Thursday, 22 August 2013

The science is settled [updated]

Yes, the science is settled.

The acceleration due to gravity at the earth’s surface is 9.8m/s2.  That is settled science. It is what the data says, and it’s the figure on which scientists, engineers and Newton’s falling apple agree on.

If someone were to say that their model showed a figure for gravitational acceleration of, say, 32.1 m/s2, then we’d be entitled to call their model bunk. And we wouldn’t rely on it to build bridges, say, or to calculate space flight or the launch of a satellite.

Yet this amount of error is precisely the case with every one of the 44 mainstream climate models, which en masse overstate the actual temperature trend by the same amount as our hypothetical gravitational model.

Dr Roy Spencer at the University of Huntsville, Alabama, has put together a handy chart showing the difference between reality and the models, for the period 1979-2012 from the satellite-based temperature measurements for the globe’s lower troposphere (red and blue lines), and for 1975 – 2025 for the models (all the other lines, with the black line showing the models’ average).


Spencer’s understated conclusion:

Clearly, there is increasing divergence over the years between the satellite observations (UAH, RSS) and the models.

And not just a random divergence, but a consistent overstatement of predicted temperatures—you could almost say a bias towards catastrophism. Perhaps because “that belief is pretty much a requirement to get funding from governments around the world to develop these models.  This must certainly result in a significant bias of the average result of these models.”

In the words of Charles Anderson:

Even a non-scientist should be able to easily see that this implies a great disagreement in the science between these model-builders.  It implies a large uncertainty about the science the respective models believe they know well enough to try to incorporate into their models.
    In fact, there are many uncertainties that are actually known and many others that may well be unknown…
    So how do these government-funded and coddled global warming alarmist scientists, most of the print media, and the Obama [and Key] administration get away with claiming that the science of catastrophic man-made global warming is settled?  How can they believe and expect anyone else to believe that 97% of scientists are on-board with this hogwash?
They ought to be laughed at were the consequences not so dire.  But, they advocate so many limits on our freedoms and so much economic damage in the name of this scientifically bogus theory that it is hardly a laughing matter.  What is more, it is very harmful to the respect that real science should be given.

Even if there is a widespread “consensus” among climate scientists on the science of global warming, it is clear the science itself is very far from settled—and very far from being able to say anything worthwhile about reality.

You wouldn’t want to build bridges to the next century relying on figures as far off as these.

Post image for Is Climate Change Causing Climate Models to Fail?STUDY: Climate change causing climate models to become less reliable

A groundbreaking new study has shown that climate change is the underlying cause of increasingly frequent and severe climate model failures. Researchers at Pennsylvania State Community College have discovered a critical link between atmospheric greenhouse gas concentration and general circulation model errors.

“Climate change has made it increasingly difficult to predict climate change,” says Dr. Manyard Michael, the lead scientist behind the study. “The current 16 year pause in global warming illustrates just how serious this situation has been; if not for climate change, we now know that we would have been able to accurately predict the current break in warming and clearly show that climate change is actually accelerating faster than forecast – not stopping as climate change is making it appear to those outside of the climate science community.” Dr. Michael also noted that they stumbled on this important finding almost by accident. “We just happened to notice that the higher carbon dioxide concentrations climbed, the more we had to adjust the data to get the results we knew to be right, and the more we adjusted the data, the bigger the error in the models. It’s a very strong positive feedback.”

This research has been quietly in the works for several years, and was almost compromised by the 2009 research theft known as “climategate.” For example, one particular email that has been cited repeatedly said in part, “The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can’t.” Skeptics have misrepresented this quote to suggest that climate scientists can’t explain why the climate is not behaving as forecast and thus there is no climate change happening when in actuality, the researcher was lamenting exactly the opposite. He knew the fact that climate models did not predict a lack of warming meant climate change had progressed much faster than previously thought, and he was expressing sadness that man has brought the climate to this point.

Climate change deniers and anti-science websites have long grasped at the seemingly endless string of model failures and ever increasing forecast error as a way to argue the theory that humans are causing global warming is somehow falsified. Noted climate modeler Dr. Hans Jameson of the National Model Rocket Association commented, “thanks to this research, we can say with certainty what we in the climate research community known all along, that the bigger the climate model errors, the more confident we can be that manmade climate change is happening.” Because climate change continues to accelerate faster than at any time since before the dinosaurs, the scientific consensus is that that there will be some truly stunning model failures on the horizon.

The researchers also stressed that mainstream climate science has demonstrated a remarkable ability to hindcast. As Dr. Michael points out “we can now predict the lull in warming of the past 16 years with surprising accuracy.” He further remarked that “given how well we can predict the past, the only thing that explains the difficulty of forecasting the future with equal success is the increasing concentration of greenhouse gasses. This research changes everything.” And while they are yet unable to fully explain the exact mechanics behind the correlation, the researchers expressed 99% confidence in their conclusion.

The study which is set to be published in every scientific journal is expected to open up new areas of unprecedented spending in the emerging field of climate research.

The hat tip for the spoof is Pete Boettke at Cafe Hayek, who says,

I have no strong feelings about the reality, the magnitude, or the cause(s) of climate change.  I'm not a climate scientist.  From what I read, I suspect that the earth's temperature - however appropriately measured - has indeed risen somewhat over the course of the 20th century or so, although this temperature rise also seems to have stopped so far during the 21st century.  But whether or not this account is accurate, and regardless of cause(s), I have little doubt that bourgeois people operating in free, competitive, private-property-based markets will more than adequately deal with any problems - and take great advantage of any blessings - caused by climate changeNo plausible change in the earth's temperature can possibly pose as great a hazard to humanity's well-being as that posed by governments given great rein to 'solve' problems posed by changes in the earth's temperature. [Emphasis in the original.]


  1. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 08:39:00

    perhaps legislation will be passed to change the meaning of the word "truth" to include climate models


  2. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 08:49:00

    ... just as governments all over are insisting on, and getting away with, accepting "consensus" as scientific fact. And then trying to force it on the rest of us.

    that's what happens when the government is able to change the meanings of words, right?

  3. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 09:02:00

    .. thus enabling laws such as "Holocaust denial" prohibition in Germany

    ... and proposals in the USA to do the same thing to "Climate Change deniers"

    ... and Hate Speech laws in New Zealand

    I reckon, sometime in the future, humans will all be implanted with Google's brain chips, and we will be monitored for bad thoughts wondering if the climate models might be wrong... or privately thinking that a Government definition of a word might be wrong :)

    You think the N word, and you get an electric shock, like Pavlov's dog... and I hear it coming already, "But that is a good thing, right?".

    ah well, nothing to hide, nothing to fear, eh?

  4. I hate to play the man, but Dr Roy Spencer makes it hard:

    "Earth and its ecosystems – created by God's intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence – are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting."

  5. Truth, fact, reality, rational thinking are no longer in fashion. It is a scary wave of non thinking promoted by the new age masses. Why think when you can believe?

    The whole environment religion could be laughed at and even considered cute if it were not for the wide spread support it receives.

    A great indicator are the comments you can read on the many forums.

    For example: Scientists find the underlying cause of some cancers. The first comment it receives is not "Congratulations" It is, "If you really care about cancer you would provide us with clean air and food"

    That comment is wrong in so many ways but such comments are common. They discourage people to get into science, they discourage thought itself.

    (Damn captchas ncycumn 8305" Really!)

  6. @Sam: Well, to be fair, I'm relying on his data collection and comparison, not his views on theology.

    And to be perfectly fair, and accurate, the man is a signatory to that statement, not the author, the entirety of which conclusions is mostly unexceptionable.

    And if you're going to play the man, then his credentials aren't bad: former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, and now Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA's Aqua satellite.

    But you're right, the words "intelligent design" make it hard.

  7. @Sam: I confess, I've never before delved into the connections between American fundamentalists and global warming, but Googling "evangelical scientists climate change" to find some context for your quote, this news was near the top: "'200 evangelical scientists ask Congress to pass climate legislation'
    As evangelical scientists and academics, we understand climate change is real and action is urgently needed. All of God's Creation - humans and our environment - is groaning under the weight of our uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, bringing on a warming planet, melting ice, and rising seas..."

    I think, from this distance, it's almost impossible to understand the extent to which religion has poisoned America.

  8. DW,

    I have tried to have a reasoned argument with you, and to be fair, I put quite some effort in.

    You have now proven your irrationality, and that you are fundamentally dishonest.

    I am quite disappointed, actually.

  9. @Peter

    You're right, I don't think us living in New Zealand can come close to comprehending the terrible influence of religion in the US.

    And although I'm strongly inclined to agree with the majority of climate scientists on this issue, I'm glad that there are dissenting climate scientists (such as Spencer, whose credentials are indeed excellent).

    What annoys me, however, is when other scientists (and especially non-scientists), pick and choose their experts based on their ideology. Sure, there are dissenting climate scientists, but for every of those there are a dozen or so who largely believe AGW is real.

    I would suggest the people who choose to ignore the majority of experts do so because they perceive global warming (and particularly the proposed solutions) to be a threat to their free-market ideals. The right gives up the high ground by being so nakedly anti-science on this issue, a high ground the environmental hard-left have gladly claimed.

    I really don't think Libertarians etc should be so threatened by the possibility something might need to be done. Sure all the solutions so far are basically regulatory, but that's because you've locked yourself out of the debate by cherry-picking your science.

  10. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 12:11:00


    this is off-thread, but anyway...

    I didnt expect you to resort "irrational" and "dishonest". I could say the same thing about your argument, but I wouldn't lower myself.

    I mean, for goodness sake, you said that you actually agreed with me. Was that a typo?

    Yeah, disappointment, well I am also diappointed that a libertarian blog has so little say about such government meddling. I get a horrible feeling there is an element of expedience in all of this; i.e government meddling is ok as long as it suits ME.

    You will remember, I asked you for some other examples of definitions being changed by "sole purpose" legislation in order to simply reflect changing mores, but you couldnt give me any except to say there were many :(

    So I guess the disappointment cuts many ways.

  11. It would be simpler to calm the evangelicals down by referring them to back to scripture. Following the great flood, Genesis 8.22 records God's promise ..."While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."
    And in Psalm 104.5-8
    But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight; they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.
    9 You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth."

  12. Re Sam's BS (below):

    The profits from the capitalist element in countries will provide the funds if something needed to be done. But a warming and an increase in carbon dioxide will be beneficial, as anyone who owns a glasshouse will attest.

    But there is no use making sense of nonsense - a hoax - just to ask what it achieves. This hoax achieves the objectives of the technocracy. The parasitical class who always need more bodies from which to suck.

    The "solutions so far" are not solutions. Logically there can be no solutions when there is nothing to solve. The "solutions" you wet yourself over are the equivalent of a priest's penance meted out to the original sinner for the insolence of using his mind productively in dragging mankind from the depravity that the priest, and environmentalist, actually prefers.

    "I really don't think Libertarians etc should be so threatened by the possibility something might need to be done. Sure all the solutions so far are basically regulatory, but that's because you've locked yourself out of the debate by cherry-picking your science."

  13. the drunken watchman22 Aug 2013, 12:38:00

    @ Dolf

    you should have added "naive" to your list of insults - it took me a while to realise you might have posted your litttle attack on me off-thread so that the casual reader could not merely scroll up and see what was written, to see that you had in fact agreed with me etc.

    Clever you if that is what you were up to (but probably an old trick).

    So I am reposting on the original thread, so that an honest reader can judge for themselves.

    Mind you, the impression I am rapidly getting is that many people here might not really be interested, seeing as they do not really care that much about SOME government meddling as long as it suits THEM.

  14. @Sam: AGW skepticism is is not actually cherry picking science, it's realising ( to use your metaphor) that one actual cheery falsifies a whole gazillion models predicting apricots.

    In other words, and this is part of the point of the graph above (whose comparison of cherries and apricots you still haven't actually commented on) if the only place in which catastrophic warming is found is in the models, and the models don't actually describe reality, then how can you say the AGW hypothesis is proven?

    Further, as far as solutions to the problems posed by this unproven hypothesis go, Pete Boettke explains the simple solution above: "I have little doubt that bourgeois people operating in free, competitive, private-property-based markets will more than adequately deal with any problems - and take great advantage of any blessings - caused by climate change."

    In other words, the "action" governments take should not be to hobble private action, but to allow the natural organic adaptation process of the market to work.

  15. Sam - even if it IS real what can you do about it anyway?

    The oceans will rise by 80 cm - so what?

    Ice in Greenland (or anywhere else) melts - so what?

    Anybody who has experienced winters in Christchurch or Invercargill (or New York) should be glad if it is going to get warmer! haha!

    Putting aside ideology for a moment, most of the scientists talking about this issue are the same people who, early in their careers back in the 1970s, were telling everyone an ice age was just around the corner.

    They cannot get their story straight for one thing!

    You just wait until the year 2035 - global warming will be shown to be a load of rubbish, and people like Kevin Rudd and B. Hussein Obama will be saying "thank god we acted when we did; government regulation saved mankind"

    Give me a break!

    This issue - like so many others - is about Marxists wanting to take mankind back to the 18th century.

    40 years ago - ice age: so better disinvent capitalism

    Today - global warming: so better disinvent capitalism

    2040 - temperatures neither up nor down: better disinvent capitalism (just to be on the safe side comrades!)


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