The Only Way Not To Lose Is to Play

(Guest article by Michael Tobis; opinions are mt’s only)

There’s a lot of talk about a “red team” critique of climate science from the quarters that have aligned themselves as critics of the mainstream. This has recently been taken up by the secretary of the US Department of Energy, Rick Perry, so suddenly the idea has legs.

All too often, extraordinarily harsh criticisms are aimed at physical climatology, a field which is much maligned and, partly as a consequence, woefully underestimated.

Look, the earth is many things, but one of the things it is is a physical object in space with physical properties. As such it is well-observed and extremely interesting. Admittedly, it’s also very complex, but there’s no fundamental reason that physical science would fail to grapple with the earth as an object. And it hasn’t.

The knowledge of the earth, as an object that responds dynamically to the physical laws governing its properties, is deep and rich and admirable. It’s not the fault of the science that it has a result of consequence to deliver.

In fact, were it not for climate disruption (a.k.a. “global warming”) there’s a good case to be made that climatology would be taking over from physics as queen of the sciences in the computational era.

While there’s a sound foundation for climatology that (barely) predates the computational science era (essentially the basics of physical climatology were codified in a 1967 monograph by Ed Lorenz) it’s the progress that has been made since the first successful general circulation models that makes the field so exemplary of modern, computationally driven science.

All of this is buried under all the ridiculous noise. Climate disruption is a problem, and there are those who seek to obscure that fact for selfish reasons. So they malign the science, even though the core of it is a triumph that should be celebrated.

I’m not under any misapprehension that the impetus for the “red team” isn’t very much under the influence of this malice. The revulsion of the climate community (“we’ve been red-teaming each other for decades!”) is therefore understandable.

I’d like to advocate that we resist this visceral response and embrace this as an opportunity.

First, there’s an obvious disadvantage to eschewing the effort. And second, there’s an advantage to participating in it. In a subsequent essay I will propose a specific strategy. For now, I’ll just explain why I think we should play.

(via Peter Jacobs on Twitter)

Let’s make no mistake about whom to expect on the “Red Team” as implemented by the current US administration: the usual hacks whom the Republicans call to testify before congress, i.e., people of modest competence whose claims happen to align with what Republicans want to hear. (It’s a career strategy after all – whether this is a matter of conscious hypocrisy or incompetence or some complex combination of the two is a matter of relative indifference. The point is that these people don’t constitute a credible red team).

Rejecting this plan out of hand, however, has the very severe disadvantage that it can be used as evidence for the most extreme claims about climate science – explicitly that we argue from authority and have no significant evidence behind our claims; implicitly that we have no substantive science at all and exist only to advance an agenda.

Standoffishness on our part results in an immediate win for our most  irresponsible opponents. It looks as if we can’t bear criticism, even if what we are having trouble bearing is stubbornly obstinate irresponsible attacks.

Embracing the red team idea requires that we insist on fairness.

We must make a case that if the “red team” is constituted by people we consider hacks, we should have as much opportunity to critique them as they do us. What we need is some impartial, scientifically competent referees, or else an intellectually uncommitted, scientifically competent red team. If the “red team” is the likes of Curry, Christy, Happer etc., they’ll be doing the usual thing – presenting an incompetent muddle as a reasonable alternative to a mature science. They may honestly not know better, but the scientific community does, and we need some way to objectively make that case.

Or, we could be happy with a conventional red team, where people of extraordinary competence and no axe to grind were brought in to revisit the evidence.

As long as we could ensure participation by somebody other than the usual NIPCC gang, whether as the red team or as adjudicators of the exercise, we could make lemonade out of these lemons.

Of course, we aren’t really talking about science, but about politics hiding behind science’s skirt.

As Gavin Schmidt points out:

(via Gavin Schmidt on Twitter)

I don’t suppose there is a final victory over the forces of denial in prospect.

But I think we can hardly do worse than boycott this exercise. What’s more, I suspect we can do even better than to merely defang this effort and make yet another mainstream report.

I suggest we can frame this in a way that the truth can’t really lose at all.

The short version is this: why can’t they build a decent climate model with low sensitivity? If they could, that would be a real red team effort, not just a bunch of posturing hacks. If they can’t, well then, there is no meaningful red team critique possible.

I’ll expand on this in another essay soon.

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157 Responses to The Only Way Not To Lose Is to Play

  1. MT,
    Thanks for the post. I’ll have to think about this a bit more, but I suspect that you’re right that boycotting it would be very counterproductive and just allow people to claim that climate scientists are not capable of actually defending their scientific positions. The alternative is to find a way of engaging that strengthens the scientific position, in the sense of this leading to it being clear that the mainstream position is clearly robust. I suspect, however, that this may be harder than it seems, but am more than willing to be convinced otherwise.

  2. Willard says:

    My main beef against Red teams is the word “Red” – isn’t the team supposed to be a bunch of Freedom Fighters?

    Me second beef is more of a question – which Red team?

    The Red team doesn’t have any bench.

    Soon contrarians will need AI to perpetuate the lines of their matrix.

  3. “But I think we can hardly do worse than boycott this exercise.”

    At least if the rules are fair. If the rules are not fair we can ask the Trumpian climate-hoaxers why they fear fair rules so much.

    For example the exercise should be on paper, like science. You need time to read the referenced articles, discuss the arguments, crunch the data, …. Especially in this case where one can expect a lot of fake data.

    “I’ll expand on this in another essay soon.”

    I already did so this weekend: The Trump administration proposes a new scientific method just for climate studies

    But in politics it is good when multiple people speak and this exercise is pure politicizion and politics.

  4. Magma says:

    If the “red team” is the likes of Curry, Christy, Happer etc., they’ll be doing the usual thing – presenting an incompetent muddle as a reasonable alternative to a mature science. They may honestly not know better, but the scientific community does, and we need some way to objectively make that case.

    There’s a cool bit of intellectual disembowelment in there, to be sure.

    But getting back to, shall we say, Red Team Alpha, where exactly would one find scientists “of extraordinary competence” who are willing to spend the time revisiting mountains of evidence and basic physics in order to come to a conclusion that subject matter experts from a wide variety of fields reached long ago? It seems to me that anyone of sufficient stature would have better things to do with their time and abilities, especially if the exercise is driven by the Trump Administration and its gang of chiselers and inept misfits.

  5. Magma: “where exactly would one find scientists “of extraordinary competence” who are willing to spend the time ”

    In The Netherlands there was a similar exercise called Climate Dialogue. (Depending on where the Trump regime wants to take this. The details are unclear and very important.)
    http://www.climatedialogue.org/

    It wasn’t easy, but they were able to find people. Had they proposed the topic of the quality of climate data, I had offered to participate.

    You also do not need much competence. Some average researcher like me is more than enough. It is so much easier to defend reality than to hold up a card house mirage.

  6. Willard says:

    We have a candidate for the Red bench:

    Not sure they’d want him.

  7. I am very doubtful that anything good will come of this. People yell and scream about things which are far less entwined with people’s lifelihoods and lifestyles. That’s J. L. Norwood, “Politics and federal statistics”, Statistics and Public Policy, 3(1), 2016, 1-8.

  8. jacksmith4tx says:

    You want to win this war? Let’s make this a red-white-blue team. The White team will be the most powerful A.I. system that our science and technology is able to assemble. The White team should allow international participation. We are talking about the whole planet after all.
    Victory will not come cheep and we will need a huge budget to complete the project.
    No doubt there will be huge follow on benefits of having a climate A.I. system online. Weather forecasting, agriculture, resource management… the list is long and could be worth billions.

    “Science is a thought process, technology will change reality.”

  9. Bob Loblaw says:

    The truth will win? How long did it take to win against idealism during the McCarthy Era? Any delay is a win for the fossil fuel apologists. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a climatologist?”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism

  10. mt says:

    I admit it would be remarkable if anything good came of this, but I don’t think that means we shouldn’t make the attempt.

  11. David B. Benson says:

    Jack Smith, above, has a good suggestion. IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence could easily ‘read’ all the papers in physical climatology, including paleoclimatology. Then would stand ready to answer questions about the entire literature.

  12. Steven Mosher says:

    I agree with mt. I’d go further, I think including as many clowns as possible on the red team would be a great thing

  13. JCH says:

    Ringling Bros. is selling three rings and a big tent.

  14. Steven Mosher says:

    I would say the Red team should include prominant skeptics, deniers, the whole lot.
    Imagine a Red team consisting of Curry and Heller or Sky Dragons and Christy.
    And throw in some citizen scientists.. Angech! Turbukent Eddie.

    I’ve seen what results when you try to get a broad spectrum of skeptics in a room for 3 days.

    Watch for example what happens on WUWT when Willis, Leif, and the solar nuts go at it.

    Give them a year to write up their best. Imagine the peace and quiet on the web.
    Imagine the anticipation for their final report.

    Dont fight it, build up expectations, include every crank you can find.

  15. Michael, I am doubtful about the possibilities of a positive outcome with your approach. Mind you, I think this red-blue team idea is a lose-lose proposition, which is likely exactly why Pruitt, Perry, and the others want it.

    “I’m not under any misapprehension that the impetus for the “red team” isn’t very much under the influence of this malice. The revulsion of the climate community (“we’ve been red-teaming each other for decades!”) is therefore understandable.”

    I agree. And so they will likely appoint the usual suspects to their side. (BTW, who gets to determine who is on either side?) They will make this exercise very public to show how wonderful they are in allowing the science to ‘be public.’ Remember that all the red team has to do is sow doubt, uncertainty, and fear. They can do that with all their usual approaches: advance bogus theories that have been shot down repeatedly (the sun, cosmic rays, other natural causes), question certainties (Curry will take the lead on this), Gish Gallop, engage in sophistry, and so on.

    The red team will try to poke holes in all the mainstream science. Again, they don’t have to succeed at this, they only need to suggest there are questions and lots of unknowns. They will likely not be honest, use tired critiques, and so on … and they won’t care. Again: FUD is all that is necessary. They just need to make it look like there is still a debate about AGW and its impacts. Then Team Pruitt has won and can claim it’s too early to make any decisions: we need more science.

    “What we need is some impartial, scientifically competent referees, or else an intellectually uncommitted, scientifically competent red team. If the “red team” is the likes of Curry, Christy, Happer etc., they’ll be doing the usual thing – presenting an incompetent muddle as a reasonable alternative to a mature science. They may honestly not know better, but the scientific community does, and we need some way to objectively make that case.”

    Okay, IF you can get an impartial, competent referee or team of refs, then this could have a chance. But how do you do this? It is rather likely that Pruitt will want Curry, Christy, Happer, et al. on their team. How will you get those team members to agree to a referee that the blue team will agree on?

    “Or, we could be happy with a conventional red team, where people of extraordinary competence and no axe to grind were brought in to revisit the evidence.”

    Do you really think team Pruitt wants this? And, as Magma says above, “…where exactly would one find scientists “of extraordinary competence” who are willing to spend the time revisiting mountains of evidence and basic physics in order to come to a conclusion that subject matter experts from a wide variety of fields reached long ago?” I rather doubt the BEST folks would want to sign on, but perhaps I’m wrong.

    “The short version is this: why can’t they build a decent climate model with low sensitivity? If they could, that would be a real red team effort, not just a bunch of posturing hacks. If they can’t, well then, there is no meaningful red team critique possible.”

    But the critique doesn’t need to be meaningful. It just needs to sow FUD in the minds of team Pruitt and the public. The longer the debate goes on—and the red team can get things repeatedly muddled up—the more it looks like ‘the science isn’t settled.’ Win for Pruitt.

    But I’m looking forward to your proposal and keeping my mind open to what could be possible.

  16. jacksmith4tx says:

    David B. Benson,
    We all know this is fantasy under Trump. In 4-8 years there won’t be any funded climate science left.

    One critical feature of the A.I. system is it would be available to all the stake holders. There are multiple modes/behaviors available:
    Watson mode: expert historian, data librarian.
    Learning mode with neural networks that can span multiple knowledge domains (geology/biology/chemistry).

    But maybe some group of nations will eventually do this like the Hadron collider project. The US can’t stop science so the leadership will emerge somewhere else.

  17. Joshua says:

    =={ Rejecting this plan out of hand, however, has the very severe disadvantage that it can be used as evidence for the most extreme claims about climate science –…

    […]

    Standoffishness on our part results in an immediate win for our most irresponsible opponents.

    […]

    But I think we can hardly do worse than boycott this exercise. . }==

    I feel s if you and I have been watching different exchanges taking place.

    Anything you do will be taken as evidence of the most extreme claims made against climate science. We have seen this happen countless times.

    Anything you do so be seen as an immediate win. The core of being a “skeptic” is that you don’t lose. Ever. You allways win. By definition. When have you EVER seen any “skeptic” acknowledge a “loss?” That’s like asking a Trump supporter for an example of when he didn’t “win.”

    I agree that you can hardly do worse. But neither can you do any better.

  18. Jeff Harvey says:

    The trouble with Michael’s proposal is exactly what Gavin Schmidt said. Deniers views aren’t rooted in science but in promoting s mutant form of capitalism called neoliberalism. Science has already spoken very loudly. The red team lost the scientific debate two decades ago. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt.

    What needs to be done is to further expose how their distortions and lies are not rooted in science. For the umpteenth time, this is NOT a scientific debate but a street fight.and must be treated as such. Does the scientific community pay attention to those promoting flat Earth theories? Should we convene scientific panels to debate the validity of evolutionary theory? Of course not. And it would be an utter waste of time now putting together a scientific blue team to take on a bunch of dinosaurian shills on the corporate payroll.

    If there is to be a debate, it must be based on elucidating the potential impacts of AGW on the natural and material economies and to discuss solutions. The cause of warming has been proven. That is poses a serious threat to humanity if we pursue a business-as-usual agenda is acknowledged. The debate now must focus on solutions. We have little time left to procrastinate.

  19. toby52 says:

    Jefferson: “Truth is great and will prevail if left to herself, … unless by human interposition disarmed of her natural weapons, free argument & debate … ”
    Why do free market consevatives think the truth needs state aid, and only in the US? Do not “skeptics” get enough private assistance from plutocrats & think tanks?
    If it does need state assistance, then it should come from the NAS, along the lines of the North report on the Hockey Stick, another of many forgotten Red Team exercises.

  20. Marco says:

    “Dont fight it, build up expectations, include every crank you can find.”

    Slight problem: I don’t think ‘we’ have any say on who should be on the Red Team.

    Slight opportunity: the Blue Team could complain loudly if the Red Team does not include the most crankiest of cranks – or perhaps stir a bit in the pot of cranks and get them to complain.

  21. toby52 says:

    Professors always delegate the dirtiest jobs to postgrads or postdocs, and I would like to see the Blue Team delegated to bright, snarky post docs who will go for the jugular. A bunfight defaults to the status quo ante and no one is worse off.

  22. toby,
    As a corrollary to that, my impression is that most of those who promote the idea of a Red Team (Curry, Happer, Koonin, Pielke,…) have no great interest in actually doing any work. See The International Temperature Review Project. So, if they filled both teams with bright, snark postdocs and graduate students, then I suspect something would be achieved. It might not, however, be what those who are promoting this idea actually want.

  23. Fergus Brown says:

    Being British, I’ve always been inclined towards being polite and reasonable. Being a bit older and wiser these days, I have become increasingly convinced that this particular game is less a noble sport, and more like cage-fighting.
    So; anything goes. Gloves off, sharpen knees and elbows, hit hard and dirty, fast and foul if needed, and go on the offensive. Stop being nice about/to people who further the skeptic agenda through their supposed authority and call them out for dishonesty, lack of moral or scientific integrity, self-promotion or, rarely, their genuine stupidity.
    When people played dirty in a rugby game (oh, the years of youth), the best response was to give them a taste of their own medicine. Famously, one international player once aid that sometimes it was necessary to get your retribution in first. If the Dork Side wants to cheat, cut the BS and go for the jugular.
    The time for patience is gone.

  24. Steven Mosher says:

    “Being British, I’ve always been inclined towards being polite and reasonable. Being a bit older and wiser these days, I have become increasingly convinced that this particular game is less a noble sport, and more like cage-fighting”

    Ya think?

    On the internet it is, because internet.

  25. Steven Mosher says:

    “Slight problem: I don’t think ‘we’ have any say on who should be on the Red Team.

    Slight opportunity: the Blue Team could complain loudly if the Red Team does not include the most crankiest of cranks – or perhaps stir a bit in the pot of cranks and get them to complain.”

    Oh I imagine that there should be a congressional hearing on this which would be a great time
    to call witnesses and ask questions and make requests. Imagine the fun down the road doing FOIA on the red teams emails and meeting notes ect. Red Team should of course have open records.

    I’d much rather be here 3 months from now saying “Hey we asked Pruit in front of Congress to let some real skeptics on the red team” guess he thought they were morons. we demanded that Judith be on it and she declined, etc etc.

    The one thing you want to fight is some kind of “live” debate which is just theatre. demand rigor from the Red team and demand they include all manner of clowns from the outsider viewpoint.

    My sense is these efforts ( hints from inside GWPF) often break down because the red team cannot agree on an agenda.

    The bottom line is this. You have to know already that anything they could do would be dreadful hackery. There is Perhaps One issue worth red teaming. That is the attribution issue.
    There is a chance for some improved clarity in the debate. I dont think they will be smart enough to contain themselves to a single issue and encouraging them to include clowns is insurance.

  26. dikranmarsupial says:

    I don’t think the “red team” needs to actually win the debate to serve the policy aims of those calling for it. All they need to do is provide a series of soundbites that can be presented as scoring valid points to an audience that doesn’t know enough science to identify them as BS and generally predisposed towards those policy aims from the outset (very few of us actually want restrictions on our lifestyles, largely for the benefit of those living far away in space and/or in time).

    It is nice of them to implicitly reinforce the 97% meme by not being able to easily provide numerous candidates for the red team though ;o)

  27. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Imagine the fun down the road doing FOIA on the red teams emails and meeting notes ect. “

    no thanks, their best scientific arguments being eviscerated by cogent scientific counter-arguments would be much more satisfying, especially if they were unable to claim that they were harassed/impeded by FOIA requests. IMHO, of course.

  28. I agree with Fergus in principle, but I think it’s an example of how often these can be lose-lose situations. If you’re polite and patient, you simply waste your time. If you’re blunt and call out people’s dishonesty, you’re the science police, or you’re not behaving according to academic norms. In this Red-Team/Blue-Team scenario, we could engage positively and end up giving too much credence to flawed “skeptic” arguments, or we could disengage and be accused of behaving just as “skeptics” claim; we’re appealing to authority and are unable to defend our argument in a public forum.

    I think MT is probably right that we do have to engage, but should do so with our eyes open and try to be aware of how things could go wrong and how we could end up being used. This is almost certainly not an honest attempt to clarify the science.

  29. Marco says:

    I am still very much all over the place with my thoughts on this. Mosher reminds us of the GWPF – that evaluation of the surface temperature record is a good example of a supposed “Red Team” excercise that went, uhm, nowhere.

  30. Nick says:

    Terrible idea. It’s lose/lose. Lose by showing up in the same room as liars. Like Trump’s inquiry in to voter ‘fraud’….
    Simply designed for obfuscation and to give the gloss of credibility to a position known to have none. Won’t change any minds, will just waste time. See BEST: reasonable people, while knowing it wasn’t needed, see the value in that exercise, while the unreasonable just walked away and blank it out.
    Demand, as Victor suggests, to do it all on paper, and Red Team promoters will retreat as visibility value will fall, propaganda utility drops. That’s the best outcome available, if that played out.

  31. angech says:

    dikranmarsupial says:
    “I don’t think the “red team” needs to actually win the debate to serve the policy aims of those calling for it. All they need to do is provide a series of soundbites that can be presented as scoring valid points”
    Very well put and the one drawback.
    Steven Mosher says:
    “I would say the Red team should include prominant skeptics, deniers, the whole lot.
    Imagine a Red team consisting of Curry and Heller or Sky Dragons and Christy.
    And throw in some citizen scientists.! Turbulent Eddie.”
    I would add Rud, the auditor and the chiefio and drop the sky dragons but doubt citizens qualify in this exercise.
    Wise words that agree with MT.
    Liked the further bit about getting a bunch of skeptics together and trying to agree.
    People just do not get your Sun Tzu except for Willard.

    Swings and roundabouts come to mind, people like Gavin pushed the idea of not engaging with skeptics so hard for so long it has now got up enough momentum to come back and bite him and others.
    One of those laws of physics about equal and opposite reactions.
    People do not like to see injustice even in the name of justice.

  32. mt says:

    I think it is necessary not to capitulate to a format where hacks are on the attack and real scientists are on the defense. I’d be astonished if that weren’t what is intended. But that of course isn’t a real red team exercise. One could as easily set up a “red team” to claim anything; harmless tobacco, young earth creationism, flat earth, holocaust denial…

    I am not suggesting we take what is on offer. If anyone credible is invited to the blue team, they should show up, but they shouldn’t roll over for an unfair process. If it’s a fair process, that would be a good thing, which is my point. If it’s an unfair process, I think good people who don’t shy from controversy should show up for it and say exactly that.

    If the process is unfair, there will be hacks on the red team. Let the playing field be even, then. Let them defend the foolishness they’ve already claimed.

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  34. Magma says:

    @ mt & ATTP

    One option, already suggested by some here, is to insist that any hypothetical Red Team be inclusive and representative of a wide range of ‘skeptical’ positions — even the contradictory ones. It should also be of a minimum size and stature, with members agreeing to commit to a full one, two or three-year term (however long the exercise is), with agreed-on deliverables such as a publishable report signed off on by a majority of the team. It should also be responsible for more than the nitpicking of minor details (recall the fuss over the Himalaya glaciers typo of AR4), but should concentrate on substantive issues related to the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change.

    Me? I would be interested in new looks at the feedback role(s) of clouds in a warming world (nighttime & daytime, high & low altitude, summer & winter, polar, mid-latitude & tropical, etc.), how global ocean circulation may change with polar amplification, or why after 25 years we haven’t tightened up the uncertainty range of ECS (were early researchers just that good?). But even these are not foundational pillars of GHG-driven climate change, but rather interesting details. And I have zero expectation that any team assembled under the aegis of the Trump administration would answer any of them.

  35. Joshua says:

    mt –

    =={ I think it is necessary not to capitulate to a format where hacks are on the attack and real scientists are on the defense. }==

    Which “skeptics” aren’t “hacks?”

    In the United States, at least, “skeptics” have already “won” – in the sense of short term victories. Trump is president, Pruitt and Perry are empowered. Republicans control both houses. Nothing about this process will change their legislative agenda.

    The red team/blue team initiative is an effort for “skeptics” to consolidate their status as winners by stamping it with an imprint of scientific legitimacy. Maybe it will make them feel better about themselves.. This is clearly not a scientific pursuit, but an exercise in trying to lay cover for “skeptics” embrace of the politicization of science after their righteous indignation at the politicization of science. Look at Judith’s willingness to defend Trump’s tweets about the AGW being a Chinese hoax.

    What could the process or results of this effort change? “Skeptics” will see their views as scientifically justified afterwards just as they do now, and “realists” will see “skeptics” views as scientifically unjustified afterwards just as they do now. Nothing will pivot as the result of this exercise. It will simply be another forum will people will rehash the same lines of disagreement.

    This exercise won’t alter the views of the majority of experts. The public’s views are not based on the science or what scientists actually say; for the most part the public have formulated their views without any in-depth knowledge of, or certainly understanding of, what scientists say. The public’s view is formulated based on their ideological orientation.

    Long term, the climate will dictate who “wins” and who “loses.”

    .

  36. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    mt:

    I think it is necessary not to capitulate to a format where hacks are on the attack and real scientists are on the defense. I’d be astonished if that weren’t what is intended.

    I am not suggesting we take what is on offer. If anyone credible is invited to the blue team, they should show up, but they shouldn’t roll over for an unfair process.

    Sorry, but I am having difficulty not seeing this red / blue team approach as naive…

    Scientists would be on the defensive as part of an unfair process before the teams even met to set the rules.

    Refusal to play by unfair rules will be seen as an admission of guilt.
    The ‘other side’ will declare victory before you’ve even massed your troops.
    Merely assembling a ‘red team’ will prove their point for them.

    Know this: Your combatants are not the least bit interested in science. They are interested in winning at all costs – even if the Earth burns.

    You are dealing with people who are fixated by snowballs in the Senate chamber, people who call climate science a job-killing hoax perpetrated by the Chinese, and victim-card scientists with axes aplenty for grinding, and freedom-fighting “charities” with private deals on the side.

    Even the corporate paymasters who now see the long-game for what it is, have lost control of the narrative, and their former flacks and avatars are now running the gong-show.

    There is not even the pretense of methodological fairness, let alone careful consideration of the available scientific evidence.

    Do not play their game.
    You will lose.
    You will lose even worse than you are losing now.
    Guaranteed.

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  38. Magma says:

    @ The Very Reverend JH

    I don’t disagree with your points, but isn’t the onus entirely on those who would set up a hypothetical Red Team? What do mainstream climate scientists have to do except point to countless published reports, syntheses and peer-reviewed papers? “Here you go, boys, knock yourselves out.”

    Let’s wait for Pruitt to try to assemble a Red Team, let’s see it come up with a coherent attack, and let’s see it deliver a final product. I doubt they can even assemble a team and get through a draft outline before the Trump administration crumbles. On the other side of the table, climate scientists delivered their part of this exercise long ago.

  39. izen says:

    It is often unwise to take the stated aims of an initiative advanced by politicians at face value. Here is a report of what is(?) happening –

    “The administrator believes that we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate and will organize a specific process in which these individuals … provide back-and-forth critique of specific new reports on climate science,”… The disclosure follows the administration’s suggestions over several days that it supports reviewing climate science outside the normal peer-review process used by scientists. This is the first time agency officials acknowledged that Pruitt has begun that process. The source said Energy Secretary Rick Perry also favors the review.”

    Perhaps an insider has a better appreciation of the underlying goals of this process-

    “Executives in the coal industry interpret the move as a step toward challenging the endangerment finding, the agency’s legal foundation for regulating greenhouse gases from cars, power plants and other sources. Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., said Pruitt assured him yesterday that he plans to begin reviewing the endangerment finding within months.”

    Assuming the red team/blue team setup has a wide general purpose, rather than a narrow specific task, may be a mistake.

  40. Fergus Brown says:

    Options for when someone invites you to play a game you cannot possibly win:
    a) set new rules so the game allows for an alternative result
    b) suggest an alternative game which has the possibility of an open result
    c) say no
    d) agree.
    In other words, a counter offer. Which, of course, will not be made optional. The only option remaining is to play the game that’s being offered, but follow Stephen Potter’s example, then, even if you can’t win, you can have some fun along the way.

  41. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    …isn’t the onus entirely on those who would set up a hypothetical Red Team? What do mainstream climate scientists have to do except point to countless published reports, syntheses and peer-reviewed papers?

    You are still looking at things through the eyes of a fair-minded rationalist.
    I respectfully suggest that you (temporarily, please) try to adopt the perspective of a typical trench-warrior for this week’s Republican “cri de guerre”.

    The people who are fighting against the deliverables of climate science are not going to ever produce a “final product”, and they don’t need to.

    These people blame the effects of automation and cheap global shipping on the immigrants that pick their tomatoes and who serve them in restaurants. These people really WANT the coal mining jobs to come back. These are people who, with no irony, yell “You lost, get over it” while they proudly fly the Confederate flag.

    You are correct that climate scientists delivered their part of this exercise long ago.

    The path to victory is not another “debate” game.
    That will only serve to obscure with theatrics, pearl-clutching, identity-politics, and outright lies, what we already know.

    The path to victory looks more like this.

  42. izen says:

    @-rev
    “The path to victory looks more like this.”

    When Pruitt gets to specify the process, and specify which new reports on climate science receive attention from his recruits…

    It is not scientists we need to recruit, it’s lawyers.

  43. jacksmith4tx says:

    Fergus Brown,
    b) suggest an alternative game which has the possibility of an open result

    This is where we can leverage the exponential growth of A.I. and really change the game from defense to offense. It’s going to happen, it’s what technology does.
    “AI effect – as soon as AI successfully solves a problem, the problem is no longer considered by the public to be a part of AI. This phenomenon has occurred in relation to every AI application produced throughout the history of development of AI.”

    It’s happening already if you look for it.
    Google “DeepMind Funds Cambridge University Climate Research”
    *Google owns DeepMind.

  44. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    It is not scientists we need to recruit, it’s lawyers.

    Actually, Weaver, a climate scientist, has recruited a few lawyers himself.

    Pruitt only gets to specify the process in USA – which matters, but which, thankfully, is not nearly equal to everywhere.

  45. Magma says:

    @ The Very Reverend:

    That works, but can be hard to apply in practice. My own favorite, — though I accept that others differ regarding its effectiveness — is the approach taken by Hansen, Mann, Schmidt, and Alley (among others), although their particular blends differ: confront deniers and fake skeptics, have lots of outreach to undergraduates and the general public, develop a high public profile and be available (and savvy) to the media and politicians, and maintain a very strong research record.

    I acknowledge that’s also much easier said than done.

  46. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    I acknowledge that’s also much easier said than done.

    Agreed.

    All I am saying is: Pick your battles – Carefully.

    I recall being at a conference talk some years ago by a well-known climate scientist, now retired.
    He spoke about global temperature data sets in some detail.
    During questions, someone asked “what about?” the then-very-blog-famous paper by Spencer and Braswell.
    (Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 1603-1613; doi:10.3390/rs3081603)

    His response: “I’m not going to play.”
    A teachable moment.

    A colleague of mine recently pointed to the following two quotations.
    Somehow they seem appropriate together.

    “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”
    – Field Marshall Helmuth Carl Bernard Graf von Moltke (1800 – 1891)

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
    – Pogo, Walt Kelly, 1971

  47. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    File under “legitimacy of the outcome”:


    Now the Trump administrate [sic] is challenging the established perspective of Obama and the UNFCCC/IPCC. Red is the new blue. The good news is that red teaming on this issue is needed (something that would have been impossible under the Obama administration.) However, the risk is that the over enthusiasm of the Trump administration for overthrowing pretty much everything from the Obama administration and the UNFCCC/IPCC will bias the proceedings and diminish the legitimacy of the outcome in influencing the national dialogue on this topic. This means that the blue team needs to serve as a ‘red team’ on the red team.

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

  48. Willard says:

    > You will lose even worse than you are losing now.

    I just don’t get that defeatism. The established viewpoint has already won. It is the established viewpoint after all.

    It’s important to get that. The strategy differs according to one’s evaluation of the situation. When you’re winning, all you need to do is to simplify things. If you’re losing, you need tactics.

    Red teams are for those who lost.

    So all the blue team would need to do is to show up, present the established viewpoint, and be thankful for every contrarian concerns.

  49. izen says:

    @-W
    “When you’re winning, all you need to do is to simplify things. If you’re losing, you need tactics.
    Red teams are for those who lost.”

    The tactic is to shift perceptions from a situation in which one side has won, to one in which there is still dispute. Room for a back-and-forth critique.
    If nothing else, this can increase the social acceptability of holding a ‘Lukewarm’ position. Or with the backing of ‘official’ opinion, stating that – climate is always changing, and it is too uncertain to be able to attribute even 50% of the observed warming to anything other than natural variations and measurement noise.

    @-“So all the blue team would need to do is to show up, present the established viewpoint, and be thankful for every contrarian concerns.”

    I admire your optimism that this would be enough to stop movement or expansion of the ‘Overton’ window.
    But it seems unlikely they will be invited.

    -“we will be able to recruit the best in the fields which study climate…”
    (-fields which, not who ??)

  50. lerpo says:

    My guess is that what they are looking for is a well publicized audit. They will find some nit to pick that may or may not be technically true (and the details will be lost on most) but certainly won’t have any impact on the science. The theatre of the debate will give the observer reason to believe that climate scientists don’t know nuffin about statistics (or whatever). Mission accomplished.

  51. Willard says:

    > My guess is that what they are looking for is a well publicized audit.

    Nobody expects audits, and yet

    Let’s see how Spencer’s and Christy’s data & code fare when brought under the daylight.

    Or let Isaac Held revisit Marcia’s Stadium Wave rubberstamped by Judy, without letting her or teh Koonin get away with their infamous “it’s not science but it’s important” squirrel.

    ***

    > The tactic is to shift perceptions from a situation in which one side has won, to one in which there is still dispute. Room for a back-and-forth critique.

    Scientists simply can’t afford to shut down constructive criticism. As I see it, either contrarian outrage gets redirected into something useful, or scientists will get nagged until the anticlimatic Agent Smiths finally POISON ALL THE INTERTUBES. Red team proponents may have a skillset that could help move science forward. To paraphrase Scott Denning’s Heartland presentation, if Freedom Fighters keep being caricatures of themselves, decisions will be made without them, and we’ll all suffer because of it.

    Thousands of years ago the Great Vehicle won. Let’s transmute the same idea into a Great Bandwagon. We’re all in it together, so it makes sense to get everyone on board.

    You’re very clever, young ClimateBall player – but it’s Red teams all the way down.

  52. russellseitz says:

    The problem with MT’s:
    “In fact, were it not for climate disruption (a.k.a. “global warming”) there’s a good case to be made that climatology would be taking over from physics as queen of the sciences in the computational era.”

    Is that lawyers taught to insist the law is ” the queen of the sciences” are the powers that be in the Trump administration

  53. Mosher: “I would say the Red team should include prominant skeptics, deniers, the whole lot.
    Imagine a Red team consisting of Curry and Heller or Sky Dragons and Christy.
    And throw in some citizen scientists.! Turbulent Eddie.”
    Angech: “I would add Rud, the auditor and the chiefio and drop the sky dragons but doubt citizens qualify in this exercise.”

    Angech, which criteria did you use to come up with that list? Why is your motivation to exclude the sky dragons? How should Pruitt formulate the rules for the competencies a Red Team member should have according to you? In a way that keeps evil consensus scientists like me out and also sky dragon out and keeps noble rebels like Curry, Heller and Pielke in? Would Peter Wadhams and Guy McPearson be allowed to be Red Team members according to your rules?

  54. Steven Mosher says:

    “Angech: “I would add Rud, the auditor and the chiefio and drop the sky dragons but doubt citizens qualify in this exercise.”

    Now wait one minute.

    We have been told repeatedly that expert opinion doesnt matter.
    Who exactly has taken the game to the blue team all these years?

    Judith? hardly
    Pielke? hardly.

    The only people who have gone on for years battling the blue team are your every day unpaid heroes of the intertubes.. Heller, Anthony, Willis, countless commenters here and there who have all dismantled the science with a few a few quick cut and pastes or questions that nobody has answered… what about that UHI, that 800 year lag, those records from Darwin, that robert Woods great experiment from 1920 or whatever.. None of the great hereos of skepticism have Phds, they dont need them.. Can you say the word Chaos? Well there you go, AGW busted.
    Anyone who listens to talk radio can take this blue science down, they do it every day. All red has to do is say show me the evidence and they win.

    If you Dont populate the team with citizens, then that’s an admission that all the commenters on blogs dont have what it takes. How can that be true? How can you Dare to take on the science on the internet and then shrink away from the task when the BIG LEAGUES CALL.

    Angech, its your turn to shine. you slogged for years upending climate science. you can red team in your sleep. How hard can it really be to bust an already busted science.

    Pause! See there I busted it
    800 years!! Bust twice
    Popper Popper Popper! and Feynman.. there I busted the science 4 times.

  55. Joshua says:

    =={ Angech, which criteria did you use to come up with that list? Why is your motivation to exclude the sky dragons? }==

    One of the cute ironies of the climate wars is when “skeptics” appeal to authority to reject sky dragons (“no one with expertise rejects the GHE” is a paraphrase of a standard rationale) . Of course, arguing that the “global warming has paused” while ACO2 accumulates effectively implies the same logic as that of a sky dragon.

  56. mt says:

    Joshua asks “Which “skeptics” aren’t “hacks?””

    If you mean by “skeptics” people who show up at Heartland conferences and/or are invited by contemporary Republicans to testify on climate, etc., please don’t imagine I have a long list in mind.

    If those people are what is meant by a red team, they had best be prepared to defend themselves, and the blue team should feel free to give as good as they get.

  57. Steven Mosher says:

    “Of course, arguing that the “global warming has paused” while ACO2 accumulates effectively implies the same logic as that of a sky dragon.”

    technically no.
    A sky dragon will argue that C02 can have no effect, for a variety of stupid reasons.
    A skeptic will argue that the effect is “effectively” zero or small, such that statistical pauses are
    likely.

    Of course I dont think any of them have a consistent approach here

  58. Martha says:

    It is a grave mistake for climate scientists to even comment on this “red team” nonsense.

    This is a political fight, not a scientific one.

    The public gets their ideas from DiCaprio not from journals. So, yes, it is useful to claim that, for example, Judith Curry is a holocaust denier, flat-earther, antiscience cretin. But let us not believe our own propaganda, shall we? Curry is not an illiterate idiot. Our troops need to believe it, sure, because they themselves do not even know what a molecule is. But we should know better.

    What do you people think a “red team” is going to do? All they need is to list a handful of the predictions that have come to nothing, from an ice-free Arctic to snow being “a thing of the past” or 20 meter rises in sea levels by 10 years ago. And when they do, we will have to burn our useful idiots one at a time. How does it look when we are forced to admit that Hawking does not know what he is talking about? And if Hawking is a fool (on this topic), what will that do to what Gore or any other talking heads have to say?

    Look. We lost the election. Until we win the next one (and we will), the job remains the same, that is, 1) hold the journals tight, rubber stamp our papers and reject those of deniers; 2) control the scientific institutions, most are ours already, keep at it; 3) push through the system the proper graduates and push out the dissenting ones, this is a long fight. And, let’s get this straight, we need not one but several Nobel prizes in Physics, not that peace nonsense that everyone knows is a photo-op.

    We have won. Why screw it up? Let’s work on our strengths so that we can better back the next Obama.

  59. toby52 says:

    Russell,

    Law may be the Queen of the Sciences, but Peabody Coal still lost in court, even with a veritable Red Team of “expert witnesses”.

  60. Steven Mosher says:

    Philosophy is the queen of the science, which is why we have philosophy of science and not the science of philosophy.
    same goes for law.
    If it were not the queen of science, they wouldnt give us hemlock.

  61. toby52 says:

    Gauss “Mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences”

    mt’ challenge for the Red Team to build a climate modiel with low sensitivity is quite appropriate.

  62. Frank says:

    Here’s why we need a red team. The IPCC has told us that it is extremely likely that man has been the dominant influence on climate since the mid-20th century.

    According to Schneider, ethical Scientists are expected to include all of the caveats.

    How about: “If our climate models are correct, then … ” This would force the SPM to discuss a challenging subject that should be addressed. Every projection (and many other conclusions) depend on climate models.

    How about being quantitative, so no one misinterprets “dominant” as meaning greater than say 80%. I believe the statistical analysis used 50%.

    Unforced variability is an alternative explanation for some of the warming since the mid-20th century. I think it is generally recognized that AOGCMs produce less unforced variability than we observe. If so, AOGCMs are going to underestimate the possibility that unforced variability could be responsible.

    The IPCC’s models are an “ensemble of opportunity” that doesn’t systematically explore parameter space, which makes statistical interpretation of the multimodel spread problematic. So “extremely likely” may not be the appropriate qualifier.

    Is the average model running hot compared with observation? If so, that biases attribution towards man.

    If man were responsible for exactly 50% of warming, future warming (to first approximation) will be about half of what the IPCC projects. Policymakers should know that this attribution statement ALONE doesn’t demonstrate a need for dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions.

    The self-perpetuating group of insiders who write the SPMs aren’t interested in addressing these potential caveats. The national representatives who have to unanimously agree with every word in the SPM won’t approve anything suggesting controversy or ambiguity. This lack of candor makes the SPM into a non-scientific report advocating for a unspecified policy (simplified dramatic statements and hiding any doubts, as Schneider would say). A red team could challenge the consensus to find arguments to that address these potential caveats. If not, revise or discard the statement.

    FWIW, I believe that aGHGs have caused at least 50% of warming, but no with this high level of confidence.

  63. Frank. That conclusion is not dependent on climate models (GCMs) AFAICS, much simpler analyses provide the same conclusion. So that justification is invalid (and the later ones relating to GCMs)

    Dominant does not imply greater than 50% AFAICS, so that objection is invalid (feel free to provide e.g. dictionary definition to support your claim)

    The ad-hom against the IPCC authors is not a justification for a red-team, just an indication of your own bias, and devalues you case.

  64. Frank,

    The IPCC has told us that it is extremely likely that man has been the dominant influence on climate since the mid-20th century.
    …….
    How about being quantitative, so no one misinterprets “dominant” as meaning greater than say 80%. I believe the statistical analysis used 50%.

    Firstly, this was technically a hypothesis test. It tested the hypothesis that more than 50% of the warming since 1950 could be natural and rejected this at high confidence (i.e., extremely unlikely). Secondly, it is quantitative. See this Realclimate post. The best estimate is that anthropogenic influences were responsible for slightly more than all of the observed warming – i.e., nature probably had a slight cooling influence.

    What would help this red team/blue team idea is if those who promoted it spent a bit of time making sure that the understood the mainstream position well enough to start criticising it.

  65. Marco says:

    “How about being quantitative, so no one misinterprets “dominant” as meaning greater than say 80%. I believe the statistical analysis used 50%.”

    OK, here you go with the quantitative statement:
    “Anthropogenic activity is responsible for 110% of the observed warming, with a 5-95% confidence interval of 80-130%.”

    Good enough for ya?

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/08/ipcc-attribution-statements-redux-a-response-to-judith-curry/
    (I think Gavin may have made a mistake by stating the range is 80-130%, and should be 80-140%, but I’l just leave it as it is).

    You’d have to increase the natural variability by quite a lot to get the 50% anthropogenic impact into a range that would make someone be willing to accept it to be of any relevance to consider. Let’s say that if p = 0.05 for 50% or less you would be a bit more cautious in considering whether reducing anthropogenic impact is worth considering – note that presently p < 0.0001.

    Increasing the natural variability would, however, not change the central estimate, and thus the 5-95% confidental interval mentioned earlier, 80-130%, would become more like 50-160%. From a policy point of view, that would mean uncertainty is markedly increased, with a possibility of more benign but also more serious impact. That is, a *real* Red Team excercise may actually conclude that we're in much bigger trouble than the Blue Team says we are.

    Does anyone believe that a Red Team would be put together by Pruitt that would look at *both* ends?

  66. Marco says:

    Sorry, ATTP, we crossed. Same reference 🙂

  67. ATTP wrote “What would help this red team/blue team idea is if those who promoted it spent a bit of time making sure that the understood the mainstream position well enough to start criticising it.”

    Indeed. The first rule of Dunning-Kruger club is that you don’t know you are a member of Dunning-Kruger club. The best approach is to assume you are a member and adopt some humility, especially when dealing with those that obviously are not members (i.e. the climatologists) and apply the golden rule in your dealing with others.

  68. Canman says:

    A field that hides the decline, wants to redefine the peer review process to keep a paper out and won’t let others see their data, because their goal is to find something wrong with it, needs a red team!

  69. lerpo says:

    Another possible winning strategy for the red teamers would be to refute some hyperbolic statement by a prominent scientist, like this one from Steven Hawking: “Trump’s action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of 250 degrees, and raining sulphuric acid.”.

    Or they could take on one of the more extreme sea ice projections from Peter Wadhams.

    By taking on a fringe view they could score a win just by arguing for the consensus.

  70. Lerpo, I think the blue team has beaten them to it there already.

  71. lerpo says:

    Yes – but if you frame it right, you can cast the outliers as the blue team and anyone opposing them as part of the maverick red team.

  72. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Willard:

    >>> You will lose even worse than you are losing now.
    I just don’t get that defeatism. The established viewpoint has already won. It is the established viewpoint after all.
    It’s important to get that.

    I get that, Willard.
    And that is precisely why there is no advantage to more contrarian ‘red-teaming’ except for those who are desperate for a public venue in which to toss their rhetorical chaff.

    This is not defeatism.
    It is the recognition that fighting public relations guerrilla warfare, which is, after all what ClimateBall is, requires knowing what constitutes victory.

    In the words of Henry Kissinger:

    The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose.

    Of course the conventional army has already won. But we are dealing with people who will not admit defeat. It’s important to get that.

    Now, if and when Henry Kissinger ever dies, I shall raise a tall glass of champagne, but I believe he understood well guerilla tactics.

    The “established viewpoint” within other sciences does not bother to have another debate about heliocentrism, about spontaneous generation, or about whether the wave mechanics interpretation of quantum theory is ‘better’ than the matrix mechanics interpretation.

    That the climate science ‘debate’ has become a theater of guerilla warfare is no reason to fight pointless skirmishes with those who are fighting not to improve the ‘established viewpoint’, but only to gain legitimacy among those who reject it.


    Scientists simply can’t afford to shut down constructive criticism.

    Scientist could not shut down ‘constructive’ criticism even if they wished, else they wouldn’t be scientists.
    Absolutely, it’s red teams all the way down. So the key word is constructive.

    Scientists simply can’t afford to waste their valuable time on tired old zombie-memes…

    No matter how the great the Great Bandwagon, there will always be those who will refuse to get on board. They have concerns. That’s OK.
    Rather than stopping the wagon every time it comes upon a small group of battle-weary BAU-foot-soldiers, I say keep it moving and let them walk their walk.
    They can always catch up if they want to.
    The Great Bandwagon moves steadily, but slowly.

  73. Yay, I’m on the red team! ;o)

  74. lerpo says:

    Yay, I’m on the red team! ;o)

    Proof positive there’s no 97% consensus when everyone crawles out of the woodwork to attack the blue team. 8P

  75. ‘redefine the peer review process’

    Perhaps we should redefine comedic hyperbole at the same time? ;o)

    Almost as ridiculous as the nonsense about the use of “trick”, which does have a usage meaning a clever way of solving a problem (without implication of being disingenuous). It is almost as if some people are determined to find fault and have lost all self-skepticism about it. ;o)

  76. Steven Mosher says:

    “Here’s why we need a red team. The IPCC has told us that it is extremely likely that man has been the dominant influence on climate since the mid-20th century.”

    Frank

    As I have said the only interesting question the Red team could focus on is the attribution question

    Basically, the attribution argument given in the IPCC report lacks a bit of traceability and transparency.. To me it looks like they “did some science” rather than merely summarizing the science.

    A good red team request might be to restate the argument without the page limitations of the IPCC, replete with code and data.

    IF you read Pruits comments GENEROUSLY and with CHARITY you could argue that the thing he questions is the percentage of attribution. I’m pretty sure that most folks here believe the IPCC position, but it would not be unreasonable to request a clear exposition of the argument
    Heck, I’d like to learn the argument better.

  77. mt says:

    Sigh.

    The attribution question is a bore. If it’s not 100% yet it will be soon, unless the sensitivity estimates are drastically wrong.

    There would be no red team exercise if the matter were not policy relevant. And the policy relevant question is this and only this: can we be quite certain that the consensus sensitivity range is much too high?

    Because if we can’t be CONFIDENT that the sensitivity is MUCH BELOW the 2 – 4 C range, vigorous efforts to replace fossil fuels are long overdue, and the policy question reduces, to first order, to how quickly we can eliminate fossil fuels without destabilizing the whole system.

    Whatever flaws climate science has, or can be falsely accused of, and whatever flaws IPCC has or can be accused of, are not the real issues. If they come up then it’s part of the usual misdirection.

    Of course it is ridiculous to be highly confident that the consensus is systematically wrong. That’s why endless misdirection is needed.

  78. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    As I have said the only interesting question the Red team could focus on is the attribution question

    That is the only interesting question to you – because you do not know the full answer and wish to.

    For many red team playas, the questions are only made interesting by the answers that we already know.

    Let’s make the temperature record adjustments interesting again!
    Let’s make the pause interesting again!
    Let’s make violations of the 2nd law interesting again!


    IF you read Pruits comments GENEROUSLY and with CHARITY you could argue that the thing he questions is the percentage of attribution.

    If only US Republicans could read the IPCC reports GENEROUSLY and with CHARITY, then they could stop having to pretend that they read them at all.

    And – If frogs had side pockets, they’d carry hand guns.

  79. Willard says:

    > That the climate science ‘debate’ has become a theater of guerilla warfare is no reason to fight pointless skirmishes with those who are fighting not to improve the ‘established viewpoint’, but only to gain legitimacy among those who reject it.

    Read the title of the post again, Rev.

    Here’s where MT borrowed it:

    The only way to lose against ClimateBall contrarians is to stop playing. They can cheap get brownie points by playing victim, say with the “shut down debate” card. It takes them no effort to do so. They even got an industry of megaphones to amplify their whining.

    The only way to counter that is to make them work. Let them fill up my Contrarian Matrix. Most of the times, they’re just not up to the task. Take Frank above – if you ask him to choose between rehearsing good ol’ contrarian claptraps instead of providing a real citation, what do you think he’ll choose?

  80. Willard says:

    > It is the recognition that fighting public relations guerrilla warfare, which is, after all what ClimateBall is, requires knowing what constitutes victory.

    True. But that doesn’t mean scientists can’t win anything at playing ClimateBall properly. Take for instance:

    At the very least, scientists can use contrarian baits as a springboard for more Sound Science. In a sparring match between talking points and Sound Science, my money’s on Sound Science.

    Take the Red Team meme. Franken’s response was splendid :

    We already have Red Teams – it’s called Science.

  81. I think this is a great way to express this

    Because if we can’t be CONFIDENT that the sensitivity is MUCH BELOW the 2 – 4 C range, vigorous efforts to replace fossil fuels are long overdue, and the policy question reduces, to first order, to how quickly we can eliminate fossil fuels without destabilizing the whole system.

  82. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    Thanks, Willard.

    My money’s on Sound Science too.

    But that’s the long game, and right now there’s a vastly larger sum of money riding on fossil fuels.
    That is, of course, why Perry is Secretary of D of Energy – In the current field of play, the ignorance that Franken points to is a feature, not a bug.

    For these operatives, the policy question reduces, to first order, to how SLOWLY we can eliminate fossil fuels without destabilizing the whole system.

    “The only losing move is not to play.” does not obviously preclude ‘friendly fire’.

    But the only person actually shot Saturday in Gettysburg with a real bullet was a 23-year-old militia group member named Benjamin Hornberger, of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. According to U.S. Park police, Hornberger triggered his revolver when the flag pole he was carrying bumped against his gun holster. The bullet went into his leg. Police say officers quickly applied a tourniquet, likely saving his life.

    Thank goodness some of those unionized government employees were there to help when needed.

  83. Frank says:

    Marco wrote: “Does anyone believe that a Red Team would be put together by Pruitt that would look at *both* ends?”

    No. The existing Blue Team (consensus) may be doing a pretty good job of exploring the high end, but the few who are trying to explore the low end are being treated as den1ers, rather than scientists. Unfortunately, both ends are far too politicized. I’m very disturbed that Curry, Christy and Pielke don’t explicitly say at hearings that they are part of the “97% consensus”. Roger supports a carbon tax. (Why crucifying Roger because he makes a good case that rising GHGs aren’t currently having a large effect on extreme weather. He is on your side on some issues.) I’d like them to be forced to discuss what their lower limit for ECS and TCR is. That puts a minimum value for how much warming man could have caused and forces Republican to recognize that even prominent skeptical scientists are saying that CO2 causes a non-trivial amount of global warming. Between energy balance models and perhaps simple considerations about forcing and feedback, I can’t see how ECS can be below 1 K/doubling. However, if they unnecessarily volunteered this information in open session, they probably won’t be invited back.

    https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-115-SY-WState-RPielke-20170329.pdf

    Instead of treating skeptics like den1ers and directly all their questions only to the Democratic invitee(s), informed Democrats could accomplish a lot with the right questions. Politicization makes it impossible for a Democrat to act like they seriously care about what a skeptic scientist says. They only ask questions with the intention of ridicule. Both sides do this.

    A red team/blue team exercise might force these skeptics to confront this issue scientifically and stick with a scientific answer in public forums. Right now, Judith can say that the IPCC’s attribution statement is deeply flawed for the reasons I cited above without any responsibility coming up with a scientifically defensible minimum amount of warming attributable man (or better still, attributable to GHGs, since aerosols add so much uncertainty). I think a red team will find it impossible to say that rising GHGs caused any less than about 0.5 K. Just take out the politically-charged word “man” or “anthropogenic” and skeptics will have a much harder time. The consensus will be forced to defend the flawed attribution statement and models.

    Nevertheless, I don’t know whether a red team/blue team event will lead to anything that is scientifically credible. Scott Pruitt has a massive department to run and a credible event might allow provide some common ground.

    Willard cites BEST as a red team. They settled only one question, How reliable are the consensus temperature records? Those records were correct (but correction of discontinuities by homogenization or splitting the record is a minor weakness). And they eliminated UHI as a major cause. If BEST is what we get from a red team exercise, why is anyone opposed! (Muller has made public statements about other issues that aren’t directly supported by BEST’s research. Is conversion on other issues isn’t because he red teamed those issues.) Franken’s mischaracterization of peer review as a red team blue team event is often a joke – except when skeptics submit papers.

  84. Frank,

    The existing Blue Team (consensus) may be doing a pretty good job of exploring the high end, but the few who are trying to explore the low end are being treated as den1ers, rather than scientists.

    This is a rather nuanced interpretation of what is happening. The low end (by which I assume you mean low enough to not really matter) has been explored and has been largely ruled out. This doesn’t mean that other shouldn’t continue to explore this. However, there does come a time when it is justifiably regarded as ridiculous to continue studying something that most others regard as highly unlikely.

  85. Ragnaar says:

    Attribution is what we did. If it was 110% it could have been 90% because of random chance, if natural variability had warmed rather than cooled. We could say this is a scientific statement, but I think it is also a boast. We dominated the GMST. What policy does this statement lead us to? Maybe a lot of policy. I am just a Senator’s staffer, and it sounds a bit like we cause everything. If you think about, rainfall must depend on temperature. Ice too, and then sea levels. Let’s vote to renew the 30% small solar credit, and find some numbers on tons of CO2 not emitted please. Jobs too. Find something on that.

    Climate sensitivity is more focused. With it we can calculate how much warming is avoided. By spending X amount of dollars, we get Y amount less of warming. For soil carbon restoration fans, we can calculates part of how much we can give to farmers to plant and grow prairie grass. I prefer TCS. I started to wonder when we’d get to the ECS given the oceans?

    “…leads to the conclusion that it is very unlikely that TCR is less than 1°C and very unlikely that TCR is greater than 3.5°C.” – AR4

    Call it 2.25. 90% confidence. But the range is still wide. The IPCC puts 10% in the skeptic’s corner and even 15% is arguable. At low levels, spending is less justified. Until this is better constrained, we aren’t sure what we a getting for our mitigation efforts. With a low TCS, which will be favored by almost ½, policy that gets passed will work with that number. Assume this low TCS is consistent with no SLR acceleration. Now we should be able to agree on policies involving sea walls that assume no acceleration.

  86. russellseitz says:

    Steven Mosher says: Philosophy is the queen of the science, which is why we have philosophy of science and not the science of philosophy. Same goes for law…

    toby52 says:Gauss “Mathematics is the Queen of the Sciences”

    Why in the name of the Republic of Science woud anyone want to turn a humble superstition like physics into a monarchy?

  87. Steven Mosher says:

    “Willard cites BEST as a red team. They settled only one question, How reliable are the consensus temperature records? Those records were correct (but correction of discontinuities by homogenization or splitting the record is a minor weakness). And they eliminated UHI as a major cause. If BEST is what we get from a red team exercise, why is anyone opposed! (Muller has made public statements about other issues that aren’t directly supported by BEST’s research. Is conversion on other issues isn’t because he red teamed those issues.) Franken’s mischaracterization of peer review as a red team blue team event is often a joke – except when skeptics submit papers.”

    I wont nit pick you on the splitting. It was actually a suggestion by Willis Eschenbach and other skeptics who effectively argued that a station move or instrument change was ACTUALLY a new station.

    Best was successful in my view because of this.

    1. The putative leader wasnt a consensus believer. He will not take any GCM seriously. He was critical of Mann, and was highly suspicious. When I first met with him I was very wary because he had already met with Anthony and seemed to be be accepting everything Anthony said without question. But, after talking with Rohde and Wickham ( I know her brother) I was happy that the math would be solid. Rohde knew everything I knew about data sources and then some.
    There was one very bright Phd ( well known) skeptic who was also pushing back. Saul was an
    enigma. There were a couple guys who seemed to be believers. And of course Judith. And Zeke.
    Folks who have never worked with zeke ( or robert way for that matter) have no idea how demanding and thorough each of them are. When I worked with Zeke, Stokes and Menne it was always Zeke demanding one more sensitivity test. So there was a mix of folks and each with
    different skills and backgrounds.

    2. The remit was CLEAR. The objections skeptics had made was clear. Also, we had some skeptical work ( RomanM) that we ( Romans friend was on the original team) that served as an inspiration for certain things in our approach. So you had a clear remit, a guide of sorts set out
    by the best skeptical thinkers we could find and it was just a matter of doing the work.

    3. The measure of success was clear: Publish. yes, Blue did the final review. There were problems here some personal and some related to how hard it is to publish confirmatory work.

    Although Red wont do this I bet I could put together the best of red arguments about attribution or at least the form these arguments take. In essence

    Ecs = dT/dF and attributionist doubts are about the denominator. BEST kinda showed that dT was well measured. Judith and others think that delta forcing as most consensus people consider it does not take into account natural variation.

    So there might be some hope of red team doing something interesting IF it focused on the denominator and the best arguments on all sides.

    But it has to be focused. Some folks see the challenger investigation as a great red team.
    I wouldnt agree, but I would point out that they were focused. Same with Koonin on cold fusion.

  88. Jeff Harvey says:

    Do you know what the main reason for refusing to play the contrarian game and to needlessly engage in this red team/blue team nonsense? It isn’t just because the data are in. As Clive Hamilton has said, it’s because we just don’t have the time to continue fiddling while Rome burns. This entire exercise is aimed at delaying action to deal with AGW. Hamilton correctly wrote back in 2010 (Requiem for a Species) that we had already passed the point of no return and were well into a period of consequences. Yet here we are, 7 years and the three warmest years in a row later, and we have people arguing for a debate pitting a few shills against the bulk of the scientific community. It’s frankly obscene, a joke. The aim of course is to delay, delay, delay. Procrastinate. I think that it is a disgrace. By the time we’ve woken up to the horrible scale of the predicament we will be clearly descending into the abyss.

  89. Jeff Harvey says:

    As an addendum, it’s not a game. We are talking about the death throes of the planet here. We just do not have the time for these flippant pedantics. As an ecologist I am horrified at the implications of crashing through the 2 C barrier in the coming decades. We are already approaching tipping points. Engaging in a useless red team/blue team debate is pure folly. We know more than enough. It’s time to take this very seriously.

  90. Ken Fabian says:

    A deep review of climate science from the fundamentals up is fine – but should be done under the auspices of National Academies of Sciences/Royal Societies, in a collaboration with best video documentary makers. The real point of the Trump directed Red Team exercise is that it would be accompanied by lots and lots of free publicity; as long as the genuinely capable, professional critiques are in journals and pdf’s that only those who are already deeply interested in even know exists they won’t have the influence to counter that.

    High quality video documentary presentation, with publicity and fanfare isn’t an afterthought; it, like the exemplary reputations of such institutions and backing publications, is an essential ingredient to achieve wide public reach and a widely viewed source for public, competent politicians and journalists (there are some) and advocacy groups to refer to and hold our policy makers to. An Inconvenient Truth was widely viewed and widely discussed and serves as a kind of example; it suffered credibility problems because of the political baggage Gore brought to it. A whole lot of Americans (and others with shared views) automatically opposed because of their own, different political baggage. Only institutions with the reputations and standing of NAS/RS have any chance of fighting off the predictable attacks of bias and video documentation can short circuit a lot of the predictable criticisms.

    Video documentary presentation combined with the standing and credibility of our top science bodies offer opportunities to flocculate and clarify the well stirred muddy waters and show climate scientists as they really are, rather than caricatures. The medium’s potential for stunning visualisations of real climate processes is better than ever before and I think the public’s interest in this shouldn’t be underestimated.

  91. Bob Loblaw says:

    What Jeff Harvey said 2 and 3 comments above.

    This Red Team/Blue Team stuff has nothing to do with trying to improve our scientific understanding. The Blue Team won’t have any say on the rules. The rules will set up any Blue Team for failure, and will not require the Red Team to actually do anything constructive. Any attempt to negotiate the process will lead to the puppeteers of the process claiming the scientists are hiding something. Any attempt to discredit the quality of the Red Team will be looked upon as Gatekeeping. The whole purpose will be to increase the profile and attempt to bootstrap the credibility of The Usual Suspects, and make it look as if their vacuous criticisms of the science have merit.

    Some effort is needed to show what a waste this Red Team/Blue Team process is (including how it doesn’t resemble a real investigation), but we need to spend time trying to reach the people that can actually make a difference. The people creating this Red Team/Blue Team process will never change their minds, and the best we can hope to do is to mount a defense that will reduce their impact while we find a different way to get a path to appropriate action as fast as possible.

  92. Mal Adapted says:

    Steven Mosher’s last comment was very interesting, and highly credible as a first-hand account of a rigorous research project. This caught my attention, however:

    Judith and others think that delta forcing as most consensus people consider it does not take into account natural variation.

    Well, there’s the problem right there – they’re wrong!

  93. Mal Adapted says:

    Jeff Harvey:

    We are talking about the death throes of the planet here. We just do not have the time for these flippant pedantics. As an ecologist I am horrified at the implications of crashing through the 2 C barrier in the coming decades.

    Jeff, your ecological education has made the world’s wounds visible to you, but I can at least assure you you’re not wholly alone. Our penalty, like Aldo Leopold’s, is to see the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise. You have my profound sympathy.

  94. Willard says:

    > As an addendum, it’s not a game.

    Depends what you mean by “it,” e.g:

    https://www.jstor.org/stable/2096979

  95. Marco says:

    ATTP, I don’t even see how one can claim that “The existing Blue Team (consensus) may be doing a pretty good job of exploring the high end, but the few who are trying to explore the low end are being treated as den1ers, rather than scientists.”

    It is yet another Frank statement, with little evidence to back it up, just like this one: “Franken’s mischaracterization of peer review as a red team blue team event is often a joke – except when skeptics submit papers.”

    Research into climate sensitivity *gives* a certain range, there’s hardly anyone who sets out to find a specific range. It’s perhaps in the next step – what does this mean, where more focus is on the higher ranges, but that’s what you will find in any society where there is at least some level of the precautionary principle in action in politics: you prepare for the (likely) worst, not for the best.

    “If BEST is what we get from a red team exercise, why is anyone opposed!”
    Because the currently proposed Red Team exercise is not a group of people who will openly look at the evidence, but where the desired outcome is clear from the start. If Pruitt manages to create it such that it indeed is an unbiased Red Team that looks into supposed problems, go ahead. But from everything Pruitt and others have said so far, no one trusts that this will be the case.

    “I’m very disturbed that Curry, Christy and Pielke don’t explicitly say at hearings that they are part of the “97% consensus”.
    That’s because at least two of them aren’t (anymore). Have you not noticed Curry’s confusion about how much of the warming, especially since the 1950s, is anthropogenic? She doesn’t know. Could be all. Could be none. Really, natural variability is so large. We don’t know. Andsoonandsoforth. She’d not fall in the category that states anthropogenic influence is dominant, and thus not in the 97%.
    Christy is another example of someone who (likely) does not agree human influence is dominant.

    “Just take out the politically-charged word “man” or “anthropogenic” and skeptics will have a much harder time.”
    Nope, it would just make it just as easy for the pseudoskeptics: maybe it’s warming, maybe it’s GHGs, but it’s not humans, so we shouldn’t do a damn thing.

    “The consensus will be forced to defend the flawed attribution statement”
    You mean the one where I provided you with a quantitative example, which you then ignored, and instead decided to go off on a side remark I made. That one?

    I think Frank is the prime example of what the Red Team exercise is supposed to achieve:
    Make sure to create uncertainty that specifically aims to create the impression humans may not be the main cause, such that we pseudoskeptics can sleep again, having convinced ourselves once again that we just cannot be the cause of something that may cause a major global disruption.

  96. Marco,

    I think Frank is the prime example of what the Red Team exercise is supposed to achieve:
    Make sure to create uncertainty that specifically aims to create the impression humans may not be the main cause, such that we pseudoskeptics can sleep again, having convinced ourselves once again that we just cannot be the cause of something that may cause a major global disruption.

    Yes, I think you’re probably correct.

  97. Frank says “No. The existing Blue Team (consensus) may be doing a pretty good job of exploring the high end, but the few who are trying to explore the low end are being treated as den1ers, rather than scientists.”

    This is nonsense. Nic Lewis does good work on the “low end” and is taken seriously by the research community, of course that doesn’t mean his work doesn’t receive criticism, that is just the way science works. Perhaps “the few” don’t have an accurate view of the quality of their science.

    I note Frank has walked away from his earlier set of arguments (and merely produced more unsupported assertions), neither defending them, nor accepting the counter-arguments, so it is somewhat ironic that he is complaining of people not being treated as scientists. ;o)

  98. Nic Lewis does good work on the “low end” and is taken seriously by the research community

    Indeed, and his work does not rule out the high end.

  99. izen says:

    When I posted the comment that the red team/blue team process would help validate those who wanted to claim that –
    ‘it is too uncertain to be able to attribute even 50% of the observed warming to anything other than natural variations and measurement noise.’
    I did not expect Frank to show up and confirm the prediction a few comments later.

    But if as the Coal Industry thinks, Pruitt’s goal is to undermine the EPA CO2 endangerment findings…
    Then it is very unlikely that attribution studies, or climate sensitivity would be the target of the ‘back-and-forth critique’
    Perhaps it is more likely that from the ranks of former expert witnesses Pruitt could recruit the best in the fields of human safety and economic stability to critique the endangerment that CO2 poses.
    A honest broker and economeretrician could argue that there is no statistical link between weather events and damage and danger to people; and that BAU is actually beneficial compared to the economic impact of reducing emissions.

    Enough perhaps to cast doubt and uncertainty on the EPA justification for regulating CO2.
    The purpose of red/blue teams may not be to examine the wider science of AGW, that would risk another BEST result, but to seek a specific goal.
    Any shade cast on climate science in general is just a collateral feature not a flaw.

  100. izen says:

    @-“We are talking about the death throes of the planet here. …”
    “Jeff, your ecological education has made the world’s wounds visible to you, but I can at least assure you you’re not wholly alone.”

    Geology indicates past extreme conditions that are most unlikely to be exceeded by AGW. Even if we cause widespread desertification and anoxic oceans it would not be unprecedented.

    Knowledge of ecology may make wounds visible, but unless you fall victim to the Naturalistic Fallacy it should also make the benefits visible.
    It is impossible to find more than rare enclaves of a ‘Natural’ ecology. Since the rise of agriculture the global biosphere has been dominated by the massive expansion of a few species of ungulates (cows, pigs, goats and sheep) and grasses (corn, wheat and rice). There is also no way that a natural ecology could support the number of chickens alive today.

    Cities may be ‘wounds’ on some mythic ‘Natural’ ecology, but they are immensely beneficial to humans. They also develop their own ecology. It is a value judgement whether this is good or bad compared to some other alternative.
    AGW undoubtedly poses an existential threat to the agricultural infrastructure that supports our civilisation. In part because it is a top down imposed ecology rather than one optimised by evolutionary development to have resilience. But the history of life on Earth does not justify claiming it is the ‘death throes of the planet’.

  101. BBD says:

    izen

    But the history of life on Earth does not justify claiming it is the ‘death throes of the planet’.

    I may be mistaken and I will leave it to Jeff to correct me if I am, but I believe the point ecologists are trying to bring to a wider understanding concerns the rate of environmental change rather than its absolute magnitude.

    The truly unprecedented rate of environmental change expected as a consequence of warming / ocean pH shift will greatly outpace the capacity of most organisms to adapt or migrate. This is what is expected to unravel foodwebs and cause escalating ecological damage.

    Now while I avoid language like ‘the death throes of the planet’, I would not ever downplay the very real risk of planetary-scale ecological disruption in coming centuries.

  102. David B. Benson says:

    But we have a data point, the mid-Pliocene. The carbon dioxide concentration was about 400 ppm, the same as now. The global temperature was 2-3 °C warmer than now and the sea stand was about 25 meters higher than now. So long as the carbon dioxide concentration remains above 400 ppm those conditions will obtain at equilibrium.

    Keeping the carbon dioxide concentration at 400 ppm indefinitely requires “immediately” cutting fossil fuel consumption in half and then lowering as the land and ocean uptake of carbon dioxide diminishes.

    You can work out what this implies for the so-called climate sensitivity but I don’t think it is more than an academic exercise.

    See the Wikipedia page on Pliocene climate.

  103. izen says:

    @-BBD
    ” I believe the point ecologists are trying to bring to a wider understanding concerns the rate of environmental change rather than its absolute magnitude.”

    Yes, rate is a significant amplifying factor.
    But the Chixulub crater records an event with an even faster rate of change.

  104. BBD says:

    But the Chixulub crater records an event with an even faster rate of change.

    Well, that rather makes my point. As I said, I would avoid language like ‘death throes of the planet’ but I would also avoid downplaying the ecological risks.

  105. Joshua says:

    The red team/blue team effort is about marketing Republicans view that science doesn’t provide enough evidence to justify mitigating ACO2 emissions. It isn’t about exploring the science. It isn’t about a “back and forth.” It is only about creating a publicity campaign for their “forth.” Their minds are made up, and they are seeking to undermine the scientific validity of those arguments they disagree with. Their claims of needing to have a more solid understanding are phony.

    A red team/blue team exercise is only of value for those who are actually Pershing a greater understanding. Here is a comment from a “skeptic” at Climate Etc. That I actually mostly liked:

    Kip Hansen | July 4, 2017 at 11:52 pm |
    Forrest and Bob ==> The Red Team should all be outsiders to the organization employing them. It is of little use if the Red Team is already politicized or polarized on the topic to be Red Teamed.

    A Climate Science Red Team needs to be made up of top flight scientists and minds that are not currently involved in the ongoing debate.

    Making up a Red Team of Climate Skeptics is a senseless and self-defeating activity — that just institutionalizes the ongoing deadlocked climate squabble and is not valid Red Teaming.

    The Red Team must not be “opponents” of the current consensus — it must be disinterested in the Climate Wars — only interested in finding the truth as best we can know it at this time — This will require great minds trained in the skills necessary to do a deep review the field of knowledge known as climate science.

    It is on this point that those scoffing at the Red Team idea show their misunderstanding — they think that the Red Team will be made up of Climate Scientists — and it should not, and hopefully, will not be.

    I will be shocked, however, if his speculation about the composition of the “teams” in this exercise is correct. If there is a red team put together that doesn’t comprise a gathering of “skeptics” I will revise my view of the goal of those proposing this idea – which I speculate is merely a proposal for a dog and pony show for “skeptics” powered in the Trump administration.

  106. BBD says:

    So the Red Team gets to re-invent the wheel, at great and painful length, making all the same mistakes that others lacking domain expertise do. That should waste plenty more time before it arrives at exactly the same conclusions already known to climate science.

    This whole exercise is one in delegitimisation, obfuscation and delay. It has very little (no) potential for furthering anything except the agenda of vested interest.

  107. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    =={ That should waste plenty more time before it arrives at exactly the same conclusions already known to climate SCIENCE. }==

    A fair point. But I would argue that as long as this administration remains in office, that same time will be wasted regardless. Nothings going to happen either way. To some extent, the proposed composition of the proposed “red team” will tell us something about the intention of the proponents of this exercise – even if it only distinguishes an intent to “delay” from an internet merely to provide a mouthpiece for the same old “skeptic” taking points.

  108. BBD says:

    Joshua

    A fair point. But I would argue that as long as this administration remains in office, that same time will be wasted regardless.

    I think that the political point here is that one should not acquiesce to tactics that are designed to foster vested interests under the merest pretense of scientific inquiry. By all means play, but do not let the opposition make up its own rules for the game or you will lose.

  109. If we are going to waste our time, at least we ought to waste it productively? ;o)

  110. Joshua says:

    BBD –

    I don’t understand. How do you play yet not acquiesce? Refuse to participate contingent on the composition of the “red team?”

    So if they come up with a formal proposal (which I kind of doubt they will, given their demonstrated incompetence in pretty much everything and their failure to follow through on pretty much anything), are you saying prior shouldn’t participate unless they negotiate the terms? Seems that would likely end up at the same result as just ignoring the whole thing to begin with: you decline to participate because the whole thing is a dog and pony show. But anyway, they would always be able to find someone to participate. No on is in a position to enforce a discipline or uniformity in response.

    I don’t know, this whole thing feels odd to me, as it’s speculating about hypotheticals that can go on so many directions.

  111. angech says:

    mt says: “I think it is necessary not to capitulate to a format where hacks are on the attack and real scientists are on the defense. I’d be astonished if that weren’t what is intended. But that of course isn’t a real red team exercise.”

    If the science is right, and you strongly feel it is, go out and defend it. Of course you will be under hack attack. That is what a red team is. The point is that sometimes red teams win, not because of the science but just the statistics. Blue teams should win 95% of the time. If you are right the arguments should win out that often. Unless you have boxing referees.
    Even if you do people will see an injustice if there is one.

    I would not like to be on a red team re flat earth or Antivax. The arguments against flat earths and vaccine effectiveness go without saying.
    I would still go on a team defending the rights of people to make their own choices or have free speech, different arguments and they do have limits which black and white statements do not have.

    CO2 has warming potential. I would not go on the red team. Dangerous warming potential still not on the red.
    CO2 rise is all man made and is only and always harmful. Red team every time.

  112. BBD says:

    Joshua

    I see what you mean, but the claim that there are fundamental reasons to Red Team climate science is bogus. You play by refusing to pretend otherwise for the convenience of the other side. Call a spade a spade and do not be afraid to do so. All this accommodation is *always* used against us. And some of us never learn.

  113. angech says:

    The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says: July 4, 2017 at 4:40 pm
    ” immigrants that pick their tomatoes and who serve them in restaurants.These people really WANT the coal mining jobs to come back.”
    Somebody has to pick tomatoes and serve in restaurants, Someone has to dig trenches and install plumbing. We cannot all be lawyers.
    “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” – Pogo, Walt Kelly, 1971 Great quote. Nixon not Trump was the villain?

    Willard says:
    “Red teams are for those who lost.” Nobody expects audits”‘ or the Spanish Inquisition.

    Victor Venema (@VariabilityBlog) says: July 5, 2017 at 12:39 am
    Angech, “How should Pruitt formulate the rules for the competencies a Red Team member should have according to you?”

    Victor, I am sorry to say but you are a true blue climate warrior. That’s a badge of honor. The people who should go on a red team have to have an ability to pretend to believe in the alternative. It’s not that you could not go on a red team, you should not go on a red team. Sorry.

    “Would Peter Wadhams and Guy McPearson be allowed to be Red Team members”

    As Mosher said you would not want them on the blue team.

    Steven Mosher says: July 5, 2017 at 1:18 am
    “you can red team in your sleep.” We can both do red team or blue team, Steve. Born to argue.

    For what is it worth it is a fait accompli and it will attack climate science as we know it while Trump is in. Debating about not going on the Blue team is pointless, there will always be a group of people who will panel for the publicity, some of them quite respected in their fields. The outcome as said is fore ordained, after all you should never have an enquiringly without first determining the outcome.

  114. angech,

    CO2 rise is all man made and is only and always harmful. Red team every time.

    Well, yes, it is all man made. Only and always harmful? No, that isn’t really what is being suggested. Continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere will change our climate in ways that may produce more negative impacts than positive and is probably irreversible on human timescales. There is therefore a good argument for trying to find ways to avoid continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere.

  115. Joshua says:

    angech –

    =={ Of course you will be under hack attack. That is what a red team is. }==

    I notice that you presuppose that the “red team” already has their minds made up. So let’s be clear that by that conceptualization, this isn’t an exercise in scientific exploration, but a publicity stunt to promote the Republicans’ conclusions on climate science (conclusions made by politicians who don’t possess the knowledge or expertise to really understand the science – which means, of course, that once they use this process to promote their preexisting opinions, they will be relying on “appeal to authority” to proclaim that their preexisting views were confirmed).

    What do you think about Judith so actively promoting an initiative that, from what you’ve said at least, you agree is a publicity stunt?

  116. Joshua says:

    BTW –

    At the risk of repeating myself (for the first time, ever!), I will again say that IMO, for a “red team” process to work well, they participants should clearly not be partisans, but people who are not aligned, but who attack a proposition from various perspectives, to build on various assumptions and starting conditions.

    IMO, the concept of “red teaming” as it is playing out in this context is pretty much nonsense, or perhaps more succinctly, sameosameo, where the same tired arguments will be presented int the same tired fashion. As I see it, the goal here of the proponents is merely a PR stunt.

  117. Joshua says:

    From the first line of the Wikipedia entry on “red team.”

    A red team or red force is an independent group that challenges an organization to improve its effectiveness.

    Ok, so Wikipedia isn’t exactly an authoritative source, and anyway, presenting decontextualized definitions is a rather poor excuse for making a point…but…

    I would be curious if someone could lay out why independence shouldn’t be a precondition of a constructive “red team” process. Or, alternatively, explain how stacking a “red team” of people whose minds are already made up against a “blue team” of people whose minds aren’t already made up is anything other than sameosameo, and not a process that, ironically, undercuts the theoretical premise for “red teaming?”

    I know, I know, “proving a negative….”

  118. Joshua says:

    Oy.

    Anders, help a brother out will you (with that end block quote)? [Mod: fixed.]

  119. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

    BBD:

    This whole exercise is one in delegitimisation, obfuscation and delay. It has very little (no) potential for furthering anything except the agenda of vested interest.

    Agree.

    Expect critical-mass quantities of weapons-grade bullshit.

    Anyway – Here’s the T-shirt.

  120. Pingback: Temperature targets | …and Then There's Physics

  121. Mal Adapted says:

    izen:

    Knowledge of ecology may make wounds visible, but unless you fall victim to the Naturalistic Fallacy it should also make the benefits visible.

    I’m afraid you’ve missed the point by at least a kilometer. I wasn’t making claims about physical reality, I was referring to the way Jeff and I feel about losses due to any anthropogenic cause, that people like you assign little or no value to even if you’re aware of them. Like pikas, or coral reefs.

  122. Frank says:

    Steve wrote: “Ecs = dT/dF and attributionist doubts are about the denominator. BEST kinda showed that dT was well measured. Judith and others think that delta forcing as most consensus people consider it does not take into account natural variation.

    Mostly agree about BEST. The formula you cite above doesn’t apply to the IPCC’s attribution statement, which is derived from fingerprinting and scaling as discussed in section 10.3 of AR5 and summarized in Figure 10.5. Since the process is involves scaling it appears to be circular when a best estimate for the anthropogenic contribution is calculated. And the great uncertainty in warming due to GHGs and to other factors (mostly aerosols) with much less uncertainty in total anthropogenic warming seems absurd unless one assumes that models have been tuned (which Isaac Held says is possible in his last blog post).

    I’m much more comfortable thinking about attribution in terms of climate sensitivity, but TCR is more relevant than ECS..

    TCR = F_2x*{dT/dF}. ECS = F_2x *{dT/(dF-dQ)}

    I believe dF includes both “naturally forced” and “anthropogenically forced” change and that dT is the sum of these forced changes. Since we don’t know how much temperature change is unforced, we ASSUME that observed temperature change is equal to forced temperature change (a potential systematic error not found in the confidence interval). Fortunately, EBMs have studied different periods and come up with similar answers, suggesting the systematic error in using “observed dT” for “forced dT” is modest FOR the periods studied. Lewis and Curry (2014), Otto (2013) and others use different strategies to minimize uncertainty. L&C try to eliminate bias from unforced variability by using periods of 130 and 65 years for AMO and from ENSO by averaging beginning and ending temperatures over two decades; leaving the uncertainty in dF as the largest contributor. Otto uses short periods where there is much less uncertainty in the change in aerosol forcing and dF, but risks much more chance of systematic error from unforced variability. The fact that the central estimates produced by all periods are similar suggests that unforced variability in warming can’t be as high as 50% (MY personal view), but I’m not sure what happens if the full pdf for TCR is used to constrain unforced variability. So I’d like to see a blue team challenge Curry on what EBMs tell us about the possibility that only half of warming is due to man.

    However, AOGCMs exhibit TCRs that are up to twice the central estimate from EBMs (and greater for ECS). If you believe high sensitivity AOGCMs are correct, that is somewhat equivalent to saying that ONLY HALF of warming from 1951-2010 was forced – again based on central estimates and not the full pdf! So I’d like to hear how blue responds to red on this issue.

    FWIW, recent papers by Gregory and Andrews reconcile some of the differences between EBMs and AOGCMs. When models are forced with actually SST’s, the increase in the amount of heat they radiate to space with surface warming (W/m2/K) is consistent with the low climate sensitivity of EBMs. This suggests modest problems with slow heat transfer into the ocean are making AOGCMs run a little hot today. (Ocean heat uptake influences TCR, but not ECS.) However, models show a variable and sometimes dramatic increase in positive cloud feedback in the Pacific in the future. These non-linearities in climate sensitivity imply that EBMs may be reliable today, but EBMs can’t tell us about a phenomena that hasn’t happened yet (future changes in cloud feedback) that is responsible for the high ECS observed in 4X experiments. In essence, lukewarmers are right about EBMs and models running (modestly) hot, but there is no way to demonstrate they are wrong (or right) about the future.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL068406/abstract
    http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-14-00545.1

    Shindell offers a different explanation.

    So, a candid red team – blue team exercise might resolve some of the scientific controversies of the past and define the key issues for the future. I don’t know which skeptics (except perhaps Nic Lewis) are at the cutting edge on climate sensitivity. The SPMs produced by the IPCC will never deal with such controversies; AR5 punted on: the hiatus, EBMs vs AOGCMs, the hot-spot, caveats about AOGCMs, etc. However, I don’t know what a red team will do in the real world of politics; I’m mostly interested in science. However, if the climate science community wants to appeal to only one US party by pretending the “science is settled” and by avoiding debate with skeptics, that may be a losing strategy in the US (where the system requires greater consensus than in disciplined parliamentary systems).

  123. Frank says:

    Steve: My comment about splicing records was based on the fact that two hypothesis can be put forward to explain any undocumented breakpoint: 1) a permanent shift to new measurement conditions and 2) a gradual increase in measurement bias that is suddenly eliminated by station maintenance or a station move to a nearby site lacking bias. If hypothesis 2 is correct, slicing (or homogenization) keeps the biased trend and discards the needed correction. I wish BEST had recognized this issue and reconstructed temperature with and without slicing. Skeptics who publicize a few errors introduced by slicing/homogenization would be out of business and your findings about UHI presumably would be strengthened.

    I’m surprised to hear that Andy influenced Muller. The surface stations project documented the existence of poor siting. However, poor siting by itself can not bias a trend – only a changing bias can bias a trend. Therefore, it is not surprising that well- and poorly-sited stations have similar trends.

  124. Steven Mosher says:

    Frank. We did with and without empirical breaks.
    We tested multiple criteria for breaks.
    We Double Blind Tested It As Well.

    Empirical breaks can happen because of undocumented changes in metadata.

  125. Frank says:

    All: Some of your comments critical of what I said about the “high end of ECS” are correct. Let me try a different approach. ESS is higher than ECS because of very slow feedback from CO2 outgassing from the ocean and surface albedo change. On the Vostok post, ATTP brought up this Hansen paper

    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/what-does-the-vostok-ice-core-tell-us/
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf

    If one converts Hansen’s values to feedbacks, they total +1.3 W/m2/K. An ECS of 4.5 K/doubling and 3.7 W/m2/doubling imply an overall climate feedback parameter (increase in radiative cooling to space and albedo) of -0.8 W/m2/K. An ECS of 3.0 K/doubling; -1.23 W/m2/K

    So, if we ran an AOGCM with an ECS of 3.0 K/doubling long enough to experience slow feedbacks as large as Hansen claims (and the feedbacks remained linear), the AOGCM would project a runaway GHE. EBMs rule out ECS above 4 K. if you accept Hansen’s numbers, even 3K is unlikely.

    When you consider an ECS of 4.5 or even 3.0 K/doubling, positive feedbacks are already preventing most of the -3.2 W/m2/K of Planck feedback from reaching space or compensating for it with a decrease in albedo (positive SWR cloud feedback and surface albedo feedback). You are on the verge of a runaway GHE the planet hasn’t experienced, even without the very slow positive feedbacks that aren’t included in ECS. Our ability to distinguish between -0.82 W/m2/K (4.5 K) and a runaway GHE (near 0 W/m2/K) using AOGCMs is already marginal, so why worry about the negligibly different -0.67 W/m2/K (5.5 K) or -0.57 W/m2/K (6.5 K). The world is doomed – except it didn’t happen in the past. It would make far more sense to worry about ESS than the difference between 4.5 and 5.5 K.

    Now, it does make sense to worry about the significant differences between 2.5 W/m2/K (ECS of 1.5 K) and 1.5 W/m2/K (2.5 K), and possibly 1.15 W/m2/K (3.5 K).

  126. Jeff Harvey says:

    Izen, let me rephrase that. But please, you do not need to lecture me on the finer details of the abyss that awaits us if we cross our fingers, close our eyes, and press ahead with a business as usual agenda. I am not some rank amateur who comments in this area. I have enough professional qualifications to be taken very seriously.

    What I am referring to by the ‘death throes of the planet’ is threefold, all interconnected: first, a significant increase in the rate of extinction, greatly exacerbating the anthropogenic extinction event currently underway. This will lead the further simplification of food webs and ultimately to the collapse of ecosystems across wide swathes of the biosphere. This, in turn will have devastating effects upon a range of critical regulating and supporting ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, water purification, pollination, maintenance of soil fertility and others. The punch line is that, by allowing the temperature to crash through the 2 degree C barrier and into unforseen territory, it would appear that Homo sapiens is doing everything it can to hasten its own extinction, given that the survival of our species hinges on conditions emerging from nature. There is nothing mysterious about this at all: humans exist and persist because natural systems permit it (Levin, 1999). There is a not so subtle lesson here.

    So I return to my posts of yesterday by saying that we are talking about creating a biologically impoverished world and the possible death throes of humanity. Satisfied?

  127. Nathan Tetlaw says:

    A relevant Artcicle:
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/07/climate-change-denial-scepticism-cynicism-politics?CMP=share_btn_tw

    Concluding paragraph reads:
    “The scientific consensus on climate change is real. But by insisting on its merits for the purposes of politics, its champions have exposed it to ridicule. Political arguments for climate science – indeed, for any science – in the age of Trump should not keep saying that the populists are lying about the consensus. They should say that they are hypocrites about the doubt: they do not practise what they preach because they think they know the answers already. Climate change deniers argue they are only trying to discover the truth. We should all be sceptical about that.”

    I like the idea of presenting deniers as hypocrites when it comes to ‘doubt’

  128. Frank,

    If one converts Hansen’s values to feedbacks, they total +1.3 W/m2/K. An ECS of 4.5 K/doubling and 3.7 W/m2/doubling imply an overall climate feedback parameter (increase in radiative cooling to space and albedo) of -0.8 W/m2/K. An ECS of 3.0 K/doubling; -1.23 W/m2/K

    So, if we ran an AOGCM with an ECS of 3.0 K/doubling long enough to experience slow feedbacks as large as Hansen claims (and the feedbacks remained linear), the AOGCM would project a runaway GHE. EBMs rule out ECS above 4 K. if you accept Hansen’s numbers, even 3K is unlikely.

    This doesn’t make any sense to me. How would an AOGCM project runaway and how do you conclude that Hansen’s numbers suggest even 3K is unlikely? As far as I’m aware, 3K is close to the middle of the ECS range and below what we would expect for the ESS.

  129. izen says:

    @- Jeff Harvey
    “So I return to my posts of yesterday by saying that we are talking about creating a biologically impoverished world and the possible death throes of humanity. Satisfied?”

    Moderately.
    Certainly biologicaly impoverished, the death throes of civilisation is certainly possible. Human adaptability over the last 250,000 years (two glacial maxima and the Eemian high) suggest that they may persist, our environmental range is impressive, even as hunter-gatherers.

    For another POV on whether global warming will cause biological impoverishment, try this annoying spin!

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/science/825625/Climate-change-human-impact-GOOD-wildlife-Inheritors-of-the-Earth-professor-Chris-Thomas

    “The professor argues many animals and plants actually benefit from our presence, raising biological diversity in most parts of the world and increasing the rate at which new species are formed, perhaps to the highest level in Earth’s history.”

  130. Dan Hughes says:

    In fact, were it not for climate disruption (a.k.a. “global warming”) there’s a good case to be made that climatology would be taking over from physics as queen of the sciences in the computational era.

    mt, Fiddling around with mathematical models which are at best a zeroth-order incomplete approximation to the physical domain, the critical aspects of fidelity to the physical domain carried not by fundamental equations but by parameterizations of previous states that the materials in the system have obtained, some of the latter of which are ad hoc, the results of which is an engineering process model and not a fundamental mathematical model of the physical domain, obtaining approximate “solutions” to those approximations, all the while in a “what if” application arena in contrast to a prediction application arena, should not be classified queen of anything. Especially it is not the queen of the computational science and engineering era.

    Kindly note that my statement does not conclude anything relative to the usefulness, and especially the uselessness, of computational climatology. I address only the labeling of its status in our current era of extensive and intensive computational science and engineering.

  131. Dan,

    Fiddling around with mathematical models which are at best a zeroth-order incomplete approximation to the physical domain

    I think this is probably (almost certainly?) not true, but I’ll let MT takes this further (if he chooses to do so). Climate models are very obviously not perfect representations of the system they’re being used to study (that’s probably impossible) but suggesting that they’re zeroth-order incomplete approximations to the physical domain is a bit much.

  132. Windchaser says:

    mt, Fiddling around with mathematical models which are at best a zeroth-order incomplete approximation to the physical domain,

    I almost stopped here, ’cause this is blatantly false. Zeroth-order approximations are just flat lines, with no feedback or variation. Heck, even the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, which is about the simplest equation in climate models, is not zero-order. Much less when you look at the interactions of radiative physics with convection, convection with evaportranspiration, etc., etc.

  133. Willard says:

    > Franken’s mischaracterization of peer review as a red team blue team event is often a joke – except when skeptics submit papers.

    Frank mischaracterizes how scientific lichurchur proceeds. There are countless examples of adversarial reviews. Innumerable discussions that polarize viewpoints between institutions. Traditions are still a thing, and the best way for physicists to recognize nut jobs is by their strange speech patterns. Closer to us, there is Lew c. DanK, Richie c. AndyG if not the world, KevinA c. flying technocrats.

    Besides, “Red team” is an oxymoron. Think about it.

  134. izen says:

    @- “Fiddling around with mathematical models which are at best a zeroth-order incomplete approximation to the physical domain, the critical aspects of fidelity to the physical domain carried not by fundamental equations but by parameterizations of previous states that the materials in the system have obtained, some of the latter of which are ad hoc,”

    Not true of climate/weather models.
    But an uncomfortably close description of econometrics.

  135. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:


    Besides, “Red team” is an oxymoron. Think about it.

    Indeed.

    Like “fair and balanced”.

    If you are a scientist and you haven’t had papers rejected, haven’t had proposals crushed by superiors, and have plenty of funding for current research projects, then you aren’t working nearly hard enough.

    Skeptics who submit papers and then complain about getting treated roughly should know – you’re not alone. Science is not a safe space. Counseling is available.

  136. Willard says:

    > Counseling is available.

    Here’s one:

    I can’t believe this website is free.

  137. BBD says:

    izen

    Moderately.
    Certainly biologicaly impoverished, the death throes of civilisation is certainly possible. Human adaptability over the last 250,000 years (two glacial maxima and the Eemian high) suggest that they may persist, our environmental range is impressive, even as hunter-gatherers.

    For another POV on whether global warming will cause biological impoverishment, try this annoying spin!

    A few quick points:

    I think you are right to distinguish between an existential threat to humanity as a species and to civilisation. Not that this affords any great comfort to the survivors.

    As for the nonsense about rapid environmental change (warming; ocean pH shift) somehow not triggering food web collapse and extinctions…

    The University of York academic says nature is fighting back against human industrialisation of the globe and that, in the short-term, climate change has benefited some species.

    By the end of the century and beyond, not so much.

  138. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

  139. Frank says:

    ATTP asked: This doesn’t make any sense to me. How would an AOGCM project runaway and how do you conclude that Hansen’s numbers suggest even 3K is unlikely? As far as I’m aware, 3K is close to the middle of the ECS range and below what we would expect for the ESS.

    A blackbody near 255 K has a something that resembles a “climate feedback parameter” of 3.8 W/m2/K, because that is the rate at which the S-B equation predicts thermal emission will increase with temperature (dW/dT = -43oT^3). Negative values for loss of energy. For a graybody of emissivity 0.61 at 288 K, -3.3 W/m2/K. For AOGCMs when nothing is allowed to change except temperature, -3.2 W/m2/K. (Typically called Planck feedback.) When water vapor and lapse rate are allowed to change, AOGCMs predict only -2.2 W/m2/K escapes – a feedback of +1 W/m2. From space, CERES observes an seasonal increase of LWR radiative cooling to space of roughly -2.2 W/m2/K from both clear and clouds skies. (Climate models disagree about LWR from cloudy skies.) An increase in reflection of SWR to space is equivalent to an increase in radiative cooling to space. IF cloud cover decreases enough to admit an addition 1 W/m2 of SWR for every degK it warms (+1 W/m2/K, about 0.3%/K decrease in albedo), the net flux to space will be only -1.2 W/m2/K. Climate models show a wide range of cloud feedback. Ice-albedo feedback also has a wide range, but +0.3 W/m2/K is common. Total all feedbacks including PlancK using these numbers: -0.9 W/m2/K.

    If a doubling of CO2 reduces the outward flux of heat from the Earth by 3.7 W/m2/doubling, we can use any of these climate feedback parameters to determine how much our planet must warm to restore radiative balance at the TOA (or where the temperature stabilizes for simple black and graybodies). That is ECS. 3.7 W/m2/doubling divided by the climate feedback parameter (W/m2/K) is ECS (K/doubling). -0.9 W/m2/K is an ECS of 4.1 K/doubling.

    What happens if SWR cloud feedback is bigger: +1.9 W/m2/K. Total feedback: 0 W/m2/K. ECS becomes infinity. The amount of radiation emitted by the planet becomes independent of surface temperature, a runaway GHE. This never has happened to the Earth. Feedbacks may not be perfectly linear with temperature, but the climate feedback parameter on the warmer end the planet has experienced must be well above 0 W/m2/K. In the colder direction, we’ve experienced a snowball earth and ice ages (associated with negligible global forcing), so a non-linear climate feedback may be near zero on the cold side.

    However, with the exception of the above except “ice-albedo” feedback, these are fast feedbacks – their impacts are felt within months. So is the part of ice albedo feedback due to changes in seasonal snow cover. So probably is melting of sea ice, since more than half melts every summer. However, the outgassing of CO2 from the deep ocean can’t occur until the MOC brings deep water to the surface (diffusion is too slow). Ice caps melt slowly. Both processes take millennia. The average 4XCO2 experiment is only run for 150 years. Slow feedbacks have barely begun. So the ECS they extrapolate probably doesn’t include these slow feedbacks. At the end of a 4XCO2 experiment, heat (dQ) is still flowing into the deep ocean. The Gregory Plot (dQ vs dT) used to extrapolate ECS is estimating the point where dQ = 0 . dQ = 0 means radiative balance at the TOA, the definition of ECS. The same is true when we calculate ECS from EBMs. In both cases, ECS technically means “effective” climate sensitivity determined by the combined impact of all of the feedbacks fast enough to be operating on the time scale of the experiment.

    TCR = F2x*(dT/dF) ECS = F2x*(dT/(dF-dQ))

    So ECS doesn’t include the full effect of these slow feedbacks. Only ESS does. But ESS doesn’t appear to be discussed in terms feedbacks. In Hansen’s paper, he calls them climate forcings and estimates that they are 6.5 W/m2 after the Earth has warmed 5 K. So I made a mistake above and simply divided and called the result (1.3 W/m2/K) a climate feedback parameter. In this case, I suspect that 1.3 W/m2 is the sum of some infinite series like those you see for amplifiers. Nevertheless, there are additional feedbacks not included in our measurement of ECS. That is why ESS was invented. So with the above climate feedback parameter of -0.9 W/m2/K and ECS of 4.1 K/doubling, we are already uncomfortably close to a runaway GHE on the century time scale. The climate feedback parameter is going to be even closer to zero after slow feedbacks are added. And we know the sum can’t be zero or near enough that something could have pushed us over the edge.

    Why doesn’t Hansen discuss ESS in terms of feedbacks? I think the answer must be that glacial/interglacial transitions can’t be easily described in terms of a forcing amplified by feedbacks. Global forcing from orbital mechanics is essentially zero. Yet the planet warmed 5 degK. Is termination a runaway GHE where the planet temporarily acts like it has a climate feedback parameter of 0 W/m2/K, but stops because feedbacks are non-linear? Apparently, there is a lot more dust in ice cores just before termination that changes surface albedo that could have been treated as a forcing.

    To some extent (except for the discussion of the climate feedback parameter), which is used in place of ECS in many papers, this is speculation on my part. However, when Hansen is telling you that ESS is bigger that ECS, he must also be saying that the climate feedback parameter gets closer to zero on the millennial time scale. The difference between an ECS (centennial time scale) of 4.5 and 5.5 is only 0.15 W/m2/K. It is improbable that any AOGCM has the accuracy to distinguish between 4.5 and 5.5. At some point, where you add in the slow feedbacks on the millennial time scale, you get impossibly close to 0 W/m2/K. IMO, we are already about at that point when ECS is 4.5. So models can’t distinguish between 4.5 and 5.5 (because 0.15 W/m2/K is well within their error) and even if we could, somewhere at the high end, millennial feedbacks are going to push us over the edge into a runaway GHE. However, when I calculated that anything over an ECS of 3 K was equivalent to a runaway GHE on the millennial time scale, that was meant as an illustration of how important slow feedbacks might be and NOT PROPERLY CALCULATED.

    So there are real differences between the two ends of the 1.5 – 4.5 K/doubling range, when you look at it in terms the climate feedback parameter (as many papers do these days). The range is -2.5 to -0.9 W/m2/K. The midpoint, -1.7 W/m2/K, is 2.2 K/doubling. And answers too closed to 0 W/m2/K are improbable.

    nlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2016GL068406/abstract

    We investigate the climate feedback parameter α (W m−2 K−1) during the historical period (since 1871) in experiments using the HadGEM2 and HadCM3 atmosphere general circulation models (AGCMs) with constant preindustrial atmospheric composition and time-dependent observational sea surface temperature (SST) and sea ice boundary conditions. In both AGCMs, for the historical period as a whole, the effective climate sensitivity is ∼2 K (α≃1.7 W m−2 K−1), and α shows substantial decadal variation caused by the patterns of SST change. Both models agree with the AGCMs of the latest Coupled Model Intercomparison Project in showing a considerably smaller effective climate sensitivity of ∼1.5 K (α = 2.3 ± 0.7 W m−2 K−1), given the time-dependent changes in sea surface conditions observed during 1979–2008, than the corresponding coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation models (AOGCMs) give under constant quadrupled CO2 concentration. These findings help to relieve the apparent contradiction between the larger values of effective climate sensitivity diagnosed from AOGCMs and the smaller values inferred from historical climate change.

  140. BBD says:

    Frank

    So ECS doesn’t include the full effect of these slow feedbacks. Only ESS does. But ESS doesn’t appear to be discussed in terms feedbacks.

    ?

    See eg. Hansen & Sato (2012):

    3.5. Climate sensitivity including slow feedbacks

    Climate sensitivity including slow feedbacks is now frequently described as ‘Earth system sensitivity’ (Lunt et al., 2010; Pagani et al., 2010; Park and Royer, 2011; Royer et al., 2011), but not always with the same definition. There are merits in alternative choices for which feedbacks are included, but the choice needs to be precisely defined. Otherwise values inferred for Earth system sensitivity may be ambiguous and yield a greater range than dictated by the physics.
    We suggest that it is useful to define additional climate sensitivities that build on the fast feedback sensitivity, Sff, via sequential addition of slow feedback processes. We focus first on climate sensitivity combining fast feedbacks and slow surface change, Sff+sur.
    Sff+sur can be evaluated empirically from documented climate changes. Sensitivity Sff+sur is useful for cases in which atmospheric GHG changes are known. We note two specific cases.
    One case in which Sff+sur is useful is the era of human-made climate change. Past GHG amounts are known from ice core data and in situ measurements, and future GHG changes can be estimated from GHG emission scenarios and carbon-cycle calculations. A portion of the GHG change is due to slow climate feedbacks, but by specifying observed GHG amounts the GHG effect is included precisely. This approach improves the prospect of assessing other contributions to climate sensitivity, including the surface climate feedback.

    [etc.]

  141. Willard says:

    > this is speculation on my part

    My own speculation is that you might need to have a word with the author of this blog post, Frank.

  142. mt says:

    >> This Red Team/Blue Team stuff has nothing to do with trying to improve our scientific understanding. The Blue Team won’t have any say on the rules. The rules will set up any Blue Team for failure, and will not require the Red Team to actually do anything constructive. Any attempt to negotiate the process will lead to the puppeteers of the process claiming the scientists are hiding something. Any attempt to discredit the quality of the Red Team will be looked upon as Gatekeeping. The whole purpose will be to increase the profile and attempt to bootstrap the credibility of The Usual Suspects, and make it look as if their vacuous criticisms of the science have merit.

    Very likely on all points. If so, let’s be loud and clear about it from the outset, and advocate for a better process.

    The cynical effort wouldn’t be happening if they didn’t think there were people on the fence to convince. We need to appeal to them. Explaining why any unfair proposal is unfair is hard, but giving the cynics a free pass isn’t the way to handle it.

  143. Bob Loblaw says:

    mt:
    So, as I said in the paragraph immediately following what you quoted:

    “Some effort is needed to show what a waste this Red Team/Blue Team process is (including how it doesn’t resemble a real investigation), but we need to spend time trying to reach the people that can actually make a difference.”

  144. Frank,
    Okay, you’re slightly losing me. I don’t think there is any real chance that the non-Planck feedbacks can have a larger magnitude than the Planck response (at least, not in our current climate state).

  145. Pingback: Off for a couple of weeks | …and Then There's Physics

  146. In both AGCMs, for the historical period as a whole, the effective climate sensitivity is ∼2 K (α≃1.7 W m−2 K−1), and α shows substantial decadal variation caused by the patterns of SST change.
    A blackbody near 255 K has a something that resembles a “climate feedback parameter” of 3.8 W/m2/K, because that is the rate at which the S-B equation predicts thermal emission will increase with temperature (dW/dT = -43oT^3).

  147. charlesdoliver,

    A blackbody near 255 K has a something that resembles a “climate feedback parameter” of 3.8 W/m2/K, because that is the rate at which the S-B equation predicts thermal emission will increase with temperature (dW/dT = -43oT^3).

    If you do

    \dfrac{dF}{dT} = 4 \sigma T^3,

    at 288K, you get 5.41Wm-2K-1. However, we know from the greenhouse effect that the surface flux is attenuated by a factor of 255^4/288^4 = 0.61, since the surface temperature is 288K, and the effective radiative temperature is 255K.

    So, if you modify the above to

    \dfrac{dF}{dT} = 4 \epsilon \sigma T^3,

    where \epsilon = 0.61, then you get a response of 3.2Wm-2K-1 at 288K. This is referred to as the Planck response.

  148. Kip Hansen says:

    The Red Team is a great idea no matter which side of the Climate Wars divide one sits.

    For those on the skeptical side, it is a chance to see their views and data taken seriously, their objections looked at without prejudice, and some of the more egregious biases of today’s CliSci exposed.

    For those on the Climate Consensus side, it is a chance for some of the nonsense and noise points of the skeptic side put down by outside-the-ring experts.

    Potentially a Win-Win for both sides.

    For the general public and the rest of Science, it has always been a Win-Win idea — the embarrassment of the ongoing Climate Wars and the all-too-public exposure of still-ongoing ClimateGate tactics are tar-brushing other scientific fields.

    The Red Team needs to be made up entirely of Non-Combatants, of course. Top-flight, world-class scientists, leaders in their fields, not currently making fools of themselves, or being made to appear to be fools, in the Climate Wars.

    The fields to be represented included: Physics, Statistics, Chemistry, Non-linear dynamics, Fluid flow dynamics, planetary physics, Meteorology, Ocean Studies — there are probably many others. If we could select from the past, we would select Feynman, Lorenz, Asimov, and the like.

    Anyone ever publishing about Climate Science should be excluded from the start.

    Other exclusions: Any and all members of the Climate Team, any name ever appearing in the ClimateGate files, anyone contributing to the IPCC or the NIPCC (and related also-rans) reports, all government agency employees.

    There is nothing magical about Climate Science that requires special degrees or specialized training for this Red Team Review — it is all just basic science and math.

    Red Teams are designed to see through, around, and over Group Think. If you don’t see the group think involved in Climate Science, you have had your eyes closed tight for 30 years — and I mean on BOTH SIDES of the climate wars.

    John P. A. Ioannidis hit the nail on the head when he pointed out “for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

    That’s why we need ONLY scientists from OUTSIDE THE FIELD to do the review.

  149. Kip,

    For those on the skeptical side, it is a chance to see their views and data taken seriously, their objections looked at without prejudice, and some of the more egregious biases of today’s CliSci exposed.

    There really is nothing stopping those on the skeptical side from having their views and data taken seriously. The problem is mainly that their views are mostly not worth taking seriously. Trying to force people to do so by promoting a politically-motivated Red team exercise suggests that they can’t do so any other way.

    For those on the Climate Consensus side, it is a chance for some of the nonsense and noise points of the skeptic side put down by outside-the-ring experts.

    Apart from in the media, and on blogs, the nonsense has mostly been put down. I see no reason why a Red Team exercise would change this.

    The fields to be represented included: Physics, Statistics, Chemistry, Non-linear dynamics, Fluid flow dynamics, planetary physics, Meteorology, Ocean Studies — there are probably many others.

    These fields are already represented.

    That’s why we need ONLY scientists from OUTSIDE THE FIELD to do the review.

    And when they get a result you don’t like will you accuse them of being biased and argue for a Purple team exercise?

  150. dikranmarsupial says:

    Kip wrote “For those on the skeptical side, it is a chance to see their views and data taken seriously, their objections looked at without prejudice, and some of the more egregious biases of today’s CliSci exposed. “

    You mean like when Prof. Essenhigh proposed an incorrect argument based on the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere (sadly by no means the first to do so), and I published a comment paper explaining why it was incorrect? Climate skeptic arguments are taken seriously and without prejudice (I’d have liked Essenhigh to have been right). The point where they are not taken seriously is when their arguments are shown to be incorrect, but they can’t accept it and go on repeating them (e.g. NIPCC report citing Essenhigh, but not the comment paper). Normal pre- and post- publication review already achieves what the red-team is supposed to do.

  151. Kip Hansen says:

    I have yet to see any logical or scientific argument against the very well founded idea of a Red Team to review what is one of the major scientific controversies of the age. I see two things: 1) Denial — “there is no controversy” and 2) “Red Team is simply another a tactic in the Climate Wars” and since it seems proposed by skeptics, it is invalid, stupid etc etc.

    Red Teams do not require a controversy to be invoked. They do need to be invoked when the stakes of a decision on a topic are extremely high and the solution must be right. That’s why Intelligence Agencies use them — too much chance that all the analysts have been working too closely together and influenced one another’s viewpoints and conclusions.

    If the Climate Consensus Team wanted the science to be right and the proposed solutions to be right, and thought that their current position was Highly Likely to be right — they should welcome a Red Team exercise to put to rest any doubts — and there are legitimate doubts, certainly with some of the proposed solutions.

    It is hugely “sore thumb obvious” that at least American politicians and policy makers are not convinced. They are not convinced because the field is full of controversy, doubts, uncertainty and disputes. A solid Red Team review, done right (as I and others have suggested, by world-class non-combatants) would settle all the points of controversy (and probably identify areas still needing more research to be sure enough science to make policy on).

    With solid unbiased review by disinterested world-class “non-combatant” scientists from a wide range of fields, both the general public and policy makers would be reassured that sacrifices they are being asked to make are worth the pain and the price, and we could move forward.

    It both appalls and amuses me that anyone would have objections to such an idea.

    Never have I seem objections to such reviews in medical science.

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