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« Up against the Wall - Josh 260 | Main | Bovver boys in pinstripes »

The mind-boggling coincidence hypothesis

Also hot off the press is a new paper by Gavin Schmidt and colleagues. Doug McNeall reckons I'm not going to like it, but having taken a look (it's open access for registered users of the Nature website), I have to say I think it's lots of fun.

Schmidt and his colleagues are looking at the hiatus in surface temperature rises and considers why the CMIP5 ensemble all got it so wrong. In their new paper they explain that the reason for this is not – as wild-eyed readers at BH might think – that the models are wonky. In fact it's all down to an incredible, incredible coincidence

Here we argue that a combination of factors, by coincidence, conspired to dampen warming trends in the real world after about 1992. CMIP5 model simulations were based on historical estimates of external influences on the climate only to 2000 or 2005, and used scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways, or RCPs) thereafter4. Any recent improvements in these estimates or updates to the present day were not taken into account in these simulations. Specifically, the influence of volcanic eruptions, aerosols in the atmosphere and solar activity all took unexpected turns over the 2000s. The climate model simulations, effectively, were run with the assumption that conditions were broadly going to continue along established trajectories.

Apparently, if you go back and rework all the forcings, taking into account new data estimates (add half a bottle of post-hoc figures) and 'reanalyses' of old data (add a tablespoon of computer simulation) you can bridge the gap and explain away the pause.

We conclude that use of the latest information on external influences on the climate system and adjusting for internal variability associated with ENSO can almost completely reconcile the trends in global mean surface temperature in CMIP5 models and observations. Nevertheless, attributing climate trends over relatively short periods, such as 10 to 15 years, will always be problematic, and it is inherently unsatisfying to find model–data agreement only with the benefit of hindsight.

So, with the benefit of hindsight, the climate modellers can fit their square peg into a round hole. It wasn't that the models were running too hot, it was just that nature has got it in for climate modellers.


Of course, they still have the problem that the energy budget estimates of TCR are all pointing to much lower climate sensitivity than the GCMs. These studies are, of course, strongly suggestive of the "mind-boggling coincidence" hypothesis being incorrect and the original supposition - that the models are overheated - is right. However, Schmidt and his colleagues make no attempt to address such minutiae, waving them aside, with characteristic bonhomie, as mere speculation:

We see no indication, however, that transient climate response is systematically overestimated in the CMIP5 climate models as has been speculated8, or that decadal variability across the ensemble of models is systematically underestimated, although at least some individual models probably fall short in this respect.

Told you it was fun, didn't I?

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Reader Comments (182)

It's not cynicism so much as continued skepticism from those of us who correctly predicted that forcings were too heavily biased in favour of an imaginery positive feedback and that natural variation was underestimated; specifically that the heating phase from 1975-1995 coincided with a positive pdo which meant we should expect a plateau and then a dip. In other words, we were right and you were collectively wrong. And for that we are ritually called flatearthers, anti-science, immoral deniers who should not even be allowed a platform for our views.

What we also see is that the certainty projected recently by some of your own colleagues (and likely also yourself) that the putative missing heat is hiding in the ocean is not shared by Schmidt et al. When you lot stop just making stuff up, calling it a fact and then insulting those who are skeptical is when you might begin to understand how scientists really should behave.

Meantime actual energy policy is based on this balderdash. Yet so far the best predictive theory is from Swanson/Tsonis and lately Curry: Natural variation is dominant and if there is a manmade component to the 100 year trend then it is not yet attributable in the natural noise which means it is most likely tiny and beneficial. The natural conclusion therefore is that that there are far too many people employed in climate science, including yourself and therin lies the real reason for not just admitting what is blindingly obvious; that there is no reason at all for any alarm.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Shub gets to the heart of it: if the models were no good we do not and did not know how the climate system works therefore we have no basis for asserting that manmade Co2 inputs will have certain outcomes and accordingly all public policy based on that assertion is pointless and should be stopped/repealed.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterbill

Was it Phil Jones who said, I am paraphrasing, "what if it was all down to multidecadal variability, they'll kill us!"? That's the mark of a true scientist - he believed his hypothesis, but entertained doubt, and .. put it on paper (though only in a private email). If the pause can be due to coincidence, then the temperature rise of the 20th century - both halves - can be due to coincidence too. It doesn't take much to doubt your old theories and re-examine them when (finally) prediction and data don't match. However, it takes courage to hold back judgement (and condemnation of those who disagree) when data and prediction appear to match.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commentershub

bill, we cross-posted.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commentershub

Is there no member of the Team, or senior Met Office figure, prepared to come out? Surely, surely there must be ONE with the integrity to declare publicly that the TWWP was mere natural variation; that scientists foolishly extrapolated a perceived linear trend (it wasn't linear) in a ferchrissakes chaotic dataset; that the global warming they forecast has not happened; that the theory has been falsified.

The careers of an army of corrupt pseudoscientists flourish at the expense of the productive citizens who finance them; at the expense of our beauty spots and seascapes. Which of you has the decency to say "We were wrong"?

*TWWP: Teeny Weeny Warm Period 1975-1998.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

The AGW hypesters are following the typical arc of all failed prophetic clap trap.
First, great dramatic predictions of coming doom that sound plausible.
Then, repeated claims made louder and louder, with some sort of evidence offered as proof
Followed by popularization of the doom and eventual social acceptance
Then of course denigration of those who question the prophecy
Then adjustments of the prophecy as it fails to show
And blaming those who question the prophecy and point out the failure of the prophecy
Then the prophecy starts to obviously fail
And blame the heretics/unfaithful for the failure
Make more scary prophecies to keep the faithful in line
Then start fabricating excuses, but never admit the unbelievers were correct
Which brings us to about where we are today

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"Climate models projected stronger warming over the past 15 years than has been seen in observations. Conspiring factors of errors in volcanic and solar inputs, representations of aerosols, and El Niño evolution, may explain most of the discrepancy."

No Gavin, faulty models can explain ALL of the discrepancy.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterCBoss

Yes, Gavin & gang want us to believe that the warming of the past was perfectly explained and that only a bizarre set of coincidences make the problem today.
So we are to ignore all the problems with their claims about the past- the adjustments to enhance their evidence, the huge error bands, 'hiding the decline', the misrepresentation of weather events, etc. etc. etc.
And simply accept the excuses of today.
Good luck with that.
No wonder the AGW community is so angry and desperate to stifle the discussion

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

JamesG at 10.21

Absolutely bang on the button!

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Hewitt

@ Brent

"Is there no member of the Team, or senior Met Office figure, prepared to come out?"

I could have sworn that I read this somewhere:


"Schmidt's 'Reconciling warming trends'? Wow, that's a REAL stretch. Too much for me. If I were them, I wouldn't have bothered" said Richard Betts.


No, you're right. 97% percent unlikely. Must have been a dream.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerryM

Can we look forward to a day when the last remaining "catastrophe" theorists about CAGW will be like the occasional isolated Japanese soldier tucked away on remote islands, not knowing or believing that the War had ended years before??

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:26 PM | Registered CommenterSkiphil

The late Karl Popper would have had a field day with AGW. Some quotes:

"It is easy to obtain confirmations, or verifications, for nearly every theory — if we look for confirmations.

Confirmations should count only if they are the result of risky predictions; that is to say, if, unenlightened by the theory in question, we should have expected an event which was incompatible with the theory — an event which would have refuted the theory.

Every "good" scientific theory is a prohibition: it forbids certain things to happen. The more a theory forbids, the better it is.

A theory which is not refutable by any conceivable event is non-scientific. Irrefutability is not a virtue of a theory (as people often think) but a vice.

Every genuine test of a theory is an attempt to falsify it, or to refute it. Testability is falsifiability; but there are degrees of testability: some theories are more testable, more exposed to refutation, than others; they take, as it were, greater risks.

Confirming evidence should not count except when it is the result of a genuine test of the theory; and this means that it can be presented as a serious but unsuccessful attempt to falsify the theory. (I now speak in such cases of "corroborating evidence.")

Some genuinely testable theories, when found to be false, are still upheld by their admirers — for example by introducing ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation. Such a procedure is always possible, but it rescues the theory from refutation only at the price of destroying, or at least lowering, its scientific status.

One can sum up all this by saying that the criterion of the scientific status of a theory is its falsifiability, or refutability, or testability."

That final sentence sums up everything that is wrong with "Climate Change"- it is a theory of "everything" Flood/Drought, Storm/Calm, Hot/Cold it is all "in keeping" with "Climate Change".

In fact a theory of "everything" that almost daily has to "introduce ad hoc some auxiliary assumption, or by reinterpreting the theory ad hoc in such a way that it escapes refutation".

Does this sound like Gavin's (and Richard's) latest contortions?

In other words it is "pseudoscience" or "climate psience".

By the way this "debate" with the students used the "Wakefield" (Measles vaccine and autism) as an example. Not AGW, although I was sorely tempted :-)

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

The science is settled.
The science is nearly settled.
The science is not quite settled.
The science is unsettling......

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterIvor Ward

Substitute any climate scientist of your choice for Kenneth Williams:

'Infamy! Infamy! Nature's got it in for me..!'

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterSherlock1

"CMIP5 model simulations were based on historical estimates of external influences on the climate only to 2000 or 2005, and used scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways, or RCPs) thereafter4. Any recent improvements in these estimates or updates to the present day were not taken into account in these simulations..." "...The climate model simulations, effectively, were run with the assumption that conditions were broadly going to continue along established trajectories."

Ok, color me skeptic, since not a cAGW believer (historically, every previous warming period in recorded history has been good for mankind, and every cold period catastrophic, so if the warming is real, I'm looking forward to it), so perhaps I'm just not up on Alarmist discourse? But am I wrong, or did Gavin Schmidt just say, "Our GCMs cannot predict the future because of natural variability---exactly as the Skeptical community have been criticizing, QED---but we want you to believe them anyway"?

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterp@ dolan

Never before have models had such protective minders!

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

Climate Science: "[1] We are attempting to model a more complicated physical system than has ever been attempted before, some aspects of which we do not fully understand".

Climate Science: "[2] Our models have not been validated, because there is no way this can be done."*

Climate Science: "[3] The predictions of the models have not matched reality."

Martin A: "Well, given [1] and [2], would not anything other than [3] be completely amazing?"

* The Met Office has said that their models have been validated by the fact that they can reproduce some past climate history. This seems to me to be the fallacy known as “testing on the training data”. It is possible to have models with completely wrong representation of the physical effects which still reproduce past history correctly.

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:44 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"So what of the current eruptions? Well Bezymianny appears to be explosive enough, but its latitude (55 N) will tend to preclude it having any big climate impact. Merapi is in the right location but doesn’t appear (so far) to be explosive enough to put anything in the stratosphere, and so this too seems unlikely to impact climate. At some point, there will be another climatically important eruption, but it hasn’t happened yet"

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commenterclivere

We used to call coincidence error or noise. Perhaps Schmidt has an IQ of 120, but on taking the official tests showing only a meagre 80, this result may have been caused by the coincidence that he had a terrible night before, had arguments with his partner, drunk two bottles of whine, arrived too late the next morning, did not understand the test instructions, etc. BTW, error is symmetrically distributed. We may consider that by an incredible coincidence the earth temperature did not drop to record lows in the past decades.

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMindert Eiting

Bishop, you still haven't answered. The logic with these climate models and with your gas price models suggests that correcting the inputs will, if the models have skill, correct the outputs. This is indeed what is observed. So again, why do you say this is down to an "incredible, incredible coincidence"?

Martin, Schmidt's analysis seems to be a validation of sorts. If using bad future (from the 2005 perspective), forcings gives a bad temperature projection and using the corrected forcings results in a good temperature projection, this implies to me that the models really do have skill.

Feb 28, 2014 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

The mistakes, oversights, undersights....etc, when corrected, always seem to support the original conclusion(s).

How coincidental that there are so many coincidences!

Feb 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM | Unregistered Commenterbullocky

Feb 28, 2014 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterCapell

So if Schmidt is right, where did huge amount of heat now buried in the deep ocean come from?

That is what I was thinking.

Recently, it has become increasingly common to argue that the "pause" or "hiatus" etc isn't any such at all, since the globe is still supposedly "thermally unbalanced", but with the heat accumulating in the oceans, as per Trenberth.

Schmidt's argument now would seem to go flat-out against the above, as the influence of volcanic activity, aerosols and solar activity would all have a direct influence on the effective energy inflow in the first place.

Of course, for Schmidt to adopt the deep-ocean scenario would mean to accept that his models are useless.

Feb 28, 2014 at 2:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter B

Isn't co-incidence another name for Natural Variability? Didn't the IPCC say that Natural Variability is low?

Feb 28, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterferdberple

Short-term variability can be very large compared to the long-term climate trend. All of the (many) misunderstandings in these comments can be traced back to a confusion between short-term variability and long-term averages. Even if you get a run of 1's and 2's, the average score of a six-sided dice is still 3.5...

Feb 28, 2014 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

Feb 28, 2014 at 8:09 AM | rhoda

Hi rhoda

Genuine question here. I was under the impression that ENSO and like processes EMERGE from a GCM. Not so? If they do, you ought not to just go back and plug observed ENSO into the model which did not see that emergent phenomenon.

Yes, you're completely correct that ENSO and other such process emerge from a GCM. The point, though, is that although such internal variability emerges to be fairly* realistic in terms of the general statistics over time (general frequency and magnitude), it's all chaotic so specific ENSO events in the models don't occur at the same times as in the real world. If they did, then one of the biggest challenges of climate modelling (useful seasonal to interannual forecasts) would have been solved. We still have much work to do there....

"Plugging them back in" as such is not really possible, since it would requires somehow overriding what is emerging from the model, which is why I'm more cautious about that aspect of Gavin et al's paper. What they've done is a reasonable attempt but it's not the same as having the specific ENSO events emerging from the model at the same time and same strength as happened in reality.

*depending on which particular phenomenon/process we're talking about

Feb 28, 2014 at 3:15 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"attributing climate trends over relatively short periods, such as 10 to 15 years, will always be problematic"

So we shouldn't be worrying too much about what appeared to happen to the global temperature between, say 1980 and 1995?

Thought not.

Feb 28, 2014 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Duffin

Was there an actual thought, much less a question, hidden away in that last post someplace?
If so, can you seperate it out so it is coherent?

Feb 28, 2014 at 4:13 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

@Andrew Duffin

That's exactly right. You need to look at the big picture to see the climate trend. A glance at any global temperature graph shows a line which zig-zags wildly around the core trend. Predicting short-term variability and predicting the long-term trend are two completely different problems.

Feb 28, 2014 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

Richard Betts

one of the reasoned arguments that this cynic has put forward on many occasions is that it is impossible to model the climate without a full understanding of how it works - natural variability by any other name. So when Gavin catches up with where we cynics have been for many years we are allowed to laugh cynically at yet another pillock who has been making a living off the public teat by producing bollox instead of doing science.

And yes Richard CO2 is a greenhouse gas and must cause some warming but you guys seem to be having more and more difficulty in turning your mantra into a scientific theory of anything but laughable value.

Feb 28, 2014 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeadless Chicken

Dr Betts says: "Schmidt et al show how some forcings probably exerted a stronger cooling influence than previously thought, and they back this up with references"

So, the official position of (some majority, now?) of climate scientists is that the "one knob" model of our planet's "climate machine" is faulty? That human civilization may twiddle the CO2 knob up or down, quickly or slowly, now or decades from now, locally (as with Germany and Australia) or under some sort of transnational super-regime, and we STILL can't predict how some of the other knobs, identified or otherwise, will be tweaked? And we certainly can't foresee how the combination of tweaks to the model's knobs will combine to affect the global climate?

Oh, and that Hansen's phrase of "Business as Usual" applies to NATURAL forcings as much as anthropogenic forcings? Such that various scenarios that are based on BAU must specify which particular knob on the climate machine are subject to UNusual tweaking, twiddling, or frobbing of knobs?

Way, waay WAAY back I worked for Gerald Ford's "Energy Research and Development Administration" schlepping around a energy and environmental "simulator"; based on the models and formulas promoted by the "Club of Rome", would react to various policy choices. Students and civic groups would form teams to tweak FIVE knobs, and green, yellow, or red lights would flash to indicate what results and costs would result. It was a fairly (by current standards) primitive analog computer modeling a dozen or so formulas: only five, as I say, were subject to human intervention at all.

It's somewhat depressing for me to see that better computers the past 4 decades have not resulted in more elaborate simulators. As far as I can see a MMORPG with players each responsible for five to ten knobs, each controlling industries, environmental policy, and environmental regulation in their own personal grid cells, would be a very useful tool to GCM developers. (This rather than assuming General Zod defeats Kal-El and begins implementing one singular world-wide industrial, population-control, and energy use policy everywhere, all at once, based on the Stalin-like assumption that Carbon Dioxide is the new "steel" and control of the CO2 knob controls the progress of everything everywhere else. )

Feb 28, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterpouncer

On the subject of Richard Betts, I wonder if his visits here are due to his sunny outgoing nature, helping these (ho ho) poor bewildered sceptics to reach his own advanced understanding of the refined science of climatology. Or has he been formally tasked by his employer with engaging in the debate? Has he received media and PR training at taxpayers' expense before embarking on this mission?

What does he DO all month long for the salary paid for (in the parlance, fun-ded) by you and me?

Feb 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrent Hargreaves

@Headless Chicken

"it is impossible to model the climate without a full understanding of how it works"

That's not actually true. Models always contain a series of assumptions and approximations. They aren't meant to be alternative versions of reality, perfect in every detail. They just have to be good enough to say something useful about the specific question under consideration.

For example, a model designed to investigate long-term climate change can simply ignore short-term variability because - by definition - this will cancel out over the long-term.

Short-term variability, and the climate processes responsible for that, are important in their own right of course. Understanding the variability in the system allows predictions to be made of the weather extremes we might expect in a particular climate regime - but this is a completely different problem to that of estimating the long-term warming average. Given a climate forcing, we know with absolute certainty that there will be more energy surging through the earth's climate systems even if we can't predict all the details at a fine-grained spatial/temporal level.

Put it this way: if you stood in front of a puddle in the road as a car approached, you would similarly be able to predict an imminent splashing with a very high degree of certainty but you would not be able to predict where each and every water drop would fall. Most of the commenters here appear to think this means that the entire theory of pedestrian splashing has been debunked, which is patently absurd.

Feb 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

"Most of the commenters here appear to think this means that the entire theory of pedestrian splashing has been debunked"


Pedestrian Splashology is observational science.

Compooter Global Climate Modeling is not by nature.

Bad Analogy


Feb 28, 2014 at 7:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

Noel Darlow: "Even if you get a run of 1's and 2's, the average score of a six-sided dice is still 3.5..."
If it's a *fair* six-sided die, yes. After a dozen rolls, if the average is only 2.5, one has a strong* suspicion that the die is loaded; that is, that the assumption of fairness is incorrect.

The short-term variability of average surface temperature can be quantified, and the short-term deviations from long-term trend can be described probabilistically; the shorter the interval, the greater the variation. CMIP5 GCM trends do not match observed trends well (see, e.g., Lucia's analysis at the Blackboard). Therefore, one has a strong suspicion that the GCMs do not provide a reliable prediction.

*strong = (p<0.05)

Feb 28, 2014 at 7:28 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

Noel is the one attemtping to play with loaded dice.
The AGW thesis is what has been shown to be failing predictions.
Skeptics have gotten it right.
17 times in a row.
a7 years the climate reality has gone against the AGW predictions.
That is incredibly unlikely.
But Noel is uncomfortable dealing with this, and so hopes to turn the tables.
Gavin & gnag are seeking to 'splain it away with coincidences.
Trenberth with hiding heat.
Santer with Volcanoes.
Mann by winning a law suit.
Obama by calling names
Noel, in his own small way, by pretending it is the fault of skeptics.
I wonder how this will play out?

Feb 28, 2014 at 8:31 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Chandra says:

If using bad future (from the 2005 perspective), forcings gives a bad temperature projection and using the corrected forcings results in a good temperature projection, this implies to me that the models really do have skill.

So we have succesfully created climate models that, given all the correct and known forcings, can model climate. (Actually, as the forcings are still unknown even historically, I think this is actually untrue - if you change the forcings you can make the models fit anything. And they do.)

But if all the future forcings are unknown then ergo the models have no predictive capability. So what use are they?

Feb 28, 2014 at 8:59 PM | Registered Commenterthinkingscientist

On the subject of Richard Betts (...) Or has he been formally tasked by his employer with engaging in the debate?
Feb 28, 2014 at 6:47 PM r Brent Hargreaves

Richard is a civil servant and the civil service have strict rules about talking to the media about your work.

Of course he has been cleared to do so and it will be written into his work objectives.

He'd be the natural choice for the work because of his tact and diplomacy talents, his senior position, his involvement in research and with the IPCC, and that he knows a lot about what the Met Office get up to. I don't see a problem with that - any large organisation needs to interface with the public and they'd be stupid not to give the job to someone with the right talents for it.

My problem is with the Met Office itself which has become a large parasitical organisation, very harmful to its host.

The climate research half should be privatised - the sooner the better. The weather forecasting half should be reorganised as a small number - perhaps thirty or so - competent meteorologists, given the task of producing accurate weather forecasts over only such timescales where that is possible.

The National Audit Office should have a small team, working at arm's length, to assess objectively and publish assessments of the performance of the new Met Office.

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:00 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Given a climate forcing, we know with absolute certainty that there will be more energy surging through the earth's climate systems even if we can't predict all the details at a fine-grained spatial/temporal level.

Thanks Noel. This is just another version of the mantra chanted by other true believers. if it gives you comfort, that's fine. But don't confuse it with science.

PS love the imagery - energy surging through the earth's climate systems - very Valkyriesque!

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeadless Chicken

@Headless Chicken

I'm sorry but you are the one who is confused and you will remain so if you continue to wilfully ignore real science in favour of false skepticism. Whatever uncertainties there may be in the current understanding of climate they are not well-represented on this blog.

The culture of science requires that detailed, formal arguments are presented for publication after the basic sanity check of peer-review. Individuals typically have decades of hard study behind them and a genuine dedication to their subject. Consequently, they tend to have real expertise in their subject.

The culture of false-skepticism is to blog. No learning or expertise is required just $10 per month for a hosting provider.

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

As someone who lives at a southern latitude where solar insolation is insufficient over the year to maintain the yearly average temperature I am grateful daily for the energy that surges from the north through my climate system. Occasionally it surges the other way which is most unpleasant.

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeoff Cruickshank

Mr Darlow,

Your patronising tone is tedious and entirely unpersuasive. If you had bothered to familiarise yourself with the Climategate files which you choose to dismiss as being far too *old* for your vastly superior intellect to be irritated with, you would be aware that the current failure of models was entirely to be expected, given the complete, chaotic uncertainty that the protagonists freely discussed between themselves, together with the need to present a compelling narrative for the poor fools who would swallow every lie they concocted and then gold plate them as divine truth.

I'm sure they approve of your useful idiocy.

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:49 PM | Registered Commenterflaxdoctor

Also, you say "with the benefit of hindsight" as a criticism, but isn't offering explanations of what has happened in the past exactly what scientists are supposed to do?

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:43 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Well, yes, but the explanations are supposed to come from reasonably well confirmed physical hypotheses which can also be used to make predictions (of the future) that turn out to be true and these hypotheses are supposed to describe the very regularities that underly the phenomena predicted. Climate science has produced no such hypotheses; none, nada, zip. That is all that the serious scientist needs to know.

By the way, you are darn near the point where you write: "Your response indicates that cold-blooded murder is always a bad thing."

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

Feb 28, 2014 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow

So, you would have us defer to those who have the "expertise." You are aware, I hope, that no serious scientific question has been decided by an argument between two statisticians. At this time in history, climate science asks us to decide the future of the world's economy on something far more esoteric than an argument between two statisticians.

Feb 28, 2014 at 10:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheo Goodwin

@Theo Goodwin

Defer to real expertise or defer to unqualified bloggers..? Tough call.

There is much more at stake than the future of the world's economy, although that too demands immediate, deep cuts in emissions.

However, the truth is that false skepticism has a complete lack of interest in the future of the economy (or indeed anything) but is solely concerned with the preservation of the current economic system no matter what the cost to future generations.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterNoel Darlow


you have my deepest sympathy

I don't think there is any known cure for your disability


Feb 28, 2014 at 11:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterHeadless Chicken

Noel Darlow states "However, the truth is that false skepticism has a complete lack of interest in the future of the economy (or indeed anything) but is solely concerned with the preservation of the current economic system no matter what the cost to future generations"

I find this statement shockingly patronising as it basically says that "skeptics" are narrow-minded and wickedly selflish.
Well this skeptic has children and doesn't want to see them grow up in poverty. A future guaranteed by the oft-decredited alternaives to "the current economic system" that he so loves..

You are a typical utopian, completely disconnected from reality.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&Twisted

Noel Darlow

" Defer to real expertise or defer to unqualified bloggers..? Tough call."

There is simple obvious alternative, think for yourself! Realise that you and you alone are responsible for every thing you do and everything that happens to you. If that concept does not sit well with your mindset then you are welcome to be one of the woolly things on one man and his dog.


Feb 28, 2014 at 11:46 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Of course it's about destroying the "current economic system". Always has been, always will be. Never has been about science.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterBloke in Central Illinois

"For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected. {10.3, 10.7}"

This is the clearly worded PREDICTION for increases in global surface temperatures from AR4. It raises a few questions:

When this was written in 2007, did the "consensus" scientists of the day actually believe that the models were capable of predicting global temperature for the following two decades? If not, why did they deliberately mislead the world?

Alternatively, when did they find out that the models are not capable of short-term predictions as they now claim? And, when they did find out that the models were not fit for this purpose, did they make a clear announcement that they don't have a clue for the short term and formally retract the AR4 predictions? Or did I just fail to get the memo?

Just passively backing off from making predictions in AR5 is very different from "Manning up" to admit an error.

Richard Betts is a smart individual and he must understand that these weasels deserve the cynicism they get.

Mar 1, 2014 at 2:04 AM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

Your response is interesting. It is as if, instead of having the answers you may have instead only had a relatively short list of canned responses and have run through the list already.
The irony of the appeal to authority in your last response is that you were making statements and assertions earlier without citations, and that even now you offer none. Instead, you are making it appear as if you are seeking a fig leaf of cover to rationalize retreat.
It is odd how climate obsession leaves seemingly capable people incapable of debate or discussion. It's the weather, after all. Certainly you can talk about the weather without a meltdown? And please don't say climate is not weather. The only way climate is experienced is as weather. Lighten up. Stick around. Or maybe your faith is too brittle to think for yourself?

Mar 1, 2014 at 4:19 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

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