July 2, 2014

"We’re getting better, and we argue... That’s how we do science."

Said a climate scientist, provoking Instapundit to say: "Well, except climate science, where the models are already perfect, and anyone who argues is a Denier."

The first link goes to a NYT article about the solar cycle about a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research whose  computer model made 2 predictions about the sun cycle, the first of which happened, but the second did not.

Instapundit's post went up yesterday, a day when I, by chance, happened to be gazing upon the National Center for Atmospheric Research. I put up 4 photographs from our hike last evening, and the NCAR building, designed by I.M. Pei, was visible in the last photograph, and one commenter deemed it "some rocks," because there were rocks in the foreground, the rocks of Woods Quarry, some of which had been piled up at the edge of the cliff in what I took to be a reference to the NCAR architecture, which I took to be a reference to the rocks.

Here's a closer look at the architecture (which I loved, because of the way it seemed like an ancient stone monument that belonged in the landscape):



And here's another look at the piled rocks on the cliff, with the NCAR building in between:

67 comments:

surfed said...

The left hand side of the 'rocks' pic looks as if someone started or built a cairn. Deb and I build small unobtrusive cairns wherever we go in places that amaze us. These cairns are to guide us back if ever of a day there's a chance in returning...

Anonymous said...

Terrible Reading Comprehension Guy says:

Althouse wrote: "...there were rocks in the foreground... ...some of which had been piled up at the edge of the cliff in what I took to be a reference to the NCAR architecture, which I took to be a reference to the rocks." Althouse, this is the very epitome of circular reasoning: don't you even see it anymore? If there were a Constitutional Law Class on 'Chicken v. Egg' I'm afraid you would tie yourself in knots. Time to bring up your game, Professor.

Original Mike said...

That is how you do science (frankly, it's great fun).

"The science is settled" is such bullshit. It's meant to intimidate, which is always funny when it comes from someone who couldn't differentiate y=x if their life depended upon it.

Hunter said...

For another way of viewing NCAR, go back and watch the movie "Sleeper".

Topher said...

Just the other day I was thinking about how striking NCAR is when seen from the other direction with the flatirons as a backdrop. Highway 93 (Broadway) followed for about 5 miles south from Pearl Street has a few places with great opportunities for picture taking.

While you're hear, btw, you should stop by Reubens at the corner of Broadway and Canyon. Best place for Belgian beer -- and Duchess on tap.

The Crack Emcee said...

Instapundit has linked to yogic laughing,...

traditionalguy said...

NACAR covers the climate waterfront. Their scientific theories confidently predict sudden disaster from extreme warming accompanied by the usual and to be expected "hiatus" of no warming at all and the usual and to be expected cycles of of extreme winter cooling and much cooler summers.

Try arguing with that, succor. And in the meantime send us billions of dollars a year more to pay us for the entertaining "science" we make up.

And did we tell you about our many sunspot minimum theories that all contradict each other and everything we said about it.

EDH said...

I like this guy's dancing.

Some men need some killer weed, some men need cocaine
Some men need some cactus juice, to purify the brain
Some men need two women, some need alcohol
Everybody needs a little something, but Lord I need it all

To get my rocks off, get my rocks off
Get my rocks off the mountain, and roll 'em on down the hill


Get My Rocks Off

I may do you one time, and I may do you more
I may turn you into something, that you ain't ready for
I might want your body, and I might want your bread
I might want your momma to come visit me instead

And get my rocks off, get my rocks off
Get my rocks off the mountain, and roll 'em on down the hill

Sometimes I dream of chicks, to bring me ever lasting joys
Sometimes I dream of animals, sometimes I dream of boys
Sometimes I kill the living, sometimes I raise the dead
Sometimes I say just screw it all, and crawl back into bed

And get my rocks off, get my rocks off
Get my rocks off the mountain, and roll 'em on down the hill

PB Reader said...

Sometimes you have to spend a lot of money when you are a non-profit government agency. And if you don't have enough research projects, I guess that money must be spent on expensive architects, expensive building, cushy office surroundings and spoiling a natural landscape. But then, they are just so darn special and the regular rules don't apply.

Mike said...

It's funny how much contrast there exists between this real scientist speaking plain truth and the fake Bill Nye-types that declaim that the "science is settled!" In the grand scheme of things we don't know shit!

We don't know how or why clouds form as they do and what effect they have on weather (and therefore climate); we don't even know what lives in the oceans other than the highly fished surfaces and a few places to which we've sent robots; we don't know how the Sun and its cyclical phases affect weather (and therefore climate).

Given the known unknowns above and the complete face-plant failure of the IPCC models thus far, how can non-deniers be so arrogant as to tell us the "science is settled"? Well, we don't the answer to THAT either but we do recognize the totalitarian nature of their "dialogue" and their politics are unmistakably statist. All of the above are good reasons to remain a calm skeptic instead of a sky-is-falling non-denier.

virgil xenophon said...

A closer inspection of the bldg would reveal that at the end of the central hallway on each floor is a small balcony intended for "introspection" and "thought" while gazing at the heavens.

MadisonMan said...

The Science is Settled is a quote from Al Gore. I think it is often taken out of context, but when I hear it used, from anyone, I remember who said it first -- a politician.

Bob R said...

I feel the NCAR building looks more out of place in your pictures (from a distance) than in the closeups I've seen. Maybe that's due to the rural setting. So many modernist buildings look worse close up.

ken in sc said...

Cairns were originally grave sites. In land too stoney to dig, the body was laid on the ground and covered by a pile of rocks to keep scavengers from getting to it.

One of my Scots-Irish relatives used to say, when she smelled bad meat, 'that smells cairny'.

n.n said...

Scientists will only improve when they acknowledge that science is a practice which is necessarily constrained to a limited frame of reference. It's utility to understand and exploit our system is undermined by people who ignore this inherent limitation.

As for climate science, their skill is limited by the chaotic (i.e. incompletely characterized and unwieldy) nature of the system. The validity of their forecasts and predictions are inversely proportional to their temporal and spatial scope.

Rusty said...

Yeah. Some rocks. Some trees. A building.
You can feel the excitement.

Rusty said...

rfed said...
The left hand side of the 'rocks' pic looks as if someone started or built a cairn. Deb and I build small unobtrusive cairns wherever we go in places that amaze us. These cairns are to guide us back if ever of a day there's a chance in returning...

Personally. I don't like to alter the landscape like that lest I anger Gaia and she shits on my house.

garage mahal said...

The Science is Settled is a quote from Al Gore. I think it is often taken out of context, but when I hear it used, from anyone, I remember who said it first -- a politician.

Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real? What is the argument?

surfed said...

@Ken in SC. My family is from SC too bro...That said the cairns I build are Icelandic in that they confer direction.

tim maguire said...

Garage, the only "raging" is done by the activists looking to capitalize on the issue. However, yes, there is significant doubt in scientific circles as to whether humans are making any meaningful contribution to climate change (notice even the alarmists are starting to run from the term "global warming").

The over-hyped "consensus" is achieved only by excluding a vast majority of the scientists from the poll results. The answer is right there in the methodology of Cook et al, the source of the fictitious "97% claim. If you bother to look.

damikesc said...

Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real? What is the argument?

NASA is having one about what month is the hottest on record. Turns out, it was July 1936, despite what they've claimed for years.

traditionalguy said...

Garage... The argument is about the use of faked historic records to support rigged computer models predictions that raising ppm of the clean and beneficial co2 trace gas will have any affect at all on the climate temperatures.

Scientists now agree that the data used was faked and the computer models were based on false asumptions.

Only the EPA Empire, on orders from Obama's Gang, still insists that the now exposed Big Lie about co2 being an air pollutant comes from any real science.

Mike said...


Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real?

"Raging" is too kinetic a word for the multitude of research discussions and opinions among scientists who specialize in atmosphere, solar issues, geology, hydrology, etc. and other related hard science fields. Only idiots and progressives will believe that canard about "77% of scientists agree" that was based on an UNscientific on-line survey in which only 77% of the 30% who identified as "concerned about AGW" answered affirmatively. So yeah there is debate out here in the real world because that's how science is done (see the article upon which you opine here for one example of that). The rest of us don't believe a silly journolist piece about 23.1% (.77 * .30) of scientists wetting their pants about the rise in sea levels.

What is the argument?

That the "science" is NEVER settled. History is a long string of scientists revising earlier theories based on newer and better data. By the way the IPCC models don't even rise to the level of a theory since every real-world test has proved their models wrong. 100% and in my book 100 is always > 77 !

Unknown said...

"Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real? What is the argument?"

No argument, climate changes. Always has, always will. The issue is the validity of modeling that has yet to predict climate with any semblance of accuracy. If the model doesn't work, then the model is wrong regardless of whether or not pieces of the model accurately represent real phenomena. CO2 is a greenhouse gas; so what? BTW, is a green house a valid model for the earth? How many greenhouses are radiatively heated AND cooled? How do you model time dependent heating without actually knowing the time-variance in dependence of the heat source?

AGW is a hypothesis, not a theory.

Michael K said...

"As for climate science, their skill is limited by the chaotic (i.e. incompletely characterized and unwieldy) nature of the system. "

And also by the fact that controlled experiments are impossible. Climate is all "observational" the lowest form of scientific inquiry.

John Cunningham said...

garage mahal asks if there is a debate in the scientific community. yes, among real scientists like Freeman Dyson, Anthony Watts, Judity Curry. the Party hacks, true followers of Lysenko, proclaim that the science is settled. if that is the case, there would be no need for billions of $$ spent on climate research, would there? perhaps, mighty garage, you could explain why NO CLIMATE MODEL can hiast 20th century temps--you cannot start any of them in 1920, add known inputs and forcings, and get teh observed temps of 1930, 1940, etc. how about the repeated failures of sea level rise, winter snows gone in the UK, etc?

Krumhorn said...

(Although the Maunder Minimum coincided with the Little Ice Age, it is not known whether the intensity of a sunspot cycle could influence the earth’s climate. The difference in the amount of the earth-warming radiation coming from the sun between solar minimum and solar maximum is minuscule.)

This quote from the Times article is just a flat out misrepresentation of the science. While it is true that the direct warming effect of variations in solar radiation is not significant to temperature change, it is surprisingly well-established that the radiation itself is a forcing agent that can be traced over thousands of years that affect changes in climate.

There is a pretty good correlation between variations in solar energy and the rise and fall of carbon dioxide and methane that dwarfs anything man or animals produce.

The man-made global warming hoax is politically motivated and there is absolutely no other reason why the lefties embrace it, and the rest of us don't.

A Harvard astrophysicist and a Smithsonian astronomer properly established the link a few years ago, and there are a great many papers available that substantiate the historical connection between temperature change and solar activity.

here and here and here

It's not all that complicated.

- Krumhorn

tim in vermont said...

I went to a college where the buildings were designed by I M Pei.

"A closer inspection of the bldg would reveal that at the end of the central hallway on each floor is a small balcony intended for "introspection" and "thought" while gazing at the heavens."

The administration building has just such a feature. As students, we used to like to climb to the top floor on winter days and watch the snow squalls come in off the lake.

But cushy they were not. They were concrete and the surfaces were either corrugated or showed the imprints of the plywood molds used to make them.

Bruce Hayden said...

The man-made global warming hoax is politically motivated and there is absolutely no other reason why the lefties embrace it, and the rest of us don't.

Lefties embrace it for two reasons. One is that it justifies and legitimizes their power grabs and that of our governments. According to them, we need much more government intervention to thwart all the horribles that they portend with AGC/AGW/AGCC, etc.

And, secondly, a lot of leftists appear to be Gaia worshipers, who have substituted Mother Nature for Christianity, Judaism, etc. Their goal is to turn back civilization to a more bucolic time, never minding that life was short and brutal back then. They most often do so from either their perch in sunny Boulder (home of NCAR, along with outposts for NOAA, NIST, and even NREL (wind power, given Boulder's high winds)), with their six figure incomes, or, alternatively still living in their parents' basements or with a bunch of roommates. In short, the type of people least likely to be affected by their environmental fanaticism.

Bennett Kalafut said...

Instapundit is being (probably deliberately) obtuse about what is meant when scientists say "The science is settled." It's like what are sometimes called "Dad jokes"--he seems to think it cute but he's being ignorant and insulting.

"The science is settled" is not "no work to be done on any aspects of the problem" but "based on the data we have, what you're treating as being in dispute isn't legitimately in dispute."

Otherwise educated people make arguments about global warming which in order to be true would negate very basic knowledge about statistical mechanics or quantum mechanics, or would mean that we do not understand at all and cannot reliably measure the absorption and emission spectra of gases.

The greenhouse effect is settled science. That a harmful amount of climate change will occur if we keep using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for certain waste gases is settled science. The local effects aren't settled science. Whether that's going to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Fahrenheit when considered as a global average, that's not settled science.

David said...

"Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real?"

So that's your standard, Garage? There is no raging debate? There's not a debate because the proponents have declared the issue non debatable. There are plenty of intelligent scientists and laymen who find much of the climate dogma debatable, but they are shunned and ridiculed. How can there be a debate in that environment?

I also note that you have vagued up the issue as to whether man made climate change is "real." What does that mean? Climate change is real. In fact it's a constant, having existed long before the dawn of man and well before humans became (or so we think) the dominant species.

All animals have effect on the environment (and therefore climate) because they are part of the environment. The environment is affected by elephants, apes, insects, beavers, birds, wolves, worms and all kinds of creatures. The so called climate scientists have been telling us that man's impact has become decisive and disastrous, overcoming all the other natural forces that have influenced climate for billions of years. They further have a well developed statist (and therefore money grant giving) solution. All of that is highly debatable, if only the Lofty Ones would consent to a serious debate.

Read some of the recent information and resulting speculation deriving from the study of ocean vortices, and then try to figure out why the science is settled.

David said...

I had a girlfriend named Karen once. A very rocky relationship.

Scott M said...

"Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real? What is the argument?"

No. I'm fairly confident that there is no argument about the fact that the Arctic was not ice-free by 2013, contrary to the AGW crowd in the years leading up to global egg on their collectivist face.

Original Mike said...

"Otherwise educated people make arguments about global warming which in order to be true would negate very basic knowledge about statistical mechanics or quantum mechanics, or would mean that we do not understand at all and cannot reliably measure the absorption and emission spectra of gases."

The climate is a lot more complicated than Bohr's atom.

tim in vermont said...

"Otherwise educated people make arguments about global warming which in order to be true would negate very basic knowledge about statistical mechanics or quantum mechanics, or would mean that we do not understand at all and cannot reliably measure the absorption and emission spectra of gases.

The greenhouse effect is settled science." - Yes


"That a harmful amount of climate change will occur if we keep using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for certain waste gases is settled science. " - No

You really should read up on the latest IPCC report if you are going to lecture people on what is and isn't "settled."

I am not going to argue with you, I don't care what you think. I am just suggesting that maybe you are getting your "science" from political sources, rather than the 'horse's mouth.'

tim in vermont said...

If you think that General Circulation Models settle the debate, I suggest you read this paper by Naomi Oreskes that she wrote prior to her alarmist screed The Merchants of Doubt.

In fact, I wonder if much of the work she has done in the area of promoting the catastrophic climate change meme isn't in repentance for writing the original paper that devastates the premises behind basing policy on numerical models, no matter how fancy.

tim in vermont said...

Since probably nobody is going to go to that link to the paper, here is the abstract:

"Verification and validation of numerical models of natural systems is impossible. This is because natural systems are never closed and because model results are always nonunique. Models can be confirmed by the demonstration of agreement between observation and prediction, but confirmation is inherently partial. Complete confirmation is logically precluded by the fallacy of affirming the consequent and by incomplete access to natural phenomena. Models can only be evaluated in relative terms, and their predictive value is always open to question. The primary value of models is heuristic."

And this gem:

"Finally, we must admit that a model may confirm our biases and support incorrect intuitions. Therefore, models are most useful when they are used to challenge existing formulations, rather than to validate or verify them. Any scientist who is asked to use a model to verify or validate a predetermined result should be suspicious" - Naomi Oreskes,

Ironically the author of Merchants of Doubt.

Sounds to me like she has dished out a fair amount of "doubt" herself.

Mind you, my position on AGW is that it is probably happening mixed in with the simple fact that climate changes all the time and we are not really sure which change is us and which change is Gaea, for lack of a better term, and so policy changes to address the risk would be prudent, as long as they don't cause more harm than any change in the climate that we may or may not be able to control.

I just wish such changes were less carefully calibrated to the needs of interest groups and the fantasies of certain segments of voters and more based on clear eyed appraisal of the facts at hand.

damikesc said...

That a harmful amount of climate change will occur if we keep using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for certain waste gases is settled science.

Provided one ignores how utterly useless, as a predictory tool, climate science has been and still is to this day.

Settled science wouldn't need to game the numbers. You don't see, say, scientists studying gravity gaming numbers or fighting to not have their raw data publicized.

Whether that's going to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Fahrenheit when considered as a global average, that's not settled science.

...it's been zero. For about 18 yrs. And almost no models come close to predicting that.

Bruce Hayden said...

The greenhouse effect is settled science. That a harmful amount of climate change will occur if we keep using the atmosphere as a garbage dump for certain waste gases is settled science. The local effects aren't settled science. Whether that's going to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit or 10 degrees Fahrenheit when considered as a global average, that's not settled science.

How about a more accurate suggestion that the greenhouse effect of rising CO2 concentrations is possibly indicated, in the range of maybe .1 degrees to a couple of degrees, over the next century.

The problem with saying any more is first that the models that predicted such were catastrophically wrong over the last couple of decades. I am willing to be pointed to models that came close to accurately predicting the amount of warming actually experienced over the last 15-17 or so years. Almost to a one, if viewed scientifically, had results that were outside the range of reasonable possibility that they could be accurate (e.g. above a 95% confidence level).

The other thing is that while CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it has a fairly low concentration (< 4x10^4 or < 4 PPM), even now, in the atmosphere, and arguably the direct greenhouse effect of CO2 drops off as concentrations increase. Water vapor has a much higher concentration, and has an absorption window much more conducive to warming. In order to get over the trace levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, those pushing CO2 as a major cause of AGW had to assume substantial positive feedback between CO2 and water in both vapor and clouds. Absent the assumed H2O induced feedback from CO2 concentration increases, the expected Greenhouse effect of the CO2 would be closer to the figures I gave above, and the actual temperature rise that we have seen over much of the last two decades - almost none. And, that seems to comport with the more recent empirical results on CO2/H2O feedback.

Which, of course, why those pushing Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) so hard just a couple of years ago are now pushing AGCC (climate change), because, since it is unfalsifiable, it can never be proven false, as AGW probably was, when the models failed to predict reality. When there are more hurricanes, you have AGCC. Ditto for fewer. Ditto for more tornadoes, fewer, more rain, less rain, more snow, less snow, etc.

Bruce Hayden said...

You really should read up on the latest IPCC report if you are going to lecture people on what is and isn't "settled."

Spoken like a true believer.

But, there are a lot of problems with the IPCC and its reports. First, and foremost, it is a highly political organization, run essentially by the General Assembly, which means 2nd and 3rd World countries, many of whom have the goal of leveraging this, along with other UN activities into even larger handouts from 1st World countries.

Secondly, ignoring the highly political executive summaries and the like, the IPCC technical reports have moved ever away from a "consensus" as the models that are used have been proven ever more divergent from the reality of what has happened.

And, finally, much of any credibility that the IPCC might have once had was lost when the ClimateGate emails and the like showed how thoroughly the climate scientists at the core of the "cabel" (led in part by Michael Mann) had manipulated the IPCC process. Ditto, BTW, with much of the much vaunted "peer review" process. We have emails detailing how they controlled what got into the IPCC reports, and what didn't.

So, you can fall back on the claimed expertise of those pushing what you believe to be the science, but throwing that out, and then refusing to further engage, is evidence to many that you probably don't understand the issues raised here or elsewhere, or know that you will probably end up losing the debate.

Rhythm and Balls said...

So that's your level of scientific interest in the matter? Likening rocks to I.M. Pei designs?

I say you're better off sticking to photography.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Bruce - you do a lot of messenger killing in that 8:21. And the 8:11 reasoning is more than absurd. What counts as a "fairly low concentration" when you just reduce it to a quantitative opinion like that? It's not too low to regulate temperature. Some things work in amounts that don't impress people who need human-perspective sizes (like monster trucks) to realize their significance. Next you'll be telling us that testosterone levels are too low to do anything because, hell, they're measured by the nanogram and nano grams are really small units of measurement. Hell, molecules themselves are really small things. Maybe they don't do anything either and it's just on the macro level that anything in life really occurs.

Pretty astounding that a semi-scientifically literate guy can witness a 40% increase in a major regulator of climate and call that insignificant. If government regulations decreased (or increased) 40% maybe that wouldn't make a difference to you, either.

Behold The New Innumeracy: Where perspective and context doesn't matter. If it's small to a human then why should the ants care? They don't count. And neither do the carbon molecules. Ignore them! Discard their data! Hide the decline/increase!

traditionalguy said...

Why do supposedly educated adults look at images of steam releases that are back lit by sun to appear black and fall for propaganda that says its dirty Carbon emissions.

Why do supposedly educated adults fall for Propaganda about colorless co2 trace gas, that is no more Carbon than table salt is Chlorine, is actually dirty black Carbon garbage dumped into the air is like soot?

Because you must all be supposedly educated fools incapable of independent thoughts joining Tennessee stupid Al Gore's Elmer Gantry like imitation fake religion of guilt for man's sins.

Why not join a real Christian church and quit bowing to the State's new Church of Weather atonement.

n.n said...

Michael K:

It's inherently a risk management problem, but that's not how its advocates present it. Their first mistake was to believe that they could force a political, or failing that, a social consensus, which would determine an outcome irrespective of its scientific validity.

Michael K said...

"The greenhouse effect is settled science. "

Observational science is far from "settled." It is only useful in describing what is seen. Prediction models are only as good as they predict.

Climate is like weather. It is chaos theory in action. Predictions dpn't work, as we see.

gadfly said...

Blogger Bennett Kalafut said...

The greenhouse effect is settled science.

Not so fast, Kemosabe.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce - you do a lot of messenger killing in that 8:21. And the 8:11 reasoning is more than absurd. What counts as a "fairly low concentration" when you just reduce it to a quantitative opinion like that? It's not too low to regulate temperature. Some things work in amounts that don't impress people who need human-perspective sizes (like monster trucks) to realize their significance.

You don't know that it isn't too low to regulate temperature. You are just trusting models built, most likely, on shifting sand. As I said before - compare the concentrations, for example, between CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere.


Pretty astounding that a semi-scientifically literate guy can witness a 40% increase in a major regulator of climate and call that insignificant. If government regulations decreased (or increased) 40% maybe that wouldn't make a difference to you, either.

You are, again, assuming the conclusion. How do we know that CO2 is a major regulator of climate? Have we seen the predicted global temperature increases? I would suggest that we have not, at least not for a majority of the last two decades. All that you really have are a bunch of models that supposedly model the effects of CO2 on the worldwide climate, but have, at least so far, failed to predict it at all well.

You have two choice, I think. One is to accept theories that are seemingly at odds with observed reality, and the second is to question them, because of that. You seem willing to do the former, and I prefer the latter.

Zach said...

I always used to call that campus NCAR Wat.

Gahrie said...

Let's see...big ball of buring gas surrounded by a bunch of rocks getting warmer at the same time.

I wonder why that blue rock is geting warmer?

tim in vermont said...

"Observational science is far from 'settled.'"

Ummm, if quantum mechanics is not "settled science" as far as it goes, which is pretty darned spectacularly far, I don't know what meaning the term could possibly hold.

Rusty said...

"Is there a raging debate in the scientific community on whether man made climate change is real? What is the argument?"

Not an argument really. Just that AGW assertions are being constantly shot down.

Turns out that the giant fusion reactor in the sky is mostly responsible.
And our own magnetosphere.

Joe Schmoe said...

I'm not familiar with this work of Pei's, but if it has an ancient, monumental feel, I would say he was borrowing heavily from the design palette of Louie Kahn.

Unknown said...

"Ummm, if quantum mechanics is not "settled science" as far as it goes, which is pretty darned spectacularly far, I don't know what meaning the term could possibly hold."

Nuclear Engineer, Doctoral work (not finished) including QM theory & applications; I don't know if it was intentional, but the "as far as it goes" is pretty important. QM predicts a lot of stuff very well and is therefore used (like a lot of other physical "laws") because it works, but it is not a complete theory and does not work for complex systems.

This is no uncommon. We don't have any problem using Newton's laws of motion normally, but they require relativistic corrections to be correct. QM predicts the structure of H and He and breaks down for larger atoms. It does an excellent job of predicting physical behavior in other areas.

Extrapolating an incomplete theory is OK if it works, and if the behavior is useful; but the parts of the theory you want to use need to actually be validated, like an experiment under appropriately controlled conditions. If the theory is not capable of accurately predicting ANYTHING the theory addresses then it is technically incorrect and practically futile. As far as I can tell, the concentration of CO2 as used in the model does not predict current global average temperature. If this is incorrect, I expect someone would trumpet it to the world.

jr565 said...


Mike wrote:
Given the known unknowns above and the complete face-plant failure of the IPCC models thus far, how can non-deniers be so arrogant as to tell us the "science is settled"? Well, we don't the answer to THAT either but we do recognize the totalitarian nature of their "dialogue" and their politics are unmistakably statist. All of the above are good reasons to remain a calm skeptic instead of a sky-is-falling non-denier.

despite the lack of knowledge it's so galling that they KNOW what little knowledge we have disproves the counter argument. For exams the Big Bang theory.it might explain why the world formed but it doesn't explain why we had lifeillions of years later. Or how such a random event could produce such an ordered environment so fit for life. The earth seems like it was terraformed. Which is not ramdom. Now mom not saying thanI don't believe in the Big Bang theory. But it's not a sufficient argument to disprove a creator of the universe by itself.

Freder Frederson said...

The other thing is that while CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it has a fairly low concentration (< 4x10^4 or < 4 PPM), even now,

You know, if you are going to pretend to know something about atmospheric chemistry, you should at least get your numbers right. 4E-4 is 400 ppm not 4 ppm. And the proper notation is ppm, not PPM.

And the last three months the average concentration of CO2 has been above 400 ppm, higher than it has been in at least 800,000 years.

Bruce Hayden said...

You know, if you are going to pretend to know something about atmospheric chemistry, you should at least get your numbers right. 4E-4 is 400 ppm not 4 ppm. And the proper notation is ppm, not PPM.

Freder is, of course, correct here. We are talking 400 ppm, which is 4E-4 (or 4x10^-4). Which still makes it a trace gas.

Bruce Hayden said...

As far as I can tell, the concentration of CO2 as used in the model does not predict current global average temperature. If this is incorrect, I expect someone would trumpet it to the world.

I think that the transformation from Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) to AGCC (Climate Change) as the global threat du jour very strongly implies that the AGW models failed to predict the current fairly long lack of global warming. Or, to maybe phrase it a bit, the falsifiable theory of AGW was falsified, and so was replaced by the (so far) unfalsifiable theory of AGCC.

I think though that one of my big problems here is that the AGW arguments have mostly been taken intact, and applied in the AGCC context, without bothering to update them with more recent research. I think that you see this with the EPA rules - where the justification was primarily AGCC, but the research allegedly supporting it involved primarily AGW.

Rhythm and Balls said...

You don't know that it isn't too low to regulate temperature. You are just trusting models built, most likely, on shifting sand. As I said before - compare the concentrations, for example, between CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere.

Do you know what the word "atmosphere" even means? That's important. Without atmosphere the planet doesn't regulate temperature at all. If you don't believe me, check out the temperature of the moon sometime. Venus' atmosphere, being primarily CO2, is the reason it's hotter than Mercury. And water vapor content is not increasing.

Here is the contribution of the four major components to temperature regulation on earth. If you don't believe it, take it up to those "grassroots" Wikipedia authors. Explain why they're so misinformed and what your supposedly better science consists of.


"Pretty astounding that a semi-scientifically literate guy can witness a 40% increase in a major regulator of climate and call that insignificant. If government regulations decreased (or increased) 40% maybe that wouldn't make a difference to you, either."

You are, again, assuming the conclusion.


You are assuming there is a better conclusion.

How do we know that CO2 is a major regulator of climate?

Because it retains heat, as Arrhenius showed, and predicted. Do you know that these things can be measured? They're properties of the compounds: How much radiation they absorb and emit in the thermal infrared range. What are your thoughts on the idea of learning basic physical chemistry concepts prior to opining on them?

Have we seen the predicted global temperature increases? I would suggest that we have not, at least not for a majority of the last two decades.

Suggest what you will. Ice doesn't melt without heat, dude - especially at the most stable and consistently cold extremities of the system. And if you have trouble seeing things like that, I suggest opening eyes, and looking for the data. Not personally seeing data doesn't mean data is nonexistent.

All that you really have are a bunch of models that supposedly model the effects of CO2 on the worldwide climate, but have, at least so far, failed to predict it at all well.

Yes, the major reservoirs of ice on the planet are "models". And what's happened to them wasn't actually observed, but just "predicted". Ok, you've now convinced me that you just hate data.

You have two choice, I think. One is to accept theories that are seemingly at odds with observed reality, and the second is to question them, because of that. You seem willing to do the former, and I prefer the latter.

There is a third choice, which is to look at the reality. The reality is that:

1. At least one of the four major regulators of the amount of heat that reverberates through the planet's atmosphere is increasing.

2. However anyone measures the climate, the planet's major source of solid water (i.e. requiring cold temperature to keep from melting), is consistently and dramatically melting.

It seems to me you prefer to ignore or deny not only this undeniable reality, but the only obvious conclusion to be drawn from it.

But it's nice to know you can summarize these observations and conclusions as "preferences", as if they were akin to choices of coffee varieties.

damikesc said...

And the last three months the average concentration of CO2 has been above 400 ppm, higher than it has been in at least 800,000 years.

Can you provide the RAW data to back this up?

Bruce Hayden said...

Suggest what you will. Ice doesn't melt without heat, dude - especially at the most stable and consistently cold extremities of the system. And if you have trouble seeing things like that, I suggest opening eyes, and looking for the data. Not personally seeing data doesn't mean data is nonexistent.

I don't know if you noticed this, but your article is two years out of date. This last year, we had ice on Lake Superior into June, and record ice in the Antarctic. So, much for not seeing data.

1. At least one of the four major regulators of the amount of heat that reverberates through the planet's atmosphere is increasing.

2. However anyone measures the climate, the planet's major source of solid water (i.e. requiring cold temperature to keep from melting), is consistently and dramatically melting.


Again, I suggest that you look at more recent data. Let me repeat - ice increased last year, not melted.

As for your four factors, you need to do more than back that up. And, even if CO2 is such a factor, you are ignoring that it is still a trace gas, and, as such, its direct effect is de minimis. Much greater is H20. It was only through assuming large positive feedback between CO2 and H2O concentrations that your "experts" were able to predict global warming. Unfortunately, recent empirical results would suggest almost the opposite - negative feedback. Or, at best, very mild feedback.


It seems to me you prefer to ignore or deny not only this undeniable reality, but the only obvious conclusion to be drawn from it.

Not sure what conclusions that I am ignoring. And, let me suggest just the opposite, that you are ignoring the obvious conclusion that you have signed onto a scam. Moreover, there is little evidence that humans would be worse off in a world of more CO2 and slightly higher temperatures. Plants do better with more CO2, and cold, not heat, has been our traditional enemy.

Joe said...

The greenhouse effect is settled science.

Not really since the greenhouse theory is complete bullshit. It's simply not how the atmosphere works nor, for that matter, greenhouses!

There are other problems, such as the fact that measured atmospheric CO2 concentration hasn't actually increased in the past two centuries. We know because soon after scientists figured out how to measure gases, they did so. CO2 concentration has only increased with proxy models, which indicates that the proxy models are flawed.

It's also become quite obvious that many climate scientists have been boosting (they say correcting) temperatures by ever increasing amounts. They were caught red handed which is why the NOAA walked back the 1936 claims, though they still insist on adjusting more recent temperatures by an increased amount (and simply making up many temperatures.)

Rhythm and Balls said...

I don't know if you noticed this, but your article is two years out of date. This last year, we had ice on Lake Superior into June, and record ice in the Antarctic. So, much for not seeing data.

Lake Superior's ice is a fraction of the volume of what's further north. So to ignore the evidence of the caps so that you can inflate the importance of one thing you (one person) saw in one month is definitely removing a mote so that you can hold on to a log. At least, that would be the moral terminology. In science, disregarding larger data so that you can quibble over trifles much smaller is disingenuous.

Again, I suggest that you look at more recent data. Let me repeat - ice increased last year, not melted.

Link your source and, again, tell me why a one-year blip (if true) would trump the decades-long trend that you were obviously wrong about.

As for your four factors, you need to do more than back that up.

There were backed up. There is no "more" to do. You have no back-up for declaring them meaningless.

And, even if CO2 is such a factor, you are ignoring that it is still a trace gas, and, as such, its direct effect is de minims.

This is subjective opinion. And it's stupid. Attempting to dress it up with Latin doesn't make it wise. Mercury and lead are "trace" substances. You don't have to raise the amount of them in a natural system like a mammalian body by that much to offset the balance and gravely fuck things up. Disagree? Try it and see what happens, Mr. Non-Data.

And again, women have trace amounts of testosterone in their bodies. Raise those amounts by 50% and see what happens.

You mess up massively by saying "What seems 'small' by Bruce Hayden standards is therefore scientifically insignificant. You have no data for what you state. Dressing it up in Latin doesn't make it conclusive of anything.

Much greater is H20.

So what? We're not increasing H2O.

It was only through assuming large positive feedback between CO2 and H2O concentrations that your "experts" were able to predict global warming.

You got that one wrong, too. There's positive feedback between CO2 and CO2. Warming releases more trapped CO2 from under the earth's surface, so however you decided to throw H2O in there is anyone's guess. It actually sounds like you guessed, yourself.

It sounds like you guessed wrong.

But increased water in the atmosphere, if that did occur, would certainly help explain how much stronger our winter and spring storms got this year. It would also be a result of warming.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Unfortunately, recent empirical results would suggest almost the opposite - negative feedback. Or, at best, very mild feedback.

Nice qualifiers within which to couch your assertions. "Almost", "mild", "at best", "suggest", and my favorite - "recent". Which, according to you, is a way of saying "a new statistically insignificant artifactual blip which I, Bruce, can pretend to illegitimately use to disregard the much stronger and broader body of evidence preceding it". Why do I know that's what you mean? Because I see you following just such a pattern in your comments thus far, and confidently predict that's exactly what you mean this time, as well.

"It seems to me you prefer to ignore or deny not only this undeniable reality, but the only obvious conclusion to be drawn from it."

Not sure what conclusions that I am ignoring.


Oh, yes you are.

And, let me suggest just the opposite, that you are ignoring the obvious conclusion that you have signed onto a scam.

For all the reasons given above, it's obvious that it's you have signed on to a scam - financed by very powerful extraction industries that have bought your mind and your need to associate them with a prerequisite for wealth. So obvious is it that this is the case, that the Climate Denial and Disinformation Campaign has taken to the exact same assertions, only whereby they insist that any funding of the 97% of scientists who have found only the opposite conclusions as your hemmed and hawed comments, are bought by their more diverse and less extraction-industry concentrated funding sources. Oh, and also the government is bad.

Moreover, there is little evidence that humans would be worse off in a world of more CO2 and slightly higher temperatures.

Why not just go with that if that's the source of your denial in the first place? By being all over the map, by first insisting it wouldn't happen, you make it clear that your agenda is much broader and is up against so much more evidence to the contrary. When you desperately try on so many ways of denying AGW, you make it clear that you're simply incapable of admitting that you could be wrong in the first place. So skipping along to this point is a way of pre-excusing your being wrong on all that, and insisting that you might therefore not be wrong on the consequences of what you deny is happening anyway.

But everyone else can see that this is just the biggest CYA-seeking dodge in the first place. It's like a contract written with so much fine print that you escape any responsibility for what could go wrong with it at all.

Not sincere and not to be taken serious.

Plants do better with more CO2, and cold, not heat, has been our traditional enemy.

Again. This sort of desperation is getting to the point of comical. Glad to know you care so much about the plants. Yes, they've done well and have been around much longer than us. But apparently all our technology at surviving in the climates we've adapted to is no excuse to avoid cutting and pasting a survivalist mindset from millennia ago onto the present and future. Because cavemen had a hard time living in the cold, we should use Venusian methods for heating the entire planet! Wherever did you come upon such brilliance!

Fen said...

You really should read up on the latest IPCC report if you are going to lecture people on what is and isn't "settled."

Laughing at you for saying we should stop getting our info from political sources and instead use the IPCC.

Fen said...

Suggest what you will. Ice doesn't melt without heat, dude - especially at the most stable and consistently cold extremities of the system.

Followup reports on that glacier melt determined it was geo-thermal heat due to volcanic activitiy.

Did you never consider that possibility?

tim in vermont said...

"Laughing at you for saying we should stop getting our info from political sources and instead use the IPCC."

My point is that if you read the IPCC report itself, rather than accounts of it, it becomes very clear that the 97% consensus means a whole lot less than many seem to think it does.

Not to mention, huge holes in the paradigm of basing policy on GCMs are clearly elucidated.

The funny thing about scientific papers is that, while the facts themselves presented are pretty trustworthy, the conclusions arrived at or there presentation in the press often are not.

So when arguing with an alarmist, it is hard for them to argue with you that you are some kind of "science denier" when you use the IPCC to undermine their arguments, which is pretty easy most of the time, and causes them a delicious tension between their certainties of faith that science is on their side and backs their every article of faith, and the actual science that goes into it as presented by the IPCC itself.

One of my favorite tactics is to use the sainted Gaia defender of the faith, Naomi Oreskes, one of the first to write about the "consensus" and the writer of the alarmist manifesto, "The Merchants of Doubt" and quote from an earlier paper of hers that has almost 3000 citations that eviscerates the use of models of natural systems for anything other than attempting to learn more about the details of that system.

Rusty said...

CO2 levels have been rising or falling at the rate of plus or minus .07-1.4%.
In other words they don't know and as the author said it's statistically meaningless.

From the Skeptical Scientist.