Oreskes Vs. Oreskes

By Rud Istvan, edited by Charles Rotter

WUWT reader Max alerted us to a 1994 Naomi Oreskes et. al. paper published in the prestigious journal Science. Her paper was a critical analysis of Earth Science numerical models.

I asked Rud to take a look, since he had previously written on climate models both here and in the ebook Blowing Smoke. What follows is an edited version of what Rud sent us, approved for publication by him.

After a quick read of Oreskes’s paper, I felt a double whammy was in order:

1. Explain Oreskes ‘science’ per se.

2. And then explain her later duplicitous conversion to rabid climate alarmist.

This is evidenced by her books ‘Merchants of Doubt’ and ‘Why Trust Scientists’.

This post is also another opportunity to restate, yet again, (using Oreskes own early explanations) some of the key problems with IPCC climate models, specifically CMIP5 for AR5.

For those unfamiliar with Oreskes, she received a degree in geology and subsequently became a practicing geologist.

Later, she returned to Cal Berkley for a PhD in history of science. After this she then became a rabid climate change alarmist, as evidenced by her books noted above. She became famous for her Warmunism. I noted this in footnote 24 to essay Climatastrosophistry in my ebook Blowing Smoke, which I based on former Czech president Vaclav Klaus’ 2007 book “Blue Planet in Green Chains”.
Oreskes’s work led to a tenured Harvard professorship. Her intellectual abandonment of her previous work and conclusions about earth science models, as encapsulated in her earlier paper in Science, is indicative of her career/financial turn to the dark side.

Her 1994 Science paper on earth systems numerical models used hydrology and geochemistry examples. We shall quote her reasoning, but substitute climate model examples. This is fair, since her 1994 paper explicitly also included meteorology and oceanography, implicitly including climate models. For extra fun, this guest post uses her exactly worded paper major subheadings, albeit in a slightly altered sequence for exposition purposes.

Abstract

“Verification and validation of numerical models of natural systems is impossible. … Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and their predictive value is always open to question. The primary value of models is heuristic.”

Uh Oh! Not good for IPCC reliance on climate model projections to prescribe drastic climate policies such as in the Paris Climate Accords. How did Oreskes later writings ‘forget/disavow’ her earlier writings? While she has not explained her transformation; the old adage ‘follow the money’ might.

Verification: The Problem of ‘Truth’

“To say that a model is verified is to say that its truth has been demonstrated, which implies its reliability as a basis for decision-making. However, it is impossible to demonstrate the truth of any proposition, except in a closed system. … Numerical models may include closed mathematical components that may be verifiable. … However, the models that use these components are NEVER closed systems.”

Earth orbits around the Sun, receiving its sunlight energy and reflecting back some 30% proportion based on albedo, This is the the climate model cloud problem, from AR5 WG1 chapter 7. Some further proportion is lost back to space via long wave infrared outbound warming caused by the incoming sunlight energy, modulated by greenhouse gasses including CO2 and H2O. This postulated electromagnetic radiation imbalance is the so-called greenhouse effect, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW). All Earth systems are open systems to space. Not good for ‘sophisticated’ IPCC climate models according to early Oreskes.

Validation

“In contrast to the term verification, the term validation does not necessarily denote an establishment of ‘truth’. … Rather, it denotes the establishment of legitimacy. … For all the reasons discussed above, the establishment that a model accurately represents ‘actual processes occurring in a real system’ is not even a theoretical possibility.”

That conclusion is another big problem for Warmunists. IPCC climate models may not represent reality, and Oreskes said there is no way of finding out if they might.

Calibration of Numerical Models

“In the earth sciences, the modeler is commonly faced with the inverse problem. The distribution of the dependent variables is the well-known aspect of the system (guest post comment, e.g. GAST or SLR). The process of tuning the model–that is, the manipulation of the independent variables to obtain a match between the observed and simulated distribution or distributions of a dependent or distributions of dependent variables—is known as calibration.”

This early Oreskes explanation goes to the heart of the climate model ‘parameter tuning’ problem. The typical CMIP5 grid is 280km x 280 km at the equator. But important processes like convection cells (thunderstorms) happen on a 2km to 4km grid. This problem is illustrated by observed/modeled Arizona Thunderstorms.

clip_image002

The large Arizona grid ‘smeared’ meteorological models are effectively useless.

The present climate model problem is that the typical CMIP5 grid square was about 280km x 280km at the equator. The CFL constraint on numerical solutions to partial differential equations means, according to an NCAR rule of thumb, that halving grid size requires a 10X, (one order of magnitude) increase in computational intensity.

An about 7 orders of magnitude computational intractability constraint means such crucial processes as convection cells and Thunderstorms must be parameterized. The official AR5 ‘Experimental Plan’ for CMIP5 required a model initialization at year-end 2006, followed by a mandatory temperature hindcast of three decades to 1976. The problem is that this hindcast covers the entire temperature rise from about 1975 to about 2000. That period’s rise is virtually indistinguishable (both visually and statistically) from an equivalent rise about 1920 to 1945, as MIT Prof. Emeritus Lindzen pointed out.

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The Warmunists’ model problem is that the former period rise cannot be attributed to AGW; there simply was not enough increase in CO2. It must be mostly natural, not anthropogenic. The latter period climate model parameter tuning issue necessarily drags in the attribution problem, i.e how much of the latter period is natural instead of AGW. The CMIP5’s attribution to AGW necessarily means all climate models run hot.

Confirmation

“If the predicted distribution of dependent data in a numerical model matches observational data, either in the field or laboratory, then the modeler may be tempted to claim that the model was verified. To do so would be to commit a logical fallacy.”

It is worse than a logical fallacy if the climate models do not match observations. There are two very salient examples: the tropical troposphere, and ECS.

CMIP5 models produce a tropical troposphere hot spot where none exists in reality. This is best illustrated by Dr. John Christy’s 2017 Congressional testimony, oft reproduced in various forms here at WUWT

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Several recent papers have covered the ECS observational/model discrepancy, the most rigorous being two from Lewis and Curry. Their first set out methodology and results, their second slightly modified their first based on several insignificant criticisms.

From this sad saga come two ineluctable conclusions:

First, Naomi Oreskes sold her scientific soul to the Devil by joining the Warmunism academic movement after first publishing the opposite in Science.

Second, climate models simply cannot deliver their promised Warmunist goods. Never could, never will.

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99 thoughts on “Oreskes Vs. Oreskes

  1. The need for computing power is worse than we thought!

    The latest, still GIGO, GCMs have gotten grid scale stacks down to 100 km wide x 100 km long x 10 km high. So to model thunder cells requires another 12,500-fold increase in power. But to model clouds on the scale of tens of meters, we’d need 100 billion times more number crunching ability. Only then could models get away from “parameterizing” clouds, ie making them up to be whatever the computer game programmer wants them to be.

    • Exactly right, John. Christopher Essex shows that modeling down to tens of meters would take an enormously long time, as in greater than the age of the Universe to perform the calculations. Even with 100 Billion times capable number crunching, you’ll simply get the wrong answer faster. The climate simply cannot be correctly modeled, with or without computers. Those that would claim they can, have the benefit of having to wait at least 30 years to be proven wrong. By that time, they have spent the study grant money, retired in comfort, and nobody cares anymore.

    • Instead of using all this computing power to try to model the whole world’s climate, a better use might be to try and better understand how storms, thunder cells and such work. Perhaps they could test Willis Eschenbach’s thermostat/governor theory.

    • I am reminded of a statement made back in the 70’s where someone had calculated that it was theoretically possible to predict the outcome of a game of chess after the first move. However, it would require 10 to the 129th power bits of storage and there were only 10 to the 127th power number of atoms in the universe.

    • After decades of polarisation into two camps, labels to identify which camp we are talking about become necessary. Warmunists, alarmists, etc seem reasonably polite to me and together with “luke warmers” gives some idea of sub-category. They call those who question catastrophic warming “Climate deniers” cynically designed to place us alongside holocaust deniers and convey a sense of revulsion.

      • I agree. That term is extremely polite. I could think of other terms that are far less polite, but which are completely provable.

        The BBC has used the term “climate change denier”, which is completely repugnant. It’s also utterly wrong, as virtually no sceptics claim there has been no climate change. Indeed, a powerful sceptical argument is that the climate is always changing.

        Ironically, the straight shaft of the Mann hockey stick is pure climate change denial. Despite the fact that many of the proxies showed a strong MWP and LIA, Mann manipulated the data to claim that there had been no climate change until CO2 was invented. In other words, climate change denial.
        Chris

      • I prefer to use the terms “Alarmist” and “Skeptic” to describe the two sides, for the Alarmists are alarmed, and the Skeptics are skeptical. Also I can take the term “Alarmist” and apply it to my own views, regarding the possibility of an Ice Age, or the damage a hurricane like the 1938 hurricane would do the modern housing developments on Cape Cod.

        I receive surprisingly little blow-back from Alarmists.

        • But it makes the work uncitable to a warmunist. Much better to play with a straight bat. [Apologies to those of non-cricket nations, but I’m sure you’ll get it]. We need articles we can use.

        • Maybe so, but the use of pejorative terms never leads to dialogue. Skeptics should get over this emotional appeal.

          • Spalding – how can we as skeptics (whether we use pejorative terms or not) possibly have a dialogue with alarmists who call us “science deniers” or “climate deniers” and tell us that we are dupes and tools of the oil/gas/coal industries.

            Come on, you can’t debate with people who know beyond all doubt that they are right and you are wrong. Who spread total untruths like Merchants of Doubt, who point to every storm, flood or drought as evidence of climate change when they are just normal weather.

            There’s no debate; there’s never been a debate; there never will be a real debate about climate and CO2.

            Our best hope for progress is that the alarmist movement, which is not doing too well lately, has doubled down on the message and is using over-the-top rhetoric. With luck, this will eventually discredit the Merchants of Doom in the minds of normal voters in western democracies. Extinction Rebellion, keep up the good work.

      • Dr. Oreskes needs to explain which of her two opposing views are correct and why. A record of her hypocrisy needs to be made public and permanent

          • Naomi’s abandonment of science for politics took my breath away a long, long time ago. She deserves pity, and also deserves to be marched in front of all like the disgraced soldiers of yore, but, rather than having her sabre broken, she should have the epaulet “Dr.” stripped from “Oreskes”.

        • Yes, Steve Case, Dr Oreskes needs to explain ………… – but will she? My bet is that she will ignore requests for explanation. It would be great if she would deign to an open questions and answers interview. But when has she ever done that??

        • Fully agree Steve. The high road here would be to claw back the name-calling and to focus on the ideas alone (and the article is indeed an interesting approach). If folks are analyzing her work, she should be invited to respond—civilly. While my expectation based on her prior assertions/positions is that she wouldn’t, she should be the one to show her stripes rather than others painting them for her.

      • David Tallboys

        I don’t consider the term ‘warmunist’ disparaging at all, we all know the ‘climate’ has warmed so the term is simply wrong to differentiate the scientific debate.

        The term ‘alarmist’ is applicable, not to reasonable minded scientists (and I use that term to cover engineers as well as any other well educated, analytical group/individual), but to the extremists like the BBC and Extinction Rebellion who deliberately exaggerate (or in the BBC/MSM’s case, selectively report alarmist opinions rather than moderate, measured opinions) the effects of climate change.

        We know that most scientists without skin in the game are moderates, who are otherwise branded ‘denialist’s’ because they don’t conform to the alarmist rhetoric.

        I mean, in general, the IPCC is actually fairly moderate on the subject compared to ‘alamist’s’. They even state that extreme weather has only a medium chance of being affected by climate, but that doesn’t stop the BBC/MSM reporting every weather event from an alarmist perspective.

        The problem is, we have establishment figures in the UK like Sir David King and John Selwyn Gummer (The Lord Deben) promoting the alarmist position whilst having a great deal of skin in the game. They are courted relentlessly by the BBC/MSM and promote alarmism.

        And it becomes very apparent, very quickly, when in discussion with less well educated people (of which I am one) that alarmism works. And the benefit of that to wealthy, establishment and business figures is that their investments in subsidised renewable energy are proving very lucrative.

        Alarmist provocateurs are very well aware that less than 10% of the planets population is educated to a Higher standard, which means that in the Democratic Western world at least, making a scientific argument to support initiatives like renewables is futile. The way to seize their support, and crucially, their votes, is by alarmist propaganda utilising every means necessary, of which the BBC and the mainstream MSM form a large part.

        I don’t consider the term alarmist to be pejorative, any more that I consider the term sceptic.

        Warmunist makes no sense, and denialist is a ridiculous term which reveals more about the person using it than it does those it’s directed at.

    • What do you do when people outright fail to respond to facts. When factual appeal has little place in the perceptions of such people, a name characterizing their mindset might be in order.

      So, of course name calling is counterproductive, but no more so than the act of ignoring facts being presented to those people being addressed.

      What do you do? If facts are counterproductive, and name calling is counterproductive, then what productive course of action follows? Just stop talking? Say nothing? Ignore those people who continue to ignore you?

      It’s more dire than rational people might wish to admit. It’s not a constructive conversation anymore. It’s a war of words, and those who play the war game, with all its dirty tactics, will be the ones who might stand a chance of being victorious.

      • “What do you do when people outright fail to respond to facts.”

        Disprove what they’re saying.

        And this is done most convincingly by not using ad-homs or puerile language (“you couldn’t make this schist up if you tried!” is another example of pointless (and counterproductive) wordplay common around here.

        It’s so off-putting that a conspiracy theorist might posit these articles are written this way deliberately.

        • You’re not getting what I am saying, Jim C.

          You assume that these people are open to a rational discussion, that they have the focus to scrutinize details of language being constructed for them, that they can comprehend relationships that disprove those relationships mistaken in their own minds.

          I am saying that the people to whom that name applies simply are incapable of rational thought on this level of analysis. They just don’t have the “circuitry” for it They don’t have the personality, the disposition, the mental resources or any requirements that a person must possess to even begin to appreciate a well-stated, logical position.

          The name calling was not used in an article (if I remember correctly) — it was used in a COMMENT. Comments are not the body of the article, but rather brief responses, in which an emotional label to an emotional faction is more acceptable.

          Sure, don’t name call in articles, … but comments, again, are not the article. The article stands for itself.

          If others can call us “deniers”, then why can we not have occasions when we select an appropriate counter label? Seems fair enough to me, in controlled, properly placed amounts.

          • “Warminist” is a label used within the article itself.

            And I’m not suggesting that we try to argue with them; they’re a lost cause. But I would like to pass articles on to friends and colleagues who are have been brainwashed by all the alarmist nonsense, and if I refer them to an article that uses words like “rabid” or “warmunist” it reduces the credibility of the piece… and my credibility in turn. So most of the time, I don’t.

            And I agree, as soon as I see skeptics/lukewarmists referred to as “deniers” I feel the author has no credibility… for the same reason.

            We’re the contrarians. That means we need to be utterly scrupulous and neutral-sounding in a way the alarmists do not.

        • Jim C,
          I personally love David Middleton’s expression “you couldn’t make this schist up if you tried!” Schist is a kind of rock. ( I happen to know this, because my father was a petroleum Geologist.)
          It’s an inoffensive substitution of a word, meant to lighten the tone when criticizing, or completely shredding a ridiculous, unsubstantiated article.
          You mention off-putting. Try posting a contrary view on Desmogblog. John David Lefebvre, one of the co-founders of this site, is a co-felon in a giant money-laundering scheme. I was blocked after two posts. (I said something derogatory about the Gretin.)

          • I know what schist is, despite not having a father who’s a geologist.

            My point is that if we’re to persuade friends/colleagues that lukewarmism is credible, the articles that we ask the to read must seem credible. And terms like “rabid”, “warmunist”, and “schist” (when not referring to actual schist) reduce the credibility of the author and the point they’re trying to make.

            I’m well aware that alarmists don’t adhere to these standards. But then as they’re pushing the establishment line, it doesn’t do them much harm. We have no such luxury.

      • Robert Kernodle – December 28, 2019 at 11:17 am

        What do you do? If facts are counterproductive, and name calling is counterproductive, then what productive course of action follows? Just stop talking? Say nothing? Ignore those people who continue to ignore you?

        Robert K, ….. I am sure there are a million or so School Teachers that ask themselves that very question every day they are “on the job” teaching.

    • Steve .
      Oreskes had a life changing moment at some stage and changed to a rabid Communist .
      This is what the “warmunist ” refers to .
      She has stated publicly that even if the science is wrong about CO2 warming the world she sees it as a tool to change the world and destroy capitalism.
      She obviously had a change of heart at some time in her University tenure and I see no problem with calling her a communist or a warmunist “Someone using the climate scare to advance her agenda “

    • Warmunism is not yet accepted as a proper dictionary definition. Will it be?

      It’s clear that many, if not most, CAGW activists espouse communism.

    • The name calling is more ferocious on the side of the warmunists- calling skeptics “deniers”, “morons”, “Trump’s base”, “toadies for the Koch brothers”, etc.

    • ““Warmunist”

      If the facts are on your side, name-calling is counterproductive.”

      Let’s see what they say about it on the news tonight. Can’t wait!

    • Then how shall we refer to the proponents of Catastrophic Anthropocentric Global Warming / Climate Change so as to not offend anyone? And, to be fair, have you posted on the CAGW / CC proponents web pages suggesting that they stop using the terms “denier”, “fossil-fuel industry flaks”, etc?

    • If the facts are on your side, name-calling is counterproductive.

      If you can’t get the attention of your opponent, …… facts don’t mean a damn thing because ….. “they can’t/won’t hear you.

  2. “The Warmunists’ model problem is that the former period rise cannot be attributed to AGW; there simply was not enough increase in CO2. It must be mostly natural, not anthropogenic. ”

    Correct, it was, but it’s not a “problem”. ……

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Fkg790Q3b8o/VMRGN17t2oI/AAAAAAAAHwo/GTCVnmku248/s1600/GISTempPDO.gif

    It was during the warm phase of the PDO.
    The Pacific is the largest driver of NV within the climate system.
    A +ve PDO along with a series of El Ninos can transfer an enormous amount of energy into the atmosphere. Conversely a cool PDO can restrict that transfer.
    Just look at the graph.
    Noting particularly that the last -ve PDO regime merely resulted in the “pause”.
    IOW atmospheric CO2 is now enough to overcome the noise of NV.
    It is now anthropogenic.

    • Anthony Banton said, “A +ve PDO along with a series of El Ninos can transfer an enormous amount of energy into the atmosphere.”

      Wrong! I’ve been discussing the misunderstandings about the PDO for many years, so I’ll apologize if the facts sound a little blunt. The realities about the PDO follow:

      The PDO is an abstract numerical representation of the “spatial pattern” of the sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Pacific, north of 20N…nothing more, nothing less.

      The PDO has nothing to do with the actual temperature of the North Pacific or its anomalies; thus it cannot “transfer an enormous amount of energy into the atmosphere.”

      The PDO is an aftereffect of El Niño and La Niña events and the sea level pressure of the North Pacific.

      The spatial pattern of the sea surface temperature anomalies (the PDO) can impact the weather patterns of the U.S. and Canada, and therefore the PDO useful as a weather index, but the PDO cannot alter global temperatures because it does not represent the temperature of the North Pacific or its anomalies.

      See the post here:
      https://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/the-201415-el-nino-part-5-the-relationship-between-the-pdo-and-enso/
      Or the WUWT cross post here:
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/04/21/the-201415-el-nino-part-5-the-relationship-between-the-pdo-and-enso/

      Regards,
      Bob

      • Thanks Bob.
        Since your 2014 posts, I have tried — in vein — to get others to read your articles about the PDO.
        I’ve often wondered whether using different designations might have helped, say “N-phase” and “M-phase”; rather than + or -. [ N & M chosen for exposition only. ]

        Don’t be surprised if A. B. (above) doesn’t bother to learn.
        Otherwise, Happy New Year.

      • I thought the PDO was discovered when a grad student looked at the varying commercial fish hauls over time in the NW? If it can alter fish populations, it is not just a statistical anomaly.

        • The PDO is about where the cold and warm water is located, more than it is about the totality of Pacific temperatures. If you change the location of warm and cold water you change the location of the fish. The same things happens in the Atlantic with the AMO. Fishermen have known about the shifting of “fishing grounds” since the first Neanderthal paddled out on a log. There are yellowing newspaper reports describing a dramatic shift in the North Atlantic fish and seal populations back in the 1930’s (as if the Great Depression wasn’t hard enough.) Not that fishermen have ever completely figured out the patterns, but their livelihood depends on them making the effort.

      • Thanks again for all the work you did back in the day, Bob.

        In terms of Arctic Sea-ice, it is the location of the cold water that matters, not how much cold water there is. In terms of the totality of SST, a “cold” PDO may be warmer than a “warm” one, but because the cold water is up towards Bering Strait the sea-ice expands south, sometimes dramatically.

        It will be interesting to see if the current flow of very cold air south through Bering Strait changes the configuration of Pacific SST. The recent “warm blob” hasn’t made the growth of sea-ice in the Bering Sea easy.

  3. Apropos to the Oreskes’s early findings about problematic climate variables, etc. in the article, in his excellent video presentation (below), Dr. Christopher Essex* shows substantive issues with computer climate modeling. Machine epsilon, parameterization, and other such limits on computerized mathematics show that it is impossible for computers (with quantum computing a possible exception) to accurately model the climate. Even whole thunderstorms are necessarily unaccounted for in calculations. And there are always the unaccounted unknown (variables); e.g. cosmic radiation. The video is about 1 hour long, but hang with it, it is well worth the time.
    https://youtu.be/19q1i-wAUpY
    * Dr. Christopher Essex – Chairman, Permanent Monitoring Panel on Climate, World Federation of Scientists, and Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Western Ontario, Canada

    • Even with quantum computing, a model could never work, (a) because initial conditions cannot be known accurately enough, and (b) because many weather and climate processes are not known well enough.

      • Exactly, a complex system that is chaotic cannot accurately be modeled. It can provide information about how far a system can move out of equilibrium and may reveal ‘strange attractors’ between which the system can oscillate. And all of this varies widely, depending on the knowledge of input parameters, cell size, numerical accuracy, time steps, etc.

      • “Even with quantum computing, a model could never work, (a) because initial conditions cannot be known accurately enough”
        Wrong. GCMs, like CFD, seek an attractor solution in a chaos system. The answers don’t, and shouldn’t, depend on accuracy of initial conditions. In fact the state of the weather on 1/1/2000 (or whenever) did not determine today’s weather, nor the climate.

        • Then why did the models give wildly different results when they tried changing initial temperatures by less than a trillionth of a degree C? For the models to work, they have to converge. They don’t. They diverge. That means they are unfit for purpose.

          • “Then why did the models give wildly different results when they tried changing initial temperatures by less than a trillionth of a degree C?”
            For exactly that reason. They are seeking an attractor (climate). It doesn’t matter how they approach the attractor. The attractor is what matters, both physically and numerically. Varying the initial conditions might give you a storm in June instead of July. That might seem like a wildly different result, but in climate terms it doesn’t matter.

            It is exactly the same in CFD.

          • Nick – the differences were way beyond just the timing of a storm. Whole regions were degrees different. All from less than a trillionth if a degree change in initial conditions. The models are unfit for purpose. Even if you get initial conditions right absolutely everywhere to a tenth of a trillionth of a degree, at the end of the very first 20-minute iteration the calculation will be out by more than a trillionth of a degree. So the wildly varying results will come …. drum roll …. 20 minutes later. The models are just random-number generators.

        • “Wrong. GCMs, like CFD, seek an attractor solution in a chaos system. The answers don’t, and shouldn’t, depend on accuracy of initial conditions. In fact the state of the weather on 1/1/2000 (or whenever) did not determine today’s weather, nor the climate. – Nick Stokes

          Wrong. That would only be true if the Earth’s global climate was a simple system. Chaotic systems do not rely on their history but complex ones definitely do:

          “The study of complexity is the opposite of the study of chaos. Complexity is about how a huge number of extremely complicated and dynamic sets of relationships can generate some simple behavioral patterns, whereas chaotic behavior, in the sense of deterministic chaos, is the result of a relatively small number of non-linear interactions. Therefore, the main difference between chaotic systems and complex systems is their history. Chaotic systems do not rely on their history as complex ones do.”*

          Prigogine, I. (1997). The End of Certainty, The Free Press, New York.
          D. Carfì (2008). “Superpositions in Prigogine approach to irreversibility”. AAPP: Physical, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. 86 (1): 1–13..
          Colander, D. (2000). The Complexity Vision and the Teaching of Economics, E. Elgar, Northampton, Massachusetts.
          Buchanan, M. (2000). Ubiquity : Why catastrophes happen, three river press, New-York.
          Gell-Mann, M. (1995). What is Complexity? Complexity 1/1, 16-19

      • You don’t need to know initial conditions for a climate model.
        As you say, not only don’t we know many of the processes well enough, even if we would need 5 to 10 orders of magnitude more computer power to calculate an answer before most of us die of old age.

      • Try this analogy:
        When a person accumulates enough money to invest with a major mutual fund company you can have them run models to see if, given you circumstances and investment choices, you will outlive your money, or whether your money will last your lifetime.
        The mutual fund model outcomes will be reported to you as ‘scenarios’. In the worst case you live 10 years longer than your money. In a good case, for someone, you die with lots of money still invested. Look at enough of these scenarios and you may decide to change the inputs (e.g. your rate of withdrawal).

  4. It has puzzled me for some time why the models have actual data since 1995 that does not agree with the models. Historical data was used to adjust and tune the models initially and those parameters do not seem to predict what actually happened since then. Why do the models not need to have the parameters adjusted to use the newer actual data? I am no climate scientist but I am a retired operations guy. If I had an engineer that ignored data that diverged from his model I would be concerned about the predictions.

  5. “Cal Berkley” alone explains the transformation from scientist to activist.

    Her early work spells out exactly what is wrong with climate models. The only thing she omitted was their inability to hindcast or replicate historical climate from old initial conditions.

    And let me reiterate. Any thing/person/study/model that considers RCP 8.5 as anything but a busted scare tactic deserves no serious consideration.

  6. In the “Good Cop/Bad Cop” sense, I’d like to know which of Dr. Oreskes conflicting positions is the “Good Cop?”

  7. This is a surprising find! I haven’t yet read the entire Oreskes paper linked above, but I note this paragraph in support of Pat Frank’s approach in his paper and posts earlier this year – in short, beginning with the cloud fraction error on its own to propagate error stepwise to examine the reliability of global climate models to project temperature.

    “A subset of the problem of nonuniqueness is that two or more errors in auxiliary hypotheses may cancel each other out. Whether our assumptions are reasonable is not the issue at stake. The issue is that often there is no way to know that this cancellation has occurred. A faulty model may appear to be correct. Hence, verification is only possible in closed systems in which all the components of the system are established independently and are known to be correct. In its application to models of natural systems, the term verification is highly misleading. It suggests a demonstration of proof that is simply not accessible (26).”

    Following Pat Frank’s posts, there were opposing posts and a lot of dialogue here at WUWT defending the GCM’s on the basis that they were first tuned to produce stable global temperatures with no “forcings” applied, thus useful to project the impact of an applied forcing regardless of the known component error.

  8. “This [1994 Oreskes first author] article was prepared for a session on hydrological and geochemical modeling.” I suspect that despite its problems, hydrological has a higher percentage of real parameters to deal with. At least their results come about quicker. More than a few examples of researchers with past good works who sold their souls (even much earlier) in more fields than climate.

    I just got this book for Christmas–the ultimate hydrological problem. James F. Barnett, Jr. 2017. Beyond Control: The Mississippi River’s New Channel to the Gulf of Mexico. Seems well researched.

  9. The real reason I don’t trust any of the “models” the warmists use is because they can’t reign in their math even when there are more fabricated inputs than real inputs. That is a basic level of ignorance that disallows legitimization of *any* output they produce.

  10. As her earlier work was of such high quality, let s use it. Then if she then produces something which is dependent on a model , she is then in a very difficult position.

    She may well quot e the economest J.M.Keyes, “”When the facts change then I change my mind, what do you do, Sir.””

    But we can then ask her to say just what facts have changed.

    MJE VK5 ELL

  11. Warmunism was coined by Vaclav Klaus, a past president of the Czech Republic, in his book Blue Planet in Green Chains. Klaus grew up under Communism, a socioeconomic belief system that provably DOES NOT work. He observed that the ‘green chains’ (CAGW/mitigation) belief system also provably DOES NOT work. Hence it is Warmunism.

    My ebook essay footnote on the term origins (referenced in the post) added that people like Christina Figueroa and Naomi Oreskes make the linkage between the two unworkable belief systems explicit. Hence warmunism is not name calling, but rather an apt descriptive label.

    • Well said Rud.
      There is nothing wrong with using Warmunist to describe these people .
      Both of them want to use climate change to advance their agendas to transform the world to a socialism /communism system as did Maurice Strong’s believe when he established the UNIPCC .
      This is a fact not a conspiracy theory .
      We here at WUWT are not the deniers .
      The deniers are those that deny history and the three warming optimums since the last ice age which were all warmer than present .
      During the last the MWP the Vikings farmed in Greenland .
      25 years ago these people stated that the MWP was an problem in their theory and they then stated that it was not global.
      When it was proven to be global they altered temperature reconstructions to fit their theories .
      Now they ignore it and rewrite history .

  12. “The problem is that this hindcast covers the entire temperature rise from about 1975 to about 2000. That period’s rise is virtually indistinguishable (both visually and statistically) from an equivalent rise about 1920 to 1945, as MIT Prof. Emeritus Lindzen pointed out”

    This anomaly is explained in Hegerl 2018. The paper makes a distinction between AGW (anthropogenic global warming) and ETCW (early twentieth century warming).

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/06/02/hegerl2018/

    • Hegerl 2018 is a practice in circular reasoning and biased science, where one’s beliefs are assumed to be true, and the interpretation of data is stretched to fit those assumptions. Therefore, the anomaly of ETCW is not ‘explained’ by Hegerl 2018 anymore than the Little Ice Age is explained by witches!

  13. Is there an updated version of Dr. John Christy’s plot of models v reality ?
    the one shown stops in 2015
    it would be so useful in convincing the fence sitters.

  14. “… the modeler may be tempted to claim that the model was verified. To do so would be to commit a logical fallacy …”.
    Naomi ought to brush-up on logical fallacies.
    There is another logical fallacy called argumentum ad numerum (similar to argumentum ad populum) ‘this fallacy is the attempt to prove something by showing how many people think that it’s true’.

  15. “after first publishing the opposite in Science”
    What she published is not the opposite. In fact, it is not really controversial, and applies to all models, not just numerical. You could say the same of wind tunnel models, architectural models, anything.

    “Verification and validation of numerical models of natural systems is impossible”
    Or of any model of anything, physical or numerical. You can verify that you have correctly run the model. Whether it tells you about some “real” system requires a step of reasoning. Models in fact just help to make reasoning more concrete. A GCM has natural variation which is not expected to occur in reality in the same way. For prediction, it is also subject to scenarios, which won’t be followed exactly (and the model does not predict which will be followed). So you can’t strictly verify anything there.

    But what about physical engineering models, say wind tunnels? They also have degrees of natural variation. But more seriously, they are no more reality than numerical models. Wind tunnel models do not model real flight, but rather an oncoming uniform stream. Maybe you can vary that, but you aren’t following the real flight conditions of any aircraft. More seriously, there is a whole lot of reasoning that has to be applied to match the scale of the model to reality. CFD at least models the actual scale.

    “The primary value of models is heuristic.”
    Yes, it is. For any kind of model, physical or numerical. So what is the use of them? They are all you have. They are all we ever have in coming to an understanding of the real world. And in that, they have worked very well.

    • Nick,
      The models all run to hot.
      You know that but you keep defending them.
      It is very obvious that the parameters are faulty .
      The world governments are making shocking decisions bases on what these excuses for climate models are telling them.
      How do you explain governments taxing their farmers for the methane that their farmed animals emit .
      This methane is not a problem and can never be a problem as all the forage consumed by farmed animals has absorbed CO2 from the air and the minute amount of methane emitted soon breaks down into CO2 and water vapour .
      The whole process is a cycle and not one atom of carbon or extra molecule is added to the atmosphere over any time span .
      I believe that you have an understanding of basic science .
      How do you explain countries taking these crazy actions when they will have absolutely no measurable positive result ,
      You are well aware that the modern world runs on cheap and plentiful energy .
      Over 60 years ago after I had left school the doomsayers were predicting wide spread famine because the world could never produce the food to feed 5 billion people let alone 8 billion.
      This has come about through modern farming methods and mechanizing the many labour intensive chores .
      Basic food prices have fallen steadily in real terms because of this .
      Many stupid actions are being taken because climate models are predicting more heat when they are not fit for purpose .
      They are a bit like the latest Boeing Jet plane that has failed .
      Graham
      Proud to be a farmer feeding the world with milk and beef products .

    • Nick, “The primary value of models is heuristic.”

      Heuristic makes

      – people searching shelter under trees in lightnings

      – children crossing streets BEFORE THE school bus: thinking that’s save, crossing the street BEFORE before the drivers seat there’s no danger to see from following traffic …

      – drivers park cars in “this zone is for loading and unloading zones only” when they “can’t see a watchman” …. “xcuse me officer I just wanted . .. for only ten minutes … !”

      – ….

  16. They are all you have. They are all we ever have in coming to an understanding of the real world. And in that, they have worked very well.“.

    I disagree with every part of that statement. We have other ways of understanding the real world, eg. using history and even just observing. We will very likely have other ways in future, as humans can be very creative. And the models have not worked, they have failed, as witness their perpetual over-heating compared with actual temperatures.

  17. With Al Gore put in charge of US Govt Climate funding via WH influence of NSF grants in 1993, Ms Oreskes was probably told multiple times at UCB that if she wanted to be unemployed in her chosen profession, then she could continue being skeptical of climate modeling and its alarmist outputs.

    I suspect she had racked up sizable student debt at UC-Berkeley and needed a good income after finishing her dissertation. So just like most during that period, AGW seemed a reasonable hypothesis what with peak oil coming anyways within a decade… so why not turn climate alarmist and jump on the grant Gravy Train. Then ride that sucker to a nice faculty job somewhere. Riding the gravy train beat sitting in the unemployment line or working at Walmart and still trying to pay off non-dischargeable student loans.

  18. “They are all you have. They are all we ever have in coming to an understanding of the real world. And in that, they have worked very well.“.

    I would say that they (climate models) better serve to empathise their builders’ ignorance

  19. Very interesting to see her previous work critical of “numerical science” compared to her current science advocacy. I think Orestes stands out for her credentials , but It seems to be similar to the mindsets of many. Many who have been very critical as to the limits of science and prone to push what science doesn’t or can’t know, when promoting beliefs around crystal therapy, reiki and similar nonsense have become staunch advocates for deference to climate scientist. They label others not so inclined as denialist, ignorant of science, and the like. I’ve seen some who were sure our fundamental understandings of physics would likely soon be overturned, become passionately inflamed when insisting that climate science is settled.

    Many of the loudest voices under the banner of “settled science” are not fans of science. There is value in emphasizing this disconnect to the widest possible audience. Even if we’ll founded and deserving, I think the “warmunist” language limits the audience for work of this sort.

  20. Rud Istvan or Charles Rotter

    Tthis is the the climate model cloud problem, from AR5 WG1 chapter 7.”

  21. Oops..correction !

    “Earth orbits around the Sun, receiving its sunlight energy and reflecting back some 30% proportion based on albedo, . This is the the climate model cloud problem, from AR5 WG1

  22. It is a pity more people do not acquaint themselves with basic logic and the philosophy of science.

    Deductive logic…”IF AXIOM, THEN DEDUCTIONS” is a closed logical space. If the axioms or geometry are taken to be true than the deductions of Euclid/Pythagoras etc are demonstrably also true.

    This is the only demonstrable truth there is, and in modern terms its a trivial truth. One can say that the truth of the deductions is implicit in the axioms. Doing the formal proof of Pythagoras is merely explicating , in simple-to-follow steps, what is implicit in the definitions of what straight lines, triangles and a plane surface are.

    Inductive logic however is not like that, and science depends on inductive logic. We do not say IF this THEN that, we say well we have that, what kind of of this might explain it? And then test to see if an explanation that we literally dream up, fits the facts of the experience of the phenomena under question.
    If it does, and it adds something useful, it becomes a theory, if not, its just bunk.

    AGW is, these days, bunk.

    Oreskes seems to be a dim bulb, in that she has got halfway towards a Popperian perspective on science (Karl Popper: Cf “Conjectures and Refutations”) before abandoning it in an orgy of career advancing pseudo scientific claptrap. That is, however, how the left works…Cf “Fools Frauds and Firebrands” by Roger Scruton, a catalogue of pretentious intellectual claptrap espoused by the Left.

    I personally have a theory that the likes of Oreskes are third rate minds, and they resent the fact that they are not good enough to grapple with science and achieve something worthwhile, so their bitterness, jealousy and resentment is taken up in attacking science and making a career out of sounding clever to even stupider people.

    The Left is the repository for failed intellectuals – Marx is the classic example – who, unable to be accepted by a scientific or intellectual community, dream up clever ways to destroy it instead. Making them useful tools in today’s asymmetric warfare.

    What philosophy gives to science is two critical perspectives. The first is that science, and I myself would say all human knowledge, is in fact a model that explains, and in the case of science, accurately predicts, the behaviour of the world as it appears to us.

    The second is that model can be invalidated by comparing it to the the behaviour of the world, as it appears to us. When all that is impossible has been eliminated, what is left by INDUCTIVE – not DEDUCTIVE – logic, (Sherlock Homes is all INDUCTION – there is not an ounce of deduction in his methods) is not THE truth but simply still only a possible truth. Among many.

    Which leads on to Occam’s Razor. Simple does not mean true, Simple is merely a way of being lazy when confronted with half a dozen possible explanations none of which can or have been shown to be false. For example if Einstein had shown up at the same time as Newton with his theories, they would have been indistinguishable with the instrumentation available, and in fact the mathematics of relativity would not have existed either. As soon as Einsteins theory became more accurate and more useful tahn Newtomn we threw Newton out. In Occam’s terms Einstein was no longer ‘complicated beyond necessity’, it was as complicated as necessity demanded…

    …The Great Confusion, even among eminent scientists of quality work, is that they have become bewitched by the success of science, into thinking that the models upon which it relies are therefore true. That Gravity is as much a ‘fact’ as a stone falling on your toe.

    It isn’t. Gravity belongs in the same realm as the Gods. A mysterious force invented to explain why stuff happens the way it does. The only difference is the precision and success with which the model called Gravity can be used to predict certain things. Whereas God is a great explanation, but useless at predicting which way the cookie will crumble.

    And that leads to a simple conclusion as to why science is better than religion. It predicts the future accurately, and if it does not, it is no better than religion.

    AGW does not and has not accurately predicted the climate. As a theory it is neither true, nor useful, in that context.

    Don’t knock religion however. Some religion enables people to live longer and be more content. It gives their lives shape and meaning. It allows large societies to coexist peacefully. It is very much useful for species survival.

    Irrespective of whether it has any truth content or not.

    So I would urge people to test ideas – new ‘knowledge’ – against two yardsticks: Forget Truth – which cannot be established for inductive propositions – Does it pass scientific scrutiny: That is does it actually predict results that actually happen? In the case of AGW and indeed Marxism, the short answer is that it does not.

    The second test, which we my apply independently of the first, is whether it leads to a higher likelihood of species survival or not. This lead to kind of moral pragmatism that says its OK for kids to believe in Santa Claus because it makes them happy and healthy and it is pretty harmless. And teaches them that adults are not Gods of Truth but tricksters and deceivers. A good Life Lesson.

    If we examine AGW and Marxism in THIS light, as good things to believe in regardless of whether they are true or not, or lead to the claimed futures, it’s a lot harder to see whether species harm results. In the case of Marxism it is true to say that in almost every case where it has been applied it has in fact killed vast swathes of populations and driven the rest into poverty. But in the case of AGW its a bit different. However we are beginning to see that, like Marxism, its an expensive way to fail to achieve the objectives for which it purportedly exists.

    In short ClimateChange™ is not able to actually achieve any climate change or to halt it. And thus remains an expensive burden on society, not a benefit.

    I do urge people to read a bit of Popper, Scruton – maybe Kant and Schopenhauer, to at least have a common vocabulary in discussing why ideas are true, or not true.

    And to understand that knowledge is just ‘models that work’ and that Truth, while we assume it exists somewhere, is never directly accessible. Truth is, to us, relative to our experience.And to the language we use to describe the world.

    Of course Marxism seeks to replace that language…

  23. A quote: “Some further proportion is lost back to space via long-wave infrared outbound warming caused by the incoming sunlight energy, modulated by greenhouse gasses including CO2 and H2O. This postulated electromagnetic radiation imbalance is the so-called greenhouse effect, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW).”

    Maybe my comment is based on my limited English language capacity, but I see several errors in this description of the greenhouse effect (GHE). Firstly, I am not sure if this statement is made by the blogger, the blogger’s understanding of the AR5’s description or the description of Oreskes. Anyway, it is not a description of the GHE of the IPCC.

    The GH gases do not modulate incoming shortwave radiation but GH gases (and clouds) absorb the longwave radiation emitted by the surface. There is no essential radiation imbalance between the incoming solar radiation and the outgoing longwave radiation, but they are essentially in balance and this balance exists regardless of the magnitude of the GHE.

    The real error of the GHE definition of the IPCC is that they define the downward LW radiation by the atmosphere to the surface to be the same as the LW absorption by the GH gases and clouds. They not even close the same because the numerical values are about 345 W/m^2 and 155 W/m^2.

    • Antero

      I also had a problem with the description.

      “Some further proportion is lost back to space via long wave infrared outbound warming caused by the incoming sunlight energy, modulated by greenhouse gasses including CO2 and H2O. This postulated electromagnetic radiation imbalance is the so-called greenhouse effect, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW).”

      There is no imbalance after any modest amount of time. The idea that “heat is accumulating” in the system is great for scaring people, but that is not how radiative balance works. Just because the temperature rises in the lower atmosphere doesn’t mean there is an imbalance in radiation. The increase in absorption/re-radiation serves to increase the temperature, but within microseconds the photons are gone. There is no such thing as a permanent imbalance. Can’t happen, not in a real world.

      The oceans can store a great deal of energy, but not all that much. There are so many cases where the radiation outgoing could exceed (or not) the incoming amount it is pointless to be concerned about what false precision is contained in estimates from the IPCC. If insolation dropped and clouds decreased, the lower atmosphere would warm. If the clouds increased, it would not matter if the insolation went up or down – it will cool. Until they can model clouds correctly, there are no valid climate model outputs.

    • Antero Ollila December 29, 2019 at 6:25 am

      A quote: “Some further proportion is lost back to space via long-wave infrared outbound warming caused by the incoming sunlight energy, modulated by greenhouse gasses including CO2 and H2O. This postulated electromagnetic radiation imbalance is the so-called greenhouse effect, or anthropogenic global warming (AGW).”

      Maybe my comment is based on my limited English language capacity, but I see several errors in this description of the greenhouse effect (GHE). Firstly, I am not sure if this statement is made by the blogger, the blogger’s understanding of the AR5’s description or the description of Oreskes. Anyway, it is not a description of the GHE of the IPCC.”

      Guess whose:

      “By Rud Istvan, edited by Charles Rotter”

  24. I have to say that I have long been perplexed by Orsekes’ change in perspective. I quite admired her and her work back in 1994, and was in strong agreement with her 1994 article. I have no insights into why she did a 180 on the uses of mathematical models, except that, as many have postulated above, politics inserted itself into her personal perspective on the effectiveness of predictive models. With these climate models always somehow indicating the remediative effects of desired Marxist outcomes, they now became “scientifically reliable’ predictors. So sad that she sold out – nay, more than sold out, as she is vituperative in her scorn of those who have failed to genuflect to her (s)creed.

  25. I remember years ago finding a quote on a NASA climate page from a scientist saying that clouds were impossible to model with any fidelity because computing power would have to be many magnitudes higher than it currently was. Additionally, he also added that it made things even more difficult due to the fact that they didn’t even know how some clouds affected climate. I didn’t save that link and tried to find that page again. From what I can tell that page has been removed. It certainly didn’t help the CAGW narrative so I’m sure they disappered that page on purpose and now it only exists in my memory, which means I can’t prove they actually said what I said they said despite knowing it’s the truth.

  26. Re: Nick Stokes and the statemens about models.

    Pretty much everything you wrote about wind tunnel models is wrong. A wind tunnel model is based upon empirical equations that were developed by measurement, not theory. When a wind tunnel is used to create an aerodynamic design, that design is built into a plane and flown. The flight of the plane then “validates” the results from the wind tunnel. If the wind tunnel did not perform as expected, it is tweaked or the transfer functions are tweaked. Eventually the engineers can gain full trust of the wind tunnel model. Your general statement equating this to climate models are just flat wrong.

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