispheric temperature, the maritime Arctic temperature was higher in the late 1930s through the early 1940s than in the 1990s.”
More data in support of the propostion that the 1930’s were as warm as today. Thanks for that quote, Larry. 🙂
That 1930’s warmth just keeps popping up all over the place. It should drive the alarmists nuts, because it blows up their CAGW hypothesis. They therefore, studiously ignore anything to do with the 1930’s.
“the high public profile of climate science means that a loss of public confidence in it might affect science as a whole.”
Larry it is too late.
When you look at how cosmologists have been playing with fairy tales for last 100 years, no wonder the public has lost faith in science. Do not forget that Dr. Richard Horton, the editor of Lancet in 2015 , said that 50% of all scientific studies may be simply false.
Shouldn’t the title of this thread be “The Nobel corruption of climate science.”
As a simple layman I read these and other blogs with interest and can usually at least grasp the general ideas being put across. Many times I follow up with a little internet digging the points made by those of you with a higher level of formal education.
In following one point some time ago I read that CO2 cannot have a radiative effect as he infra red within cannot extend beyond a certain planck length and no matter the volume of the gas this prevents any chance of radiative state.
Could this be the mechanism by which photosynthesis occurs? That in reaching that planck length of frequency within the plant the CO2 molecule splits allowing photosynthesis to release oxygen and utilise the carbon?
A self taught man so you clever clogs be gentle but I consider it a fair hypothesis.