It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

RC on Monitoring and Modeling

I started blogging because I saw scientists losing arguments to obfuscators and specifically largely because I saw RC coming off as arrogant and overly casual. Far be it from me to take any credit, but I'd like to take note of the current RC article, which is extremely elegantly put together, and in which the provocations are being handled deftly.

The article is in response from the latest noise from the Climate Audit folks. It absolutely demolishes their silliness; as usual they start with a nitpick and try to blow it up into a showstopper. Realclimate puts the whole thing in appropriate context very effectively.

Some very interesting conversation about the nature of GCMs ensues, and I hope to have more to say about it. After all, some people have me listed as a "science blog", and it's time I delivered some substance where I have some expertise.

Meanwhile, please note another aspect of the converstaion, the money double bind.

Many of the nits being picked are consequences of and adaptations to inadequate and episodic funding, yet the critics claim that the whole business is motivated by overfunding and are constantly applying pressure to scale back. Rather, they should be advocating more funding for more data, better data, and more contemporary software engineering practice with extensive maintenance and software infrastructure.

So we are being yelled at for not doing things more carefully and transparently and with better data and easier replicability, but all of these things are expensive. Yet the same people doing the yelling are convinced we are getting too much money.

Of course, the expectation that the big picture will be overturned at this point is silly. There is admittedly no point spending more money to pay people to find a different answer unless the truth is actually different than what we've been saying for almost thirty years now (including several correct predictions!)

We still have a lot to learn, some of it with policy implications, but it's pathetic that people are still trying to make the "no such thing as AGW" case, and ridiculous that they accuse us of lying for the money and the proof is that we haven't spent more money on the problem.

To those reading from America, happy 4th y'all!

10 comments:

David Duff said...

Alas, whatever their scientific merits, the difference between Climate Audit and Real Climate comes down to this: the former opens up threads reserved for dissenters to say their piece, the latter censor views not congenial to them.

Happy 4th, although why you should celebrate such a calamity to your nation's fortunes, I cannot imagine!

Michael Tobis said...

What nonsense!

"Whatever their scientific merits" indeed.

You don't even have a basis for your generalization, as if it mattered very much.

OK, so likewise:

Whatever the difference between the
Boeing 787 and the Cessna Golden Eagle in capacity, range and speed, the difference between them comes down to this: obviously the beverages are better on the Cessna.

Give us a break.

Anonymous said...

From: Vernon

I am sorry but if the evidence supported the CO2 AGW Theory, then why do the big guns only want to hide the data, processes, and procedures?

It took an act of the US Congress to get Mann to release most of the data, processes, and procedures that were the basis of the Hockey Stick. It seems in the aftermath that he did the right thing... statisticians promptly showed that the results were not supported by the data due to faulty use of statistics.

Jones of the CRU, who’s work is used to determine the Urban Heat Island off-set, flat refuses to release what station were used, how they were used, or much of anything else.

The surface stations show there is heating but the satellites show that the troposphere is not heating as the models suggest they should.

The IPCC claims that sea levels are rising but the raw satellite data shows that there has been no rising trend for the last 10 years.

The models show that heating should be greater at the poles but only the Artic is warming and a UC Irving study showed that up to 94 percent of that warming and artic melting could be due to dirty snow. The Antarctic is not warming, but actually seems to be cooling and adding ice.

The very basis for our ‘unprecedented’ warming is based on the trends shown in mainly tree ring proxies which do not show the medieval warm period or the little ice age to be world wide. What the IPCC does not want you to know is that they truncated the proxy data and graphs in the 2007 report to not show that the proxies also show no warming in the 20th century either! If they don’t show the actual temperature trends now, why would they be good for the past?

So as long as data, processes, and procedures are hidden. I have a hard time believing on models that are based on “proxies” that we now know do not reflect the past!

Michael Tobis said...

Conspiracy theories are interesting phenomena. What an impressive list of half truths and falsehoods!

A little openminded searching will find rebuttals to all your points.

Science in general and climate science in particular is anything but perfect as a culture and a process. That acknowldged, the idea that "CO2 AGW theory" is some sort of organized lie requires a highly implausible concept of what people do and why.

More to the point, what is your completing theory of what sets the surface temperature of a planet? Why is the earth warmer than the moon?

Anonymous said...

from: Vernon

Michael,

Tell you what... show me where the raw satellite data shows sea levels still having a rising trend, or that UC Irvinings Study was wrong, or where Jones has a public archive of his data, processes, and procedures, or that the tree ring proxies used to show past temperatures don't show cooling afther 1950 which was why they were truncated in the 2007 IPCC report and I will change my position but you can't.

I don't claim a Conspiracy is going on. I claim that there is a lot of money and prestege on the line and admitting that CO2 may not be the climate driver that the IPCC and its proponents think would cut off billions in funding, discredit some climatologist, and now that it is political, cost some their jobs. It is not a conspiracy, it is self interest at the expense of science.

Oh, and just so you know in the future, I don't have to have the answer to why climate is changing to point out the problems with the CO2 theory. It is the obligation of the proponents to present all data, processes, and procedures and then show that their theory meets the facts, not present a theory, hold back the data, processess, and procedures and attack anyone that questions their rational rather than address the facts.

Michael Tobis said...

Vernon, you are asking me to do a lot of work and not offering any way to pay for it. It's not that I couldn't answer any of this noise. It's that I have zero motivation to do so.

The odd thing is you think I have nothing better to do. This would be true if what I were doing were politics. But it isn't. It's science.

All or almost all this noise is rebutted by the relevant parties, but you have to be openminded and look for yourself.

If you want to actually have a debate over evidence, you have to show at least some understanding of what the evidence actually is. Far better would be some alternative theory of your own.

Naysaying is trivially easy.

In the present case it is also a bit loopy. It seems you are questioning the greenhouse effect itself. Good luck with that one.

Anonymous said...

From Vernon:

Michael,

Less see, you have attacked me, you have said the facts that I listed were wrong, and that you are not going to take the time to actually check anything out. You must be a CO2 AGW proponent... why you could be a climatologist!

The facts remain... there are holes in the CO2 theory. The proponents of the theory, just like you did, say I dont have to provide you the data, processes, and procedures! You need to do your own work.

Well sorry, it does not work like that.

Michael Tobis said...

You must be a CO2 AGW proponent...

You seem confused about what "proponent" means, among other things.

why you could be a climatologist!

It's a close call, really, but I'm glad you think so. I certainly hope NSF agrees!

Anonymous said...

From Hugh:

Try as I might I can't see that this doesn't show a rising trend. My only thinking is that there is perhaps some confusion between a straight line and a flat line.

http://sealevel.colorado.edu/current/sl_noib_global.jpg

Michael Tobis said...

Thanks Hugh! Anyone else want to take on any of these other points?

Here's the scoop on the lower troposphere record. Wait for it, it's sort of interesting.

The models were right and the data was wrong!

The error in the data has been discovered and corrected, and the models are in agreement with the corrected data.