The importance of science communication

A view from the Cuillin hills.

I’m just back from teaching at a summer school on the Dynamics of Exoplanetary and Solar System Bodies. It started in Inverness and then moved to Skye, which was a lovely place to visit.

I gave a couple of lectures mostly listened to the other lectures, or spent time talking with the “students”, who were PhD students and early career postdoctoral researchers. We did get one day off, which I used to go walking in the Cuillin hills.

One evening event involved a discussion about science communication, or public outreach. Most people agreed that it was important and something that researchers should aim to do. There was a clear recognition that it was important to be aware of the intended audience, and that we should think of innovative ways to communicate. Particular examples were engaging with artists, or musicians, as a way of making science more accessible. It was clear that virtually everyone recognised that effective science communication was tricky and that engaging with the broader public wasn’t as simple as just explaining the science.

What was interesting, though, was that few seemed to have considered the potential pitfalls. During the early months of the pandemic, the UK government would often claim to be “following the science”. This was clearly intended to imply that government policy was being informed by the scientific evidence, but it also gives politicians a potential scapegoat (the scientists) when things don’t go as well as might have been hoped.

Similarly, the reason climate change hasn’t been effectively addressed, the reason some refuse vaccines, or believe the Earth is flat, is not because of poor science communication. This isn’t to suggest that science communication couldn’t have been better, but that there are so many factors that influence what people are willing to accept, or do, that science communication is unlikely to be a dominant determinant.

So, even though I think it is crucial that scientists engage with the broader public, and with policy makers, I also think it’s important to recognise the limitations of what science communication can, and should, achieve. The goal of science communication is mostly to inform, not to directly influence public opinion, or behaviour. The responsibility for the latter lies with those who have a mandate to do so.

I do think that most scientists recognise the latter, but I’m not sure that many realise that a failure of science communication could easily become the mantra if, or when, we don’t deal with various societal problems as well as we had hoped to do so. Even though it may be difficult to completely avoid such a narrative developing, it’s worth being aware of this possibility and doing our best to avoid it.

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250 Responses to The importance of science communication

  1. johndroz says:

    As a physicist I though you made some good observations, on an important topic.

    However, we part ways when you say: “The reason climate change hasn’t been effectively addressed, the reason some refuse vaccines, or believe the Earth is flat, is not because of poor science communication.”

    Totally disagree on that premise.

  2. john,
    If you disagree with that are you then suggesting that better science communication would, essentially by itself, have resolved these issues?

    If you are then I’m surprised, because it seems to me that there are so many other factors that influence what people choose to accept, or do, that it seems unlikely that a key factor is poor science communication. I also think that some of the science communication has been excellent, so I don’t actually think it’s been all that poor.

    Also, I’m not suggesting that science communication doesn’t play any role, just that it’s unlikely to be a dominant factor in determing what people will accept.

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    Is it just me, or does anyone else find it odd that – on a blog post discussing science communication – a commenter says “totally disagree on that premise” without actually providing any further information on how he disagrees, what other premises are possible, what premises he does agree with, and how they fit the evidence better than the premise presented by the blogger?

  4. johndroz says:

    There was little reason to elaborate, as you appear to have already made up your mind.

    Let’s look at one example: COVID-19 policies. Tell me what exactly is the “Science Communication”?

    Then I can easily answer your question.

  5. john,
    What question? My point is that I don’t think science communication is a dominant factor in determining what people will accept, or what they would be willing to do. You seem to disagree. I’d be interested in you clarifying why you seem to think this.

  6. Bob Loblaw says:

    “Then I can easily answer your question.”

    Totally disagree on that premise.

    [Isn’t this fun?]

  7. johndroz says:

    Ken:

    You claim “I don’t think science communication is a dominant factor in determining what people will accept, or what they would be willing to do.”

    I’m saying let’s look at a current, real world scientific matter, and see whether that opinion holds up.

    I don’t want to put words in your mouth, so I am giving you the opportunity to explain what was the “scientific communication” regarding the US COVID policies.

    Then I will prove to you that your premise is inaccurate.

  8. Joshua Brooks says:

    John –

    Why WAIT? Why not just “prove” that science communication dominated the causal mechanisms explaining what people were willing to accept and do w/r/t COVID in the US?

  9. johndroz says:

    Because Ken will then deny that what I identify as Science Communication regarding COVID-19 was actually the Science Communication.

  10. John,
    Your point seems to be that science communication was a dominant factor in determining people’s acceptance of the risks associated with COVID. This may be fair enough, but it’s not obviously true either (do you really think that the dominant factor was scientists communicating publicly?).

    However, my point is also somewhat different. I’m suggesting that in a scenario where people *don’t* accept something, this is not somehow resolved simply by “better” science communication. Or, conversely, if there are groups who are reluctant to accept something, that the key problem was poor science communication.

    My point isn’t that effective science communication can never play an important role in determining what people will accept, or do. It’s more that it’s unlikely to be a dominant factor in situations when certain groups are reluctant to accept some scientific position, or to act in order to address something that “science” suggests may carry some risks.

    So, again, do you really think that if we are in a situation where groups are reluctant to act to address some issue, that the key factor that will influence them is “better” (suitably defined) science communication?

  11. john,

    Because Ken will then deny that what I identify as Science Communication regarding COVID-19 was actually the Science Communication.

    If you’ve already made you your mind, then there probably isn’t much point in taking this further. I’m not particularly interested in changing it.

  12. Joshua says:

    John –

    So then it seems that (1) You anticipate that Anders will engage in bad faith (shift his argument merely to refute whatever it is that you say) and (2), as a result of his bad faith engagement you anticipate disagreement over the definition of what science communication was re COVID?

    So stipulated.

    But now I’m curious to know what science communication you think it is that dominated the causal mechanisms regarding what people thought/were willing to do re COVID.

    So stipulating 1 and 2 above, would you be willing to outline your views on which science communication you’re thinking of, and how it dominated what people thought/were willing to do re COVID?

  13. johndroz says:

    Ken:

    You are the one who made the assertion. I’m simply asking you to back it up in a real world case.

    You again say “My point isn’t that effective science communication can never play an important role in determining what people will accept, or do.”

    Regarding COVID-19 that is provably wrong — and I suspect you know that.

  14. John,
    This is going in circles. Also, if I was asserting something, I probably wouldn’t have used the word “unlikely”.

    AFAICT, you’re not really interpreting what I’m saying correctly and I have little confidence that you’re going to do so. For example, try reading this again “My point *isn’t* that effective science communication can never play an important role in determining what people will accept, or do.”

    Regarding COVID-19 that is provably wrong — and I suspect you know that.

    As Joshua has suggested, are you claiming that the dominant factor that determined people’s willingness to accept the risks associated with COVID-19, and act, was science communication?

    To be honest, I’m not entirely sure why you’ve chosen to respond as you have. What do you think I’m actually claiming? I don’t think I’m saying anything terribly controversial, or even all that contentious, but you seem to think that I am. It seems pretty clear that there are many factors that will influence what people will accept, or do, and it seems unlikely that science communication will be a dominant one. There may be exceptions, but I don’t think that the key way to resolve serious societal issues is simply “better” science communication.

    Also, even if this were possible, I don’t think it’s necessarily the *right* way to resolve these issues. Clearly, science communication can play an important role, but the mandate for deciding how society should respond to serious issues lies with policy makers, not with scientists, and scientists should be cautious of ending up in situations where they become the scapegoats when things don’t go as well as might be hoped.

    Maybe you disagree, which is fine, but it might be nice if you could disagree with what I’m actually saying, not with what you *think* I’m saying.

  15. Willard says:

    > Totally disagree on that premise.

    As a ninja, I disagree this is a premise.

    Now, about your whataboutism, I have questions:

    John Droz is listed as a contact for a website registered on October 18, 2021 titled c19science.info. The website purports to provide “Science-Based Information” on Covid-19, and repeats a range of common misinformation and myths regarding the deadly virus.

    https://www.desmog.com/john-droz/

  16. johndroz says:

    Ken:

    As Joshua has suggested, are you claiming that the dominant factor that determined people’s willingness to accept the risks associated with COVID-19, and act, was science communication?

    Yes.

  17. John,
    Okay, so you’re making an assertion. Care to back it up?

  18. Willard says:

    > As Joshua has suggested

    Here is what Joshua asked, John:

    Why WAIT? Why not just “prove” that science communication dominated the causal mechanisms explaining what people were willing to accept and do w/r/t COVID in the US?

    As far as your misrepresentations are concerned, I suggest that the buck stops here.

  19. johndroz says:

    Ken:

    So when you make an assertion, you have no obligation to back it up — but when I do there is a different set of rules? Really?

    I asked you to back up your claim regarding COVID and you have studiously avoided doing so. Why is that?

  20. John,
    I haven’t made any claim regarding COVID.

  21. Willard says:

    > your claim regarding COVID

    That’s your second strike, John.

    Quick question:

    There is no pandemic, the governments are faking the death counts (simply placing all deaths in the fabricated COVID category), all the governments are using a fraudulent RT-PCR machine to mark healthy people as infected (therefore driving a fear based case-demic of people who aren’t ill) plus the vaccine is designed to kill, cripple and/or cause infertility,” the article claimed.

    https://www.desmog.com/john-droz/

    Do you still hold that there is no pandemic?

  22. Joshua says:

    John –

    I’m curious what you think explains why much of the public doubts that Obama is Kenyan… would you let us know?

  23. Joshua says:

    I think it’s fair to speculate that John believes that “science communication” explains why people all over the world believed in a fake pandemic, wore masks even through they’re dangerous, and lined up to take vaccines despite that they cause illness and death for no benefit.

    Oh, and that the election was stolen from Trump and Obama is an African Muslim, and many people have been bamboozled on those topics by the MSM, even if it wasn’t “science communication” per se.

    And he has proof on all of that but doesn’t want to show his proof, because if he does show his proof we’ll just say he doesn’t have proof.

    And btw, he’s been a scientist for decades and has looked at lot of stuff.

  24. johndroz says:

    [Snip. Peddling. -W]

  25. Willard says:

    Joshua,

    I think one reason could be related to why one could doubt that John is a physicist:

    It is true that Mr Droz studied physics in college in the ’60s, but his profession has been real estate. He has also been associated with fossil fuel industry-funded conservative think tanks, where he specializes in writing opinion pieces opposing wind farms. (2) His CV is linked to below (3) along with a bio (4).

    https://www.adirondackdailyenterprise.com/opinion/columns/2019/04/anti-science-propagandist-falsely-claims-to-be-a-physicist/

  26. Joshua says:

    John –

    There are many, many people who believe that the COVID vaccines don’t work, that they cause illness and death, that they’re part of the “Great Reset” and an attempt to control the public, with a goal of making huge profits for Big Pharma.

    Based on those beliefs, they have not gotten vaccinated, taken ivermectin, simply not worried about infection (because COVID is basically juzt like a bad cold), etc.

    Do you think that “science communication” explains why those people believe what they believe, and do why they do, re COVID?

  27. johndroz says:

    Willard: That you believe what an unknown individual writes in a newspaper — with zero evidence — says more than I could possibly say.

  28. Willard says:

    John,

    I believe in the power of citation:

    John is also a member of Mensa.

    To sum it all up, one wag said: “John is a Renaissance person.”

    Source: http://wiseenergy.org/Energy/JohnDroz_Energy_CV.pdf

    You’ll never guess where I got this­.

    I also believe in the power of datation: this CV is dated 6/13/22, after the letter was published.

    Lastly, I believe in the power of beautification. You wrote “graduate degree,” which means you ain’t got no physics PhD.

    Your previous comment was your third strike.

  29. johndroz says:

    Willard: Great — good bye!

  30. Willard says:

    Most welcome, John.

    Next time, try to peddle with more forthrightness:

    Peddling

  31. Joshua says:

    John –

    Please answer my question.

    I’ll reduce the scale.

    Many people believe that Ivermectin is a very effective cure for COVID.

    Do you think they believe that because of “science communication?”

    Do you think they believe that, and if they take ivermectin they take ivermectin, because of what Fauci has said?

  32. Willard says:

    I suggest we honor John’s farewell, Joshua.

    If you have a point, make it.

  33. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Similarly, the reason climate change hasn’t been effectively addressed, the reason some refuse vaccines, or believe the Earth is flat, is not because of poor science communication. “

    Indeed, one reason is that people employ eristic rhetoric in order to disrupt any constructive discussion of the science that has been communicated. I think I can find a real world case without undue difficulty that supports ATTPs position.

    Of course science communication isn’t the dominant issue. While there is an information deficit issue, it isn’t the primary problem. Scicom can fill the information deficit, but only if the audience is receptive to having the deficit filled.

  34. johndroz says:

    [Goodbye, John. – W]

  35. Joshua says:

    My point is that I believe John’s argument is likely illogical and incoherent and likely self-contradicting.

    As near as I can tell, he thinks that “science communication” explains the causal mechanisms behind what people believe and do re COVID.

    And, as far as I can tell, he defines “science communication,” re COVID for example, as being essentially like “What Fauci says about COVID.”

    Thus, he’d be making an argument along the lines of: “People who believe Ivermectin works, believe that Ivermectin works because Fauci says to get vaccinated.”

    Which seems illogical.

    Now it may be true that some relatively small number of people take Ivermectin simply because Fauci says to get vaccinated.

    But I doubt that John thinks that explains why many people who think that Ivermectin is effective, think that imIvermectin is effective.

    I’m going to guess that he thinks that most people who believe that Ivermectin is effective, think that Ivermectin is effective because there’s evidence to support thinking that it is effective.

    Thus, I’m speculating that he thinks that: (1) what Fauci says defines “science communication” re COVID and, (2) “science communication” explains why people believe what they believe about COVID yet, (3) many people take Ivermectin even though Fauci says to get vaccinated and, (4) they do so not because Fauci says to get vaccinated, but because they believe vaccines aren’t effective and there’s convincing evidence that Ivermectin is effective.

    So he thinks they: (a) do what they do and believe what they believe because of “science communication, and, (b) believe what they believe and do what they do completely independently of “science communication.”

    In other words, despite arguing that he disagrees with Anders, John’s arguments reveal that he actually agrees with Anders – that “science communication” might affect what people believe or do w/r/t issues like COVID, but doesn’t likely explain the casual mechanisms behind what people believe or do w/r/t issues like COVID.

    WHEW!

  36. Russell says:

    Bret Weinstein replaced John as Tucker Carlson’s go-to human vet after Ivermectin-pushing Newsmax anti-Vaxxer Dick Farrel perished of Covid 19 last August:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2021/08/cures-pigeon-lice-horse-worms-so-why.html

  37. Greg Robie says:

    Of mandates and mantras …

    These are two words that may mask an unintended framing; be a masking of the social mandate that academia systemically carries: to demonstrate the efficacy of the knowledge it exists to foster; that justifies its social standing; that undergirds a civil society based on science, reason, and law.

    Concerning the knowledge that can be communicated about climate, academia is functionally silent. And I believe such is a best framing of its shameful condition. Due to funding pressures academia is ALSO complicit when allowing economic policy driven by #physicsFiction to delimit research such that the fiction become plausible ‘fact’.

    The systemic failure of academia to walk its climate talk is hardly simply a mantra. The truism that what is done makes so much noise that what is said is not heard, is not without reason.

    ALSO, this from the US (in Tweet form). As it relates to this post it seems to support my observation. I did not consider that the necessary climate modeling concept of CO2e could become codified out of context!

    (I would very much value reasoned review of what I’m seeing and beginning my due diligence to try to disprove it. I am failing so far! 😉

    >

  38. Dave_Geologist says:

    Damn!

    I was going to say “guys, john is playing you”, but Willard beat me to the punch.

  39. Tom Fuller says:

    Maybe if you talked about science communication with regards to issues not in today’s headlines it might be more effective.

    What were the role and effects of science communications with regards to Mad Cow, polio vaccinations, radiation effects, etc.?

    We might find that success or lack thereof had something to do with who they were trying to communicate with… who was providing conflicting messages…. maybe a whole host of factors that affected science communication.

  40. Tom,
    I sometimes wonder if you actually read the posts.

  41. dikranmarsupial says:

    “who was providing conflicting messages” somewhat ironic coming from someone that wrote a book of adversarial b.s. (and has repeatedly refused to defend what he wrote) aiming to discredit scientists working on climate.

    You were providing conflicting messages Tom, you were.

  42. Joshua says:

    Dave –

    I don’t think anyone was getting played. It was obvious from the start as to what was going on.

  43. oh, sorry. I didn’t see your link

  44. ATTP, yes, I do read your posts, including this one. My comment was simply aimed at the idea that looking at older issues might take some of the heat out of the argument.

    dikranmarsupial, I have defended our book repeatedly, usually from people who have never read it. I am happy to defend it again, We did indeed criticize a handful of climate scientists. People like your own good self usually accused us of attacking climate science, so I guess your comment is a bit of an improvement. A bit.

    However, the bulk of our criticism consisted of showcasing the written words of those we criticized (in full context, with a timeline and short explanations of the environment those comments took place in). It was their own words that put them in a bad light, much more than anything we wrote.

  45. dikranmarsupial says:

    “dikranmarsupial, I have defended our book repeatedly, ”

    Rubbish, as an example: I point out here that the “Mikes nature trick” on the cover of your book is misleading.

    Thomaswfuller The “Mike’s Nature Trick” is a nothingburger as this discussion demonstrates. In retrospect, people could say the caption could be better. Does that really justify the prominent place on the front cover and the cover blurb that says “For those who have heard that the emails were taken out of context–we provide that context and show it is worse when context is provided.” In this case, the context shows that there there is nothing untoward in that quote.

    The cover of your book is deeply misleading, and neither you nor Steven appear to be able to accept that your cover is misleading. How ironic.

    You evade that here with an irrelevant anecdote and do not address the misleading nature of the quote being on the cover of your book.

    dikran, I suppose there’s no reason for you to be aware of this, but Steven and I were among the first and most ardent explainers of the innocent nature of Mike’s Nature Trick. Breitbart News basically cut off a TV interview with me after I told them it was a nothing burger and that the emails did nothing to undercut the published science. For some reason they were not interested in things like ethics and best practice, good governance of institutions, etc.

    They literally said thanks, good-bye. I guess I wasn’t telegenic enough.

    That is not defending, it is running away. I don’t think anybody was fooled by it, except perhaps yourself.

  46. dikranmarsupial says:

    BTW, I am not interested in “relitigating climategate”, just providing evidence for the irony of Tom, of all people, asking “who was providing conflicting messages”.

  47. mrkenfabian says:

    For the most part it looks like the science with strong public policy relevance is by request, by those with the duty of care and/or mandate to enact policy in the community’s interest. Whilst the people in the Offices may not have the knowledge and skills for understanding it all and the reports scientists write should include summaries with that in mind, those relevant Officeholders can be expected to have staff who can and do have the relevant expertise, to inform and advise.

    I would expect cases of scientists directly foisting their advice on those Officeholders unasked do sometimes occur – and sometimes will be asked to provide independent advice – but not for any actions to result without passing through the gauntlet of conventions that include vetting that advice by science agencies and expert staff.

    Unless there are overtly political considerations. Scapegoating science communication – including by citing what some scientists say outside those formal pathways that science advice reaches policy makers – looks like a way to cover up the negligence or poor choices made by those Officeholders. It isn’t a science communications problem.

  48. Jon Kirwan says:

    Just dropped in this evening. Allow me to paraphrase what I read from you, ATTP.

    There exists a significant percentage of individuals who refuse vaccination and resist all other recommendations from the better-informed researchers and specialists on human disease, the human immune system, and the better means by which infection can be mitigated.

    This, despite overwhelming affirming evidence in support of expert recommendations and despite very little disconfirming evidence.

    Your suggested direction as I read it? Scientists should focus on their work and not attempt to directly influence public opinion or behavior.

    Yeah, I also think it is pretty much hopeless.

    Years ago, the way I wrote it here was to say that if scientists get down into the wet T-shirt mudpit battle arena to duke it out with propagandists (which is where they reside and what they know how to do very well), they will get just as dirty as everyone else fighting it out there. And if they stay in their ivory towers and just communicate with each other in mumbo-jumbo that no one else can follow (and aren’t willing to take sufficient amount of their own time to learn the language they need in order to understand science communication at that level), then scientists just fail the lay audience anyway and lose the battle because they look like “elites.”

    You’ve added yet another nice element in your writing. Politicians will play their audience saying that what they do is just “following better scientific advice.” Which if things work out well, the politicians will claim all the credit and no one will even hear about those who supposedly advised them so well. And which if things don’t work out so well, the same politicians will simply blame “the scientists” as a group and say it’s all their fault, while they shake the mud off their own clothes and continue on as before. Nice addition!

    So, yeah.

    There’s no way to win. And pretty much guaranteed to be a scapegoat one way or another, because at least some politicians will do things that don’t work out well.

    So good luck and my very best wishes.

    I’m so glad I’m just an engineer-type. At least I get paid crazy-well.

  49. Jon,

    Your suggested direction as I read it? Scientists should focus on their work and not attempt to directly influence public opinion or behavior.

    Depends what you mean by their work. I do think it’s important for scientists to engage with the public. I also think that this can be used to influence public opinion. However, I do think it’s important to recognise that not only is it not scientists who get to decide how the public should be influence, there are also many factors that play a role. Hence, if there is a lack of acceptance of some scientific position, it’s unlikely that the problem was simply poor science communication.

    There’s no way to win. And pretty much guaranteed to be a scapegoat one way or another, because at least some politicians will do things that don’t work out well.

    Indeed, but I don’t think this means scientists shouldn’t engage. It just means that they should do so with their eyes open and not think that everyone else is engaging in good faith. It may be impossible to avoid becoming a scapegoat, but that doesn’t mean that scientists shouldn’t think of ways to make it more difficult for this to be the outcome (for example, highlight how it’s policy makers who get to make decisions, not them).

  50. mrken,

    Scapegoating science communication – including by citing what some scientists say outside those formal pathways that science advice reaches policy makers – looks like a way to cover up the negligence or poor choices made by those Officeholders. It isn’t a science communications problem.

    Yes, exactly.

  51. Jon Kirwan says:

    ATTP,

    I’m all for engaging with eyes wide open. But scientists don’t have access to popular media outlets, except as it is fully controlled and bounded by others who will have far more time before and after any scientist speaks in order to modify, adjust, and otherwise screw up anything a scientist says for the short moments they may be given. Scientists don’t have a bully pulpit, so to speak. Politicians do, on the other hand. And they have the public’s attention 24/7/365. Unlike any practicing scientists.

    If you, or any others you know of, find a way to breach this problem I’d very much love to hear it. Barriers include (1) the unwillingness of lay people to spend their precious time trying to learn concepts and terms that are specialized; (2) the colored glasses (worldviews) through which so many perceive the world and pick and select what they accept and what they reject as evidence; (3) the sheer number of people with axes to grind who do have a presence in the media and are willing to twist anything and everything to their own personal ends; (4) etc…..

    I do agree it’s important to try. I’m not saying don’t. One cannot ever give up. No matter how bad things are, they can always be worse without the attempts. But as you say — eyes wide open. Just keep in mind that the gains are tiny and the mountain to climb is very, very, very high.

    Good luck to all, I say.

  52. Jon,
    Indeed, that’s related to my overall point. Scientists are engaging in a landscape where there are a lot of vested interests and other media sites that are far better funded than they are. It can therefore be very difficult to counter appealing narratives being promoted by those who have access to these other media platforms.

    As you say, this doesn’t mean not engaging. It just means being aware of the possible pitfalls and doing our best to mitigate against this.

  53. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Scientists are engaging in a landscape where there are a lot of vested interests and other media sites that are far better funded than they are. ”

    and also the vested interests and media may not be constrained by being truthful as scientists ought to be, which seems to me to be at least as much of a hurdle as the cost of achieving an effective platform. If it is a contentious subject, then the scientist would be well advised to see how scientific arguments on that particular topic have been responded to and have a thought about how to deal with some of the more common strategems.

  54. Dave_Geologist says:

    Tom, you do realise the stolen emails were edited to be misleading before you got your hands on them? So even if you approached them in good faith (and, bluntly, I’m with dikran there), it would be impossible to fairly represent them.

    And that the scientists concerned were multiply exonerated by those with access to the full dataset?

    It would be nice if you published a second edition, admitting the error of your ways. Or just fessed up on an Amazon review.

    And no, I haven’t read your book. I don’t handle stolen property or fund those who profited from it.

  55. Joshua says:

    > There exists a significant percentage of individuals who refuse vaccination and resist all other recommendations from the better-informed researchers and specialists on human disease, the human immune system, and the better means by which infection can be mitigated.

    I think it’s important to note that many of those who are committed to choosing to not get vaccinated believe they’re following the advice of domain experts (and resisting the decrees of authoritarian, self-interested and ideologically motivated unelected technocrats).

    In a sense this reflects what underlies the illogic of our now no longer participating dear friend.

    “Science communication” is an ambiguous term – and as such, I think it’s pretty much a futile effort to talk about what “science communication” is or isn’t responsible for.

    Science communication is a subset of policy-relevant communication, which is necessarily complex and dynamic and represents a nexus or cascade of many other complex and changing forces and influences.

    The one thing that we might know for sure is that people will read into “science communication” to find confirmation of whatever is their preferred political narrative.

  56. Tom Fuller says:

    Dave_Geologist, your statement is incorrect. The emails were not edited, as can be shown by the existence of email threads with replies and forwarded emails.

    What is true, and perhaps what you meant to write, is that the emails were ‘harvested’ by the leaker who thoughtfully removed personal emails from what he/she released.

  57. dikranmarsupial says:

    Tom Fuller wrote

    What is true, and perhaps what you meant to write, is that the emails were ‘harvested’ by the leaker who thoughtfully removed personal emails from what he/she released.

    Q. How do you know that is all that they removed?
    A. You don’t.

  58. Tom,
    The other issue is context. Having discussed this topic with you on numerous occasions, I’m not convinced you understand it well enough to get the context of some of what was mentioned in the emails.

  59. Susan Anderson says:

    I am going to go sideways with what I regard as one of the best and simplest communications about a subject related to climate and science I’ve seen recently. It is difficult to argue with people who have made up their minds, but this direct approach is lovely to me (and I learned what I wanted to know).

    As to JDroz, it is a characteristic of this blog that way too many people are willing to treat this kind of garbage as if there were an element of good faith. Thanks to Willard (and others) for exposing it. Wasting good people’s time is an art with the alternative universe, and I am beginning to regard it is a manifestation of evil in the classic sense. It is not subject to reason.

    [confession: the presenter’s voice reminds me of a good friend who now resides in Perth, the former manager of the St. Just Youth Hostel; the reminder of Katie warms my heart]

  60. Susan Anderson says:

    Nowadays I cannot hear “the science” without cringeing (sorry, spelling problem there). It’s like “believe”. I haven’t the nous to offer an alternative, but the words reality and evidence work better for me. The methods and history of science are complex and valuable, and unfortunately too many people lack the education to realize the complex, arduous, and long process of establishing ways to be objective and measure/observe things properly.

    This is one reason I focus on weather. Sadly, the evolution of our weather is all too obviously accelerating as it provides evidence that “the science” was and is right, if a little conservative.

  61. Hi ATTP, I’m sure you’re right and I completely lack the intelligence to understand the context of ‘Please delete all emails…’ but thanks for pointing out my deficiencies.

  62. Tom,
    It’s not an intelligence thing.

  63. dikranmarsupial says:

    “‘Please delete all emails…’”

    The wooshing sound is the goalposts being shifted.

    I think the missing context there is the behaviour of those who were harassing them for information that was already in the public domain or which they had been assisted to get already. I suspect there may have been emails in the hack that might shed some light on that, but which were not released. However, I am not interested in reading anybody’s private emails.

    BTW it hadn’t skipped my notice that you assert that the emails were leaked rather than hacked. I don’t think that is true either.

  64. jacksmith4tx says:

    Susan,
    The only sensible way to use hydrogen is by using renewable energy but right now it is very inefficient. Until there is a much more efficient way to use electrolysis it is actually a net CO2 emitter.
    https://h2sciencecoalition.com/
    Check out the Data & Resources link.

  65. Joshua says:

    Is there a point beyond which the “Climategate” emails will no longer be litigated?

  66. I suspect a debate about Climategate isn’t really worth the effort.

    However, given the broader context of this issue, that climate scientists were being targeted by some with agendas, and that many of the emails that are regularly highlighted are taken out of context I would be interested to know if Tom really thinks the book really puts this into a suitable context and reflects the nuances of the situation, rather than presenting things in a way that will probably appeal to an audience that is more “skeptical” as opposed to a more “mainstream” audience.

  67. Joshua says:

    Anders –

    On the one hand, I get that.

    In the other hand, this is Tom we’re talking about.

  68. Willard says:

    Luckwarmers lost But Emails. They won Open Science, but accidentally. Scientists won it for them.

    As soon as the Miracle Worker did not seek whistleblower status, they lost the higher ground. And after the third batch has been released without any real contrarian spin, the battle was lost.

    The only thing that matters is that Humans will use 3,000 Quads by 2075. If they all come from coal we’re ruined:

    https://3000quads.com/

    The slogan also sinks their But Alarmism ship.

  69. “Jon,

    Your suggested direction as I read it? Scientists should focus on their work and not attempt to directly influence public opinion or behavior.

    Depends what you mean by their work.”

    I think “the work” is best defined as publishing peer-reviewed science or doing science in the field to gather data and support or dispute ideas that are at the cutting edge of what we know.

    I don’t see the science communication piece as a crucial skill to be a scientist. It looks like a mine field to me and I think many scientists don’t negotiate that kind of minefield very well. I can see benefit in doing interviews with trusted print and other other media about the published work or the hard science projects underway, but I think it makes sense to leave it to sciencey journalists to take on the task of presenting their take on published work or to engage in the interview as a conduit for science communication. I think it makes sense for climate scientists to stick to the science and avoid the nuances and problems that arise with science communication in a highly loaded political realm. There is a reason why there is a job called a “spokesperson.”

    Another beautiful day in PNW. I have to go out on the road for medical appointments today. Wish me luck. My advanced age and condition puts me at a distinct disadvantage on the autobahn.

    Mike

  70. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Is there a point beyond which the “Climategate” emails will no longer be litigated?”

    They are not being litigated. The point being made here is about scientific communication. Particularly scientists being more constrained by trying to be truthful than some of those “providing conflicting messages”

  71. dikranmarsupial says:

    ATTP “I would be interested to know if Tom really thinks the book really puts this into a suitable context and reflects the nuances of the situation, “

    Given that Tom knew that the “trick” quote was a nothingburger, yet put it in the most conspicuous place on the cover with the promise in the cover blurb that the context makes the quotes worse than they appear, I think it is safe to say that Tom knows that the quotes were not put into a suitable context that reflects the basics of the situation, never mind the nuances.

  72. Joshua says:

    dikran –

    But isn’t a do convo with Tom about “Climategate” emails just going too tell us the same old story about science communication?

    That being: those with intent to interpret science communication in a way such that it reaffirms their biases will do so no matter what scientists actually communicate. There may be room to make communication more effective around the margins with some portion of people – but to make significant progress you’d have to address the underlying dynamics. Otherwise you’ll just get Johns and Toms in recursive patterns as we’ve seen so well demonstrated in this thread.

  73. Willard says:

    The CG Climateball bit is not unlike retweeting Alex Jones videos –

    Sure, most people might understand that Alex has anger management issues and has cognitive limitations. However, there might be one person in the audience who will take what Alex says at face value. Alex made a career out of catering to the insecurities of that person. He can only thank those who give him free promotion.

    There lies the dilemma.

    I am mentioning Alex for effect, but also to warn commenters of where to speak of evil could lead. It would be great not to reach that point. Thanks,

  74. dikranmarsupial says:

    Joshua. Tom, Steven Mosher and I all agree that the “trick” quote is a nothingburger – there is nothing to litigate.

    The point is why then is it in prominent position on the cover of a book “providing conflicting messages” that Tom suggested we discuss. It isn’t about the emails, for me it is an example of the “asymmetrical warfare” that scientists engaging in scicom on policy relevant topics face. They are constrained by trying to be truthful, regardless of the audiences biases. So they need to put in some thought about how to deal with that.

  75. Ken Fabian says:

    ALL arguments that could induce support for strong climate action are subjected to pervasive negative attention – and it seems like the more effective the arguments and those who make them are the fiercer the efforts to undermine them. Science communications isn’t into a vacuum and doesn’t get much chance to directly influence; relatively few people get their science other than as interpreted by others – media, politicians, activists.

    I think (just a personal view) the first two have a duty/obligation to speak truth but it looks like many of them disagree with that.

    The latter – activists – don’t have so clear a duty to truth but their effectiveness is still highly dependent on it. And on what people already know or think they know, ie on what others have been telling them. We got the IPCC because not all politicians or news editors have abandoned notions of duty or truthfulness. I suspect activists helped but probably not that much.

  76. I guess Greenland melt is happening a little faster than expected. Still only looks like SLR under a foot, so not going to have much impact on those of us living well above current sea level. I think this unexpected melt poses little or no immediate threat, so no reason to be alarmed or to feel doomed by this matter.

    How about a post on what is happening with the Greenland melt?

    “The models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict a sea level rise contribution from Greenland of around 4 inches (10 centimeters) by 2100, with a worst-case scenario of 6 inches (15 centimeters).

    But that prediction is at odds with what field scientists are witnessing from the ice sheet itself.

    According to our findings, Greenland will lose at least 3.3% of its ice, over 100 trillion metric tons. This loss is already committed – ice that must melt and calve icebergs to reestablish Greenland’s balance with prevailing climate.”

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-022-01441-2
    dumbed down version by way of professional science communicators here:

    https://theconversation.com/whats-going-on-with-the-greenland-ice-sheet-its-losing-ice-faster-than-forecast-and-now-irreversibly-committed-to-at-least-10-inches-of-sea-level-rise-185590

    It must be really exciting to be a glaciologist this week.

    Cheers

    Mike

  77. on topic of science communication, I skimmed this on the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/29/scientists-call-on-colleagues-to-protest-climate-crisis-with-civil-disobedience

    Seems a little over the top, but everybody’s got an opinion, I guess.

    Mike

  78. Jon Kirwan says:

    Mike

    Yeah, my ‘google news’ pressed this Washington Post article on me:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2022/08/29/greenland-ice-sheet-sea-level/

    There, you can find Jason Box saying that their finding that 3.3% of Greenland is already lost from past emissions and that if we completely stopped emitting CO2 tomorrow the 3.3% not only is ‘baked in’ but is also “a minimum, a lower bound.” (His words.) He says it could be much worse than that as the world continues to burn fossil fuels.

    By comparison, this from the IPCC:

    https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg1/downloads/report/IPCC_AR6_WGI_Chapter09.pdf#page=92

    Instead suggests half that much by 2100 and only then if emissions are BAU.

    Nature is inherently exponential. It’s just how statistical thermodynamics works (Boltzmann factor.) Unfortunately, we only know about a few of these non-linear mechanisms well enough to apply time-dynamical, non-linear equations with confidence. The rest we just assume is ‘linear’ (safe, defensible position) — even though every single one of us who works these equations daily knows for certain that nothing about large-number particle statistics in nature is the least bit linear.

    So we will always be underestimating future change.

    Oh, well.

    And yes, Mike, despite it being a bit ‘hot’ today (low 90’s F) in the PNW down here in northwestern Oregon and hotter still (98 F projected) for tomorrow, the days have been ‘nice’ if you dislike like rain and clouds. I like both, though. (I happen to get 2nd degree burns if I stand outside for 20 minutes at 2PM tomorrow, as I’ve nearly transparent northern Swedish skin — you can see my blood vessels with ease.) It will stay in the lower 90’s for the few days after, finally falling into the upper 80’s some days after that.

    In a few weeks’ time I may be lucky enough be able to handle the afternoon sun, again. 😉

  79. Dave_Geologist says:

    Tom, selectively quoting, and deleting the context which makes it clear that the quoter’s interpretation of the quoted material is a lie and the quoter knows that, is a form of editing.

    Lies of omission are as much lies as lies of commission.

    I accept that at the time you didn’t know you were being lied to, but you do now.

    Should I visit your Amazon page?

  80. Jon Kirwan says:

    ALL arguments that could induce support for strong climate action are subjected to pervasive negative attention – and it seems like the more effective the arguments and those who make them are the fiercer the efforts to undermine them. Science communications isn’t into a vacuum and doesn’t get much chance to directly influence; relatively few people get their science other than as interpreted by others – media, politicians, activists.

    What you write above is yet another slice through the communication problem. And one, given my past experiences, that I find rings fairly true.

    I think (just a personal view) the first two have a duty/obligation to speak truth but it looks like many of them disagree with that.

    I spent literally decades of off-time (hobbyist, I suppose), starting in the early 1990’s and tapering off gradually as I became perhaps a little wiser (or perhaps more jaded) around the late 2000’s. Now, I don’t even bother much except with the choir, more or less.

    I learned a lot. At the start, I’d never even bothered attempting something as simple as a few dozen atmospheric slabs in a flat-Earth slab model. Now? I’ve developed my own spherical models and have been able to observe the development of Hadley cells. But now? I also don’t care anymore to try and pass any of that along to anyone. Those who care, are already ahead of me or not so far behind, and don’t need anything from me. And pointless to try for those who cannot care (for whatever reasons — some of them quite valid that I’ve no argument over.)

    The idea of communicating with the broader public has passed for me.

    I also spent more than a decade debating these issues, from about 1992 to about 2003 or so, with various scientists from widely differing fields. A biologist from the SF bay area (who finally broke the back of our small debate circle.) A microbiologist and Russian linguist from Las Vegas. A physicist from the Boston area. Another physicist from the New York city area. Etc. In this group there were also many opinions and much presented that required a lot of work out of each of us in order to get ourselves up to the point where we could express an opinion of some kind in response. It was a lot of work from me at the time.

    Even that has passed for me.

    Like each of us may at times, others must find their own path. They may not be ready today. They may not be able to accept or otherwise understand, today. Perhaps in a decade? But if there is to be a time for them, they themselves will have to determine when that point happens. Then, others who in their times and their own ways, may be able to be there and help out. But only when all sides find the time and inclination for it.

    Otherwise? There’s no point. It’s no better than banging one’s head against an impassive and uncaring wall.

    The latter – activists – don’t have so clear a duty to truth but their effectiveness is still highly dependent on it. And on what people already know or think they know, ie on what others have been telling them. We got the IPCC because not all politicians or news editors have abandoned notions of duty or truthfulness. I suspect activists helped but probably not that much.

    This is a very complicated subject. I started to write something out of experiences long ago and very personal (Vietnam War, El Salvador and transporting families from Central America into Canada, and more.) But then it got complicated. Partly, because many of those who were active weren’t there for the right reasons at all. But far more for reasons related to secondary ‘gains’ they felt they might get when being a part of it. (For example, many actively demonstrating, on occasion, against the Vietnam War were there in the crowds because of access to drugs and sex, and far far less because of some principled view they held.) So I just gave up the entire topic for now. It’s too complicated. But there are those rare times for activists, regardless.

    I have to leave it there, I suppose.

  81. Tom Fuller says:

    Hi again, Dave

    You write, “Tom, selectively quoting, and deleting the context which makes it clear that the quoter’s interpretation of the quoted material is a lie and the quoter knows that, is a form of editing.”

    Umm, no. That would be selectively quoting and deleting the context. Neither of which we did. Nor did we edit. What you see in our book is a fair representation of reality.

    Climate science broadly represents an accurate picture of the trends and forces shaping our climate.

    Some climate scientists behaved unethically at a certain point in time.

    You can say both sentences serially and I promise your head will not explode.

  82. dikranmarsupial says:

    “What you see in our book is a fair representation of reality. ”

    just not the cover (apparently) which contains “nothingburger” selected quotes with the promise that the context makes the quotes worse than they actually appear. That is obviously not a fair representation of reality.

    “Nor did we edit”

    unless you quoted the whole of the emails, you edited them. You can attempt to redefine “edit”, but selecting and deleting material is very much “editing”.

  83. Tom Fuller says:

    Hi dikranmarsupial,

    Considering that the entire corpus was and is available online, considering that we presented entire email threads, not just excerpts, I think perhaps you might be exaggerating a wee bit.

  84. dikranmarsupial says:

    Tom, I note that you do not question that the use of the quotes on the cover of your book was “obviously not a fair representation of reality”. It would be better if you could simply concede that, rather than just running away from the criticism yet again (which is not doing you any favours).

    “Considering that the entire corpus was and is available online, considering that we presented entire email threads, not just excerpts, I think perhaps you might be exaggerating a wee bit.”

    Tom that is irrelevant to the question of whether you edited the material. Selecting material is editing. I know people here are not keen on dictionaries when discussing the likely meanings of words, but here goes:

    edit
    verb [ T ]
    uk
    /ˈed.ɪt/ us
    /ˈed.ɪt/
    B2
    to make changes to a text or film, deciding what will be removed and what will be kept in, in order to prepare it for being printed or shown:

    [emphasis mine]

    According to that (very reasonable) definition, what you describe yourself as having done does constitute “editing”.

    However, I think the point is also that the material had likely been edited before it got to you by the person responsible for the hack. I very much doubt it is a complete set of all of the research related emails.

  85. Willard says:

    By luckwarm logic, Alex Jones never edits stuff when he talks about what is available online.

    I suggest we keep parsomatics to the Mecca, Lucia’s.

  86. RickA says:

    The climategate emails will always shed light on how advocate scientists twist the truth in order to try to influence public policy. Hiding the decline to cover up the fact that trees were not good thermometers for more than 50 years – shameless!

    By the way – “edit” to me means changing the text of one of the published emails and not selecting the emails to be published in the first place. But that is just one person’s opinion.

    Real scientists deal with reality and do not try to hide reality to advocate for their pet public policy.

  87. Rick,

    Hiding the decline to cover up the fact that trees were not good thermometers for more than 50 years – shameless!

    I think this just illustrates a lack of understanding on your part.

  88. RickA says:

    Perhaps. But my understanding is that they replaced the decline portion of the graph (the proxy data) with actual temperature data to “hide” the decline. That is totally deceptive (to me).

    What is your understanding of the “hide the decline” incident?

  89. dikranmarsupial says:

    To be fair, they did hide the technical details in journal papers where skeptics would be unlikely to find them.

  90. RickA says:

    Yeah – that WMO cover wasn’t a total lie at all!

    https://www.justfacts.com/globalwarming.hidethedecline.asp

  91. dikranmarsupial says:

    RickA there is nothing wrong with splicing datasets. The UAH and RSS satellite products do that (splice different satellite records). In the past I’ve spliced Mauna Loa and Law Dome ice core CO2 data to get a longer dataset. Paleoclimate reconstructions do that as well. It is perfectly reasonable to do so in order to maximise the value of the data you have and perform some quality control. The only problem AIUI was that it wasn’t sufficiently well explained in the caption, but then again IIRC it was only just for the cover of a scientific report.

  92. Rick,
    The point is that it was for the cover of a report. There’s no question that the figure they used on the cover was a perfectly reasonble representation of our millenial temperature history. Also, they only replaced the tree ring data after 1960 with instrumental data for one of the tree ring series. The rest had instrumental data after (IIRC) after 1980. Additionally, that this specific tree ring showed a decline after 1960 was discussed extensively in the literature (so wasn’t hidden) and it seems likely that it was an issue with this particular tree ring series and not with tree rings in general. Finally, there are plenty of other proxies that have been used to generate millenial temperature reconstructions which produce largely consistent results. Of course, our understanding of millenial temperatures has improved over time, but the basic picture presented by the early analyses has remained largely correct.

  93. Rick,

    Yeah – that WMO cover wasn’t a total lie at all!

    Indeed, it wasn’t a lie (I realise you’re being sarcastic). Since they were presenting a figure that represented millenial temperatures, it would seem more of an issue to include a time series that almost certainly had problems, than to to leave that portion out. Of course, if your intention is to confuse people, rather than to present reliable information, maybe you’d disagree.

  94. RickA says:

    Look – we are all entitled to our opinions. My opinion is this “hide the decline” incident was deceptive and deliberately so. In my opinion proper science doesn’t try to deceive to push preferred public policy. The climategate emails clearly show this improper behavior in action and the motive for it. It would be better if science was objective and not subjectively misleading in order to advocate for a preferred policy outcome.

    But that is just one person’s opinion.

  95. Rick,
    It. was. for. the. cover. of. a. report! There was no hiding of this in the scientific literature. Seriously, you can’t include all possible information in a single figure intended as a cover image for a report.

  96. Willard says:

    I am glad that Rick finally agrees with the WMO. Or was he being sarcastic? Here is the owner of the Just Facts website:

    https://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/james-agresti

    Hard do tell. As a patent lawyer, I am sure that Rick understands that to speak of lies is better protected than to throw the F word around. Unless he wants to act like a patent troll?

    In any event, that contrarian talking point is worse in context:

    The original “hide the decline” claim is one of the most easily de-bunked in the entire pantheon of easily-debunkable “sceptic” claims.

    Phil Jones wrote the email in 1999, immediately following what still ranks as one of the hottest years on record, and well before the idea of a “slowdown” or “hiatus” or even “decline” in warming gained currency.

    So it can’t have had anything to do with hiding a global temperature decline.

    If it were a scientific idea, the notion that it did would be consigned to the garbage bin of history alongside perpetual motion machines, the steady-state theory of the cosmos and the idea of HIV/Aids as a gay-only disease.

    It’s that wrong.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15538845

    A matter of perspective, no doubt. I am sure Rick endorses the perspective of Berkeley Earth on matters of trendology.

    At least But Da Paws is more scientifically interesting than But Emails.

  97. I agree with you, Jon. Yesterday was a little too warm and today will be a bit warmer. I think it will be good for my grape harvest, but my water bill is higher than I would like. I got tired of being labeled a doomer or an alarmist, so I now try to put a happy face on the bearable parts of our climate.

    I am reading how the UK housing stock is poorly insulated/sealed and that the condition of the housing stock is going to create increases in winter heating costs. I am also reading that the Tories plan to address this issue has more focus on new sources of energy rather than a national program to weatherize their housing infrastructure. That seems wrongheaded to me, but I am tired of singing like a canary in a coalmine, so I will just hope the Brits great success and maybe a very mild winter.

    Like you, I don’t really engage much with the broader population about climate change anymore. Tired of that fight. I post on facebook a bit, but I block the anti-science crowd so that I don’t have to engage with them. I don’t think I am going to change minds. Positions have really hardened and the anti-science position is impenetrable afaict. I hush the worst commenters here so that I don’t encounter bad faith foolishness and provocation. I do enjoy hearing thoughts from many others like you who have been in the trenches of climate change debate because it validates my experience and decisions to some extent, but I think it makes sense to join with dikran in the mass of folks who are not alarmed about our situation. I used to read Tom Fuller posts here, but I stopped long ago. I think Tom is also not alarmed, but he may be concerned. (yeah, that’s a princess bride reference)

    I remain interested in the hard science of climate change. We live in the most interesting era of climate science that our species has ever seen. I feel we may give some thanks for that. So much left to learn about this small blue planet.

    I am concerned for my children, grandchildren and my great grandchild. I am doing what I can to make their lives joyful. I feel wistful sometimes when I think back on how the Supremes chose Bush over Gore. That seems like a green opportunity lost for the US. I feel disappointed when I think back on Obama’s decision to bail out the financial sector instead of rebooting the US economy with a green energy jobs program and a short term moratorium on foreclosures, but I made a decent living for several years after these decisions doing Chapter 7 debt relief and Chapter 13 house-saver bankruptcy work, so yeah, those look like lemons and I made a little lemonade. That’s usually a smart move. It’s far from clear to me that Prez Gore or a Greener Prez Obama would have changed our global trajectory very much. Our trajectory is sketched out towards catastrophe and l choose to label that as avoidable catastrophe to keep the arguments and sniping to a minimum.

    I have been increasing my garden beds this year and expanding my strawberry fields. The sun and heat seem to be good, at least in the short term, for the berries and grapes and kiwis. I love to watch the little ones pick fresh berries and eat them on the spot. That sort of looks like the good life, doesn’t it?

    Put on your sunblock, Jon. Get a wide brimmed and vented hiking hat to provide a little shade if you are going to be out in the sun. Or, better, head over to Leach Garden on Johnson Creek in SE Portland where there is lots of shade and the opportunity to cool your feet in the cool waters of our PNW. We love that spot, but the water looks a little murky. We also soak our feet in the Clackamas River whenever we get a chance. That used to be our favorite camping route. I think that’s 213 and you can eventually get down to Sisters or Smith Rock. Have to be choosy about the rivers in the Bend area, many have quite a bit of agricultural runoff. They look good, but I am not sure if they as clean as they might look. The Clackamas watershed out near Estacada is still clean and cold, I think.

    We also used to go up river on the Kalama to some undeveloped wading in the upper stretches where that river is just lovely. Or out on the Washougal across the big river from you. That was magnificent last time we were there. May get to those places again.

    Or a night at Ohanepecosh and a hike up to commune with the Patriarchs and wade in the cool waters of that river. I guess that’s possible as a day trip from PDX. I don’t know.

    If we are walking on thin ice, we might as well dance, right? (Jesse Winchester lyric iirc)

    Cheers

    Mike

  98. RickA says:

    dikranmarsupial – If X is supposed to be a proxy for Y then it is a problem to splice Y data into a graph of X data. Sure splicing different proxy data sets together (and disclosing that) is common and fine. But cherry picking a section where the proxy data isn’t performing as expected (actually the opposite of what it was supposed to do) of Y to insert into a proxy data graph of X which is supposed to be trying to show it is a “good” proxy for temperature (Y) is just bad form.

    Again – just one person’s opinion.

  99. RickA says:

    Willard:

    They were NOT trying to hide an actual temperature decline. They were trying to hide the fact that their proxy for temperature went down when it should have been going up. The emails show that in fact they were trying to “hide the decline” of their proxy because they said so. It was a good trick even.

    But if you think this is the kind of science we should be advocating for future scientists to emulate – well that is your right. I beg to differ. I think it is the worst kind of science. Advocacy and spin disguised as science.

  100. Willard says:

    > Sure splicing different proxy data sets together

    As opposed to what, Rick?

    In my opinion to present a Heartland’s side gig as “just the facts” is a wee bit misleading. That does not seem to be your opinion. In fact it seems to conflict with your opinion about INTEGRITY ™.

    I did not know you were a Dude:

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

    As long as you abide, all is well.

  101. RickA says:

    Willard: As opposed to splicing a proxy data set together with non-proxy data. A definite no no (in my opinion).

  102. dikranmarsupial says:

    RickA “dikranmarsupial – If X is supposed to be a proxy for Y then it is a problem to splice Y data into a graph of X data. ”

    It wasn’t a graph of X data, the thing that was being depicted was our best estimate of Y. Note that the thermometer datasets are only an estimate of global temperature, a proxy if you like, because the weather stations were mostly not designed for climate work (so they need “homogenisation” – there is a good paper on this by Blair Trewin – have a look on Google scholar if you are interested in facts that may go against your opinion).

  103. Willard says:

    > They were trying to hide the fact that their proxy for temperature went down

    Incorrect, Rick. You might be forgetting how KevinT is related to the story. Let’s stand that aside. Here is the overall effect that your keep inflating with your opinion:

    If you look carefully at the end of the green Briffa series in 1960, you might notice a small distortion. In fact, I’ve shown the series twice – with both the instrumental mean and series mean padding. It’s hard to see even when you know both are there; at normal viewing resolution the tiny difference from these two padding alternatives would be imperceptible.

    https://deepclimate.org/2010/06/29/revisiting-tar-figure-2-21-part-1-another-false-claim-from-steve-mcintyre/

    In my opinion, contrarians might have a hard time taking the highest road when they keep splitting hair over undetectable details whence they forget that the GWPF killed their project to audit global temps when they did not get the results they wanted to push their contrarian agenda.

    Just my opinions, of course.

  104. Russell says:

    RickA says:
    August 30, 2022 at 7:38 pm

    “Willard:

    They were NOT trying to hide an actual temperature decline. They were trying to hide the fact that their proxy for temperature went down when it should have been going up. The emails show that in fact they were trying to “hide the decline” of their proxy because they said so. It was a good trick even.”

    Data are better than proxies — who knew?

  105. RickA says:

    Russell:

    Agreed – data is better than a proxy.

    However we don’t have thermometer data prior to about 1860, so we use proxy data to guesstimate what a thermometer would have shown for pre-1860. So it is a big deal when a proxy, which is supposed to stand in for a thermometer, does the opposite of what it is supposed to.

    If tree ring data is not a good proxy for temperature from 1960 to 1995 (the decline), then how do we know if it is a good proxy for temperature from 1000 to 1500 or 0 to 1000?

    Answer: We don’t.

  106. Jon Kirwan says:

    If tree ring data is not a good proxy for temperature from 1960 to 1995 (the decline), then …

    Go back and read ATTP with understanding.

    He writes, “ … for one of the tree ring series.” and shortly later, “ … it was an issue with this particular tree ring series and not with tree rings in general.

    Are you even able to read with understanding and reason soundly?

    How you managed to turn this into all tree ring data from 1960 to 1995 is beyond me.

    If this is how your mind processes the writing of others then a conversation with you is pointless.

  107. dikranmarsupial says:

    “So it is a big deal when a proxy, which is supposed to stand in for a thermometer, does the opposite of what it is supposed to.”

    No, actually it isn’t. As I said there are journal papers on this stuff. Read the journal papers, then you may be in a position to know whether it is a big deal or not. Perhaps consider whether the scientists know something you don’t.

    As to opinions, all we have is opinions. But some opinions are from well informed people and people who have actually studied the subject, and some opinions are from some anonymous bloke in a blog comment. I know which I prefer.

  108. Bob Loblaw says:

    Oh, my. Both Tom and RickA seem to be having problems understanding that “reading” and “understanding” are not the same thing. There is a reason why those check boxes you fill out on forms ask you to say that you have “read and understood“.

    RickA’s attempt to make a broad, sweeping generalization from the “decline” in some tree rings represents one of two things to me:

    1) a severe lack of analytical ability, as suggested by Jon Kirwan
    2) a desire to win an argument, regardless of anything resembling truth or accuracy.

    The “understanding” part of the process always reminds me of this clip from A Fish Called Wanda. Posting this clip sometimes leads to having comments moderated out on some sites, but what the heck.

  109. Jon Kirwan says:

    I got tired of being labeled a doomer or an alarmist, so I now try to put a happy face on the bearable parts of our climate.

    I guess I wouldn’t worry so much about those labels. If it helps others to label you that way, then just have the grace to permit them a refuge they feel they need to have. No harm, really.

    Like you, I don’t really engage much with the broader population about climate change anymore.

    I think I used the energy to motivate my own education. Trying to write about what I’d learned helped precipitate and crystalize a better understanding within me, while at the same time showing me what I lacked and perhaps didn’t have to time to develop further.

    We live in the most interesting era of climate science that our species has ever seen. I feel we may give some thanks for that. So much left to learn about this small blue planet.

    That’s a great segue to continue what I was about to add, earlier. As time proceeded and I firmed up some things I know and learned far more about what I don’t know, I also saw that the science itself was blossoming at such a rapid pace that I could no longer hold the idea that I could gain even a skimming knowledge of our planet: ice, water, forests, land, air, sun, and how life itself modifies the basic physics to support itself where without that life the system itself would be so different.

    The very fact that we have a sustained level of active oxygen molecules in our atmosphere, representing about 20% of it, when every single thing we know about chemistry says it should instead combine into lower energy states… Life itself is the only way that kind of atmosphere mix can be sustained over time. It’s modifying our environment and stabilizing it through negative feedbacks in a miraculous way, when you start to grasp it in mind. Kind of cool.

    The wonderful thing about Earth science today is that we are finally putting lots of the major blocks together and beginning to see the sheer majestry of it all. And, sadly ironic in a way, right at the time as this beautiful tapestry of life is being revealed more to us we can also now better see too how the terrible rips and tears created by our own machete hacks run through it, hither and thither.

    It’s a wonderful and terrible time for me. If you could hear me cry and scream, then perhaps some of it would get across. But I lack the words. So I’ll have to borrow some from a better wordsmith, Charles Dickens:

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”

    I think it is important to squarely face the breadth and depth of what we face, looking forward. As none of us possesses a working crystal ball, our tentative conclusions about that future will, of course, vary. I think that’s healthy because we (collectively) find a better middle-ground through these tensions and challenges.

    This blog is for climate discussions. I consider that to be but a part of a larger whole we face. Climate adds its own pressures to so many others we also present to this planet and all the life on it. Our population (and the rapidly increasing consumption of resources which the sun can no longer fully replace each year) is the underlying disease. Addressing a symptom, such as climate, won’t change any of the rest of what we are doing to this beautiful and precious and, yes, fragile isolated ball floating around in an inimical universe. Addressing climate well (which we won’t, but that’s another story) would only mean the reduction of one of many pressures. The rest alone is enough already of a problem. Climate is just one more reason, of many, why we won’t be able to juggle our way out of what’s ahead.

    That’s admittedly my tentative conclusion. And, like most all such conclusions, likely wrong in most detailed respects. But I think it is right in the broader picture, while certainly terribly wrong in all the details I also imagine with it.

    I guess I don’t care much about putting on the blinkers and narrowing our vision to just climate. Not anymore. Because I see all the important rest, too, that needs to be addressed at the same time, if not still more urgently so. When we argue about climate, the rest is lost in the discussion. When we argue about fisheries or about quilting up forest systems into tiny little islands where life greatly diminishes, then climate may be lost in the discussion.

    We are no longer at a point where we can lose sight of any of the many pressures we humans are placing on all of life here on Earth. We now have to grasp the fuller totality and we then have to deal with that as a whole, not piecemeal.

    And we’ve already proven good and well enough already that we cannot even juggle climate issues. Let alone all the rest of the harm we do here.

    I have been increasing my garden beds this year and expanding my strawberry fields. The sun and heat seem to be good, at least in the short term, for the berries and grapes and kiwis. I love to watch the little ones pick fresh berries and eat them on the spot. That sort of looks like the good life, doesn’t it?

    I, like you, am so very lucky. I have an acreage. I also and growing much of what we eat here and am working hard to increase it to as close to 100% as I possibly can. We are canning and drying and pickling and salting and … Well, you get the idea.

    I just grabbed up some chives, some tomatoes, some lettuce and spinach, and a bell pepper from outside my back door for a salad I’ll eat today. I haven’t yet gotten to the point of making my own vinegars. But that will happen as it does, soon enough.

    All my children and grandchildren live here with me and my wife.

    So. Yes, I am very lucky.

    That said, I live on the north side of 1000′ elevation ‘hill’ and in a forest system with lots of Douglas fir, ferns, and shade, shade, and more shade. It’s steep — about an 8-10% grade — and I’m having to terrace what I can without tearing down too much of the wonderful forest I also value. And it is hard work!

    I’m currently looking for some nearby ‘flat land’. How much is a question. Hopefully enough that I can sustain many mixed uses.

    Meanwhile, I’ll just lust over your words of growing so much there. 😉

  110. Jon Kirwan says:

    Oh, and Mike! I also want to grow kiwis! I understand that they may grow okay down my huge concrete wall (built from hundreds of 5000 lb concrete blocks — a wall which can be seen from outer space.) I may need to disentangle them as they grow — perhaps a netting of some kind on the wall? But I’d like to cover the wall (about 20′ high and 100′ long) with something I can eat. And grapes need too much light for my situation, I fear.

    My wall is kind of north-north-west (NNW) facing, but gets some light in the AM and more light in the afternoon and PM. In summer anyway. I’m not sure of all the details with respect to months during the year and which months these things start to happen.

    Anyway, can you give me any good news on the possibility?

  111. Russell says:

    RickA :
    ” it is a big deal when a proxy, which is supposed to stand in for a thermometer, does the opposite ”

    Rick has run afoul of the Bureau Of Standards equivalent of Gresham’s Law .

    Proxies do not stand in for thermometers. They stand in for the absence of thermometers, which is not a scientific deal breaker because many climatologically relevant proxies are thermometers in their own right..

    Temperature measurements based on isotopic systemics are every bit as physical and reproducible as those based on thermal expansion.

    Which is a better point of instrumental departure? A standard meter dimensionally and materially identical to a primary standard kept in a vault, or a stick whittled by eyeball out of the nearest tree?

  112. You wrote”… the reason some refuse vaccines, is not because of poor science communication.”
    But here in the USA there was very poor and inconsistent serious health science communication. A lot of talk, but most of it worthless in the end.

    My sister the nurse and I had many conversations about the lack of simple straight forward focused Public Service Announcements – I mean keep it simple, basic 101 lessons in health science. My gosh, they could have culled through 1960s health PSA about the important of germs and their spread, visualize the spread of germs (although that should be the latest state of the art video work), cleaning hands and clean air to breath and explaining what respirators are, how they work. I mean we watched this stuff in grade school, it’s not like the outlines are very complicated.

    A few diagrams and explanations. OSHA also has all stuff available already, but it wasn’t used effectively because politicians were proactively sabotaging each other along with all serious valid education efforts. At least on the airwaves we didn’t see much

    The same is true for the previous failure of climate science education (where the science contrarians and bullies for profit figured out they could get away with anything), the constant backstabbing that serious scientists still seem too polite to call out. Of course, open your mouth, loss your funding, so there is that.

    As the world turns.

  113. Dave_Geologist says:

    Tom, my third paragraph made it clear that it was the thieves who did the misleading editing (probably the bosses and funders of the actual thieves, but as in the Mafia it’s a joint enterprise all the way up to the capo).

    As I haven’t read your book I don’t know if you did more. Although the cover page is a redder-than-red flag.

    I won’t respond to the rest, because if you seriously believe it, you’re inhabiting another planet and beyond reasoning with.

  114. Willard says:

    I read the book, Dave. As a barely edited one-month rush job, it is OK. As the official Chronicles for contrarian megaphones, it might have needed more attention. Here is a review:

    Global warming is a complex subject. People can be forgiven for not understanding aspects of it or for drawing erroneous conclusions about it. What is not forgivable is when “experts” make serious errors in what they tell the public and nobody bothers to correct them.

    A notable example of this can be found in another book titled Climategate: The CRUTape Letters,

    Source: http://www.hi-izuru.org/wp_blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/skeptic_draft_formatting.pdf

    Got to hand it to Brandon – he knows how to bravely go where few contrarians have gone before. You should read the exchange he had over this with one of the authors at Lucia’s. So little flow it must be an art form.

    If you prefer a summary of the other talking point:

    http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/steven_mosher_even_fuller_of_it

    The take home is that this is a nerd fight nobody understands, including the main contrarian protagonists of the story. Step aside, Macbeth!

    Meanwhile, humans will use 3,000 Quads by 2075. If they all come from coal we’re ruined. But Emails was in 2009. We are in 2022.

  115. Willard says:

    > Answer: we don’t.

    You forgot to add that this was your opinion, Rick.

    If a proxy is meant to give you an idea of temperature variation over centuries, chances are they might not be up to the task of telling you about the end of August of 1959. There are better reasons to question tree rings. Ask around.

    Also, you cast your net too wide: there are many kinds of proxies. One could dispute the utility of tree rings without rejecting pollen, lake mud, ice cores and all the newly ones scientists discover as we speak, e.g.:

    Source: https://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~gideonh/pdffiles/proxies.pdf

    But more importantly, in my opinion at least, is that your are moving the goalposts. First, it was all about scientific integrity. Now it is all about proxies. When attention to detail fails, going for glittering generalities is quite natural. Nevertheless, it conflicts with the righteousness with which you led the But Emails charge.

    Details matter until they don’t. For every Brandon there is a Mark Steyn, perhaps two. Perhaps more now that Climateball turned to tweeting.

    None of this is worth getting sued. Legal recourses are less than zero-sum games. Everybody loses. The question then becomes: who loses more? Contrarians certainly did not win anything so far by relitigating emails that they may not have read as well as they recall. It certainly does not help you push for more nuclear, at least as far as I can see. So in a way, Mike created a most brilliant honey trap that captures much contrarian energy!

    Oh, did I mention nuclear? Here is your cue.

  116. Happy to help out, but I am not trying to create anything in particular. I have simply reflected on the years of discussion and decided I have been retracing the steps of Sisyphus. Been there, done that. Going to polish rocks at the bottom of the mountain now.

    I accept and join with dikran tribe that is sincere and is not alarmed. That tribe does not include types like TWF who feign concern, but not alarm. They are acting and speaking in bad faith imo. I am not following the discussion very closely, but I guess John Droz and rick a and others are in the TWF tribe and are keeping sincere folks busy. That tribe is a complete waste of time imo because they are not sincere, or not communicating in good faith, or are victims of DK that don’t know how much they don’t know. Whatever the case with individual members of that tribe, their collective resistance to learning is quite profound and stubborn.

    The door to knowledge and better understanding is open, but we don’t increase the numbers getting to the other side of that door by pushing against folks who have their hands and feet wedged against the doorjamb. Just block them, remove their stubborn electronic nonsense because engagement with them probably looks to voter/bystanders as if their positions have some merit. Be careful about validating the merchants of doubt by extending them a platform. I am interested to see if an orderly queue of sincere folks start to stream through the door and into the light of day if we just dismiss the “tobacco scientists.” Wow, see that? I think I actually came back to the idea of science communication.

    I could be all wrong about that.

    Agree with Jon, it was too hot in PNW yesterday, but 10 day forecast looks really good, so planning to pick grapes if they will ripen in this stretch of good weather. Still need a good rain. My water bill is soaring.

    Cheers

  117. Mal Adapted says:

    Can the denialist comments made here be placed on the FLICC framework? For example, much of RickA’s claims about the CG emails are on the Conspiracy Theories branch. This one is especially revealing:

    The climategate emails will always shed light on how advocate scientists twist the truth in order to try to influence public policy.

    That is a claim of nefarious intent. But how was RickA convinced that Phil Jones and/or Mike Mann are advocate scientists trying to influence public policy? Other than any calls they’ve made for collective action against rapid global warming, that is, since that’s surely their professional duty. Does RickA have corroborating evidence, perhaps statements made by Jones inter alia outside the climategate context, exposing a wider political agenda?

  118. dikranmarsupial says:

    “The climategate emails will always shed light on how advocate scientists twist the truth in order to try to influence public policy.”

    It’s funny, but when I first read the quote, I thought it must be referring to the authors of the Crutape letters ;o)

    “Does RickA have corroborating evidence, perhaps statements made by Jones inter alia outside the climategate context, exposing a wider political agenda?”

    I suspect they will be somewhat conspicuous by their absence.

  119. RickA says:

    Mal Adapted wants to know why I infer nefarious intent. It is because Phil Jones sent an email to Michael Mann – with a subject line “HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL”: “I can’t see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin [Trenberth] and I will keep them out somehow – even if we have to redefine what the peer review literature is!”

    Clear evidence of advocacy to push a preferred policy outcome. Phil Jones, Kevin Trenberth and Michael Mann wanted to keep papers they didn’t like out of the scientific literature so they wouldn’t have to put them into the IPCC report. That is nefarious intent (and bad science).

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/feb/02/hacked-climate-emails-flaws-peer-review

  120. Rick,
    Sometimes papers really are rubbish and probably shouldn’t be included in reports, not if your goal is for the report to present reliable information. AFAIA, the papers that this email referred to didn’t end up being excluded.

  121. at Jon: my kiwis and grapes are all south, southeast and southwest facing. This works great for reducing sun on the walls of my stucco house because the grapes and kiwis are on large trellis structures that attach to the house. Our “sun porch: on the south side has solar panels above, the kind that are made of glass and let some sunlight through, and then is pretty much closed in on three sides by grapes and kiwis. It’s like a tree house. The little ones and the old ones spend a significant amount of time in that space. My guess is that grapes and kiwis will not have an easy time on a northern exposure. Wish I had better news than that.

    Your trajectory and mine seem quite similar. I wish all the best to you and your family. The PNW is pretty fantastic even if it is getting a bit too hot and dry.

    Mike

  122. Mal Adapted says:

    RickA is evidently unclear on the role of intersubjective verification, i.e. “peer review” broadly defined, in the scientific enterprise. Beyond that, he fancies himself competent to judge “bad science”, while demonstrating that the culture and practice of modern science are alien to him. Where on the FLICC tree does the Dunning-Kruger effect fall? The best fit might be under Fake Experts. RickA fails to acknowledge the aggregate expertise of the international peer community of working climate scientists, but considers himself and Steve McIntyre to be genuine experts.

  123. Mal Adapted says:

    WRT to RickA’s misunderstanding of how science is conducted, the most succinct characterization of peer review I’ve yet seen is from science fiction author Peter Watts, in Because As We All Know, The Green Party Runs the World. Pull quote:

    Science doesn’t work despite scientists being asses. Science works, to at least some extent, because scientists are asses. Bickering and backstabbing are essential elements of the process. Haven’t any of these guys ever heard of “peer review”?

    Well worth a read.

  124. Russell says:

    “Sometimes papers really are rubbish and probably shouldn’t be included in reports, not if your goal is for the report to present reliable information”

    ATTP is too kind.

    Soon after Sturgeon’s Law:

    “90% of peer reviewed papers are rubbish”

    was adduced, MIT AI guru Marvin Minsky offered a cautionary corollary:

    “And so are 95% of the remainder.”

    A broad spectrum of citation indices have since confirmed that both got the order of magnitude right.

  125. Ken Fabian says:

    The Hockey Stick was effective communications. That was why there was all-out efforts to discredit it. Not because it was false and deceptive but because it was not. I am not impressed with those that willingly entered that climate science denier group-think bubble and deceived themselves into believing that what they were doing was a good thing.

  126. Jon Kirwan says:

    I’m flummoxed that anyone bothers to write to RickA.

    I’m done with ever reading anything from RickA until and unless he is able to show me how “If tree ring data is not a good proxy for temperature from 1960 to 1995 (the decline), then … “ derives from ATTP’s “ … for one of the tree ring series.” and “ … it was an issue with this particular tree ring series and not with tree rings in general”. And is convincing about it. (It’s possible my imagination is limited.) Otherwise I, for one, have far better ways to spend my breath and life’s blood.

    Admitted, there is the conditional *if* that leads his statement. And RickA could hide behind it and try to say that *merely* he left it up to the reader to decide if the rest is true or not. But then RickA is disingenuous, because the rest of what RickA wrote is not a valid paraphrasing of ATTP and RickA is hoping that others will think it really was valid, when he knew better. If RickA didn’t know better, then I don’t see the point in continuing *any* conversation with someone this incapable of reading and understanding.

    I’m also not going to read any responses to RickA. No point. Not at this time. Best wishes to those who have the time for it. I don’t.

  127. Willard says:

    Jon,

    You don’t get to decide to whom AT responds. His blog, his rulz. Next comment along those lines will be deleted, including any response to my actual comment.

    Thanks.

  128. dikranmarsupial says:

    ATTP is correct, wanting to keep a bad paper out of an important report is not an indication of wanting to push a policy outcome. It is just quality control.

    BTW “redefine peer review” is obviously just hyperbole as humour. This is a common feature of British humour, but I doubt it is unique to it.

    I note you responded to Mal’s comment, but did not rise to the challenge to identify any public statements by Prof. Jones indicating a political agenda. I assume this is because you know you won’t find one and it undermines your argument that he was pushing for a political outcome.

    FWIW, I have worked with Prof. Jones (before 2009) and I can’t remember him ever talking about anything other than the science.

  129. dikranmarsupial says:

    Russel. Indeed getting through peer review is the first step to acceptance by the research community, not the last.

  130. Jon Kirwan says:

    You don’t get to decide to whom AT responds.

    Of course I don’t. Never thought otherwise.

    You may misunderstand me. I said I was flummoxed.

  131. Sometimes I just enjoy talking with people, even if it doesn’t achieve much and ends up being frustrating. I’m trying to recover the naivety, and positivity, I had when I was younger 🙂

  132. Jon Kirwan says:

    ATTP, We both spend our time as we wish. And you’ve attracted wonderful people I enjoy. Thanks so much for that!

  133. Tom Fuller says:

    dikran, I came away from the exercise feeling that Phil Jones was a good man who made one or two bad mistakes. And that Michael Mann was a sloppy scientist (and recognized as such by many of his peers) who was a slick political operative.

    Oh, this thread brings back many memories. It’s especially entertaining to see blanket condemnation of those who know the emails by those who haven’t read them.

  134. dikranmarsupial says:

    Tom “dikran, I came away from the exercise feeling that Phil Jones was a good man who made one or two bad mistakes.”

    I’d agree with that, but I would add that most of the mistakes were induced by the unreasonable behaviour of those harassing him for data that they already had, were in the public domain, or which he had no right to distribute (c.f. the manual “distributed denial of service attack” orchestrated via a certain skeptic blog). Context is important.

    The question is, if he is a good man, why did you you use misleading quotes on the cover of his book, with the promise that the context for the quotes made them worse than they initally appear? Is that a way to treat a good man?

    I don’t know whether you watched the recent drama on the BBC about climategate, but the depiction of the effect it had on this “good man” was accurately represented. IMHO you were part of the cause of that. At least Steven Mosher had the decency to apologize (and kudos to him for having done so).

    Russell – apollogies for misspelling your name in my previous comment!

  135. Willard says:

    Jon,

    Words have implication. Yours carry a judgment about how things ought to be run. Discussing blog policy leads to more toxic exchanges than revisiting old stolen emails. Contrarians used to exploit this all the time at the beginning. Any one of them could have come here and use your comment as a cue to raise concerns about how AT runs things. My response clarifies something for you while shutting down that back door to them.

    Parents do not need to tell their kids what to do to orient their behaviour. They only need to say they are disappointed.

  136. I watched “The Trick” last night to see how my memory was of those events. That’s a pretty well made flick about the anti-science communication industry and the culture wars. The folks who cynically push anti-science stuff don’t deserve any respect or consideration in my opinion.

  137. Russell says:

    Absent third grade hall monitors to guide it towards the exits, science advances a thousand unreadable papers at a time.

    This guarantees hourly progress , as we can choose what not to read from tens of thousands of peer reviewed journals.

  138. Willard says:

    Almost nothing gets cited anyway, Russell:

    It is a sobering fact that some 90% of papers that have been published in academic journals are never cited. Indeed, as many as 50% of papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees and journal editors. We know this thanks to citation analysis, a branch of information science in which researchers study the way articles in a scholarly field are accessed and referenced by others (see box 1).

    Source: https://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0701/0701012.pdf

    Writing with style is hard. Takes a lifetime of alcohol. Technical editors settle for precision over clarity.

    Reading is harder. Takes hours to deduct from writing. As James once put it:

    never was it more true that comment threads on blogs are a write-only medium

    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2017/11/watts-up-with-pat-frank.html

    If Climateball was a filesystem, it would provide non-readable, non-executable, and non-archiveable format.

  139. RickA says:

    dikranmarsupial:

    Phil Jones email to Michael Mann trying to keep two published science papers out of the next IPCC report is political. It shows his bad intent and is bad science.

  140. Rick,
    Deciding what should go in the IPCC reports is a key part of writing them.

  141. RickA says:

    True. And the two papers did get in over Jones wishes. It is better to deal with relevant points of view (since they did get in they were obviously relevant) than to try to avoid dealing with them because they take a contrary point of view. So it all ended up well. And I am sure the IPCC report was better for having those two papers included than not.

  142. Mal Adapted says:

    In an early comment on this thread, RickA said:

    Look – we are all entitled to our opinions. My opinion is this “hide the decline” incident was deceptive and deliberately so.

    Yes, RickA is “entitled” to his opinion, in the sense that no one can prevent him from having one. His opinion on the value of the Yamal tree rings as temperature proxies, however, is not informed by adequate training or experience. He is clearly unaware of the challenges tree ring specialists face in reconstructing the curve of global mean surface temperature when thermometer measurements aren’t available; and is also clearly unfamiliar with the culture of competitive skepticism among the peer community of working specialists. He fails to understand that he’s not entitled to have his naive opinions taken seriously by trained, disciplined scientists. If he was, science would be no more successful than divination with entrails.

  143. dikranmarsupial says:

    RickA if a scientist thought a paper was incorrect, they have a duty to argue against its inclusion in a scientific report, whether it is intended for use by governments to set policy*. It is quality control. That is good science, and not evidence of political motivation.

    “True…” does that mean you withdraw your accusation of political intent and bad science?

    * unless the reason for inclusion is to explain the error (c.f. Starr’s paper is I think referenced in the first or second IPCC report for that reason).

  144. Russell says:

    Given ATTP’s interest in the dynamics of exoplanetary bodies, the interaction of their internal energetics with their orbital motion may be of interest him, so here, to spare him a paper chase, is a link:

    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/7408839_Xenomict_energy_in_cold_solids_in_space

  145. Willard says:

    Smarter:

    Researchers with Loma Linda University in California found that vegans have the smallest carbon footprint, generating a 41.7 percent smaller volume of greenhouse gases than meat-eaters do.

    https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/fight-the-climate-crisis

    Drive-by done, Rick, as should be most of the usual But Emails contrarian talking points.

  146. Russell says:

    Smartest:

    Steer clear of organic coffee produced by forcing omnivores to subsist on vegetables

    https://support.peta.org/page/41905/action/1

  147. The following is NOT a scientifically sound argument, just an opinion of one commenter here …

    “Nature is inherently exponential. It’s just how statistical thermodynamics works (Boltzmann factor.) Unfortunately, we only know about a few of these non-linear mechanisms well enough to apply time-dynamical, non-linear equations with confidence. The rest we just assume is ‘linear’ (safe, defensible position) — even though every single one of us who works these equations daily knows for certain that nothing about large-number particle statistics in nature is the least bit linear.

    So we will always be underestimating future change.”

    Thus, the equality of obverse opinions.

  148. “Indeed, as many as 100% of contrarian papers are never read by anyone other than their authors, referees, WTFUWT readers and journal editors.”

    🙂

  149. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard, we can’t know from citation analysis how many papers are read.

    I must have read thousands of papers, professionally and just out of interest, from which I learned a massive amount, which I didn’t cite. I have tens of thousands indexed on my hard drive, for most of which I’ve only read the abstract and conclusion and maybe looked at the figures. Which is fine, for topics where I’m not professionally engaged and rely on the peer review process, because I’m not competent to evaluate the detailed reasoning or evidence anyway. Doesn’t mean they’re worthless or unnoticed.

    Indeed one thing I’d pick up on as an editor is that the 50% claim is justified nowhere in the text. Hopefully that will be caught if it goes from preprint to peer-reviewed publication.

    Actually, from a quick skim it looks like the 90% is not justified either. And neither is relevant to the main thrust of the paper. Click-bait?

    Ah, I see it has been published. But in Physics World, so it’s a magazine article like those in Scientific American or National Geographic, not a formal peer-reviewed academic paper.

  150. Dave_Geologist says:

    Of course the strengths, and particularly, the weaknesses of citation indexes and h-factors have been widely debated in academia.

    At this point I normally reach for Google Scholar, Ramsay & Grahams seminal 1970 Strain variation in shear belts, and Ramsay’s 1980 follow-up Shear zone geometry: A review. (Rod Graham, like me, spent most of his career in the oil industry, indeed we worked together for a couple of years, so was probably less peeved about not being a co-author on the second – citations, meh…)

    I expected (a) that the second would have more cites as it’s in a higher profile and more accessible journal (part of a standard Elsevier bundle), and (b) that they would tail off as it’s been text-book stuff for decades. To my surprise they’re neck-and-neck and 2018-2022 is more or less pro-rata.

    A lot of the cites are textbooks though, and I suspect that a lot of the non-textbook ones are courtesy cites and the authors are going from the textbook summary, not the original papers.

  151. dikranmarsupial says:

    Dave_Geologist “Willard, we can’t know from citation analysis how many papers are read.”

    as well as people reading papers without citing them, many papers pick up citations without being read by the author. I (fairly) regularly cite a paper written in Russian for which there appears to be no English translations. I have seen the paper and looked at the equations, but I’m not sure that counts as “read” ;o) I have to cite it though to give credit for the idea that I am building on.

    I’ll have to see if I can find a .pdf, Google’s technical Russian is likely to be way better than mine these days.

    One advantage of metrics though is that they have a much lower variance than expert subjective judgements of quality.

    I think a claim that 90% of published papers are not worth citing – there is plenty of low-quality work published. I think there’s only about 10% of *my* papers that *I’d* recommend someone else read. That isn’t the purpose of academic publishing though, it is worth having plenty of “false-positives” because the cost of that is low (waste a few pages of a journal) and the cost of a “false-negative” is much higher (we miss out on hearing about an interesting/useful idea). So I am not too disturbed by the finding of the paper.

  152. dikranmarsupial says:

    I think that causes a bit of a problem with science communication – I think the general public think that passing peer review means that a paper has become part of the body of approved scientific knowledge, but that really isn’t the case. It just means that the reviewers couldn’t find anything obviously wrong with it and thought at the time that it may be interesting or useful. There is certainly no guarantee of its correctness.

    Perhaps we should replace “publish or perish” with “be cited or perish” – but I suspect we would have lost Peter Higgs either way, I’m glad that things used to be somewhat different in academia in the past.

  153. Dave_Geologist says:

    Agreed dikran.

    And in an observational field like geology or astronomy, a lot of stuff is merely reporting observations which become part of the corpus theorists theorise about, rather than coming up with a new theory or being a test of a new theory. As more observations are made, the old or preliminary ones get added to or superseded.

    The same is true of climate change to a degree, but I would draw the distinction that in the first two, we’re largely looking at an unchanging Earth or Cosmos, just observing an increasing percentage of it; whereas with climate, we’re dealing with a changing system where the same observation of the same thing, decades later, can be different but both are valid.

  154. Bob Loblaw says:

    Ah, the discussion of citations rears its ugly head. We want metrics. We have metrics. What do they actually measure, and are they linked to the thing that we are really interested in?

    There is the classic satirical Make Tenure Fast chain letter Although it is satire, it sees application n the real world when a small group of like-mined individuals (the 3%) keep citing each other.

    https://newtotse.com/oldtotse/en/bad_ideas/scams_and_rip_offs/tenure.html

    In discussions of climate science, there is the classic “Pielkes all the way down” approach (citing your self over, and over, and over…)

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2013/12/pielkes-all-way-down.html

    A really bad paper might get cited quite a few times because people have to keep pointing out how it is wrong (“It’s a good example because it’s such a bad example”).

    A really good paper might not get cited much after its original publication because it leads to a lot of further work that builds on it (i.e., its ideas become essential to the field), and people cite that later work instead. How many physics papers cite Newton’s original work? Or Einstein’s original works on relativity? What is the current citation rate in biology of “On the Origin of Species”?

    An orchard ripe for the picking of cherries.

  155. Willard says:

    Dave, we know that scientists can comment on papers they haven’t read.

    You just did.

  156. Bob Loblaw says:

    Over at Skeptical Science, there has been a repost of an article from Thinking is Power, discussing science. The discussion has had some interesting notes on publication.

    https://skepticalscience.com/science-what-it-is-how-it-works-and-why-it-matters.html

    The relevant portion of that discussion, for this discussion here, is that a contrarian that works at a university has listed “publications” on his university web profile that include “papers” that appear to exist only as uploads to arXiv.org. If those actually qualified for his academic review (I’m sure they don’t), combined with the Make Tenure Fast” strategy, anyone could get tenure…

  157. Bob Loblaw says:

    “we know that scientists can comment on papers they haven’t read.”

    Some papers are so bad that you don’t have to read the entire paper to know that it’s rubbish…..

  158. Willard says:

    As to how many physics papers cite Newton or Einstein, it must be more than zero:

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=18271772189458639913&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=fr

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=12473631678076435123&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5&hl=fr

    There are many problems with these databases. Counting uncited papers is the lesser of them. Citation is the name of the scientific game. Scientists are like consumers or ants: they vote with feet that leave traces.

    If contrarians really wanted to bury MBH98, they did the opposite they should have done.

  159. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Some papers are so bad that you don’t have to read the entire paper to know that it’s rubbish…..”

    similarly, they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but there are exceptions to that rule.

  160. Bob Loblaw says:

    Willard:

    How many of those cites are just casual ones in general texts, rather than cites in the current specialist literature? Google Scholar will pick up just about anything, as far as I can tell. What is that metric actually measuring, as opposed to what are we really interested in?

  161. Bob Loblaw says:

    ” they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover”

    Well, I can think of one particular book that I would not bother reading, but in addition to the cover (the only part I’ve seen), I am making that judgement based on the author’s online behaviour in blog comments on places like this one.

  162. Willard says:

    > they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but there are exceptions to that rule.

    Matthew might have been onto something when he counselled not to judge. Those of us who choose the judgmental path are left with a dilemma. The more due diligence is paid to a cultural product, the more value it gets. To ignore some work means our spiritual work on it will get ignored.

    Think of how all the fandom there is about really bad stuff, say Chuck Norris movies. The world absolutely needs to know about how bad they are. This needs to be documented religiously. The badness of Chuck Norris deserves analysis over analysis, frame by frame. Contrarians dedicate their lives to science the same way any fandom adores its fetish – with all its might.

    I think this is the best way to describe contrarian outlets. They are science fans. Not any kind of fans. Mostly haters. The best kind of haters I have ever seen. They hate science so much they barely read it.

    This at least ought to be celebrated.

  163. Willard says:

    Bob,

    I said more than one. If you skim the list, you will see more than one. I am making a point of logic. The idea that some, most or many of these citations are bogus does not counter the claim that the vast majority of scientific papers are not cited. Think about it.

    The evidence of absence is easier to support than the absence of evidence. You are making an incredulity claim. If you want to support it, be my guest. I will not work just because you express incredulity.

    That trained scientists have the same reflexes as anyone else is comforting, in a way. Our attention is our most important currency. We all are entitled to the best information service. Ask the virtual aether and ye shall receive.

    Alas, contrarians stop right there. Perhaps those of us who suffered them for so long might try to do better than that. Speck or beam, size does not matter as far as taking responsibility for our own eyes is concerned.

  164. Bob Loblaw says:

    Willard:

    Saying things like “think about it” is condescending twaddle.

    If you choose to expand “cite” to “any mention in any medium”, then go for it. I am discussing citations as “cited in scientific literature”. I have presented an argument as to why good work may not get cited after time has passed – it has been superseded, and more recent publications are more relevant.

    At times, I recommend that people go back to the very first IPCC report, rather than the most recent ones. Why? Because the first one went much deeper into the basics, and serves better as an introduction to the science – for people that obviously have a poor understanding of the basics. Scientists that are more up-to-date in the field will want to see the new material in the newer reports.

    Old, original, key seminal works have their uses. Being cited in recent cutting-edge works that have gone way beyond the basics is not one of them. Using counts of such recent citations is not a good metric for judging their value.

  165. dikranmarsupial says:

    Willard, I think Mathew was suggesting not judging others (people rather than things), and indeed that is consistent with “let he who is without sin throw the first stone” (I vaguely recall judgement in that context includes the penalty).

    I think it is clearer in Luke “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;” You can say that something is wrong without condemning the person, and you can point it out and forgive, even when someone you know, like and respect is almost driven to take their own life.

    In this case, it is just a judgement about whether the rest of the book is worth reading.

    My eyes have their fair share of logs – anyone who helps take them out is a good friend.

  166. Willard says:

    Bob,

    Saying things like “twaddle” and “Some papers are so bad that you don’t have to read the entire paper to know that it’s rubbish” is no better, and here is one paper:

    https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspa.2003.1127

    It was on the first page of the search. And teh Scholar is just a rough tool. I will let you register to the Web of Science and follow on the breadcrumbs yourself.

    For now, I will note that your claim shifts from “published in physics” to “cutting-edge research.” Perhaps it’s only for effect. In that case I agree: scientific fields tend to pay more attention to what is more recent. This has been documented. To cite one guy you won’t snob, Ken Hughes calls it the half-life of a citation:

    To look for patterns in citations, I took 360 papers that I’ve accumulated over the last six years and calculated the age of the papers cited at the time each paper was published. All papers were published between 2000 and 2020. Most are from the fields of physical oceanography or fluid mechanics. Your field will differ, but the general principles should hold. (See the end of the post for the detailed methods.)

    The shape of the red histogram above might look familiar: it’s an exponential decay. In fact, exponential decay is a surprisingly good fit for how citations age. Let me repeat the plot above, but with the y axis on a log scale so that exponential decay becomes a straight line:

    https://brushingupscience.com/2020/07/01/the-half-life-of-citations/

    That we cite less loci classici than new shiny things does not imply that the good papers are not cited. On the contrary. It means that we can trace citations all the way down to them.

    The vast majority of papers leave no trace.

    No trace. At all.

    One could argue that there must be something good in uncited papers. More than plausible. Just as one can argue that there must be something bad in famous papers. Since science is self-correcting, that’s a certainty. To mention an example I just stumbled upon, Cavendish made an arithmetic error in the 1798 paper of his famous experiment. History has it that it took 23 years to be reported, by Francis Baily.

    Nevertheless, unless on can demonstrate that there is a scientific gold mine under uncited papers, I think it’s safer to posit that good papers tend to get cited and that there’s soundness in valuing, as scientific establishment actually do, citation counts.

    The paper I cited mentions all kinds of caveats, including the ones enumerated so far in our discussion.

  167. Russell says:

    The Badness of Chuck Norris Movies has been transcended by Kevin Sorbo’s fall from re-run demigod in Hercules, the Legendary Journeys to climate porn narrator in Climate Hustle I & II.

    These are works of a Badness transcending all extant cable channel business models, and have in the main been viewed only as Heartland Conference dinner theater entertainment, alongside Austrian Climate Rap and crooning by Mark Steyn.

    Politicize science journals are, after all, just small magazines for smaller audiences, and creating them is no more difficult, or permanent than that other bipartisan American institution, packing the Supreme Court.

  168. DtG said:

    “And in an observational field like geology or astronomy, a lot of stuff is merely reporting observations which become part of the corpus theorists theorise about,”

    Large-scale geology, astronomy, and climate science are the research disciplines without the benefits of controlled lab experiments, which explains the slow pace of scientific advancement. The communication of scientific theory still largely amounts to “we really don’t know” or “look at this speculative model”, and that’s why so many observational results are reported, as everyone is analyzing what amounts to micro-trends.

    It’s kind of the equivalent of horse-race journalism in political reporting.

  169. Bob Loblaw says:

    Willard:

    Whatever. The original context of my “…published in physics…” statement was the preceding part of the paragraph that said, “A really good paper might not get cited much after its original publication because it leads to a lot of further work that builds on it (i.e., its ideas become essential to the field), and people cite that later work instead.”

    You seem to want to choose to ignore that context to make some point about papers that never get cited. Or turn it into a broad, all-encompassing claim. Go ahead. I’m not interested.

    And yes, I can read some part of a paper, in a subject I know well, and conclude that the rest of the paper is not going to be worth my time.

  170. So the usual course of events is to convince someone to publish a prediction, which of course can only be checked years, decades, or later depending on the time-scale of the geophysical or astrophysical behavior. But since citations have such a short-lifetime, no one will actually check the results years later as the models quickly become forgotten.

    The remedy to this is to concentrate on cross-validation of data, which is curiously still not widely adopted. It arguably enables one to by-pass having to wait years for results to play out. In machine learning, it’s considered vital if for no other reason than to reject over-fitted models. This person indicated that it was in 1990 that cross-validation was first considered for neural network models:

  171. dikranmarsupial says:

    Cross-validation does not mean that the results are reliable.

    Gavin C. Cawley and Nicola L. C. Talbot, “On Over-fitting in Model Selection and Subsequent Selection Bias in Performance Evaluation”, Journal of Machine Learning Research, 11 (2010) 2079-2107 (pdf)

    This can be an issue whether your models have explicit model selection step, or whether you performed any undocumented exploratory investigation of the data beforehand (researcher degrees of freedom).

    I have written some papers that are worth citing as well as some that aren’t ;o)

    “it arguably enables one to by-pass having to wait years for results to play out.”

    No. Cross-validation does not mean you can reliably extrapolate safely away from the data you have.

    I *very* much doubt that the first use of cross-validation with neural networks was as late as 1990. That was when I started in neural networks, and even then there were plenty of statisticians working on them. However, even by 2010, there were plenty of researchers that were using it incorrectly (hence the paper by Mrs Marsupial and I).

    If you want to see if you have used it correctly, submit it to a peer reviewed journal.

  172. dikranmarsupial says:

    Here is a paper from 1988 that uses cross-validation with neural networks.

    https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/95351

  173. dikranmarsupial says:

    For context, the PDP Book that sparked the resurgence of interest in neural networks (after it was killed off for a bit by the book by Minsky and Papert – the link is to the second edition rather than the first) came out in 1986. This means that neural network people were using cross-validation pretty much from the start.

  174. Willard says:

    > You seem to want to choose to ignore that context to make some point about papers that never get cited.

    The discussion was about papers that never get cited, and concerns where raised about the reliability of citation as a proxy. I answered one question: Einstein and Newton are still cited. The most popular response on Quora, while informative in its own right, is wrong about Einstein’s paper not being cited in our century.

    Bibliometricians know about citation ageing or decay. They also came up with indicators that exclude self-citation, e.g. the Eigenfactor. When I feel optimistic about the academic world, I tend to believe that the days of the h-index might be numbered, e.g.:

    The impact of individual scientists is commonly quantified using citation-based measures. The most common such measure is the h-index. A scientist’s h-index affects hiring, promotion, and funding decisions, and thus shapes the progress of science. Here we report a large-scale study of scientometric measures, analyzing millions of articles and hundreds of millions of citations across four scientific fields and two data platforms. We find that the correlation of the h-index with awards that indicate recognition by the scientific community has substantially declined. These trends are associated with changing authorship patterns. We show that these declines can be mitigated by fractional allocation of citations among authors, which has been discussed in the literature but not implemented at scale. We find that a fractional analogue of the h-index outperforms other measures as a correlate and predictor of scientific awards. Our results suggest that the use of the h-index in ranking scientists should be reconsidered, and that fractional allocation measures such as h-frac provide more robust alternatives.

    https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0253397

    When I feel less optimistic, I remind myself that Goodhart’s law is here to stay and that researchers will come up with more subtle ways to game the system.

    All in all, proxies are proxies are proxies, whether they come from citation counts or tree rings. They’re not the real thing, but they’re what we got. And we need to make do.

  175. Russell says:

    Willard, the Counterclimate Literature exemplifies the eigenfactor on steroids, a heady echo chamber mix of self-citation and reciprocity that amplifies the international visibility of authors otherwise deservedly obscure.

    More social network diagrams are called for, and perhaps some cautionary comparison of how loudly tiny political and academic cliques can be amplified on your choice of Fox or PBS.

  176. Willard says:

    All your base belong to Altmetric, Russell:

    This article is in the 99th percentile (ranked 371st) of the 360,943 tracked articles of a similar age in all journals and the 99th percentile (ranked 22nd) of the 16,803 tracked articles of a similar age in Scientific Reports

    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-01714-4/metrics

    Not too shabby for a paper that got three official citations!

  177. Bob Loblaw says:

    “The discussion was about papers that never get cited”

    Not may part of the discussion. We actually have several different issues going on here. Once again, you’ve removed the part that gave the context for my statement.

  178. Russell says:

    W: Which article please?
    Are you referring to: the following figure header ?
    “Computer-assisted classification of contrarian claims about climate change

    Access & Citations

    23k
    Article Accesses
    1
    Web of Science
    3
    CrossRef”
    The answer doesn’t pop out of the linked Nature text

  179. Willard says:

    > Which article please?

    Remove the “metrics.”

  180. Willard says:

    > We actually have several different issues going on here.

    Issues about citation as a proxy for value, which you dispute. Was there anything else? My argument in a nutshell is this: no provenance, no value.

    Citation analysis studies provenance. So you bet I hold that citation can be a proxy for value: grants, jobs, and reputation revolve around it. One might argue that it is the main currency that matters. To doubt that citation is a valid proxy for value is to doubt the intelligence of those who cite papers.

    Yes, you can game most metrics. Yes, those are shaky and at best offer a partial ordering. Yet the numbers are so skewed between what is being cited and what is not that the scale alone reveals something very important.

    Seminal work does not need to be cited a lot to stand out. Very few oldies appear in contemporary scientific lichurchur. Very few. Probably not enough. Newton is still cited, Einstein too. Better – they are mentioned by name in the main text. Bibliometrics could study that too. Perhaps it does.

    Sometimes more obscure work resurfaces, say like Perelman’s proof of the Poincaré conjecture. It stood in arXiv a few years before it got discovered. Then it was worth one million USD.

    So to me citation is not far from being a real currency. It’s realer than crypto, that’s for sure. Ask any researcher who never gets cited.

  181. Cross-validation can take on different flavors, such as training on one behavior and then validating on what appears to be an independent behavior.

    So in a broader sense, cross-validation includes the concept of parsimony across as many observational dimensions as possible. In the laboratory realm of experimentation, one can select almost at will, but for earth sciences, there’s no way to create a gravitational replica, for example. So you have to be creative in formulating a web of cross-validating relationships to substitute for the luxury of controlled experiments in the lab.

    When something happens in nature to provide any kind of external perturbation, such as the Tonga eruption from last year, scientists can use that as well. Some discussion about the amount of water vapor injected in the stratosphere and how that is impacting the southern hemisphere.

  182. dikranmarsupial says:

    Willard “When I feel less optimistic, I remind myself that Goodhart’s law is here to stay and that researchers will come up with more subtle ways to game the system. ”

    Indeed, it has a lot to do with the way that researchers are incentivised. An advantage of having reached the end of my career progression options is that I can concentrate on just trying to do good work.

    The fractional h-index sounds like a good start though.

  183. dikranmarsupial says:

    @WUHT “Cross-validation can take on different flavors,”

    (i) I know. If you look at my publication record, you will find I am very familiar with cross-validation, many of my most highly cited papers are on that very topic.

    (ii) You appear to have completely ignored the criticism of your (factually incorrect) statements.

  184. dikranmarsupial says:

    @WHUT

    (iii) “So you have to be creative in formulating a web of cross-validating relationships to substitute for the luxury of controlled experiments in the lab “ sounds very much like the “any undocumented exploratory investigation of the data beforehand (researcher degrees of freedom).” that I was warning of, and which my paper explains can bias performance evaluation.

    You are unlikely to gain [positive] attention in the research community this way.

  185. Dave_Geologist says:

    Hilarious, Paul.

    Remind me how many times you’re said (paraphrasing) “geophysicists are dummies, they haven’t even done X, Y, Z”, only for me link to publications doing X, Y and Z decades ago? If not from memory, from Google Scholar’s first page.

    Or alleged inconsistencies and contradictions when in reality all they revealed was your lack of understanding and/or Failure To Do Your Homework (Hough comes to mind).

    I’d tell you but I gave up counting once it was in double figures.

    Excuse me for not taking lessons on the published literature from someone who has repeatedly demonstrated a profound ignorance of the published literature, and a stubborn refusal to learn even when led by the nose to learning opportunities.

  186. Dave_Geologist says:

    Willard, given the title of that NSR paper, I’m sure we can both agree that 99% of those clicking on it were not there for the science, and that half of them had steam coming out of their ears and vehemently disagreed with its findings.

    And that most didn’t read past the abstract.

  187. Bob Loblaw says:

    “Issues about citation as a proxy for value, which you dispute”

    Try actually reading what I have said, instead of taking things out of context and turning it into something it is not, yet again.

  188. Willard says:

    Bob,

    Bibliometricians know now to subtract a date of citation from a date of publication. So yeah, whatever.

    ***

    Dave,

    Agreed, and I hope we can agree that forging money does not invalidate our currency systems, and that no one will clap if you read a paper in a forest without telling anyone about it.

  189. Russell says:

    Thanks- Willard are these the 3 zero citation papers to which you refer , as thus far having cited Coan, Boussalis, Cook & Nanko (2021) ?

    Dead White men vs. Greta Thunberg: Nationalism, Misogyny, and Climate Change Denial in Swedish far-right Digital Media
    Kjell Vowles and Martin Hultman

    Australian Feminist Studies, 2021, Volume 36, Number 110, Page 414
    DOI: 10.1080/08164649.2022.2062669
    0

    CITATIONS
    Article
    An Examination of Expertise, Caring and Salient Value Similarity as Source Factors that Garner Support for Advocated Climate Policies
    Nathaniel Geiger, Melanie A. Sarge and Ryan N. Comfort

    Environmental Communication 2022, Page 1
    DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2022.2080242
    0
    CITATIONS
    Article
    Debunking Climate Myths Is Easy—Is It Really? An Explorative Case Study with Pre-Service Physics Teachers
    Thomas Schubatzky and Claudia Haagen-Schützenhöfer

    Education Sciences, 2022, Volume 12, Number 8, Page 566
    0

    The first two illustrate ” small magazines with smaller audiences” phenomenon , as does CBC&N ‘s short list of tiny think thanks thinking tiny thoughts that resound loudly in the American Thinker echosphere.

    OTOH, that applies reflexively to tiny think tanks on both sides of K Street.

    But Symmetry happens.

  190. Willard says:

    > that applies reflexively

    I’m sure it does, Russell. Research and report.

  191. This seems like pretty effective science communication by father and daughter team. This seems like it might be a good model on how to combine science and science communication: https://youtu.be/Z33VctxsjQw

    Also, there is some good news out there! The carbon emissions from China fell almost 8%. https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3180173/climate-change-carbon-emissions-worlds-top-emitter-china-fall-further Also: Zero hurricanes in August! That doesn’t happen very often. https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/31/weather/hurricane-august-no-named-storms-forecast/index.html

    Nice cool day in the PNW today after a couple days that were a bit too warm. Lovely!

    Enjoy

    Mike

  192. Mal Adapted says:

    Russell:

    some cautionary comparison of how loudly tiny political and academic cliques can be amplified on your choice of Fox or PBS.

    I’d appreciate your take on the AdfontesMedia and Allsides media bias charts. The AdfontesMedia chart is paywalled, but PBS and FoxNews both appear on the thumbnail view at the link. The Allsides chart is freely available at the link; PBS isn’t on it, but NPR is. Do you think either chart is accurate?

  193. DtG said:

    “Remind me how many times you’re said (paraphrasing) “geophysicists are dummies, they haven’t even done X, Y, Z”, only for me link to publications doing X, Y and Z decades ago? If not from memory, from Google Scholar’s first page.”

    OK. Here’s one. Geophysists are “dummies” — they never checked that the nodal cycle of the moon (27.212 days) when torqueing against the spinning earth in synch with the seasonal cycle will EXACTLY reproduce the Chandler wobble period. To associate this with a controlled lab experiment, this can be verified by torqueing a rotating sphere with a magnetic dipole moment (i.e. featuring north and south poles), by applying reversing magnetic fields with set frequencies in the plane of rotation. That’s called a forced response. One can dial these frequencies in and then measure the frequency of the wobble. Not hard to set up the experiment using a magnetic rotating globe that you can purchase from Amazon. This is also a form of cross-validation.

    Geophysicists are unable to experiment with a gravitational analog in the lab because gravity is so weak. So the Chandler wobble remains a mystery despite many theories on what causes the cycle. So they aren’t dummies, but are hamstrung by what they can experimentally control.

    “Hough comes to mind”

    What are you referring to?
    Susan Hough, who is a seismologist at USGS
    Hough Transform for DSP
    Hough Functions for solving Laplace’s Tidal Equations

    I honestly am interested in ideas that you have, but the issue may be that I actually like to do the analysis and computation myself and am not as interested in trading “just so stories” on how things work.

  194. I took a quick look at allsides and I note that it purports to classify media bias, but not media accuracy. I think any evaluation of our media options ought to start with an accuracy evaluation, then follow with the bias evaluation. I think a media evaluation that does not start with general accuracy and fact checking is a waste of time. I imagine that there is some sense that the middle of the media bias spectrum is the most accurate, but I suspect that the bias and accuracy measures may be largely independent.

    Cheers
    Mike

  195. dikranmarsupial says:

    “OK. Here’s one. Geophysists are “dummies” “

    as I said earlier,

    “You are unlikely to gain [positive] attention in the research community this way.”

    ” This is also a form of cross-validation.”

    no, it really isn’t, see my previous comments about “researcher degrees of freedom”.

    Ignoring criticism from people with relevant expertise and dismissive attitudes towards a whole research field is an excellent way of giving the impression of having “gone emeritus”. Watch the YouTube of Murry Salby.

  196. Mal Adapted says:

    Thanks sbm. The Allsides chart holds less information than the Ad Fontes one does. For example, the latter’s vertical axis represents degrees of subjectivity, with the top-tier outlets emphasizing factual reporting. It’s too bad it isn’t free 8^(. I’m relying here on what’s visible on adfontesmedia.com. Ostensibly one can download a free, static version for personal use. I went through the ordering rigmarole for the free download twice, but am as yet unable to download anything.

  197. dikranmarsupial says:

    L.Zotov, C.Bizouard,On modulations of the Chandler wobble excitation, Journal of Geodynamics, Volume 62, December 2012, Pages 30-34 (10.1016/j.jog.2012.03.010

    Abstract

    We derive the Chandler wobble excitation from the polar motion (PM) observations by using the Panteleev corrective filtering. The latter method is based on inversion of the Euler–Liouville equation, with additional filtering in the Chandler frequency band. The excitation reconstruction reveals amplitude changes different from the one observed in the Chandler wobble itself. Their main feature, well observable over the length of the day (LOD), is the presence of a 18.6-year amplitude modulation synchronous with the lunar orbital precession cycle and tidal effects. The filtering of oceanic and atmospheric excitation in the Chandler frequency band also reveals a coherent 18.6-year oceanic pattern. Most probably the ocean provide a channel for the tidal energy transfer.

    ?

    Not sure what stops Geophysicists from making a computational simulation of the physics if these gravitational effects are what is causing the Chandler wobble.

  198. “Not sure what stops Geophysicists from making a computational simulation of the physics if these gravitational effects are what is causing the Chandler wobble.”

    I don’t know why they don’t. Robert Grumbine of NOAA was blogging about it a few years ago, but he was looking at the gravitational effect from other planets.

    On this ATTP blog post, Grumbine was cited:
    https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2017/09/05/climate-model-tuning/#comment-102768

    I think the reason that they miss it is because of the simple frequency aliasing caused by forcing combination of moon and annual. Those are not harmonics or sub-harmonics of the lunar or annual cycles, so they aren’t as obvious.

  199. dikranmarsupial says:

    Why don’t you do it? Statistical models at best can only show that X can explain Y. If you want to show X does explain Y you need to move on from there to give a plausible physical mechanism and show that it can explain the magnitude of the effect (i.e. make a physical model and run the simulation with plausible parameter values). As a statistician, I am not overly impressed by statistics in the way that I am by physics.

  200. dikranmarsupial says:

    … especially statistics like neural networks with lots of degrees of freedom and lots of degrees of researcher freedom.

  201. dikrammarsupial said:
    “Why don’t you do it? “

    I’ve done it. The theorized Chandler wobble is a Eulerian free notation, which means it is a *natural response* to a forcing. In other words, it shows a preferred resonant frequency and a frequency response about that depending on the damping. Yet that says nothing about the *forced response* which if it is within the natural response, will bleed through the natural response and override it if that forcing cycle is maintained.

    The way to think about this is a dad pushing their kid on a swing-set. If the dad gives just one push, then the swing will cycle in its predicted natural response. But if the dad starts interrupting the natural cycle, then that forced cycle will be what is measured, and the longer the dad maintains that pace the more the forced cycle will be reinforced.

    As far as calculating the force needed, have to realize the extent of the Chandler wobble is only about 9 meters, which is trivially accommodated by a lunar torque. After all, the sun is already generating an annual wobble that no one seems to dispute as being a forced response.

    So the question that needs to be answered is how to reject the null hypothesis. Someone needs to demonstrate that the lunar forcing of the Chandler wobble is *not* happening. The theoretical prediction based on aliasing of the lunar nodal cycle is 432.7 days, while the Chandler wobble is measured at 433 days.

    Not so easy to reject this model, which I published in Mathematical Geoenergy (Wiley/AGU, 2018).

  202. dikranmarsupial says:

    I don’t think that is quite what I meant. I meant something more like the planetary ephemeris models that were discussed in the Zharkova (sp?) threads. A simulation of the actual physics that shows that the gravitational effect of the “lunar nodal cycle” actually *does* give rise to a Chandler wobble. Not a theoretical/conceptual model, not an expected correlation, but a simulation of the actual physics where the Chandler wobble is emergent.

  203. dikranmarsupial says:

    “So the question that needs to be answered is how to reject the null hypothesis. Someone needs to demonstrate that the lunar forcing of the Chandler wobble is *not* happening.”

    It is usually a mistake to make your research hypothesis the null hypothesis for an NHST. Really don’t go there – it is a mistake the contrarians make very frequently.

  204. David B Benson says:

    “reject the null hypothesis”

    You’ll obtain better answers faster by using the Bayes’ factor method.

  205. I offered that the null hypothesis for the annual wobble is that it is caused by the annual/seasonal forcing. That’s a valid null hypothesis, isn’t it? Qualitatively I understand it as a statement or an assumption that needs to be accepted or rejected based on the evidence.

    Way back when, I understood null as being a hypothesis has no effect (i.e. NULL) but since then I picked up on using it as a starting “consensus” theory. I am probably wrong and perhaps I should just stick to saying that the annual wobble has a consensus hypothesis behind it.

  206. David B. Benson said:

    “You’ll obtain better answers faster by using the Bayes’ factor method.”

    Famously, Bayes does not work well with Laplace’s “sunrise problem”, where the consensus (dare I say null) hypothesis is that the sun will rise every day.

  207. David B Benson says:

    Pukite, consider AIC, the Akaike Information Criterion:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akaike_information_criterion

  208. dikranmarsupial says:

    “I offered that the null hypothesis for the annual wobble is that it is caused by the annual/seasonal forcing. That’s a valid null hypothesis, isn’t it? “

    No. I can see that you didn’t bother reading the link I posted, because it explains exactly why you shouldn’t do that. The purpose of an NHST is to engender a degree of self-skepticism in the researcher, by giving a hurdle (usually fairly low) that they must get over in order to continue promulgating their theory. If you argue for the NULL, there is no hurdle and no demonstration of self-skepticism.

    Qualitatively I understand it as a statement or an assumption that needs to be accepted or rejected based on the evidence.

    No, you shouldn’t “accept” any hypothesis on the basis of a null hypothesis statistical test. You “reject the null hypothesis” or you “fail to reject the null hypothesis”, that’s it. It is just an incantation in a ritual and the words don’t literally mean what they say. Frequentists cannot assign a probability to the truth of a proposition (as it has no long run frequency), so it is not a sound basis for deciding which hypothesis is true.

    It is a bit like naive falsificationism. A failure to falsify a theory does not mean it has been shown to be true. It may be corroborated to some extent by the failure to falsify it, but we don’t accept it, we continue with it (and with any other theory that hasn’t been falsified yet).

    “Way back when, I understood null as being a hypothesis has no effect (i.e. NULL) but since then I picked up on using it as a starting “consensus” theory.”

    You shouldn’t, it is not a good approach to NHSTs.

    ” I am probably wrong and perhaps I should just stick to saying that the annual wobble has a consensus hypothesis behind it.”

    It may have a consensus behind it in your home, but it doesn’t seem to be the consensus view in the scientific community.

    “Famously, Bayes does not work well with Laplace’s “sunrise problem”, where the consensus (dare I say null) hypothesis is that the sun will rise every day.”

    No, Laplace’s own rule of succession is equivalent to applying a Bayesian prior to the observations. Note that Laplace is arguably at least as responsible for the Bayesian approach to probability as Bayes. Bayes works just fine for this problem (as long as you are clear about your prior state of knowledge).

    I’m done. Ignoring constructive criticism, being dismissive of another field of science, arguing for the null. All indicators of a profound lack of self-skepticism. This is why you are having difficulty getting taken seriously. It is your choice whether you continue with it or whether you improve the chances of your work having impact.

  209. DM said:

    “I’m done”

    Wow, but that’s your right. Not much of a physicist-based response though. I pointed out that a measured annual wobble in the earth’s axis of rotation likely had to do with the sun interacting with the earth as a scientific hypothesis and you don’t have anything to say about that. I have mentioned the Chandler wobble lunar torqueing model several times on this blog commenting section several times since 2014 and never really got much feedback (Kevin O’Neill however did respond, RIP).

    However, I did end up presenting bits of the model to 3 different AGU meeting presentations and at an EGU, and then got it peer-reviewed in an AGU-sponsored book published by Wiley.

    My high school and college classmate Alex Konopliv, who works at NASA JPL, recently published his study of the Martian Chandler wobble. If someone wants to get an opinion from an actual astrophysicist, try to implore him to comment.

    https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=konopliv+mars+chandler+wobble

    In terms of scientific communication, Alex’s findings got some press coverage a couple years ago. He sums the state of knowledge on the excitation (what I refer to as a forcing) of the Chandler wobble with this sentence:

    “For Mars the principal excitation mechanism is likely of atmospheric origin (Dehant et al., 2006) whereas excitations produced by core‐mantle interactions or marsquakes are unlikely but cannot be excluded (see Gross, 2015, for a
    discussion about CW excitation mechanism for Earth).”

    Gross’s hypothesis for the Earth’s Chandler wobble forcing remains the one most typically cited — that of a source from ocean‐bottom pressure fluctuations.

  210. dikranmarsupial says:

    “Wow, but that’s your right. ”

    You repeatedly ignore what I say and then are surprised when I don’t want to continue the discussion?

  211. dikranmarsupial says:

    I pointed out that a measured annual wobble in the earth’s axis of rotation likely had to do with the sun interacting with the earth as a scientific hypothesis and you don’t have anything to say about that.

    I did have something to say about it. I even gave a suggestion for a way to provide more convincing evidence in support of that hypothesis here (but you misinterpreted my suggestion) and here (where I corrected that misinterpretation, but you ignored it).

    “Not much of a physicist-based response though.”

    If you look at the suggestion I made, it was a purely physics based approach, rather than a statistical one. Very much a “physicist-based response”!

    I think that is pretty good evidence that you are not paying any attention to the constructive criticism you have been given, and that I am well justified with being done with this discussion.

  212. Dikran, I’m sorry that I am having an issue with following what you are trying to convey to me. It could be a problem regarding science communication.

    I mentioned that there two slight wobbles in the Earth’s axis — the annual wobble and the Chandler wobble of 433 days. These two interact and show a periodic modulation envelope of 6.4 years. The annual wobble excitation forcing is well understood.

    “The annual wobble is caused by small variations of the gravitationally induced torque due to the slightly eccentric Earth orbit with a frequency of 1=365 days” from https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.107.173904
    “How to Detect the Chandler and the Annual Wobble of the Earth with a Large Ring Laser Gyroscope”

    So what to call this hypothesis? Is it considered “well-accepted”? Is it considered “consensus”? My impression is that you would not consider it a null hypothesis. Science communication!

    On the other hand, the source of the Chandler wobble remains something of an enigma. I was suggesting that since the 433 day period matches that of the nodal lunar cycle (of 27.2122 days) interacting non-linearly with the nodal solar cycle (of one year) that that could be a starting point from which to reject a scientific hypothesis. It would indeed be trivial to reject if the cycle numbers did not match. (for example, the noise in an amplifier could be rejected coming from the power source if it wasn’t 50 or 60 Hz, depending on the country).

    Interested if others can pipe in.

  213. Willard says:

    > Science communication!

    No, Web. That is not science communication. That is baiting.

    If you need that to pull people in, then I suggest you desist.

  214. Jon Kirwan says:

    smallbluemike,

    If at some time in the future you find yourself open to the idea, feel free to find my email address at the bottom of this web page:

    http://www.infinitefactors.org/jonk/patch.html

    I’d be interested in saying hi.

    Best wishes,
    Jon

  215. russellseitz says:

    Mal
    Thanks for bringing “the Adfontes Media and Allsides media bias charts” to my attention- I hadn’t seen either.

    They both seem to cherish the notion of political bias having a vaguely Gaussian distribution, in an era where the center has failed to hold. I was struck as much by the absence of PBS in the Allsides chart ( you can ordinarily watch it on the web) as its insistence in putting the floridly woke Beeb at the center of the political spectrum.

    I re-arranged the Allsides image to answer your question as to how I view the distribution of its media set in the MAGA to Marxistante political spectrum, and you can view the result at

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2022/09/center-has-not-held.html

  216. John Hartz says:

    An excerpt from a timely, in-depth article on the subject matter discussed in the OP and on this thread. Enjoy!

    Mark Howden, director of the Australian National University’s Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions, is another critic of the paper.

    Professor Howden has been involved with the IPCC since 1991.

    “I’ve been involved in the second, third, fourth, fifth and now sixth [IPCC] assessment reports,” he says.

    “I think I’m the only person alive, or the only person full stop, who has actually done all of that.”

    Professor Howden says there’s still really critical science being done, especially around climate impacts and adaptation, emissions reduction, sustainable and equitable development, and creating robust energy systems.

    If that research was to stop, it would be a “significant loss”, he says.

    “The prospect of scientists going on strike because we’re not being listened to is just not a great idea.

    Instead, he says the way forward is for scientists to engage more with policymakers, and for them to work out how to intervene in “constructive ways”.

    “Being a scientist and a communicator these days is a very complex role, and particularly if you engage with the policy as well,” he says.

    “Similarly, a high-level policy maker dealing with climate change … that’s an extraordinarily complex role, particularly when you have a very interventionist political environment.

    “So I think understanding and respect are crucial to having a more productive relationship.”

    IPCC reports are a climate science beacon. So why do these scientists say they have to stop? by Nick Kilvert, ABC News (Australia), Sep 3, 2022

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2022-09-04/climate-change-ipcc-reports-scientists-withdraw-support/101357920

  217. Mal Adapted says:

    Russell:

    I re-arranged the Allsides image to answer your question as to how I view the distribution of its media set in the MAGA to Marxistante political spectrum, and you can view the result at

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2022/09/center-has-not-held.html

    Thanks, Russell! I’ve got a few disagreements with your revision of the AllSides chart, but it’s a creditable exercise. The AdFontes chart is much more information-dense, with many more media outlets and a vertical axis for factual credibility. The interactive version at the link seems to be in “demo” mode. Curiously, the top of the arc is occupied by “NPR news now” while PBS appears well to the left of center. I got a good look at an earlier version, before the developer, one Vanessa Otero, decided to monetize it for all it’s worth. I’d say the latest version suffers from creeping featurism. The website offers extensive documentation of methodology, but Otero acknowledges that some degree of bias is ineradicable from it. Speaking of monetizing, I did find a paywalled article on MarketWatch you might like, about a simplified version of Otero’s chart.

  218. izen says:

    @-Mal
    “I got a good look at an earlier version, before the developer, one Vanessa Otero, decided to monetize it for all it’s worth.”

    The ultimate bias when it comes to any communication, article or bit of research.
    The need for modern society to obtain some monetary payback for providing information is the underlying bedrock of information dissemination. No one questions the necessity of scientific research to be dominated by paid publications or too be surrounded by advertisements. The IPCC r4eports are an honourable exception, but even then the public knowledge of them is most often mediated through paid publications.

    With the advent of digital media the duplication of any data, information or knowledge is virtually costless. If that information is important for the general health of society, it should be freely available
    While scientists may provide information as a public good, it is invariably mediated through a paid medium..

  219. John Hartz says:

    izen: Journalists who specialize in writing about science usually quote one or more prominent scientst verbatim on their articles.

  220. russellseitz says:

    John: Journalists are now discouraged from quoting more than one scientist prominent or otherwise, because False Equivalence.

    In contrast, quotes approbated by Covering Climate Now get a 21 gun salute from journalists in the orbit of its parent bodies, The Nation Institute , and Columbia Journalism Review, which is a whole lot of journalists .

    If you put crickets in one echo chamber, and Editors in another, the outcome is predictable.

  221. John Hartz says:

    John: Journalists are now discouraged from quoting more than one scientist prominent or otherwise, because False Equivalence.

    I’ve been closely monitoring news articles about climate chang for more than a decade now. Based on what I have seen, science journalism is going in the opposit direction of what you hve stated.

  222. izen says:

    @-John
    “Journalists who specialize in writing about science usually quote one or more prominent scientst verbatim on their articles.”

    In an article that is usually behind a paywall.

    @-Russ
    “If you put crickets in one echo chamber, and Editors in another, the outcome is predictable.”

    Indeed, just think how much more open the discussion would be if evolution/creationism or the globe/flat Earth were presented as either/or options. (-s/)

    You are both missing the point, data, information, and knowledge are considered commodities, not a free public good.

  223. JH says: “I’ve been closely monitoring news articles about climate chang for more than a decade now. Based on what I have seen, science journalism is going in the opposit direction of what you hve stated.”

    I catch most of my climate change news from the Guardian which leans left/green and I don’t see that source quoting opposing scientific views in their CC pieces. What I notice, and appreciate, is that they tend to cover a paper that has been published (and they provide a link to it) and then they quote a scientist who was involved in the science or who represents/agrees with the elements of the published study.

    Maybe the G is just not interested in the “false equivalence” or “both sides do it” approach to journalism?

    Still reading about a lot of heat in the US, but it’s very nice again in the PNW. Also reading stories about flooding and droughts around the world, and rising heating/cooling costs but again, things seem fine everywhere I look in the PNW. It can be hard to determine if things are truly catastrophes when you are not a first hand party to them. Luckily, lots/most of us here are comfortable residents of the first world and may enjoy some special buffers from the climate events that allow us to maintain a less reactive response to climate change. I did read that the temp was 116 in Sacramento CA yesterday. That’s too hot for me, so I am happy that I have no need to be in Sacramento. I think we were low 80s here yesterday. Pretty nice. Could use some rain.

    There does seem to be lots of good climate news: CA and WA are phasing out purchase of fossil fuel vehicles after 2035, green energy production continues to grow at a fabulous pace and I even read that wind turbine blades can be recycled into gummy bears, so hey! new food source for the planet!

    I quickly skimmed some less good news: I glanced at the methane levels and saw that methane had set a record for year on year increase with an increase of 18 ppb this past year. I think it makes sense to just accept the rise in methane and ignore it because methane is a flow, not stock gas. It’s not going to be around for too long and most folks think it won’t really do us much harm in the long term. I think we just keep on keeping with our our impressive efforts to reduce CO2 levels. CO2 is definitely the big dog, but I think we have that one on a leash now. At no time in human history has our species put out as much effort to reduce greenhouse gases as it is doing right now.

    I don’t follow UK politics, but I guess UK has a new PM and that probably means good things as the new PM is likely to chart a greener path for the UK than the last guy. That guy couldn’t even keep his hair combed, how was he supposed to lead a nation at this important time?

    Cheers
    Mike

  224. russellseitz says:

    JH:I’ve been closely monitoring news articles about climate chang for more than a decade now. Based on what I have seen, science journalism is going in the opposit direction of what you have stated.

    I suggest you take a look at CCN’s own website and CJR.

    Both claim that several hundred journals have thus far subscribed to their playbook, giving them a combined audience rivaling a major network. Which is what Bill Moyers and his philanthropic friends intended.

  225. John Hartz says:

    Izen:

    From the Britannica website:

    The Times was established in 1851 as a penny paper that would avoid sensationalism and report the news in a restrained and objective fashion. It enjoyed early success as its editors set a pattern for the future by appealing to a cultured, intellectual readership instead of a mass audience.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/The-New-York-Times

    With repect to major newspapers, the data and information they present has never been “free”.

  226. izen says:

    @-John
    “With respect to major newspapers, the data and information they present has never been “free”.”

    I never claimed it had. In fact that is one of the problems, but with a digital source it now could be.
    But Capitalism…!

  227. russellseitz says:

    Izen,
    Once upon a time the Graun was an opinion leader by sheer force of journalistic excellence, with other publishers vying to hire away the leading lights of the Manchester Guardian masthead, witness John Maddox’s migration to MacMillan’s to become editor of Nature.

    Have you considered that its politics aside, its present wide readership may reflect the fact that it is the only flagship paper you can read cover to cover for free?

    In January 2020, former Nature editor and Nature Group Managing Director & chief executive of Macmillan Science and Education became the new Chief Executive of the Guardian Media Group, which the Wiki reports:

    ” has a portfolio of investments to help support its journalism. ..Guardian Media Group exists to support the core purpose of its owner, Scott Trust Limited: to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity.”

  228. I used to worry about tipping points, but I don’t worry much about them because getting alarmed about tipping points and talking about that stuff may cause people to misunderstand how much progress has been made on ghg emission reduction and instead of being excited about our efforts, folks might get discouraged and not do their best to continue our progress toward a more stable environment.

    I see a new report out about tipping points. https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abn7950 and I think it makes sense for lots of us to point out that warming is expected to stop as soon as we reach net zero. If the warming stops, then maybe the tipping points just don’t really matter? We can’t be certain that things won’t just tip back when the warming stops. It seems very important that we communicate the good news about climate change and stop the focus on worst case scenarios. Isn’t that the way that we are likely to continue to keep more people working collectively to help us reach net zero? Like FDR said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, not this regional flooding or droughts. Not the heat domes and heat waves or food output reductions, we just need to avoid fear and anything that promotes fear so that we can continue our great work of achieving net zero.

    I think we should stop talking about tipping points until after we achieve net zero, then we can build on our success and tip things back where they belong. We got this!

    Let’s spread the good news and keep up the good work. Here are a couple of links about the good news: https://www.wired.com/story/some-kinda-good-climate-news-2-degrees-is-doable/ 2 degrees? It’s doable!

    Here is the underlying study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04553-z
    All we need to do is have the countries of the world meet their pledges and bingo! We are under 2 degrees of warming. Plus, we may not even have to do that because I read a lot of good news about breakthroughs in carbon capture. Here is one of those stories: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports-physical-science/fulltext/S2666-3864(22)00347-2

    Why give in to alarm or talk of catastrophe, avoidable or otherwise? Let’s communicate the good news and keep the energy up.

    Another beautiful day in the PNW, but it actually got too chilly outside last night and we had to get up and pull on another blanket. I have read that night time heat can be a problem for some crops, but I don’t see that happening very much. Still need a good soaking rain, if that can be arranged.

    Cheers
    Mike

  229. John Hartz says:

    smallbluemike: Our conumdrum: Is the glas half-full or half-empty?

    When I wake up in the morning feeling “up”, it’s half-full. When I wake up in the morning feeling “down”, it’s half-empty.

  230. The universe in its big bang origins and our birth/small bang into existence are the ultimate free lunch. The glass is full and overflowing, if we have time and ability to push electrons around like this. Rejoice and spread the good news!

    some words from Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” “The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” “Be willing to be a beginner every single morning.”

    We are made of the stuff of stars and when we open our eyes, we are the universe seeking to see and comprend its own magnificence.

    Time for my second cup of coffee!

  231. NASA’s Transform to Open Science (TOPS) mission. Attended two of the community forum meetings so far

    https://zenodo.org/record/7064805#.Yx4Nsj3MLgw

  232. Pingback: Cross-validation | GeoEnergy Math

  233. dikranmarsupial says:

    WHUT

    “As a practical aside, CV is not for the faint-of-heart, since anyone doing cross-validation will get accused of cheating (what they apparently refer to as researcher Degrees Of Freedom). ”

    Nobody accused you of cheating. If you wanted to show you don’t take constructive criticism seriously, this (hyperbolic sniping at people from your own blog, rather than making a constructive counter-argument here) is not the way. I stopped reading there, what is the point.

  234. dikranmarsupial says:

    As it happens, cross-validation is for the faint-of-heart, anybody can use it. However that doesn’t mean you can’t use it incorrectly. We all make mistakes every now and again, doubling down on them rarely helps.

    “‘to learn that we have said or done a stupid thing is nothing, we must learn a more ample and important lesson: that we are [all DM] but blockheads”

    Michel de Montaigne

    especially when it comes to statistics!

  235. I saw a new article and study about how the southern oceans absorb a lot of our global warming and then store it deep in the ocean for millenia. That seems like good news.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-32540-5

    “Over the last 50 years, the oceans have been working in overdrive to slow global warming, absorbing about 40% of our carbon dioxide emissions, and over 90% of the excess heat trapped in the atmosphere….

    This Southern Ocean warming and its associated impacts are effectively irreversible on human time scales, because it takes millennia for heat trapped deep in the ocean to be released back into the atmosphere.”

    so a lot of the heat is going right into the Southern Ocean where it will be stored for a long time. I expect this is especially good news for the global north, where most of us live.

    saw a couple other “weather/climate” stories: https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/siberia-massive-craters-frozen-ground-permafrost-methane-gas-explosion-rrc/ This one is about permafrost and methane explosions. The holes after explosion are very cool. I think these are also called pingos, if I am not mistaken. All this is happening in northern Russia and not many people living up there, so we can all give thanks this is happening in a distant, sparsely populated region. It’s interesting, but I am not sure it would make the news if the explosion didn’t leave these cool holes to photograph. Methane is a flow gas, of course, not a stock gas, so definitely back burner stuff.

    Plus here’s a good methane news story for balance: https://omaha.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/20-million-project-will-turn-methane-into-renewable-energy-at-omaha-wastewater-plant/article_23096752-2ebb-11ed-8979-3f27447ed9a5.html

    $20 million project will turn methane into renewable energy at Omaha wastewater plant! American ingenuity. So, we probably just need to help Russia build wastewater plans in the far north and start capturing the methane and using it as renewable energy. We (americans) might need to stop spending so much money arming Ukraine to kill Russians so that we can start pouring our $$ into renewable methane projects in the far north. I am going to send a message to my representative suggesting we re-order our Russian projects in this way. A lot of americans think we are getting a lot of bang for our bucks by arming Ukraine, so I don’t know if we can regroup around capturing russian methane.

    Also found good news on the CO2 story:

    The U.S. is experiencing a shortage of carbon dioxide and Boston beermakers are beginning to worry they won’t have enough of the gas to get their products to market.

    Driving the news:

    A CO2 production hub in Jackson, Mississippi, became contaminated by an extinct volcano, which cut down on an already limited supply of the gas.

    https://www.axios.com/local/boston/2022/09/12/boston-beer-co2-shortage

    I am not sure about bostonians, but americans, in general love their beer and they want it foamy. Football season is starting up, and beer consumption rises with football season, so I think we should expect to see the US gear up to capture the CO2 we need for beer foam and that’s can’t hurt with the global emissions issue.

    Related story: Wyoming will be ready to supply the CO2 soon. That projects expects 5 million metric tons per year by 2030. Somebody needs to keep an eye on our CO2 removal projects to make sure we pull the CO2 out slowly enough to avoid problems. I am not sure what might happen if we scale up the atmospheric CO2 capture too fast. That’s a mistake we don’t need to make. Easy does it, right?

    https://www.fastcompany.com/90787507/wyoming-will-soon-be-home-to-the-worlds-largest-carbon-removal-facility

    It’s been smokey here for a few days. We need a good rain to clean the air and wet the ground. I am eager to get out looking for mushrooms, but there won’t be any until we get a cool spell and enough rain to really soak the ground.

    Cheers

    Mike

  236. Ken Fabian says:

    “I am not sure what might happen if we scale up the atmospheric CO2 capture too fast.”
    Mike – doing too much CO2 capture and storage seems like an unnecessary concern. It is doing it at all at scales that make a difference that looks problematic.

    For each ton of fossil fuels there is 2-3 tons of CO2 produced – should be more but combustion is incomplete. It is our single largest waste product by a very large margin; more than all other waste several times over. Any attempts to refill the empty reservoirs of oil and gas fields would overfill them way before they could take the CO2 produced by what came out – even if those places weren’t full of uncapped boreholes.

    If CCS is to allow unconstrained fossil fuel burning with no emissions or climate consequences it has to become the single largest industry in the world and it has to do so without any innate way to be profitable. It is ALL costs, that must be paid for from levies on FF production/use – which will be fiercely resisted – or taxation, that will be creatively evaded. And if the CO2 is bound chemically rather than pumped underground and sealed off the industry has to be even larger again.

    The oil and gas industry is angling to do CCS for us – kind of em – but NOT as a prerequisite to their sales of equivalent fuels and especially not with costs coming out of their own revenues; they want taxpayers to fund it, even as they do their best to avoid paying any taxes. As it stands now I think CCS is BS.

    I’m sure those involved find it quite amusing that they can get emissions reduction funding to do something they know full well is pointless for anything except greenwashing fossil fuel use. Perhaps in their cognitively dissonant group think bubble all support for renewable energy is seen as pointless waste so they should be entitled to get paid to do pointless waste too.

    I don’t know that CCS is impossible or pointless but I’m thinking it will be a hugely expensive option reserved for equivalent negative emissions for things that resist being fixed with clean energy – or to allow luxury activities like ICE motorsports for those willing to pay for their emissions.

  237. Mal Adapted says:

    Ken Fabian:

    If CCS is to allow unconstrained fossil fuel burning with no emissions or climate consequences it has to become the single largest industry in the world and it has to do so without any innate way to be profitable.

    Thanks for the incisive analysis, IMO you’ve got CCS pretty well sussed. I haven’t seen any estimates of the energy needed to capture and store carbon on a meaningful scale, nevertheless the question arises: how will that energy be generated? Powering CCS by burning fossil carbon is absurd prima facie. If by renewables, then wouldn’t any new renewable installation go toward making the global economy fully carbon-neutral beforehand?

  238. russellseitz says:

    Be of good courage, Ken-

    You can convert your personal share of the CO2 in the air into a ~ 200 tonne / 5 -meter cube of dry ice that takes up no more space than the elephant in the room, the return of energy cost inflation rivaling that of the “energy crisis.”

    Elephants with long memories may recall how that existential threat warped into “The Oil Glut” after electrical power production switched from shrinking supplies of imported oil and gas to expanded production of domestic coal. The externalities remain as entangled with the economics as ever.

  239. jacksmith4tx says:

    Ken,
    It’s too late – the scam has become enshrined in law via the new Inflation Reduction Act.
    https://www.power-eng.com/gas/combined-cycle/1800-mw-combined-cycle-plant-with-ccs-planned-for-west-virginia/
    The multi-billion dollar project will go into operation later this decade but is without a firm timeline.

    The legislation expands the 45Q tax credit to incentivize the use of CCS.
    45Q incentives in the law increase from $50 to $85/metric ton for storage in saline geologic formations from carbon capture on power generation facilities. The incentives also increase from $35 to $60/metric ton for utilization from power plant carbon capture.

    The credit can be realized for 12 years after the carbon capture equipment is placed in service and will be inflation-adjusted beginning in 2027, according to the law.

  240. “(hyperbolic sniping at people from your own blog, rather than making a constructive counter-argument here”

    Because comments sections are the best place to post inline graphics, equation markup, and previewing, right? I’ve been science blogging since 2004, so kind of know the ropes http://mobjectivist.blogspot.com/2004/05/

  241. Ken Fabian says:

    Mal – yes, the energy requirements of CCS are yet one more mark against it – requiring it to be that much larger again. It surprises me how it manages ANY credibility.

    But so much BS abounds around climate and energy that still surprises and dismays me – like that is or was ever a matter that governments should treat as about popular opinion and doing the Will of the people, which can be influenced – and not as duty of care by those holding Offices of high trust and responsibility to take the expert advice (they commissioned) seriously, which advice the practices of science make resistant to influence. Climate science can be starved of funding but not even Presidents and Prime Ministers have been able to get them to change the conclusions.

    Or that both “sides” spread BS equally and the BS of climate alarmists (like science agencies and the IPCC?) is responsible for the effectiveness and even the very existence of the BS of deniers.

    I sense a pattern to it and it looks to me like that pattern is that of the power of unethical and corrupt influence.

    Jack – that inclusion of support for CCS and for new fossil fuel power stations that include it fits that pattern. I think we can only hope that clean energy progress – and the de-facto carbon pricing of extreme fossil fuel prices – makes such plants largely irrelevant.

    That subsidy for “utilization” of captured CO2… I take it is for uses that will ultimately see that CO2 become emissions again? Well, Australia has been subsidising CCS for the Gorgon gas project – which doesn’t compensate for ANY of the emissions from burning the gas they produce, it is for taking excess CO2 out of the gas, so it burns better and is easier to sell! And it has not been working that well, with lots of CO2 dumped into the air anyway – but we’ll never get that money back. Or see more than a tiny proportion of the emissions that project makes truly sequestered.

    Like in the USA CCS still gets lots of government support in Australia, including from the new Labor government – above and beyond merely refraining from calling it out as unadulterated greenwash.

    Thermal coal prices are high enough now that US$50 – $85 per ton of CO2, (ie $125 – $210 per ton of coal @ 100% emissions capture) would actually be less than the cost of the coal, an “improvement” on it’s cost effectiveness – so long as taxpayers pay it and it isn’t included in the cost of coal, but even pumped hydro and batteries and even nuclear starts looking cost effective with subsidies like that.

    The fossil fuel industry is determined to reframe this conflict induced fossil fuel energy crisis as green energy crisis. I would think only climate science and renewable energy deniers would be taken in but I am not sure to what extent our policy makers truly believe in the fossil fuel industry’s innate essential-ness rather than being beholden and/or cowed and willing to lend it credibility – but this is an industry that will let economies crash and burn rather than reduce their prices down to mere very good profit levels. Being cowed can be a rational response to an influential industry we have let ourselves become dependent on that shows itself willing to use the heightened sense of urgent crisis to win support for putting aside longer term concerns like climate to further entrench and grow that economic dependence.

    I am sort of hoping their greed will be their downfall – that growth of renewables will be redoubled, both for the sake of costs as well as for climate concerns, which have not been going away. Which is what a lot of energy planners – the ones who’s conclusions come from examining the issues rather than playing politics – are saying should be the medium to longer term response.

  242. dikranmarsupial says:

    WHUT (i) you didn’t need ” post inline graphics, equation markup, and previewing,” for your hyperbolic sniping (ii) your hyperbolic sniping was not an honest representation of what I wrote (iii) if you had any manners you would have invited me to comment and let me know that you had made a personal accusation.

    In future, I’ll read with interest anything you publish in a peer reviewed journal.

  243. Jon Kirwan says:

    I find the back-and-forth between Ken Fabian and Mal Adapted consistent with my own world view.

    There is so much more, though. Not only related to climate change but impacts on fisheries, forest systems, and so much more. Climate is an added indirect pressure on all of these. But there are direct pressures, as well. Carbon capture is a non-starter, as well.

    Anyway, thanks!

  244. Susan Anderson says:

    Here’s a simple formulation. “mathematics is a story that has been being written for thousands of years, is always being added to and might never be finished.”

    Please substitute “science” for “mathematics” … rather than a belief system, it is a massive collaboration over time.

    [On the promotion, what Russell said, stellar!]

  245. “you would have invited me to comment”

    That’s what pingbacks are for, right?

  246. Willard says:

    Enough provocation, Web.

  247. Pingback: The importance of science communication – BIG TEN

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