Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Twitter
Support

 

Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« Lewis on Chen and Tung | Main | UKIP target Climate Change Act »
Friday
Aug222014

It's the Atlantic wot dunnit

Overnight the big climate news has been the new paper by Chen and Tung, which seeks to explain the pause in surface temperature rise, now nearly 18 years old on some measures. Judith Curry has excerpts here, while a layman's summary is available at the Economist.

The story goes that much of the missing heat is to be found in the Atlantic, with a slow-moving current speeding up in recent times so that heat is drawn down into the deep-ocean. The theory seems to be that this process runs over a 60-year cycle, for half the time with the depths warming and the surface cooling and half the time the other way round. Chen and Tung conclude that we are currently in a surface cooling phase, so the pause could last another ten years or more.

The corollary is that the warming at the end of the last century was accelerated by the same process. Indeed, the press release notes that:

 

Rapid warming in the last three decades of the 20th century, they found, was roughly half due to global warming and half to the natural Atlantic Ocean cycle that kept more heat near the surface.

Strangely, this conclusion doesn't seem to have made it into the paper itself.

No doubt there will be a lot of banter on the subject today. Doug McNeall has opened up with a little jibe at us sceptics on Twitter:

If I was trying to counter the "pause" news, I'd also talk about post hoc rationalisation. Just a little tip there.

But it is inescapable that the climate models fail to capture this important process, if indeed it is real. This is understandable, given that Chen and Tung don't yet have an explanation for why the process changes.

Once again this brings us back to the thorny question of whether a GCM is a suitable tool to inform public policy.

 

http://judithcurry.com/2014/08/21/cause-of-hiatus-found-deep-in-the-atlantic-ocean/

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (90)

Richard - even with all your points granted: CGMs all run on a hot side; none has been able to predict the temperature of the 21st century. With a hindsight, the modelers claim they now cam model the "hiatus". For catastrophic scenarios, models are absolutely crucial.

Aug 22, 2014 at 6:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

A short note to the "Climate Science Cabal"
When in a hole stop digging.

Aug 22, 2014 at 7:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

I'm not sure how warm the water is meant to be but water at 4C is more dense than water at 0C, hence ice floats. Damn hydrogen bond.

Aug 22, 2014 at 7:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMIke

Here is a reasonable sounding summary from a credible source:
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/75313/bottom-water

Aug 22, 2014 at 9:30 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

Hi Mike

Fossil fuel and cement production emissions are about 8 billion tonnes of carbon per year, but the atmospheric CO2 rise represents an increase of about 4 billion tonnes of carbon per year, which is about half of the emissions. There are therefore more than enough fossil fuel emissions to explain the CO2 rise (the rest is being taken up by the land and oceans).

If the CO2 rise is not man-made, where do you think the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from? And where are the emissions going to if they are not contributing to the CO2 rise?

The numbers, and data sources, are in table 6.1 here.

Aug 22, 2014 at 9:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard Betts

A primary aim of developing GCMs these days is to improve forecasts of regional climate on nearer-term timescales (seasons, year and a couple of decades) in order to inform contingency planning and adaptation (and also simply to increase understanding of the climate system by seeing how well forecasts based on current understanding stack up against observations, and then futher refining the models). Clearly, contingency planning and adaptation need to be done in the face of large uncertainty.

Whilst I note with interest that this piece is introduced with an indefinite article, it does seem to be slightly at odds with earlier output from the MO. I recall that in 2007 Vicky Pope said 'By 2014 we are predicting that we'll be .3 degrees warmer than 2004.' I have to assume that Vicky was relying on your GCM's in making that failed prediction. The only purpose of the prediction seems, with hindsight, to have been to cause unnecessary alarm. Are you able to enlighten us as to whether there has been any change of tack given the very poor performance of virtually all long range forecasts made by the MO?

Aug 22, 2014 at 9:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

Richard Betts I sure you appreciate the need for actual empirical data to support strong claims , so can you direct us to temperature data regards the deep ocean and explain how fairly it represents the vast area of the deep ocean .

For at the moment when it comes to ocean temperatures the amount of data we have when compared to the vast area the ocean covers , it seems to be like trying to claim that one grain of sand from one beach can represent all grains of sand form all beaches .
Models can be and often are flat out wrong , sooner or latter you need to back those claims up , so do we really have to wait another 10 years before we can accept in this case the models are wrong and therefore the assumption their based on also wrong ?

Aug 22, 2014 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterKNR

Not that long ago climate scientists were warning of catastrophic warming. They thought that positive water vapour feedback would lead to runaway warming with more water vapour and more warming.

That panicked the politicians into making all the decisions that now cost the developed world trillions today, together with all the rest of the decisions that will lead to unaffordable energy, fuel poverty and destruction of industry.

Much of this nonsense was the output of GCMs which were slavishly believed in the total absence of any common sense.

Climate scientists have a lot to answer for and the debt meter is still running.

Aug 22, 2014 at 10:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

When history, and hopefully the courts, get around to questioning the climate scientists I am sure that phrases like "the science is settled" and "the 97% consensus" will feature as exhibits in the evidence for the existence of a propaganda campaign designed to suppress scientific debate.

When it is shown that the claims made in the name of science were completely exaggerated, those who used authority and public office to deliberately shut down the scientific debate and critical challenge will be in an extremely vulnerable position. Billions of taxpayers' money has been wasted in the UK alone. Organised and coordinated action against climate scientists by taxpayers is going to be an interesting first.

Aug 22, 2014 at 10:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

The very idea that climate policy is motivated by any kind of genuine concern is itself contemptibly naive.

Aug 22, 2014 at 11:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterJake Haye

Everyone* agrees that CO2 rise is anthropogenic
*OK so not quite everyone, but everyone who has thought about it to any reasonable extent

Aug 22, 2014 at 5:38 PM Richard Betts

Well, Richard, I've thought about it to a somewhat reasonable extent and I don't agree that CO2 rise is anthropogenic.

I don't disagree either but I can see a convincing argument supported by data that it could be either (is/is not). And that the some of the reasoning that the CO2 rise is anthropogenic is invalid .

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:20 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Fossil fuel and cement production emissions are about 8 billion tonnes of carbon per year, but the atmospheric CO2 rise represents an increase of about 4 billion tonnes of carbon per year, which is about half of the emissions. There are therefore more than enough fossil fuel emissions to explain the CO2 rise (the rest is being taken up by the land and oceans).

If the CO2 rise is not man-made, where do you think the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from? And where are the emissions going to if they are not contributing to the CO2 rise?

The numbers, and data sources, are in table 6.1 here.
Aug 22, 2014 at 9:31 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

Richard,

If the CO2 rise is not man-made, where do you think the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from?
Increased emissions from the biosphere and the ocean in response to increased global temperature.

And where are the emissions going to if they are not contributing to the CO2 rise?
Absorption by the biosphere and ocean - although contributing to a proportion of the rise (which may be a small proportion).


The 50% seems to be a coincidence. I confess that even I have always found the 50% almost convincing - until I remind myself that coincidences don't constitute evidence unless you have some detailed knowledge of the probabilities involved.

1:30am here. goodnight.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:29 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

I have to assume that Vicky was relying on your GCM's in making that failed prediction.
Aug 22, 2014 at 9:49 PM H2O: the miracle molecule

I believe that, around the time, Vicky Pope was in charge of the Met Office's modelling work.

really goodnight.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:37 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

KNR

As the abstract of the paper says, the authors used a mixture of in-situ data and re-analysis (models driven by data, to in-fill where data are not available. You can read more at Judith Curry's post that the Bish links to above.

H2O: the miracle molecule

I suspect that Vicky would be the first to agree that she somewhat overstated the certainty of the conclusions of the Smith et al (2007) paper that she was quoting. That paper was a first attempt at decadal forecasting.

Martin A

As I asked Mike, where are the CO2 emissions magically disappearing to if they are not causing the rise in atmospheric CO2? :-)

Schrodinger's Cat

The 'settled science' and '97% consensus' are not really things that you typically hear most actual climate scientists talking about. They are comms tactics by campaigners. Most climate scientists prefer to base statements on evidence rather than 'consensus' and they acknowledge that there are still many things we don't know (good job too, else we'd be out of a job!)

But I don't particularly like the somewhat sinister tone of the rest of your comments, like 'Climate scientists have a lot to answer for' and 'Organised and coordinated action against climate scientists'. What with that and Jake's use of the word 'contempt' I think it's clear we've sadly reached the point where discussion ceases to be constructive.

Aug 23, 2014 at 12:41 AM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

"But I don't particularly like the somewhat sinister tone of the rest of your comments, like 'Climate scientists have a lot to answer for' and 'Organised and coordinated action against climate scientists'. What with that and Jake's use of the word 'contempt' I think it's clear we've sadly reached the point where discussion ceases to be constructive."

Agreed. Please ensure you encourage those who want to gaol Big Oil et al, and otherwise denigrate those who dare to question the consensus to also cease the unhepfulness - thanks

Aug 23, 2014 at 2:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterKneel

Just the Atlantic, not the Pacific? That doesn't sound very likely, does it?

Aug 23, 2014 at 2:38 AM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Richard Betts,

If you can't even get your terms of Chemistry right, don't lecture to people about what's wrong and what's right. Carbon is different from CO2 and you use both interchangeably as if they are one. That's intellectual dishonesty, consistently practiced by the CAGW supporting crowd.

Aug 23, 2014 at 6:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterVenter

Richard Betts - here's a quote from Lomberg which I think sums up the situation we are in, largely as a result of the seriously flawed climate models, noble cause corruption, and dodgy data selection and adjustments by climate scientists:

"We live in a world where one in six deaths are caused by easily curable infectious diseases; one in eight deaths stem from air pollution, mostly from cooking indoors with dung and twigs; and billions of people live in abject poverty, with no electricity and little food. We ought never to have entertained the notion that the world’s greatest challenge could be to reduce temperature rises in our generation by a fraction of a degree."

Source: http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/bj-rn-lomborg-says-that-the-un-climate-panel-s-latest-report-tells-a-story-that-politicians-would-prefer-to-ignore

We sceptics have repeatedly been told the science was settled, and anyone who questioned the CO2 thesis, (or suggested there are uncertainties) has been denigrated / ostracised, or labelled as a selfish uncaring denier, flat-earther, or worse. Careers have suffered, academic freedom has been stifled. The poor quality of much of climate science, and many of its high priests and disciples have led to corruption of the peer-review process, and science itself. This will have ramifications for good scientists in other fields for many years to come, as the when the public fully appreciate the scale of the climate deception, they will rightly be less likely to trust or fund anyone in a white coat. Billions of tax-payers money has been wasted on CO2 related research and highly questionable renewable energy policies, which will cost consumers, industry and our landscapes dear. Meanwhile the climate where I live in Scotland is much the same as it has ever been - I have had to light the woodstove every night for the last 2 weeks because otherwise the house would be too damn cold. In mid August ffs. And you are your fellow catastrophists want me to worry about an extra 0.7C of warming in the last 100 years? The Climate Change Act is costing the UK an extra £8 billion a year, money we don't have, my children will have to pay back, and the net effect the CCA will have (if the model's are correct, ho ho ho) will be to lower average global temperatures by about 0.05C by 2080? I think climate scientists and modellers have a lot to answer for and Martin's tone is perfectly understandable. At the very least sceptics are owed a public apology. If climate scientists have any sense they will come clean and admit to the media and politicians that their models are shite and that they don't have a clue about what the climate will be like in 50 or 100 years time. It is time to fess up and be honest. But I fear they will choose to keep hole-digging in the forlorn hope that Mother Nature and the uncertainty monster will be kind to them. Fat chance. What do you think Richard?

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterlapogus

Richard Betts
You state:-

"Everyone** agrees that we can't predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don't know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can't be certain of large changes in future, but can't rule them out either."

I am a physicist who spent many years experimenting on and modelling in a safety critical area and am well aware of the Precautionary Principle as evinced in the above statement. I worry when you state

"The 'settled science' and '97% consensus' are not really things that you typically hear most actual climate scientists talking about. They are comms tactics by campaigners. Most climate scientists prefer to base statements on evidence rather than 'consensus' and they acknowledge that there are still many things we don't know (good job too, else we'd be out of a job!)"

As a climate scientist don't you think that you and your profession ought to be speaking out authoritatively about the use of such statements in describing the results and implications of your professional work. It's all very well saying that 'we don't know' but allowing Governments and politicians to support very far reaching policy decisions on such things as 'settled science and 97% consensus' is in my view a poor reflection on your profession.

Aug 23, 2014 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRonaldo

Hmm Richard.

Most climate scientists prefer to base statements on evidence rather than 'consensus' and they acknowledge that there are still many things we don't know (good job too, else we'd be out of a job!)

We'd all like to hear what "climate scientists" more pert the Met Office "evidence" actually is, as yet from what we can glean the consensus says - computer modelling can never provide answers - only speculation.

'Our' - that is the domestic/industrial energy consumers- aka the taxpayers who pay the wages of the bods in the MO [and elsewhere in the climate science blob]. As I was saying, our big problem with that [above], is that politicians have made some quite appalling decisions based on the hearsay and speculation promulgated by "climate scientists" - and consequently: Britain is wasting £billions p/a on white elephant palliatives to cure a mythical threat. Which does lead me and many others to advocate that, perhaps the country would be far better off if most of the "climate scientists" were to ably employed elsewhere in the private sector and the Met Office closed down for good: the good of all the people.

In fact, all "climate scientists" employed in the public sector should very carefully consider their futures, the time is coming when luxuries - such as the Met Office will be deemed surplus to requirements. Indeed, accurate weather forecasting is available from private companies who make reasonable forecasts and do not imposed any sort of a burden upon the taxpayer.
We've had enough of climate soothsaying, most of the British public have given time and thought to the prognostications of the climate gurus and have arrived at the very reasonably formed opinion, that, the future computer modelled predictions are not worth the paper they're written on.
Furthermore, the great British public wonder why is it that they should be expected to send good money after bad, for the public realize nature, the earth, as yet and will not be contradicted nor second guessed by mankind.

Finally, it is way past the time when the annual IPCC jamboree was wound up and Britain will make a start by winding down the Met Office in the near future - that's my prediction.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Two superb comments from Schrodinger's Cat yesterday at 10:013 and 10:29, and by lapogus and Ronaldo this morning. I am in an awful rush at present to catch a bus, but I just want to share a post I made a couple of days ago about the massive political propaganda machine in place to promote policies using climate alarm as a key lever. The scientists have aided and abetted the creation of a monster that has caused a great deal of harm already and will surely do more. Hansen's performing seal act with Wirth as the ringmaster in 1988 is informative. The scientists really are in a secondary role at best. They have been used, and some of them have been enthusiastic about it.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

." We may have to wait 15-20 years to know what's going on."

So, another 15-20 years of exaggerated forecasts and huge grants.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterGummerMustGo

Martin A

As I asked Mike, where are the CO2 emissions magically disappearing to if they are not causing the rise in atmospheric CO2? :-)


Aug 23, 2014 at 12:41 AM Richard Betts

Richard "magically" is your word not mine. If you were asking the question seriously, you would not use such a word
.
It is *possible* that human emissions are very largely being absorbed by the biosphere and the oceans. If you consider that the fluxes into and out of the biosphere + oceans are far larger than human emissions, a small change to the natural fluxes is sufficient to explain the observed increase in atmos CO₂. The human contribution is a small piddle by comparison.

On another discussion thread there has been some discussion of Murry Salby's observation that atmospheric CO₂ closely follows the integral of global temperature. As computed from actual data.

I re-watched Salby's presentation (and re-read the transcript of his talk). If there is a flaw in his reasoning, I have yet to spot it. And it is my nature to delight in spotting flaws in scientific argument.

To borrow an expression beloved by the MO, Salby's computed results are consistent with the increase in atmos CO₂ being almost entirely natural. I don't think they *prove* it but they make it at least as plausible as the opposite view.

Aug 23, 2014 at 8:58 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Richard Betts

Thank you for your comments. You will sense some hostility from the BH denizens and I hope you will understand why that might be. You say:-

Everyone** agrees that we can't predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don't know.

But that is exactly what the MO has done. Predicted that the long term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise will be catastrophic. The MO has poured as much fuel on that fire as any activists. Would we have a Climate Change Act if the MO had been as candid as you are above back in 2007? The quote I referenced from Vicky Pope was not simply overstating ‘the certainty of the conclusions of the Smith et al (2007) paper that she was quoting’. It was professional negligence. In any other field the MO would be sued for being so wrong. I can understand that you and the MO will want to play this down and move on with your newly found skepticism. For those of us who have been skeptical all along, it sticks in the craw.

You also say:-

The 'settled science' and '97% consensus' are not really things that you typically hear most actual climate scientists talking about. They are comms tactics by campaigners. Most climate scientists prefer to base statements on evidence rather than 'consensus' and they acknowledge that there are still many things we don't know (good job too, else we'd be out of a job!)

Another amazing volte face. The MO have been the cheerleaders of alarmism for as long as I can remember. And suddenly we are asked to believe that you are going to start practicing science! Well can you start by asking Julia to write to the House of Commons and point out all those that use the 97% consensus and settled science are not reflecting the view of the UKMO. That would be a good thing.

Thank you

Aug 23, 2014 at 9:31 AM | Unregistered CommenterH2O: the miracle molecule

You lot are earlier birds than me, I must say. It's probably an age thing.

Richard Betts
As usual, thank you for your courteous reply. I sometimes wonder how you put up with me. Please believe none of it is personal!
Martin A has reinforced my point, I think, on two or three posts. The obsession with CO2 is starting to look just that — and obsession. You ask, where did it go? I answer, I don't know and from the variety of suggestions that have been coming out of the climate science community it looks as if you don't either. What I do think I know is that any correlation between CO2 and temperature over the last century is pretty poor, too poor I would argue to build a multi-billion redirection of the earth's electricity generation systems on.
Unless, of course, John Shade is right in his 8.15 posting. The only point where I would disagree with him is that the whole corrupt farce began with Strong, Ehrlich and the Club of Rome almost 20 years before that.

Aug 23, 2014 at 10:06 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Richard Betts' comment regarding the status of GCM's does puzzle. Perhaps it involves some careful wording which has passed me by. But, GCM's seem fundamental to the whole discipline. They represent the dynamics of energy distribution and dissipation throughout the oceans and atmosphere (based on Navier-Stokes). Without them there are only the basically static energy balance models. Predictions, and indeed dynamic argument, based on static equilibrium models are typically crude. Really for undergrads, politicians and journalists! But likely to attract ridicule from the better informed.

All decisions about the future, politicians included, are formulated in terms of expectations about future climate. At present, these are derived from the GCM-generated RCP's of the IPCC. How are GCM's not fundamental?

Aug 23, 2014 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterbasicstats

Absolutely correct observation, basicstat. All the hullabuloo about CAGW has been purely based on the GCM's which have neither hindcasted or forecasted anything right. So to claim that the GCM's are not fundamental is disingenuous and totally incorrect. But again, this is expected from the climate establishment, based on their track record so far.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenter

Mike (way back at Aug 22, 2014 at 7:24 PM): "water at 4C is more dense than water at 0C, hence ice floats."
This is correct for fresh water. But seawater's density always increases as it cools -- see e.g. this or this. There is a density maximum only for salinity below 25 or so.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:13 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

mojo: "Just the Atlantic, not the Pacific? That doesn't sound very likely, does it?"
While I am far from convinced of the Chen/Tung hypothesis, there is a reason why they believe the Atlantic is more to "blame". Dr Judith Curry explains: "Its the overall salinity; higher salinity is more conducive to deep water formation. Too much precip in the Pacific makes the ocean overall fresher and more difficult to initiate deep convection in the ocean."

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:20 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

I see I made a mess of my comment. Sorry about that. It should have been:

JamesG said:

It's not even whether warm water can sink, it's that it sinks without having passed through and having been thusly detected in the top 700m first. That's the unphysical part! As if Poseidon had just pulled it straight down to Davy Jones Locker.


Although I am sceptical of the convenience with which the heat is allegedly happening to be going somewhere we aren't looking, it is still possible. If the flow rate increases while measured temps remain the same, more energy is being moved.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

Richard Betts (Aug 22, 2014 at 5:38 PM): "Everyone** agrees that we can't predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy."
As a counterexample, I give you Steve Easterbrook: "Climate models tell us that by the end of this century, if we carry on burning fossil fuels at the rate we have been doing, and we carry on cutting down forests at the rate we have been doing, the planet will warm by somewhere between 5 to 6 degrees centigrade."

I could give you many more. I submit that this is the more common way in which climate change is being depicted. Hence your "Everybody**" is not accurate.

Aug 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

JustAnotherPoster

"Must have missed that physics class where warm water sinks..."

Ha ha - classic comment

Aug 23, 2014 at 5:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Warm water may sink a bit as in a downwelling Kelvin wave which may transport west Pacific warm water down to about 150 m.

Elsewhere North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) and Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) are caused by salty cold brines, left over after ice production near the poles, sinking into the abyss. However, such thermohaline convection also has upwelling cells in the tropics and off west coasts of continents in the sub-tropics. Would greater downwelling near the poles be balanced by greater upwelling elsewhere?

Aug 23, 2014 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Richard Betts said

"The 'settled science' and '97% consensus' are not really things that you typically hear most actual climate scientists talking about. They are comms tactics by campaigners. Most climate scientists prefer to base statements on evidence rather than 'consensus' and they acknowledge that there are still many things we don't know (good job too, else we'd be out of a job!)"

Really!! REALLY!!

I know I don't need to disassemble it for the BH readers, they are far smarter than that and many of the above responses cover it well.

I try not to attack the individual and do strive to counter argue on the basis of facts but on the above quote I do have to say that if you had walked into my office as an employee with something as, inherently immoral and duplicitous as the above statement you would have walked out an ex-employee.

You should not be surprised at the negative reaction you are receiving on the above statement, if you are surprised, then god help us.

Aug 23, 2014 at 9:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Singleton

Is this "Reason #33" or just a subset of Trenberth's "Hiding in the deep ocean"?

Aug 23, 2014 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon

Richard Betts

I am sorry that you seem to have left this post when there are some hard questions to be answered. It would nice to have a continuing discussion on the responsibilities of professional Climate Scientists to draw Public and Political attention to the very wide lack of understanding (impact of CO2 could be very large or very small in your opinion) of the effect of CO2 on climate.

Aug 24, 2014 at 7:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterRonaldo

My earlier post was after a few glasses of wine and didn't quite come over quite as I intended. I apologise for that.

However, if I may re-state the point, dire warnings of catastrophic warming leading to the possibility of the extinction of life on our planet were being made frequently by climate scientists in our recent past. This alarmism caused governments to take drastic actions which will affect us and future generations.

Now it is becoming increasingly obvious that a some of that warming was natural and not man made. It may well turn out that most of it was natural. That would make the climate scientists responsible for the most expensive scientific fiasco in the history of our planet.

I believe that if we find ourselves in that position, an enquiry, or perhaps several different enquiries, must be held to establish what went wrong. Climate scientists seem to view this subject as a rich source of material for their papers. In the real world, energy costs are rocketing and people will die from fuel poverty.

Accountability is not a word you hear associated with climate science and I see no evidence that these scientists feel any sense of accountability.

If it becomes clear that the science was badly flawed, I would like to see the following investigated:

Quality of the data, records and their archiving.
Sharing of data and codes for verification by others.
Quality of decision making.
Whether assumptions were based on objective data and not to achieve a particular result.
The whole treatment of unknowns and uncertainties.
The estimation and treatment of errors.
The importance attributed to GCMs and whether this was scientifically justified.
The communication of conclusions to policymakers.
The communication of uncertainties to policymakers.

I could go on. This is an amateurish list for illustration. Expert investigators would know what to question.

In conclusion, if it turns out that we have spent billions for no good reason, I would like to see the scientists held to account. I am sorry if RB thinks that this is sinister. I see it as professional accountability.

Aug 24, 2014 at 7:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Responsible? I am not sure you can put all the blame on the scientists. I suspect they really played only a supporting role, and I further suspect that for most of them, they were utterly unaware of the political drama that was unfolding. Geographers and computer programmers also played a part in the early years, and more recently psychologists have joined in. It is one awful mess.

Aug 24, 2014 at 9:46 PM | Registered CommenterJohn Shade

I agree. There are lots of different groups with a hand in this. I don't think I said that climate scientists are responsible for the entire affair. I do think they raised the alarm. It seems to me that a great many of them are still doing that.

I

Aug 24, 2014 at 10:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

So, Mr. Betts, the emperor has no clothes, but we should keep acting as if he's fully dressed.

The climate scare has always been based on the models. You know it, I know it, "everyone" knows it. Now that the models lie in tatters, you tell us to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain? Oh please. Your models didn't even fit the past, because that data was either missing or manufactured. They don't fit the present, and you now admit that you have no way of knowing what the future might bring, because the models are worthless as predictors.

Settled science? The scientific method tells us, before anything else, that "science" is never "settled." It tells us that we make hypotheses -- educated guesses -- based on observations, and that an essential part of a hypothesis is its predictive ability. Your hypothesis, that human activity is altering the earth's climate, is unproven. Further, your predictions of the rate of climate change have been wrong enough to have invalidated your modeling, and by extension your hypothesis.

Richard, I have an article for you to read. It makes a lot more sense than your comment did, that's for sure.

Aug 27, 2014 at 4:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJake J

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>