Saturday, October 10, 2009

The BBC Has Broken From The AGW Crowd

It really looks like it has: What happened to global warming?

This headline may come as a bit of a surprise, so too might that fact that the warmest year recorded globally was not in 2008 or 2007, but in 1998.

But it is true. For the last 11 years we have not observed any increase in global temperatures.

And our climate models did not forecast it, even though man-made carbon dioxide, the gas thought to be responsible for warming our planet, has continued to rise.

So what on Earth is going on?

What's going on is exactly what all of us "deniers" said was going on in the first place; that the models being used to sell this "crisis" were faulty, offering a simplistic forcing mechanism that ran rough-shod over not only the scientific process, but reality itself. In positing CO2 as the primary driver of climate, the AGW crowd was always more or less insane. (It isn't even the most important of the greenhouse gases. Water vapor is.) They were basically telling us that the only important difference taking place in the world in the last half of the 20th Century was man-made CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Every other factor (solar variability, cloud cover, ocean temperature, increased urbanization, etc.), we were told, was a complete wash. We, of course, had temperature variations in the historical record on the order of the one we experienced in the decade 1988-1998, including a substantial number that were more pronounced. Could we in fact, the "lunatic deniers" asked, be experiencing something quite precedented?

The answer was yes.

What is really interesting at the moment is what is happening to our oceans. They are the Earth's great heat stores.

According to research conducted by Professor Don Easterbrook from Western Washington University last November, the oceans and global temperatures are correlated.

The oceans, he says, have a cycle in which they warm and cool cyclically. The most important one is the Pacific decadal oscillation (PDO).

For much of the 1980s and 1990s, it was in a positive cycle, that means warmer than average. And observations have revealed that global temperatures were warm too.

But in the last few years it has been losing its warmth and has recently started to cool down.

These cycles in the past have lasted for nearly 30 years.

So could global temperatures follow? The global cooling from 1945 to 1977 coincided with one of these cold Pacific cycles.

The interesting part here, of course, is not so much the prospect of future cooling but the idea that the warming we did experience up to 1998 can be linked to a natural climate feature we would associate with warming trends. The whole point of "CO2 rah-rahism" is that it alone was "driving" climate. It was, we were assured, an "overwhelming" force. Turns out it wasn't "overwhelming overwhelming."

Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.

Professor Latif is based at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany and is one of the world's top climate modellers.

But he makes it clear that he has not become a sceptic; he believes that this cooling will be temporary, before the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself.

How is this in any way the theory they have been peddling for the last 20 years? Either CO2 "overwhelms" the natural rhythms of climate, or it does not. An "overwhelming" force does not get to take a smoke break for 20-30 years while it allows other forces to rule the day until it feels like reasserting itself in the future.

It's nonsense. It's always been nonsense.

I'm intrigued by this nugget on solar variation from the BBC piece:

[O]ne solar scientist Piers Corbyn from Weatheraction, a company specialising in long range weather forecasting... claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.

He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month.


Well, I'll be interested in seeing what he has to present, although I'd be wary of simply exchanging CO2 solipsism for a solar variation solipsism. That being said, because of the general importance of the sun to our climate (duh!), it already has the benefit of being at least plausible.

30 comments:

Chris said...

The whole point of "CO2 rah-rahism" is that it alone was "driving" climate.

This is nonsense, and I dare you to find a peer-reviewed publication by a credentialed climatologist that says as much.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well how about the IPCC report? Where land use...

"Following Hansen et al. (1997b), Shine and Forster (1999)
recommended in their review a value of −0.2 Wm−2 with at least
a 0.2 Wm−2 uncertainty."


and solar variability...

"We conclude that mechanisms for the amplification of solar
forcing are not well established. Variations in ultraviolet and
solar-induced changes in O3 may have a small effect on radiative
forcing but additionally may affect climate through changing the
distribution of solar heating and thus indirectly through a
dynamical response. At present there is insufficient evidence to
confirm that cloud cover responds to solar variability.


...were discounted out of hand.

AND, furthermore, the supposed radiative forcing of CO2 was deemed to be so much stronger than any of the other gases (as table Table 6.14 on page 403 clearly indicates), that the others pale in significance. That was the whole reason CO2 limiting conventions like Koyto were proposed in the first place, because CO2 was "driving climate change." If you are saying that no research claims this, well then why did we have Kyoto? Are you admitting it has nothing to do with the science? Why do we have pending Cap & Trade legislation? Are you also admitting that too isn;t based upon the science?

You're acting like I'm saying they denied there were other greenhouse gases, when I did nothing of the sort.

Chris said...

There's a difference between driving climate - which is what you claimed in your post -and driving climate change. IPCC did say it was the overwhelming driver of the latter, but it's incorrect to say other forcings were "discounted out of hand" - nothing in the IPCC says that no factors can ever influence climate in the short term - just that CO2 is primarily responsible for whatever change has occurred thus far, and will likely be responsible for increased change in the future unless action is taken.

And one BBC article doesn't disprove all of AGW, no matter how much you'd like that to be the case.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

There's a difference between driving climate - which is what you claimed in your post -and driving climate change.

Here is what I originally said:

The interesting part here, of course, is not so much the prospect of future cooling but the idea that the warming we did experience up to 1998 can be linked to a natural climate feature we would associate with warming trends. The whole point of "CO2 rah-rahism" is that it alone was "driving" climate. It was, we were assured, an "overwhelming" force.

So I was obviously talking about climate change (i.e. warming or cooling).

just that CO2 is primarily responsible for whatever change has occurred thus far, and will likely be responsible for increased change in the future unless action is taken.

How isn't this the same as what *I* say they are saying? The truth is the PDO was not an unknown feature of global climate. It was simply discounted because its harder to argue for the need for a huge government bureacracy because of a natural periodic ocean feature, in favor of making CO2 the driving feature of our climate.

The point about the BBC is you never would have seen a BBC article even glancing in the direction of the skeptical approach even last year.

Chris said...

What's obvious to you about what you were talking about isn't obvious in the context of an article dismissing those darned climate scientists for not being aware of the PDO. That said, I'm not really interested in your jihad against bureaucratic conspiracies in place of paying attention to what the science actually says. Suffice to say, the IPCC does discuss PDO, and gives a reasonable justification for why it's likely not as important as CO2 in climate change.

As for the BBC, you're wrong there again. Here are two links to BBC reports on climate skeptics and/or alternate climate forcings that were seized upon by the skeptic community as alternate explanations for global warming.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Well, here is what they say at the Telegraph (who may be more up on British media than you or I are????)

The BBC's amazing U-turn on climate change

I think the BBC wanted to slip this one out quietly, but a Matt Drudge link put paid to that. The climate change correspondent of BBC News has admitted that global warming stopped in 1998 – and he reports that leading scientists believe that the earth’s cooling-off may last for decades.

“Whatever happened to global warming?” is the title of an article by Paul Hudson that represents a clear departure from the BBC’s fanatical espousal of climate change orthodoxy. The climate change campaigners will go nuts, particularly in the run-up to Copenhagen. So, I suspect, will devout believers inside the BBC. Hudson’s story was not placed very prominently by his colleagues – but a link right at the top of Drudge will have delivered at least a million page views, possibly many more.

Hudson’s piece is a U-turn – not because he has joined the ranks of sceptics who reject the theory of man-made global warming, but because at last he has written a story about the well-established fact that the earth’s temperature has not risen since 1998, and reports seriously the theories of climatologists (themselves not sceptics) who believe that we are in for 30 years of cooling caused by the falling temperatures of the oceans.


And please, I've been reading the MSM on this topic for years. I know their approach. I'm not gonna buy they were actually playing it fair before. If so how could a journalist write the following (more from the Telegraph)?

Hudson’s piece must have been a nightmare to write: talk about an inconvenient truth. All the caveats are in place, distancing him from hardline sceptics and giving plenty of space to the climate change orthodoxy. But, in fact, his scrupulous approach only makes matters worse for BBC executives who have swung the might of the corporation behind that orthodoxy, often producing what amounts to propaganda.

The BBC now has serious questions to answer. It has used millions of pounds of licence-payers’ money to advance a simplistic point of view that is beginning to fall apart under scrutiny. Did it not foresee that this might happen? And, now that statistics are beginning to point in the other direction, is it prepared to give equal prominence to a debate about climate change that is both respectable and urgent?


Hell, up until now the BBC was comfortable publishing arguments espousing so called "consensus" on AGW and passing on view, without comment, that skeptics could be viewed as "deniers" on par with Holocaust deniers, or should be treated as "traitors to the planet" (no wait.. that was the New York Times.)

The people who have always stood by the right of free inquiry have been dealing with this unscientific bullshit for long enough. When I think of how honest people have been treated (people like Lindzen, Lomborg, Pielke -father & son- Landsea, Spencer, and countless others), this will go down as one of the most shameful periods in the history of science. Because when you say...

I'm not really interested in your jihad against bureaucratic conspiracies

...you are being willfully ignorant of the fact that we are talking about, not simply some arcane academic discussion here... we are talking about PUBLIC POLICY here. Thats what the IPCC represents, thats what Kyoto represented, thats what the upcoming Copenhagen meeting represents. The idea that no attempt had been made to marginalize other voices in their rush to impose their preferred political program while the "iron was hot" is nonsense.

It's revisionism of the most intellectually bankrupt variety.

Chris said...

First, it's not the Telegraph per se saying that, it's a blogger at the Telegraph. And blogs at the Telegraph have approximately the same relationship to the Telegraph paper proper as the Wall Street Journal's op-ed page does to the WSJ - a fringe part of the machine that's free to spew out far more radical ideology than the parent entity. (See also your attack on Krugman.)

That being the case, it's not surprising that an unabashadly right-wing blog would gleefully jump up and down on any percieved inconsistancy from its ideological enemies, regardless of how accurate that attack is.

Second, it's odd how concerned you are about science when you're attacking AGW, and yet how unconcerned you are with science - an "arcane academic discussion," is it? - when it comes time to actually following through on scientific debate. Hint - when someone, regardless of whether they work for the BBC or not, says that global warming has stopped because 1998 was the warmest year on record, that person is either ignorant of statistics or lying to make a political point. Either way, they're not engaging in honest, meaningful scientific debate.

And yes, the IPCC has a great deal to do with public policy, but it's public policy based on solid science - that is, rational, factual arguments carried out by people intimitely familiar with the issues, data, and methodology involved. Insofar as some of the people on your martyr's list fit that criteria, they have as fair a chance as any other scientist to make their arguments heard. Insofar as the rest are making arguments at the same level you are - they're OUTRAGED that their pet theories get blown off by real scientists - then being ignored and ridiculed is about as much as they deserve.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Notice all the hallmarks of Logical Fallacies in your remarks... ad hominems, argument from authority, etc. etc. etc.

Its always the same with the true believers...get data they dont like well then you are not a "real" scientist. Complain about how a political process (like the IPCC) has been hijacked by a determined ideological perspective - so much so that dozens of scientists have resigned from the process because of the unscientific interference - and you hear the crickets chirping.

I think this post pretty clearly posits what is going on with the use of at least the satelite data. Its called cherry picking your starting point, but since only one side of the debate is calling for the unprecendented existence of antropogenic forcing it is really they who are guilty of the worst of it (although it is open season.)

Also, because the satelite data only goes back to 1979 (!) how the hell is ANYBODY making climate judgements from it??? That the AGW crowd attempted to use the data for that just shows how unserious their science was. I've seen the same thing in their quixotic attempt to find a global warming signature in the besttrack hurricane data. They have used the fact that our data is more complete in the satelite era to compare it with early 20th century data and LO AND BEHOLD! claim that there are more numerous and stronger storms. Its farcical, but also deeply dishonest. They have to know what they are finding is simply an artifact of the differing data collection methods.

Now, these hurricane studies were debunked becuase of their myriad dataset problems YEARS ago... but does any of that stuff make in into the IPCC revisions? Nope. Just the alarmist stuff. Gee, I wonder why that is?

Then you have things like the Briffa tree ring study, which was used instead of the Mann hockey stick after it got busted. Well, Briffa wouldn't let anybody see his data so they could replicate his findings. FOR TEN YEARS. I'm sorry, but what part of the scientific method allows one to hide their data from scrutiny? I missed that chapter in Popper or Hempel. Eventually, a British journal was able to drag the data out of him, and it turns out there are huge problems with it. (Some people claim Briffa merely cherry-picked the data he liked, Briffa denies it - but that isn't even the point. What was he doing keeping the data squirreled away for in the first place? Even if his mistakes were honest - and he clearly seems to have made mistakes - it looks like he attempted to avoid verification of his findings.)

THen you have things like the response of AGW insiders like Phil Jones responding to data inquiries with ...

“We have 25 years or so invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”

Alright...you wanna tell me which side represents "real" scientists?

Look most of the people who contributed to the IPCC were never involved in the "big picture" aspect of the reports. They only know about their little area, and they have been content to leave it at that. Good on 'em. No one has ever attacked them for it.

It is the rest of it, at the political level, that has been corrupted from the start. Its those people who refuse to share data, who question the moral worth of skeptics with words like "denier," "treason," "traitor," and "shameful", who make claims almost entirely unsupported by the literature (such as the alleged GW signature in the hurricane data), and who portray as villans scientists who merely dislike their proposed "corrective measures." Thus the rabid hysterical shrieking against the Trotskyites, um... I mean Mitigation crowd. (You must forgive me...the dynamics are so similar.)

Chris said...

You're just recycling the same arguments you made here, and I don't expect you to be any more responsive to rebuttals on your own blog than someone else's. Suffice to say, you:

A) clearly don't know what an Argument from Authority fallacy is if you think merely preferring the expertise of a legitimate scientist in their field of study to an amateur counts as AfA.

B) don't understand that if you want to discredit the IPCC process, you need to make rational arguments that understand the science involved. Hint - the ~30 years of sat data is NOT all that's being used to argue for global warming. And understand what AGW theory is actually arguing - it's NOT going to be an unbroken string of rising temperatures, year after year.

C) need to follow through on your rebuttals, and understand that every argument skeptics make that doesn't pan out - see McIntyre and the "hockey stick" - just erodes their credibility further. Case in point, you're certain that Briffa has been thoroughly discredited, but actual climate scientists - like the guys at RealClimate.org - don't think so, and have done a pretty good job of explaining why your attack doesn't come to anything. But you just continue to hit that point regardless of what the actual scientific community has to say about it.

Which brings us back to my earlier point - that, for all your insistence that the other side is purely politically motivated, it's YOU who're making arguments based mostly on political needs. And if you want to prove otherwise, I suggest you get your hands deep and dirty into actual, legitimate science, starting from the best arguments your opponents have to make and working from there, rather than constantly trying and failing to disprove their most basic premises.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

A) clearly don't know what an Argument from Authority fallacy is if you think merely preferring the expertise of a legitimate scientist in their field of study to an amateur counts as AfA.

Uh..actually its exactly what it is.

There is an adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.
If there is a significant amount of legitimate dispute among the experts within a subject, then it will fallacious to make an Appeal to Authority using the disputing experts. This is because for almost any claim being made and "supported" by one expert there will be a counterclaim that is made and "supported" by another expert. In such cases an Appeal to Authority would tend to be futile. In such cases, the dispute has to be settled by consideration of the actual issues under dispute. Since either side in such a dispute can invoke experts, the dispute cannot be rationally settled by Appeals to Authority.


Thus the desire to label any skeptic something less then a "real" scientist.

you say:

B) don't understand that if you want to discredit the IPCC process, you need to make rational arguments that understand the science involved. Hint - the ~30 years of sat data is NOT all that's being used to argue for global warming.

Welcome to another logical fallacy: The Straw Man

The Straw Man fallacy is committed when a person simply ignores a person's actual position and substitutes a distorted, exaggerated or misrepresented version of that position.

At no time ever did I claim the IPCC merely used the sat data. In fact it was YOU who brought up the sat data as "proof" that we have continued to warm since 1998. I merely brought up two problems with the sat data: 1) We only have such a small sample size for it we cannot make judgements about climate from it (duh) and 2) depending on how you cherry pick you start date and your data points (monthly vs. weekly vs. annual, etc.) you can make it say damn near anything you want it to.

you say:

C) need to follow through on your rebuttals, and understand that every argument skeptics make that doesn't pan out - see McIntyre and the "hockey stick" - just erodes their credibility further. Case in point, you're certain that Briffa has been thoroughly discredited, but actual climate scientists - like the guys at RealClimate.org [cough cough Argument from Authority again cough cough] don't think so, and have done a pretty good job of explaining why your attack doesn't come to anything.

Would that would be the guy who thought he found a

"excellent correlation" between two identical time series - the subfossil portion of the Yamal data set used in sensitivity studies with two different modern samples,

Or the guy on Real Climate (Gavin Schmidt) who pronounced such work (i.e. finding two sets of identical data "correlated" with one another) sound.

Gee, how could I ever doubt them.

Chris said...

Uh..actually its exactly what it is.

Wow... you're so blinded by rage at the AGW crowd you can't even read your own link, aren't you?

That link goes to great lengths to demonstrate that Argument from Authority is a fallacy when someone argues that A is true purely because A has been stated by an authority. Nowhere have I made that argument - rather, I've been saying that the climatological work produced credentialed experts in the field of climatological studies should be given the benefit of the doubt over amateurs who lack training in the field of climatology. Again, your own link explicitly says this is a reasonable approach:

In many cases, Arguments from Authority will be good arguments. For example, when a person goes to a skilled doctor and the doctor tells him that he has a cold, then the the patient has good reason to accept the doctor's conclusion. As another example, if a person's computer is acting odd and his friend, who is a computer expert, tells him it is probably his hard drive then he has good reason to believe her.

Now, you're resting your claim on the idea that there is significant disagreement between experts in the field in question... but there is no such disagreement, because the guys you keep quoting either A) aren't experts (McIntyre), or B) don't disagree with the consensus IPCC opinion (Landsea). (More precisely, they failed to disagree in peer-reviewed academic publications relative to the field.) And pointing that out isn't an appeal to authority fallacy, but rather following through on points one and two from your link - that the person (or in this case, people) making the claim have sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question, and that the claim being made by the person is in their subject matter of expertise.

That said, I shouldn't let go the assumption you've slipped in there - that it's not the case that "the dispute has to be settled by consideration of the actual issues under dispute." Rather, I saw instance after instance in the Glittering Eye thread of you bringing up attacks on AGW science and me offering up counter-arguments to your attacks that generally went unanswered in turn - such as the NOAA's rebuttal to Watt's weather station survey, or the National Research Council's smackdown of McIntyre's attack on Mann. In short, it IS the case that the dispute is being settled by consideration of the actual issues under dispute - and your side isn't holding up at all well.

Welcome to another logical fallacy: The Straw Man

Nope - I am attacking a statement you made:

Also, because the satelite data only goes back to 1979 (!) how the hell is ANYBODY making climate judgements from it??? That the AGW crowd attempted to use the data for that just shows how unserious their science was.

That sure as hell reads to me like an attack on AGW because of the (relatively) short timespan of sat data available. At least, if you understood that sat data is merely part of the case for AGW, it seems unlikely that you'd be making such a big deal out of how long it's been around, because you would have understood that there's a great deal more data involved beyond just the sat data.

And as for your attack on Gavin Schmidt by way of Steven McIntyre, I feel pretty comfortable blowing McIntyre off based on the results of the Hockey Stick controversy. When someone who's NOT already obsessed with discrediting AGW by any means necessary makes that attack, I'll listen.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Uh... Chris, look, you are the one who has been saying "If Real Climate says it it must be so since they are REAL climate scientists." I'm sorry, but that is an appeal to authority.

As is the appeal to denigrate people who present facts you dont like because of supposed inadequacies. For example, McIntyre AS A STATISTICIAN has more expertise in statistics than a lot of the people he is criticizing. For example, he is criticizing Briffa because his sample size is too small (as Briffa OWN STANDARDS MAKE CLEAR.) Gee... who is an expert when it comes to questions of sample size Chris? A dendrochronologist or a statistician? McIntyre has just taken it a step further and pointed out that Briffa knows the correct way to do things, but has ignored them in this instance.

As for Landsea, here is what he said:

Listening to and reading transcripts of this press conference and media interviews, it is apparent that Dr. Trenberth was being accurately quoted and summarized in such statements and was not being misrepresented in the media. These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.

I found it a bit perplexing that the participants in the Harvard press conference had come to the conclusion that global warming was impacting hurricane activity today. To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field. All previous and current research in the area of hurricane variability has shown no reliable, long-term trend up in the frequency or intensity of tropical cyclones, either in the Atlantic or any other basin. The IPCC assessments in 1995 and 2001 also concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.

Moreover, the evidence is quite strong and supported by the most recent credible studies that any impact in the future from global warming upon hurricanes will likely be quite small. The latest results from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (Knutson and Tuleya, Journal of Climate, 2004) suggest that by around 2080, hurricanes may have winds and rainfall about 5% more intense than today. It has been proposed that even this tiny change may be an exaggeration as to what may happen by the end of the 21st Century (Michaels, Knappenberger, and Landsea, Journal of Climate, 2005, submitted)....

I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by preconceived agendas and being scientifically unsound.


Yeah. Sounds like a big IPCC backer when the only part of it he has intimate knowledge of he dismisses as being led by preconceived agendas.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Oh and when I said "the AGW crowd" I mean YOU. Obviously, I know about the use of proxy data (like Briffa), and land measurements. All I said was using the sat data to make climatological arguments (as you were) was wrong.

It is.

Chris said...

Uh... Chris, look, you are the one who has been saying "If Real Climate says it it must be so since they are REAL climate scientists." I'm sorry, but that is an appeal to authority.

No. I have not said that, nor can you quote me saying it. It is, in your terms, a straw man attack.

More importantly, if you cannot accurately characterize your opponent's arguments, either because you're incapable of differentiating between subtleties or because you're content to ignore them in favor of your own ideological agenda, then any attempt to have a rational debate here is pointless.

That being the case, I'm going to put it to you very simply - can you produce a quote of mine that says, clearly and straightforwardly "A is true BECAUSE Real Climate (or the IPCC) says it is so," as opposed to "A is more likely to be true given that A was produced through the peer reviewed scientific process, and not by amateurs acting on their own?" Or can you even differentiate between the two?

As for Landsea, the relevant quote is here:

CHRISTOPHER LANDSEA: Well, we certainly see substantial warming in the ocean and atmosphere over the last several decades on the order of a degree Fahrenheit, and I have no doubt a portion of that, at least, is due to greenhouse warming. The question is whether we're seeing any real increases in the hurricane activity.

He may well have legitimate disagreements with the IPCC on hurricanes and AGW - he may well be right on that subject, for all I know. But disagreeing with the IPCC on hurricanes and AGW is not the same thing as disagreeing with the IPCC's larger point about AGW, regardless of what doubts he has about the IPCC's political leanings.

And as for McIntyre, he has a degree as a mathematician, not a statistician, as far as I'm aware. And while he may well be a competent statistician, that doesn't mean he understands the statistical standards and methods that climatologists deal with (because different branches of science do apply different statistical standards to their data, depending on source and availability). More importantly, it is the case that he has a preconceived bias in this event, and has already been proven to be very wrong in his attack on Mann. That definitely tarnishes his credibility going forward. If, as Pielke says, he's able to get something accepted into a peer reviewed journal, that's one thing, but until then, I don't see much reason to lend his work much credence.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Quoting Chris:

but actual climate scientists - like the guys at RealClimate.org

What didnt you say?

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

He may well have legitimate disagreements with the IPCC on hurricanes and AGW - he may well be right on that subject, for all I know. But disagreeing with the IPCC on hurricanes and AGW is not the same thing as disagreeing with the IPCC's larger point about AGW

But there is a difference between GW and AGW. Landsea only said the Antropogenic component could be "a portion." Which, of course, is not the argument of the AGW crowd at all.

Chris said...

What didnt you say?

Rich, that passage doesn't say that their argument is correct because they're climate scientists, it says that the RC guys are, in fact, climate scientists. Again, it would be an Argument from Authority fallacy if I'd said something along the lines of "The RealClimate guys are real climate scientists and as such their word is unimpeachable, no matter what you say, forever and ever."

More importantly, the entirety of that line is:

Case in point, you're certain that Briffa has been thoroughly discredited, but actual climate scientists - like the guys at RealClimate.org - don't think so, and have done a pretty good job of explaining why your attack doesn't come to anything.

Which is to say, not only do the RC guys deserve some credibility for being actual climat escientists, they've made arguments to that effect that stand or fall on their own merits. That is an entirely different thing from an argument from authority.

That said, I think we've gone about as far as we can here - there is clearly a gap we're not going to be able to bridge. I don't really expect that what I think has much importance to you, but for what it's worth, this conversation has only reinforced my skepticism of AGW-skeptics, and that your arguments are being dismissed less because of any political persecution but because you're unwilling or unable to make rational coherent arguments and follow the scientific process.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Oh please....

The complaints about Briffa are about sample size... has that been addressed? NO!

It also is about leaving out data without specifying a reason. HAs that been addressed? NO!

It's about that missing data, when added, gets rid of the "hockey stick". HAs that been addressed? NO!

It's about not supplying data so that it can be checked by other researchers. Has that been addressed? NO!

What part of "rational coherent arguments" make it ok to do this kind of shit?

When you like their politics?

Give me a fucking break.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

I'll also point to this link concerning all peer reviewed work that questions the IPCC line in one way or another.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? I thought that McIntyre and McKitrick thoroughly discredited the so-called hockey stick, and that the Wegman Report was largely supportive of their results. Why are we still talking about the hockey stick? Was the AGW crowd able to rehabilitate Mann's work somehow? If they did, I missed it. (I'm not being snarky; I'm curious)

WRT, , it seems to me that Chris isn't the only member of the AGW crowd that is a big practitioner of logical fallacies in arguments. From realclimate.org, who Chris has asserted as an authority that engages 'rational factual arguments:

"A number of spurious criticisms regarding the Mann et al (1998) proxy-based temperature reconstruction have been made by two individuals McIntyre and McKitrick ( McIntyre works in the mining industry, while McKitrick is an economist). These criticisms are contained in two manuscripts (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003 and 2004–the latter manuscript was rejected by Nature..." (https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9073298&postID=8749628839717410775&isPopup=true).

I find it interesting how the folks at realclimate open their argument with an ad hominem and an appeal authority in the 'graph--not a hallmark of a strong case. If thier case is so bullet-proof and unassailable, why open the article with not one but three non sequiturs?

It's wonder Chris can't tell a logical fallacy when he sees one...

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something? I thought that McIntyre and McKitrick thoroughly discredited the so-called hockey stick, and that the Wegman Report was largely supportive of their results. Why are we still talking about the hockey stick? Was the AGW crowd able to rehabilitate Mann's work somehow? If they did, I missed it. (I'm not being snarky; I'm curious)

It seems to me that Chris isn't the only member of the AGW crowd that is a big practitioner of logical fallacies in arguments. From realclimate.org, who Chris has asserted as an authority that engages 'rational factual arguments:

"A number of spurious criticisms regarding the Mann et al (1998) proxy-based temperature reconstruction have been made by two individuals McIntyre and McKitrick ( McIntyre works in the mining industry, while McKitrick is an economist). These criticisms are contained in two manuscripts (McIntyre and McKitrick 2003 and 2004–the latter manuscript was rejected by Nature..." (https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=9073298&postID=8749628839717410775&isPopup=true).
My apologies for the typo in the previous post!

I find it interesting how the folks at realclimate open their argument with an ad hominem and an appeal authority in the 'graph--not a hallmark of a strong case. If their case is so bullet-proof and unassailable, why open the article with not one but three non sequiturs?

It's no wonder Chris can't tell a logical fallacy when he sees one...

Anonymous said...

Whatever the relative merits of AGW as a scientific theory, it's pretty darn clear that the IPCC report and Realclimate.org are politics, pure and simple. I am a skeptic, but I am persuadable by fact, evidence, and reasoned arguments. The AGW crowd keeps telling the rest of us, "trust us." Well, I don't. I call bullshit. Prove it.

From what I've seen, the simple fact of the matter is that the case for AGW is far from as rock solid as Al Gore and his crowd assert. There is plenty of room for doubt. Furthermore, even if the AGW hypothesis is correct, their public policy prescriptions DO NOT follow from the science. What to do about AGW if it is true falls into the realm of economics. Using the arguments of the folks at realclimate.org, why should we accept economic policy prescriptions from climate scientists? Who do the climate scientists work for that make their intentions above reproach?

Chris said...

Just to answer anonymous's question and leaving it at that:

The National Research Council investigated the issue and produced a very long, thorough report.

http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11676&page=R1

Even Roger Pielke Jr. agreed that it exonerated Mann:

“My reading of the summary of the report and parts of the text is that the NAS has rendered a near-complete vindication for the work of Mann et al. They report does acknowledge that there are perhaps greater uncertainties in temperature reconstructions, reducing Mann et al.’s claim of warmest decade/year in 1,000 years down to 400. Nonetheless, I see nothing in the report that suggests that Mann’s research is significantly flawed, nor any calls for release of his data or algorithms, though the report does say in very general terms that such release is a good idea.”

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000859quick_reaction_to_th.html

As for the rest the guys at RealClimate make it a point not to argue courses of action. You can verify the truth of what I'm saying, or not, on your own time.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Thanks for the links. I'm familiar with the NRC study. I don't see it as a near-complete vindication of Mann et al. "Plausible" is not a ringing endorsement:

"The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth
in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This
conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes the additional
large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and documentation of the spatial coherence of
recent warming described above ...

Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer
supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer
during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the
preceding millennium. The substantial uncertainties currently present in the quantitative
assessment of large-scale surface temperature changes prior to about A.D. 1600 lower our
confidence in this conclusion compared to the high level of confidence we place in the Little Ice
Age cooling and 20th century warming. Even less confidence can be placed in the original
conclusions by Mann et al. (1999) that “the 1990s are likely the warmest decade, and 1998 the
warmest year, in at least a millennium” because the uncertainties inherent in temperature
reconstructions for individual years and decades are larger than those for longer time periods,
and because not all of the available proxies record temperature information on such short
timescales. However, the methods in use are evolving and are expected to improve.(NRC, pg 109)"

This strikes me as offering tepid support rahter than a vindication. Furtermore, the NRC report did not characterize the criticisms of MM as spurious as your heroes at realclimate.org do:

"A second area of criticism focuses on statistical validation and robustness. McIntyre and
McKitrick (2003, 2005a,b) question the choice and application of statistical methods, notably
principal component analysis; the metric used in the validation step of the reconstruction
exercise; and the selection of proxies, especially the bristlecone pine data used in some of the
original temperature reconstruction studies. These and other criticisms, explored briefly in the
remainder of this chapter, raised concerns that led to new research and ongoing efforts to
improve how surface temperature reconstructions are performed." (NRC, pg 106)

I never said that RealCimate.org argues courses of action--I said it was politics. It is, as I've already demonstrated. It was you in an earlier post that said that the IPCC makes policy prescriptions that follow from the science. My point was simply that if econimists can't do climate science, then climate scientists can't do economics, following the logic of the multiple appeals to authority on ClimateScience.org. However, I don't necessarily buy this argument. My larger point was that while the science might be able to inform the debate, the recommendations of the IPCC do not follow from the science but rather from their political predispositions.

Chris said...

Anon-

If you don't like the term "near-complete vindication" I suggest you take it up with Pielke - someone that AGW skeptics seem ready to quote at the drop of a hat most of the time.

Furthermore, I find it a bit odd that you claim familiarity with the NRC report, given that, even with your quotes (which I find not really representative of the entire doc, but that's a separate argument) it's a long, long way away from your earlier claim that M & M "thoroughly discredited the so-called hockey stick." In fact, the NRC says the exact opposite, that Mann's conclusion was subsequently supported by an array of evidence.

As for your claim that RealClimate is politics, my disagreement with you is the same as my disagreement with Rich - if we can't agree on what a logical fallacy is (hint: "spurious" is not an ad hominem, and pointing out that M & M are, in fact, not climate scientists is not an argument from authority) then we're not going to be able to agree on much of anything.

Later, anon.

Anonymous said...

Chris,

Give me a break. Calling McIntyre, a "mining company executive," which clearly implies some ulterior motive on McIntyre's part, is by definition an ad hominem. Pointing out that McKitrick is an economist, implying that he is somehow unqualified to comment on Mann's work, is at best a non sequitur, if not an appeal to authority. (Frankly, the entire opening sentence of that little diatribe was a series of non sequiturs. Here's a news flash for you and the folks at ClimateScience: Economists are really good at econometrics and statistics--apparently much better at it than climate scientists.) Pointing out that the article was rejected by Nature IS an appeal to authority--again, by definition. BTW, these aren't my (or Rich's) definitions; they are the definitions. If you don't like them, take it up with Aristotle.

Calling MM spurious is simply gratuitous name-calling--pretty idiotic and childish, considering that MM pointed out a spurious trend in Mann's work. Furthermore, it's delusional to call MM's work spurious if it actually made a contribution to the development of the science, as noted by the NRC. The NRC report was hardly the "smackdown" to MM that you claim it was.

In fact, according to the Wegman report, MM is found to have made a "valid and compelling" criticism of Mann et al:

"In general, we found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and
the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling. We also comment that they
were attempting to draw attention to the discrepancies in MBH98 and MBH99, and not to
do paleoclimatic temperature reconstruction. Normally, one would try to select a
calibration dataset that is representative of the entire dataset. The 1902-1995 data is not
fully appropriate for calibration and leads to a misuse in principal component analysis.
However, the reasons for setting 1902-1995 as the calibration point presented in the
narrative of MBH98 sounds reasonable, and the error may be easily overlooked by
someone not trained in statistical methodology. We note that there is no evidence that Dr.
Mann or any of the other authors in paleoclimatology studies have had significant
interactions with mainstream statisticians.
In our further exploration of the social network of authorships in temperature
reconstruction, we found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of
coauthored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the
area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘independent studies’ may not
be as independent as they might appear on the surface. This committee does not believe
that web logs are an appropriate forum for the scientific debate on this issue.
It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely
heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical
community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results
was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much
reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent. Moreover, the work has
been sufficiently politicized that this community can hardly reassess their public
positions without losing credibility. Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and
that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis." (NAS, pg 4)

This isn't quite the mealy-mouthed "plausible" offered by the NRC. Of course, Wegman probably works for an energy company or something. And I've obviously selectively quoted and misrepresented the NAS study. Whatever.

We're done. Ive had as much of what you call "rational factual arguments" as I can stomach for one day.

Chris said...

If you don't like them, take it up with Aristotle.

Heh... no argument from authority fallacy there!

Cite whoever you want, Anon - I have no disagreement with Aristotle, I simply don't believe you or Rich are capable of applying those definitions coherently. I already demonstrated that with Rich's posts above, and many of the same arguments apply to what you're saying.

(Again, hint: you can talk about logical fallacies all day and all night, but even if you find one - and you haven't done a great job of showing that so far - it's only really meaningful if that fallacy represents a significant portion of your opponent's argument. That is NOT the case with the RealClimate post in question - it says a great deal more than just that first paragraph. Trying to disprove the entirety of that post by fiddling around with supposed logical fallacies at the beginning of their post is at best silly, and at worst dishonest.)

As for the Wegman report, there are far more critiques of that than there are of the NRC review - the Wegman report wasn't even formally peer reviewed, and a lot of the social network claims it makes didn't apply at the time of Mann's original papers. But pointing out things like that is more of the "rational factual arguments" you can't stomach, so I'll be happy to leave it at that.

Later anon.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable.

If you think that referring to Aristotle as a definitive source for logical definitions is a fallacious appeal to authority, then I can't help you. At this point, I have to say that I have a lot more faith in Rich or me applying the definitions coherently than you.

I notice that you've once again have created yet another strawman argument. I never once said, or even suggested, that I was "trying to disprove the entirety of that post." I was trying to demonstrate that RealClimate is politics. I did so conclusively (at least with respect to the post in question). It's pretty disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise. (As for the rest of the post in question, don't make me laugh: It's almost as riddled with name-calling and non sequiturs as the first paragraph--peppering the text with 25-cent words doesn't make it authoritative.)

And as for your so-called critiques of the Wegman Report, here is what North and Bloomfield, two authors of the NRC study, have to say about it:

"CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that. It looks like my time
is expired, so I want to ask one more question. Dr. North, do you
dispute the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman's report?
DR. NORTH. No, we don't. We don't disagree with their
criticism. In fact, pretty much the same thing is said in our
report. But again, just because the claims are made, doesn't
mean they are false.
CHAIRMAN BARTON. I understand that you can have the right
conclusion and that it not be--
DR. NORTH. It happens all the time in science.
CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, and not be substantiated by what you
purport to be the facts but have we established--we know that
Dr. Wegman has said that Dr. Mann's methodology is incorrect. Do
you agree with that? I mean, it doesn't mean Dr. Mann's
conclusions are wrong, but we can stipulate now that we have--and if
you want to ask your statistician expert from North Carolina that
Dr. Mann's methodology cannot be documented and cannot be verified
by independent review.
DR. NORTH. Do you mind if he speaks?
CHAIRMAN BARTON. Yes, if he would like to come to the
microphone.
MR. BLOOMFIELD. Thank you. Yes, Peter Bloomfield. Our
committee reviewed the methodology used by Dr. Mann and his coworkers
and we felt that some of the choices they made were inappropriate.
We had much the same misgivings about his work that was documented
at much greater length by Dr. Wegman." http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_house_hearings&docid=f:31362.wais

Trotting out the peer review nonsense about the Wegman Report was pretty pathetic on your part. The so-called "peer-reviewed study" is the last refuge scoundrels in the AWG debate. Now, I suppose you'll tell me how the people you held out as authoritative in the field didn't affirm the (Wegman) study that you just tried to discredit with your silly appeals to majority and the "peer-reviewed" study crap.

I found this exchange with you to be quite disappointing and sadly typical of my interactions AGW alarmists, who always seem to resort to lots of spin, deflections, fallacious reasoning, and squirming in defending AGW. It's this kind of intellectual dishonesty that makes dialog impossible, and raises people's suspicions about AGW. If you really think that RealClimate.org offers rational, factual arguments, then I feel sorry for you.

Anyway, I really am done now. You can take the last word if you so desire.

The Iconic Midwesterner said...

Going into the way back machine for Anon:

Why are we still talking about the hockey stick? Was the AGW crowd able to rehabilitate Mann's work somehow? If they did, I missed it. (I'm not being snarky; I'm curious)

Hmmm... You dont see the bristlecone proxies being used anymore, do ya? That should answer your question sufficiently.

Chris said...

Anon-

A) If you think that referring to Aristotle as a definitive source for logical definitions is a fallacious appeal to authority, then I can't help you.

Your earlier argument was Pointing out that the article was rejected by Nature IS an appeal to authority--again, by definition. BTW, these aren't my (or Rich's) definitions; they are the definitions. If you don't like them, take it up with Aristotle.

Unless Aristotle literally said that "pointing out that the article was rejected by Nature is an appeal to authority", then the RC quote is NOT an appeal to authority "by definition". Rather, you're clearly making an implication that Aristotle agrees with you, and therefore I'm wrong. Which actually IS an appeal to authority fallacy, Anon.

B) I notice that you've once again have created yet another strawman argument. I never once said, or even suggested, that I was "trying to disprove the entirety of that post."

Again, what you actually said was I find it interesting how the folks at realclimate open their argument with an ad hominem and an appeal authority in the 'graph--not a hallmark of a strong case. If their case is so bullet-proof and unassailable, why open the article with not one but three non sequiturs?

It's silly and dishonest to act like that wasn't an attack on the entirety of the RealClimate post, especially since that comment is the entirety of your take on the article.

C) And as for your so-called critiques of the Wegman Report, here is what North and Bloomfield, two authors of the NRC study, have to say about it:

Congrats, Anon, you've successfully parroted McIntyre's own arguments from his own website, which have been extensively copied on numerous AGW-skeptic blogs and publications.

That said, here's the weird thing - even Barton basically admits that Mann's conclusion was correct. The NRC report, whatever it said about statistical methods, also said that Mann's basic premise was correct, and had been verified by subsequent research. Insofar as you claimed to be "persuadable by fact, evidence, and reasoned arguments", then I'd say all that qualifies as far as the subject under discussion is actually the truth about global warming.

Instead, you're purely obsessed with McIntyre's attacks on Mann, which looks far more like the actions of someone who's more interested in discrediting an argument than finding the actual truth of an issue.

D) Trotting out the peer review nonsense about the Wegman Report was pretty pathetic on your part. The so-called "peer-reviewed study" is the last refuge scoundrels in the AWG debate.

So peer review, which is considered a basic cornerstone of all scientific disciplines, is now "the last refuge of scoundrels"? Chalk up one more reason I think meaningful debate with you is impossible...

E) Now, I suppose you'll tell me how the people you held out as authoritative in the field didn't affirm the (Wegman) study that you just tried to discredit with your silly appeals to majority and the "peer-reviewed" study crap.

Telling me what my argument will be actually is the textbook definition of a strawman argument, Anon.

F)I found this exchange with you to be quite disappointing and sadly typical of my interactions AGW alarmists, who always seem to resort to lots of spin, deflections, fallacious reasoning, and squirming in defending AGW.

The genesis of this exchange was that you were certain McIntyre had disproven Mann, but we're now at a point where even your own quotes basically concede his basic conclusion was correct. Call that "spin, deflections, fallacious reasoning, and squirming in defending AGW," if you like, Anon, but I'd say I made my point.

G) You can take the last word if you so desire.

Taken. Have fun explaining to the rest of the world how peer review is the last refuge of scoundrels, but that it's your side that's deeply committed to truth and the scientific process, Anon.