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« The disastrous revolution | Main | Glacier loss of plot »
Saturday
Aug162014

Another bind for Bob Bind

...all the projections of climate models are becoming observable facts.

So says Bob Bindschadler, a retired NASA ice sheet specialist. Stop sniggering at the back.

Readers may recall Dr Bindschadler from his 2011 appearance in Horizon, when he got himself into a bit of a pickle over the relative ratios of anthropogenic and natural carbon dioxide emissions.

This new quote, remarkable as it is, comes from a long interview in a publication called Truthout (a title that is vaguely reminiscent of 'Pravda' in my opinion). The whole article is worth a read, covering Dr Bindschadler's knicker-wetting over sea levels in the twenty-third century, his cruise to the Antarctic with James Hansen and Al Gore, and his excitement over changes to glaciers in Antarctica in recent years. In view of his problems during his Horizon appearance I was also amused by this photo caption:

Bindschadler believes one of the things scientists must learn to do better is communicate the information they produce.

Amen.

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Reader Comments (35)

' ... got himself into a bit of a pickle over the relative ratios of anthropogenic and natural carbon dioxide emissions.'

And let's not forget that Royal Society President Paul Nurse didn't know enough about the basics to correct him.

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

What's in a name? Looking at the Herr Doktor's, from memory, one meaning of "bind" is a sling you wear to protect for instance a broken arm, and schandler looks to be the profession variation of "schade", usually translated as damage or injury, but nowadays more commonly used as in wie Schade - meaning what a pity.

So, he becomes Dr Damage Control.

Pronouncing the diverse prognostications of all the models as becoming observable facts, is straight into electric monk territory.

Pointman

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterPointman

The combination of 'truth' and 'out' is also worth a spin in the park. To the old tune of

Maggie, Maggie, Maggie ... out, out, out!

but in this case delivering on their promise in every issue.

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Since all the projections of all the models are totally different, it is difficult to comprehend how all the projections can be observed simultaneously.

Aug 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Just waiting for AcTivisTP to come along and tell us that Bob is a scientist

Aug 16, 2014 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

H2O,
Hmmm, I thought it was obvious, but - okay - he is a scientist :-)

Aug 16, 2014 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnd Then There's Physics
Aug 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Nicht "Pravda" aber "Trud", meinherr.

Aug 16, 2014 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterjimB

Phillip

"Since all the projections of all the models are totally different, it is difficult to comprehend how all the projections can be observed simultaneously."

Indeed, although I suppose that as they are all different, there is a slim chance that one might be right. Like religion, in fact...

Aug 16, 2014 at 12:48 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

he has a science degree (given gratuitously nowadays) and a science career at nasa (leftwing enough i suppose)
apart from that:

Being a "scientist"
is like being a "believer" , a "prayer" , a "writer" a "lover" a "homo"

Is just true BECAUSE of some historical anecdotes and our interpretation of that, and might as well be completely FALSE now. I would bet the house this leftwing cardboard character is NOT doing science now

Aug 16, 2014 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul the Wuss

Paul the Wuss
If he believes that any of the model predictions are coming true then he is certainly not doing science.
He may be doing semantics in the sense that the predictions themselves are observable facts but they don't in any way relate to anything other than themselves.
Ridicule seems the only proper way to deal with this piece of idiocy.

Aug 16, 2014 at 1:32 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Climate science sets a very low bar and so is unlikely to appeal to the really gifted. In a field where the dizzy heights of mediocrity are rarely achieved, the least gifted (or so it seems) turn to the role of advocacy, where their lack of talent is sorely exposed in the glaring light of public scrutiny. And then they whine about their inability to communicate. Science deserves better. A lot better.

Aug 16, 2014 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

THe interesting thing to me is not Bish's post itself, but the linked pair of papers just released the post ultimately leads too, which claim that "“Today we present observational evidence that a large sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet has gone into irreversible retreat,” Dr. Rignot said in the NASA news conference. “It has passed the point of no return.”

This is not a conditional statement, dependent on models, CO2 levels, circumpolar winds, or anything else for that matter. It says that it is certain based on hard observational evidence that the west Antarctic Ice Sheet has started to collapse, and relatively soon, and that there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

That's a pretty strong position, and perhaps we should be looking at its credibility, rather than that of Dr Bindschadler.

Tony.

Aug 16, 2014 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ratliffe

I am beginning to find it difficult to distinguish, in my mind's eye, some climate scientists from performing seals. It's just that an image of a seal keeping a ball up on the end of its nose keeps popping up ever since I read these words of Timothy Wirth, the US politician who picked Hansen out to star in a congressional hearing in 1988:

'So we called him up and asked him if he would testify.'

'. ... We had introduced a major piece of legislation. Amazingly enough, it was an 18-part climate change bill; it had population in it, conservation, and it had nuclear in it. It had everything that we could think of that was related to climate change. ... And so we had this set of hearings, and Jim Hansen was the star witness. '

'...What we did it was went in the night before and opened all the windows, I will admit, right? So that the air conditioning wasn't working inside the room and so when the, when the hearing occurred there was not only bliss, which is television cameras in double figures, but it was really hot. ...
So Hansen's giving this testimony, you've got these television cameras back there heating up the room, and the air conditioning in the room didn't appear to work. So it was sort of a perfect collection of events that happened that day, with the wonderful Jim Hansen, who was wiping his brow at the witness table and giving this remarkable testimony. ..'

'Oh, Hansen went a long way. This was a very, very brave statement. He was on the edge of the science and almost 20 years younger than he is today, so he's relatively new in the field. He's working for the federal government, and certainly this was not cleared far up the line, what he had to say. So the summary of what Jim Hansen had to say that year, plus the fact that it had gotten so much attention from the [press] -- it was on every channel, Hansen was widely reported. He went as far as anybody could possibly have expected him to go, I think. Again, it was a very brave thing for him to do. '

So, a good result for the ringmaster. He was pleased with the performance he'd helped to stage-manage. The quotes are from an interview in 2007 (see above link).

And of course for Wirth and other political zealots, the science doesn't really matter - it just provides a convenient opportunity for them:
'We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing, in terms of economic policy and environmental policy. " - Timothy Wirth quoted in Science Under Siege by Michael Fumento, 1993 

What he can't have imagined way back in '88 was that so many seals climate scientists would come forward to perform all by themselves in the years that followed.

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:10 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

And today children, Sesame Street's Magic Number is the Number Seven.............

You got that Paul? Goooood..........

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

This man's on drugs - must be.

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Easy money, if you can get it.

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterschadenfreude

Phillip Bratby said:

Since all the projections of all the models are totally different, it is difficult to comprehend how all the projections can be observed simultaneously.

You have forgotten to take into account the theory of parallel universes. If you take any prediction from any climate model there will be a universe in which that prediction is an observable fact!

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Then by inference, all the IPCC climate models are out of this World!

Aug 16, 2014 at 2:41 PM | Unregistered Commenterturnedoutnice

Good joke turnedout but special thanks to Anthony Ratliffe. The lack of weasel words in the statement of Dr Rignot at NASA is refreshing in its own way. Irreversible retreat of a large sector of the West Antarctic ice sheet it is. That sounds to me like it can be tested over the next few years.

Aug 16, 2014 at 3:04 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Bob Bind does not seem to be much of a scientist to me. From the interview:

"So I would be quoted in the paper making a rather bold statement and a colleague would call me out and say, well you didn't mention the uncertainty factor, and sounds like you know more than you know you do. But you have to consider the audience. If all you do is lace it with uncertainty, it gives them reason to do nothing."

Stunning.

Aug 16, 2014 at 3:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterpotentilla

Does "truthout" mean it's been discarded?

Aug 16, 2014 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

"...all the projections of climate models are becoming observable facts."

N-n-n-no, they're not. Even if the models were right they wouldn't be. This is only 2014. The bad stuff is not due to happen for a few years yet.

Aug 16, 2014 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterUncle Gus

I was a bit disappointed about this article. I thought it was about "THE" Bob...not this pretend Bob!!!

Mailman

Aug 16, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Since all the projections of all the models are totally different, it is difficult to comprehend how all the projections can be observed simultaneously.
Aug 16, 2014 at 11:01 AM Phillip Bratby

You average them and that gives the correct projection.

Aug 16, 2014 at 7:08 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

So, again, what is it that I have to say in order to qualify for this luxury tour of the Antarctic?

Aug 16, 2014 at 7:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrute

from the truth-out link -

"As more ice sheets come into play, there is enough ice in all the ice sheets to raise sea level 80 meters.
Every time the earth has gotten warmer, there is less ice and higher sea levels. So those mega-facts are hanging out there and they don't change. So it's against that backdrop that you have to look at the decade and century time scale change and know that that is just the beginning of a longer sustained trajectory of continued ice loss.
Greenland itself has enough ice to raise sea levels five meters, and West Antarctica about the same size."

so we learn to live with the "mega-fact" & adapt or drown, as allways, you alarmist so&so (what a prat)

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

marin how do you average model's runs?

you have the uncertainty of the models...

same set of parameters in the models and see the range of the result... but you can add models...and change the range of results...

you have a more meaningful uncertainty
you run one model for any point of the multidimensional paramater domain agreeing with the hindcast...and see the range of the result....
you have another one you run a model with one set several point of a set of parameter wittin a error bar of each parameter.. and see...
and so on...

of course it is silly but doing this for a long time you can be convinced that you checked all the possibility...as long as the basic assumption you made ine the model is right....if not all your work is crap...

I am no expert but it is my opinion...where am i wrong?

the more weird to me is you look at the beautifulspagheti graphs in ipcc report and think to yourself...if any university rsity comes with a new model...it will change all the results...all the uncertainty.sound crazy to me..

People accpet the idea that it is not a problem if you have several models for the problem, so what is the criteria to add models as long they hincast not that badly????

when they say the models give....the very point is" the models"is not defined at all....redo history and they would chose other models may be close but different and have other results...

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterlemiere

Typical radical left media, no resemblance to reality. Claim to be "unbiased" because they have no "corporate links". From About Truthout:

Our Mission
Truthout works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis. With a powerful, independent voice, we will spur the revolution in consciousness and inspire the direct action that is necessary to save the planet and humanity.

Aug 16, 2014 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEric Gisin

For Richard Drake. Your suggestion of a testable forecast "over the next few years" is as vague as my "relatively soon" time horizon. Reading the press release again, it is obvious that the authors are talking "geological time" here, with lots of error bands to be counted in decades and/or centuries. I would like them to try to tighten their forecasts up a bit, so that us old fogies can hope that we may be able to examine the observations, confirming or otherwise, in our lifetimes.

I suspect that my wish is unrealisable, so that we just have to keep the worst case scenario in the back of our minds while life continues on.

Tony.

Aug 17, 2014 at 12:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Ratliffe

Tony: geological time, eh? Thank you for that :)

Aug 17, 2014 at 4:04 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

Eric Gisin
That Mission Statement registers at 19.6 on the Gunning Fog Index (the number of years of formal education that a person requires in order to easily understand the text on the first reading) and 17.34 on the Flesche Reading Ease scale (0-100; higher the better).
For a comparison, Anthony Ratliffe's post below yours rates at 13.68 & 55.31!
There comes a point where complex sentences and polysyllabic words (other than highly technical documents with scientific terminology) are designed either a) to make the writer and his organisation appear more important than they really are or b) to obfuscate or c) both.
Take your pick!

Aug 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Eric: foggy and incomprehensible text in my experience are often an accurate reflection of the mind of the writer.
Re: West Antarctic ice sheet collapse--IIRC they were talking about a timeframe of many centuries for the collapse, as if human societies are able to even plan for events 500 yrs from now. rubbish

Aug 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

Eric: foggy and incomprehensible text in my experience are often an accurate reflection of the mind of the writer.
Re: West Antarctic ice sheet collapse--IIRC they were talking about a timeframe of many centuries for the collapse, as if human societies are able to even plan for events 500 yrs from now. rubbish

Aug 17, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig Loehle

"Since all the projections of all the models are totally different, it is difficult to comprehend how all the projections can be observed simultaneously."

If you don't like parallel universes, I suppose n projections can be reconciled in a n-dimensional space. Or 2n perhaps.

Aug 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterDagfinn

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