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Discussion > Let's get real about climate models

EM says:

Is this what you were asking if I believed?

Well, now! I was expecting you to go for the really obvious Big Oil funded scientists at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit - evidence of BP funding involvement.

For me, they're the strongest evidence of Big Oil funding of climate scepticism. It's a result of their actions that I became convinced that there might be good reason to doubt the whole global warming meme. I can't thank them enough.

Or did you not think of the CRU because you believe they're on your "side", promoting your beliefs, and therefore cannot be corrupted by their funding sources? We call that motivated reasoning. If you don't know what that is, talk to Prof Stephan Lewandowsky. To witness motivated reasoning, I mean. Not to ask him what it is. It's clear that he's too close to the wood to see those tree rings.

EM claims:

I don't really do belief, but I do like evidence.

Except it's patently untrue, isn't it? You can't point to a single evidence-based climate crisis, yet you have total belief that it's happening before our very eyes, and you have an unshakable faith in climate model skill despite knowing that those climate models don't actually model all the influences on the climate they purport to model, let alone model them well - ergo rune stones, tea leaves etc.

You believe that mother Gaia is angry with us, or stabbed through the heart by us, or some such nonsense. You exude this belief in all you write here, but claim you like evidence. The truth is that there is no evidence for this claim.

Jan 30, 2016 at 2:22 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Radical Rodent

Distinguish between unethical and illegal.

Soon's actions were unethical, but not illegal. His recource is to sue Newsweek and demonstrate, if he can, that the allegations are false. This would take place in a civil court.

Exxon is suspected of illegal trading. This would be tested in a criminal court.

Jan 30, 2016 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM, since we're here:

Soon took money to publish false science intended to discredit climate change.

This is a helluva claim. I've seen the evidence that the Smithsonian received funding from an oil company but you're the first I've seen to state unequivocally that Soon published *false* science. You really need to back that up with some compelling evidence because unless you can do so, I suspect that's the strongest example of libel action begging for action we'll see on the matter.

Jan 30, 2016 at 2:38 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Here's a helping twig, EM: Publishing *false* science could be interpreted as data fabrication, perhaps. If you could point to that, or whatever it is that you're specifically meaning. To be honest, "false science" reads like something a teenager would write. Is there a better way of phrasing what it is you're meaning?

Jan 30, 2016 at 2:44 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

I think I just found a climate change denier.*

Burn the witch!

*An astropysicist whose work suggests that past climate changes may have been driven by solar variability.

Jan 30, 2016 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin A

Simon Hopkinson

Have you finished projecting your rage onto me?

I linked you to the IPCC chapter on the effect of climate change and you have rejected it. Your last point ranted about what you believe I believe(most of which you got wrong). I see no point debating rational evidence with a man who reacts irrationally.

Jan 30, 2016 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Simon Hopkinson

In this case "false" means " not consistent with the work of others in the field".

The best you could say his work is that it was mistaken, the worst that he manufactured false results for money.

Jan 30, 2016 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

EM, Simple Simon doesn't need rationality. He has a super sense. He can reject all temperature data-sets and still know that there is a "pause". I'm sure he knows things about what you believe that even you don't know.

Jan 30, 2016 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterRaff

EM, you pointed to the SPM, not WG2. The SPM doesn't mention any evidence-based climate crises. Though, in fairness, neither does WG2. At the time I pointed out to you that you don't point to the bible for evidence of the presence of god when trying to convince someone sceptical, and pointed out that you just don't GET it. You still don't. Will you ever? I'm thinking at this point it's unlikely.

So you don't want to offer any rational evidence and your reason is, you say, I'm being irrational? LOL!

Jan 30, 2016 at 3:53 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Simon Hopkinson

In this case "false" means " not consistent with the work of others in the field".

The best you could say his work is that it was mistaken, the worst that he manufactured false results for money.


That's not a good definition of "false". So you're saying Soon manufactured false results for money. Interesting. And can I assume that you're not willing to offer any evidence to support this pretty serious allegation, again, because I'm irrational?

[edit:] I missed a possible claim by you: Soon was paid to be mistaken. Is that the thing you're not willing to offer evidence to support?

I'm laughing at Raff. He appears whenever he thinks you're on the back-foot. He's the pug that thinks he's a rottweiler. hehe! Bless.

Raff, "the pause" is acknowledged in the IPCC AR5. Do you really want to go down the road of challenging the proclamations set out by the IPCC? I bet I can find more nonsense claims in there than you can, but I'm willing to test that theory. Just say the word. You can start with IPCC claiming "the pause" exists, if you like. I'm fancying the climate refugees as my counter, or maybe the Himalayan glaciers. Though I admit the rainforests have a certain appeal. Ahh well, I'll save those for later perhaps. You start.

Jan 30, 2016 at 4:02 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

Soon took money to publish false science intended to discredit climate change.
Jan 30, 2016 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man


Entropic man - what you say is fascinating: Please give references to the papers in which Soon published false science and references to where it is documented that what he published was false (rather than simply containing errors).

Please also clarify what "to discredit climate change" means. The phrase does not make much sense as it is.

Thank you:

Jan 30, 2016 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

Big Oil

Radical Rodent always points out that because I support thee CO2 hypothesis for global warming, the onus of proving it is on me.

Following that precedent I will let you prove Soon's idea that the warming is due to the Sun.

Jan 30, 2016 at 7:29 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic man - thank you but possibly I did not make my request clear. I was not asking you to prove or disprove Soon's conclusions.

I asked for

1. A reference to his published paper(s) containing false science. I want to look at them for myself.
2. A reference to where it has been demonstrated that his publications contained intentionally false science. I want to understand what the source of your information had to say.

I am still unclear what you meant by "to discredit climate change". To harm its good reputation?

Thank you:

Jan 30, 2016 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

Big oil

Are you too pathetic to do your own research?

Regarding the science, one example in which Soon's data does. not match the rest.

Try this paper.

Now compare Figure 1 in Soon's paper with the solar insolation curve in Figure 4 here.

Soon's solar insolation figures do not match the actual insolation curve.

Regarding the funding,

Try here

Don't do the usual denier trick of badmouthing the source. Refute the content.

Jan 31, 2016 at 12:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Entropic man - Thank you for the references. You asked

Are you too pathetic to do your own research?
It is not a matter of being pathetic but it would simply not be feasible to do an audit of all of Dr Soon's publications without not even knowing what to look for, other than some "false science". A needle in a haystack situation as I am sure you recognise.

You said

Try this paper.
Now compare Figure 1 in Soon's paper with the solar insolation curve in Figure 4 here.
(Your link "here" does not seem to work)

Soon's text gives the caption for his Fig 1:

Figure 1. Annual-mean Arctic-wide air temperature anomaly time series (dotted lines) correlated with the estimated total solar irradiance [TSI] (top panel; solid lines) and...
In the text he states:
The annual TSI data are the composite record constructed by Hoyt and Schatten [1993] (and update from D. Hoyt, 2005) utilizing all five historical proxies of solar irradiance including sunspot cycle amplitude, sunspot cycle length, solar equatorial rotation rate, fraction of penumbral spots, and decay rate of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

He references:
Hoyt, D. V., and K. H. Schatten (1993), A discussion of plausible solar irradiance variations, 1700– 1992, J. Geophys. Res., 98(A11), 18,895–18,906
This référence is available at

A discussion of plausible solar irradiance variations, 1700-1992 Douglas V. Hoyt Ken Schatten

Its Figure 8, Five Solar Irradiance Models gives a graph for TSI which appears (from visual appearance and checking numerical values at several points) identical to the graph for TSI in Soon's Figure 1.

To conclude.
For his Figure 1, Soon used TSI data taken from (at the time) a recent peer-reviewed paper from a recognised leading journal. To imply that his doing so was 'false science' seems perverse, to say the least.

Regarding the funding, Try here Don't do the usual denier trick of badmouthing the source. Refute the content.
These does not seem to be anything to refute. I did not see any suggestion that Dr Soon received personal payments from commercial companies, although it would have been entirely normal for him to have done consulting work for such companies. There seem to have been a succession of research contracts with the Smithsonian which covered Dr Soon's Smithsonian salary and the Smithsonian's overheads. That is entirely normal for independent US scientific institutions.

At the end of his paper, Soon states:

This scientific research was supported by generous grants from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, American Petroleum Institute, and Exxon-Mobil Corporation.
So nothing was hidden about the source of funding for the work.

To conclude:
The financial arrangements seem to have been entirely normal (research grants/contracts which included provision for the Principal Investigator's salary) for an independent US scientific institution. So it's rubbish to say Dr Soon "took money".

Entropic man, previously you said

Soon took money to publish false science intended to discredit climate change.
Your statement is evidently false itself and I recommend that you withdraw it immediately.

Thank you:

Jan 31, 2016 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterBig Oil

Big Oil

Thank you .

A spirited defence; much better than most here can muster.

Jan 31, 2016 at 4:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Judith Curry is currently discussing model validation over at Climate etc. There isn't much of it going on in climate science. There is lots of advice from experts in other fields - most of it ignored. It seems that climate scientists prefer hindcasting when they have all the data already when in fact the only real test of a model is to make predictions. Note that predictions are not the same as projections.

Jan 31, 2016 at 6:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Schrödinger's cat

How do you test the validity of a prediction?

Feb 1, 2016 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

How do you test the validity of a prediction?

I'm wondering if there's a hidden trick in this question, because I find it inconceivable that someone can not know, universally, how predictions are tested.

Feb 1, 2016 at 2:16 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

How do you test the validity of a prediction?

See if it predicts what you know is coming.

Feb 1, 2016 at 3:34 PM | Unregistered Commentersplitpin

Schrodinger's Cat

Not a trick question.

Let's try two examples.

On another discussion thread I predicted that the GISS anomaly global average for 2017 would be 1.03C. This was based on 2015's 0.87C and the assumption that the 0.16C average inctease .between the rise and fall years of three previous El Ninos would apply to 2015/2016.

When TBYJ complained that it was silly to be so precise I modified it to 1.03C +/-0.09C
, including the GISS 95% confidence limits.

Is either prediction valid?

If not, why not?

How would you validate them?

There is a lot of talk about validation, but I am unclear how you validate forecasts in advance. I would like to know your criteria and how you apply them.

Splitpin

See if it predicts what you know is coming.

Are you saying that the only way to validate a forecast is in hindsight?

That would imply that any forecast, whether weather, economic, medical, climate or astrological is invalid until after it has come to pass.

If so, the forecast becomes valid. If it fails to come to pass it remains invalid.

Of course, the question remains; "How do you know what is coming?"

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man

Well, I'm in awe.

Feb 1, 2016 at 5:30 PM | Registered CommenterSimon Hopkinson

EM - I am also surprised that you ask such a question. The purpose of the model is to start with values for each parameter then run the model and simulate how reality would perform from the same starting point. If the model output agrees with reality that is one step towards validation.

I guess that if some unforeseen event influenced reality then our extremely clever climate scientists would know what correction factors to apply to compensate for that event.

The truth of course, is that I don't believe that our climate scientists are extremely clever or even that they understand our climate. Many people believe that the climate cannot be modelled. Climate scientists claim to understand our climate and the output of their models are given worldwide publicity and used as justification for all sorts of hugely expensive initiatives on a global scale so I think that to expect them to demonstrate the predictive powers of their models is perfectly reasonable.

Models have to be validated in every field of real science before they are taken seriously.

Feb 1, 2016 at 7:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Forecasting the next decade
(...)
The Met Office Hadley Centre has pioneered a new system
to predict the climate a decade ahead. The system simulates
both the human driven climate change and the evolution of
slow natural variations already locked into the system.
(...)
However, a major effect it cannot predict is volcanic eruptions,
so the biggest differences between the model and the
observations occur following the major eruption of
Mount Pinatubo in June 1991.

We are now using the system to predict changes out
to 2014. By the end of this period, the global average
temperature is expected to have risen by around
0.3 °C compared to 2004,
and half of the years after
2009 are predicted to be hotter than the current
record hot year, 1998.

Informing Government policy into the future, Met Office Pamphlet, 2007


Are computer models reliable?

Yes. Computer models are an essential
tool in understanding how the climate will
respond to changes in greenhouse gas
concentrations, and other external effects,
such as solar output and volcanoes.

Computer models are the only reliable
way to predict changes in climate. Their
reliability is tested by seeing if they are able
to reproduce the past climate, which gives
scientists confidence that they can also
predict the future.
(...)

(From "Warming a guide to climate change", Met Office, October 2011)

Feb 1, 2016 at 8:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Martin A

These are the HadCRUt4 annual anomalies from 2000. 1998 was 0.54C.

Let us test the prediction they made in 2007.

out
to 2014. By the end of this period, the global average
temperature is expected to have risen by around
0.3 °C compared to 2004,

2004 was 0.45C. 2014 was 0.57C.2015 was 0.75C. Oops, a year late.☺

half of the years after
2009 are predicted to be hotter than the current
record hot year, 1998.

These are the figures from 2009 to 2015.

0.51, 0.56, 0.42, 0.50, 0.57, 0.75.

1998 was 0.54C. 2010, 2014 and 2015 were warmer than 1998, half of the years.

To my untutored eye both predictions show a good match between prediction and reality ten years on. Validation?

Feb 1, 2016 at 11:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterEntropic man