Red Team vs Blue Team

Having some kind of Red Team exercise, to test and challenge the climate science consensus, seems to be gaining a small amount of momentum. Steve Koonin (who I have discussed before) has an article in the Wall Street Journal called A ‘Red Team’ exercise would strengthen climate science. Judith Curry, who brought the idea up during her testimony to Congress, seems to approve.

So, why isn’t this idea of there being some kind of adversarial challenge to mainstream climate science being embraced? Well, one reason is that this is kind of how science works all the time. People are constantly challenging our understanding so as to either improve, and strengthen it, to modify it, or – in some cases – to completely overthrow it. If a consensus has developed, it is quite likely that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to seriously challenge the fundamentals of the consensus position, even if many of the details are still not completely understood.

There are also already examples of this ‘Red Team’ kind of thing. Berkeley Earth was a recent attempt to re-analyse the surface temperature datasets and, guess what, it got basically the same answer as everyone else. The CLOUD experiment is looking at a possible link between cosmic rays and could formation. Although there is a link between cloud formation and cosmic rays, the effect is marginal. There have even been tests of the Iris Hypothesis and, again, even if there is an effect, it is probably small.

So, maybe those who think that this ‘Red Team’ idea is worth pursuing can actually explain what is being suggested.

  • Who would make up the team/teams? I don’t think that those who are publicly promoting this are really planning to get all that involved themselves. In fact, one of the strongest proponents of this idea has been involved in a Red Team project and – to date – appears to have achieved absolutely nothing. Are there lots of other researchers who are keen to be part of such a team? Would we try to force some to become part of such a team? I can’t see how the latter would work as researchers are normally free to decide what they’d like to pursue. If the former, who are these people?
  • How would this work be funded? The norm, whatever the funding source, is to write a proposal that lays out what work will be done, what the goals are, and what might be achieved. Given that this would be fundamental research, there isn’t a need to say – in advance – what the results would be, but some kind of justification for why it should be funded would normally be expected? Given the nature of the topic, I would imagine that anyone who could put together a half-decent ‘Red Team’ proposal would find someone to fund it, even if the normal funding routes were unlikely to be successful.
  • How would the programme be assessed? How would we decide if the ‘Red Team’ had successfully challenged the mainstream position? Who would decide this? The norm would simply be that the community would slowly accept those ideas that are supported by the evidence, and largely reject those that are not, but that’s the position we’re already in. What special process would we follow to determine if the ‘Red Team’ exercise had been successful, or not?

Given the above, my general impression is that those who are proposing this are not planning to get all that involved themselves, and have no idea who would make up the ‘Red Team’. They’re not actually planning to present any details of what they’re proposing; they would just like some of the funding to go to ‘Red Team’ projects (whatever those might be). Also, they have no real idea of how this would be assessed and – given past experience – I would fully expect them to propose a ‘Green Team’ if it appeared that the ‘Red Team’ was not having much success in challenging the mainstream position.

My impression is that this is simply an attempt to sow doubt, rather than a serious suggestion for some major new research projects – I’d be happy to be proven wrong, though. Since I would like to be helpful, where possible, where they could start is to at least provide some plan for how they might address Judith Curry’s non-attribution argument. All that would be needed, to start with, is just some ideas as to how one might test whether or not most of the observed warming could be natural. I shall not hold my breath waiting for these ideas to be presented.

Link:
Eli’s take on Koonin’s idea for a Team B.

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110 Responses to Red Team vs Blue Team

  1. There are also already examples of this ‘Red Team’ kind of thing.

    Also examples are all the times Roger Pielke Sr. has produced homework for his US colleagues, which was a huge waste of their time. I have no idea how they want to distinguish between Red Team members and scientists, but I sure hope they will do their own homework and let scientists do what they see as the most promising routes to bring science forward.

    There could be one exception. Funding is now spread looking at scientific merit. The short and buggy satellite upper air temperature series does not have much merit, but for the public US climate “debate” is would be good if several knowledgeable people invested serious time into improving it and computing the uncertainty in its trends. It should not just be a hobby project. Maybe such popular interest should also count for something in funding decisions.

  2. Phil says:

    Wasn’t this also a red v blue sort of thing ?

    Is there any requirement on the red team supporters to accept the result if the blue team wins ? I seem to recall some statements from Watts about Berkeley Earth …

  3. Morbeau says:

    So all that’s needed is a web site describing the various Red Team exercises already completed, with a to-do list of projects that can be assembled from existing data & personnel, and a commitment by willard to get it all done before the end of the year.

  4. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    =={ My impression is that this is simply an attempt to sow doubt, rather than a serious suggestion for some major new research projects }==

    I don’t think it is so binary. But even if it were, an intention to “sow doubt” seems like an unlikely explanation to me. I see it as a situation where people are seeking a way to validate their views, to leverage their sense of victimhood at the hands of the other (the institutions of science who don’t agree with them, segments of the public who don’t share their ideological orientation, etc.).

    The construct is the very picture of tribalism – “our team” and “their team.” The antipathy that Judith expresses in her advocacy for a red team/blue team process, (where she advocates to justify her opposition to certain policies, in her very special “non-policy advocate” sort of way), is evidence in itself of the identity-protective aggression that typically accompanies tribalism. Just one small example:

    If scientists are truly marching for SCIENCE (rather than for funding and political power), then they should celebrate the opportunity for a climate science Blue Team – Red Team exercise.

    So she impugns motive; determining through an argument from incredulity that no reasons others than those she assigns to people could explain why they might not agree with her about the benefits of an approach she advocates for.

    But the goal of tribalism doesn’t have to be to “sow” doubt.

    IMO, Judith and some others are leveraging doubt through advocating for a red team/blue team initiative. They can hide in the shade provided by the lack of such an existing program. “We can’t really know the answers until we have a red team/blue team approach.” It isn’t that their goal is to “sow” doubt, IMO, but to use doubt to protect their identity orientation.

    It’s rather like someone saying “I’m not a ‘denier,’ I can prove it because I am in favor of a massive rollout of nuclear” when that person aligns politically with those who argue against what would likely be required to enable a massive rollout of nuclear (centralization of policies and massive federal funding).

  5. Joshua,
    Sure, suggesting that it is simply an attempt to sow is probably too simple. They would probably be very pleased is serious funding were given to a ‘Red Team’, especially if it did turn something up. If it’s not, then they can continue to play victim. It’s almost a win-win (I guess a ‘Red Team” could unequivocally show that they’re wrong, but it’s probably complex enough that they could spin anything as a win of sorts). However, even if it isn’t explicitly an attempt to sow doubt, that is one of the consequences of such suggestions.

  6. Joshua says:

    =={ It’s almost a win-win }==

    I think it is definitely a win-win.

    (1) Advocate for a goal that is very unlikely to occur (an institutionalized red/blue team approach on climate change and other issues)

    (2) in an effort to reach a goal that could never be achieved (an elimination of doubt w/r/t the risk of ACO2 emissions), and

    (3) argue that we shouldn’t do anything unless those goals are reached. And top it off with:

    (4) create binary constructions to eliminate any alternatives (e.g., a hypothetical red team/blue team approach is the only viable choice because peer review has flaws and a theoretical red/blue team approach that doesn’t answer the questions you asked doesn’t have any flaws)

    It is foolproof. That is, IMO, the hallmark of “skepticism”: Stake out an position that doesn’t really require addressing opposing views or real world obstacles. With such a position, honest-to-god skepticism isn’t required.

  7. Joshua,
    Yes, I think your description pretty much nails it. It’s why I do think that it’s partly to sow doubt; they don’t really expect anything to happen and they almost certainly would not be involved if it did.

  8. Joshua says:

    That said, I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with advocating for more analysis.

    Sure, that in itself is also foolproof gambit. If you appose the advocacy for more analysis then you must be hiding something, you must be afraid of what more analysis would find, you are trying to hide or avoid uncertainty. By advocating for more analysis you can’t lose – even if that analysis isn’t logistically feasible.

    But in and of itself, more analysis is a good thing – unless you can show that it come at the direct expense of something else, resulting in a net loss. That is certainly hard to do with climate change.

  9. That said, I don’t think that there is anything inherently wrong with advocating for more analysis.

    Indeed, but one doesn’t need to propose an adversarial Red Team/Blue Team programme in order to do this.

  10. Joshua says:

    Andres –

    =={ It’s why I do think that it’s partly to sow doubt; they don’t really expect anything to happen }==

    I may be trying to tease out a distinction without a difference (the gap between intention to sow doubt and using doubt to support an identity orientation), but your statement there looks very similar to the motivation impugning/arguing from incredulity that Judith does.

    For me, the most plausible reason for why people argue the way that they do is an internal process. It isn’t so much that they are trying to achieve a goal w/r/t outcomes for other people (e.g., “I will argue X so other people will have doubt”) as it is an expression of their own “motivations.” They want to be right. They want to align with their group. They want to defend their identity. Of course there are exceptions, but IMO, assuming negative motives as opposed to self-affirming motives shouldn’t be the default.

  11. Joshua,
    All I was really meaning was that if the process is (as you suggest) advocate for something that probably won’t occur, for a goal that probably can’t be achieved, and argue we shouldn’t do anything until these (unobtainable goals are achieved) then an obvious side-effect is sowing doubt.

  12. Why? I think it’s a political trap, and it turns the climate outcome into a sports event. And it inherently implies per the pathetic Lindzen, that all the great work in JGR, JoC, and many non-geophysical fields is not to be trusted.

    If it were done in the manner serious corporate engineering organizations do this, the head would need to be from outside of government and probably outside the United States, and would be need to be seen EVERYONE as an expert and to be impartial. THEN they will pick the teams, also needing to be impartial. Think Columbia Accident Investugation Board and a comprehensive report, with recommendations, but no decision. In short, a repeat of the National Climate Assessment and of the IPCC.

    And WHO will they get to be experts who are familiar with anything than 10 year old data who are not present day climate scientists? They will be considered “not objective.”

    This is a crock. It’s an attempt to create an aura of respectability for Denial out of thin air. And it’s not how Science is done. You don’t rule on a whole field or thesis in Science. You do it piece by piece, calculation by calculation, experiment by experiment, observation by observation. There are no shortcuts.

    I haven’t read Eli’s piece on this yet and I look forward to it, and reserve changing my mind after doing so.

  13. JCH says:

    The PAWS spawned what is essentially a red versus blue team endeavor.

    Blue team said the Pacific did it, and that the PAWS would end and be followed by accelerated warming; red team said the Atlantic did it, and that the PAWS would last another decade or two.

    Blue team won.

  14. Willard says:

    > So all that’s needed is a web site describing the various Red Team exercises already completed, with a to-do list of projects that can be assembled from existing data & personnel, and a commitment by willard to get it all done before the end of the year.

    Good idea. Please bear in mind that contrary to most Red team members, I ain’t no emeritus.

    How much is 10% of the NAS budget, again?

  15. David B. Benson says:

    The current warming is due to humans burning fossil fuels: just note the C13/C12 ratio.

  16. JCH says:

    From Koonin’s recent WSJ editorial:

    The public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. At a recent national laboratory meeting, I observed more than 100 active government and university researchers challenge one another as they strove to separate human impacts from the climate’s natural variability. At issue were not nuances but fundamental aspects of our understanding, such as the apparent—and unexpected—slowing of global sea level rise over the past two decades.

    Does anybody know when and where this national laboratory meeting took place?

  17. Keith McClary says:

    Why don’t the skeptics debunk climate modelling by producing a physics-based model that doesn’t show warming? If you ask them they will say they can’t do that because they don’t believe in modelling.

  18. Marco says:

    JCH, it likely was the meeting at Los Alamos that Petr Chylek regularly organizes
    http://www.cvent.com/events/fourth-santa-fe-conference-on-global-regional-climate-change/event-summary-20f524fca4c247c0bf8df7a348608739.aspx

    No idea who gave Koonin the idea that sea level rise unexpectedly slowed in the past two decades.

  19. Marco,
    Thanks, I had wondered what he could be referring to. That makes sense.

  20. JCH says:

    Marco – thanks.

    In the claim, Dr. Koonin linked to this paper:

    Over the 23-year time series, it shows that GMSL has been rising at a rate of 3.3 ± 0.4 mm yr−1, but with notable inter-decadal variability. Our current best estimate of the rates during the rst (1993–2002) and second (2003– 2012) decades of the altimeter era are 3.5 and 2.7 mm yr−1, respectively, though important sources of uncertainty persist and raise caution regarding the record’s early years [dashed line, Fig. 1; also Fig. S1]. ere are several theories to explain this variability11,12, but here we present an additional explanation, with important implications for anticipated near-future acceleration.

    Dr. Koonin is a brilliant man; by comparison, I’m an imbecile. It took me about 20 seconds, using the tools at the AVISO website, to make a graph showing that the last 20 years of sea level are 3.31 mm/yr:

    And that, since Dr. Koonin seems to think 10-year trends are meaningful, the last 10 years is 4.17 mm/yr. Which is sort of what the Fasullo paper was suggesting might happen… the rate was about to start going up:

  21. Mitch says:

    Perhaps it would be worthwhile, as you and commenters above have pointed out, to show what tests have already been carried out, in essence the completed red/blue team efforts.

    As people have already mentioned, this can be the iris effect, gamma ray cloud effect, can an increase in solar insolation be found, stratospheric temperature change vs change in insolation or GHG concentration, etc. It would steer the argument back toward science.

  22. Eli Rabett says:

    The bunnies might cast their eyes back to the outcome of a recent IPCC report where the camel in the tent used, well let Eli be nice, an incorrect figure and a toasty selection of references to start an uproar. Assigning disinterest to that lot is not a way to get at the facts.

  23. Chris says:

    Mitch, a couple of examples. The first is interesting (the long, long period of flawed interpretation of MSU “temperature” data by Spencer and Christy) since at least one of those authors seems to be a “Red team” proponent):

    ONE:

    “Blue team” – models and theory support interpretation of warming troposphere in response to enhanced greenhouse forcing. “Red team” – no – the troposphere is not warming..in fact it’s cooling. The theory/models are wrong.

    Blue team were right/ Red team were wrong:

    Already in 1991 it was pointed out [1] that Spencer and Christy’s (S/C) analyses were inadequate to distinguish the cooling they were soon to assert from warming that would be consistent with surface measurements and models. It was repeatedly left to others to sort out the various messes in the analysis of MSU data: that the method of averaging different satellite records introduces a spurious cooling trend [2], that disregard of orbital decay introduced another spurious cooling trend [3]; that MSU-2 showed a spurious cooling trend due to spillover of stratospheric cooling into the tropospheric temperature signal [4], and later still that the diurnal correction applied by Spencer and Christy was of the wrong sign and gave yet another spurious cooling trend [5].

    [1] B.L. Gary and S. J. Keihm (1991) Microwave Sounding Units and Global Warming Science 251, 316 (1991)
    [2] J. W. Hurrell & .K E. Trenberth (1997) Spurious trends in satellite MSU temperatures from merging different satellite record. Nature 386, 164 – 167.
    [3] F. J. Wentz and M. Schabel (1998) Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower-tropospheric temperature trends. Nature 394, 661-664
    [4] Q. Fu et al. (2004) Contribution of stratospheric cooling to satellite-inferred tropospheric temperature trends Nature 429, 55-58.
    [5] C. A. Mears and F. J. Wentz (2005) The Effect of Diurnal Correction on Satellite-Derived Lower Tropospheric Temperature, Science 1548-1551.

    from [5] ““Once we realized that the diurnal correction being used by Christy and Spencer for the lower troposphere had the opposite sign from their correction for the middle troposphere sign, we knew that something was amiss. Clearly, the lower troposphere does not warm at night and cool in the middle of the day. We question why Christy and Spencer adopted an obviously wrong diurnal correction in the first place. They first implemented it in 1998 in response to Wentz and Schabel (1), which found a previous error in their methodology: neglecting the effects of orbit decay.”

    TWO:

    “Blue team” (James Hansen and Andrew Lacis) – theory, models and early measurements indicate that enhanced greenhouse forcing will result in increased water vapour content in the upper troposphere contributing a positive feedback to the primary (CO2-induced) warming. “Red team” (Richard Lindzen). No – the models, theory and measurements are wrong. Greenhouse forcing with enhanced moist convection will result in drying of the upper troposphere and thus induce a negative feedback. [see letters from Hansen and Lacis, and Lindzen in Nature 349, 467 (1991)

    Blue team were right/Red team were wrong (lots and lots of direct measures of upper troposphere moistening in response to enhanced greenhouse warming).

  24. Michael 2 says:

    Joshua says: “Stake out an position that doesn’t really require addressing opposing views or real world obstacles. With such a position, honest-to-god skepticism isn’t required.”

    Staking out a position is not skepticism, it is advocacy.

    At some risk of triggering the No True Scotsman fallacy, as I use the work “skeptic” he hasn’t staked out a position, rather he is less convinced about a position that you staked out.

  25. Michael 2 says: “Staking out a position is not skepticism, it is advocacy.

    If you want to create a Blue Team and a Red Team, you have to stake out a position. How else to know who goes into which team? That is indeed advocacy. First taking a position and then trying to defend it is the opposite of what science should do. In science you go where the evidence leads you. The new Blue and Red “scientific method” harms science.

  26. My position is that e=mc^2.”

    Is that advocacy? Surely not. It’s a statement of my beliefs.

    My position is that science has established that e=mc^2.”

    Again, is that advocacy? Hardly.

    My position is that since e=mc^2 we should teach that e=mc^2.”

    Advocacy? Yes, indirectly. The advocacy here is to teach science (educational policy) based on accepted facts.

    Claiming that staking out a position is advocacy seems ill-thought. The consequences of the position may lead to policy choices and that’s where advocacy comes in – not simply in taking a position.

    I was born and raised a Green Bay Packer fan and while I remember the first two Super Bowls, the next quarter century of Packers football was purgatory if not hell. I used to tell people, “I’m a Packers fan, I just don’t advertise the fact.” I.e., I have a position – I just don’t proseltyze/advocate it.

  27. Joshua says:

    M2 –

    I have no problem with advocacy. In fact, I think that advocacy is very important.

    We’re all advocates, and most of the posturing I see about the harms of advocacy strikes me as rather conspicuous. Moral outrage generally seems to me to be ultimately self-serving.

    So I don’t think that advocacy and “skepticism” are mutually exclusive. IMO, what is important about skepticism, and what differentiates skepticism from “skepticism” is a good faith engagement and an openness to self-examination. That is also, IMO, what differentiates good advocacy from poor advocacy.

    =={ I use the work “skeptic” he hasn’t staked out a position, rather he is less convinced about a position that you staked out. }==

    I’m not sure in the real world that such a distinction exists. If you are less than convinced about my position then effectively, IMO, you have staked out a position.

  28. Joshua,
    You might like this video of Steve Koonin being interviewed by the WSJ. He mentions (at about 2:20) a time that Gavin Schmidt responded to a question about James Hansen by saying “Everybody’s got an agenda”. Koonin then goes on to basically suggest that he is from an era when scientists were taught to not have agendas.

    http://www.wsj.com/video/opinion-journal-how-government-twists-climate-statistics/80027CBC-2C36-4930-AB0B-9C3344B6E199.html

  29. Joshua says:

    Victor –

    =={ First taking a position and then trying to defend it is the opposite of what science should do. }==

    You’re a scientist, I’m not.

    But I think that taking a position and investigating its validity is one valid form of science. Another is to enter into an investigation with no conception of where it might go and then following where it might lead. And I don’t know that either form exists in some pure state.

    Both forms can be corrupted by bias. One the one hand, “fooling yourself” about the validity of your position, and on the other hand “fooling yourself” about the blankness of your conceptualization as you begin your investigation.

  30. Joshua says:

    Andres –

    =={ Schmidt responded to a question about James Hansen by saying “Everybody’s got an agenda”. Koonin then goes on to basically suggest that he is from an era when scientists were taught to not have agendas. }==

    Exactly.

  31. Joshua says:

    M2 –

    Do you think there is a difference between saying “I am skeptical about your position” and saying that “I am not convinced that your position is correct,” or even “I have some reservations about your position.”

    I think there might be.

    But even more, relative to the climate wars, identifying as a “skeptic” seems rather like a red flag to me. Describing oneself in such a way signals a statement of identity. I have reservations about people who identify themselves in that manner – as it seems to me to be aimed at drawing a distinction between themselves and “others” (e.g., “alarmists.”). It seems aimed at elevating their own reasoning as being a better brand than the reasoning of people who disagree with them on the topic of how much risk is posed by ACO2 emissions.

    You might say I am skeptical about people self-identifying as “skeptics.”

    And by that, I mean that I have a position about that; my position being that usually such a self-identification is conspicuous…self-serving.

  32. Michael 2 says:

    “In 2001, Hitchens testified in opposition before the body of the Washington Archdiocese that was considering the cause of Mother Teresa’s sainthood. He described his role as that of the traditional devil’s advocate charged with casting doubt on the candidate’s sanctity.”
    [https]://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Missionary_Position:_Mother_Teresa_in_Theory_and_Practice

    The point of this is the necessity of having the most vigorous opposition reasonably possible to challenge and sharpen a belief.

    I use a diamond stone to sharpen a knife. The knife is sharpened in opposition!

    Muscles are strengthened by opposition.

    So are ideas.

  33. angech says:

    identifying as a “skeptic” seems rather like a red flag to me.
    There are red teams and red flags.
    The red flag in this and many other similar discussions is the complete negativity and putting down of a skeptical position in any way that it takes.

  34. Phil says:

    Koonin then goes on to basically suggest that he is from an era when scientists were taught to not have agendas.

    What happens when, as an agendaless scientist, your research establishes that one policy action is dangerous and another is not. And then, at the ballot box, the populace vote for the politician who will enact the dangerous policy. Some scientists may be born with agendas, some achieve agendas, but some have agendas thrust upon them (apologies to W.Shakespeare)

  35. John Hartz says:

    Skeptical Scince has been conducting “Red Team/Blue Team” exercises since its inception. Ditto for many other science-based blogs.

  36. Willard says:

    Teh Koonin almost rediscovered the whole Contrarian Matrix:

  37. John Hartz says:

    When you strip away all of the rhetoric, the Red Team proposal seems more like a full employment act for climate science deniers than anything else.

  38. John Hartz says:

    Seems to me that BEST was a Red Team exercise, We all know how that turned out.

  39. John Hartz says:

    Another glaring example of why time is not on our side…

    From record-breaking heat waves to catastrophic floods, extreme weather events these days tend to quickly inspire the same question: Is climate change the culprit?

    The answer is never simple. It’s almost impossible to blame any individual climate or weather event entirely on global warming, when there are so many complex physical factors that may cause them. But scientists are getting better and better at figuring out to what extent climate change may have increased the probability or the severity of any given event.

    Now, a group of scientists have extended this field of research to a global scale. In a new study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they’ve analyzed the influence of global warming on extreme climate events, such as record-breaking temperatures or rainfall, all over the world. And they’ve found that climate change has had a substantial effect.

    The study suggests that anthropogenic global warming, as it has advanced, has had a significant hand in the temperatures seen during the hottest month and on the hottest day on record throughout much of the world. It finds that climate change substantially increased the likelihood of these record warm events occurring in the first place, and also made them more severe than they otherwise would have been, in more than 80 percent of the observed world.

    “This suggests that the world isn’t yet at a place where every single record-setting hot event has a human fingerprint, but we are getting close to that point,” said Noah Diffenbaugh, a climate scientist at Stanford University and lead author of the new paper. “Greater than 80 percent of those record hot events is a substantial fraction.”

    Record-breaking climate events all over the world are being shaped by global warming, scientists find by Chelsea Harvey, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Apr 24, 2017

    We simply cannot afford to have legitimate climate scientists engaed in game playing to satisfy the whims of the Lamar Smith’s of the world.

  40. Magma says:

    Are Koonin, Curry, Pielke et al. actually claiming scientists don’t challenge other researchers’ hypotheses, observations and conclusions? Or that the field isn’t open for them (or anyone) to offer countering hypotheses and ideas, or collect new data or reanalyze existing data?

    If I was a suspicious type I might think that this was a defensive stratagem by those who have already tried the usual methods, failed, and are now trying to change the game.

  41. Joshua says: ”
    =={ First taking a position and then trying to defend it is the opposite of what science should do. }==

    But I think that taking a position and investigating its validity is one valid form of science. Another is to enter into an investigation with no conception of where it might go and then following where it might lead. And I don’t know that either form exists in some pure state.”

    People say that to explain that you cannot arrive at the hypothesis by just observing or just logic, you have to make a creative step and propose a hypothesis.

    But you should not take that position because it is the one of the group you are assigned to. You should not keep on defending it once you see problems because that is the group position. If the evidence does not fit to the hypothesis you should be open to changing it. I do not mind people being stubborn (it is mostly counter-productive, but sometimes useful, sometimes the old evidence was worth something and the new evidence turns out to be weaker than originally thought), but please do not be stubborn because some political group assigned you to a tribe to root for.

  42. Michael 2: “I use a diamond stone to sharpen a knife. The knife is sharpened in opposition! Muscles are strengthened by opposition. So are ideas.

    Good scientists do most of the sharpening themselves. It is not so much the peer review that makes the scientific literature better than WUWT & Co., it is scientists that are genuinely interested in understanding reality and in measuring themselves with their peers and also knowing you have to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s to pass the review.

    The second part of the sharpening is the scientific community. Science is not the military, it is more like a market with many producers, many Red Teams. Do explain why we need a different scientific method for this specific case than the method that has produced all the scientific progress up to now.

    Do explain why the mitigation sceptical movement does not lead by example and tests its own positions with a Red Team approach. Why waste other people’s time? How about testing the question whether the Earth is warming? Or whether the greenhouse effect exists?

  43. Joshua says:

    Magma –

    =={ Are Koonin, Curry, Pielke et al. actually claiming scientists don’t challenge other researchers’ hypotheses, observations and conclusions? Or that the field isn’t open for them (or anyone) to offer countering hypotheses and ideas, or collect new data or reanalyze existing data? }==

    I wouldn’t know about Steve and Roger (jr.?), but I am quite sure that Judith thinks that many, many scientists don’t challenge others’ research and don’t acknowledge legitimate challenges to their own research, and certainly that many, many in the field of climate science aren’t open to countering hypotheses and ideas, etc.

    She attributes such behaviors to “group think,” protection against the threat of loss of research funding, the desire to promote career advancement, motivated reasoning, political advocacy, etc.

    Many, many scientists, in her view, act in those ways for those reasons.

    What’s interesting is that she seems to only feel that way about people who don’t agree with her about the risks posed by ACO2 emissions.

    ‘prolly just coincidence.

  44. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema writes (referring to my metaphor of sharpening a knife) “Good scientists do most of the sharpening themselves.”

    I wish I could certify myself or give myself advanced degrees from my own university.

    I take your meaning, I think, and you honor me with your comment. A scientist ought not to wait to be challenged, but anticipate challenge and conduct research in a manner that it easily withstands challenge. So it is with many professions. However, the virtue or value or portability of self-assessment is weak.

    “Do explain why we need a different scientific method for this specific case than the method that has produced all the scientific progress up to now.”

    Rather a lot of climate science is of necessity not reproducible (certain tests *are* reproducible, but not “climate science”) nor is there a “control Earth” so a controlled experiment is not likely. You already have a different scientific method and it is called modelling

    “Do explain why the mitigation sceptical movement does not lead by example and tests its own positions with a Red Team approach.”

    Skeptics do not have a movement. Opposition has movement but not skeptic. I have noticed a peculiar inability to distinguish these very different things. Skeptics simply do not believe but are also not actively opposing. A few people ARE opposing for various reasons. They might form a movement and if they do then it would be proper for them to be tested.

    “How about testing the question whether the Earth is warming?”

    The concept is absurd. The Earth does not have a temperature. It has a vast range of temperatures. Any particular average of samples will produce a number, an index; which will vary. So long as the sampling method is invariant over time the change in index may be meaningful.

    “Or whether the greenhouse effect exists?”

    Clearly it does or it would not be so named. Actually testing it in situ is not so easy, but not probably impossible. Demonstrations are fairly easy and within the grasp of citizens using infrared remote reading thermometers or just experience the huge day/night temperature variation in a desert versus more humid climates.

  45. Michael 2 says:

    Joshua asks: “M2 – Do you think there is a difference between saying ‘I am skeptical about your position’ and saying that ‘I am not convinced that your position is correct’, or even ‘I have some reservations about your position’.”

    To me this are synonymous BUT the later expressions are more nuanced and precise, especially with “some reservations”. For instance, the whole thing is not binary. I can easily believe most of the scientific claims as they are not directly tied to policy or even vast sums of money. The long climate history of the Vostok ice cores are my usual example of such a thing. They seem to be believed by pretty much everyone and are exceptionally valuable. Furthermore, the ice cores still exist and presumably persons with suitable credentials can take tiny samples and verify the accuracy of the research so far.

    As to “skeptic”, well, that word has so many meanings that unqualified it hardly means anything in particular.

    “But even more, relative to the climate wars, identifying as a “skeptic” seems rather like a red flag to me.”

    In the context of politics and blogging, it likely is a virtue signal or dog whistle. I tend to use the word as a verb, that is, “I am skeptical of ___” or “I am skeptical that this produces that”, narrowly target on a specific claim. In that context it means “I am unconvinced but neither do I reject it; needs more study and maybe the door is open for more information that would resolve my conviction.”

    But using it as a noun is improper. A skeptic is not a thing to BE. It’s like atheist. It is not supposed to be a thing to BE; you cannot BE an atheist because it is an object with no properties of its own.

    So a skeptic in this context is identical to an agnostic, or even a “weak” atheist in religion. A “strong” atheist, on the other hand, is to religion as your climate opponents are in climate mitigation efforts.

  46. Michael 2 says:

    Joshua writes: “If you are less than convinced about my position then effectively, IMO, you have staked out a position.”

    I applaud the rest of your comment; it is well stated and hardly needs additional commentary.

    As to staking out a position, I am more or less an “INTP” on the MBTI. One of the hallmarks of that type is considerable caution “staking out a position”. It is usually a character defect but very good in investigations that benefit from a lack of preconception and leaping to conclusions. What I study is what position YOU have staked out and WHY. The “why” is most important. It answers the question, “What have I missed?”

  47. russellseitz says:

    =={ Schmidt responded to a question about James Hansen by saying “Everybody’s got an agenda”. Koonin then goes on to basically suggest that he is from an era when scientists were taught to not have agendas. }==

    Steve sadly seems to have left the disinterested view behind, while hanging on to some of that era’s idea of state of the art climate science.

    In fairness, Gavin appeared equally dismayed on encountering Mike Crichton’s high school debating style back in the eighties.

    Climateball now includes courtroom dramatics.

  48. Ken Fabian says:

    A highly publicised bottom up review of climate science, in an accessible to the public format seems reasonable. What isn’t reasonable is that it be done by people chosen specifically for their proven determination to disbelieve the validity of mainstream science.

    If it is done it should be done by some organisation with the highest possible standing as well as impeccable standards – ie organisations like the Royal Society or US National Academy of Sciences. The public standing of science is under threat as much as climate stability is through the gratuitous misrepresentation and slander of science and scientists; due to the seriousness of that the leading science organisations need to step up – more than they already have.

    What probably won’t work is a documentary series that is done by a partisan politician or a regular documentary maker. The conclusions should be solid, peer reviewed publications as well as presented in video format with best use of modern capabilities for providing compelling – and accurate – representations of complex climate processes.

    I’ve made this suggestion before – that such organisations be asked to do such a review, and do so in collaboration with leading documentary makers, in order to make the processes as well as the conclusions accessible to the general public and policy makers.

    I would like to see some background on the organisations, their history and achievements, as well as introduce the team chosen for the task; the fact that scientists are human is probably worth emphasising. Showing the process, from team selection through to the methods they use would be worthwhile to demystify as much as possible.

    Is this a reasonable proposal? If so should it be done by petition or are there channels such requests should be made through? I’m Australian so I’m not sure it would be right for non UK citizens for example to ask such a thing of The Royal Society. And if I start such a petition, would people support it – both in helping draft the request as well as signing it? (I’ve avoided Facebook, but social media might be one means of gaining publicity and support).

  49. Ken,
    I think a lot of that has already been done. There’s the IPCC, which produces quite an accessible summary. A lot of the Scientific Academies also produce good summaries. Here is the Royal Society. In fact, it looks like the NAS collaborated with the Royal Society on that. This is why, in my view, this whole Red Team/Blue Team thing is mainly a con; a lot of what they’re asking for has either already been done, or there are reasons why we can’t really do it.

  50. Steven Mosher says:

    I’d welcome a focused complete red team attack on my work.
    Bring it. One complete document of every objection. Numbered paragrapH’s please.

  51. Ken Fabian says:

    And Then There’s Physics –
    I know these organisations have done good things and no criticism is intended but I think it needs the kind of quality video production presentation that IPCC or National Academies haven’t done or been expected to do. It needs the watchability of the best video presentations to engage widely enough which is why I suggest a collaboration on the presentation side and promoted widely. I do think we need it to be more in the nature of a critical, sceptical review by a mix of people with appropriate skill sets who are and aren’t climate scientists.

    I think it’s time to re-establish a clear authoritative voice for science on climate change. It will take an extraordinary effort to have the reach needed and that should include a look at how the conclusions got reached – in a format with maximum reach. I would hope the result would become a well known enough a benchmark that political policy makers wcould be measure against it. Given the early stages of The Transition are not leading inexorably to the economic alarmist’s predicted doom, the potential to push past the political reluctance to fully commit looks fundamentally better than ever despite the political successes of leaders espousing denial or obstruction; that political obstructionism isn’t going to change the emerging energy economics but that new economics could could change the politics.

  52. Ken,
    Yes, I largley agree. I think we do need more people to speak out and for there to be more and more resources that help people to understand the science. However, I do think that countering the misinformation is a very difficult, and time-consuming, task.

  53. angech says:

    John Hartz comment piqued my interest
    “a new study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they’ve analyzed the influence of global warming on extreme climate events, such as record-breaking temperatures or rainfall, all over the world. And they’ve found that climate change has had a substantial effect.”

    Despite the tautology involved in saying that in studying the effects of A they found that A has the effects they studied.

    The issue here of extreme events is on how they are defined and how often they are occurring. Extreme events happen all the time, somewhere. Records are broken somewhere every day. Some records are not even mentioned because while extreme they are bland. 4 weeks extra Summer in Florida this year, never happened before but is it important.
    Extreme events need a comparator in place for overall occurrence rates.
    Secondly better reporting causes more events to seem to occur when there has really been no change. A non weather example would be increased reporting of an illness once a readily available cheap medical test comes out. Illness rate is the same as before but now it can be observed properly.
    I fail to see how any one severe extreme weather event could be linked conclusively to climate change. Hence all attempts to do so on a case by case basis should not have support here, but sadly these messages are still being put out when we know they are wrong at this time and with the knowledge we currently have.

  54. angech,

    I fail to see how any one severe extreme weather event could be linked conclusively to climate change.

    Well, I don’t think they did single events. If you read their abstract, it says

    We find that historical global warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest monthly and daily events at more than 80% of the observed area and has increased the probability of the driest and wettest events at approximately half of the observed area.

    However, I think we are starting to be able to assess the contribution of AGW to individual events. If you can link an event to something that we can attribute to AGW (such as sea level rise, or surface temperatures increases) then you can determine how AGW influenced the likelihood of such an event and how it might have influenced its intensity.

  55. We find that historical global warming has increased the severity and probability of the hottest monthly and daily events

    But is this correct?

    For the stations that have reported consistently and persistently for more than a century, there has not been an increase of hot days or months. For the US, there has been a decrease of hot days and months over the last 120 years. The set of such stations is of limited area ( some Europe, Japan, and Australia with the large majority being in the US ). So there is uncertainty.

    However, there is reason to believe that a decrease in extreme temperatures should not only have occurred, but should continue. Manabe and Wetherald (Figure 7b) found that global warming from increased CO2 would lead to a decrease of temperature variability, and indeed, multiple papers have found observational support that temperature variability has decreased. MW attributed decreased variability to 1.) ice albedo feedback and 2.) increased latent heat of water vapor.

    Since ice albedo feedback and increased water vapor are the major AGW feedbacks, it indicates this nice counter-intuitive: as global warming increases, extreme heat decreases.

  56. izen says:

    As number of posters have noted, most people involved or observing science think it already HAS blue and red teams. That the scientific method, and practise, is an adversarial field in which hypothesis compete to become theories and reality is the Natural selector.

    The suggestion that climate science needs a blue team – red team setup carries with it the clear assumption that the scientific method is NOT working in this field. As Joshua note Curry and others clearly consider that 97% of climate research is the product of group think, job/funding protection and politically motivated reasoning. That outside science, political ideology has created a toxic subject which is shaped to suit a radical political goal. This is not considered to be an accidental corruption of the science, but an intentional plan by a central conspiring mind. Either Soros, Maurice Strong or the Bavarian Illuminati.

    The idea that ‘red teams’ specially selected and funded independently from the 97% of climate researchers who have reached the mainstream conclusion are needed, assumes A Prior that the field is corrupted and only by excluding the mainstream opinion can this Lysenkoist error be corrected.

    The solution proposed, red teams, is to a ‘problem’ that no effort has been made to show actually exists. Science sometimes makes discoveries that are politically or economically inconvenient. (Tobbacco, CFCs, SOx, DDT, Pb…) But that does not mean those discoveries are shaped by the political implications. Although it is notable that in each case the few scientists that were opposed to the mainstream science (often the same people!) have all indicated a willingness (Lindzen, Soon, Christy, Happer) to shape their science to match their underlying ideology. Or at least that of their funders.
    Perhaps they assume all scientists in the field are as ‘flexible’ as they have been.

  57. John Hartz says:

    More breaking news for the “Time is not on our side” file…

    Global sea level rise could happen at nearly twice the rate previously projected by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, even under the best scenario, according to a new report.

    By the end of this century, as some glaciers disappear completely, the Arctic’s contribution to global sea level rise will reach at least 19 to 25 centimeters, according to the report by the Arctic Council’s Arctic Monitoring Assessment Program (AMAP).

    Factoring those numbers into projections about other sources of sea level rise results in a minimum of 52 centimeters of sea level rise by 2100 under a best-case scenario and 74 centimeters under business as usual. “These estimates are almost double the minimum estimates made by the IPCC in 2013,” the authors wrote.

    The report, called “Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic 2017,” takes a comprehensive look at the changes already underway in the Arctic, as well as what’s in store. It was one of a handful of reports examining climate change in the Arctic and its effect on communities there that were released by AMAP in advance of this week’s International Conference on Arctic Science and the Arctic Council ministerial in May, when the U.S. will hand off the Council chairmanship to Finland.

    Extreme Arctic Melt Is Raising Sea Level Rise Threat; New Estimate Nearly Twice IPCC’s by Sabrina Shankman, InsideClimate News, Apr 25, 2017

    To force the proposed “Red Team/Blue Team” exercise on the scientific community at this time would be a traversety becasue of the huge oppportunity costs that would be generated.

  58. Joshua says:

    M2 –

    =={ To me this are synonymous BUT the later expressions are more nuanced and precise, especially with “some reservations”. }==

    My thinking is that there is a spectrum that ranges between at one end, now knowing how you feel about a position someone puts forth, to at the other end disbelieving that position.

    Along that range, I would consider “having questions” at the “not knowing” end of the spectrum, “dubious” somewhere in the middle, and “skeptical” (without quotes, actually) at the “disbelieving” end of the spectrum.

    Obviously, pinpointing the connotation of each descriptor isn’t a precise exercise, but after doing a bit of Googling I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one who generally sees the connotations as I just described.

    And IMO, this goes back to one of the systemic problems in the climate wars, that some self-described “skeptics” present themselves as “just asking questions” (because of a concern about uncertainty), whereas in reality they are “disbelievers” who don’t account for reconciling their disbelief with a need for sufficient scientific evidence on which to formulate a belief, In other words, as I see it the evidentiary bar is lower for “not knowing” than it is for “disbelieving” yet many “skeptics” skate by, by conflating “not knowing” with “skepticism.” It’s just another one of the ways that some “skeptics” set things up so that they can never be wrong (the antithesis of honest-to-god skepticism).

    Hope that makes some sense.

  59. TE,

    But is this correct?

    I don’t know, but they’re suggesting that it’s their result. However, I was simply pointing out that the paper is not – AFAICT – trying to do attribution for individual events.

    You’re also going to have to start providing better support for your claims. Manabe & Wetherald is a paper from 1980. Anything else to support your claim that

    as global warming increases, extreme heat decreases.

    Bear in mind, that the frequency of extreme events can change because of a change in the variability about the mean, as well as through a change in the mean.

  60. Joshua says:

    M2 –

    =={ For instance, the whole thing is not binary. I can easily believe most of the scientific claims as they are not directly tied to policy or even vast sums of money. }==

    Indeed. The kind of polarization we see around the issue of “consensus” with regard to climate change is an outlier. For most issues, the public gladly seeks out and follows “consensus” of “expert” views. It’s pretty much the standard heuristic for most people to formulate beliefs on complex issues when they don’t have the skills or knowledge to evaluate the issue for themselves.
    But some issues get overlaid onto cultural, psychological, and/or ideological identifications, and as such, the pathway for belief formation becomes much more complicated.

    =={ As to “skeptic”, well, that word has so many meanings that unqualified it hardly means anything in particular. }==

    Agreed.

    =={ So a skeptic in this context is identical to an agnostic, or even a “weak” atheist in religion. A “strong” atheist, on the other hand, is to religion as your climate opponents are in climate mitigation efforts. }==

    Don’t think I agree. I see many “skeptics” as being akin to strong atheists (operating on a strong disbelief) as opposed to an agnostic. Although, the vagueness of the term is an important caveat. For example, my view would more likely apply to on-line climate blog fanatics than to Joe Blow “skeptic” who doesn’t spend much time on the subject but just knows that the whole AGW thingy is a librul hoax.

  61. John Hartz says:

    Joshua: The Climate Science Denial Spin Machine’s goal is not to ultimately win the “climate war.” Rather it is to keep the war going indefinitely so that fossil fuel interests can continue to rake in profits for as many years as possible. The proposed “Red Team/Blue Team” games are merely the latest tactic to be added to this ongoing propaganda campaign.

  62. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Since the folks who propose these “Red Team versus Blue Team” exercises seem to follow Groucho Marx’s dictum of not wanting to belong to any Red Team that would have them as a member, I have taken the liberty of writing up the requisite job posting…

    RED TEAM CLIMATE-SCIENCE DECONSTRUCTIONIST required, position open until filled:

    – Do you like to do other people’s science homework?
    – Do you think blogs are where all the good science is at?
    – Are you an alarmist when it comes to divesting from fossil fuels, but totally NOT an alarmist concerning the dawning of the anthropocene epoch?
    – Can you find blindingly obvious errors in peer-reviewed science that everyone else in the world has somehow missed? Using only thought-experiments?
    – Do you like to mention your personal approval of Feynman? And personal disapproval of Lysenko?
    – Are you still waiting for the Nobel prize committee to notice you?
    – Are you still waiting for the Nobel prize committee to revoke Al Gore’s completely undeserved Nobel prize?
    – Do you adhere to claims that have been corrected by others, or that have been disconfirmed by actual experiments?
    – Do you advocate against advocacy in science?
    – Can you argue for contradictory claims – such as for low climate sensitivity and high climate sensitivity – in a single blog-post?
    – Do you believe that we are on the very cusp a huge paradigm shift, and that your work could ‘put it over the top’?
    – Have you attempted to publish in peer-reviewed journals, and failed – – because: consensus police?
    – Have you attempted to publish in peer-reviewed journals, and succeeded, only to be criticized (unfairly, of course, and with Bad Words) by your peers?
    – Do you still appreciate Richard Tol’s valiant, and nearly gremlin-free, fight against the 97 percent?
    – Is there snow in your back yard?
    – Are you the next Viscount Monckton of Brenchley?

    This position is open to all those qualified for wingnut welfare. However, in accordance with federal law, preference will be given to U.S. Republicans with pedophilia-free criminal records and Dominionist views of God’s purpose.

    Send your CV to Lamar at Trump.com.

  63. Bear in mind, that the frequency of extreme events can change because of a change in the variability about the mean, as well as through a change in the mean.

    Right. The nature of a decline of extreme high temperature events would depend upon the extent of decrease in variability with respect to an increase in mean.

    If the variability decrease is small wrt mean increase, then, assuming a Gaussian distribution, there is a small decrease in the most extreme events ( say 6 sigma ), but an increase in lesser events ( say 3 sigma ).

    If the variability decrease is large wrt mean increase, then there is a more pronounced decrease of lesser extreme events. This bears watching.

  64. TE,
    In other words, you don’t really have anything to support your claim that

    as global warming increases, extreme heat decreases.

  65. TE,
    A guest post by you on Climate Etc. That’s your evidence?

  66. Chapter 10 of the IPCC AR5 WGI report (page 910) says

    Relatively warm seasonal mean temperatures (e.g., those that have a recurrence once in 10 years) have seen a rapid increase in frequency for many regions worldwide (Jones et al., 2008; Stott et al., 2011; Hansen et al., 2012) and an increase in the occurrence frequencies of unusually warm seasonal and annual mean temperatures has been attributed in part to human influence (Stott et al., 2011; Christidis et al., 2012a, 2012b).

    A large amount of evidence supports changes in daily data based temperature extreme indices consistent with warming,

  67. BBD says:

    Seneviratne et al. (2014)

    Observational data show a continued increase of hot extremes over land during the so-called global warming hiatus. This tendency is greater for the most extreme events and thus more relevant for impacts than changes in global mean temperature.

  68. Marco says:

    As usual, the US is the world…

  69. BBD says:

    Except when the world is the top of the GrIS 🙂

  70. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    A guest post by you on Climate Etc. That’s your evidence?

    It’s turbulent eddies all the way down.

    Pielkes be proud.

  71. Willard says:

    > Despite the tautology involved in saying that in studying the effects of A they found that A has the effects they studied

    So every time scientists find no significant effect they are refuting tautologies, Doc?

    Science’s better than I thought.

    Speaking of science:

    Sometimes docs say the darnednest things.

  72. Michael 2 says:

    John Hartz says: “Rather it is to keep the war going indefinitely so that fossil fuel interests can continue to rake in profits for as many years as possible.”

    Interestingly, that is the exact argument Lindzen makes for the continuation of fear based government granting of climate research.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/climate-science-is-it-currently-designed-to-answer-questions/16330

    From the abstract: “The institutional factor has many components. One is the inordinate growth of administration in universities and the consequent increase in importance of grant overhead. This leads to an emphasis on large programs that never end.”

  73. Michael 2 says:

    Addendum: By “exact” I mean the existence of a desire to prolong this “war”; it is beneficial to many people whose employment depends on NOT solving this thing that may actually be a problem but is not demonstrably a problem that can be solved with some windmills and a carbon tax.

  74. verytallguy says:

    It’s turbulent eddies all the way down.

    I fear they’ve been parameterised.

    The linearised model is here:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com

  75. John Hartz says:

    Michael 2: Your wrote:

    Interestingly, that is the exact argument Lindzen makes for the continuation of fear based government granting of climate research.

    Yet another example of Lindzen spreading poppycock to benefit his patrons in the fossil fuel industry.

  76. A guest post by you on Climate Etc. That’s your evidence?

    The data, of course, are the evidence.

  77. TE,

    The data, of course, are the evidence.

    Not necessarily. You need to be confident that what the data actually represents and that it has been properly analysed, etc. Peer-review is a step in that direction. Ideally, other people will do similar analysis and get a similar result.

  78. BBD says:

    The data, of course, are the evidence.

    The US is about 2% of the Earth’s surface area, TE.

  79. JCH says:

    The USA Great Depression highs likely have a one-time anthropogenic component. One of them was a weather station just a few miles from father’s ranch, 120 F, and nobody farmed 1930s style ever again.

  80. Windchaser says:

    Turbulent Eddie here:

    For the US, there has been a decrease of hot days and months over the last 120 years.

    Turbulent Eddie on climate etc.:

    What doesn’t this analysis mean?

    This also does not indicate a trend of decreasing hot days. The past variance (standard deviation 70% of the mean occurrence of hot days) is high and could impose a variety of trends.

    Hmmm. Aren’t those two directly contradictory?

  81. Willard says:

    > I fear they’ve been parameterised.

    The parameter “validation tests should properly be conducted on forecasts from evidence-based forecasting procedures” has been added to Level 1 of the Contrarian Matrix:

    https://contrarianmatrix.wordpress.com/no-best-practices/

  82. Windchaser says:

    (emphasis mine)

  83. Windchaser, thanks for reading.
    I was trying not to overstate the case.
    There was a decrease from the first half to the second half of the record.
    But the year to year variability remains large.

  84. verytallguy says:

    This Red Team business does seem to be rather more problematic in practice than in theory.

    https://moyhu.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/gwpf-international-temperature-data.html

    I propose a red team to examine the hypothesis that red team proposals are cynical headline generating bullshit, and they are designed to sow doubt rather than being a sincere attempt to improve science.

  85. Windchaser says:

    There was a decrease from the first half to the second half of the record.

    But not a statistically significant decrease, no?

    Was it even close to statistically significant?

  86. angech says:

    BBD says: “The US is about 2% of the Earth’s surface area, TE.”
    A bit harsh BBD.
    To recap the US is mainly land data.
    The US has an enormous amount of current and historical stations to collect data with reasonable (not great accuracy).
    It is the best and most complete data set of at least 6% of the land surface, a factor of 3 bigger than what you wish to imply.
    Furthermore large areas, Antarctica, Most of Australia, large chunks of the rest of the world are sparsely habited and even more rarely recorded,moving the Us data up to 15% at least of the usable land data, which puts its significance up a lot higher.
    Your cursory dismissal of TE’s data is, as said, a little harsh.
    Red v Blue I feel you should accept the validity of the data set as a good point for the red team.
    Thanks.

  87. Michael: “Rather a lot of climate science is of necessity not reproducible (certain tests *are* reproducible, but not “climate science”) nor is there a “control Earth” so a controlled experiment is not likely. You already have a different scientific method and it is called modelling

    There are many sciences that are not experimental. The local example would be astronomy. Reproducibility is mostly important for empirical sciences with little theoretical basis/constraints, like medicine and nutrition.

    All sciences do modelling. If you are thinking of dynamical models, that is still a large number of sciences. The local example would be planetary science.

    Michael: “Skeptics do not have a movement. Opposition has movement but not skeptic. I have noticed a peculiar inability to distinguish these very different things. Skeptics simply do not believe but are also not actively opposing. A few people ARE opposing for various reasons. They might form a movement and if they do then it would be proper for them to be tested.

    The political movement against mitigation calling themselves “sceptics” are not sceptics. The real skeptics want to have nothing to do with your movement.

    Not actively opposing? Not starting blogs? Not cheering for mitigation sceptic Trump? Not cheering for science budget cuts? Not immediately knowing that every negative climate science claim is automatically right? Not admitting it was wrong when the evidence comes in?

    Some people in your movement do accept that the Earth is warming. Thus feel free to set up a Red Team and a Blue Team to debate this question. Let’s see if this new scientific method works.

  88. Ken Fabian says:

    And Then There’s Physics @ 10:10 am –

    Is a high profile National Academies/Royal Societyled review of the science, in video documentary format a crap idea or am I not articulating it well enough? A bit of both perhaps.

    Thanks for responding, but I note that yours has been the only response – and, whilst not critical, it’s not enthusiastic either. I just don’t see anyone or any other organisations with sufficient standing to take up this challenge; letting the deniers choose and run a high profile “Red Team” will entrench the “uncertain” claim in the public mind and the stakes… have they ever been higher?

  89. Ken,
    If I seem reticent it might be because we seem to put more and more pressure on organisations to try and address all the misinformation and I’m well aware of how difficult it can be. I’m certainly in favour of them trying, but am maybe reluctant to be too criticial if it doesn’t seem to be effective.

  90. BBD says:

    angech

    Your cursory dismissal of TE’s data is, as said, a little harsh.

    No it wasn’t. See Windchaser on statistical significance. And try to be more *sceptical* and less eager to believe anything that feeds your biases.

  91. angech says:

    BBD says: angech Your cursory dismissal of TE’s data is, as said, a little harsh.”No it wasn’t”
    I disagree.
    My comment was directed to your observation that the data presented was of to small an amount to be significant “The US is about 2% of the Earth’s surface area, TE.”
    I pointed out that that data in fact was a large percentage of the available land data that we have.
    In fact if we take TE’s observation in his article,
    “but the land area covered by consistent measurement is quite limited (on the order of 10%)”
    You can adjust that percentage to to 20% for the land area of the earth that we do measure and with a feat of extrapolation that would mean that almost 60% of weather data we rely on, a very statistical amount of the station, not satellite, weather data we rely on, comes from the US land observations.
    Your comment is, if not a little harsh, not considerate of these circumstances.
    Windchaser’s comment is pertinent to an entirely different issue.

  92. angech,

    Windchaser’s comment is pertinent to an entirely different issue.

    How? He was pointing out that TE’s claim that there has been an observed decreased in the incidence of extremely hot days (in the USA) is probably not statistically significant.

  93. BBD says:

    angech

    So far we’ve got a misrepresentation of the US as representative of global conditions which it is not by any manner of means and a misrepresentation of the actual US data as showing something which they do not.

    Perhaps now would be a good moment to let this drop.

  94. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema writes “The real skeptics want to have nothing to do with your movement.”

    As I mentioned, there’s an interesting inability for your team to discern a difference between opposition and skepticism. My movements take place on a water closet. That’s about it for my movement.

    “Not actively opposing?”

    Exactly. Can you spot my opposition?

    “Not starting blogs?”

    As you can see.

    “Not cheering for mitigation sceptic Trump?”

    Well, okay, a bit of a lukewarm approval. Postpone the train wreck a few years.

    “Not cheering for science budget cuts?”

    Not a single cheer. However, I applaud a man that recognizes the money is GONE and cannot keep spending! Besides, why spend money on “settled science”? It is another peculiar inability of your team to recognize and acknowledge that money does not come from government, it comes from ME (and millions more citizens most of whom probably have urgent financial needs more pressing than some of these publicly funded science projects, mating habits of moths for instance). A bit more appreciation for the taxpayers that keep you afloat would be nice.

    “Not immediately knowing that every negative climate science claim is automatically right?”

    Uh, maybe. I do not immediately know that any claim by anyone is automatically right.

    “Not admitting it was wrong when the evidence comes in?”

    I am extremely cautious to make proclamations so as to avoid this outcome. But if it happens then I adjust my thinking. I do not admit this since you are not my judge and it is not an accusation.

    “Some people in your movement do accept that the Earth is warming.”

    I do not have a movement. I have noticed over my lifetime that climate changes on varying scales.

    “Thus feel free to set up a Red Team and a Blue Team to debate this question.”

    And here we are doing just that 🙂

    “Let’s see if this new scientific method works.”

    It is a political method.

  95. izen says:

    @-Ken Fabian
    “Is a high profile National Academies/Royal Societyled review of the science, in video documentary format a crap idea or am I not articulating it well enough? A bit of both perhaps.”

    You articulated it very well.
    But I think it is a crap idea, so refrained from commenting on it as its intentions were worthy!

    All the scientific authoritative bodies have already passed judgement on the science with public statements. That was in response to the doubts expressed, but has had little effect on the continued promotion of doubt about the integrity of the science.

    The proposal that science needs a ‘Red Team’ is not appeased by a legitimate group carrying out a neutral investigation. It is predicated on the conviction that the science is wrong and only an adversarial investigation can remedy this. Any high profile National Academies/Royal Societyled review of the science would be viewed as a component of the group-think concensus and rejected as a credible authority UNLESS it first acknowledges that the science of global warming is a inherently fraudulent enterprise.

    The whole idea of needing red teams is rooted in the belief that climate science is all a political agenda masquerading as science. Merely having more scientists claiming it isn’t will do nothing to change this dogma.

  96. izen says:

    @-BBD
    “… and a misrepresentation of the actual US data as showing something which they do not.
    Perhaps now would be a good moment to let this drop.”

    Or point out that while the recent rising trend of record hot days in the US may be statistically uncertain, the falling trend in record cold days is not.

  97. Michael 2, I see your movement opposing. The reaction of WUWT to new science depends on whether it can be spun into an argument for doing nothing. That, and maybe some hatred toward prominent climate scientists, can predict their response very well. The quality of the study/arguments are not a good predictor.

    I agree that the new Red Team Blue Team scientific method is a political method. That is also suggested by the names of the teams. I would prefer to stick to the traditional scientific methods.

  98. Michael 2 says:

    Victor Venema “Michael 2, I see your movement opposing.”

    No; you do not.

    “The reaction of WUWT to new science…”

    Is interesting but not particularly relevant to me. I make note of WUWT, I make note of ATTP. Beyond those two I seldom visit climate blogs. Because of the antipathy of ATTP and WUWT they are each quick to observe flaws in the other. So this red team, blue team thing already exists, has existed for many years.

    “I would prefer to stick to the traditional scientific methods.”

    The traditional method is to make observations, and from that, hypothesize what create that which is observed, and then test the hypothesis. I doubt that the traditional scientific method allows for (much less demands) modifying data prior to analysis.

    In your particular case right now, you have leaped to a conclusion that I am a movement. From what observations do you develop that theory?

  99. Ken Fabian says:

    Izen –

    Yet communication remains as crucial as ever – more so than ever as the window of opportunity to pre-empt the worst case scenarios gets shrinks. That Academies of Sciences/Royal Society have sought to address the misinformation is clear and laudable. I’ve read a lot of those reports but I had to seek them out; their existence may have gotten brief mentions in mainstream media but they passed most people by.

    It is quality video documentary presentation that would take it beyond what such organisations have done to date and give the widest possible reach. I think there is a lot of trust in those organisations – potentially more with some promotion – and I think there is a lot of public interest in the subject, much of it not firmly tied to either the mainstream scientific view or the dogma of denial; all efforts should be made and I don’t think, given what is at stake, that it is too much to ask more of the world’s leading scientific institutions. I don’t expect climate science denial to end but every effort to diminish it’s credibility that can be taken should be taken.

    The best medium for widest communication has not been well used to date in my opinion; that’s not so much a criticism of what has been done but a desperate plea to not give up and to try again using a different approach. The way it’s presented is what I’m talking about here – the science, with open eyes, stands on it’s own merits but the format it comes packaged in lacks the broad reach needed. I think it would be great to look over the shoulders of a team (of people who have relevant expertise – the video format allows us to see scientists as people) applying scientific scepticism in a methodical way, testing assumptions, methods and conclusions. In some areas – the more technical ones – it is even possible to arrange a degree of “blind” checking of physics, mathematics, statistics by outside experts.

    Does anyone have any better suggestions?

  100. angech says:

    “TE, A guest post by you on Climate Etc. That’s your evidence?”
    He presented “The average number of 100°F days in the USHCN data set from Christy, 2016 testimony to Congress.The raw daily USHCN data are available at the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC).
    (GHCN) data is also available from NCDC (CONUS) summer precipitation data.
    That is evidence.
    ” Windchaser’s comment is pertinent to an entirely different issue. How? ”
    BBD was using Windchaser’s comment in regard to an entirely different issue, that of the statistical significance of 2%. “‘The US is about 2% of the Earth’s surface area,” It had no bearing, relevance or pertinence to that issue.
    Further,
    “He was pointing out that TE’s claim that there has been an observed decreased in the incidence of extremely hot days (in the USA) is probably not statistically significant.”.
    True.
    While not statistically significant it is statistically evident that the claim was true.
    With all the usual caveats, for the single time period he quoted and the stations he quoted [of Christy] etc.
    This is where we should accept the evidence and work with it, not try to belittle it. The context and meaning is what we should be discussing.
    When people attack Christy’s data and methods rather than discussing it, we are attacking science.

  101. John Hartz says:

    Ken Fabian:

    The website Climate State is cranking out about one new video per day. Here’s one of its most recent releases…

    The Story of Climate Change (April 2017), Climate State, YouTube Video, Apr 20, 2017

    The problem isn’t the lack of videos. Rather, it is getting the average person to take the time to watch them.

    The climate scince deniers are, by and large, unreachable and unteachable regrdless of communication method used.

  102. BBD says:

    angech

    BBD was using Windchaser’s comment in regard to an entirely different issue, that of the statistical significance of 2%. “‘The US is about 2% of the Earth’s surface area,” It had no bearing, relevance or pertinence to that issue.

    No I wasn’t. Please do not misrepresent me.

    Windchaser pointed out, I agreed and ATTP concurred that TE’s claim about trends in hot days was based on nothing. Let’s recap ATTP:

    How? He [BBD] was pointing out that TE’s claim that there has been an observed decreased in the incidence of extremely hot days (in the USA) is probably not statistically significant.

    As Steven would say, read harder.

  103. Ken Fabian says:

    John Hartz –

    I think you are missing the elements that would make this different: highest quality video production (think BBC Natural History Unit) that is intended for prime time broadcast and greatest possible audience reach in combination with the imprimatur of the most prestigious and respected science institutions, fully linked to more traditional science publication. To be made and released with as much fanfare as can be generated.

    It would not be primarily aimed at an audience of hardcore climate science deniers but aimed at the greater body of people, most of whom are not strongly aligned but, by the polling I’ve seen, are broadly accepting of mainstream science. It would not need to be entirely charitable – successful documentaries earn income for the producers – although I would hope any profits on the science institution side would go back into promotion of science.

  104. Steven Mosher says:

    Post modernist?
    I think you may have misread a bad book about “it”.
    But no. Good try though.
    Definitely not post modernist but unlike you I actually did
    Read the primary texts.

  105. Steven Mosher says:

    “The traditional method is to make observations, and from that, hypothesize what create that which is observed, and then test the hypothesis. I doubt that the traditional scientific method allows for (much less demands) modifying data prior to analysis.”

    That is an idealization…not an observation.. of how scientists actually work. Simple example. People used to debate whether the speed of light was finite or infinite. . Then folks decided to measure. It also misses those aspects of science that are pure discovery… hey look what I found.. dna!!

    Science is a whole collection of human behaviors aimed at understanding and sometimes prediction. If you are scientific about your claims about what science is you’d be well advised to start by actually observing what people do..and you’d be well advised not to generalize from a restricted class of your observations.

  106. Steven Mosher says:

    “Not necessarily. You need to be confident that what the data actually represents and that it has been properly analysed, etc. Peer-review is a step in that direction. Ideally, other people will do similar analysis and get a similar result.”

    TE like most wannabe hasn’t even seen fit to post his code and data. When he does he has a claim that is fit to discuss.

  107. My post on the proposed new Red-Team scientific method and its build in tribalism.
    http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2017/04/red-team-blue-team-curry-christy-koonin.html

  108. Windchaser says:

    Windchaser pointed out, I agreed and ATTP concurred that TE’s claim about trends in hot days was based on nothing.

    What’s more, it was TurbulentEddie who said that his work wasn’t statistically significant, and who directly contradicted himself about whether we could say there was a trend or not.

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