Open Mind

Open Thread #9

December 10, 2008 · 94 Comments

Open thread #8 is getting big, so here’s a new one. Carry on.

Categories: Global Warming

94 responses so far ↓

  • Arch Stanton // December 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    I have come here to yibber.

    With all due respect to any of the regular and highly valued contributors over at RC that I may have insulted (Mountains and molehills #661).

    Some amount of off topic discussion will always happen and is to be expected. The blog is by climate scientists and there is certainly value in an intellectual show of force by the major contributors demonstrating their truly impressive background knowledge and experience.

    It is frustrating as a lay person to actually wade through comments and discussion when they get so far a field however.

    Ray, No problem I would not even have mentioned it if it had not come up previously. I simply wanted to add my encouragement to the process. My comment was not directed at anyone in particular. I thank you for your support.

    Mark, I know that we are all veterans of various blogs, forums, etc and that baiting, jousting and snarking are regular features of such places. I know the rules, and I have done it too. None the less RC (and other blogs such as this one) provide a valuable service to the community as places to disseminate useful information and when topics go far a field it is very frustrating to those of us hoping to glean a few gems (excellent points are often made in the comments). My 2 cents Mark is that your comments are very knowledgeable and often frequently clarify the question at hand, but they are often laced with troll bait that does not contribute to a coherent thread.

    Thank you Tamino for a place to yibber.

  • Phil Scadden // December 10, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    To be fair: it also happens that mathematicians will invent something beautiful but with no apparent application, only to have physicists latch on to it much later (tensor analysis)

    And not forgetting topology either.

    In my opinion, you arent doing physics unless your model is being compared to observation from nature somewhere along the road.

  • Dave A // December 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Ray,

    Citations equate to acceptance, or equivalently to how important/indispensible the results/method/ideas in the paper wer

    But as somebody said no one can understand Mann’s statistics so how did these other papers understand how important / indispensible etc his results were?

    Answer, they didn’t they just used him as a reference ( perhaps, and this is possibly wild surmise) to gain kudos by association.

  • Hank Roberts // December 10, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    DaveA — “as somebody said” lacks a citation.
    Or credibility.
    Besides character assasination, do you have any other hobbies?

  • Ray Ladbury // December 11, 2008 at 1:14 am

    No, Hank, what Dave A. lacks is a clue!

    Dave A., Oh dear, yet another misunderstanding about how science works. Here’s the deal, Dave. When I see a technique in a paper that I think might prove promising, I don’t just go to the author and ask for the algorithm. First, I look at it thoroughly to see if it looks like it holds together. Then I start working through it and applying it to a problem I am working on. However, it’s not a recipe. I always see if I can improve it, modify it so that it works better for my purposes. In the end, if I get results that are consistent with what the paper promises, then I’ve essentially reproduced the results. And maybe I’ve found a way to improve the method. So, even if Mann’s initial method was flawed, it’s unlikely the same flaws will be repeated, and over time, you get methods that work well.

    Like it or not, Dave, science works.

  • Hank Roberts // December 11, 2008 at 6:07 am

    http://store.sluggy.com/media/scienceness-sample.gif

  • Gavin's Pussycat // December 11, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Open Thread #8 is not as big as it used to be…

    Ah, not a big loss.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    Newsflash: Obama well name Nobel Physics Laureate Steve Chu as energy secretary. This may be the first time we’ve had an energy secretary who really understands conservation of energy! A real scientist in the cabinet. Not only that, Steve is very sharp and not politically naive.

  • Anna // December 11, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Dear kind knowledgeable people - I am trying to annotate my Robert C Balling Jr transcript, and have finished a first pass at his Q&A part - i.e, Part II (will now go start on part 1) - but probably got some stuff wrong and missed others - in your copious, could you perhaps stop by and critique it?

  • Ray Ladbury // December 11, 2008 at 6:57 pm

    GP says “Open Thread #8 is not as big as it used to be…

    Ah, not a big loss.”

    Damn, I was counting on those posts for when we hold the intervention over TCO’s drinking.

  • Ian // December 11, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Anna, Deltoid has new a post up about this “list” as well:

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/12/650_international_scientists_e.php

  • Ian // December 11, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Sorry Anna,
    That’s not what you were looking for, please ignore. I had too many windows open at once and posted in the wrong place…

  • Dave A // December 11, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Ray,
    So, even if Mann’s initial method was flawed, it’s unlikely the same flaws will be repeated, and over time, you get methods that work well.

    Well Mann’s initial work was flawed,( and he has probably repeated some of the flaws himself recently) so how come the subsequent studies you talk about didn’t pick up on the original flaws?

  • Hank Roberts // December 11, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    > so how come

    Do you have any other hobbies besides lying about climatogy?

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Mann%2C+M.E.%2C+Rutherford%2C+S.%2C+Wahl%2C+E.%2C+Ammann%2C+C.%2C+Testing+the+Fidelity+of+Methods+Used+in+Proxy-based+Reconstructions+of+Past+Climate%2C

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 12:13 am

    Were there flaws in Mann’s original 1998 paper. No doubt. It was pioneering work–the first multi-proxy reconstruction of climate on millennial scales. Some of the methods got stretched further than the bounds of mathematical rigor. That happens in pioneering work. One of my most original papers got rejected by my journal of choice (though it was published in a conference proceeding). Turned out it was a wee bit too original. OK. I learned from it. So did other people in my field, actually. The thing you and the other McAuditors don’t seem to understand is that science does not progress by picking apart the same papers and arguments over and over again. We learn what there is to learn from a piece of research and we move on and improve on it. That’s science.

  • Maxt // December 12, 2008 at 3:00 am

    But would he have corrected his errors without someone checking his original methods? If the mistakes were not pulled out and paraded around, would he have known he made mistakes?
    Personal biases aside, you for one should know that science does not progress by not checking for errors, nor does it advance if the flawed methodology is repeated again and again either.

  • t_p_hamilton // December 12, 2008 at 4:23 am

    Maxt:”But would he have corrected his errors without someone checking his original methods?”

    Probably? If the work is important enough for people to study using that and other techniques, and the original work has SIGNIFICANT errors then they will stick out. That is how most errors get discovered and eliminated.

    Maxt:”Personal biases aside, you for one should know that science does not progress by not checking for errors, nor does it advance if the flawed methodology is repeated again and again either.”

    Irrelevant, since these hypotheticals don’t actually happen.

  • Hank Roberts // December 12, 2008 at 6:02 am

    Tuesday, December 09, 2008
    Do solar/heliospheric changes affect the earth’s climate?
    That was the title of the keynote talk at a workshop held here last week. To save you the trouble of reading any further, I should just say now that the answer provided was “no, at least not to any significant extent since the middle of last century”.
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Ray, I agree that science evolves by trial of approach and discarding flawed methods. Please elaborate what methods of Mike’s were wrong. I want to see you admit them and know which ones they were…so that you can separate wheat and chaff.

  • george // December 12, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Ian said: “Sorry Anna,
    That’s not what you were looking for, please ignore.I had too many windows open at once and posted in the wrong place…”

    multiblogging can indeed be tricky.

    Like, walking, running and chewing gum and potato chips simultaneously.

    maybe what is needed is a blog comment box that automatically checks for relevance to the particular post and puts up a message

    “Are you absolutely sure you want to submit that totally irrelevant/idiotic comment?”

    followed by

    You can’t be serious (can you?)

    before the submission is completed.

    Then again, the message would probably come up for 99.9% of comments …

    Never mind.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    TCO, the statistical shortcomings in MBH98 have been discussed ad nauseum. I don’t view this as a failure–the authors merely stretched some techniques a bit too far. They’ve been corrected in subsequent efforts. The results didn’t change that much. It’s still warm out there.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    George dismisses his stupidity filter idea: “Then again, the message would probably come up for 99.9% of comments ”

    But you’re saying this like it’s a bad thing. I think the difference is that some of us would listen and hit delete. Some would charge right in there an post anyway and say the filter was conducting ad hominem attacks.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Maxt, what makes you think nobody would have been checking? What makes you think others would not have felt uncomfortable with some of the methods and not investigated whether they could have improved them? That’s how science works–you get a bunch of smart guys trying to figure out better and better ways to answer questions that interest them. Rewards: curiosity satisfaction + bragging rights

  • george // December 12, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Ray says Some would charge right in there an post anyway and say the filter was conducting ad hominem attacks”

    No, the message I proposed was “Are you absolutely sure you want to submit that totally irrelevant/idiotic comment?”

    not, “Ray, you f…ing idiot, you probably don’t know any better, given the fact that your mother was an amoeba and your father pond scum, but are you absolutely sure you want to submit that totally irrelevant/idiotic comment?”

    The second is ad hom (at least in some circles) and the first merely helpful, like spell-check.

    In fact, it could be called “Rel-check” (TM)

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 3:50 pm

    Ray, it’s one thing if your opponent keeps beating you on the head with a mistake already conceded. It’s another if you don’t concede the errors and just want to move on. It’s important in science and math to wrestle with things and fix things. This is not post-modernisim.

  • Hank Roberts // December 12, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Look at how often a paper has been cited a few years after it gets published. Some never do. Some are cited by only their own author in a second paper.

    If nobody has cited it, perhaps it was perfect and said all there was to be said. Perhaps it wasn’t even interesting enough to discredit. There’s plenty of chaff, and the way to know if the idea has kittens is to count them after a while.

    IF a paper gets read and people think there’s something interesting there to delve into, others who do work in the area pick up on the ideas there; _that’s_ when it gets really gone over, as people take a look using their own methods at the same facts.

    That’s what the anti-science crowd really despises about science — the lack of founders on pedestals who can be attacked and overthrown.

    Yes, if science were a religion, and you could catch the founder out on some pecadillo, the whole structure could be brought down.

    Look up people using the word “Darwinist” to see the peculiar worldview at work.

    Heck, look at some of the papers trying to prove CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas, for papers that never got cited after they got published.

    Publication’s a very low hurdle compared to the later events that may, nor may not, make a scientific paper attract attention.

    But the real question is, do we have the same troll coming in under new names over and over asking the same copypaste question, or are there really new totally naive readers still in the world who get sucked into the PR sites, pick up the standard long-discredited claims, and follow some pointer here to bother Tamino?

    Only clue might be their IP address, or the use of some proxy service hiding it, I suppose.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    TCO, what matters is that the error gets fixed, not who fixes it, not who issues a mea culpa, not who thumps their chest and does a victory dance. What matters is progress in understanding the science and in developing better techniques for teasing the truth out. Personally, I’m not emotionally invested in whether every technique in MBH98 was correct. I’ve seen better techniques since that yield similar results.

    Here’s a hint: If you’re still hashing out a paper a decade after publication, you aren’t doing science.

  • Lee // December 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    TCO, I don’t get why you are fixated on this. I really don’t.

    Mann’s founding work is both critically important, because it founded the field - and utterly irrelevant now , because it has been superseded by better work.

    The fixation on Mann has nothing to do with the science. You say, correctly “It’s important in science and math to wrestle with things and fix things.” The minor analytic errors in Mann’s founding paper have been wrested with and fixed - and the analyses using different methodology, without those minor analytic errors, get essentially the same result.

    The SCIENCE has dealt with this, and found that Mann’s result was essentially correct, with some variation in details, even if his methods were somewhat invalid. This is common in science - it is the way science works. Many, many founding papers are flawed in pretty serious ways - and they get cleaned up and rigorously confirmed or shown to be wrong by subsequent work. That has happened here.

    Even Mann himself has, through his subsequent work, dealt with those minor errors - he published work that didn’t use those analytic methods, and got the same results.

    When you guys hound Mann to submit to a public mea culpa for the minor errors in a work that is at this point COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY IRRELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE, because it has been superseded by better work that gets the same result, INCLUDING BETTER WORK BY MANN, and that in spite of its minor errors is a good piece of founding work, then you show that your goal is to discredit Mann, not advance the science.

    When “your side,” TCO - and you are buying into this and supporting it - gets so het up on attacking Mann’s founding papers, and only discussing the subsequent papers piecemeal at best, it is clear and overwhelming evidence to me that the science isn’t what is important to you - it is the opportunity to attack the scientist that is important. It is egregious, vile stuff, and you support it with statements like the one you just made, statements that imply - and that use the attacks on Mann to reinforce this false idea - that the errors in Mann’s founding works have not been dealt with SCIENTIFICALLY.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 6:19 pm

    Ray:

    But how can we know there is agreement that the technique X is invalid, unless you (or others) say so?

    And if the discussion’s been done to death, how come it’s hard for you to jot off a quick “top three” of errors in MBH?

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    “The SCIENCE has dealt with this, and found that Mann’s result was essentially correct, with some variation in details, even if his methods were somewhat invalid. ”

    ————-

    HOW WERE THEY INVALID? How somewhat is somewhat? Is there really agreement to the invalidity or a rational reason for continuing to defend and even use those old methods?

    Can’t you disaggregate issues? When we are discussing issue A1, that is not the time to bring in B1 or even the (feared or hoped for follow on) A2. For instance, I was amazed to hear some commenters here that Mann did not need to disclose the math details of his short-centering? Do you think Jolliffe would agree with you all there? Would you bet on it? BET YOUR ASS? And I was so happy to see Tammy, tersely speak otherwise.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Were I to write a paper, I would WANT to call attention to how it differed from the old one and in particular if there were things WRONG in the old one would want to point that out directly, rather than obliquely.

    Heck, how do we know that Mann is fixing things with the new work? Maybe he just sees these all as independant methods/attempts with equal validity? And changing the method WHILE changing the data set (Mann08) is not that helpful in analyzing the original method!

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Oh…y’all will be happy to know that Watts and McI and his little acolytes don’t like me pushing them to acknowledge errors either. They much prefer to move on…or to use a “rowback” style of correction. Who knows, maybe my idealism is misguided if both sides hate it.

    I mean, I always thought the truth set you free and acknowledging the truth set you free-er. It’s how all my training in HS and college science and math was philosophically. It’s how Dick Feynman was.

    But both sides hate it, so maybe I’m just being a beoyatch? Naaah, I’m right, you’re wrong; you’re weak, I’m strong.

    ;-)

  • Hank Roberts // December 12, 2008 at 6:58 pm

    Yawn.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 12, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    TCO asks: “But how can we know there is agreement that the technique X is invalid, unless you (or others) say so?”

    When people stop using it, that sends a pretty loud signal. Public flogging usually isn’t necessary.

  • dhogaza // December 12, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    And changing the method WHILE changing the data set (Mann08) is not that helpful in analyzing the original method!

    You’re proving the point made above, that the fixation on Mann’s earlier work has one goal, and one goal only - to discredit him. And, because of the significance of his work, to try to lever this into a discrediting of all of climate science.

    If you really were smarter than everyone else here, you wouldn’t be so effing transparent, TCO.

  • Hank Roberts // December 12, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Look, there’s plenty of opportunity to criticize current, recently published work. Write a letter to the journal, or get published.

    It’s the Tim Curtin Memorial Challenge.

    http://bravenewclimate.com/2008/08/10/dr-david-evans-born-again-alarmist/

  • t_p_hamilton // December 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    TCO:”For instance, I was amazed to hear some commenters here that Mann did not need to disclose the math details of his short-centering?”

    After the cows have left the barn, do we think the farmer should have shut the barn door? Now, say this happened 10 years ago, the farmer has gathered the cattle and are contained. I am amazed there are some people who think it should be brought up perenially.

    “Do you think Jolliffe would agree with you all there? Would you bet on it? BET YOUR ASS?”

    If Joliffe thinks it such a huge error, would he not write a paper on it? Or write a paper on the issue even if it wasn’t an error, but was commonly perceived to be an error? You bet your ass he would!

  • Dave A // December 12, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    If, dare you, you check out the following at CA

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=4640

    you will see that Dominik Fleitman is not particularly happy that someone whom we all know used some of his work in a not altogether appropriate way,

    “Last but not least, I am not very happy that our data were used for temperature reconstructions in a recently published PNAS paper, despite the fact that our stalagmite isotope records from Oman and Yemen reflect changes in the amount of rainfall and effective moisture.”

    Does this remind you of BCPs in 1998/99?

  • David B. Benson // December 12, 2008 at 10:32 pm

    TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 6:31 pm — Ever heard the old saw about beating a dead horse?

  • TCOisbanned? // December 12, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    I saw a flicker! Damn it, let me whale that thing with a baseball bat and send chunks of flesh and blood flying.

  • Dave A // December 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    OK, Mann isn’t doing so well and ,what’s this, GISS admits that SAT measurements don’t amount to a row of beans.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html

    Is that the sound of wheels coming off……

    [Response: When you make ludicrous statements with no basis, then doing a "happy dance" about it, you really make yourself look like an idiot.]

  • Hank Roberts // December 12, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    That’s not a flicker, it’s a woodpecker.

    This isn’t a PR piece, it’s

    “… the first quantitative, scientific evaluation of the proposed, major, energy-related solutions by assessing not only their potential for delivering energy for electricity and vehicles, but also their impacts on global warming, human health, energy security, water supply, space requirements, wildlife, water pollution, reliability and sustainability.”

    http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2009/january7/power-010709.html

  • dhogaza // December 13, 2008 at 12:44 am

    Fleitman also says this:

    No, I didn’t send a complaint to PNAS. I’ve seen this paper last week and had no time to respond as I just came back from a field trip in Turkey. I would like to read the entire paper very carefully before I do the next step.

    In other words, reading the entire paper might cause him to reconsider his first reaction.

    And even if he disagrees, that doesn’t mean that Mann is wrong that this proxy can be used as a temperature proxy. It’s something they get to fight over. You assume Mann loses because you buy into the notion that Mann practices scientific fraud.

  • Ray Ladbury // December 13, 2008 at 12:47 am

    TCO, Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the reason climate scientists are not up in arms over errors in MBH98 might have something to do with
    1)It was the first multi-proxy reconstruction of such impressive length.
    2)It was largely correct.
    3) The errors in statistical techniques weren’t all that serious–that is, you got basically the same results if you corrected them.
    4)The guy leading the charge against this work is basically a jerk who hasn’t ever produced anything that has furthered understanding of climate.
    5)By the time the statistical shortcomings were brought out, the community had long moved on.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful that the dead horse is still getting tenderized. It keeps the flies away from us.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 13, 2008 at 12:53 am

    Ray, none of that is a surprise and all of it is tangential to discussion of particulars. I am not so interested in up in armsness as I am in intellectualy honest even on (perhaps in particular on) minor issues.

  • John Finn // December 13, 2008 at 1:39 am

    TCO, Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps the reason climate scientists are not up in arms over errors in MBH98 …..

    The one thing that’s occurred to me is that so many “climate scientists” accept MBH98 yet very few have thought to study, in any detail, the “1902 great climate shift” which is evident in MBH.

    There’s plenty of stuff on other periods but the biggest temperature shift over the past 1000 years (apart from the 1970s, of course) and - virually nothing. Why is that?

    OK - I know there are a few studies which suggest solar variation and “lack of volcanos” etc as reasons for the sudden, sharp rise but there’s nothing to explain why the sun was suddenly more active in ~1900 compared to the previous 900 years.

    And what about volcanos? where they erupting all over the place for centuries on end then all of a sudden - nothing? Yet we know Krakatoa erupted in 1883 - only a couple of decades earlier than the MBH climate shift.

    I’d be interested in finding answers to these questions? Can anyone help?

    [Response: The increase in solar output is open to question; Dr. Svalgaard doesn't believe it. But the decline in volcanic forcing is beyond doubt. You can view a graph of volcanic forcing and read about its effect here.]

  • Ray Ladbury // December 13, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Dave A., Your ability to misinterpret simple English prose continues to astound.

  • luminous beauty // December 13, 2008 at 2:14 am

    Socrates,

    Assuming, for the sake of argument, the HS is wrong and past global temperatures fluctuate much more than what the evidence indicates. Given what we know about historical natural external forcing relative to current anthropogenic forcing, what would that imply about climate sensitivity?

  • Ray Ladbury // December 13, 2008 at 2:48 am

    Shhh, Luminous, you’ll scare the children. They want to think that if they can just make the hockey stick go away, everything will be hunkey dorey. They’re looking forward to getting lumps of coal in their stocking!

  • Plato // December 13, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Why that would imply that S (the Charney sensitivity) is greater than we thought. That would mean that we are in for a world of hurt.

  • dhogaza // December 13, 2008 at 4:17 am

    Hey, look guys, they’ve all been told that before, many times.

    But they dismiss it, because they honestly seem to believe that if the hockey stick can be proven wrong, the entire scientific edifice known as climate science will crumble to dust. So the implication that “S is greater than we thought” is just another piece of commie science bullshit that True Righteous Debunking will blast away along with the HS.

    They don’t seem to understand how much science would have to turn out to be commie science bullshit (i.e. bits of physics) for the implication to disappear along with the hockey stick …

  • Lee // December 13, 2008 at 5:41 am

    TCO asks me:

    “Can’t you disaggregate issues? When we are discussing issue A1, that is not the time to bring in B1 or even the (feared or hoped for follow on) A2.”

    TCO, my post WAS a disaggregation of the issues. Your issue A1, near as I can see, seems to be “In regard to the founding papers, Mann is a dishonest/misleading/conniving f(art).” That statement - and the incessant vile rhetorical techniques and arguments used to discredit Mann by those who concentrate on this “Issue A1″ - is IRRELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE, because those papers have been superceded and have become IRRELEVANT TO THE PRESENT STATE OF THE SCIENCE.

    I argued that when you disaggregate issue A1 - that is, all the crap about Mann - that it is IRRELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE. Disaggregating that from the scientifically relevant questions makes it really clear that the people who concentrate on “issue A1″ are not interested in the science - they are interested in savaging Mann’s reputation, and often then by implication savaging the reputation of climate science in general. That is a (disaggregated) issue that has no interest to me - it is IRRELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE.

    Let me belabor this point and repeat that, in case you didn’t hear it. I am not interested in personal attacks and attempts to discredit that are NOT RELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE. Did you get that, TCO? And I am being clear that continued attacks on Mann, especially when they disguise themselves as attempts to advance the science, have nothing to do with the science.

    I am interested in “Issue A2 ” what do the paleo proxies tell us about paleo temperatures?” Mann’s founding papers at this point are not the place to look for that answer. They don’t matter at this point, they have been superceded by better work. There may be multiple issues in those later, better papers that need to be ‘disagregated’ as well, but Mann’s founding papers are irrelevant to that meta-issue as well.

    My desegregation of these issues (”Issue A1″ - is there anything to this incessant hammering at Mann’s reputation, and “Issue A2″ - what do the paleo proxies tell us abut ancient temperatures) points me to the stuff that is actually relevant to the question I want to understand . This yammering about whether Mann met some standard , in papers that no longer are the place to look for the best analysis of the questions I want answered, is IRRELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE, and not among the issues that have any consequence to the scientific question of interest.

    Got it, TCO?

  • Lee // December 13, 2008 at 5:50 am

    Dave A,

    So what if the stalagmite record is a direct moisture record? If ‘effective moisture’ correlates with temperature in a particular paleo record, then that paleo record it is ALSO a temperature record. That is one possible mechanism.

    If the paleo proxy correlates with temp, it is a paleo temperature proxy, even if the correlation with temperature operates via some indirect mechanism.

  • John Finn // December 13, 2008 at 10:33 am

    [Response: The increase in solar output is open to question; Dr. Svalgaard doesn't believe it. But the decline in volcanic forcing is beyond doubt. You can view a graph of volcanic forcing and read about its effect here.]

    I know that the introduction of stratospheric aerosols can result in a temporary, i.e. 2- 3 years, cooling. For example, Pinatubo caused cooling in 1992, 1993 and to a lesser extent 1994.

    So how regular were major (i.e. climate changing) volcanos prior to the 20th century. Krakatoa was in 1883 - yet MBH shoots up in~1900 - less than 20 years later .

    I’ve got 2 questions on this

    1. Are we saying there was not a similar period of “no volcanos” in the previous 1000 years (actually Mann & Jones suggest nearly 2000 years) .

    2. Now that we’ve had nearly 18 years of “no volcanos” (since Pinatubo 1991) can we expect another surge in global tempertures.

    But they dismiss it, because they honestly seem to believe that if the hockey stick can be proven wrong, the entire scientific edifice known as climate science will crumble to dust.

    I’m not trying to prove it wrong. I’m accepting it is correct but just looking at some of the interesting issues it presents.

    Why do you make these comment, dhogaza? Do you have some doubts about the HS?

  • TCOisbanned? // December 13, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Lee:

    1. You put words in my mouth. Unfairly, and improperly.

    2. If the issues of A1 are irrelvant to a generalization on greater work, then you argue when you get to that step in the logic train. But you don’t contest things that you know are true, because of some worry of possible extension to other effects. One is mathematical honesty. The other is PR and debating. I side with math honesty.

  • michel // December 13, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    The HS will not be mentioned in any AGW advocacy materials written after about a year from now. The wind is changing, its over. It will not ever be repudiated, it will just quietly vanish from view. The signs are clear already. So, John Finn, you are quite wrong to ask your opponent awkward questions. Of course he has doubts. Everyone has something more than doubts. Its like asking devout churchmen in 1910 if they had doubts about the Biblical account of creation now that evolution was generally accepted. Indignant denial, is what you would get.

    It was a fitting reward for your discourtesy in putting them in an awkward position. This stage of fiercely defending what no-one believes any longer doesn’t usually last long. Quiet words are said, and people become aware that its no longer helpful.

    Then we all move on. Give it another year. Or maybe at the latest, until the next IPCC report. But be tactful meanwhile, you have won already, there is no need to crow.

    [Response: Considering that this comment is nothing but "crowing," your last sentence rings of hypocrisy.

    Considering that your premise has no basis, the whole comment rings of ignorance.]

  • Hank Roberts // December 13, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    Yep, they’ll have noted the increase in the rate of change in the last few years. A hockey stick has a straight blade after the bend.

    The rate of change as understood nowadays
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/c/c1/2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

    looks rather more like a scythe.
    http://www.motus.mb.ca/images/scythe.gif

  • Lee // December 13, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    TCO,

    1. No, I didn’t put words in your mouth. I tried to characterize the arguments against Mann’s founding papers - that general line of argument, as I stated it, is recurrent and ongoing - and assigned them as “Issue A1.” I admit to wording that badly. I meant to refer to “your” disaggregation of arguments, not “your” argument. I didn’t mean to say that you were arguing that tripe about Mann, and I apologize if it seems so - I meant only to assign that argument to “your” labeled issue A1. I do, however, stand by my earlier argument that by focusing on that crap, rather than on the relevant science, you are contributing to the attempts to slander Mann whether you mean to do so or not.

    2. One more time: That “that step in the logic train” IS NOT RELEVANT TO THE SCIENCE. For the purpose of understanding what the paleo record tells us, it simply does not matter any more whether Mann’s founding works are sufficiently rigorous, or whether he met your standards. You are pounding to death a ” step in the logic train” that is on a logical siding leading to nowhere. Those issues are known, whether you like how Mann dealt with them or not. Later work in the field avoids those issues. Later work of Mann’s avoids those issues. The issues in any case have only minimal impact on the analysis.
    And most important - new work in the field uses different methods, and gets essentially the same results.

    The pounding on Mann’s founding papers might be relevant for different questions - questions like “how does science work,” or “how should science work,” or even, “did Mann respond appropriately to the issues.” If those are your interests, take it to a philosophy of science board somewhere. Because the pounding on Mann’s founding papers is at this date is UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT to the questions about paleo temperatures.

  • Hank Roberts // December 13, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    This is a video Andrew Dessler posted some time ago, of Dr. North’s discussion of the hearings on Mann’s work and the analysis done for the committee hearing.

    Science and politics of global climate change: North on the hockey stick, Sep 4, 2006 … he gave an interesting seminar to our department …
    http://geotest.tamu.edu/userfiles/216/NorthH264.mp4

    The URL has changed, and it’s a good one worth keeping track of.

  • Dave A // December 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm

    When you make ludicrous statements with no basis,

    Well words like, “I doubt there is general agreement how to answer this question” in relation to the definition of SAT

    and ” Again there is no universally accepted answer” in relation to daily mean SAT

    certainly suggest that the use of such measurements is not a valid way of assessing whether things are warming or cooling

  • Dave A // December 13, 2008 at 8:39 pm

    Dhogaza,

    Yes, Dominik Fleitman responded that he hadn’t made a complaint to PNAS in response to a direct question on the thread.

    But his initial remark about not being happy was volunteered by himself earlier in the thread and certainly indicated some irritation.

  • Dave A // December 13, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    Michel,

    The HS will not be mentioned in any AGW advocacy materials written after about a year from now.

    Maybe not, but it is still being used to indoctrinate school children all over the world via Gore’s AIT and is probably still the most publically recognised symbol of AGW.

    This is why we are constantly told to’ forget it the science has moved on’ by AGWers because its iconic significance can work both ways. Admission that it is wrong will hole AGW below the waterline.

    And note that Mann himself cannot move on from it in his recent PNAS paper

  • dhogaza // December 13, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    This stage of fiercely defending what no-one believes any longer doesn’t usually last long.

    That’s hilarious, seeing as Mann just published an extremely thorough follow-up to his original work.

    It won’t be the last. As more and more proxies are developed, more and more supporting work will be published.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 13, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    The speleo discussions on CA right now are kinda intersting. Plus I corresponded with Dr. Partin off line as well. Cool.

  • Ricki (Australia) // December 14, 2008 at 5:33 am

    What realy counts in the HS is that it has been thoroughly tested and found to be correct. It’s a bit irelevant what errors there may have been made along the way.

    If you can’t accept that the recent temperature rise is unusual for our world, go and re-study all the more recent research (there have been a number of links above).

  • John Finn // December 14, 2008 at 11:19 am

    The rate of change as understood nowadays
    http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/c/c1/2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

    Hank

    One of the things I notice about the reconstructions is that none are able to reproduce the late 20th century surge in temperatures. In fact most show ~1980s temperatures as lower than those in the ~1940s. Why is that?

    It’s a bit easier to see what I’m saying in this plot

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/briffa2001/plate3.gif

    The other thing to notice is the periods where the observed temperature measurements agree with the reconstructions. This seems to be a period between the late 19th/early 20th century and ~1970s. But this is the period which is, generally, used to calibrate the proxies, so we would expect some agreement over this period. Outside of that period agreement isn’t that good. For example, in the late 20th century actual observations show a significant departure from proxies. But there’s worse: between ~1850 and ~1900 temperature observations and proxies are actually moving in the opposite direction.

    Does this mean the temperature record is wrong in the pre-1900 and post-1970 periods?

    But outside of those periods the

  • TCOisbanned? // December 14, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Ricki: the NRC says that we have large systemic uncertinaties wret temp more than 400 years ago. Also competing spaghetti curves (Moburg, Esper) give different pictures.

    All that said, I personally think the most likely thing is that temp was approximately flat for last 1000 years, that the recent temp rise is from AGW. Etc.

    But to blithely say that we have it nailed down is naive.

    I have much more faith in the basic physics, intuitions, the recent temp record, etc. than I do in either paleo or GCMs which seem like massively compex calcs designed to get the right answer anyway (the one that is my Bayesian hunch and comes more from EBMs and such).

  • Gavin's Pussycat // December 14, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    michel… in your dreams. I have you bookmarked. Fun ahead.

  • Hank Roberts // December 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    John Finn, without sources beyond a picture, I can’t even confirm what you say is accurate, let alone say if I agree with your conclusions from what you say. Point to a study supporting what you believe, rather than pick bits and pieces and then ask me to agree with broad conclusions based on the bits and pieces.

  • Hank Roberts // December 14, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=29

    Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years (2006)

  • John Finn // December 15, 2008 at 10:09 am

    John Finn, without sources beyond a picture, I can’t even confirm what you say is accurate, let alone say if I agree with your conclusions from what you say.

    Hank

    The picture I provided (from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/briffa2001/briffa2001.html) is, by and large, the same as the one you provided. Mine is clearer because the of the wider scale on the horizontal (x) axis. This allows us to see more detail over specific periods. My link, unlike yours, also lists the studies used (e.g. Mann, Overpeck, Crowley & Lowery).

    I’m not sure, therefore, what more you need. We have the reconstructions from the studies and the observed temperature. From this we can analyse different periods and see how good the agreement is between the reconstructions and thermometer measurements. Between ~1900 and ~1970 the agreement is good - but this is the period which is used to calibrate the proxies - so it should be good. The pre-1900 and post-1970 periods are not so good in fact they are quite bad.

  • Sekerob // December 16, 2008 at 12:08 am

    Anyone wanting to check out the latest lobotomized analysis by wuttssoup?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/12/14/global-sea-ice-trend-since-1979-surprising/#more-4540

    Flat global sea ice area over 30 years? Thought to have read the trend was -60,000 km square for the NH and +25,000 km square for the SH, which would net a -35,000 annual reduction., He manages to somehow conger up an increase.

    [Response: The analyst (Jeff Id) failed to notice in the documentation that there's a discontinuity in the northern hemisphere ice area data, caused by the fact that there's a “hole” in the observed area which is smaller for the SSM/I satellite than for SMMR. Hence area data after the switch from one satellite to another are larger — not because ice area was greater, but simply because the area which is “not counted” is smaller.

    I posted a comment to that effect, but for two hours it simply said "Your comment is awaiting moderation" even though other (later) comments appeared on the blog. About an hour ago Anthony Watts attached a note to it saying "MODERATORS DO NOT APPROVE THIS COMMENT- INVESTIGATING." Now, three hours after posting my comment, it has completely disappeared from the thread -- not even "awaiting moderation."]

    [Response 2: Now it's reappeared, but still "awaiting moderation" with a "DO NOT APPROVE" message.]

  • Sekerob // December 16, 2008 at 12:30 am

    Yes, when doing my own plots I accounted for the 1.21 m km square hole switch to the 310 k km square, as it says in the NH ice data files.

    And yes, comments au contraire are not appreciated in those SDW (Steve’s Dog Watts) quarters.

  • Sekerob // December 16, 2008 at 12:34 am

    Sorry, was writing off the top of my head, the 1.21 should probably 1.19 m km2

  • Hank Roberts // December 16, 2008 at 12:39 am

    It’s called handicapping — let the mistake get some traction and take a few glory laps around the blogosphere before letting the correction out of the gate.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 16, 2008 at 12:56 am

    The paint investigation (the one decent thing he was working on) is now going to take another year. The Basil work is coming out in a paper (wanna bet the journal), but I had the impression it’s not written yet. I hope Watts has learned his lesson about running out crying Eureka before the work is done…think also with the very long delays that some more cautionary updates should be added to all the old posts which seemed to hype how he hopes the research will turn out (but is yet unproven).

  • Jeff Id // December 16, 2008 at 2:34 am

    [Response: The analyst (Jeff Id) failed to notice in the documentation that there's a discontinuity in the northern hemisphere ice area data, caused by the fact that there's a “hole” in the observed area which is smaller for the SSM/I satellite than for SMMR. Hence area data after the switch from one satellite to another are larger — not because ice area was greater, but simply because the area which is “not counted” is smaller.

    You were correct Tamino, I have posted your comment and a correction to my post. It is more in line with my original expectation. Anthony has asked me to do the same for him and was waiting for me.

    The net change in ice and downslope are exaggerated in this analysis because the %fill inside the hole prior to the satellite switch is assumed to be %100.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/sea-ice-decreases-despite-the-air-vent/

    You could consider letting this one through moderation.

  • Jeff Id // December 16, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Watts has learned his lesson about running out crying Eureka before the work is done…

    Watts did not write my post, I did. Before you pile on me remember back a couple of months on this blog.

    Many things presented on blogs are in an unfinished state. If you read back on my previous posts you can note my confusion at some of the data. I do my best and admit my errors, Mann and others should do the same.

  • Sekerob // December 16, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Good to see that 35000 off the top of head worked out at 37520 per annum reduction, global.

    Here’s one of my dabblings from last week through Nov.2008. We broke global records in November, lows!
    http://i137.photobucket.com/albums/q210/Sekerob/GlobalSIASIE.png

  • Steven Earl Salmony // December 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    On climate change obstructionism at Poznan…….

    This response is so predictable, so duplicitous, so pathetic, so immoral, so dunderheaded.

    Too many current leaders appear to be saying that the environmental ’strategy’ of delay and denial is as necessary and justifiable today as invading Iraq was in 2003.

    Only a tale told by an idiot could match the one we are seeing played out on the world’s stage in this first decade of Century XXI.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001
    http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176

  • Boris // December 16, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    Many things presented on blogs are in an unfinished state.

    However, your over the top rhetoric doesn’t allow you to back away with much grace, does it?

    This is a strong indication of substantial errors in the computer models and temperature data which needs to be addressed before we throw what’s left of our global economy to the wind.

    [Response: I agree that the rhetoric was over the top. But Id has also admitted his result was mistaken, and rather than burying the admission in a footnote he placed it prominently at the beginning of his post on Watts' blog. He deserves credit for honesty and candor in a difficult situation.]

  • TCOisbanned? // December 16, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Id: I was commenting on Watts old kerfuffles–haven’t kept up with you.

  • Jeff Id // December 16, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    Tamino,

    Thanks for your comments and for the correction in my calculation. I really am a skeptic, not a denier and only started looking at the data in August so I guarantee you will get another shot to find problems in my work again.

    From my perspective:

    So far I ran into a paper (by the highest profile AGW guys) which is full of bogus science. Which, before the rest jump on me, doesn’t end the debate either way. But it is clearly full of faults which are more severe than any mistake I made.

    I’ve also run into substantial head in the sand about real questions regarding that paper. This pattern exists throughout the AGW community, leading to increased skepticism and distrust.

    Now the ice data, even with exaggerated pre-1987 area corrections doesn’t seem nearly as severe as we are told. If my original post had turned out to be correct after twenty thousand plus hits I would have likely been converted to a denier/skeptic.

    So, unlike many, I am willing to let the truth dictate the outcome. As evidence, instead of some hand waving or other things which would have satisfied many who are more skeptical than myself, I plotted the worst case scenario and put it at the top of my blog.

    Also, I am president and owner of a “Green” company. I personally stand to make good deal of money over the AGW issue. Yet I remain firmly unconvinced that CO2 is anywhere near as dangerous as this highly politicized science would have us believe.

    I am convinced that cutting carbon production the way some here think we should would clip the very thing which could eventually reduce the carbon production - technological development. A unilateral (or unequal) action like that by the developed nations would place us (or non green company owners) at a gigantic disadvantage in the world community. That’s a real tipping point.

    [Response: You say you "ran into a paper (by the highest profile AGW guys)" but you don't say what paper, by which guys -- so you've made a claim that "AGW guys" are promoting bogus science, but we have no way to check whether it's true or not.

    You say "even with exaggerated pre-1987 area corrections doesn't seem nearly as severe as we are told," but I've been all over this data and it is as severe as we've been told -- so you're just plain wrong on that one.

    Your reasons for doubt don't stand up to scrutiny.]

  • Ian Forrester // December 16, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Yes, I believe JeffId has a green company, he just didn’t properly describe it. It is a “green washing” company if his comments are any indicator.

  • Jeff Id // December 16, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I thought you would understand Mann08. It’s the only one I’ve dug deep into.

    My reasons for doubt are quite clear pretending they aren’t won’t change that.

    From the ice data, I just don’t agree that we’re looking at a disaster. It doesn’t add up. Look at the top graph from this post copied from UIUC cryosphere. The slope is less than my corrected plots - ‘as expected’ And it doesn’t look like doom and gloom to me. The trend remains pretty flat (perhaps by eye a slight downslope) through 2003. I’ve requested the actual data but no reply yet.

    Thanks for your understanding Ian.

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/sea-ice-decreases-despite-the-air-vent/

  • TCOisbanned? // December 16, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    Jeff:

    I think you might actually be a skeptic rather than a denialist. And a gentleman. Stay strong…and go for truth. And if you expose the “consensus” to a bunch of tests and find that it stands up, publish that. And the opposite of course. Be like Elihu Goldratt in The Goal.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 16, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I had kind of a funny question…but anyone ever do electronics and use that canned freon (I have some, but don’t tell anyone) for cleaning stuff? So, now I think it is canned CO2 instead. So, is there any hatred/danger from that CO2? Or is that pretty miniscule? Just curious.

  • TCOisbanned? // December 17, 2008 at 12:03 am

    And just that little can of freon for blowing off circuits. That will not hurt anyone. Especially if I am the only one. And everyone else is good. Or if others are bad, my harm is little extra….

  • luminous beauty // December 17, 2008 at 12:11 am

    Jeff,

    Just to be clear, it appears your doubt arises from being able to data-mine Mann08 for smallish sets of proxies that strongly correlate yet produce “reconstructions” that differ significantly from Mann’s globally averaged reconstructions.

    Is this correct? Have you applied any physical reasoning to attempt to make sense of this? At all?

    “From the ice data, I just don’t agree that we’re looking at a disaster.”

    I believe you are disagreeing with a straw man here. Though one might think a loss of over 4.6% over 30 years might be a significant piece of evidence of something, I can’t imagine any reasonable person claiming this portends imminent disaster. What has caught the interest of those who are perceptive, is last year’s dramatic collapse of a large chunk of the Arctic icecap. It is the source of much speculation and real scientific debate.

    Do you have anything scientifically interesting to say about that?

  • luminous beauty // December 17, 2008 at 12:28 am

    TCO,

    “…is there any hatred/danger from that CO2?”

    For the sake of the planet, it would be appreciated if you refrained from flatulence, as well.

  • dhogaza // December 17, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Well, right here Jeff proves that the hockey stick is an artifact of the methodology, and is fatally flawed mathematics.

    The claim seems to be … signal+noise in, hockey stick out, regardless of the signal.

    Jeff will be famous, soon.

    Of course, the name of his blog - “noconsensus” appears in the URL - makes me tend to think he’s more denialist than skeptic, but maybe that’s just me …

  • dhogaza // December 17, 2008 at 12:52 am

    Jeff, why do you calibrate your “proxies” using a temp rise in the last 100 years, while using a flat-line signal to build your noisy “proxies”?

    You need to calibrate using the actual signal.

    In real life the choosing of the calibration period is crucial, you need to have high confidence that the data’s known well enough to be representative of the underlying signal.

    In your case you’re purposefully calibrating against data which is NOT representative of the true signal. Or, actually, what you’ve done is to replace the flat signal in your graph with a rising signal for calibration purposes.

    What’s your justification?

    Your mathematical “proof” seems to boil down to a claim that *if* the relatively recent warming timeframe used to calibrate the proxies actually hasn’t warmed but is simply due to bad data, then false proxies will be chosen and reconstructions of past temperatures will be wrong.

    That’s obvious and not proof of anything particular. You could simplify your life considerably by simply proving the data from calibration period(s) used by Mann is bogus. If you can do that, the rest follows and no one would disagree that the reconstructions are bogus as well.

    So, where’s your evidence that the calibration is being done against bogus data?

    OK, that’s my reaction after spending about five minutes looking it over, along with the gushingly appreciative comments you’ve attracted.

  • dhogaza // December 17, 2008 at 1:03 am

    And, Jeff, anyone who links to the OISM petition and repeats the claim that 31,000 scientists have signed it is pretty much consigned to the “denialist” rather than “skeptic” bin.

    Sorry. That’s just the way life works out sometimes.

  • Steve Bloom // December 17, 2008 at 1:16 am

    TCO: “I hope Watts has learned his lesson about running out crying Eureka before the work is done.”

    Not a chance there, noting that the initial premise of his pathetic little effort (using the WMO siting standard to infer error in existing stations) was absurd from the get-go. Additional evidence is the steady stream of ridiculous solar-climate posts based on his quasi-religious belief that “it’s the sun.”

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