Professional Climateball(TM)

The whole saga about Matt Ridley and his recent Times article called Policy-based evidence making feels a bit like a semi-professional version of ClimateBallTM. His article didn’t go down well with some, including Richard Betts and Mark Maslin (a Professor at University College London), who tweeted some strong criticisms. Matt Ridley responded to this criticism (which you can read at the end of the repost of his article on his blog), but it’s more a form of tone trolling, than a genuinely measured response. He finishes his response with

A reaction of bluster and invective hardly reassures me that science takes my point on board. For the moment, I remain of the view that …. The overwhelming majority of scientists do excellent, objective work, following the evidence wherever it leads. Science remains (in my view) our most treasured cultural achievement, bar none. Most of its astonishing insights into life, the universe and everything are beyond reproach and beyond compare. ….But Dr Betts’s reaction has weakened my confidence in this view.

So, he’s basically suggested that Richard Bett’s response has done further damage. Let’s, however, remind ourselves of what he actually said in the article that provoked the strong response. The Times article is called Scientists must not put policy before proof and his blog repost is titled Policy-based evidence making ….. Science is being corrupted by political bias. Well, that’s not a great start. Hard not to interpret that as some scientists (general rather than specific) are using their policy preferences to influence their scientific results.

He presents some examples of this. One given was

the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), a supposedly scientific body, issued a press release stating that this is likely to be the warmest year in a century or more, based on surface temperatures.

Well, no, they had a press release with a title 2014 on course to be one of hottest, possibly hottest, on record. They do say if November and December maintain the same tendency, then 2014 will likely be the hottest on record. So, they did not say 2014 is likely to be the warmest in a century or more, they said it was likely if November and December – like many months during 2014 – maintain the same tendency to be amongst the warmest on record.

Another example he gave was the homogenisation adjustment of the Rutherglen temperature record. He suggest they

claimed the adjustment was necessary because the thermometer had moved between two fields, but could provide no evidence for this, or for why it necessitated such a drastic adjustment.

Well, no, the evidence is here. He might argue that the evidence doesn’t support the need for an adjustment (although quite why he would think he would be qualified to do so would be beyond me) but he can’t dispute its existence.

He then goes on to criticise the Royal Society and suggests that one of their past presidents (Paul Nurse) has

called for those who disagree with him to be “crushed and buried”.

Well, according to Paul Nurse’s letter to the Times, he was suggesting that serial offenders [who] continue repeatedly to misinform people about science …. should be crushed and buried and that crushed and buried was metaphorical, not literal. Well, I find it hard to believe that anyone who was interested in the proper representation of science would disagree with this. Why would we want to let people get away with serially misinforming people about science. I had assumed (naively, I admit) that Matt Ridley believes that he isn’t misinforming people about science. That he seems to object to what Paul Nurse said makes me think that maybe, deep down, he knows that he is.

So, essentially, Matt Ridley writes an article implying that some scientists (and, presumably, not an insignificant number) are letting their policy preferences influence their science. He then provides some examples that don’t actually support this position and which he doesn’t even represent correctly. His article provokes strong responses from scientists and he then gets to complain about the tone of their response without actually addressing their criticisms in any substantive way. He also gets to imply that this response has exacerbated the problem (and, ultimately, insulting those who responded). In a way, though, I’m impressed that even a member of the House of Lords plays ClimateballTM. Of course, that doesn’t change that it’s a fundamentally childish game.

I’ll finish on a more serious note. What struck me about Matt Ridley’s response (and he’s not alone in expressing these kind of views) is the sense that he thinks he’s seen things that make him dubious about some science and about scientists, and he now wants people to put effort into convincing him of their honesty and integrity, so that he can regain his trust in science. Well, why would anyone do that? Science isn’t perfect and there are certainly things that could improve, but there’s no reason to do so simply because someone with an over-inflated sense of their own self-importance wants to be convinced that he should be less dubious. Not everyone can be convinced and not everyone needs to be convinced. If he wants to be dubious and wants to not trust science and scientists, he can; it’s a free world. Noone needs to care that this is how he feels and – in my opinion – noone should.

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152 Responses to Professional Climateball(TM)

  1. Bobby says:

    “Matt Ridley responded to this criticism…, but it’s more a form of tone trolling, than a genuinely measured response.”
    – yes.
    ” he now wants people to put effort into convincing him of their honesty and integrity…there’s no reason to do so simply because someone with an over-inflated sense of their own self-importance wants to be convinced that he should be less dubious.”
    – yes again.

    What a waste of everybody’s time.

  2. Bobby,

    What a waste of everybody’s time.

    Yes, exactly. I do think that there should be a point where it becomes socially acceptable to simply tell someone to piss off.

  3. Thanks for writing the post I wanted to write.

    Naturally a professional politician plays professional climate ball. Climate ball is politics. It sure ain’t science.

    O. Bothe ‏just wrote a good tweet.

    O. Bothe: “In variation of @flimsin’s tweet: If you want to talk w/ clim researchers, scam/corrupt/fraud/… shuts door. If you want to dismiss them… [, scam/corrupt/fraud are the words to use.]”

    I am far from convinced that Ridley wants scientists to convince him. That is just a political rhetorical devise. As a politician he should know how to talk with people, calling scientists corrupted is not the most productive way.

  4. Victor,
    I suspect you’re right that he doesn’t want to be convinced. I suspect that he wants to be able to keep promoting his doubt without being criticised and he would like scientist to speak out less, because that undermines the message he’s trying to promote.

  5. Joshua says:

    What gets me the most is this part of Ridley’s article at GWPF

    Science as a philosophy is in good health; science as an institution increasingly stinks.

    And this part of that article as it was printed at the Times,..

    Environmental researchers are increasingly looking for evidence that fits their ideology, rather than seeking the truth

    RIdley calls himself a champion of science…yet he makes these kinds of accusations without a shred of science on display. By what measure does he determine that “science as an institution increasingly stinks? Where is his evidence?

    And by what evidence does he smear “environmental researchers” as a group? By what science, does he show that his characterization of a group isn’t a generalization from an unrepresentative sample?

    Aren’t the mistakes he makes, identifying a trend with no longitudinal evidence and generalizing without establishing the representativeness of the sample among the most fundamental violations of scientific method?

    IMO, his statements are tribal, not scientific. His statements are “alarmist,” If so, then isn’t the stance he’s taking exploitative of science for the sake of advocacy?

    Am I wrong here?

    I would appreciate it if one of the resident “skeptics” would either clarify my error, or join me in criticizing RIdley for his tribalism and alarmism..

  6. Steve Bloom says:

    Anders, IMO you continue to make a critical error, which is that you take people like Ridley (and may of the denialist commenters who pointlessly waste everyone’s time here) at face value.

    Most of these people hold the view that the future can simply take care of itself, and that until they personally are affected they don’t want a penny, their own or their government’s, spent on the problem. This makes for a very poor debating point, to say the least, indeed it’s even counter-persuasive for others who don’t start out sharing the same view, and most of them are sufficiently self-aware that they know this and simply avoid saying it. The fundamental dishonesty on the part of the bulk of the people you seem to want to engage with is IMO the root of your stated frustrations with the blog.

    Do you think I’m wrong about this?
    .

  7. Steve,

    Do you think I’m wrong about this?

    No, I don’t. ClimateballTM, though 🙂 . I’m not trying to engage with Ridley, or with anyone really anymore. In a sense, I’m still not trying to do anything other than write a blog and express my views. However, if I can convince some that what people like Ridley says is nonsense, that would be good. I also can’t really see how saying what I actually think of Ridley would make that any easier.

  8. Joshua,

    Am I wrong here?

    No, I don’t think you’re wrong either. In a sense, that was the motivation behind linking this to ClimateballTM. Ridley is playing a game. He may be doing this intentional. He may not. However, if he’s trying to champion science, he’s doing an incredibly poor job.

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    Re Ridley, Anders, I was thinking of your very long history building up to this point. This post itself isn’t the issue. Debunking posts are always fine. But if as you say you’ve learned your lesson now, why the very recent extravagant over-tolerance for the likes of David Blake and victorpetri? It makes it seem as if you haven’t learned the lesson, or maybe a different on from what I have in mind. At this point, what’s the value of this blog aside from giving such people a venue they don’t deserve and people like me opportunities for increasingly tedious whack-a-mole. Come to think of it, that’s probably a way more apt analogy than Climateball.

  10. Mike Hansen says:

    An unintentionally amusing editorial in Times publisher Rupert Murdoch’s down under flagship “The Australian” offering advice to Prime Minister Tony “climate change is crap” Abbott who is bombing in the polls and keeps getting shirtfronted at international climate gatherings by climate reality.

    “Mr Abbott should place himself in the middle ground on climate change policy. Yet he is too eager to please the rabid elements of the conservative base, who do not accept the science of climate change. ”

    Of course it is The Australian along with the rest of the Murdoch empire that has given a platform for the “rabid elements” to spruik their climate science denial.

    A quick search of The Oz found this example of “rabid” climate science denial from Matt Ridley.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/opinion/why-nobody-ever-calls-the-weather-normal/story-e6frgd0x-1226676712911

    The paper campaigned “rabidly” for Abbott but now he is in power, they have discovered that “rabid” climate science denial is not electorally popular.

  11. Steve,

    But if as you say you’ve learned your lesson now, why the very recent extravagant over-tolerance for the likes of David Blake and victorpetri?

    Oh, I see. I don’t have any desire to ban/heavily moderate people simply because they appear to be contrarians. Sometimes there are small victories.

    At this point, what’s the value of this blog

    Oh, I don’t really know. It’s just mine and – as such – it might have none 🙂

  12. Steve Bloom says:

    Victor, looking over that whole Twitter thread it’s clear that O. and Tamsin fail to grasp the point I made to Anders.

  13. Steve Bloom says:

    Those victories seem rare indeed, I didn’t notice such over the course of the dozens of comments from those two, but maybe you could point me to one (or to a past instance, failing that).

    I should clarify that for me it’s not a matter of banning as such, but the elimination of pointless repetition. So, if you and Rachel have the patience, maybe just put them on moderation and let through anything of value.

  14. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    “A reaction of bluster and invective hardly reassures me that journalism takes my point on board. For the moment, I remain of the view that …. The overwhelming majority of journalists do excellent, objective work, following the evidence wherever it leads. Journalism remains (in my view) our most treasured cultural achievement, bar none. Most of its astonishing reporting on life, the universe and everything are beyond reproach and beyond compare. ….But Matt Ridley’s reaction has weakened my confidence in this view.”

    That was far too easy…

  15. dana1981 says:

    That he seems to object to what Paul Nurse said makes me think that maybe, deep down, he knows that he is [misinforming people about science].

    I think you can be a little more generous to Ridley here. I think he probably believed his gross distortion of what Paul Nurse said (note, I talked to Greg Laden about this same quote/distortion yesterday).

    Nurse was criticizing distortion of science, but he included climate denialists as one example (he also mentioned science related to GM crops as another). Ridley viewed this as an attack on climate science deniers, himself included. When denial is based on cultural values, i.e. “I’m on team ‘human-caused global warming isn’t a problem'”, as is clearly the case for Ridley, the world becomes very black and white. You’re either on Ridley’s team or you’re on the opposing team. That’s why people in this state of mind can’t be convinced by facts; in fact, contrary facts just cement their denial even further. That’s the worldview backfire effect.

    Hence I suspect Ridley subconsciously put Nurse into his mental “bad guys who are mean to me” box. I think the distortion of Nurse’s comments was probably unintentional, for that reason. Of course if I’m right, that still means that trying to reason with Ridley is a complete waste of time, because you’ll just trigger his worldview backfire effect.

    It’s sad to see a guy who as I understand it, has done some good science writing in the past, totally blinded by ideology when it comes to climate science. But I think it’s pretty clear that’s what’s going on with Ridley. That’s why Betts’ efforts to reason with him just pushed him further into denial.

  16. Steve,
    This was a success of sorts. And moderation is used – you don’t get to see it all (cue accusations of censorship 🙂 )

  17. Joshua says:

    Steve –

    ==> ” At this point, what’s the value of this blog aside from giving such people a venue they don’t deserve and people like me opportunities for increasingly tedious whack-a-mole.”

    I find value to the blog other than that. In a recent thread, it seemed that quite a few others also so value in the blog, and none of their descriptions of the value matched the one you just laid out.

    So let me ask you. If you think there is no value to the blog other than what you described, why do you read and comment? Because you enjoy tedium?

  18. Steve, they might have, but do not forget the IF in the statement, the IF mitigation sceptics like to ignore.

    I guess that scientists live in a rosy world where arguments are king. In scientific circles you tend to give everyone an enormous benefit of the doubt. You would not only not claim that someone holds an opinion on political grounds rather than the evidence, you would normally not even think about that. At a scientific conference I would treat Curry as a scientist and talk to her as if she is interested in understanding the climate system better. That makes scientists somewhat naive and less well suited for public debate, especially with the extremely nasty right-wing extremists that attract quite some attention to themselves in the climate “debate”. That is also why the non-scientists have an important role in the public debate and why I see the main role of scientists as informing those that want to be informed (not just because there are not enough scientists to go around).

  19. Chandra says:

    I recently came across a climate blog by Clive Best. He seems to be a physicist with a thing against climate science and renewable energy. I don’t have sufficient physics background to know if the climate physics (as opposed to the politics) presented there is really sound. Can anyone advise?

  20. Willard says:

    > I do think that there should be a point where it becomes socially acceptable to simply tell someone to […]

    … say “thank you for your concerns.”

  21. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Chandra,

    Clive Best –> just another disinformer

    Inform yourself about the basics of climate science (e.g. Read an IPCC report or some other basic climatology text), and then it will be easy to appreciate the soundness of the likes of Clive Best.

  22. Joseph says:

    This is a slightly different different and tempered version of the climate scientists are corrupt and morally bankrupt meme. I think that climate scientists realize that their findings have real world implications that are vast and significant. So anyone who is out there committing significant amounts of fraud to the extent they are changing our current understanding of the science, they would have not only the burden of fraud but also the moral burden from the science’s impact on policy and people’s lives. I think only a sociopath would do something like that. I also imagine sociopaths wouldn’t make it long in such a heavily scrutinized area of science

  23. Reich.Eschhaus says:

    Joseph,

    “I think only a sociopath would do something like that.”

    I don’t think so. I think lots of people are being duped because the narrative that is sold to them agrees with their ideological position. There may be some sociopaths in that category, but I guess most are decent people whose ‘humans can’t change the big picture’ views agree with the view that the climate scientist are not credible.

    Mind, the question if Matt Ridley is a sociopath I didn’t adress.

  24. Andy Skuce says:

    It would be interesting to challenge Ridley to spend an afternoon sitting down and chatting to a group of senior climate scientists, let’s say people like Myles Allen, Richard Betts and Julia Slingo. Let him raise his questions and have them answer them. Afterwards explain what he learned. Importantly, he could ask them face to face how much their scientific conclusions and those of their colleagues have been influenced by their ideology.

    A lot of people have criticized Richard Betts and Tamsin Edwards for dining out with Anthony Watts and co. I do think they were wasting their time, but it was their time and really none of my business to comment upon publicly. However, I do think it would be instructive to have scientists spend some time trying to explain the science to Ridley. I have got a feeling that Ridley would likely not change his mind about climate science. But I am sure that the scientists would learn something about the motivations of stubborn climate-science contrarians.

    I used to be a big fan of Ridley’s science writing and I have read all of his books. I can’t reconcile this with the rubbish he writes on climate. Everything seemed to awry around the time of Northern Rock. I’m honestly quite puzzled.

  25. Richard says:

    I think there are some rules of debate that are worth observing even when one is dubious about the motives of ones adversary. So if we do not want them to imply we have dubious motives that undermine our case, we should avoid doing that of our adversary. If they are failing to focus on the science (and that is our point of debate), let’s not fall into the trap of talking about other stuff … Or not too much at least [i know, practice what you preach!]

    “We” should force the opponent to come clean with their scientific objections. If they really do not ‘get’ thermodynamics, there is a chance to help out. I hate the ‘contrarian’ blogs with their stream of vitriol and lack of understanding of basic science, and fantasies of finding some flaw in established physics. Crazy stuff and tribal in nature. I hope we can avoid that kind of tribalism, because it means we stoop to a level that may provide transient gratification but is unlikely to change minds, or longer term satisfaction.

    What if, instead of a dinner date, Matt went to meet Richard (not me 🙂 ) & Tamsin at the Met Office or another centre from the dark side (joke) for a briefing on the state of the science and Q& A. No dinner, just tea and jammy dodgers! Engagement is not such a crazy idea. Email is one of the worst forms of communication known to man (and woman) and blog threads are, I regret to say as a virgin in this blogging medium, not always edifying. Human contact is still the best form of human interaction.

    For the outlier nutters who think that they have discovered a perpetual motion machine or the Royal Society is a nest of witches, we should not invest time, but maybe ‘reaching across the aisle’ is something worth considering where there is a glimmer of common ground. Even at the risk of our hand being bitten

    [note: this is NOT an apologia for poorly targeted articles by said Matt, just an appeal for temperate rhetoric]

  26. Willard says:

    > But if as you say you’ve learned your lesson now, why the very recent extravagant over-tolerance for the likes of David Blake and victorpetri?

    For the same reason AT tolerates playing the ref over and over again, to the point of exhibiting manipulative behavior, would be my guess.

  27. Benoit Hudson says:

    “he can’t dispute its existence”

    Hmmm… I’m struggling to come up with an example of something that deniers blanch at denying.

  28. Steve Bloom says:

    I enjoy provoking comments like that from you, Joshua. It’s endlessly amusing. But note that the provocations quickly became incidental rather than direct, as I’m more and more worried about wastes of time these days.

    OK, Anders, that is indeed one. Standards have gone so low that it’s become sort of amazing to see one of those people demonstrating basic reading comprehension. But also small, yes.

  29. Steve Bloom says:

    Andy, *they* certainly discussed it extensively on Twitter. After that it was fair game for everyone else. Re Ridley’s extreme views of climate change, I would simply point to the close relationship over time between that long string o’ Mats and coal.

  30. Steve Bloom says:

    Richard, the other Richard tried just that with Barry Woods a couple years ago. I expect the video is still available on Youtube. It was gobsmacking how much Barry took on board.

  31. Richard says:

    Andy S … Spooky … We posted quite similar sentiments at the same time. I guess, having been married for 34 years I do not agree that “marriage is the triumph of hope over experience”. But I do believe in Le Chetalier’s Principle “if you apply a constraint to a system it will react in such a way as to oppose that constraint”. And I shamelessly abused it while bring up our kids. Never say “you cannot do that” (unless it was a matter of life and death) because the result was predictable … They would do the opposite of what you demanded. Instead it was “well you could do that but have you thought about …” Get the, thinking and they make good choices. It is like post 9/11. I had an Egyptian friend who told me that Cairo had been a modern, almost European city, with very few women covering their heads, despite being Muslims (cultural overlays on religion is a whole book, not a blog). But post the perceived attack of Islam then Cairo is now all covering up. A kind of tribal response to a threat. I hate tribalism but recognise I am part of a tribe (those who love and defend science). We should just remember Le Chetalier’s Principle.

  32. Exactly, you do not have to be sociopath.

    And a scientist may well be a sociopath, dishonest or whatever bad characteristics you can think of. A single scientist is not a reliable source. It is the scientific community and its culture that produces reliable knowledge. It does so also with imperfect scientists, otherwise we would never have had any scientific progress. Newton was quite a [something that would trigger the filter] and abused his power as president of the Royal Society in his fight with Leibniz (if I may say so as quasi German on an English blog).

    It is helpful if the majority is interested in producing real scientific progress, that is also why policing the scientific community is important (and membership). If your mistakes are too trivial or you are found to have committed fraud there are strong reputation losses. And your reputation is very important to make people read your work and build on it and only at that point does it become part of the scientific knowledge base. Your reputation is important to initiate projects with other scientists, because they are too large or because they would otherwise require so many other skills that it would be very unproductive to do them all by yourself. And you reputation is important to get funding for yourself if you are young or to build a group and amplify your ideas.

  33. Joshua says:

    ==> “But also small, yes.”

    In comparison to what? I rarely see anyone in these comments alter their position on anything. Yes, it’s a small victory – but were are the big ones? From calling people a “denier,” perhaps? How about complaining about moderation? Have they netted you large victories? Of the sort that wouldn’t be a waste of your time?

  34. Joshua says:

    ==> “I think only a sociopath would do something like that.”

    So what is “that” here? Committing scientific fraud to the extent that it would change our understanding of the science, with a (negative) impact on policy and people’s lives.

    Sounds pretty sociopathic to me.

  35. Steve Bloom says:

    I hesitate to respond to you, Joshua, but you’ve simply missed the point, which is that in terms of denier persuasion the big wins are entirely absent and the small ones few and far between, thus my concern that the blog is over-focused on tussling with such people. I’d prefer a lot more science, although I’m also happy to see debunking posts like this one so long as the comment thread isn’t allowed to descend into tussling. But of course Anders is free to do what he likes and I’m free to participate less or not at all.

  36. Lets not make a fundamental discussion on whether one should be nice or not. There is no evidence for either side, there is no counter-factual, no alternative climate debate on a similar planet heating up, and it depends on the situation. For some people you already know that no amount of reasoned arguments produce any effect. For new people or people you do not know it is probably best to be friendly.

    In both cases think of the casual reader more than about the person you are “debating”. I have seen a person with questions being dismissed as trolls who always ask the same questions on another topic where I could not judge whether the questions were nonsense or not. And not being provided with information to check the troll-claim, I came away with the impression that these people did not have the answers to those questions. Just saying.

  37. Joseph says:

    Reich, I was specifically referring to climate scientists, but it is also true that some of the climate scientists on the skeptical side could be committing fraud. But I am not going to speculate because it’s difficult to know intent. The good thing is they haven’t significantly changed our understanding of the science. There probably are some malicious actors in the political sphere though and this would have an effect on policy.

  38. anoilman says:

    So… those guys should form a league… Hmm.. Who would keep score?

  39. verytallguy says:

    Andy Skuce, 

    On the puzzlement as to what is driving Ridley ‘ s behaviour, note that Lewandowsky ‘s research predicted that those who embrace laissez faire economics will reject climate science.

    Note that the howls of protest at Lewandowsky strongly suggest a raw nerve was hit. 

    Note that Ridley writes for the right wing GWPF and has a history of very strong dedication to laissez faire economics including applying it with disastrous consequences as chair of Northern Rock. 

  40. verytallguy says:

    Steve,

    I’d prefer a lot more science

    I seem to remember you volunteered a guest post on the evidence for slow feedbacks kicking in. I’d be interested.

    On moderation, ATTP’s and Rachel’s efforts in that regard are better than on pretty much any other climate blog, both engaging and reasonably limiting of inflammatory comments and denier nonsense. And I know I can be fairly inflammatory about the [mod: redacted] like [mod: redacted] who continually [mod: redacted]

  41. victorpetri says:

    Much better blog than your first on Ridley’s blog.

  42. victorpetri says:

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/professional-climateballtm/#comment-39668

    The victory was mine alone, since I gained knowledge at that point, whilst yours remained the same.

  43. andrew adams says:

    Ridley says

    But Dr Betts’s reaction has weakened my confidence in this view.

    Well for a start that’s just a lazy argument which veers into conspiratorial thinking – the fact that certain people, even if they have considerable authority on the issue, object to my views just proves even more how right I am. Judith Curry in particular plays this card very well.

    Also, Ridley might wish to consider that Richard Betts has put a great deal of effort into engaging constructively with skeptics and steadfastly refuses to get involved in Climateball. I would mention Doug McNeall as well in this respect. So he might consider, at least of he were somewhat more self-aware than he appears to be, that they are people whose objections he might want to take seriously and if he has gone so far as to offend both of them then maybe there really is something wrong with his argument.

  44. Lars Karlsson says:

    In his Times article, Ridley extensively quotes JoNova, notorious disinformer and author of the atrocious Skeptics handbook I and II.

    Nuff said.

  45. Nick says:

    You’ve captured the essential Ridley. A bad faith communicator who never gives an inch even when it is obvious he’s in a huge hole. An infuriatingly disciplined nonsense generator. I mean, asking for reassurance from those you’ve smeared, with his record? ‘Audacious time-waster’ does not begin to describe him.

  46. Victor’s comment is essentially my view. I have no problem with people asking questions or engaging in discussions even if they do appear to be coming from the more pseudo-skeptical side of the argument. I certainly don’t want to immediately dismiss people because of their apparent initial views. I also quite enjoy it sometimes. I learned from the discussion with David Blake, even if he didn’t 🙂 There is a limit to how much I’ll allow here…although that limit is not well-defined.

    vp,
    I wasn’t meaning victory in the sense that someone won and someone else lost. I really just meant it in the sense that it was a success of sorts. Not often that people acknowledge things as you did, although – to be fair – you may do it more than most, so the “rareness” wasn’t aimed at you specifically.

  47. verytallguy says: “On the puzzlement as to what is driving Ridley ‘ s behaviour, note that Lewandowsky ‘s research predicted that those who embrace laissez faire economics will reject climate science.”

    No Lewandowsky found a correlation. Caussality could go in any direction and it is also possible that a third factor explains both. A social Darwinist ma, for example, both like Laisser faire economics and the consequences of climate change.

    Laisser faire economics assures that the state does not redistribute from rich to poor and does not prevent the redistribution from the poor to the rich by corruption, monopolies (or by direct policy because the poor will also have less political influence in the unequal society the social Darwinists prefer). They may also like climate change because the liberals told them that the poor will suffer most. (They may want to do the homework themselves.)

    victorpetri says: “The victory was mine alone, since I gained knowledge at that point, whilst yours remained the same.”

    If I may be a little bit less friendly, I know it is bad style to doubt sources of information, but no you did not gain knowledge, you came back to zero after believing Ridley.

  48. victorpetri says:

    My comment was meant more philosophical and was meant somewhat jokingly. I know all too well a discussion can come to feel as a battle, convincing the other party the goal, and its achievement can feel as a victory. These somewhat irrational thoughts cause often and entrenchment of ideas, people unable to concede their incorrectness due to fear to lose face.
    This not necessarily needs to be so, viewed differently, the ability to change your mind, change your point of view to something better, can considered to be a win. You’ve gained something when you’ve changed your mind because of a discussion.

  49. Joshua says:

    vp –

    Good catch.

    I was the fist to use the term “victory.” I didn’t mean victory in the sense of one person winning over the other, or a “skeptic” agreeing that a “realist” was right, as much as victory in the sense of shared agreement being reached as compared to the more typical pattern of endless discussion with no one ever changing their views.

  50. Joshua says:

    As such – “success” is a better term.

  51. Willard says:

    > a semi-professional version of ClimateBall ™

    Here’s what “semi-pro” triggers among the hockey connoisseurs:

  52. Willard says:

    At the beginning of the video, we can hear someone saying:

    Are you waiting to turn green before engaging? You’re not the Incredible Hulk!

    I’m sure Joshua appreciates that way to conceive engagement.

  53. Christian says:

    Come on guys,

    i am so tired about all this public crap talking about climate and i am so done with it, because there is no way to talk about really relevant topics like how certain is our knowing about radiative Forcing since 2000, because there a so many doubts about it, publications over publication have shown that vulcanic-forcing could be undereastimated (for some sure, solar forcing is clear overeastimated) for the Forecasts in CIMP5-Scenario and this is so much more important then this bla bla bla models wrong, warming is a hoax etc.

    And what we do? Pay attention to public small talk about climate change and i dont get it, how people without cogntive biases really belive this would change anything to a better understanding in the public.

    Soory for this post, but iam so pissed of these nonesens

  54. BBD says:

    Confusion and despair are no reasons for despondence, old chap.
    🙂

  55. BBD says:

    Soory for this post, but iam so pissed of these nonesens

    More seriously, Christian, who here isn’t?

  56. verytallguy says:

    Hey, stop being so damn upbeat.

    Time for some proper pessimism.

    http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/first-thou-shalt-not-scare-them.html

  57. Vinny Burgoo says:

    You call that pessimism? Here’s pessimism:

    Mainly perpetuated by fossil fuel-based companies entangled with governments, environmental instability is starting to damage the global economy, and over the next two decades will decimate it (see footnote). CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are causing climate disruption and temperature rise that is currently on course to make the planet unliveable for most vertebrate species within this century.

    http://thelearningplanet.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/10-responses-to-pro-oil-arguments/

    (Yes, the vertebrates thing is an interpretation of Sherwood and Huber. The rest is based on DARA’s infamous Climate Vulnerability Monitor, Limits to Growth and several other popular climactivist memes.)

  58. BBD says:

    This is how it’s done…

  59. Those are surely good attempts to equal the alarmism at WUWT and Co about the economic consequences of more renewable energy and energy efficiency.

  60. russellseitz says:

    Victor, in seeking to alarm, it pays to advertise .

  61. Steve Bloom says:

    Here’s a possibly-interesting topic for you, Anders, and note the accompanying commentary by Tim Lenton. Tipping points got tipping points, it seems. Can a post by you contribute to a third layer? 🙂

  62. Steve,
    I’ll have a look. I don’t know about a third layer…maybe somewhere inbetween the two existing layers 🙂

  63. Steve Bloom says:

    That’s disappointing. I was looking to make my comment part of a fourth layer. 🙂

  64. Reich,
    Yes, I did see that. AW didn’t seem to impressed when I suggested that he should think about why noone would bother mocking a typo on WUWT. Partly, because a typo on WUWT may make what is said sound more sensible.

  65. Vinny Burgoo says:

    @BBD: Cool breeze blowing, sky is splitting apart. Looks like things are turnin’ real weird.

  66. Vinny Burgoo says:

    @VV: I doubt it.

    But does everyone here on this science-oriented blog agree that people who distort scientific findings for political ends are equivalent no matter what their politics?

  67. Vinny,

    But does everyone here on this science-oriented blog agree that people who distort scientific findings for political ends are equivalent no matter what their politics?

    Sure, I can’t really see a scenario where it’s acceptable to distort science for political ends.

  68. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Thanks, ATTP.

    (I’ll hold you to that.)

  69. Vinny Burgoo says:

    @Reich.Eschhaus: It’s not the best Grauniad typo ever but it’s pretty good. The best is…

    I’ll consult my archives.

    Or google.

  70. Vinny Burgoo says:

    Here’s a top Graun typo:

    In the Barrington Tops, where my farm is, no one can remember spring coming quite so early, or being quite so hot. That our new prime minister will crap the carbon tax is a sad irony.

  71. BBD says:

    Vinny

    There’s general scientific agreement that BAU = trouble ahead. The most egregious and persistent distortion of scientific findings for political ends are coming from the contrarians.

    Yet you have nothing to say about this at all. The basis for a civilised exchange about misrepresentation of the science requires that you acknowledge the asymmetry in the nonsense.

  72. BBD says:

    And next up on the dance floor 🙂

  73. Vinny Burgoo says:

    And next up is…

    (No, I can’t see any relevance either. But it’s top stuff. The piper looks a bit like David Cameron. Will that do?)

  74. Vinny Burgoo, sure. Which does not mean that I would respond in the same way to every critique of a scientific finding. Someone expression disbelieve in the first climate change impact study for English garden bunnies is something else as denying that it is warming, that CO2 increases are warming the climate or a quote like this:

    “Well, ranking 1998, 2005, 2010 and 2014 as the ‘warmest years’ seems very consistent with a plateau in surface temperatures since 1998. Even if 2014 maintains its status among the top 4, how does this impact the ‘pause’ narrative”

    The weight of the evidence is important, as is the strength of the counter arguments and the amount of confidence being displayed that the counterargument is conclusive.

  75. BBD says:

    Vinny

    The sticking point for me is that from my perspective the the contrarian position on AGW is constructed from misrepresentations of the science and so devolves into a political polemic.

    The scientific position does not, although we both agree that it is sometimes misrepresented by the over-enthusiastic.

    This leaves the scientific position intact.

  76. You want alarmism. You can’t handle alarmism:

    Auditors are writing their FOIAs as we speak.

  77. David Blake says:

    @BBD

    This comment:
    “The scientific position does not, although we both agree that it is sometimes misrepresented by the over-enthusiastic.”

    Does not marry with this:
    “This leaves the scientific position intact.”

    Ridley’s main point (and I’m not a fan of Ridley) was that seeing as the error bars are so large (an order of magnitude larger than the result) claims of record temps, or energy imbalances, just don’t hold up to scrutiny. ’14 may be validly claimed as “one of the hottest”, but not “THE” hoittest for example. Data like these in a medical trial would (or at least should) be laughed out of town.

    It’s rather ironic that these claims, although true, are coming from a failed banker who cooked the books for so long when he was on the job.

  78. David,

    ’14 may be validly claimed as “one of the hottest”, but not “THE” hoittest for example.

    Except, they didn’t say “the hottest” the said “one of the hottest”. The strongest they said was that if November and December followed the trend, then 2014 would likely be the hottest on record. Now, of course, there are uncertainties in the data but the word “likely” takes that into account (if one measurement if 0.7+-0.1 and another is 0.701+-0.1 then the latter is likely greater than the former, but may not be).

    Data like these in a medical trial would (or at least should) be laughed out of town.

    I think one has to be careful of making analogies with medical research. In medical research you normally have a control sample. In climatology we don’t.

  79. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,
    “(if one measurement if 0.7+-0.1 and another is 0.701+-0.1 then the latter is likely greater than the former, but may not be). ”
    With the errors involved you can’t even say “likely”, “possible” may be a better word. And that’s precisely Ridley’s point. And he DOES have a point.

    “In medical research you normally have a control sample. In climatology we don’t.”
    Sort of true – although we do have other planets to compare to. Changing the balance of probability between one scientific field and another is just plain wrong, and has come back to bite climate science on the bum over and over. Which now means the latest cries of “Wolf, wolf”, are falling on deaf ears and are fueling scepticism rather than combating it.

    The AGW crowd in general does not respond well to criticism. The preferred option seems to be to denegrade and insult the critic rather than looking to see if they have a point (sure, very often – they don’t). I would argue that criticism (even if from a dodgy banker) makes Climate science stronger. An inexact parralel is climategate. As a direct result since then, despite the howling and complaining, climate science is now more open. Open-ness (to criticism) makes people/ideas/science more beleivable, and more robust. In a way, although it may not have seemed so at the time, climategate is the best thing ever to happen to climate science….

  80. David,

    With the errors involved you can’t even say “likely”, “possible” may be a better word. And that’s precisely Ridley’s point. And he DOES have a point.

    There may always be better words, that doesn’t mean the word that was used was the wrong one. Ridley also DOES NOT really have a point. His point is only marginally related to what you said and he managed to mis-interpret what they had actually said.

    The AGW crowd in general does not respond well to criticism.

    HA HA HA HA HA HA. You think it’s clouds and promote a scientific idea that is almost certainly wrong and you have the gall to claim that the AGW crowd doesn’t respond well to criticism.

    What they don’t respond well to are people who barely understand basic science telling them that they’re wrong. People who say what you have just said should consider two things. If one implies or suggests fraud or corruption you can’t expect those being criticised to respond well. Secondly, you should consider that another reason that they don’t respond well is because the criticism typically indicates that those doing the criticism are broadly ignorant of basic climatology and of how scientific research actually works.

  81. BBD says:

    DB

    This comment:
    “The scientific position does not, although we both agree that it is sometimes misrepresented by the over-enthusiastic.”

    Does not marry with this:
    “This leaves the scientific position intact.”

    Yes, it does. Further invalid criticism.

  82. BBD says:

    I have an especial dislike of being verballed, David.

    Read – and quote – the words I actually wrote for correct context and meaning:

    The sticking point for me is that from my perspective the the contrarian position on AGW is constructed from misrepresentations of the science and so devolves into a political polemic.

    The scientific position does not, although we both agree that it is sometimes misrepresented by the over-enthusiastic.

    This leaves the scientific position intact.

    The scientific position is not a political polemic. It remains intact despite occasional misrepresentation by the climate concerned. By contrast, the contrarian position is baseless rhetoric propelled not by science, but by ideology and fear.

  83. The scientific position is not well defined in the sense that any individual or organization would have the definitive authority of telling what it is. Still we may trust that some people or organizations are very likely to describe it well enough. Even the best sources may sometimes err either in its substance to some extent or formulate it misleadingly.

    What WMO has said now seems to be fully consistent with facts without exaggeration or without being misleading. Ridley just makes “much ado about nothing”.

    What the temperature of 2014 tells is another issue. Evidently not very much as no single year tells very much. There seem to be opposing views on whose position it strengthens a little, i.e. is it a sign of warming or of weakness of the warming. That can be argued to the extent arguing about the signal given by one annual value is worth arguing about.

  84. David Blake says:

    @aTTP
    “HA HA HA HA HA HA. You think it’s clouds and promote a scientific idea that is almost certainly wrong and you have the gall to claim that the AGW crowd doesn’t respond well to criticism. ”

    I don’t just “think” it’s clouds – I have data to back it up. Data that fits the physics. You are just going to have to eat that one. Donohoe ’14 also say:

    “It is found that the timescale over which OLR returns to its initial value after a CO2 perturbation depends sensitively on the magnitude of shortwave (SW) feedbacks. ”

    The dominant SW feedback he describes as …. clouds. So is Donohoe “almost certainly wrong…”?

    And… of course Ridley has a point. When the uncertainties in both global temperature and TOA anomaly are one order of magnitude higher than the claimed anomaly one can’t claim *anything* significant about the result.

  85. David,

    The dominant SW feedback he describes as …. clouds. So is Donohoe “almost certainly wrong…”?

    Go and learn the difference between a forcing and a feedback!

    Although I don’t want to start the whole cloud argument again, here’s a question for you. There are essentially two ways in which we could undergo warming, increase the solar flux (either through a reduction in albedo or an increase in solar luminosity) or decrease the outgoing long-wavelength flux (increase greenhouse gas concentrations). Do you think the oceans will warm in both scenarios, or only in the former?

  86. David Blake says:

    [Mod : Not only does that not actually answer the question, it delves too far into actual GHG warming denial that I’m not even willing to post it. You can have another go if you wish.]

  87. BBD says:

    Pekka

    The scientific position is not well defined in the sense that any individual or organization would have the definitive authority of telling what it is.

    This is what I wrote:

    There’s general scientific agreement that BAU = trouble ahead.

    Read the words. Note the deliberate lack of definitional precision. Stop nit-picking like this please. It’s irritating beyond measure.

  88. BBD says:

    David

    You are just going to have to eat that one.

    You have, to my certain knowledge, made gross, fundamental errors during our previous exchanges elsewhere. This shows that there are serious gaps in your topic knowledge at a basic level. ATTP is a physicist with a demonstrably sound grasp of the elements of physical climatology (feel free to review the entire blog). Your arrogance is grating and appallingly inappropriate. Not to mention incivil.

  89. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    “Not only does that not actually answer the question, it delves too far into actual GHG warming denial that I’m not even willing to post it. You can have another go if you wish.”

    I’m astounded. I linked to a NASA graph, to two articles from Nature, and that is *apparently* denial.

    So we’ll keep it simple:
    ” Do you think the oceans will warm in both scenarios, or only in the former?”
    The former: definitely. In the latter the top 5cm of the ocean may warm by 0.002K per W/m^2

  90. David Blake says:

    @BBD,

    “You have, to my certain knowledge, made gross, fundamental errors during our previous exchanges elsewhere. ”

    I think you are wrong. The discussion won’t be allowed here, but you are welcome over at my blog to talk about anything you like, call me anything you like – and I’ll return the favour.

  91. David,
    Linking to graphs and articles doesn’t mean much if the interpretation isn’t correct.

    So we’ll keep it simple:
    ” Do you think the oceans will warm in both scenarios, or only in the former?”
    The former: definitely. In the latter the top 5cm of the ocean may warm by 0.002K per W/m^2

    Noipe, that’s wrong. Okay, I’ll add another layer. Consider the same two scenarios but also consider that in both cases the resulting planetary energy imbalance is the same (say, about 0.5Wm-2). Do you still stand by your answer?

  92. Willard says:

    > In medical research you normally have a control sample. In climatology we don’t.

    Also, and more importantly to me, the models involved in the two fields are of very different scales.

    Observational studies are still in use in epidemiology, which involve a bigger scale than testing a pill for a chronic disease:

    In epidemiology and statistics, an observational study draws inferences about the possible effect of a treatment on subjects, where the assignment of subjects into a treated group versus a control group is outside the control of the investigator.[1][2] This is in contrast with experiments, such as randomized controlled trials, where each subject is randomly assigned to a treated group or a control group.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observational_study

    Auditors who’d like to delve into error bars in medecine can consult:

    http://www.drugwatch.com/2014/10/15/americans-pay-higher-prices-prescription-drugs/

  93. Joshua says:

    David Blake –

    ==> “The AGW crowd in general does not respond well to criticism”

    In contrast to which other crowd? The “non-AGW crowd?”

    I might say that humans, in general, do not respond well to criticism – depending on how you define “respond[ing] well” And btw, how do you define the “AGW crowd?”

    Do you have some evidence that your “AGW crowd” is actually distinguishable from any particular other “crowd” w/r/t their response to criticism? If not, then isn’t your statement basically meaningless? If you don’t have some way of supporting your generalization about a particular group, then is your statement anything other than naked identity-aggression (as a form of identity-defense?)

  94. Joshua says:

    Oh, and BTW David – as Anders has pointed out, you should also define what you mean by “criticism.”

    And David – don’t duck.

  95. Willard says:

    > If you don’t have some way of supporting your generalization about a particular group, then is your statement anything other than naked identity-aggression (as a form of identity-defense?)

    Peddling doesn’t require responding, [Joshua]. How could we say that a peddler does not respond well to criticism when that peddler doesn’t respond at all?

  96. Joshua says:

    ==> ” That can be argued to the extent arguing about the signal given by one annual value is worth arguing about.”

    Worth arguing about in what sense? In terms of scientific worth? Or worth arguing about as a means of validating a sense of victimhood, or confirming identity-related biases?

  97. Joshua says:

    ==> “And he DOES have a point.”

    Perhaps his point is that the “AGW crowd” does not respond well to criticism?

    If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? If a point is meaningless, is it still a point? If a point is not worth arguing about, is it still worth arguing about?

  98. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,
    “Linking to graphs and articles doesn’t mean much if the interpretation isn’t correct.”
    If you beleive that my interpretation is incorrect – you could argue the point – convince me, display your superiour knowledge. That’d be fine, and if you argue well, you may convince me. But just saying:

    “Noipe, that’s wrong.”

    … is neither a convincing argument, nor display of *any* kind of knowledge.

    Godlike, you “create another layer”, and “fix the planetary energy imbalance” at 0.5Wm^2. If you’d read the Stephens et al paper in Nature, rather than deleting the post, you’d know how ludicrous your latter point to be (even ignoring the LW TOA graph I linked to).

    But anyway, arguing within your imposed conditions my answer is still the same. If you doubt my figure of 0.002K/W/m^2, I got it from here.

    Now you as a Physicist can easily pursuade me with some (for you) basic maths. You can present the calculations to show that a 0.002K/W/m^2 warming of the top 5cm of ocean can result in an increased OHC of the order of 20×10^22J from 2.58W/m^2 forcing that mankind has apparently created.

  99. David,
    You should probably read the articles to which you link. The article where you get 0.002K/W/m^2 was refuting exactly the point you’re trying to make. The 0.002K/W/m^2 is the temperature gradient in the sea surface that results from a change in forcing. What the article actually says is

    Reducing the size of the temperature gradient through the skin layer reduces the flux. Thus, if the absorption of the infrared emission from atmospheric greenhouse gases reduces the gradient through the skin layer, the flow of heat from the ocean beneath will be reduced, leaving more of the heat introduced into the bulk of the upper oceanic layer by the absorption of sunlight to remain there to increase water temperature.

    In other words, if there is a temperature gradient, then energy is transported from below the surface to the surface. If, however, there is an increase in external forcing, this gradient reduces which means that less energy is transported from below to the surface and hence more energy remains in the oceans, and the ocean energy rises. Hence, even though IR cannot penetrate below a few microns, does not mean that an increase in atmospheric GHGs cannot cause the oceans to warm. Try reading the Realclimate post again, carefully.

  100. BBD says:

    David Blake

    I think you are wrong.

    I no longer much care what you think because you refuse to admit errors, which places you outside the bounds of rational discourse.

  101. David Blake says:

    Hi Joshua,

    “In contrast to which other crowd? The “non-AGW crowd?”
    Can I present THIS as my first part of my evidence?

    Generally I’m sure that you are right that nobody *loves* criticism, but People talk about ideology only being the preserve of fossilfuel funded, tea-party supporting, “deniers”. But it’s not. The reactions to perfectly valid criticisms of some parts of climate science is visceral. Stray from the “true path” like (e.g.) Judith Curry and one becomes a heathen.

    “how do you define the “AGW crowd?””
    True beleivers.

    “Do you have some evidence that your “AGW crowd” is actually distinguishable from any particular other “crowd” w/r/t their response to criticism?”
    Exhibit A: Dana Nuccitelli

  102. BBD says:

    ATTP

    You really don’t have to put up with this nonsense.

  103. BBD says:

    True beleivers [sic].

    In scientific evidence and physics.

  104. BBD says:

    Exhibit A: Christopher Monckton.

    This is a f**** waste of time, David.

  105. Joshua says:

    David –

    ==> “Exhibit A: Dana Nuccitelli”

    I find it hard to believe that you don’t see why that is a very inadequate response. How does citing one example provide evidence for a group of one people as compared to other groups, or people generally?

    I have to say that I don’t understand the technical arguments that you’re engaged in. I see people saying that you don’t understand the science or that your reasoning is fundamentally flawed. I can’t judge. But I have to say that your initial responses to my questions display some really poor reasoning – from a logical standpoint. Can you make a better argument? If not, I wonder if your scientific arguments aren’t similarly flawed, logically.

  106. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    ” The 0.002K/W/m^2 is the temperature gradient in the sea surface that results from a change in forcing. What the article actually says is”

    Yes…. and the change in flux is how much? For a physicist like yourself it should be fairly easy to show how a flux change from 0.002K/W/m^2 at an anthropogenic forcing of 2.58 W/m^2 for CO2e can result in an OHC increase of 20 x 10^22J in 50 years…

    Here’s some starting numbers to get you going:
    Seconds in 50 years = 1,576,800,000
    Area of oceans = 360,000,000 km2 = 3.6×10^14 m2
    SHC seawater at 0C = 3.93 (kJ/kg.K)

    I’m open to being convinced. Just show me the numbers.

  107. Willard says:

    Exhibit C: the Internet.

  108. BBD says:

    David

    Everybody else here who bothers with such things understands that the ocean is not warmed by the DLR flux from CO2 forcing. How nice it would be if you could just read the RC article that you yourself linked to instead of continuing to post nonsense.

  109. Willard says:

    > If you beleive that my interpretation is incorrect – you could argue the point – convince me, display your superiour knowledge.

    Why, David? You peddled this interpretation in the last few threads without any concerns regarding relevance or responsiveness. What makes you think that this will work this time? In fact, why do you think that being in-your-face like that will ever work?

    You’re not abiding by the honor you’re using to derail yet another thread, David. If you pursue in this manner, I think I’ll take BBD[‘s place].

    Thank you for your concerns.

    W

  110. David Blake says:

    @Joshua,

    “I find it hard to believe that you don’t see why that is a very inadequate response. ”
    You are right. I should expand on that. I know of no other scientific field (although there may be some that I’m unaware of) where authors specifically write papers, not to advance the field, but to defend an ideology and attack fellow scientists. Dana does that. And then uses the media to demean and riddicule his victim, while they don’t have the same direct media outlets that he enjoys.

    If he felt a paper flawed, which is perfectly fine, yes, write one to counter it, but once you’ve done that, then you cannot simultaniously become the self appointed media final arbiter of who is correct.

    Also some of his pages on SkS are just plain wrong (e.g. the page on clouds). But because he “fights for the cause” people beleive him. And don’t get me started on the 97% paper…

  111. BBD,

    This is a f**** waste of time, David.

    I tend to agree. Trivial generalisations are tedious.

    David,
    I wrote out a lengthy response to your comment, and then my wifi went down and I lost it. I’ll do it one more time, but this is genuinely tedious,

    Okay, first part

    an anthropogenic forcing of 2.58 W/m^2 for CO2e can result in an OHC increase of 20 x 10^22J in 50 years…

    This is fairly straightforward. Let’s work out what average planetary energy imbalance would be required to produce this increase in energy. It goes as follows,

    Imbalance = \frac{2 \times 10^{23}}{4 \pi R_{Earth}^2 50 \times 3.15 \times 10^7},

    where the numerator is the increase in energy and the denominator is the surface area of the Earth and 50 years in seconds. The answer is 0.25Wm-2. Easy enough given an increase in anthropogenic forcing of more than 2Wm-2.

    This bit is harder

    For a physicist like yourself it should be fairly easy to show how a flux change from 0.002K/W/m^2

    Why? Because you appear not to understand what that number actually is. It’s not a flux change. It’s the difference between the skin temperature and the bulk temperature as a function of the change in long-wavelength flux. Read the caption to the figure in the Realclimate post

    The change in the skin temperature to bulk temperature difference as a function of the net longwave radiation.

    In other words, what this is telling you is how the temperature gradient in sub-surface ocean changes as you change the long-wavelength flux. Why is this relevant? Because the rate at which you transfer energy from below to the surface depends on the temperature gradient and on the diffusion coefficient (which I, and I suspect you, don’t know). If you reduce this gradient, then you transfer less energy to the surface and the oceans gains energy.

    Now, I think I – and others – have explained this to you a number of times and I don’t plan to do it again. It’s probably time you went and read your sources properly and gave this all some thought.

  112. Eli Rabett says:

    Anders, try http://www.codecogs.com/latex/eqneditor.php which is an on line LaTeX translator into a variety of image formats and gives you embeddable HTML code.

  113. David,

    Dana does that. And then uses the media to demean and riddicule his victim, while they don’t have the same direct media outlets that he enjoys.

    Let’s clarify something. Dana writes articles that are broadly consistent with the scientific evidence but which do sometimes criticise those who promote views that are largely inconsistent with the best evidence available. I fail to see how what he writes is an attack. It is interesting how some eople seem to see criticism as an attack. A bit over-sensitive?

    On the other hand, we also have Christopher Booker, James Delingpole, Matt Ridley, Richard Tol, and others who write articles that also critique what others present. The difference is, these authors are typically more wrong than right (when comparing what they present with the best evidence available).

  114. anoilman says:

    Dave Blake: You should probably pick up a text book on the basics of all this first. There are plenty of books since this is a subject taught in university, and there isn’t much tremendously new in the last 20 years. (At least in terms of the physics anyways.)

  115. Joshua says:

    David –

    ==> “You are right. I should expand on that. I know of no other scientific field (although there may be some that I’m unaware of) where authors specifically write papers, not to advance the field, but to defend an ideology and attack fellow scientists.”

    Climate science seems to me to be somewhat unique in that it is a science where perspective on the science is so closely associated with ideological views. But there are others. GMOs might be one example. Evolution is another. Nuclear energy would be another. Scientific analyses in many other areas considered “soft” science, such as the effects of gun ownership on violence rates or the effect of the minimum wage on the economy and employment, which employ an approach to data analysis that follows the same scientific principles as with cliamte science, also show similar patterns. In those fields, as in climate science, it is easy to see that the ideological associations are linked to identity politics (identity-aggression and identity-defense).

    But whether climate science is unique or not in the way that you describe doesn’t change the logical flaw in your reasoning. You have assigned an attribute to one group of people, without actually defining how you are delineating that group. You also have not provided any evidence to support an assertion of a particular attribute being more prevalent in that group than outside that group. As BBD pointed out, we could just as easily make an assertion diametrically opposed to your assertion, using exactly the same reasoning. I could say that the “non-AGW crowd” are characterized by the attacks on fellow scientists that we can see in the work of Richard Lindzen or Roy Spencer or John Chirsty or Judith Curry or Pat Michaels or Tim Ball, etc. But to do so would be just as flawed, IMO, as your repeated assertions have been.

    It seems to me that you are dancing around these points, rather than addressing them. I have asked you for a scientific approach to the issue. But instead, you keep repeating your non-scientific approach.

    If you want to read someone who does take a scientific approach to this issue – where conclusions are backed by empirical research, I would suggest that read Dan Kahan’s blog. The conclusions he draws, from a careful approach to quantifying and qualifying data and controlling for variables, are quite different than those that you are asserting. I find his evidence-based reasoning to be fairly convincing. If you don’t, maybe you could engage with him on the evidence and the analysis of that evidence?

    But in the end, what we have here, IMO, is that you are actually displaying the very same attributes that you are assigning, differentially, to those who belong to a group with which you don’t identify. While there isn’t an overt identity-aggression in your comments – as we might see when someone criticizes someone like Richard Lindzen at a personal level – because you are negatively labeling a group without emperical evidence in support, in reality, IMO, you are being similarly identity-aggressive (as a form of identity-defense). Don’t you agree that is rather ironic, even if unintentionally so?

  116. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    Not that it really makes any difference, :-), but there is a comment of mine that is a victim of the capricious moderation filter.

  117. Joshua,
    Yes, out now, but not sure why it got caught in the first place.

  118. Joshua says:

    Censorship!!!! But you had to cave when I exposed your evil ways!

  119. Willard says:

    > Also some of his pages on SkS […]

    You keep peddling, David.

    Please desist.

  120. David Blake says:

    @ aTTP,

    Bummer about the Wifi. It happens.

    Two points about your calcs (thanks BTW):

    1) I made the first 0.35 W/m^2, principally as you took the area of the whole world rather than the oceans, but we are in rough agreement.

    2) “This bit is harder”
    But it’s the important bit! It surprised me how much it was actually. Assuming that the CO2e forcing is 2.58 W/m^2 at the surface (I recall reading it was less at the surface ~ 1W/m^2) My rough calculations make a rise in OHC of 3.6×10^17 J for 0.002 K per W/m^2 and increased forcing of 2.58 W/m^2.

    If the figure is more like 1 W/m^2 the sums change to 1.4 x 10^14.

    We are still a LONG WAY (six to eight zeros) off the 2×10^23 J that is claimed to be due to AGW. What could it be…? Couldn’t be that falling cloud cover could it?

  121. David,

    I made the first 0.35 W/m^2, principally as you took the area of the whole world rather than the oceans, but we are in rough agreement.

    Well, that’s not quite the right way to do it. Most of the energy goes into the ocean, so you should really consider the whole area, not simply the area of the ocean. Admittedly, the oceans absorb about 93% with the other 7% associated with the land, atmosphere, and ice. So, my number should probably be divided by 0.93 to get a slightly better estimate,

    But it’s the important bit! It surprised me how much it was actually. Assuming that the CO2e forcing is 2.58 W/m^2 at the surface (I recall reading it was less at the surface ~ 1W/m^2) My rough calculations make a rise in OHC of 3.6×10^17 J for 0.002 K per W/m^2 and increased forcing of 2.58 W/m^2.

    You just don’t really get this. That number is the change in skin to bulk temperature difference, as a function of long-wavelength radiation. Read the figure caption. You cannot use this to do the calculation you’ve done. I’ll try and explain it one more time. What we’re considering is an equation that is something like this

    \frac{\partial T}{\partial t} = \kappa \frac{\partial^2 T}{\partial z^2}.

    On the right-hand side you have the gradient of the temperature gradient. The term \kappa is the diffusion coefficient. If the temperature gradient reduces, then the rate at which the ocean temperature changes reduces. Now consider the system in equilibrium. The sub-surface gains energy from solar radiation. The surface gains energy from IR back radiation, but also gains energy from below through diffusion. The surface then loses energy via IR radiation. In equilibrium, this all balances.

    Now consider a scenario where we increase some anthropogenic forcing so that the surface starts to gain more energy through IR back radiation than before. This will increase the skin temperature. This then reduces the temperature gradient between the skin and the sub-surface and hence reduces the rate at which the surface gains energy from below. The sub-surface is therefore losing less energy than before and hence warms. This continues until the system retains energy balance.

  122. BBD says:

    You just don’t really get this. That number is the change in skin to bulk temperature difference, as a function of long-wavelength radiation. Read the figure caption. You cannot use this to do the calculation you’ve done.

    Emphasis added.

    This is *exactly* what happened at Sou’s with Dave’s ECS/TCR balls-up. He either could not or would not see his mistake, no matter how often it was pointed out. He does not listen.

  123. BBD says:

    Dave

    I can’t better ATTP’s description of the physical mechanism in his concluding two paragraphs, but I can paraphrase a little.

    CO2-forced warming of the troposphere does not warm the ocean (DLR). The energy comes from the sun (DSW). Agreed?

    The warming atmosphere immediately above the ocean skin layer reduces the thermal gradient across the skin layer.

    Energy accumulating in the ocean can only leave by *conduction* across the skin layer. The reduced thermal gradient across the skin layer inhibits the efficiency of conduction and reduces the rate at which energy can leave the ocean.

    On average and over decades, the solar input of energy is approximately constant so energy begins to accumulate in the upper ocean layer. It warms up.

  124. Steve Bloom says:

    More of this so soon, Anders? Like a moth to the flame, it seems.

  125. BBD says:

    All is not lost, Mr Bloom. I enjoy and benefit from the pellucid explanations and I suspect others do too. Nothing goes to waste.

  126. verytallguy says:

    David,

    We are still a LONG WAY (six to eight zeros) off the 2×10^23 J that is claimed to be due to AGW.

    this leaves two possibilities.

    1) you are 6-8 orders of magnitude more intelligent than all the climatologists on earth combined

    2) the other option

    Call me a skeptic but I’m going with (2)

  127. David Blake says:

    [Mod : Sorry, but this is getting rather tedious. Your calculation is wrong and most of the sources you’ve quoted do not support what you’re suggesting (if anything, they’re illustrating how what you’re suggesting is wrong). We can’t repeat this over and over again – or, at least, I’m not willing to repeat this over and over again.]

  128. David Blake says:

    [Mod : Okay, but you’re unconvinced, and that’s fine. I don’t think anything I say, or anyone else says, will change your mind.]

  129. Joseph says:

    David and Joshua, I wonder how scientists should respond to the criticism that they are biased, corrupt, and suffering from group think (can’t think for themselves i guess) or some combination of these traits?

  130. David Blake says:

    @aTTP,

    That’s a really WEAK response.
    1) I made no new calculations
    2) You were unwilling to do them: why? Show the “right” way…
    3) I just asked for a paper that had done. As it’s a cornerstone of AGW I’d imagine there must be one, nay several. If not ask yourself “WHY?”

    You are hiding behind moderation which is pretty cowardly. You really aren’t helping the debate by hiding.

    DB OUT.

  131. David Blake says:

    @ aTTP,

    ” Okay, but you’re unconvinced, and that’s fine. ”

    Waaaaahhhh! No. It’s not “fine”! I was just asking for a proof/calculations of a pretty major cornerstone of AGW theory. You didn;t give it. RealClimate didn;t give it. No paper I’ve seen has given it. You all HIDE FROM IT.

    WHY?

  132. David,
    I’ll explain this to you. You are basically asking me to develop a climate model that includes diffusion. It is non-trivial and not something that can be done on a blog. That I can’t do that calculation doesn’t suddenly validate your calculation that is clearly wrong (the 0.002K/W/m^2 is not the increase in temperature per W/m^2, it is the change in the difference between the skin layer temperature and the bulk temperature).

  133. David,

    Waaaaahhhh! No. It’s not “fine”! I was just asking for a proof/calculations of a pretty major cornerstone of AGW theory. You didn;t give it. RealClimate didn;t give it. No paper I’ve seen has given it. You all HIDE FROM IT.

    WHY?

    Maybe, because as I explain above, the calculation you want isn’t possible in a blog comment. Calculating energy balance, however, is and if the system is out of energy balance, we know that the entire system will gain energy. People have explained a number of times how this works and you refuse to consider it or accept it. You can’t expect people to continually explain things to you. If you don’t want to, or are unable to, understand what’s being said, that’s perfectly fine. I thought you were OUT though?

  134. Willard says:

    > You all HIDE FROM IT.

    The universe is conspiring against you, David.

    Good bye.

  135. Joshua says:

    Joseph –

    Good question. I guess it matters what you’re objectives are, but in general I would imagine that the best way to respond is to work with their attacker to try to distinguish positions from interests, and then work to identify common interests. Responding by arguing about facts won’t work if they’re interacting with someone who fundamentally distrust them. Counter-attacks don’t work, either, IMO.

    But in order to have any real progress, you have to find a way to put the discussion on a “good faith” footing. Scorched earth, zero sum game perspectives only bring positive results to the extent that you can assert your power over someone else. If you’re not engaging in such a context, and you’re engaging with someone who isn’t committed to good faith interaction, I don’t see any effective strategies.

    Ridley is a good example. His basic interest seems to be to use the science to fight an ideological battle (against those he attacks as being corrupt, biased, etc.). How could you engage someone like that in a discussion of the science? That is what Richard Betts is struggling with. Doesn’t seem to be working out so well. Maybe like the situation here with David, also. He seems more targeted towards identity politics than good faith exchange of views on the science (evidenced by his refusal to walk back his identity-aggression). In such a situation, you have to start getting at the identity-aggressive aspect, but you can’t do that when people aren’t willing to explore.

  136. Joshua says:

    Then again, Joseph –

    YOU CAN JUST TRY ALL CAPS!!!1!!! (seems to work for David).

  137. The right place to discuss decade old science with a large amount of existing literature is in the scientific literature. Someone not able to write a scientific article may want to tone down his critique and try to get a scientist of his ideological liking to jointly write an article.

  138. The right place to discuss decade old science with a large amount of existing literature is in the scientific literature.

    That may be difficult for active scientists as well. Getting even results that have some novelty published may be difficult, when most scientists classify the issue as “decade(s) old”.

    We have seen several cases where people starting without proper scientific education or contacts to scientific organizations develop real understanding and an ability to contribute to real science. At some point such people may finally publish papers in quality journals, but they reach that level only through a learning process. Various internet forums offer better opportunities for that than what was available before.

    It’s unavoidable that many more people try to do that, and also believe that they have reached a level of understanding comparable to good scientists, but that’s a feature of the democracy of the internet time.

  139. > The right place to discuss decade old science with a large amount of existing literature is in the scientific literature.

    There are other places, like one’s own scratchpad:

    http://troyca.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/combining-recent-instrumental-sensitivity-estimates-with-paleo-sensitivity-estimates/

    There are other kinds of form, like a wiki:

    http://www.azimuthproject.org/azimuth/show/HomePage

    There are other ways to get published too:

    http://arxiv.org/

    Of course, when one sees science as a boxing match instead of seeing it as a race, we get rounds of ClimateBall ™, semi-professionally like Matt does, or quasi-professionally, say like Judy’s:

    http://judithcurry.com/

  140. “That may be difficult for active scientists as well. Getting even results that have some novelty published may be difficult, when most scientists classify the issue as “decade(s) old”.”

    Pekka, well, this is not just decade old science. The promise was that all of AGW is wrong, not just “some novelty”. That is sufficient for publication, if it is right. And if you are right, the older the science is, the more honour there is for finding a fundamental mistake.

  141. Victor,
    I comment was based on your written comment, not on what you thought when you wrote it.

    I think, however, that it’s relevant for climate science as well, and also in cases, where the proposed ideas are nonsense. Such ideas should not be taken seriously, but the reason for that is not that they have not been published in reputable scientific journals (or even in less reputable journals).

  142. Whatever someone communicates is never just based on the words, but always also on the context. That was, for example, how you knew that I was writing to you and not some Pekka from Australia.

    The question is how do you determine what is nonsense. When something is not my field of study and something is old stuff, a very important guide for me is the scientific literature. Also because I do not believe in scientific conspiracy theories. If you have strong evidence, you will be able to publish it. If you cannot convince the experts that your evidence is strong, what is the use of trying to convince me as a non-expert? (I can only think of a political use.)

  143. Eli Rabett says:

    There are textbooks. even on line ones

  144. Pingback: Matt Ridley: Lukewarmer | …and Then There's Physics

  145. Pingback: Rude and touchy | …and Then There's Physics

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