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Discussion > Does Climate Science Exist?

Add to that the latest link from NCC 1701E, which shows that “greenhouse effect” does not exist, and you can chuck all of the fancy formulae being generated, and ideas to “mitigate” (usually at horrendously extreme cost), into the bin.

Alas, there are many whose stupendous arrogance will not countenance such a proposition. What makes it worse is that many of them are in positions of great influence. Thus, Climate Science, the devil-child of True Science, is dragging its progenitor into the morass, from where the effort to extricate itself might that it will not survive intact.

Oh, and this post should conclude the fifth century – well done, Martin A!

Aug 23, 2015 at 12:37 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Well done Martin A you have handled all the spin fro EM with consulate ease.

Aug 23, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Why thank you RR and geronimo.

Of course, without EM, the thread would have petered out long ago.

EM (excuse us discussing you, EM) is interesting in many ways. He is clearly attracted to many "we are all doomed" themes, not just CAGW. He is usually courteous and polite (but not always), despite some other commenters being rude to him. When he makes errors, he will sometimes acknowledge them - and in a gracious manner.

But he (like most of us I suppose) has his blind spots - he often comes across as extremely condescending; he has a tendency to imagine something on the basis of little or no evidence and then to mention it as if it were established fact. He'll state something where his knowledge is obviously limited to what he read on Wikipedia while drinking a cup of coffee as if he were an established expert on the subject.

But he obviously puts tremendous time and effort into his studies of climate and his efforts to discuss his beliefs the scientific facts. And in responding to his points we do sometimes have to think things through, resulting in improvements in our own understanding or at least getting practice in explaining things.

EM - we're (some of us, anyway) looking forward to your next comments.

[EM _ If you want to look at my Aug 21, 2015 at 10:30 PM comment, I'd like to know whether you concede what I say or if not why you think I'm wrong. ]

Aug 23, 2015 at 3:16 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Geronimo, have you seen that link to BH’s tweet: “Wish I had a penny for every person who doesn't know the difference between "pour over" and "pore over"…”?

Many similar examples have appeared on this site (surprising, considering the intelligence and knowledge of so many; perhaps they are happy letting the keyboard supply what it thinks they want), but that one is a cracker – “consulate ease”, indeed!

(For the record, it should have (“should of”, nowadays?) been “consummate ease”.)

Aug 23, 2015 at 3:22 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

“…towing the line...” is another faux pas that does keep appearing – this time by Jamspid on Leavers on the line - Josh 338. To where is this line being towed? It is “TOEING the line”, for heaven’s sake! (i.e. making sure you do not cross the boundaries, but are prepared to push it a little.) Perhaps I should start another discussion…

Aug 23, 2015 at 5:01 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Then there are the bloopers of incorrect punctuation, or misplacing it; most commonly by putting a space before, not after ,if you know what I mean –or, perhaps worse, by scattering it (most often, commas), seemingly at, random .

Twist my alms and I may start another tread.

Aug 23, 2015 at 5:09 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

Radical Rodent
Despite my continued efforts two of my three sons write "would of" instead of "Would have" or even "would've". Mrs S reads all texts and WhatApps as if the were written without typos, bad spelling, bad or non-existent punctuation. My advice to you is the same as I give her, don't worry about it and assume that the writer isn't trying to wind you up.

Martin A
Agree about Entropic being generally polite, one can let a bit of frustration go by. When it is one against several I'm never sure if difficult questions are ignored or left behind as the conversation moves on.

Aug 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Yes, go on RR. If you do, I've got an item for it.

Aug 23, 2015 at 7:22 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

"I find it difficult to reconcile my own experience with your description of the collected climate data as non-gaussian"

Well strictly, I didn't actually say it was non-Gaussian - I said it wasn't independently distributed, zero-mean, constant-variance Gaussian. Failure of *any* of the conditions invalidates the method. Although technically the data *isn't* Gaussian, over short periods it looks close enough not to be an issue, the main issue is actually the independence assumption.

However, it's a more complicated question than it seems, because of the issue of approximations.

But on the question of whether the data itself is trend+Gaussian - consider that if it was, then extending the trend into the past or future would continue to see 99% of the values within 3 standard deviations of the line indefinitely. We can say immediately that it's a physical impossibility since we'd eventually get temperatures below absolute zero, but we don't actually have to go back anywhere near that far before the data diverges.

The answer to that, of course, is that nobody seriously believes that the underlying physics actually predicts "linear trend + Gaussian" behaviour. The conceptual model behind it is that it is actually "deterministic curve + Gaussian" and the linear trend is just the first-order approximation to the curve. What we're saying is that the time period is short enough for the short segment of the curve we can see to look straight. However, it's only an approximation. Where the curve deviates from straightness, the distribution doesn't fit.

We can solve that problem by using a higher-order approximation and fitting to a polynomial. A constant is a degree 0 polynomial, a linear trend is a degree 1 polynomial, we're just extending the same method to take more terms into account.

But how many should we take? If we take as many terms as we have data points, we can get the line to go through all of them exactly, and the apparent error is zero! The problem is that we cannot, by any purely statistical means, distinguish noise from curve. Any wiggle you see might be a kink in the underlying curve, or it might be just noise.

So behind the choice of a linear trend, rather than any higher-order curve, is *another* implicit assumption: that the curve is sufficiently 'smooth' for this to be a good approximation over the selected time interval. More technically, we look at the frequency spectrum of the climate 'signal' and the weather 'noise' and presume that the climate has no power at frequencies higher than a certain level, and the weather has no power at frequencies lower than that level. Smooth the data with a threshold at that cut-off frequency, and you supposedly separate signal from noise. The use of a linear trend implies a cut-off frequency corresponding to about half the interval covered by your data.

However, there appears to be no objective criteria on which such a threshold can be set. The frequency spectrum of the 'weather' appears to merge smoothly with the 'climate'. This is reflected in the correlation properties of the 'noise'. The residuals are not statistically independent, month to month, implying that there is more power at the lower frequency end of the spectrum. Moreover, it keeps rising all the way to the cut-off.

So what does the very low frequency part of the 'weather' spectrum look like; the part of the spectrum where we expect to find the climate change signal? Nobody knows for sure. If it's very strong, then all the rises and falls we're seeing might be just natural background variation. If it decays away beyond a certain point and is weak, then on timescales longer than that level we would be able to detect climate change. What you see in the data depends on the underlying assumptions of your analysis method. If you assume a trend, you see a trend. If you assume no trend, you see no trend. The analysis is simply reproducing your starting assumptions - the conclusions don't arise from the data. It just means we don't have enough data to tell, yet. But if you're *unaware* of the implicit assumptions underlying your analysis method, you could easily get a situation where different people are analysing the same data by different methods and coming to diametrically opposed conclusions, both sides utterly convinced they're right!

"You have that. CMIP5 is a physical model used to project future temperatures."

Quite right. The CMIP5 models can indded be considered to constitute a statistical model of the background. The problem comes when you try to validate it.

Consider the SI from the paper "Quantifying the likelihood of a continued hiatus in global warming" Roberts et al 2015.

This shows a figure S1 in which the probability of a pause of various lengths and strengths occuring in each of the CMIP5 models is shown (those models not invalidated by their failure to simulate El Nino, that is). If you plot the point corresponding to the current pause (or for that matter, the previous one from 1950-1975), you find almost all of the individual models are rejected at the 95% level by a 15 year pause; indeed many are rejected at the 99% level.

It doesn't make sense to use the full ensemble of CMIP5 simulations for our distribution since many of these are from models we know to be incorrect. It might make sense to use the ensembles from that subset that hasn't been rejected by its conflict with observation, though.

The paper tries to look on the bright side, and suggests that the probability of the pause continuing for another 5 years given that it has already lasted 10 is about 25%. That is to say, even the models think a 5 year continuation is quite likely - presumably the unspoken implication they hope to draw being that if the pause *does* continue we shouldn't therefore reject the models.

This isn't actually at all surprising. If the probability of a pause in each 5 year period was independent (I'm sure it isn't, but let's keep it simple) and about 25%, then the probability of a 10 year pause would be 6.25% and that of a 15 year pause would be about 1.6%, which is pretty much what the models give. So this doesn't give us any reason to think the evidence of another 5 years of pause is any less just because it comes at the end of 15 year pause.

"I note that after meeting Doug Keenan the Met Office have decided to go with their own advisers."

Actually, the Met Office (eventually) conceded that Doug was absolutely correct about his statistical significance calculations, but changed their story to say they had based their significance conclusion on other arguments - based on physics rather than statistics.

The Met Office said:
"Work undertaken at the Met Office on the detection of climate change from temperature observations is based on formal detection and attribution methods, using physical climate models and not purely statistical models, as discussed in Chapter 9 of the Contribution of Working Group I to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, 2007."

The IPCC of course say in chapter 9:
"The approaches used in detection and attribution research described above cannot fully account for all uncertainties, and thus ultimately expert judgement is required to give a calibrated assessment of whether a specific cause is responsible for a given climate change."

So it all boils down to "Because we say so."

Incidentally, they do give quite a nice summary of the need for a statistical model in the IPCC chapter 9 a few paragraphs earlier.

"Both detection and attribution require knowledge of the internal climate variability on the time scales considered, usually decades or longer. The residual variability that remains in instrumental observations after the estimated effects of external forcing have been removed is sometimes used to estimate internal variability. However, these estimates are uncertain because the instrumental record is too short to give a well-constrained estimate of internal variability, and because of uncertainties in the forcings and the estimated responses."

Quite so.


"Add to that the latest link from NCC 1701E, which shows that “greenhouse effect” does not exist, and you can chuck all of the fancy formulae being generated, and ideas to “mitigate” (usually at horrendously extreme cost), into the bin."

The greenhouse effect *does* exist. But you can't argue with someone who uses a different version of physics to the rest of science, so we all got bored and gave up.

Aug 23, 2015 at 10:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

Nullius in Verba: you got me there. The point I was trying to make was that the effect of “greenhouse gasses” does not really exist – I suppose “greenhouse effect” does exist in the sense that a planet that has an atmosphere will have surface temperatures maintained and moderated by that atmosphere, dependent upon the density of the atmosphere and of the planet’s distance from its external source(s) of energy. Perhaps the term “greenhouse effect” is a very sloppy allusion; could a better term be used? However, the actual constitution of that atmosphere does not seem to have any effect upon the temperatures – e.g. Venus, with an atmosphere that it 96+% CO2, has temperatures at altitudes where the atmospheric pressure is equivalent to Earth’s that the Earth would have, with ~0.04% CO2 in its atmosphere, were it the same distance from the Sun as Venus; in other words, the “greenhouse gas” that is CO2 does not seem to have any effect upon the “greenhouse effect” on Venus. Call me stupid, but my version of physics is that if an effect that is postulated to exist outside laboratories cannot be shown to exist outside laboratories, but CAN be shown not to exist outside laboratories, then the postulation is probably wrong.

Aug 24, 2015 at 7:38 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

" The point I was trying to make was that the effect of “greenhouse gasses” does not really exist"

Actually, that the problematical bit.

The physics I'm talking about is the bit that says an object in the vacuum of space adjusts its temperature until the IR-visible surface radiating to outer space radiates away exactly as much energy as the object absorbs. If that surface is the solid ground, then the solid ground approaches that temperature irrespective of how much atmosphere is above it.

And if the solid ground is warmer than that, it can only be because the radiating surface is elsewhere - i.e higher up in the atmosphere. And that can only happen if the atmosphere is at least partially IR-opaque.

But we've said all this dozens of times before. There's not much point in going over it again.

Aug 24, 2015 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterNullius in Verba

Martin A

Despite geronimo's foolish congratulations, you admitted defeat when you stopped arguing the topic and used an as hominem attack instead.

Aug 24, 2015 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Nullis in Verba

Nice to see someone moderating one of the pseudoscientists.

Which is the tail and which is the dog?

Formal logic is a tool used by philosophers to analyse the structure of arguments. It shares the inflexibility of other logical systems.
The problem with logical systems is that depending on ones axioms one can "prove" anything. Read Kaballah as an example.

Statistics are analytical tools used to assess data. The statistics does not supersede the data, especially not in the sense you are presenting them.

In both cases they do not reflect that science as it is practiced uses a much fuzzier logic.

Aug 24, 2015 at 10:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

RR you got me there'd I spelt consummate with one "m" and the spell checker took over. Still everyone makes mistakes, that's why they put rubbers on the end of pencils😀

"In modern English, the plural of gas is usually gases, and gasses is the simple-present verb. For instance, we might say that the more Bill gasses up his car, the more greenhouse gases his car emits."

EM. Why don't t you put your fuzzy logical abilities into what blunder Dana, and his imitators made in the 1910 - 1940 temperature calculations? Although to be honest regular logic, or just plain common sense would do the trick.

Aug 25, 2015 at 5:35 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I am not sure quite what point you are trying to make, Nullius. Judging by your final paragraph, that I am an idiot and you are too important to talk it over with me. However, ignoring that: who could argue that the outgoing radiation has always to equal the incoming radiation? I merely suggest that it is the atmosphere that regulates the surface temperature, usually keeping it within a certain range. Quite why that should put you into such a high dudgeon is anyone’s guess; it is why the Moon’s surface, which receives about the same amount of radiation per square metre as the Earth, is scorchingly hot in Sunlight, and seeringly cold when not. Any solid surface on Earth will be heated when in direct sunlight; this heats the air in contact with it, thus encouraging it to move, thereby transporting that heat away. This transfer of heat is effectively reversed at night, so that the surface is unlikely to ever get as hot nor as cold as an equivalent surface on the Moon. The evidence is that the constituents of the atmosphere, be they “greenhouse gases” (thank you, Geronimo) or not, are irrelevant to the surface temperature. Quite why that idea should be considered “pseudoscientific”, as EM implies, is odd, too. Science is NOT about being right all the time; it is about prodding at a problem until you can get a reasonable explanation (though even that may not be right). This means being wrong most of the time. Unlike some, I can handle that.

Aug 25, 2015 at 6:19 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

"So many of his witnesses observed the utter freedom of his flights of thought, yet when Feynman talked about his own methods not freedom but constraint ... For Feynman the essence of scientific imagination was a powerful and almost painful rule. What scientists create must match reality. It must match what is already known. Scientific creativity, he said, is imagination in a straitjacket."

"...imagination in a strait jacket." Doesn't like a proponent of fuzzy logic in science to me. "

Aug 25, 2015 at 7:28 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

But we've said all this dozens of times before. There's not much point in going over it again.
The thing is, NiV, that we have here two apparently fundamentally different interpetations of what keeps the earth at a liveable temperature, both of which beliefs are held as dogma by their supporters, both of which have scientific underpinnings, and both of which cannot be true at the same time.
As a general rule, I find nothing to disagree with in your posts and, indeed, always look forward to reading them but in this instance RR has put forward a hypothesis which is not his own but which both he and I have read elsewhere that
Venus, with an atmosphere that is 96+% CO2, has temperatures at altitudes where the atmospheric pressure is equivalent to Earth’s that the Earth would have, with ~0.04% CO2 in its atmosphere, were it the same distance from the Sun as Venus; in other words, the “greenhouse gas” that is CO2 does not seem to have any effect upon the “greenhouse effect” on Venus.
and you have simply ignored that statement and offered as fact a different interpretation of why the temperature is as it is.
It may be great fun (?) for scientists to argue this one out but not while governments are spending trillions of pounds/dollars/euros of our money trying to solve a problem which might be a. not sortable; b. not a problem.
We have a similar problem with MyDogSpartAlec, aka the Starship Enterprise, who has theories about optical depth and Sagan's misunderstanding of the laws of physics which, I would venture to suggest as a complete layman, ought to be relatively easy either to confirm or refute in language that even an idiot like me or a passing politician can understand
But it isn't happening, and to misquote somebody or other, "it's a travesty that it isn't" because every time any one of us ignoranti ask the question the response very quickly wanders off into pretending that the earth can be treated as a black body or whether Stefan-Boltzmann applies and ends up not actually answering the question we asked or addressing the point we raised.
(And in some cases even insults our intelligence by implying that we don't really want to know the answer or are too thick to do the research for ourselves -- as if that would help since we don't know what we are looking for -- or are just wasting time.)
And meanwhile we get dragged further down the road back to a totalitarian society and the middle ages thanks to the demonisation of CO2 and fossil fuels and the insane urge to control the climate.

Aug 25, 2015 at 9:19 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Martin A

Despite geronimo's foolish congratulations, you admitted defeat when you stopped arguing the topic and used an as hominem attack instead.
Aug 24, 2015 at 9:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM - As I said before, please respond to my pointing out that what you said is a fallacy rather than yet again avoiding the question.

I said

I felt that if you had thought it worth posting

"If P then Q" must be shown to be false.You might do so in two ways.
Firstly by demonstrating that the mechanism linking cause and effect is not sound (If P not always Q).
Secondly by demonstrating that another cause better explains the observations (If R then Q).

then you might also think it would be worth responding to my explaining why your "secondly" is a fallacy. ie a new "better" (=sounds more convincing?) hypothesis does not constitute a *proof* that the old hypothesis is false.

Aug 21, 2015 at 10:30 PM Martin A

Previously I had said

Bottom Line
Coming up with a second hypothesis that explains something "better" in some way than a first hypothesis does not falsify the first hypothesis. It's a fallacy to say it does.
Aug 20, 2015 at 3:18 PM Martin A

To this you responded with the biology teacher's monologue on the development of electrical science (and other branches of physics too) rather than responding to my point. (Aug 20, 2015 at 8:58 PM )

You then told me "You are getting very tangled up in the concept of a hypothesis as a logical construct and focusing too much on semantics" but again without responding to my point. (Aug 20, 2015 at 10:05 PM )

I imagined that geronimo's congratulations were based on his having observed that you were coming up with irrelevancies, rather than either conceding that what you said is a fallacy or showing how (its apparent illogic notwithstanding) what you said is correct.

"An as hominem attack"? I certainly said that you imagine things on the basis of little or no evidence and then state those things as facts, but that is evidently true. As just one example, not long ago you gave a list of subjects of which you said that I am ignorant, solely on the basis that you had never seen me mention those subjects.

Aug 25, 2015 at 9:46 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

RR has put forward a hypothesis which is not his own

Er, Mike Jackson, I think that the rodent is a she-mouse.

Some time back I repeatedly asked MyDogSpartAlec to state clearly what he was always banging on about but a clear explanation never appeared. That was enough to convince me that what he was saying did not need responding to and did not merit trying to understand it.

I have no problem with:

- the lapse rate exists

- final radiation to space, if the atmosphere is more or less IR opaque, must occur at a significant altitude (or, rather, a range of altitudes), so the temp at ground level has to be greater than the temperature at the altitude from which the final radiation occurs

- so the greenhouse effect has to be real, given that the ground is heated by incoming visible sunlight.**

But I too want to know how that is to be reconciled with Harry Dale Huffman's observation that the Venus and Earth temperatures would be the same if you allow for differences in orbit etc. (I assume someone has checked his arithmetic). And with the latest "greenhouse effect is bollocks" publication.

My own guess is that maybe the two things are not contradictory...


**One of the things that amazes me about "climate science" is that there does not seem to be a relatively simple model of the greenhouse effect that has been analysed analytically. The only model I know of is the ridiculously over-simple model representing the Earth as a black body at uniform temperature, surrounded by a thin shell of greenhouse gas.

Solving a more realistic model would probably involve doing some quite hard integrals but I find it amazing that it does not seem to have been done, despite the greenhouse effect being absolutely fundamental to the subject. For me, just another metric indicating that 'climate science' is not actually science.

Aug 25, 2015 at 10:10 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A
I was of the same opinion as you about the rodent's gender but I made that assumption in some comment a long time ago and got sharp bite from it for my pains!
I agree with you about MDSA and I keep waiting for this paper he claims is just due to be published any day now — like thorium reactors or cold fusion, only a month away and has been for months. But his point about Sagan and the IPCC's misinterpretation of the laws of physics is something that has the potential to be important because if (yeh, big 'if') he is in any way correct in what he says then a lot of the theory underpinning the whole business is suspect and the militant enviro-nuts need to find a whole new excuse for their plans for World Domination.
We know that nature is refusing to co-operate and that recent research appears to be all in the direction of low sensitivity even to the point that some people are saying Arrhenius was simply wrong but nobody seems to want seriously to take conflicting ideas, even where there is a likelihood of getting an answer, and submitting them to any kind of stress test.
As you say, we are faced with over-simplified models (the black body) and over-simplified explanations (the greenhouse) as well as over-simplified but entrenched positions on whether there is warming or not, what is causing it of there is, and whether or not it is something that matters.
Meanwhile, as I said above, the neo-Malthusian, population-limiting, sustainability-advocating, pseudo-environmentalist control freaks get a free run!

Which, as you've probably noticed, pisses me off!

Aug 25, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Aug 22, 2015 at 8:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

I loved the list of simple but direct questions you ask ^.^

Aug 25, 2015 at 4:14 PM | Registered CommenterDung

MJ (and others): my gender is actually irrelevant, as are my sexual inclinations, age or ethnicity (stupid word). I like to keep it hidden to prevent those for whom it is relevant, for whatever reason, leaping to what will most likely be an utterly wrong conclusion (“Typical old, white man/stupid old biddy/thick black bitch/whatever…”). Whereas I used to become a bit uppity if people insisted on labelling me, now, I tend to think, “…meh…” It can be fun, allowing people to make conclusions about you, to then be able to shoot them down – much as Martin A has done so consummately with Entropic man.

However, I do get annoyed when my argument is summarily dismissed without reasonable justification, as NiV has done, above. I can accept that I could be completely wrong, but the counter-argument does nothing to address the point(s) I was trying to make. It might be that my phraseology could have been more lucid, in which case a call for clarification would have been acceptable, but to dismiss it with such pomposity: “But you can't argue with someone who uses a different version of physics to the rest of science, so we all got bored and gave up.” is a good way to get my dander up.

Aug 25, 2015 at 8:40 PM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR - I did not think NiV was aiming the 'different version of physics' comment at you specially. I think he was talking about discussions that amount to "the existing textbooks have got it wrong". I myself have taken an occasional potshot at skydragonslayers who state things like "a photon from a cool body cannot be absorbed by a warmer body because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics" or similar rubbish. (A photon carries no information about the temperature of the body from whence it came other than what can be inferred from its energy.)

I think physicists (in particular) find it tedious when people come up saying "global warming is rubbish because xyz" where "xyz" equates to "the physics of radiation etc etc developed in the 20th century is wrong". Science of Doom on his website asks people who want to disucss that to do it elsewhere than on his website.

Maybe your gender is hidden.... but don't forget that somebody recently said "Call me a wittering old biddy of you will..."...

Aug 25, 2015 at 11:15 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Well, existing textbooks may have it wrong, but that is for greater minds than mine to determine. I like to think that I remain within in the known parameters of knowledge, though there may be boundaries of which I am unaware. If "a photon from a cool body cannot be absorbed by a warmer body because of the 2nd law of thermodynamics" were true, then we would not be able to see ice, or that cold gin and tonic in front of us, so that is a statement easily disproved.

Can't biddies be of either gender?

Who knew?

Aug 26, 2015 at 6:55 AM | Registered CommenterRadical Rodent

RR has always seemed male to me ^.^, in addition I accused RR of being Danger Mouse; a true macho hero and although he denied this he did claim to be more like Penfold (who is not a macho hero but who does wear trousers hehe.

Aug 26, 2015 at 11:31 AM | Registered CommenterDung