Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The record high temperature in Princeton, New Jersey on this date, January 13, was 70 degrees in 1932. Just sayin'.
So I assume no record cold in Princeton today?
There is a tie for record warmth in Melbourne though:
"A doggy-paddling pal gives a swimmer a kiss at St. Kilda Beach in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne equalled its hottest night ever Tuesday with temperatures hovering above 93 degrees Fahrenheit."
But weather's not climate....
"Computer modelling systems not confirmed by actual observations are not science"
They are a part of science. You make a model (on computer or on paper), and then see if new observations are as predicted by the model. If not, you refine or change the model.
If, in ten years' time, the global climate has not changed as predicted, then clearly the current models will need correcting. But there can be no climatology without some kind of model: the model summarises what we know about climate.
Irrelevant to the thread: If you don't take your own words seriously--"Just sayin'"--then why waste bandwidth with them?
"...there can be no climatology without some kind of model...." It's true enough that modeling is highly useful to understanding complex systems, but models require actual data as their inputs. Climatology data have been badly--to the point of dishonesty in too many cases--manipulated, both by the UEA and GHCN before they've been fed into the climatology models, the "researchers" refuse to disclose how their "models" work, and much, if not most, of the raw data--pre-manipulation--have been carefully destroyed by the UEA.
We don't know what the climate is doing until we start over with (newly collected) raw data and models that all scientists can review.
"Computer modelling systems not confirmed by actual observations are not science"
There is a sense in which the current climate models have been confirmed by observations. If you start them in the past (i.e., feed in data for past climate that has been derived from "proxy" observations (ice cores, lake sediments, tree rings, etc.)) and you let the models march forward in time, the resulting predictions (retrodictions?) track what actually happened to a fair extent. That doesn’t necessarily mean the models will be good at predicting climate in the future. You can build model systems that splendidly track the past but have essentially no power to predict the future. I don’t understand much about how that is possible but I think it has to do with the model being built to mimic the data pattern of the past without mimicking the underlying factors that gave rise to the data pattern in the past. That is, for any set of data points, say a temperature curve for the last million years, there is some set of mathematical equations that will reproduce that curve. That set of mathematical equations can be your model. It works perfectly for the past temperature curve but it has no predictive power for future temperature trends because it has no connection to the factors underlying temperature: solar output, the earth’s albedo, the content of the earth’s atmosphere, etc. The current climate models represent attempts to capture something about the kinds of factors that affect climate. How well do they succeed? Perhaps we will know in a few decades.
It's worse than just flawed data. AGW theory is based on a belief that temperatures have been increasing to unprecedented levels ... and at an alarming rate. For openers, this data is suspect in several respects ... as confirmed by Climategate. There may have been some warming in the 1990s but there's no proof of a hockey stick spike. In fact, recent years suggest a cooling trend. Over the course of the last 1,000 years, there's substantial evidence that Earth has been both warmer and colder than it is now. Given Ice Age cycles, Earth will certainly get much colder at some point in the next few thousand years. Our descendants will be jealous.
But there's more to this than just flawed data. AGW theorists assume that the spike they see in their data must be caused by increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. They can't -- or won't -- consider anything else to be the cause. Post hoc ergo propter hoc ... correlation isn't proof of causation. For atmospheric CO2 to be the cause -- because it has such little mass -- it would have to have truly magical thermodynamic properties. It doesn't.
Earth's atmospheric CO2 is less than 400 parts per billion -- it's a trace gas. To give a sense of scale, you'd need about 100,000 parts per billion of arsenic in water to make a lethal dose. But CO2 isn't a poison nor a pollutant -- even if the EPA has declared it so. Instead, it's the ultimate plant food. Every living thing on Earth would be dead without it.
The AGW models assume these magical thermodynamic properties for CO2 to be true and then project their effects forward to conclude that Earth will boil over ... and soon. The models have already been belied by the actual experience of recent years.
Amazingly, much of AGW theory and the underlying computer models can be traced to one man -- James Hansen. He did work for NASA on the atmosphere of Venus back in the 1970s. It shouldn't be a surprise that the atmosphere of Venus is different than ours. Its day is longer than its year, it has no magnetic field, and its much closer to the Sun. In fact, Venus's atmosphere is 96.5% CO2. That's 965,000,000 parts per billion ... which is a lot more than 400. Hansen used the computer code for his Venusian models to develop climate models for Earth, which are root for where the AGW models come from. Hansen hooked up with Al Gore in the 1980s and then gave his Chicken Little testimony to Congress in 1988. The rest is history, Oscars and Nobel prizes.
Amazingly, much of the AGW data comes from Hansen too. He's been running the "NASA/Goddard" center with little accountability for something like 30 years. It only has a loose affiliation with the NASA rocketeers. Along with the East Anglia gang, it's one of the big repositories of the data used by AGW theorists. "NASA/Goddard" is based just above the Seinfeld Diner on Broadway and 112th ... literally.
Lately, Hansen has been getting increasingly nutty. Most recently he's been saying that if we don't shut down every coal plant in the world ... right now! ... man will be extinct in 50 years.
I wish this was all just absurd funny. But with recent EPA action, we're already on a course to turn the USA back to somewhere in the 1800s -- a time when most Americans shat outdoors.
"Most recently he's been saying that if we don't shut down every coal plant in the world ... right now! ... man will be extinct in 50 years."
Wow, sounds pretty extreme.
Got a link for that little factoid?
One link, hold the hysteria. Mountain glaciers, providing fresh water for rivers that supply hundreds of millions of people, will disappear - practically all of the glaciers could be gone within 50 years
Trust me ... the following is worth wading through ....
Response to Brian re: James Hansen saying all the coal plants in the world must be shut down immediately:
Brian, I may have been off, but just "North by Northwest" off.
When I posted above, I swear it was with my clear memory of a recent pre-Copenhagen op-ed piece by Hansen where he said that CO2 was already past the tipping point ... that once past 350 parts per billion we were already probably f*cked and that we're already at 385 ... so that all hydrocarbons had to go -- and quickly -- to give us a chance. I had a specific recollection of his saying that the Saudis and Russians would have to keep their hydrocarbons in the ground as part of a global solution -- which made an impression on me when I read it, because of its practical absurdity.
Just now I did online research to find this exact op-ed piece -- but couldn't. This bothers me as I'm good at online research and I usually have a good memory for nerdish detail like this. Instead I only found earlier pieces where Hansen says that the West must phase out coal over the next 20 years. Curious ....
But as I tried to find this one specific op-ed, I happened to trip over the following items for the first time:
1) 60 Minutes gave Hansen a soapbox a couple of years ago where he claimed that higher ups in government were muzzling him from speaking the truth about AGW. I knew Hansen had said this on 60 Minutes, but today I learned that by that point in time, Hansen had already given 1,400 media interviews on AGW.
2) "Jan 2009 -- James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Says Hansen ‘Embarrassed NASA’ & ‘Was Never Muzzled’"
Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon said: “Hansen was never muzzled even though he violated NASA's official agency position on climate forecasting (i.e., we did not know enough to forecast climate change or mankind's effect on it)." Thain went on to say: "... climate models are useless. ... Furthermore, some scientists have manipulated the observed data to justify their model results. In doing so, they neither explain what they have modified in the observations, nor explain how they did it. They have resisted making their work transparent so that it can be replicated independently by other scientists. This is clearly contrary to how science should be done. Thus there is no rational justification for using climate model forecasts to determine public policy."
Thain went public with this in Jan 2009 -- well before Climategate. But the science is settled.
3) Hansen has recently put out a paper "The Temperature of Science." In it, Hansen says he's being bombarded with FOIA requests and nasty e-mails. There's a lot of startling admissions between the lines, but here's the best:
"Indeed, it is likely that the sun is an important factor in climate variability. ... We are presently in the deepest most prolonged solar minimum in the period of satellite data. It is uncertain whether the solar irradiance will rebound soon into a more-or-less normal solar cycle – or whether it might remain at a low level for decades, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, a period of few sunspots that may have been a principal cause of the Little Ice Age."
Thus, even Hansen is now saying that it may be getting real cold ... and real soon. This is a Holy Shit Headline.
4) How could Hansen act so independently of NASA while running his own shop above the Seinfeld Diner? George Soros funded Hansen, apparently. You can't make this up. Source: just google Hansen and Soros -- there's some stuff from 2007, which means it's probably true. If I was a real reporter, I'd run it down.
5) Ironically, I agree with Hansen that "Cap and Trade" won't reduce emissions. That was my starting point with AGW. I thought the supposed solution and the related politics were bent. This led me to go down the rabbit hole. The more I revisit this rabbit hole, the curioser it gets.
"Why is a melting glacier in Greenland climate, but a frozen United States still just weather? "
Because the glacier is melting over a period of several years. Climate is the long term average of weather.
"Climatology data have been badly--to the point of dishonesty in too many cases--manipulated,"
What do you mean by "badly manipulated"? To take one example, some temperatures were recorded for a while in degrees K instead of degrees C. Are you suggesting they should not be converted?
"the "researchers" refuse to disclose how their "models" work,"
Have you read all the original papers? Are you sure that you just don't understand how the models work? Did you study the subject at college? How good is your maths?
" and much, if not most, of the raw data--pre-manipulation--have been carefully destroyed by the UEA."
They only held copies of the data. The various national weather services that supplied the data still have their copies. Some of the data is copyright and cannot be released to you by the UAE, but I think this is only a small part. You could always try to get it from the weather services concerned.
"We don't know what the climate is doing until we start over with (newly collected) raw data and models that all scientists can review."
How do you propose to collect new data for the weather in previous decades? This is like asking for new film of the Kennedy assassination because the old one is unsharp. The existing weather data is messy, and the further back you go the messier it was, because nobody at the time thought it was all that important. We have to do what we can with what we have.
Modern instruments are more accurate, and we now have satellites, so in ten years or so the trends should be clearer.
Meanwhile, in my opinion the best reason for cutting down on oil consumption is to remove our dependence on the Arabs. I think we should go all out for nuclear power, and put much more money into fusion research.
"Computer modelling systems not confirmed by actual observations is not science"
They are. They are outdated science, but still science. As the research moves forward, models are constantly changing and (usually) improving.
"Modeling is not climate"
It is. Climate is only a model of your idea of the average weather. If you are packing clothes for a trip to Nigeria next month, you would not include thick warm fur coats. This is because you have a mental model of the likely weather in Nigeria. This model is "climate", which is deduced from the weather.
Response to Don Cox:
I just tripped over a March 2009 paper by John S. Theon, Ph.D., who was a NASA atmospheric scientist. He's a harsh critic of the specifics of the AGW climate models -- not just modeling per se. Theon says the AGW models don't take into account many significant potential drivers like the interplay of water vapor cloud cover and solar activity. Like any good scientist, he's open about the limits of "what we know" vs. what are only unproven theories.
My spidey sense tells me that Hansen's models and their progeny don't deal with water vapor cloud cover because there is none on Venus. Oooops!
"Theon was chief of NASA’s Climate Processes Research Program and its Atmospheric Dynamics & Radiation Branch, among other NASA positions. He retired from NASA in 1995 and served as a consultant to the agency between 1995 and 2008" ... so I'd say he knows how these models work, studied the subject in college and had good maths.
Theon has other interesting criticisms of AGW theory. It's worth reading the whole piece. http://www.heartland.org/full/24892/Is_Climate_Change_Driven_by_Mankind_My_Personal_Journey.html
I'm hung up on AGW because it will have momentous political-economic effects. We're being led down a path that will only make the USA weaker and even more dependent on burning coal. When you look ahead twenty years and compare where we're headed to where we could be -- my head explodes. I'm also fascinated with how MSM has failed so badly at reporting on this -- it's not the only time.
I can't wait for Obama to say in his upcoming State of the Union that the answer to 10% unemployment is green jobs. Still developing ....
You can't make this up. Michael "Hockey Stick" Mann is getting a $541,184 federal grant ... funded out of Stimulus.
"Climate is only a model of your idea of the average weather"
Mr. Cox, the scientific method tests a hypothesis without an expectation that it will be supported or not.
A model is a hypothesis.
If I pack to go to Africa, I use my expectations, based on experience. That is not hypothetical.
The problem with AGW theory is that we have reached a conclusion before we have performed the experiment.
Because it suits the world view of certain political groups.
Whether it is proven ot not...to radically alter our economy baed on the current data is a valid reaon to be arrested for Fraud...if not Grand Theft, IMHO.
"A model is a hypothesis.
If I pack to go to Africa, I use my expectations, based on experience. That is not hypothetical."
It is. You have developed a model of the climate in Nigeria based on your (limited) data. That model predicts that it will always be hot.
The prediction is purely hypothetical and could be falsified by a rare cold snap.
Most of what we do relies on models that we have constructed from the data we get from experience. Scientists try to make their models more rigorous, and to test them systematically by experiment or further observation.
But it is not fundamentally different from what we all do all the time.
"The problem with AGW theory is that we have reached a conclusion before we have performed the experiment."
No. Measurements to confirm or disprove the predictions of the models are being made all the time.
The problems are two: we are trying to detect a very small trend (only 0.7 degrees so far) in a very noisy signal (temperatures range over tens of degrees in any one place); and climate is a complex thing with many variables which are hard to measure or calculate, so modelling is very difficult.
However, the great majority of professional climatologists agree that temperatures are rising steadily and will continue to rise, and that sea levels are likewise rising.
They are not making these predictions for fun: they are doing their level best to get them right.
Response to Don Cox:
"They are not making these predictions for fun"
I'd say it's for profit -- see post about Michael Mann just above -- and for fame ... and for attention from "politically correct pretty young things" ... or for the truly nerdy, some measure of basic social acceptance.
"we are trying to detect a very small trend (only 0.7 degrees so far) in a very noisy signal"
We've been over this exact point before. What if there's no trend at all? What if the trend starts pointing down -- i.e. cooling? You implicitly admit that the measuring tools being used may not have sufficient accuracy. One of the few things I've seen scientifically proven by AGW theorists is the limitations of using tree rings as temperature proxies.
"climate is a complex thing with many variables which are hard to measure or calculate, so modeling is very difficult"
Ex- NASA scientist John S. Theon, Ph.D. would agree, and go further to say that the models being used are flawed because they don't account for obvious significant factors like solar activity and cloud cover. Physicists have been starting to look at the latter, but have been drowned out by AGW alarmists.
Models aren't scientific proof. In the case of climate science, they're a means to identify promising hypotheses. NASA-man Theon would say that the AGW models being used aren't even good at that, because they fail to account for obvious exogenous factors like solar activity and their potential results -- e.g., cloud cover. Instead, they've been built on the assumption that CO2 is the substantial driver.
Even James Hansen is starting to admit this ... "It is uncertain whether the solar irradiance will rebound soon into a more-or-less normal solar cycle – or whether it might remain at a low level for decades, analogous to the Maunder Minimum, a period of few sunspots that may have been a principal cause of the Little Ice Age."
Am I crazy, or is Hansen starting to become a Denier? As Emily Litella would say ... Never mind !