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Ken Fabian

Is doubt of climate science the right place to start?

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Whilst I think it's unrealistic for individuals to do a competent and complete review of a multi-faceted field like climate science I think that mistakes, misunderstanding and misrepresentations can be usually be recognised easily enough. I have tried to be reasonably well informed, whilst not claiming any status as expert. I think the use of doubt, misapplied and not accompanied by adequate competent investigation is inappropriate and as likely to lead to error as not.

 

 

Note that key evidence for dangerous levels of warming are based almost solely on computer modelling (and only some of their scenarios). Thus far for whatever reasons the models have failed to predict the last 15 years accurately.

 

 

Tantalus I think any suggestion that computer modelling should line up within timescales of 15 years and are failures if they don't is a misunderstanding or, when from people who know better, a misrepresentation. They have never been claimed (except by people who want to criticise them for doing something they were never intended or expected to do) to predict internal climate variability on that scale by those developing and using them. It's a bit like claiming that modelling of temperature changes through Spring, based on the axial tilt theory of seasons, that shows that on average each Spring day will be warmer than the one before, is wrong if each and every day is not warmer, and further, that the whole axial tilt theory must be wrong if there is a couple of weeks of cooler than average Spring temperatures. Sorry but I'm not impressed so far with your ability to evaluate the validity of climate modelling if you don't see that natural variability from ocean oscillations means trends averaged from many model runs will never - and should never be expected to - line up with temperature records over short time scales like 15years.

 

The process of averaging... smooths the trend line, but each model run has ups, downs, pauses, accelerations of global average temperature, very often exceeding those of the past 15 years. Failing to look at the natural variations, principally the ocean oscillations and their phases, that underpin shorter term variability, when evaluating how well models performed, ie comparing the averages of many models with phases averaging to flat, rather than those that had those phases closest to what actually occurred, is not evidence of failure of modelling but of failures of competent and honest evaluation of them.

 

Natural variation from just one climate variable alone - ENSO - can shift the global average temperature more than 10 years worth of global warming between one year and the next and even one or two more el Nino years than la Nina or vise versa within such a 15 year period will skew a trend up or down from any longer term average. ENSO resists prediction much beyond the following year. They appear in models and model runs in different sequences and strengths, yet looking back at the model runs that chanced to put the phases for ENSO nearest to what actually occurred, showed global warming close to what actually occurred. ie the modelling did not fail at all.

 

From Abstract for Nature paper "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase" (paywalled unfortunately but a news article discusses it here)

 

 

The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations. We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

 

 

 

The authors' conclusion?

 

When the phase of natural variability is taken into account, the model 15-year warming trends in CMIP5 projections well estimate the observed trends for all 15-year periods over the past half-century.

 

 

It's certainly possible to reference work we aren't personally able to verify and understand why some doubts are not well founded in fact. It does rely on my trusting that the Nature paper is accurately published, was peer reviewed by people with relevant skills and does not misrepresent the models that it references.

Edited by Ken Fabian

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This reply is a little clunky in format so apologies.

 

Overtone.

Bringing fox and right media into the commentary is unnecessary, disagreeing with the IPCC is not the same as agreeing with Fox news, Cato was linked because it provided a nice summation of some of my concerns on modelling, not as evidence per se. Late edit. Normally wouldnt bother me reading criticism of fox, but feels weird being associated with them.

 

For Overtone and especially Ken.

Quote below by Ken

 

 

Whilst I think it's unrealistic for individuals to do a competent and complete review of a multi-faceted field like climate science I think that mistakes, misunderstanding and misrepresentations can be usually be recognised easily enough.

 

Agreed, it is unrealistic, I don't agree that it is easy.

 

The IPCC work is the collective work of large number of scientists, but the summaries are from a much smaller number. This next statement is my opinion and will not be supported. The IPCC are now vested in the "climate change is dangerous with high certainty" message, and will likely be selective (not necessarily in a malicious sense) towards evidence which supports this idea, they will react slowly to an alternative, that is human nature. Funding in science is not helping on this matter. The IPCC are not the same as a peer review process, the peer review process is a slow engine, and its true I do not have the ability to evaluate it properly.

 

In line with that I could throw papers and links about the place, and largely without a significant ability to evaluate their merit or evaluate the merit of your technical papers and discussions....

 

For example,

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/04/150421105629.htm
"

A study based on 1,000 years of temperature records suggests global warming is not progressing as fast as it would under the most severe emissions scenarios outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Natural decade-to-decade variability in surface temperatures can account for some much-discussed recent changes in the rate of warming. Empirical data, rather than climate models, were used to estimate this variability......

 

Statistically, it's pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections," Brown said. "Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario."

 

My main point is there is a debate emerging, encompassed within an older debate, that is not supported by a consensus, or should not be supported by a consensus, one that should be handled differently, not with the same manner as one would handle right wing media or individuals arguing that the climate will not change, and carbon emissions have no influence, one that seeks to analyse climate modelling, and its different scenarios. One that can't be wrapped up with the first paper with provides a logical theory that could dismiss it. One framed in the difficulty of the task at hand.

 

Ken

One thing I would say is that 15 years is not a useless time span. Nobody is trying to dismiss a time period that long, work is being undertaken to explain why the trend is the way it is, mistakes in the nature of the data, heat gone elsewhere, masked in natural variability, but in principle in seems agreeable that 15 years can be useful. We are attempting to construct models to inform important policy on a century based timescale.

 

Tantalus I think any suggestion that computer modelling should line up within timescales of 15 years and are failures if they don't is a misunderstanding or, when from people who know better, a misrepresentation. They have never been claimed (except by people who want to criticise them for doing something they were never intended or expected to do) to predict internal climate variability on that scale by those developing and using them.

 

 

This is questioning one scenario/type of climate models, the ones that predict high sensitivity, if they are wrong, they are replaced by other models. I am not trying to dismiss the use of modelling as a tool, but argue that the IPCC have misrepresented their usefulness and their certainty, and favoured high sensitivity models in their summaries.

Edited by tantalus

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This next statement is my opinion and will not be supported. The IPCC are now vested in the "climate change is dangerous with high certainty" message, and will likely be selective (not necessarily in a malicious sense) towards evidence which supports this idea, they will react slowly to an alternative, that is human nature.

How do I distinguish between that and a conspiracy theory?

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This next statement is my opinion and will not be supported.

 

Then why do you think anyone should take it seriously?

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How do I distinguish between that and a conspiracy theory?

Haven't you ever caught yourself doing it? It's human nature to selectively latch onto evidence that supports your idea, especially when you already have a formed position. That's not a conspiracy theory, although the climate science debate has taken on an unhealthy element to it, summarised in Ridley's article adequately that I previously linked.

 

Scientists regularly become entrenched in their views against fellow peers even over relatively minor disagreements in their field. It is usually the peer review process that finally brings order to proceedings, not the scientists.

 

Then why do you think anyone should take it seriously?

Something that can't be supported with ease is not necessarily wrong. An interpretation of a series of independent events, and of course the classic adage, you can't prove a negative.

 

Nevertheless, it was a strange choice of words by me. Rereading the passage and I see now there was no need for it.

Edited by tantalus

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I am not trying to dismiss the use of modelling as a tool, but argue that the IPCC have misrepresented their usefulness and their certainty, and favoured high sensitivity models in their summaries.
But they clearly didn't - they published error bars and ranges, clear description of their assumptions etc, and numerous revisions of their results and conclusions as new information arrived, in public and on the record. And they clearly discarded the high sensitivity models in making their summaries, going with the lower ones.

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Here's what I don't get. It's all well and good to present a quote like this

 

"Statistically, it's pretty unlikely that an 11-year hiatus in warming, like the one we saw at the start of this century, would occur if the underlying human-caused warming was progressing at a rate as fast as the most severe IPCC projections," Brown said. "Hiatus periods of 11 years or longer are more likely to occur under a middle-of-the-road scenario."

 

But it's meaningless if one doesn't actually assess it. What are the "most severe IPCC projections"? Are we actually in a situation where the world is following that scenario, and yet temperatures are lower than projected? Without looking into that, throwing around quotes as if the mean something is pointless. Because the simplest answer is that we just aren't following the worst-case scenario.

 

The IPCC says "The SRES scenarios do not include additional climate initiatives, which means that no scenarios are included that explicitly assume implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol."

https://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/spmsspm-projections-of.html

 

Meaning that it's not unreasonable that these worst-case scenarios are projecting much more CO2 being dumped into the atmosphere, and not one where we've built up many hundreds of GW of solar and wind that have been installed, and added natural gas, instead of (or replacing) coal. The most severe IPCC projection has CO2 emissions doubling by 2015 (relative to 1990) Is that what is happening? No. We're in the middle of the tangle of that graph, not the top,with emissions having gone up by about 50%

https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/spm/sres-en.pdf(page 7)

https://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/JOXTXgEBbteOhSfHWdBx4vNH5BM=/cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/3508526/Global_CO2_emissions.0.png

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But it's meaningless if one doesn't actually assess it. What are the "most severe IPCC projections"? Are we actually in a situation where the world is following that scenario, and yet temperatures are lower than projected? Without looking into that, throwing around quotes as if the mean something is pointless. Because the simplest answer is that we just aren't following the worst-case scenario.

I am not completely sure I follow you.

 

Currently I would say that policy formation and efforts to tackle C02 emissions is not strongly following worst case scenarios. The political will was not present, or perhaps it was judged to be a poor path in terms of risks-costs, I don't know. But its not due to lack of effort by some.

 

The argument by some is that the IPCC models are suffering from a clear deficiency in that they are oversensitive, I presume that has the ability to negatively affect all IPCC models, not just the ones that predict high sensitivity and the largest temperature increases or/and that the state of the science, our ability to model the climate, due to huge uncertainty of many important variables in the models is being over-utilised/weighed too heavily in informing policy.

 

Some say that as we gain greater understanding of more of the variables, the uncertainty will actually increase in the models, I can't say I can testify to the merit of such an idea, and I think that may make reference more specifically to regional forecasts. Either way that may make modelling useless to plan at a regional level, this is a separate issue to how we should handle global c02 emissions, but we will need a different approach in how we tackle real effects of climate change on the ground.

Edit.

I think I get you now, surely the models have accurately estimated emissions given the period in question is so close to their formation.

 

You would expect deviation at a later date due to economy, technology and .politics.

 

Broadly they run drastically different scenarios based on such variation.

Edited by tantalus

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I am not completely sure I follow you.

 

Pointing out that temperatures have not risen as high as they should under the worst-case scenario is a meaningless objection if we are not actually emitting CO2 and other GHGs at the rate under which that scenario is modeled.

 

In order to assess models, you have to compare temperatures with predicted ones based on actual CO2 levels

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Pointing out that temperatures have not risen as high as they should under the worst-case scenario is a meaningless objection if we are not actually emitting CO2 and other GHGs at the rate under which that scenario is modeled.

 

In order to assess models, you have to compare temperatures with predicted ones based on actual CO2 levels

CO2 emissions have increased during this period. While what you are saying is logically sound, it doesn't apply here, I haven't read of anyone who defends the IPCC modelling who makes your point. The disparity with emissions in reality from the modelling forecasts will only emerge with time, 15 years, or shorter since the IPCC most recent assessment, after the formation of the models it is easy to forecast emissions accurately.

 

Besides, I have read that the models do tune short term projections with real observations before abandoning this method for long term projections.

 

In other words,

"The SRES scenarios do not include additional climate initiatives, which means that no scenarios are included that explicitly assume implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or the emissions targets of the Kyoto Protocol."

 

 

assuming what I read is correct, the above is only partially instructive.

I would like to post up a report from the Skeptic website wattsupwiththat on a workshop involving 6 climate scientists from 2014

Three of the speakers lean to the alarmist view. That is they think we are headed toward a climate catastrophe due to man-made Carbon Dioxide. These are Dr. Held, Dr. Collins, and Dr. Santer. The other three lean to the skeptical view and do not think we are headed to a climate catastrophe caused by man-made Carbon Dioxide. These are Dr. Curry, Dr. Lindzen and Dr. Christy

 

.Ofcourse one should expect bias from the writer of the summary.

 

The discussion was framed in regards to the stasis

While the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) rose strongly from 1980-98, it has shown no significant rise for the past 15 years…[The climate does not track the projections published in the 4th IPCC report, so the framing document asks]

To what would you attribute the stasis?

How long must the stasis persist before there…[is] a problem with the models?

 

and for the climate sensitivity

The estimated equilibrium climate sensitivity to CO2 has remained between 1.5 and 4.5 in the IPCC reports since 1979, except for AR4 where it was given as 2-5.5.

What gives rise to the large uncertainties (factor of three!) in this fundamental parameter of the climate system?

How is the IPCC’s expression of increasing confidence in the detection/attribution/projection of anthropogenic influences consistent with this persistent uncertainty?

Wouldn’t detection of an anthropogenic signal necessarily improve estimates of the response to anthropogenic perturbations?

 

It is interesting to read May's reported perspective...

There was general agreement that the IPCC press releases and summaries are not an accurate reflection of the body of the IPCC documents, this reflects badly on the IPCC.

 

Transcripts are available.

 

I would be interested to hear Collins (a lead author of the modelling chapter for the IPCC) take on more recent updates on the science of the stasis since he made the below comment at the workshop...

A final thought from Dr. Collins (page 92): “…if the hiatus is still going on as of the sixth IPCC report, that report is going to have a large burden on its shoulders walking in the door, because recent literature has shown that the chances of having a hiatus of 20 years are vanishingly small.” There seemed to be general agreement at the workshop that if the hiatus lasts 20 years (until 2018), the IPCC and a potential AR6 are in real trouble.

 

Report of workshop http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/03/12/notes-on-the-aps-workshop-on-climate-change/

 

I would be interested to see peoples take on the report of the workshop. It is short and useful for the layman as it doesnt seek to report on scientific detail so much as engage on the state of expert opinion, in the spirit of the OP and the thread.

He summarised the report with

After all of the presentations there was a panel discussion. They got on the topic of scientific societies making public statements about issues, like climate change. How far should the APS go in a statement? Dr. Curry feels strongly that the societies should not be making statements on public policy beyond their particular expertise. She is not comfortable that the APS has enough expertise to comment on climate change. The previous statement that this meeting is reviewing was strongly supportive of a major worldwide effort to mitigate climate change. Was it wise to make that statement?

Dr. Collins would like the APS to make a statement on the obvious things like CO2 is increasing, CO2 affects atmospheric temperature and so on. Dr. Lindzen points out that the media and the public would take all of this as ominous, when it may not be. The statement might be correct, but how it is perceived may not be correct. Dr. Lindzen, Dr. Christy and Dr. Koonin all agreed that given a choice of trying to mitigate man-made climate change or adapting to it, adaptation is better (page 531).

The major theme of the day was the uncertainty in the forcings according to Dr. Koonin. They are larger than he imagined at first. I think everyone agreed with that conclusion.

I was struck by the level of agreement on several key issues. First there is considerable uncertainty in the forcings, both natural and man-made. This means that the cause or causes of warming in the second half of the 20th Century are not known with any precision. Saying that man is responsible for more than 50% of the warming is not useful or defensible. We simply do not know, there is no observational evidence and the models are not accurate enough to tell us.

There was general agreement that the IPCC press releases and summaries are not an accurate reflection of the body of the IPCC documents, this reflects badly on the IPCC. There was general agreement that the models do not characterize the Antarctic or AMST well. Most of the group also thought that the models do not characterize the troposphere temperature or the vertical temperature profile in the troposphere very well. I don’t think Dr. Collins or Dr. Santer agreed with this, but Dr. Christy’s evidence was persuasive. So there was a consensus at the meeting on some important issues, but not the consensus the media promulgates. All in all, this transcript is a treasure. It is long, but well worth the read.

 

Edited by tantalus

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CO2 emissions have increased during this period. While what you are saying is logically sound, it doesn't apply here, I haven't read of anyone who defends the IPCC modelling who makes your point. The disparity with emissions in reality from the modelling forecasts will only emerge with time, 15 years, or shorter since the IPCC most recent assessment, after the formation of the models it is easy to forecast emissions accurately.

 

Besides, I have read that the models do tune short term projections with real observations before abandoning this method for long term projections.

 

In other words,

 

assuming what I read is correct, the above is only partially instructive.

How you defend the modeling depends on how it is attacked.

 

The models I linked to use 1990 as a start. 25 > 15

 

There is no possible way to validly claim the models incorrectly predict the future, since there is (by definition) no data from there. So the only possible claim is that models started in the past aren't working to predict today's temperature. The problem is, you haven't shown any quantified objections. What's missing in all this is a look at an actual model, with the data we have in hand, and a demonstration of what's working and what's not. All we have seen here is vague claims: "I haven't read of anyone", "The argument by some", "Some say", etc. We see quote mining, but when some context is shone upon the quotes, they can be seen to be meaningless objections.

 

Is there any science you wish to discuss here? I have some:

 

We know the CO2 levels back then — in 1990, about 350 ppm. Today it's 400. Temperature has gone up by about 0.4 ºC in that time, and that's including the "pause". That's the equivalent of a little more than 2 degree sensitivity to doubling (according to the formula given here http://www.skepticalscience.com/C02-emissions-vs-Temperature-growth.html)Of course, if we regress to the mean then this will end up being higher. Right smack dab in the middle of the range predicted by the IPCC. Even at 2, it's within the bound they gave.

 

http://pmel.noaa.gov/co2/files/co2_data_mlo.jpg

http://scienceblogs.com/significantfigures/files/2013/04/updated-global-temperature.png

 

 

 

 

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To elaborate on my previous attempt to reply to your initial post

 

If you follow the latest link , there is a discussion on IPCC modeling that makes reference to

While Dr. Santer does no scaling to observations, the IPCC report does scale their short term projections to match observations, then it removes these negative scaling factors (the scaled mean temperature is reduced by 25%) for the longer term projections to the year 2100. This artificially inflates the estimated temperature in 2100 by 25% or more. Dr. Koonin asks why should we tune the model to current observations and throw away the tuning for the longer term projections (page 259-260)?

 

It seems that most of the group agreed that if the IPCC uses scaling factors in their short term projections, they should use them in their long term projections. Dr. Collins does not agree.

 

This indicates that the IPCC do factor in current co2 emissions to short term projections of their modelling. I'm finding it difficult to provide an alternative link so i hope you consider it adequate.

 

I do not have the expertise to discuss climate modelling in a quantified manner, after all, they are ridiculously complex.

 

I can start linking papers and opinions of climate experts who disagree with IPCC summaries, but I would be unable to evaluate the technical element of their work.

 

I am trying to convey the idea that expert opinion and the state of the science according to many climate scientists is not accurately reflected in IPCC summaries.

 

Edit. as framed by the OP

Edited by tantalus

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Haven't you ever caught yourself doing it?

If I had I'd not have posted it on a website.

Seriously, I think you are asking if I have accepted something without much question just because it supported what I already believed.

Well, as you say, it's a very human trait and yes I have done it.

But here's the vitally important difference.

Not in a peer reviewed paper- because that's what peer review is for.

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If I had I'd not have posted it on a website.

Seriously, I think you are asking if I have accepted something without much question just because it supported what I already believed.

Well, as you say, it's a very human trait and yes I have done it.

But here's the vitally important difference.

Not in a peer reviewed paper- because that's what peer review is for.

Its an ailment (selection bias) that affects scientific work like anything else. And it surely has a significant effect on published work. It can be very subtle. I agree that the peer review process corrects for these problems eventually, but it doesn't correct every paper or conclusion as they are published, nor should it. I feel its useful to make a distinction between the process and the individuals papers.

Edited by tantalus

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Its an ailment (selection bias) that affects scientific work like anything else. And it surely has a significant effect on published work. It can be very subtle. I agree that the peer review process corrects for these problems eventually, but it doesn't correct every paper or conclusion as they are published, nor should it. I feel its useful to make a distinction between the process and the individuals papers.

It doesn't need to correct every paper as long as t gets things right in the end.

So re the title of the thread.

 

"Is doubt of climate science the right place to start?"

 

It doesn't really matter where you start, you should end with very little doubt.

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Its an ailment (selection bias) that affects scientific work like anything else. And it surely has a significant effect on published work. It can be very subtle. I agree that the peer review process corrects for these problems eventually, but it doesn't correct every paper or conclusion as they are published, nor should it. I feel its useful to make a distinction between the process and the individuals papers.

 

And I feel what you're doing to make both arguments equal isn't worth any supposed benefits you get from your distinction. You say this bias affects scientific work "like anything else", but that's not true. "Anything else" doesn't have the same rigorous methodology available to resist exactly such subjective assessment. Bias may be available to all in equal measure, but in science we don't treat bias the way "anything else" does. We have taken measures to combat it that are extraordinary.

 

This is a pop-culture, media-driven argument, one that tries to make all sides of an argument equal to promote an alleged controversy, when they clearly are NOT.

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To elaborate on my previous attempt to reply to your initial post

 

If you follow the latest link , there is a discussion on IPCC modeling that makes reference to

This indicates that the IPCC do factor in current co2 emissions to short term projections of their modelling. I'm finding it difficult to provide an alternative link so i hope you consider it adequate.

It's Watt, so no, that's not adequate. He's glossing over quite a bit here. In the IPCC assessment (as shown in figure 10.4) you have adjustments both below and above 1. The average of all the models for CO2 is above 75%, so the statement that based on this temperatures are more than 25% overestimated is wrong. It also ignores that when the analysis is extended over a longer period and GHGs are combined instead of broken up, the adjustment average is about 0.98.

 

A big problem here is that you haven't defined what level of accuracy you need when you say "models have failed to predict the last 15 years accurately" (I will echo what others have said that 15 years is too short of a scale to work with). Let's go with Watt's inflated 25% scaling. Does that imply that you think the models are inflated by 25% but otherwise (i.e. with the scaling included) can be considered accurate?

 

I do not have the expertise to discuss climate modelling in a quantified manner, after all, they are ridiculously complex.

Neither do I, but that's not what anybody has suggested discussing. Merely parroting what someone else wrote, though, isn't sufficient.

 

I can start linking papers and opinions of climate experts who disagree with IPCC summaries, but I would be unable to evaluate the technical element of their work.

If you can't assess their work, how do you have any confidence they're right?

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You say this bias affects scientific work "like anything else", but that's not true. "Anything else" doesn't have the same rigorous methodology available to resist exactly such subjective assessment. Bias may be available to all in equal measure, but in science we don't treat bias the way "anything else" does. We have taken measures to combat it that are extraordinary.

 

In regard to selection bias.

 

On this part of your comment, quite simply your right, what i said was not what I intended, and to be fair, I did twice make the point that the scientific process through peer review does sort out the problem with time, I agree, no where else in society can you find this.

 

So yes ultimately the effect isn't equivalent, just the opposite.

 

This is a pop-culture, media-driven argument, one that tries to make all sides of an argument equal to promote an alleged controversy, when they clearly are NOT.

 

 

The problem here is considering the matter with the distinction of only two opposing sides and nothing in between, those who deny climate change and those who agree with the IPCC's latest report.

It's Watt, so no, that's not adequate. He's glossing over quite a bit here. In the IPCC assessment (as shown in figure 10.4) you have adjustments both below and above 1. The average of all the models for CO2 is above 75%, so the statement that based on this temperatures are more than 25% overestimated is wrong. It also ignores that when the analysis is extended over a longer period and GHGs are combined instead of broken up, the adjustment average is about 0.98.

 

No, this is no what I intended to draw your attention to.The point was much smaller that I was trying to address. Only consider your very first point in the first post you made, about actual emissions possibly not matching modelled emission scenarios, at the workshop both sides acknowledge that this is done by the models in the near term and they discuss the merits of extending the method in the long term, (as in messing around with emission scenarios).

 

Also, it is not relevant that it is the Watt website, unless you actually think he lied about this particular point, which there would be no point in lying about.

 

I wasn't trying to evaluate the above comments.

 

 

A big problem here is that you haven't defined what level of accuracy you need when you say "models have failed to predict the last 15 years accurately" (I will echo what others have said that 15 years is too short of a scale to work with). Let's go with Watt's inflated 25% scaling. Does that imply that you think the models are inflated by 25% but otherwise (i.e. with the scaling included) can be considered accurate?

I have no idea. I am trying to establish if there are experts who disagree with current IPCC positions and present the general line/ summary of their thinking, but I can't actually evaluate the technical merit over the IPCC's. I have some layman understanding and I do the best I can with it.

 

Neither do I, but that's not what anybody has suggested discussing. Merely parroting what someone else wrote, though, isn't sufficient.

 

If you can't assess their work, how do you have any confidence they're right?

I am confused. You asked did I have any science to discuss? and started discussing models, error ranges etc. I can't do that. I have no new science to offer. I only have other people's quotes, their assessments.

 

Apply the last question to something not controversial, you use your best judgement. I don't have high confidence either way, but I have never been impressed with the idea that modelling the climate was going to be accurate given how complex it is.

 

If this was a non-policy issue, and not controversial, I would not be taking sides or more likely not paying attention, as the papers are published for decades between squabbling factions as they argue about the different climate variables and sensitivity, feedbacks etc

 

I think that debate has been ursurped by forces outside of the peer review process and that is unusual for science. Now those who question the science of the modelling are in danger of being associated with all skeptics.

Edited by tantalus

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The problem here is considering the matter with the distinction of only two opposing sides and nothing in between, those who deny climate change and those who agree with the IPCC's latest report.

 

And I have a problem seeing "two opposing sides" (again, this is a pop media tactic of implying both "sides" have some equivalence, and thus a controversy where none should exist). What I see is a consilience of the evidence provided by multiple disciplines acknowledged by all but a tiny fraction of professionals who study this, and some people who claim to be skeptical about it but focus on denying the consilience of evidence rather than refuting it.

 

What I also don't see is the courageous, out-of-the-box thinking, bright-minded skeptic who challenges accepted mainstream thought, and makes everyone see how right he is through the sheer force of his contradictory evidence. I keep seeing people who haven't studied this being manipulated by talking heads who haven't studied this, who are probably being paid to help stall any regulatory action, because profit is more important than a better environment to many.

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And I have a problem seeing "two opposing sides" (again, this is a pop media tactic of implying both "sides" have some equivalence, and thus a controversy where none should exist). What I see is a consilience of the evidence provided by multiple disciplines acknowledged by all but a tiny fraction of professionals who study this, and some people who claim to be skeptical about it but focus on denying the consilience of evidence rather than refuting it.

 

What I also don't see is the courageous, out-of-the-box thinking, bright-minded skeptic who challenges accepted mainstream thought, and makes everyone see how right he is through the sheer force of his contradictory evidence. I keep seeing people who haven't studied this being manipulated by talking heads who haven't studied this, who are probably being paid to help stall any regulatory action, because profit is more important than a better environment to many.

Did you have a read through the brief Watt website report from last year's APS workshop I linked. I am interested to know if that had any effect on your view?

 

The problem is your confusing the consilience that brought about the definitive conclusion that the climate is changing and man is influencing that change through CO2 emissions with something different, the state of certainty on different modelled scenarios and the state of certainty that surrounds that specific field of science. It is a mistake to extend the former consensus into the latter, to convolute the two.

Edited by tantalus

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Pointing out that temperatures have not risen as high as they should under the worst-case scenario is a meaningless objection if we are not actually emitting CO2 and other GHGs at the rate under which that scenario is modeled.

 

In order to assess models, you have to compare temperatures with predicted ones based on actual CO2 levels

 

...and with the more accurate understanding of CO2 sensitivity that has been established over the past decade. The probable range is much narrower than the ranges considered a decade ago.

Did you have a read through the brief Watt website report from last year's APS workshop I linked. I am interested to know if that had any effect on your view?

 

The problem is your confusing the consilience that brought about the definitive conclusion that the climate is changing and man is influencing that change through CO2 emissions with something different, the state of certainty on different modelled scenarios and the state of certainty that surrounds that specific field of science. It is a mistake to extend the former consensus into the latter, to convolute the two.

 

I would reconsider Watts as a source. I can't remember if he was one of the guys who were associated with Phillip Morris and denial of the tobacco/cancer link, but he is well studied on the strategies that group used. In fact, the same corporations and think tanks that were employed by big tobacco are now employed by big oil. It's not a coincidence. Notice how these people are always criticizing others' work, rather than publishing their own legitimate work in respected journals? There is a reason for that as well.

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...

Tantalus I think any suggestion that computer modelling should line up within timescales of 15 years and are failures if they don't is a misunderstanding or, when from people who know better, a misrepresentation. They have never been claimed (except by people who want to criticise them for doing something they were never intended or expected to do) to predict internal climate variability on that scale by those developing and using them. ...

True dat. [bodlenation mine]

Climate

Climate is the statistics (usually, mean or variability) of weather, usually over a 30-year interval.1 2 It is measured by assessing the patterns of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate differs from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region. ...

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Overtone.

Bringing fox and right media into the commentary is unnecessary, disagreeing with the IPCC is not the same as agreeing with Fox news, Cato was linked because it provided a nice summation of some of my concerns on modelling, not as evidence per se. Late edit. Normally wouldnt bother me reading criticism of fox, but feels weird being associated with them.

 

Did you have a read through the brief Watt website report from last year's APS workshop I linked.

 

If you don't want to be associated with these guys, CATO and Heritage and Wattsupwiththat and Fox and so forth, if it feels weird, don't link to them and describe their bs as a "nice summary of some of my concerns". They are easy to avoid in themselves, and their strong influence on the rest of the news media and public discussion means you won't miss out on anything they provide.

Here's a rundown on the problem: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2012/11/28/meet-the-climate-denial-machine/191545

sample relevant here:

 

The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, contributes to the climate confusion by amplifying the voice of Patrick Michaels, the only climate scientist on our list of prominent climate contrarians. Michaels, who previously estimated that "40 percent" of his funding comes from the oil industry, is Cato's sole climate change expert. He is frequently quoted by major media outlets and has a Forbes column that he uses to downplay the threat of climate change. Other scientists have criticized him for misrepresenting their work.

Cato was co-founded by Charles Koch and has received millions from the Koch family. Past corporate donors include ExxonMobil, General Motors and the American Petroleum Institute.

 

 

 

Anthony Watts, a former television weatherman and climate skeptic who believes the U.S. temperature record is "unreliable," runs the blog Watts Up With That. The blog features the fringe views of climate misinformers like Christopher Monckton and Fred Singer as guest authors and conservative media have previously seized on its misleading content.

 

In 2009, Watts was a driving force behind the controversy over leaked "Climategate" emails. In September 2012, he was at the center of a controversial PBS segment that aired his views as a "counterbalance" to climate experts without mentioning his ties to the industry-funded Heartland Institute. Watts was paid by the Heartland Institute for his work on temperature stations and is a regular speaker at Heartland conferences.

Edited by overtone

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No, this is no what I intended to draw your attention to.The point was much smaller that I was trying to address. Only consider your very first point in the first post you made, about actual emissions possibly not matching modelled emission scenarios, at the workshop both sides acknowledge that this is done by the models in the near term and they discuss the merits of extending the method in the long term, (as in messing around with emission scenarios).

 

It is done by some models. But that misses the point. The quote you gave in no way calls into question the models. Without further analysis, the quote is absolutely meaningless as an objection to the predictions.

 

Future predictions have two elements to them: the model used, and the assumed conditions that go into the model. Since it's the future, we don't know what the conditions will be, so they run a few different scenarios with regard to how technology and economic progress. All we can conclude is that we are not in the worst-case scenario. As per the quote, middle-of-the-road. And that's what the data actually show.

 

I have no idea. I am trying to establish if there are experts who disagree with current IPCC positions and present the general line/ summary of their thinking, but I can't actually evaluate the technical merit over the IPCC's. I have some layman understanding and I do the best I can with it.

 

I am confused. You asked did I have any science to discuss? and started discussing models, error ranges etc. I can't do that. I have no new science to offer. I only have other people's quotes, their assessments.

It doesn't have to be new science. Any science at all would suffice. But I don't see any. How can you evaluate the merit of someone's take, pro or con?

 

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Here's the thing guys, the watt link is a report of a workshop by the American Physical society from 2014, the largest society of physicists and one that has an official statement from 2007 in line with the IPCC. Although they made some adjustments to that report.

 

That workshop was a discussion on climate modelling among others involving these 6 climate scientists.

http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/upload/climate-review-bios.pdf

the bios pulled from the APS website.

 

If you want a look at the bios, a look at the link, assess the expert opinion, it is informative of the state of the science and level of certainty on important issues. The transcripts are also available.

 

Interesting to note that the APS sub-committee chose these 6 after discussion with the society at large. They will use this document to form a new official statement that they hope is based on a consensus within the society. Currently their report on the workshop is not available to non-aps members until the process is complete, but it should be very interesting.

 

APS timeline in regard to workshop

http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/climate/index.cfm

 

APS thought process on workshop

As part of the process, the Review Subcommittee convened a workshop on Jan. 8, 2014, with six climate experts. “We used this meeting to delve deeply into aspects of the IPCC consensus view of the physical basis of climate science,” said Barletta. “The Review Subcommittee’s goal was to illuminate for itself, for the APS membership, and for the broader public both the certainties and boundaries of the current climate science understanding.”

 

http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/climate/article.cfm

 

This workshop represents serious discussion among experts, not fluffing by right wing media.

 

Acme et al.

On 15 year time spans, there needs to be a distinction between limitations and useless. A 15 year time span offers serious time limitations, but that doesn't mean it can't be instructive for debate while acknowledging important caveats. Note Dr.Collins, a lead author for IPCC and expert on modelling on the importance of the period extending out to 20 years...

“…if the hiatus is still going on as of the sixth IPCC report, that report is going to have a large burden on its shoulders walking in the door, because recent literature has shown that the chances of having a hiatus of 20 years are vanishingly small.”

 

 

 

Additional post.

Swansont.

I hope to convey the nature of the debate among experts in regard to IPCC modelling, so better to establish the level of certainty on future climate predictions as represented by the IPCC.


Additional note.

 


It doesn't have to be new science. Any science at all would suffice. But I don't see any. How can you evaluate the merit of someone's take, pro or con?

With very limited success I should think. The question for me is does the IPCC summaries mischaracterize the state of expert opinion on climate modelling and future predictions, and that it is being widely convoluted with an established consensus of climate change and the principal of carbon emissions having an effect.

Edited by tantalus

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