The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Final Word on Klotzbach

There is a sort of a weird convention in science that there is a set of things that are known and that they are all about equally reliable. That set of things is by convention what is published in the literature and hasn't yet been refuted, and by practice what has made it out of the "literature" and into reputable textbooks.

About 200 years ago, that body of knowledge exceeded the capacity of the human lifetime to absorb or the human brain to access. So it's always been a pretense. It's a very useful pretense, don't get me wrong, it's essentially a very useful shorthand keeping all the "I thinks" and "maybes" out of the already longwinded and hard-to-read materials, but it's a formalism, not a reality. Nobody, neither humankind nor Googlekind, actually has a grasp on it all.

So when I am asked for a summary of the dialog regarding Klotzbach, Pielkes, etc. I am left with a choice of telling you 1) what I understood and the sequence of how I understood it, which is surely of greater interest to me than to you or 2) pretending to some omniscient voice, saying what is or isn't a legitimate part of the "body of knowledge", which feeds the convenient fiction but isn't justified based on the state of my own understanding.

What I've been trying to do is to elaborate what I am thinking as I go along. This may serve some purposes and not others. At this point it would be too long a story, and too tedious. So I'm forced into omniscience mode. Let me preface all of this with admitting that I have a doubt here and there, but people want to have something succinct to work with.

So with that caveat, usually implicit, made explicit, here is what I think about Klotzbach at this point, expressed in the usual scientific-omniscient style:



1) The mechanism described in Pielke & Matsui is surely real in this respect: as greenhouse gases increase and global warming proceeds, the strength of extreme nighttime near-surface inversions will decline. If it is faster than other effects it will contribute to making the surface temperature trend go up without affecting the middle atmosphere trends.

2) It is implausible that this effect is large enough in the aggregate (common enough as a fraction of space and time) to account for discrepancies in global trends in GCMs. It would take quite a lot of serious revisiting of boundary layer theory and boundary layer implementation in models to quantify the expected effect to demonstrate this one way or the other, work that the Pielke crowd has not undertaken.

3) The effect is most effective in northern latitudes (where there is a lot of cold land) and can't explain the tropical hot spot, so it's in the wrong place.

4) The word "bias" is used in a rather atypical way and does not refer to measurement errors, despite being reported as such in the blogosphere.

5) The first of the tests proposed in K et al
1. If there is no warm bias in the surface temperature trends, then there should not be an increasing divergence with time between the lower troposphere and surface temperature anomalies. The difference between lower troposphere and surface temperature anomalies should not be greater over land areas.
is peculiarly stated. Applying basic logic (A implies B if and only if not B implies not A) we can restate the first sentence more clearly for consideration. "If there is an increasing divergence... THEN there is a warm bias".) This doesn't seem right. There could be other mechanisms that account for it. In fact, Gavin Schmidt provides a very simple one: the influence of more slowly warming oceans is stronger in the troposphere than at the surface.

6) Applying the same transformation to the second test:
2. If there is no warm bias in the surface temperature trends then the divergence should not be larger for both maximum and minimum temperatures at high latitude land locations in the winter.
yields "If the divergence is larger (in cold conditions) then there is a warm bias" again ignores any alternative mechanism, but this is in fact a much stronger test, since it is relatively far-fetched to suggest an alternative. Remarkably, after listing this test, K et al does not address it .

7) For evidence that the proposed effect is small, one need only go to the remarkable Parker 2004 paper Parker, D. E. (2004), Large scale warming is not urban, Nature, 432, 290 where the proposed effect is strikingly absent. Pielke & Matsui argues that Parker must be revisited in the light of the new results, but this presumes that the new result is quantitatively significant at the large scale. A number of strong assertions are made regarding the large scale amplitude, but the justification of these estimates is obscure.

The fact that the Parker result comes out with this effect pretty clearly pegged to near zero is claimed to "require further analysis", but any quantity other than practically zero would require a precisely balancing bias (and in this case I really do mean bias) in the opposite direction. Here one may appeal to Occam.

8) The Eastman et al paper makes flawed use of limited area model in a climate study. The reference to it in Pielke and Matsui, as well as its very small sensitivity, doesn't build confidence. The enhanced warming under low wind appears in the Eastman model for a reason related to the reason its sensitivity is so small.

The sensitivity in the Eastman model is small because the residence time of a particle in the domain where the enhanced greenhouse effect is active is small compared to the time constant of radiative equilibration. The sensitivity in the Eastman model is larger under low wind conditions because under low wind conditions the residence time is longer, exposing the column to a larger cumulative greenhouse forcing. Therefore Eastman provides no support for a boundary layer mechanism.



Or anyway, so I think.


That is my summary of Klotzbach. Pending someone doing better, I have no further interest in it.

If someone wanted to pursue it further, I'd strongly recommend they replicate the Parker study. That's a straightforward data analysis problem. If Parker's numbers aren't drastically mistaken, it's very difficult to imagine how the Pielke-Matsui effect can have much importance at a global scale.

The Pielke group uses nomenclature ('bias") peculiarly, happily references weird (Eastman) and marginal (surfacestations.org) results, and in the case of Klotzbach et al, fills a number of pages in a way that is scattershot and does not create a compelling argument. While they are cordial and patient, conversation is time consuming and pedantic, largely because of idiosyncratic use of standard words and ideas. If they really have something to offer, they should polish their presentation technique. Meanwhile, dealing with their work seems an ill-justified expenditure of effort.

This is a big problem with politics mixing with science. If there were no policy issues at stake, if the modest and dubious results of the paper weren't being egregiously overvalued and misrepresented, the scientific community could proceed in the ordinary dignified fashion of ignoring nonsense and focusing on sense. But with the standard Pielke to Watts to Morano to Inhofe play and its like, we are forced to pay attention.

Regarding getting out of this very unfortunate flavor of time sink, one thing I can imagine is to have gradations of "peer review" more complex than "published" or "unpublished". Inhofe shouldn't be waving something like this around in the senate claiming it meets the highest standards.

Even harder, but more urgent, is have a mechanism to dissuade (was "prevent", see * below) authors from promoting public misinterpretations of their publications. That sort of behavior should have consequences. Making a boundary between PR enthusiasm and untruth is perhaps difficult, but then again, there are instances that clearly cross the line; a reader of Watts' site could be forgiven for believing that the Pielkes claim to have provided evidence that the surface temperature trend is wrongly overstated, when they have not done so.


Update
: (aargh) A few minutes before I composed this, RP Sr published an article on his own site entitled exactly "The Global Average Surface Temperature Warming Really Is Overstated"!

Sorry. No.

The only caveat offered is that the bias is due to "measuring the temperature near the ground". This is not to say the thermometer is corrupted by being near the ground. Pielke Sr is saying that the temperature itself is corrupted.

Apparently we should inform all plants and animals and glaciers that global warming is an illusion, and that they should simply stop biasing their existence to be so close to the earth's surface. In fact, if the glaciers and ice sheets would merely move their bases above the boundary layer, the ice melt problem might go away entirely!

Sorry, no. The thing about "surface" temperature is that it's at the surface. So that's where the thermometers go.

Meta-Update: Note that on RP Jr's blog RP Sr is quoted as saying "To emphasize, we are not saying that the surface temperatures trends are not accurately measured at that level. It is just that they are NOT representative of long term trends higher in the troposphere. Their use to characterize a deeper atmospheric layer introduces a bias." (Comment 12. Emphasis added.) As I've said it seems like a dozen times already, that is not the impression being left in places like Watts' or d'Aleo's blogs. And that's a big problem, especially if this ends up as a celebrated publication for reasons completely irrelevant to its contents.


Update: Both Pielke Sr and Pielke Jr point to this article, much to my surprise. They are unwilling to have me disengage, even though at this point I am happy to leave them alone.

Sr is on about me not doing the quantitative analysis to support my point 2. Stipulated.

Given how difficult it is to extract sense from people who think an actual physical quantity is a biased estimator of a nophysical quantity of interest only to themselves, and given the fact that the Parker result strongly supports my quantitative intuition that any such phenomenon, even if unrepresented in models (an implicit claim unexamined as yet) is going to be dramatically too small to carry the vast weight that is expected of it, I leave it to the Pielke team to provide the quantitative analysis in a form that a reasonably informed person could hope to understand.

My refutation is Parker '04, and anyone hoping to undo my refutation should undo Parker, as I already suggested above. Failing that, I can't imagine why anyone would bother trying to grind through all this at best eccentric and opaque exposition, much less myself.


Meanwhile Jr is on about my plea for "consequences" constituting a "threat" and a pathological one at that.

It's not a threat, it's taking note of a missing feedback on extra-scientific behavior. Sopecifically, I refer to the newfound trend of putting one thing in print and claiming it means something entirely different in public. This is behavior which reflects badly on science and weakens it. It should have consequences for scientific reputation.

Is Pielke Jr suggesting to the contrary that one should be allowed to publicly misrepresent one's results with impunity?

Presumably not. Presumably he will claim that he is not misrepresenting anything. But if he can show that, my wished-for "consequences" wouldn't apply to him.

I stand by my plea for consequences in the general case. If science goes extraterritorial, then reputation should follow. I will have more about this in the context of McLean/deFreitas.

(*) However, to reduce the implication of threat, I have changed the word "prevent" (which implies prior restraint, which I think is not a good idea) to "dissuade".


Update 8/21: James Annan points to evidence that even the conceded point 1 is overestimated by several orders of magnitude in Pielke & Matsui.

33 comments:

deepclimate said...

In summary, it turns out there is no discernable evidence for an implausible hypothesis, and we are no further ahead in explaining remaining discrepancies between observed and expected tropospheric amplification.

I would have been clearer on the veritable paucity of evidence, once corrected, (e.g. using reasonable amplification factors shows *better* match between HadCRU and sats over land than ocean), but I can't disagree with your thrust.

I would also say that it can be argued that NCDC land trend (0.31/decade!) is too high, but surely any attribution of possible spurious warming (which I take to be the correct term for what K et al call "bias") in NCDC must rest on some explanation that would not also apply to HadCRU.

The more serious issue of misrepresentation or exaggeration of (already flawed) results, before they have even been published, does need to be addressed. But I'm not sure what kind of "mechanism" you would propose.

I think the blogosphere is a lost cause. The best one can do is hope (or insist) that the mainstream press will cover the issue of deceptive science PR properly. It's not enough for the New York Times or NBC, say, to simply ignore the contrarians, if the blogosphere (not mention FoxNews and WSJ) are going to keep blasting lies out there. There is a massive disinformation campaign going on, and not enough are telling that story. Frankly, in the grand scheme of things the Pielkes are bit players.

Morano and Tom Harris and the corporate interests paying the shot are the real problem.

EliRabett said...

What you are pointing to is what has happened to Lindzen and Singer.

My reply to Jr. is that he should stop whining.

James Annan said...

I think you are rather too generous in your point 1: it is far from widely accepted that the mechanism exists at all, at least anything close to that described. Pielke and Matsui may be worth revisiting...

Rattus Norvegicus said...

Perhaps you should submit a comment.

Dirk said...

Parker (2004) is merely the appetizer. You may wish to refer folks to Parker's 2006 paper in Jour. of Clim, which fleshes out his arguments and is pretty conclusive.

This is despite the claims of Pielke and Matsui (which is theoretically unsound IMO - why does it not assume that changes to surface roughness from urbanization would affect and possibly negate similarity theory at near-surface heights <10 m?) and Lin et al (2007) (which is based on data from ONLY rural sites and is spatially insignificant compared to Parker's work).

Steve Bloom said...

There's also the business of throwing in reams of co-authors who are really no more than endorsers. RP Sr. does this on a wholesale basis, and on another recent paper added the execrable Watts so that the latter could claim that he's now a peer-reviewed author. The PNAS solution to this seems good.

Hank Roberts said...

Google finds an attack thread at CA focused on Parker 2006.

Looking at the papers citing Parker 2006
http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=3471386637154064693&hl=en

those include 2007 E'n'E publication by someone named Keenan asserting outright fraud re Wang's related work on urban temperatures in China. Keenan's paper has one citation, in a chiropractic journal.

WTF?

I suspect we ain't seen nothin' yet.

Hank Roberts said...

Did I miss some mention somewhere of Parker et al. 2009?

Parker, D. E., P. Jones, T. C. Peterson, and J. Kennedy (2009), Comment on ‘‘Unresolved issues with the assessment
of multidecadal global land surface temperature trends’’ by Roger A. Pielke Sr. et al., J. Geophys. Res., 114, D05104,
doi:10.1029/2008JD010450.

http://www.climatesci.org/publications/pdf/R-321b.pdf

Too many twisty little threads, all alike.

But the time chasing loose ends needed for cross-references between the multiple blogs with multiple threads seems not worth spending, other than to confound those who will be repeating PR about this for years to come if nobody nails it.

Tom said...

Hello,

Okay, here goes. If you'd like to participate in an online interview, I'm happy to put questions here in your comments and post the results later in an article on examiner.com.

First, I've met Pielke Jr. and had extensive correspondence with Pielke Sr. I find them both gracious and open. Both firmly believe in anthropogenic climate change and both advocate robust measures to deal with it. Why is there such open hostility to them (not specifically referring to what you wrote, actually--but see posts and comments on RC and Tamino if you're not familiar with it--they get classed with 'deniers' and Joe Romm seems to foam every time Pielke Jr. gets mentioned.)?

Second, how would you prefer to see non-scientific discussion of global warming be conducted? You seem deeply dissatisfied with the current setup. Would a moderated wiki be more effective?

Third, do you have any use for 'lukewarmers' such as myself? I believe that AGW is real, but that the more conservative estimates are far more likely than the extreme ones. This seems to generate hostility...

EliRabett said...

Tom,

The real question is WHY do you believe that climate sensitivity is overestimated?

deepclimate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael Tobis said...

Q: First, I've met Pielke Jr. and had extensive correspondence with Pielke Sr. I find them both gracious and open. Both firmly believe in anthropogenic climate change and both advocate robust measures to deal with it. Why is there such open hostility to them (not specifically referring to what you wrote, actually--but see posts and comments on RC and Tamino if you're not familiar with it--they get classed with 'deniers' and Joe Romm seems to foam every time Pielke Jr. gets mentioned.)?

A: You know, I found myself asking pretty much exactly the same question last winter, at least with regards to RP Jr. It did not go well. As a consequence of the astonishing severity of the (ahem) consequences of my preliminary investigation, I have decided not to take up that question at all.

It turns out that the naysayer blogs are making a lot of hay about Klotzbach et al 09, and I resoilved to get to the bottom of it. I didn't get all the way to the bottom, but I got deep enough to satisfy myself that there is not much to it. The fact that the primary defenders and propagators of Klotzbach work turned out to be Pielke and Pielke was perhaps not coincidental, but I will have to ask for your indulgence as I refrain from further speculation on their motivations or on the opinions of others regarding them.

Michael Tobis said...

Q: how would you prefer to see non-scientific discussion of global warming be conducted? You seem deeply dissatisfied with the current setup. Would a moderated wiki be more effective?

A: It's a very deep question, it turns out. I am thinking a lot about it these days. The current state of play is a consequence of a number of factors that might have been avoided but cannot be undone.

Among these I think the incapacity of the modern press to make well-founded judgments is primary.

Also, the cumulative nature of the problem is very unfamiliar to the public and also to economists in particular, in whose lexicon the costs properly accounted for would be essentially infinite. Any sustained rate of carbon emissions from fossil sources larger than zero, (for practical purposes on the modern scale) cannot be sustained.

Maybe conventional economics seems to have no room for cumulative quantities. Maybe this is a part of how and why economists get obviously wrong answers to the questions at hand.

The scientific community has stood firm with climate science throughout, but this fact has had very limited recognition. The preponderance of evidence that CO2 accumulation must be not just slowed but essentially halted becomes more inescapable every year.

Yet many people believe exactly the reverse, largely under the influence of organized PR efforts intended to obscure the evidence.

Scientists have constraints on the time they have to devote to public communication and the ways in which they are expected to communicate. At present the most effective communication seems to come from a few climate bloggers, some anonymous, or from amateurs like Greg Craven or Peter Sinclair. These efforts only arose to fill a gaping vaccuum in professional communication.

However we got to this state, it has to be reversed.

I don't know as preventing the public from having or stating opinions is even possible, and its certainly not a good idea. But people who are not experts should at least keep in mind the possibility that there are other people who understand things better than they do. So that's a shift in the culture that even precedes the shift in consumption habits.

At least it is a shift back to a condition that existed when I was young, when the opinions of scientists really did carry a lot of weight in public discourse, and when real expertise was respected.

The effort to communicate real science in good faith has to be doubled, redoubled, and redoubled again. We really need for people to understand the basic ideas. It needs to be seen as unhip to have your eyes glaze over as soon as argument from evidence begins.

People need to understand that what they "feel" about something is not decisive.

I don't have a single detailed answer for how to get from here to there. I have a dozen ideas, including a couple I am keeping under my hat. I'd be thrilled to dedicate myself to any of them. People I am talking to have dozens more. What we lack is a business model.

Right now, people like Mark Morano or Joe d'Aleo have a career path open to them to muddy the waters. We need ways to create incentives for creative people to make a career advancing, rather than retarding, public understanding of science.

That is not a career in PR as we understand it. There are already environmental advocacy groups out there. I am speaking of something else; the revitalization of conversation between science and the public.

Michael Tobis said...

Q: do you have any use for 'lukewarmers' such as myself? I believe that AGW is real, but that the more conservative estimates are far more likely than the extreme ones. This seems to generate hostility...

I don't speak for others.

For myself, I certainly understand that people make judgments in good faith based on the evidence they themselves have at hand. The frustrating aspect of it is how unbalanced the view of the public actually is, and how much of the false balance is based on polemical tricks (I sometimes call it "sleight-of-mind").

It's often the case that people are stubborn.

For instance, you call yourself a "lukewarmer". This suggests to me that you are staking out a position; and will be sorting out the evidence in the light of that position, rather than in the light of the quality of the evidence.

But evidence is weighed, not counted. The debate in the public is grotesquely askew from the debate among climate scientists. Accordingly the policy choices we are making are nothing short of dreadful.

I am not using the word "dread" lightly"

Michael Tobis said...

Deepclimate, with regret I have removed your posting.

Although most of it is a positive contribution, Blogger does not allow for editing of posts, and I wish to keep my blog free of speculation about the character and motivations of Roger Pielke Jr.

Michael Tobis said...

Editing of comments, I meant...

Dano said...

I'm not sure why wading into the fever swamps to swat mosquitoes is a better strategy than to give the large ego a taste of consequences by ignoring it. Giving attention to that ego gives it energy. Cutting the attention calorie intake by ignoring it and having it fed by cheap denialist calories is the best sort of consequences, if'n you ask me. No one did, but I said it anyway. Quality calories should be withheld.

Best,

D

deepclimate said...

Hi Michael,
I'm not sure what I said that spoke to motivation, but my recollection of what I wrote is not exact. I was trying to answer Tom Fuller's plaintive query of as to why RPjr raises so much ire.

In my opinion, the two most offputting tendencies that RPjr exhibits are:

1) He refuses to acknowledge or correct obvious errors (e.g. incorrect amplification factor in Klotzbach et al, incorrect baselining in comparison of IPCC projections and observations, incorrect interpreation of IPCC projections).

2) He often attacks the integrity of climate scientists (e.g. assertion that Gavin Schmidt "admitted stealing a scientific idea", accusing Steig of plagiarism over the Nature corrigiendum).

These are a matter of record.

If you still consider this unacceptable comment, fine. It's your place, and I'm not going to get too upset about it one way or the other. Although, in that case, I'd like to know exactly what the heck I did wrong.

As to editing of comments, come on over ... to WordPress.

Nosmo said...

Following up on Deep Climate:

3) Interpreting other's (i.e. advocates for strong action on climate change) statements in the worst possible way and insisting that interpreation is correct and a reflection of how they think. MT's recent experience was not the first.

4) Arguing using semantic games that make it difficult to come to any understanding (or even if he has a consistent position).

RPJ has lost a big segment of his audience. Years ago there was a very diverse group commenting on his blog. That is no longer the case. From what I can tell his reputation has suffered.

Michael Tobis said...

OK, but I still don;t want RP Jr to be a standing topic around here if I can avoid it.

TokyoTom said...

Michael, it`s not like I was trying to get the last word, but I note that I left a note over at Roger`s that he doesn`t seem inclined to respond to:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2009/08/pathologies-in-climate-science-there.html?showComment=1251230608048#c4243454051347627644

Sincerely, TT

Tom said...

Micheal, thanks for your responses. I'll reply to your question before I continue.

I have seen so many estimates for climate sensitivity that I don't know which one(s) you are referring to as over-estimates. That's ducking the question a bit, so I'll just say that I think that a doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will lead to a warming of about 2 degrees Celsius, and that I believe that will occur by the end of this century. (If you want to know why I believe this, I'll do another comment.) What do you believe the sensitivity of the atmosphere to be?

Michael Tobis said...

Tom,

2.7 +/- 0.5 is my own feeling for the Charney sensitivity. (Carbon cycle feedbacks may make this the wrong number to hang your hat on. We can discuss why.)

But I'd settle for 2.0 for purposes of further discussion. Do you have a sense of the uncertainty? the error bar should define the range where you'd take a 2 : 1 bet that you are correct. In other words, if it's wrong, person A pays $2, if it's right, person B pays $1.

You set the bounds, and I get to decide whether you are in the A or B seat. Your uncertainty does not have to be symmetrical.

After that, we have several more steps before we start evaluating impacts and then policies. But I will settle for 2 as a median as not too far off what the evidence shows.

Tom said...

Hi Michael,

I'm sorry I wasn't clearer, especially as we seemed for one brief second to be close to agreement. I believe my estimate of sensitivity will end up being below yours by quite a bit, as I believe the total warming will run to about 2 degrees Celsius. IIRC, that would put sensitivity at about one, and even that assumes we take for granted my thoughts about forcings. Let me know if my reading of your reply is incorrect.

Michael Tobis said...

What do you mean by "the total warming"?

What would it take to change your mind?

Tom said...

Hi Michael,

Well, 'total warming' is a bit of a misnomer, isn't it? I think that increased heat will be expressed regionally, and in a fairly short time frame at that, but that we'll aggregate these figures to show a 2 degree Celsius warming overall. My big concern about AGW is in fact that this 2 degrees will hit some region that is not equipped to handle it, and if it comes at an inconvenient time (similar to 1998 with both sunspots and El Nino peaking) it could have disastrous, if regional effects. Which is why I am still putting up with abuse from both sides about my 'lukewarming' self-appellation.

Tom said...

As for what it would take to change my mind... it would be a combination of things. Sustained rise in sea surface temperatures as measured by Argos. Significant tropical tropospheric warming, greater than found at the surface, measured directly.

But your recent post about coherence and trust comes into play, as well. Right now, I have little trust in some of the major figures that are publishing--from the skeptic side, it's easy to rag on Morano and Monckton, among others. On the activist side, I class Romm as an equivalent to Morano, and will be unable to trust Mann, Steig, Rahmsdorff (sp?) as well as Al Gore and James Hansen.

Because I've had the opportunity to speak and correspond with many of the 'players' in this debate, there are some that I trust--perhaps surprisingly, Stephen Schneider and Roger Pielke Sr. are close to the top of my list.

ourchangingclimate said...

Tom,

You wrote "I think that a doubling of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere will lead to a warming of about 2 degrees Celsius" and later you stated that you think the climate "sensitivity is about one" (degree per doubling of CO2).

That makes quite a difference, as a value of 2 is within the scientifically accepted range (though at the lower bound), but a value of 1 is outside of that range, and as a result needs more extraordinary evidence to back up.

Bart

Carrick said...

climatedude: As to editing of comments, come on over ... to WordPress

Ugh.

Please don't edit comments. That opens you up to charges of changing what a person says (or even to inadvertent instances of changing the meaning of what they are saying).

Please either allow them or don't allow them, and if you don't, then an explanation of why it was removed is great.

This indeed seems to be your current policy and there is nothing to apologize for it, from my perspective.

Steve Bloom said...

Tom: "Significant tropical tropospheric warming, greater than found at the surface, measured directly."

FYI the above statement implies several fundamental misunderstandings. Just sayin'.

Steve Bloom said...

Michael, just to note that after you departed the discussion over at Lucia's she let her mask slip a bit in describing James as a "statistician" and you as an "electric engineer." From now on perhaps she should be referred to as a grammar school graduate.

GlobalFantasy said...

The standards of publishing have fallen to a level I can hardly begin to comprehend. Whatever happened to actually doing science in papers rather than blurting out a few contentious 'feelings' about what you might have observed and then back loading with politically charged rhetoric about implications and what have you. Almost none of what I read these days is anything more than lightweight pap that fails to elucidate anything about the mechanisms of climate. Climate 'scientists' seem to happy to just waffle speculatively on the relative influence of poorly defined drivers and climate features. Is this really science? Save the editorializing for the media, and just do some work, please.

Michael Tobis said...

Of course we'd love to get back to work, but people producing noise instead of work keep getting in the way. When nonsense like Klotzbach is published, it's bad enough, but when it's trumpeted as an important result based on deliberate misrepresentation, somebody has to take the time to try to parse it.

There's no way reading a bad paper to figure out what is wrong with its obviously tendentious claims is going to rise to the level of elegance of a fine dynamics paper suitable for Tellus or QJRMS. If you want to read the good stuff, go ahead and read it.