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« The handy All Weather is Extreme Climate Barometer - Josh 192 | Main | The 110 billion pound question »
Sunday
Jan062013

Must-reads

A couple of posts that I simply must point out to readers. Firstly, Steve M is back in the saddle at Climate Audit, reviewing his recent visit to the AGU and making some disturbing revelations about the AGU's welcoming back of Peter Gleick into the fold.

Gleick’s welcome back to AGU prominence – without serving even the equivalent of a game’s suspension – was pretty startling, given his admitted identity fraud and distribution (and probable fabrication) of a forged document. Last year, then AGU President Mike McPhadren, a colleague of Eric Steig’s at the University of Washington, had stated on behalf of AGU that Gleick had “compromised AGU’s credibility as a scientific society” and that his “transgression cannot be condoned”. McPhadren stated that AGU‘s “guiding core value” was “excellence and integrity in everything we do” – values that would seem to be inconsistent with identity fraud and distribution and/or fabrication of forged documents, even by the relaxed standards of academic institutions.

Meanwhile, Tallbloke and his readers have uncovered a downwards revision in the Met Office's temperature projections. It's interesting to wonder why a statistically insignificant rainfall trend was worthy of a Met Office press release while a major reining back on the projections wasn't.

 

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Reader Comments (58)

It's interesting to wonder why a statistically insignificant rainfall trend was worthy of a Met Office press release while a major reining back on the projections wasn't.

No need to wonder, its called Institutional Bias.

Jan 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Press release or not?

What would the WWF have done? Possibly asked these questions:
Q1 Would it help with fundraising?
Q2 Would it help with campaigning?
Q3 Would it lead to media coverage supporting either?

So, trying this template out with the two candidate releases:
1. A less scary temperature forecast Q1 No Q2 No Q3 No
2. A report of heavy rainfalls Q1 Yes Q2 Yes Q3 Yes

What would A Neutral Body Providing Data and Forecasts For Government and Public at Their Expense have done? Possibly asked these questions:
1. Does this change anything for planning purposes?
2. Does this represent a change in our position on something important?
3. Has something unusual or otherwise newsworthy occured?

So, trying this template out with the two candidate releases:
1. A less scary temperature forecast Q1 Yes Q2 Yes Q3 Yes
2. A report of heavy rainfalls Q1 No Q2 No Q3 No

I conclude that while Napier may have left the Met Office, his spirit lives on.

Jan 6, 2013 at 1:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Hide the decline, or at the very least, bury it deep.

Jan 6, 2013 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered Commenterorkneylad

McIntyre was on great form -- something or things at the conference seemed to have irked him.

Here's his fabulous swipe at the hapless Lewandowsky of bogus survey fame:

Indeed, Lewandowsky’s own recent work can perhaps be best described as a unique combination of Mannian statistics and Gleickian ethics.

Ouch.

Jan 6, 2013 at 1:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Indeed, Lewandowsky’s own recent work can perhaps be best described as a unique combination of Mannian statistics and Gleickian ethics.

Ouch.

Ouch indeed!! I know of no other blogger that can turn a withering phrase like Steve Mc. Man's a genius.

Jan 6, 2013 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

news flash!

(sometime in the distant future)

archaelogists report the historic discovery of PILTDOWN MANN:


From careful study of this latest set of fossils we are convinced that we have found an extraordinary creature previously unstudied by science, one able to combine Gleickian Ethics, Lewandowskian Psychology, Mannian statistics, Olympian physique, and my erotic intensity.... in what must have been .... The Greatest ClimateScientist(-TM) Who Ever Lived

--- Rajendra Pachauri XIX ---
Benevolent Guru to 28th Century ClimateScientists(-TM)


[apologies to all who have done variants of these phrases before]

Jan 6, 2013 at 2:37 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

In order for it to assuredly be "worse than we expected" in 2030, the present expectation must be reduced. I thought it obvious.

There is much more to be lost by observed being less than forecast, than the reverse as we have been seeing for the last 15-16 years.

Jan 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

Breath of Fresh Air said: "No need to wonder, its called Institutional Bias."

Duh... d'ya think? Well thanks for pointing out the bleeding obvious to the rest of us.

Jan 6, 2013 at 3:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid, UK

Further to my earlier surmise:

The prudent post-doc will realize that he may still be depending on the logos of his discipline not collapsing in the 30 years he/she may want to enjoy continued employment in the research dodge. What better way to seed the future than prepare the world for more "Scientists find that it's worse than they expected."

It used to be a lot simpler.

"While you are up, get me a grant." (you might have to be a bit long of tooth to remember that one, but surely some of our Scots cousins ... )

Jan 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

"Meanwhile, Tallbloke and his readers have uncovered a downwards revision in the Met Office's temperature projections."

Lord Beaverbrook flagged this up on unthreaded about a week ago. :)

Jan 6, 2013 at 4:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

Missed that!

Jan 6, 2013 at 4:37 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Apparently the historic predictions, the white line, have also changed !!
Very naughty

Jan 6, 2013 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Look at the whitelines, the forecast lines, the 2 graphs here.

Not only has the projection been changed, but do had the historic forecasts?
http://solarcycle24com.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=globalwarming&action=display&thread=95&page=56

Jan 6, 2013 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry Woods,

I was wondering about that. Bob Tisdale has an animated GIF up at his blog. Oddly, the change now looks less of an about-face.

Jan 6, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

And it looks like they predicted the Mt Pinatubo eruption!

Jan 6, 2013 at 5:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

something or things at the conference seemed to have irked him.

Being gainsaid at every turn by climate scientists who know what they are talking about is bound to ruin any mining statistician's day.

Jan 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I don't necessarily subscribe to a conspiracy theory here. Given that the Met Office model has failed miserably in the past 16 years it would seem they have done some tweaks to the parameters to match the recent period. The re-calibrated model then shows very little warming in the next decade which should not surprise sceptics. As noted on the Met Office site:

"During 2012 our decadal prediction system was upgraded to use the latest version of our coupled climate model. The forecasts and retrospective forecasts shown here have been updated to reflect this change."

If a model is clearly shown to be wrong it makes sense to try and improve it.

Jan 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

Met Office tabulations of the past have only slightly less uncertainty than Met Office predictions of the future. This is because corrections to previous thermometer measurements are regularly required to satisfy the basic axiom that anthropogenic CO2 is warming the atmosphere. This is basic climatology - surprising that this needs to be explained repeatedly to lay people, such as yourselves.

Jan 6, 2013 at 6:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

I'm sure Richard Betts could explain this strange prioritisation of press releases.

Jan 6, 2013 at 6:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

These are two quite sickening events, two 'brushings under the carpet' of past performances. The Gleickian one being an example of human frailty, of how zealotry can drive someone off the straight and narrow. The Met Offian one being an example of institutional frailty, of how zealotry can drive an entire organisation into being spinners of a yarn rather than simple providers of the service they were created for.

Jan 6, 2013 at 6:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

Gong for Golding


Professor Golding joins Met Office colleagues Professor Julia Slingo OBE, Professor John Mitchell OBE, and Dr Richard Graham OBE among those who have received honours.

Anyone for nominating the Met office for Nobel Peace Prize ...@...@....@...@...tumbleweed!

Jan 6, 2013 at 7:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

History is wrong, the future is certain, only the present remains a mystery

Jan 6, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Steve M's posting is certainly worth reading. He is back to his understated form. Rather than trying to forget the Dr Mann, the AGU have honoured him. Rather than censoring, or at least distancing themselves from, Peter Gleick, they have embraced him. To cap it all, the AGU have invited a psychology professor whose most recent work, with extremely low scientific standards, gives an excuse for ignoring the anomalies and criticisms of the science. In short, faced the choice between defending dogma and the promotion of better standards – scientific, statistical and moral – they chose the former over the latter.

Jan 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

Russell

I assume that his being confirmed by statisticians left, right and centre will be a considerable comfort though.

Jan 6, 2013 at 8:40 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Jan 6, 2013 at 8:28 PM | ManicBeancounter

In short, faced the choice between defending dogma and the promotion of better standards – scientific, statistical and moral – [the AGU] chose the former over the latter.

Quite so. As I had observed over at CA, while reading Steve's account I began to wonder if perhaps the AGU had silently adopted a new motto: "Mediocrity forever".

Jan 6, 2013 at 9:03 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

@potentilla said
If a model is clearly shown to be wrong it makes sense to try and improve it.

Sure it makes sense. It also makes sense to retract the predictions the model have made about a terrible future until it's calibrated to agree with observed meassurements. And it's not exactly a small calibration we're talking about. They will never do that ofcourse. But the least they could do is confirm that the debate is far from over, and that there are huge uncertainties no one understands, enough to make predicting the future tough again. They will ....

Jan 6, 2013 at 9:08 PM | Registered Commenternormalnew

It will be interesting to see how this model re-calibration and decadal projection is handled in IPCC AR5. I would hope to see a significant revision in the long-term temperature projections, otherwise there will be a major discrepancy. Alternatively there would have to be an astounding (and surely unrealistic) jump in projected global temperatures in the 2020 to 2030 decade to get us back on track consistent with the AR4 projections.

Jan 6, 2013 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

Potentilla

The MO decadal projection (new improved) is for only half a decade: plenty of room to manoeuvre yet.

Jan 6, 2013 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

The only way to reconcile the illogical behaviour of the AGU, the Metoffice, the BBC, the Royal Society, the NGO's, the EU and Europhile politicians is not to apply conventional science, reason or logic, but to recognise that Climate Change is a deliberately undefined, unfalsifiable abstract tool of social morality, capable of justifying and propagandising a wide spectrum of social behavioural change. Therefore conventional ethical morality and scientific integrity may be bent, torqued, and tortured with impunity, to the objective of the greater 'good'.

An excellent essay (and comment thread) is linked below,

http://buythetruth.wordpress.com/2009/10/31/climate-change-and-the-death-of-science/

Jan 6, 2013 at 10:16 PM | Registered CommenterPharos

looking at the new graph, who would know that the previous predictions were higher!!

I do think that this is worthy of a press release, as the projections on the graph would seem to indicate a 20yr plus pause (or slowdown) is expected!!

potentially falsifying how many IPCC model projections..? and making 2C by 2050 extremely doubtful..?

ie from 2020 it would need to warm at an 'average' of 0.4C per decade, for 3 decades to reach that 2C by 2050 (crisis point)

And I don't think many models, that have a long pause, also have a high rate of warming possible like that 0.4C per decade required...

Jan 6, 2013 at 10:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Barry
...so if they know the beginning of the graph is flat, and the endpoint is high up, then it’s got to be a hockeystick, ennit? QED.
Is there any explanation anywhere of how a model that “knows” temperatures must eventually rise, and accepts that occasional flat periods of no warming will occur, can predict a five year flat period coming up? Is it linked to the 15 year flat period just past? In which case, how will it ever end?

Jan 7, 2013 at 6:05 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

<I>I assume that his being confirmed by statisticians left, right and centre will be a considerable comfort though.

Someone ought to acquaint the Bishop with the works of the late American philosopher, Mr. Samuel Clemens , who taught us where statisticians stand in the scientific scheme of things a long time ago.

Jan 7, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Hi Russell,
Were you unaware that statistical analysis is the basis of the Mannian assertions? Such analysis is likely the basis of all of the paleo-climatic studies.

It appears that many of these studies are accomplished without the participation of even graduate level statisticians which is what makes them susceptible to challenges by people who are adept in the subject.

did you notice the petard?

Jan 7, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

How many parts of the IPCC's reports do not rely on statistical analysis?

Are you about to change sides, Russell?

Jan 7, 2013 at 1:14 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Russell's interventions on this thread are classic troll. First a drive-by sneer devoid of intellectual content.... then when someone tries to pin down whether he has any actual reasoned view to put forth, he retreats to another kind of sneer, failing to recognize that his new "position" (I'm using excessive interpretive charity to call it a "position") implies rejection of the entire field he purports to defend, so-called ClimateScience(-TM).

Jan 7, 2013 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

Update


The decadal forecasting work is indeed all about informing adaptation – to climate *variability* as well as climate change (in fact probably more the former than the latter). Although some decision-makers (such a major infrastructure owners) are thinking decades ahead, most people and companies only need to look at the next few years. The long-term global warming trend from anthropogenic climate change is largely irrelevant to them – they need to know about climate variability at regional and local scales over the next few years, especially in precipitation. Although we have made progress in forecasting on these timescales, there is still a lot more to do before we can make really useful forecasts. This is the main thrust of developing the climate models here at the Met Office.

My bold

Jan 7, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Registered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Russell's trolling is pretty hilarious that he's stupid enough to shoot himself in the foot with his latest post. When you're brainwashed so much I guess it's tough to think or reason.

Jan 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenter

One seldom sees such an obvious troll self-immolation. Maybe it will improve his thoughtfulness.

Jan 7, 2013 at 2:14 PM | Registered Commenterjferguson

As Mann remains the center of your alternative universe, let us not forget that one didgy data splice, instantly corrected in Nature, remains, statistically speaking, a thin reed on which to hang a blanket rejection of the reams of data the IPCC reports convey-

Mann's paper represents, statistically speaking, less than a part per million of the page count of the climate science literature

The Bish's decade long obsession with the hockey stick imbroglio has no more disproved the facts of raditive forcing or climatological bracket creep than Piltdown Man has undone evolution, and those who persevere in imagining the actuarial imperfections they detect have somehow called the underlying geophysics into question richly deserve the laughter they attract at venues like the AGU meeting.

Jan 7, 2013 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell

I doubt many sceptics of AGW care one jot about the page count of the climate science literature any more than they do for that of string theory. What is at issue is the requirement to impoverish ourselves over what would appear to be no more than scaremongering. As the predictions of those scaremongers fail to materialise the theory on which it is based becomes more threadbare. In fact, observational evidence so far suggests that any anthropogenic effect on the atmosphere is mostly harmless and possibly beneficial even though the page count rises exponentially.

Jan 7, 2013 at 4:55 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

That Ssat cares not one jot about the climate science literature is reflected in the disconnect between its content and the views he has just expressed.

Were he to read it as frequently as some comment here, there might be a 3 sigma or greater likelihood of those views changing.

Jan 7, 2013 at 7:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell

Please note that I was referring to your page count yardstick and not page content. Assuming that I am less widely read on the subject than yourself is presumptuous on your part. However, as you introduce the findings of climate science into your comment, may I point out that (on topic) they do not match reality unless hind-cast to do so (Lindzen apart).

Jan 7, 2013 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

You seem bent on elevating that presuption to an hypothesis, which though weighty, you can still falsify at leisure by reading the literature for a change.

If modeling controversies teach anything, it is that casually eliding science with its numerical representations can be as fatal as rejecting the iterative power of models to extend scientific understanding- a species of incomprehension to which the Bish does not seem immune.

Jan 7, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

Russell:


As Mann remains the center of your alternative universe...

Hardly. See the tag cloud.

let us not forget that one didgy data splice, instantly corrected in Nature...

This shows that you don't have the foggiest idea what you are talking about. The chief issues with the Hockey Stick were (a) use of data which everyone agreed contained a non-climatic signal (b) Use of a biased statistical algorithm. Mann didn't splice the instrumental data, he used it to pad the end-point. His corrections were made 7 years after the initial publication not "instantly".


, remains, statistically speaking, a thin reed on which to hang a blanket rejection of the reams of data the IPCC reports convey-

Mann's paper represents, statistically speaking, less than a part per million of the page count of the climate science literature


Indeed, which is why I say it was a scientific sideshow in The Hockey Stick Illusion. The scandal was that the IPCC promoted a scientific sideshow to the centre of AR3 as if it were important.

The Bish's decade long obsession with the hockey stick imbroglio has no more disproved the facts of raditive forcing or climatological bracket creep than Piltdown Man has undone evolution

See above.

, and those who persevere in imagining the actuarial imperfections they detect have somehow called the underlying geophysics into question richly deserve the laughter they attract at venues like the AGU meeting.

See above.

Russell, I think we have established beyond reasonable doubt that you are a blowhard. You have been venting your somewhat incoherent spleen here for all these years without ever having read my book or having taken the time to work out what the actual criticisms of the Hockey Stick are or their significance. Do you actually teach students to criticise works that they haven't even read!? Really?

How on earth did you get a job at Harvard?

Jan 7, 2013 at 10:03 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Owie - that may leave a mark:)

Jan 7, 2013 at 10:10 PM | Unregistered Commenterdbd

dbd: Haha, agreed. But this is my favourite:

"As Mann remains the center of your alternative universe..."

Hardly. See the tag cloud

The headline result for me: Josh beats Mann. As Oscar Wilde once said "There's only one thing worse than people talking about you - and that's people not talking about you."

Jan 7, 2013 at 10:34 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Ouch. Harvard Professor? Really!? Tell us it aint so Russell! Also, how long is a decade in America? The Bish has only had a web presence since 2006 as far as I know. Is a US decade smaller than the British decade like their Gallon is ;)

Jan 7, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

I certainly agree it was a scientific sideshow, but the Nature corrigendum ran weeks, not years, after the article, and I among others of a skeptical bent pointed to it at the time as an example of the self-correcting nature of quality journals.

I have remarked elsewhere on the parlous nature of palaeoclimatology- we all come to the climate wars with the data we've got, but mixed proxy data splicing is an intrinsically dicey business .

But do you not think it odd that a decade after the ballyhoo began, an entire cottage industry devotes itself to hawking tickets to a sideshow dead as The Glums ?

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

I certainly agree it was a scientific sideshow, but the Nature corrigendum ran weeks, not years, after the article, and I among others of a skeptical bent pointed to it at the time as an example of the self-correcting nature of quality journals.

I have remarked elsewhere on the parlous nature of palaeoclimatology- we all come to the climate wars with the data we've got, but mixed proxy data splicing is an intrinsically dicey business .

If there were a lot wrong with climate science , an entire cottage industry would not be devoted to hawking tickets to a sideshow as dead as The Glums . That Mann et al remains a contrarian favorite testifies to the fact that they have failed to turn up anything better to rail at in the ensuing decade.

[BH adds: Not sure which article you are referring to. If you mean MM03, that appeared in Oct 2003. The materials complaint to Nature was submitted in Nov 2003. The Corrigendum, containing a number of misleading statements and outright falsehoods, appeard in July 2004. As to the rest, do feel free to come back when you have informed yourself a little better.]

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

sorry for the repeat

Jan 8, 2013 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRussell

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