I was thinking about all those proxies indicating medieval warmth that were reported in the NIPCC report. I found myself worrying that they might suffer from the same problem as the tree rings - namely that their proxy nature might be justified post-hoc, by showing that they correlate to temperature in the instrumental period. This of course leaves you with the possibility that the correlation is spurious.
Charlie Martin explains what a global warming sceptic is and why he is one. I liked this bit:
The predictions of further warming are necessarily based on models. Now, it happens I did my PhD work on Federally funded modeling, from which I developed the NBSR Law (named after the group for which I worked): All modeling efforts will inevitably converge on the result most likely to lead to further funding.
George Monbiot is excoriating on the subject of academic publishers, and in particular their profits.
What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it. Another term for it is economic parasitism. To obtain the knowledge for which we have already paid, we must surrender our feu to the lairds of learning.
With there being three big publishers, there is of course no monopoly as such, although of course one can argue that there is a cartel operating. With returns of 40%, one can make a good case that this is the case.
However, from where I am standing it looks more like yet another case of the state hosing down a private sector business with taxpayers' money. Lacking any incentive to reduce their costs it's hard to see the universities making any efforts to break the stranglehold of the big publishers - what's in it for them?
The Heartland Institute's NIPCC interim report has just been published - see here. This is a summary of the new scientific literature since 2009.
I've taken a glance through the paleoclimate bits and it appears to have been put together in a very professional manner. I was blissfully unaware of just how much evidence has been emerging for the existence of a MWP in the world outside Europe.
If I had a criticism based on what I have read, I would say it's over the authors' tendency to slip into editorial mode - discussion of Mann being engaged in "subterfuge" looks out of place in a scientific report.
Lots of people are not going to like the report of course. Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute, tweets that the report makes him sick and refuses to link to it. Barry Woods and I have politely asked which bits in particular he is concerned with and he has told us that he doesn't need to do this when someone is arguing that the Earth is flat.
If there are any computer-literate readers out there, help! I bought a new PC over the weekend.
I appear to have this problem (although I'm using Word 2003 in Win7-64). As per the linked page, if I switch to Winword Safe Mode, the problem goes away.
The page linked suggests I have a print driver problem. However, the printer is installed on the missus's PC and I share it (it's a share rather than a network printer). Isn't the print driver on her machine then?
This is a guest post by Matt Ridley:
Some years ago, presumably for having written books on genetics, I was elected a fellow of Britain’s Academy of Medical Sciences (AMS). This was a great honour and I was even more pleased to be invited to speak at one of their annual dinners.
Then, towards the end of 2010, there dropped through my letter box a newsletter from the AMS which included an item on the academy having signed up to an “international statement” on the “health benefits of policies to tackle climate change” together with other medical science academies around the world. The newsletter said that the health “co-benefits” of tackling climate change “show that climate change mitigation strategies need not be socially and economically demanding”. Since everything I was reading at the time about rising food and fuel prices driven partly by climate change mitigation policies was pointing to the opposite conclusion – namely that malnutrition and hypothermia were being increased by such policies, outweighing any health advantages – I went online to read the statement, to find out what I had been signed up to as a fellow
Brian Cox has been speaking at the Edinburgh Festival on the subject of the BBC. He is in favour:
Prof Cox said the BBC had put science centre stage and had been rewarded with high ratings and huge interest.
The Wonders of the Universe presenter said public service broadcasting had a "very important" role to play in changing the direction of society.
The idea of members of society being forced to pay for a BBC that views their remit as "changing the direction" taken by those same members of society is problematic, IMHO.
UEA have released some of their correspondence with the Outside Organisation. The disclosures can be seen here.
Although there are quite a large number of documents released, it appears that this is mostly just the "boilerplate", to use Mann's expression. The university seem to be claiming exemptions under s41 breach of confidence and s43 commercial interests. Ho hum.
What has been disclosed is of minor interest - meetings with Neil Wallis to rehearse Phil Jones for his performance before the SciTech Committee, hiring a camera crew to film a clip of Edward Acton outside Portcullis House afterwards. I remember the latter from the news reports on the day. It is interesting to see that the MSM were happy to take footage from UEA. It doesn't make them look very good in my opinion.
A couple more hints about the Mann email disclosures by way of an article in Science Insider:
In a press release this afternoon, ATI said it had received "a 4.3 megabyte disk that contains 3,827 pages" of data. Paul Chesser, ATI's executive director, said ATI staff members had not had a chance to review the contents. "We think we got a third" of the documents requested, Chesser said. Mann, who says the university is keeping him abreast of the documents it releases, says they consist of routine e-mail messages and similar "boilerplate."
Apparently more documents will be released next month.
What has CLOUD discovered and why is it important for our understanding of climate? There are several important discoveries from CLOUD. Firstly, we have shown that the most likely nucleating vapours, sulphuric acid and ammonia, cannot account for nucleation that is observed in the lower atmosphere. The nucleation observed in the chamber occurs at only one‐tenth to one‐thousandth of the rate observed in the lower atmosphere. Based on the first results from CLOUD, it is clear that the treatment of aerosol formation in climate models will need to be substantially revised, since all models assume that nucleation is caused by these vapours and water alone. It is now urgent to identify the additional nucleating vapours, and whether their sources are mainly natural or from human activities.
I am slightly confused about this though - are we saying that the models include a factor for nucleation that is equal to the rate of nucleation currently observed, and which changes based on how we think sulphuric acid and ammonia levels in the atmosphere will change in future? Or are we saying that the level of nucleation in the models is 10--1000 times too small? I assume the former, but I had also believed that the models went back to first physical principles rather than using empirical measures.
Maybe somebody can put me right here?
David Whitehouse has more.
Given that this looks as though it is going to be a hot climatological topic for a while, if you haven't read it already then you will want to get hold of a copy of Svensmark and Calder's The Chilling Stars.
Updated on Aug 24, 2011 by Bishop Hill
Updated on Aug 25, 2011 by Bishop Hill
Here's some links on the CLOUD experiment results.
New Scientist, hilariously has a piece entitled
Cloud-making: Another human effect on the climate.
I kid you not folks - these guys are away with the fairies.
Nigel Calder writes:
Long-anticipated results of the CLOUD experiment at CERN in Geneva appear in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature (25 August). The Director General of CERN stirred controversy last month, by saying that the CLOUD team’s report should be politically correct about climate change (see my 17 July post below). The implication was that they should on no account endorse the Danish heresy – Henrik Svensmark’s hypothesis that most of the global warming of the 20th Century can be explained by the reduction in cosmic rays due to livelier solar activity, resulting in less low cloud cover and warmer surface temperatures.
Willy-nilly the results speak for themselves, and it’s no wonder the Director General was fretful.