A Few Things Ill Considered

Falsifying theories

Climate denialists are fond of arguments regarding the falsifying of hypotheses. There are two main thrusts they use here, (ironically enough mutually exclusive thrusts**). The first is that global warming is an “unfalsifiable” theory and therefore not a true scientific construct. I don’t recall any good example essays making this point to link to (maybe someone can post a link in the comments?), but I believe the idea comes mostly from the all too common conflation of the actual science and the mainstream reporting of the science. They say that the IPCC claims that extreme warmth and extreme cold, floods and droughts, more storms and fewer storms, and shrinking ice and growing ice are all the result of anthropogenic global warming and therefore no matter what happens, the theory is confirmed.

Of course, this is not true and illustrates a variety of misconceptions.

Extreme warmth is certainly on the agenda, but I don’t believe extreme cold is. This canard is most likely derived from the very unlikely hypothetical collapse of the Gulf Stream current which brings much milder winters to northwestern Europe than they would otherwise have. Aside from sensational newspaper articles, no one talks about this as coming to pass in the foreseeable short term (2100ish) future.

Both floods and droughts are predicted, but this is not the contradiction denialists would have us believe. On the one hand, less frequent but more intense rainfall can mean cycles of floods and droughts in the same regions, and on the other hand regional responses to global warming vary. Here is an IPCC summary paragraph:

The response of the hydrological cycle is controlled in part by fundamental consequences of warmer temperatures and the increase in water vapour in the atmosphere (Chapter 3). Water is transported horizontally by the atmosphere from regions of moisture divergence (particularly in the subtropics) to regions of convergence. Even if the circulation does not change, these transports will increase due to the increase in water vapour. The consequences of this increased moisture transport can be seen in the global response of precipitation, described in Chapter 10, where, on average, precipitation increases in the inter-tropical convergence zones, decreases in the subtropics, and increases in subpolar and polar regions. Over North America and Europe, the pattern of subpolar moistening and subtropical drying dominates the 21st-century projections.

The “more storms and fewer storms” bit could come from the still controversial projections of tropical cyclone behaviour. I say controversial, but when it comes to projections, the best word would be uncertain. The controversy is really around the existence of an already observable effect on storms, I don’t think there is much of a scientific case for warming oceans resulting in less severe storms. The actual projection at the moment is for stronger tropical cyclones, but also fewer tropical cyclones. Clearly this is a distinction designed to confuse the already sorry state of science journalism around global warming issues.

Ice sheet and glacier response to a warming climate is another area where real life just is not as simple as we might like and yes actually, ice sheets and glaciers can grow in response to a warming climate. This is simply because the the formula for growing land ice is snow accumulation minus ice loss and warmer temperatures in a cold climate can result in more snowfall. As in the case of the interior of the Greenland Ice Sheet, the increased snowfall outpaces the melting and ablation so the interior of Greenland is gaining mass (even as it loses mass overall due to dramatically increased melting and faster calving at the edges.) Another datapoint that is spun on its head is the marginally growing sea ice in the antarctic. The fact is that modeling does not lead us to expect any significant changes in antarctic sea ice for a while yet. So ~2% growth over the last few decades does not contradict climate change theory, but nor does it confirm it and I challenge readers to find a credible source making any such claim.

The second “falsification” angle taken by the denalists is that real world observations have contradicted AGW theories, pour me a glass of heavy crude, it is a hoax, check and mate!

Sorry, they are wrong again. The global cooling meme has been debunked over and over and over again, nothing new to say there. The next favorite meme is the “missing hotspot.” The reason this does not mean what they say it means is that such a pronounced region of warming in the tropical troposphere is a prediction of warming driven by many means, including the favorite solar driven warming, and its possible absence does not let CO2 off the hook by any means. This also begs the question of whether it is not in fact there, but we haven’t detected it yet, though it seems hard for some reason for denialists to question this particular subset of the temperature data. At best, it reveals a problem in the details of atmosperic circulation, but as we all live at the surface where warming proceeds as forewarned, one has to wonder how significant it is that the upper troposphere remains enigmatic.

But what I really wanted to highlight with this post is how this emphasis on falsification simply vanishes when it comes to the sceptical blog scientists’ claims that come and go and come yet again. Anthony Watts devotes tremendous time and energy to the (reasonable) hypothesis that the very complicated and extensive adjustments CRU makes to raw temperature station data may have introduced a bias in the global trend. He highlights cherry pick after cherry pick of stations where the adjusted data diverges dramatically upward from the raw data, the clear implication being that warming is an artifact, if not an out and out fraud.

Here is an hypothesis dead easy to falsify, just take a fair sample of the stations (not one cherry at a time) and compare the raw to the adjusted data. Why hasn’t he done that? (That’s a rhetorical question). Never mind, others have and lo and behold, the adjustments do very little to the overall trend except to reduce uncertainties. Another great way to check out this (reasonable) hypothesis is look at the average direction and magnitude of all the adjustments. Watts picks on the stations he can find with upwards adjustments, but what do we find if we look at them all? Here is your answer, almost exactly equal amounts of upwards adjustments as downwards adjustments. Seems very consistent with honest and diligent scientists trying to remove errors and equipment biases and very inconsistent with a false warming trend introduced through conspiracy or incompetence.

In a very similar vein, Tamino has taken to task another of Watts’ deceptions theories. You see, sometime around 1990 the number of stations included in the GHCN database was dramatically reduced. Watts has noted that the majority of stations that were dropped were in high altitude and high latitude locations which tend to be colder. Now, incredibly, it is taken as a given that this must cause a warming bias in the temperature trend because, well, if you take away cold you get warm, right? Um, no, actually. We are talking about trends here, not absolute temperature, so it hardly matters if a location is colder or warmer, it only matters if it has changed. And actually, high latitudes are predicted to and have been observed to warm faster than mid and low latitudes, so if anything we could expect dropping more high latitude stations would reduce the trend. But yet again that is only if the scientists doing the analysis are idiots and don’t weight the data according to the density of stations in any given grid area.

Anyway, tamino took the time to compare trends of dropped stations with those kept and, wait for it, found no difference. One can hardly imagine a more compelling falsification of that particular canard.

Where are the champions of Karl Popper now?


** Skeptical Science has an editable web page devoted to pairing upcontradictory denialist claims. I encourage all with interest and time to go add in their favorite example of contrarian cognitive dissonance.

Comments

  1. #1 Nescio
    April 14, 2010

    Your mistake is to expect people are interested in a reasonable debate about the facts. Seeing the anti-science movement grow and infect numerous expert fields I have come to the conclusion debate is impossible. The reason being that the anti-science crowd is psychologically incapable of acknowledging anything that contradicts their personal point of view. More on this can be found here: http://contusio-cordis.blogspot.com/2010/04/delusional-disorder-part-iii.html

  2. #2 abb3w
    April 14, 2010

    coby: I don’t recall any good example essays making this point to link to (maybe someone can post a link in the comments?)

    This seems a good example; this, perhaps adequate.

    Nescio: The reason being that the anti-science crowd is psychologically incapable of acknowledging anything that contradicts their personal point of view.

    The question is the extent that the problem is in the intrinsic nature of that possessive “their” (that the ideas involved are so ingrained as to be part of the self-concept), versus the extent that they are incapable of grasping the actual reasoning (ignorance/stupidity), versus rejection of of the consequences leading to rejection of the premises (confirmation/belief bias).

  3. #3 Sam K.
    April 14, 2010

    Regardless of which side you believe is ultimately correct, I’m fairly hard pressed after reading this post twice to find an actual falsifiable prediction. It feels like you are focused on falsifying the denialists’ argument, but that seems exactly backwards. It is the job of the scientific theory makers to create falsifiable theories, not the other way around.

    The closest thing I found to a prediction is “The actual projection at the moment is for stronger tropical cyclones, but also fewer tropical cyclones.” How could one possibly falsify this at the scales discussed? The projections and theories are (rightly so) based on historicals, but on a forward-looking basis, how many would count as “fewer” or how much stronger would you count as “stronger”? More importantly, how many count as “not few enough” and how weak is “not strong enough”? I’ve never seen these quantified.

    I would probably argue that the evidence is pretty compelling and since the cost of being right (i.e. global warming exists) is so high, that, even if the theory is wrong, it’s worth making the changes, almost as a form of insurance.

    That being said, I think the denialists have a legitimate point re: the scientific theory itself.

  4. #4 Ian Forrester
    April 14, 2010

    This falsifiability is a red strawman with a strong fishy odour.

    It really has nothing to do with how science is actually done and verified. It is a contradictory piece of nonsense: this theory is only right if it is falsifiable, therefore if it is falsified it is wrong.

    No wonder scientists get so upset with the denier cabal of dis-informers, it allows for more and more delaying tactics, hey, that AGW theory hasn’t been falsified yet, let’s give it another 20 years and see what happens.

    They have no idea how real science is conducted, discussed and reported.

    Science is considered correct when after a considerable amount of time not an infinite amount of time, as the deniers would have us believe, before it is accepted.

    It doesn’t have to be “falsified”, only that no conflicting results are found.

  5. #5 Sam K.
    April 14, 2010

    @Ian: No one is saying that it needs to be falsified; if you are Popperian in your understanding of science and how it should be conducted, a scientific theory needs to make falsifiable predictions, which I don’t believe global warming theories do and unfortunately, this post doesn’t help clarify the issue being brought forth.

    Consider any science that makes quantitative predictions, e.g. Physics or Chemistry. They make predictions, or, in Popper’s language, put constraints on what set of outcomes can be observed given certain inputs. For example, two objects near the earth’s surface will accelerate at the same constant rate if released in a vacuum. This places fairly strict restrictions on the set of outcomes that can be observed. If the two objects can repeatedly be measured to accelerate at different rates, then the theory is falsified. Regardless of whether this happens, though, the prediction is falsifiable. There are uncertainties about what “near” and “the same rate” mean, but the theory can be refined as much as necessary (or bounds placed on the error/range of outcomes) in such a fashion that should these limits be violated (and reproducibly so), the theory is falsified. This is how science works. Ask any experimental chemist or physicist.

    This can be extended to statistical theories such as the ideal gas law by applying the theory at scales where the statistical uncertainty becomes dwarfed by the expected error in measurement.

    Global warming theories, regardless of whether they are correct or not, don’t do this because of the large time scales involved and the large degree of statistical variation inherent in the quantities they seek to predict and measure. This does not mean they are not the best current explanation of the observable events (which it seems they are), but it is important to strive to make falsifiable predictions, as this is how scientific theories (at least ones which seek to quantify observables) are tested. You simply cannot “verify” a scientific theory as you say.

    What the denialists are asking (reasonably) is for a testable prediction be made. If the prediction ends up being confirmed, this does *not* mean the theory is “verified” or “correct.”

    Your point about delaying tactics is right on, but this nothing to do with the scientific theory being verified. We should act because it’s the safest thing to do. If the theory is wrong and we acted, there is little harm (except maybe some money spent), but if the theory is right and we did not act, the potential damage is enormous.

  6. #6 mandas
    April 14, 2010

    Firstly, I have no idea what Sam K is referring to regarding the ‘legitimate point’ that denialists are
    supposed to have re the theory of AGW.

    The concept of the falsification of a theory is a relatively important one for science – but it is not an absolute. Theories are explanation of observations based on scientific principles. In most cases if the theory is valid, it should be able to be used to make predictions of future events or observations. If the prediction does not come to pass in the way that the theory suggests, then there is obviously something wrong with the theory. However, it does not mean that the theory is completely invalid – it may simply require minor adjustments to correct for the variations in the new observations.

    On all these counts, AGW is a valid theory. It does explain past and current observations. It is based on established scientific principles, and it is consistant with other theories or disciplines. And importantly, it DOES make predictions which can be tested and which would demonstrate the validity and/or falsibility of the theory.

    However – and this is an extremely important point – climate is an extremely complex system, and there are a LOT of confounding factors which influence outcomes. This is why extremely complex models – ie mathematical formulas – are needed to make predictions. And as is the case for all complex models, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to make fine predictions for every data point. However, it is easier (although still difficult) to make coarser grain predictions. That is why climate models can explain that the temperature is likely to increase at an average rate of such-and-such per decade, but cannot predict that the temperature will increase by EXACTLY such-and-such over the coming decade (it may even decrease, but the longer term trend will continue upwards).

    In other words, AGW IS a falsifiable theory, but it cannot be falsified by looking at the temperature in 10 years time and asserting that because it hasn’t increased over that period then the theory is wrong. It also cannot be falsified because glaciers in the some parts of the world have advanced rather than retreating, because there are fine grain factors which must be considered. However, the theory DOES specifically predict that the global temperature will continue to increase over the long term, and if we were to look at temperatures in 100 years and find there was a negative trend in that period, we would have to believe that the theory had failed (unless there were external events such as a decrease in insolation – which forms part of the theory anyway).

    So far, AGW has proved to be an extremely robust theory, although it has been refined and adjusted over time. And I have no doubt that it will continue to be refined as more information comes to hand – that’s what science does. And it is a pity that more people either don’t understand, refuse to accept, or straight out lie, about these very simple concepts. It is interesting that some of the arguments against AGW are coming from meteorologists, who should know better about that complexity of the climate environment. Do they really think, that because they can’t predict the exact temperature in three days time, or can’t tell us the exact amount of rain that will fall tomorrow, or what time it will start raining, that the whole science of meteorology should be discarded? Of course not. So why are they attempting to apply different standards to climatology?

  7. #7 mandas
    April 14, 2010

    Sam K

    “….Global warming theories, regardless of whether they are correct or not, don’t do this because of the large time scales involved and the large degree of statistical variation inherent in the quantities they seek to predict and measure….”

    I’m sorry, but this statement could not be more incorrect. Just because something takes a long time to produce observable outcomes does NOT mean that the theory does not make falsifiable predictions. By the same measure, you would have to say that plate tectonics is not a valid theory, or the expanding universe, or even evolution. And statistical variation means nothing in complex systems. While you can make statistical predictions for the behaviour of electrons, you cannot make predictions for the behaviour of an individual electron – and this certainly does not invalidate quantum theory.

    As I said in my previous post, there are a LOT of confounding factors involved in the theory of AGW – and not all of them have been sorted out sufficient to ‘iron out’ the statistical variations involved in predictions. In all probability they will NEVER be fully resolved, unless someome comes up with a better way of dealing with complexity (an interesting field of study in itself). And AGW makes perfectly valid and testable predictions of long term climate change. Just because they are long term does not make them any less testable nor does it make the theory un-falsifiable.

  8. #8 abb3w
    April 14, 2010

    Sam K.: What the denialists are asking (reasonably) is for a testable prediction be made.

    Reasonably… for those who take Popper as gospel. Which is not a reasonable position.

    I take his description of Science as a sometimes useful approximation to the algorithm from underlying mathematics/philosophy. This results in a slightly different sense of “falsification” (as well as “simplicity” and “test”) than Popper uses, which would allow certain things as “scientific theory” that Popper would (at least circa publishing “Conjectures and Refutations”) have explicitly disallowed as “unfalsifiable”.

    The key is the nature of experiment. To quibble slightly with Zombie Feynman, while the experiment may be the heart of science, the brains are in the bookkeeping afterward.

    mandas: The concept of the falsification of a theory is a relatively important one for science – but it is not an absolute.

    Popper’s sense isn’t. However, if under a conjecture (“Hey, look at my great new Unification model for physics!”), there is NO way to construct a hypothesis that matches some existing evidence (“There’s nothing here that explains how there can be flightless waterfowl”), the conjecture is absolutely falsified, and no description using it can become theory.

    Contrariwise, it is usually possible to construct such a hypothesis for any such datum by some drastic measure such as “observation error”, or even easier by “YOU’RE LYING! YOU’RE ALL LYING AND YOU DIDN’T REALLY SEE THAT!” — which, although usually symptomatic of insanity, tends to be hard to rule out to a mathematical absolute, given that there is a non-zero probability of any given scientist lying.

    This then gets into the formal description of science’s other criterion, Simplicity– which Popper also (roughly speaking) notes, but attributes an anthropological rather than philosophical reason for. Yes, Occam’s razor is a rule of thumb. However, there is a mathematically rigorous theorem underlying the rule of thumb (doi:10.1109/18.825807). Science can be loosely characterized as a “greedy search algorithm” that results from the theorem.

    mandas: In most cases if the theory is valid, it should be able to be used to make predictions of future events or observations.

    In most historical cases, yes. However, this is not always possible, or even practical. The reasons get into computational complexity theory. Philosophically, prediction requires not merely recognition of “correct” cases and membership in RE-complexity class, but decision distinguishing “correct vs incorrect” cases and membership in the more restricted R-complexity class. Additionally, since neither of these classes is computationally feasible, they are not generally useful for what most people consider “prediction” — that is, having some faint philosophical hope of getting an answer faster than the “watch and see what happens” approach. For practical prediction, you usually want something down in the neighborhood of the P-complexity class — but that’s not a philosophical necessity for science.

  9. #9 SkepticalbyNature
    April 15, 2010

    “The second “falsification” angle taken by the denalists is that real world observations have contradicted AGW theories, pour me a glass of heavy crude, it is a hoax, check and mate!”

    That’s actually quite a witty line.
    Another good article, Coby, and interesting comments from the contributors.

  10. #10 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @mandas: I essentially agree with everything you are saying, however, the only prediction you put forth is the following (for the purpose of discussion): “However, the theory DOES specifically predict that the global temperature will continue to increase over the long term.” You put some qualifications/conditions for this, which is certainly fine, but this doesn’t have a single number in it and you seem to agree that due to the many confounding factors, it’s hard to make fine grained predictions. Furthermore, this prediction is very broad and I could have a much simpler theory which makes the same predictions.

    Predictions can come in many forms and don’t need to be in the future. Both plate tectonics and astrophysics make predictions of the form “if we look at how things happened in the past (by measuring something we haven’t measured before) such and such should be observed.” AGW theories have the additional problem that they don’t have a long historical window to do this.

    @abb3w: I believe that AGW is best description of the observables we have, but there still need to be testable predictions. Many denialists twist and cherry pick data to try to show that a prediction that was made was wrong, for sure, but are you really suggesting that testable predictions aren’t necessary for a scientific theory to be, to put it simply, scientific?

    I think the following are all reasonable options for a reasonable debate:

    a) post a specific testable prediction (either about observing the past/present in a new way or about the future)
    b) admit that there aren’t any good examples of testable predictions as theory hasn’t got it quite right but is fairly close to explaining what’s going on and therefore is the best course for action, i.e. the best description we have, if not completely quantifiable.
    c) is the safest course of action as the cost of being wrong is too large

    I personally lean towards B and think this is the most honest approach. If a denialist says “but it’s not falsifiable!!” then you respond “this is true, but the theory has been broadly correct and we believe it’s the best course of action and the best description we have. We do not believe you could construct a theory that explains the observables we see and not include warming in the long term.” this puts the burden of proof on them.

  11. #11 abb3w
    April 15, 2010

    Sam K.: I believe that AGW is best description of the observables we have, but there still need to be testable predictions. Many denialists twist and cherry pick data to try to show that a prediction that was made was wrong, for sure, but are you really suggesting that testable predictions aren’t necessary for a scientific theory to be, to put it simply, scientific?

    Yes, I really am; testable predictions make testing easier and yield more reliable confidence intervals, and are usually sufficient in anthropological practice, but are not a philosophical necessity. Philosophically, part of the problem is that since you always work in the present, you can’t test the future until it has become the past. The actual testing is (mathematically speaking) done after the data is in.

    Relatedly, the traditional philosophical breakdown of science into the Context of Justification and the Context of Discovery is inaccurate; a more accurate breakdown is to Contexts of Experience, Inspiration, Formulation, and Testing. If discussing Science as anthropological practice, the additional Context of Design is needed, since the practice routinely crosses the philosophical dividing line between the philosophical disciplines of Science and Engineering.

    Do you want to write me off as a kook now, or shall I spend the effort to type up a bit more elaboration?

    Sam K.: If a denialist says “but it’s not falsifiable!!” then you respond “this is true, but the theory has been broadly correct and we believe it’s the best course of action and the best description we have. We do not believe you could construct a theory that explains the observables we see and not include warming in the long term.”

    Or more exactly, “you have not presented a genuinely competitive alternative”. Which then involves explaining that they can’t be taken seriously by the scientific community until they produce a hypothesis that also (formally) describes the data, yet requires lower description length (and thus, is closer to the most probably correct).

  12. #12 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    If you are solely trying to describe the past or explain how things came to be the way they are, what you are suggesting is all well and good. However, the point of global warming theories is also to convince people to change the way they act in light of a prediction the theory makes. Without testable predictions (and again, it’s important to stress that predictions can in certain instances be about the present and the past), the theory is no different than the epi-cycle theory of planetary motion. Any theory which matches what’s already been observed has the same level of consistency with the past, but could make totally different predictions about the future. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you’re suggesting that there is some level of parsimony/simplicity to the theory and it’s built on principles many climatologists agree on, and simply because of this, the theory’s predictions are better than any other theory.

    There have been plenty of theories in the past which seemed somewhat nutty at the time (both QM and GR come time mind), but what ultimately made people accept them is that they made very specific predictions which were repeatedly confirmed (e.g. QED tested to many decimal places on a variety of predictions). Obviously, AGW can’t be that precise, but why should anyone believe the predictions of the theory if there are no other testable predictions?

  13. #13 abb3w
    April 15, 2010

    Sam K.: However, the point of global warming theories is also to convince people to change the way they act in light of a prediction the theory makes.

    Not quite. The point of any theory in science is to describe how the universe IS. However, the theories of science generally have applications for engineering choices; engineering normally presumes choices have a join-semilattice (so as to speak of what the best option is), which requires an ordering relationship of “more/less/equivalent/(incomparable)” good, which requires having a bridge across the is-ought divide. So, although that is not the “point” of theories of global warming, those theories have implications to politics (the more common name for the field of sociological engineering).

    Sam K.: Without testable predictions (and again, it’s important to stress that predictions can in certain instances be about the present and the past), the theory is no different than the epi-cycle theory of planetary motion.

    Which is to say: competitively testable via minimum description length induction.

    However, there is a difference: while epicycles give the description of planetary motion, Newtonian mechanics gives one that allows rigorously “simpler” description for the total data (once you include falling apples and such). At present, there is no alternative description rigorously “simpler” than anthropogenic climate change.

    Which means (by the aforementioned theorem), that ACC is so far the explanation closest to “reality”.

    Sam K.: Any theory which matches what’s already been observed has the same level of consistency with the past, but could make totally different predictions about the future.

    In philosophical potential, yes. The easiest example of such is to have the opposite of “Last Thursdayism” creationism; call it “Next Thursdayism” Climate Change, which claims that starting next Thursday, the underpants gnomes will magically trigger global cooling. This, however, involves an obvious increase in description length that is utterly unnecessary to description of the existing evidence; and ergo, “probably wrong”.

    In more serious anthropological practice, there are a range of predictions; how hot humans will make it get and how quickly it will get there. There’s also some slight uncertainty as to where the exact threshold of “bad” is for temperature change. On the other hand, in practice the predictions also aren’t TOTALLY different, any more than dogs are totally different from cats. They mostly say “humans are making the world hotter, acceleratedly, which will soon reach the point of being net detrimental to human survival”.

    There is a philosophical potential for the anti-anthro contingent to come up with a different model, that describes the current data comparably to existing models, but that projects substantially different results. However… they haven’t, yet.

    Sam K.: Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that you’re suggesting that there is some level of parsimony/simplicity to the theory and it’s built on principles many climatologists agree on, and simply because of this, the theory’s predictions are better than any other theory.

    Close, but not quite. Yes, I’m suggesting the current theory is in part holding its status based on parsimony. However, it’s not that the principles are widely accepted, but that the few principles assumed are mostly those which also describe a broader range of phenomena (such as the properties of CO2 as measured in the lab).

    Parsimony formally involves both the complexity of assumptions of the conjecture, and the complexity of the assumptions to specifically reconstruct the data set. But it’s not the humans agreeing; it’s that the math is agreeing.

    Sam K.: There have been plenty of theories in the past which seemed somewhat nutty at the time (both QM and GR come time mind), but what ultimately made people accept them is that they made very specific predictions which were repeatedly confirmed (e.g. QED tested to many decimal places on a variety of predictions).

    …which resulted in the Context of Experience producing additional data, that the original conjecture had to Formulate in hypothesis as “well, that’s an outlier, anomaly, or measurement error”, thereby immensely increasing the description length of the hypothesis required. This more than made up for the added algorithmic complexity (“this is called calculus, children….”) of the novel conjecture. In short order, the balance of evidence changes, and the new conjecture becomes the best “theory” for the (new now‘s) currently existing data set.

    An easily repeatable experiment, that one alternative conjecture describes more concisely than the other, is a good way to kill a competitor quickly. (These days, the double-slit experiment can be performed by a well-equipped high school AP physics class.) Of course, sometimes you have cases such as GR and QM, which each have experiments the other explains badly; this usually means some third alternative that has some resemblance to each will be the eventual heir to both.

    Sam K.: Obviously, AGW can’t be that precise, but why should anyone believe the predictions of the theory if there are no other testable predictions?

    Well, that depends on what you mean by “should”. However, science and engineering “should”, because if you assume the universe has pattern (and enough mathematical and predicate logic axioms to give meaning to “pattern” and “probability”), anything not the (formally) parsimonious description can be proven to be not the description most probably correct — to a mathematically absolute standard of certainty. Or in short: anyone should test by how the alternatives describe the current evidence.

    Which, colloquially, means the theory (currently, anthropogenic climate change) is the best model you have of the current evidence for how the world IS and CAN BE, for trying to engineer the world into how you think it OUGHT to be. While it’s possible for a player with a worse understanding of what their cards are to do better than an equally skilled player with a better idea by getting lucky, that’s not the tendency.

    This doesn’t rule out the philosophical potential that the climate change denial camp will come up with a better model, or that more evidence could turn up that ruins the current description; however, until the denial camp (or evidence) does, the engineers should leave that concern with the pure philosophers.

    (Who mostly should be kept away from sharp objects… but that’s another discussion.)

  14. #14 Jim Thomerson
    April 15, 2010

    I don’t recall Popper holding that a valid scientific theory must be falsifiable within the next 30 seconds. This sort of claim seems to be in the domain of the denialists. How does one unquestionably falsify an hypothesis which predicts a certain global sea rise in 2050 before 2050 rolls around?

  15. #15 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @abb3w: I guess where we differ is that I don’t see any particular reason why short description length is better if two theories make no testable predictions. This point, of course, is purely philosophical. Generally, per my earlier post, I agree that burden is somewhat on the denialists to come up with a better model. That being said, climatologists should strive to make testable predictions, if at the very least to help refine their theories.

  16. #16 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @Jim Thompson: I’m not saying it needs to be falsifiable in 30 seconds. As I mentioned earlier, you can make predictions about things that haven’t been measured yet and thus don’t require waiting 40 years. The better question is why (from a scientific perspective, not a best course of action perspective), should I believe your prediction if you don’t predict anything else that I can possible test?

  17. #17 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @Jim Thomerson– sorry, I misread your name

  18. #18 coby
    April 15, 2010

    Sam K, how about the prediction that an enhanced greenhouse effect (aka higher CO2 levels) should cause an imbalance in the amount of outgoing longwave radiation compared to incoming shortwave radiation (aka more energy in the climate system)?

    This is a good exapmle of a testable prediction, and one that has been confirmed.

  19. #19 Dappledwater
    April 15, 2010

    And stratospheric cooling?. That’s another prediction of the enhanced Gerenhouse Effect that has been confirmed. (courtesy of AGW Observer)

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/311/5764/1138

    http://acd.ucar.edu/~randel/2008JD010421.pdf

  20. #20 Dappledwater
    April 15, 2010

    And global night time temperatures warming faster than daytime temperatures?. Another signature of the enhanced Greenhouse Effect.

    http://www.met.sjsu.edu/~wittaya/journals/diurnalTempRange.pdf

  21. #21 abb3w
    April 15, 2010

    Sam K.: I guess where we differ is that I don’t see any particular reason why short description length is better if two theories make no testable predictions.

    This may be in part because of how you’re thinking of “testable” and “prediction”. (You’re also sloppy with “theory”; the term you should use in its place for the above is “hypothesis”.)

    The short reason is that the description of shortest length is mathematically provable to be inherently associated with highest probability of correctness. I referenced the proof twice.

    Sam K.: That being said, climatologists should strive to make testable predictions, if at the very least to help refine their theories.

    The conventional sense of “testable predictions” is worth striving for, if only because it makes the bookkeeping easier.

    Sam K.: The better question is why (from a scientific perspective, not a best course of action perspective), should I believe your prediction if you don’t predict anything else that I can possible test?

    You’re still thinking that “testing” is the same thing as “running an experiment”. Running an experiment isn’t “testing”; doing the bookkeeping afterward is where the actual “testing” is done. (Although not all of the bookkeeping afterward is in the Context of Testing. There’s usually some bookkeeping in Formulation of hypotheses – that is, descriptions of what the results were using alternative conjectures.)

    And since the bookkeeping is done afterward, it’s technically not pre-diction, but more exactly ought to be called post-diction.

  22. #22 mandas
    April 15, 2010

    Sam K

    I know you are still on about the testable prediction and falsifiable theory thing, and I will go back to my earlier point re confounding factors and the inability to make specific predictions, and your response at post #10.

    There is a very good reason that AGW theory is unable to provide specific numbers – and that is because of those confounding factors that I have discussed. Apart from the obvious ones about the difficulties of determining exactly the degree of feedback in a complex system, there is a perfect example of what I am talking about happening right now – the eruption of the Eyjafjoll volcano in Iceland.

    Every major volcanic eruption (take Pinatubo as a case in point) has a significant short term effect on climate, and usually suppresses temperatures for several years. It is highly likely that a similar reduction in global temperatures will occur over the next few years. Obviously, if the eruption goes on for some time, or if it is the portent for a series of eruptions, then there will be longer term effects on temperature. Of course, there will be secondary and tertiary consequences for any event of this magnitude (eg changes in the albido effect in Iceland and across northern Europe and the Arctic; potential affects in glacier melt; etc), all of which are extremely difficult to factor into calculations. And this is why no-one should even attempt to provide a specific prediction – there are just too many variables. However, as I have stated, it is possible to make coarse grain predictions, which is exactly what the IPCC has done. These predictions are verifiable, and they do make the theory falsifiable in the context of the points you have raised.

    As you have asked at post #15, climatologists ARE making testable predictions – they are just not as specific as you seem to be asking. But as I have been pointing out, to attempt to do so would be folly, because it is just not possible due to the huge number of confounding factors, many of which are completly unpredictable, yet have a significant effect on the outcome.

  23. #23 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @coby: the title of the article is: “Increases in greenhouse forcing inferred from the outgoing longwave radiation spectra of the Earth in 1970 and 1997.” Could you point me to a source actually making the prediction? This seems to talk about the reverse.

  24. #24 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @Dappledwater: I like the paper you linked to a lot. Thanks for the link. The goal of my original post was for someone to post a link to specific predictions and this seems to do just that.

    @mandas: First of all, it seems some of the other posters have been come up with some predictions. But, more importantly, if there are no testable predictions (and once again, abb3w, predicted measurements of present values that have not been observed count too, not just experiments)– how do you convince a denialist (and by this, I mean, a skeptic who is interested in a debate)? Clearly, the course grained predictions are only falsifiable on a large time scale. If there are so many confounding factors, how do you know they don’t outweigh the course grained predictions?

  25. #25 Cthulhu
    April 15, 2010

    “Regardless of which side you believe is ultimately correct, I’m fairly hard pressed after reading this post twice to find an actual falsifiable prediction.”

    Is it not enough that an explanation has the potential to be severely weakened in key parts by future observations? Is potential outright falsification in one swoop necessary?? Is it even possible if a theory consists of a very vast explanation with multiple lines of evidence?

    When the geneticist Haldane was asked what would falsify the theory of evolution he said “Rabbits in the cambrian”, as rabbit fossils that early would be in complete contradiction to the theory. These days multiple lines of evidence are so strong that finding rabbit fossils in the Cambrian wouldn’t be enough to completely falsify the theory in my opinion. It would certainly weaken elements of it, but it’s hard to think of any potential observation that could overturn the whole theory.

    If a watered down version of falsification is permitted, where falsification means weakening of the explanation rather than disproving it outright, then I think a generally falsifiable prediction of AGW in my mind would be:
    -doubling co2 leads to between 1.5C and 4.5C warming.

    That prediction could be severely weakened by future observations. This could happen suddenly if eg:

    -A new high resolution paleo record shows a large co2 spike at some point in time, but temperature doesn’t change.

    -A new generation of GCMs start showing low climate sensitivity.

    Neither of these things completely falsify the prediction (in the first case the paleo data might be wrong, or there might be some other reason why temperature didn’t change), but they do weaken it quite a bit.

  26. #26 Sam K.
    April 15, 2010

    @abb3w/22: your proof applies to sequence prediction given a static distribution. AFAIK, it is generally only applied to dense Bernoulli classes (i.e. convergence only occurs in such classes), but I could be wrong on this. In this situation, if there was a sequence to predict, then clearly the theory can make predictions (which you seem to concede, at least for the sake of argument, that it doesn’t, or at least doesn’t need to) and if the distribution of the sequence is static, then we can clearly predict/test for subsequences. Furthermore, to my point about Bernoulli classes, I’ve yet to see a mapping of an AGW model output to a set of Bernoulli variables (i.e. via binary predicates), since most of the predictions are very “fuzzy.” Finally, just because a theory is the most probable, it doesn’t mean that probability is high. In particular, you give little evidence for AGW (using your logic) to be more likely correct than not.

  27. #27 Joseph
    April 15, 2010

    I wonder if Popper was right, actually. Is falsifiability really what distinguishes science from pseudo-science? How do you falsify future evolution, for example? Plus you can falsify things like Homeopathy or anti-vaccination (not that the cranks would listen.)

    I like the views of a modern arm-chair philosopher of science, blogger Skeptico, who suggests that the real distinction between science and pseudo-science is provenance. Interesting stuff. Look it up.

  28. #28 skip
    April 16, 2010

    First off I appreciate these exchanges.

    Sam K: as you have the first name and initial of my favorite comedian (I know this reflects horribly on me) I want to start by saying

    AAAAAAAGH! AAAAAAAAAGH!

    I personally lean towards B [acting on the available AGW science because it’s the best thing going] and think this is the most honest approach . . . (Sam K # 10)

    Yeah, yeah, that’s an interesting perspective and one I really appreciate because its only WHAT I TRY TO TELL EVERY DENIER I TALK TO! AAAAAGH! AAAGH!

    However, the point of global warming theories is also to convince people to change the way they act in light of a prediction the theory makes. (Sam K #12)

    I was going to comment on this but abb3w responded adequately in 13: The purpose of science is not advocacy.

    “In more serious anthropological practice, there are a range of predictions; how hot humans will make it get and how quickly it will get there. There’s also some slight uncertainty as to where the exact threshold of “bad” is for temperature change.” (abb3w #11)

    Exactly. The falsifiable prediction is that in the *long run and overall*, its going to get hot. But I also agree with

    That being said, climatologists should strive to make testable predictions, if at the very least to help refine their theories. (Sam K. #15)

    And they should make a big show of it. I of course reject the denialist interpretation of “climategate” conspiracies, for instance, but what I think the emails do show is a conceit that is contrary to the spirit of scientific inquiry. The smug, we’re-the-pros-and-don’t-fuck-with-us attitude that so many people in academia have is the worst PR for action on climate change.

    It was also in this post that abb3w introduced us to the theory of

    “Next Thursdayism” Climate Change, which claims that starting next Thursday, the underpants gnomes will magically trigger global cooling. – abb3w

    Hehe. Amusing enough, but If Crakar is still lurking I fear this will be ultimately included in his arsenal of “money” arguments—although he’ll probably have little to say next Friday.

    While it’s possible for a player with a worse understanding of what their cards are to do better than an equally skilled player with a better idea by getting lucky, that’s not the tendency.

    Hehe. I think Crakar, when he returns, will take those odds.

    And it just makes me think that this entire discussion is sadly meaningless to your run-of-the-mill denier, who fashions himself a man of education and enlightened contrarianism. He reads on Wattsup (or wherever) that “AGW is not falsifiable” and this sophistry will sound compelling to him because it conforms to his ideological preferences, even if he’s never heard of Karl Popper or taken a philosophy of science course.

  29. #29 abb3w
    April 17, 2010

    Sam K.: AFAIK, it is generally only applied to dense Bernoulli classes (i.e. convergence only occurs in such classes), but I could be wrong on this.

    I’m not sure on the definition of “dense bernouli class”. The theorem holds for any RE-complex class (and can be extending to ordinal hypercomputation within AH). Of course, that does limit you to excluding unlimited precision, unrestricted reals; you’re stuck with (hyper)computables. It also doesn’t give you any clue as to how to construct descriptions, just a clue for how to select between those constructed.

    Sam K.: Finally, just because a theory is the most probable, it doesn’t mean that probability is high

    Yup. And, since the halting problem effectively rules out being able to ascertain whether there might be a better (shorter) hypothesis, you may not even have that most probable theory. All you have is just the one that comes closest. You can’t rule out the possibility that some “underpants gnomes” conjecture might allow a compression miracle and a better hypothesis.

    On the other hand, there is nothing better in the available options. So, when you’re stuck with a choice between “imperfect” and “worse than that”, in general, “imperfect” allows for better results, even if you sometimes all end up dead anyway.

    Sam K.: In particular, you give little evidence for AGW (using your logic) to be more likely correct than not.

    This is, in part, because my horse isn’t in that race. I’m not a climatologist; at best, I’m an amateur in philosophy of science. I’m ultimately interested in a different problem. My concern in the discussion isn’t primarily whether or not the earth is getting warmer, but the philosophical methodology underlying the decision.

    The Anthro Climate Change camp seem to be using philosophically justifiable methods; the Climate Change Denial camp, mostly not.

    Joseph: Is falsifiability really what distinguishes science from pseudo-science?

    No; a combination of falsification and parsimony.

    Joseph: How do you falsify future evolution, for example?

    It’s not clear what you mean by the question.
    The modern evolutionary-genetic synthesis can be beaten; just not easily.

    Joseph: I like the views of a modern arm-chair philosopher of science, blogger Skeptico, who suggests that the real distinction between science and pseudo-science is provenance.

    Linky, for those too lazy to Goog. Provenance is usually useful, since science is an evolutionary process; new ideas are usually mutations of old. However, it’s not philosophically necessary; an idea can be profoundly novel, but still valid.

    I’d suggest re-reading Feynman’s “Cargo Cult” lecture.

    Skip: He reads on Wattsup (or wherever) that “AGW is not falsifiable” and this sophistry will sound compelling to him because it conforms to his ideological preferences, even if he’s never heard of Karl Popper or taken a philosophy of science course.

    Confirmation bias. On the other hand, if he wants to use the argument regularly, he might read Popper and learn something despite himself.

  30. #30 Moridin
    April 18, 2010

    The two are not contradictory; intelligent design creationism, to take an example, is both contradicted by real world data and unfalsifiable. Their negative attacks on evolution are refuted by the science of evolution, but the positive explanatory model of intelligent design creationism is unfalsifiable simply because it (1) does not exist or, alternatively,(2) is not testable.

  31. #31 Kooiti Masuda
    April 18, 2010

    I think that the activities of so-called “detection and attribution” are tests of “the theory of AGW”. But it does not seem easy to consistently formulate “the theory of AGW” as a falsifiable hypothesis and the D&A activities as attempts to falsify it. Perhaps we cannot satisfy those who are skeptic about the philosophical legitimacy of the science of climate. But are there really any branch of science in which they are satisfied?

    I also would like to mention something more general. I think that Popper’s logic is an important principle of science. But that its actual application is often ambiguous because we do not always agree on the definitions of terms. I wrote elsewhere about that. (Excuse me, that text is in English but its environment is in Japanese.)

    We do not usually define technical terms explicitly, but know their meanings by examples. People who have different personal histories are likely to have different definitions of apparently the same terms. In order to have successful discussion, we need to negotiate our working definitions. Often there are persons who insist that definitions other than their own ones are wrong. If there is just one such party, we can go by tentatively accepting their definition. If there are more such parties, we may be stuck.

  32. #32 crakar24
    April 18, 2010

    As Skip has so pleasantly invited me to post my thoughts here they are.

    Firstly i just want to say that any theory must be falsifiable otherwise what is the point? If there is no mechanism where it can be tested then how do you know your theory is correct. Some have asked what should the time frame be for falsifying predictions, in the case of AGW we have been told in 100 years X will happen so therefore falsification is possible.

    Whilst this maybe true it is of no help to us now, for example the theory of evolution may suggest that we will evolve further in the next X years and if we do then we do. However for AGW if something may happen in 100 hundred years we need to know for certain now as the alarmist cries for action are deafening. When one takes a closer look at these cries for action one sees nothing that will substantially reduce the supposed effects of AGW.

    So we are left with a choice do we assume based on unproven predictions that in 100 years the sky will fall down around our feet so our only option is to grind world economies into the dirt or do we wait a few more years and observe the real world data unfold as opposed to computer simulations.

    Here are three predictions that after only 10 years have already gone pear shaped.

    1, The IPCC predicts CO2 concentration trends (per century)to be at +362 ppmv, +468 ppmv & +652 ppmv the observed trend since 2000 is +201 ppmv.

    2, The IPCC predicts rapid exponential growth of CO2 (per century)as stated above the observed trend since 1980 is +164 ppmv.

    Now these are interesting facts because based on these predicted trends the IPCC then continue on and predict the temperature in 100 years.

    3, The IPCC predicts temp rises from 1980 to be (per century in degrees celsius) +2.4, +3, +3.9, +4.7 & +5.3C depending on the chosen scenario. Whereas the current trend since 1980 is a mere 1.5C per century.

    What does the above tell us? Firstly it tells us the IPCC have absolutely no idea how to predict CO2 levels even ten years into the future and as their temperature predictions are inherently coupled to their CO2 predictions it is safe to say that they have absolutely no idea how to predict the the temp in 100 years let alone what it will be in ten years. Therefore investing all our faith in predictions proven to be wrong is idiotic.

    Does the above prove the AGW theory falsified? In a way it does. The theory as it currently stands is obviously incomplete, i fully expect the next instalment by the IPCC to show graphs and detailed studies that reflect reality and all future doomsday scenarios to be ratcheted back a notch or two but of course we all know this will not happen. Instead we will read the words “its happening faster than the models predicted”. The same old tiresome incorrect graphs will be displayed as if were true.

    So i asked the question if the IPCC cant predict what is happening in ten years can they really predict with any degree of accuracy what will happen in 100 years?

    Another would be if the IPCC cannot predict ten years into the future then what does this say for the theory?

    cheers

    crakar

  33. #33 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    crakar

    “…..So i asked the question if the IPCC cant predict what is happening in ten years can they really predict with any degree of accuracy what will happen in 100 years?…Another would be if the IPCC cannot predict ten years into the future then what does this say for the theory?…”

    It says absolutely nothing, as you well know. You come back from holiday and there you are – straight into the provactive nonsense that even you know is a complete crock. I think you must have fallen out of that balloon on your head.

    Do you really need us to educate you on statistical significance and trend periods – because it is high school maths and I know that even you have a reasonable understanding of such basic concepts. So if you are attempting to get a rise out of us – too bad! You have failed. Go away and try again, and next time come up with something better (no – not Jo Nova or Watts up with that etc).

  34. #34 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    The thread is discussing the subject of falsifying theories, i raised the issue of predictions made by the IPCC that are clearly in error after a ten year period.

    I noted that this does not falsify the theory but may suggest the IPCC version of events to be incomplete. It gets back to that old saying if you cant explain it then you cant model it.

    You actually make a good point when you state “There is a very good reason that AGW theory is unable to provide specific numbers – and that is because of those confounding factors that I have discussed. Apart from the obvious ones about the difficulties of determining exactly the degree of feedback in a complex system, there is a perfect example of what I am talking about happening right now – the eruption of the Eyjafjoll volcano in Iceland. ”

    So it seems you agree that the theory of AGW is incomplete.

    And yet all you can do is respond with an earth shattering claim that i fell out of the basket and landed on my head therefore everything i say is denialist crap.

    Two points to make from this post,

    1, I will never enlighten you or others on something that is personal to me as all you do is act like little children and throw it back at me.

    2, Your distaste for me is obvious to the point that you simplify all your responses to a dart throwing exercise and completely ignore what i have posted.

    By the way i will link stories from however i please, if you dont like it dont read it and dont respond to my post.

  35. #35 Chris S.
    April 19, 2010

    crakar: How are you extrapolating the IPCC projections over your 10 years? Are you using a linear, exponential or some other trend to determine where observations should be according to the IPCC?

  36. #36 Crakar
    April 19, 2010

    Isnt it nice to receive a response like the one in 35 as opposed to 33. Do you see the difference Mandas?

    The IPCC are kind enough to produce all their data for their predictions and calculations Chris. So it is a simple task to compare their predictions with the real world. Thanks for asking.

    I would like to raise another issue, of all the predicted heat build up in accordance with the theory less than 50% of this heat can be accounted for ergo the theory is falsified.

    But wait theres more, according to Trenberth the missing 50 odd % is actually there its just that we cant see it.

    Can anyone guess where it is? Thats right its burried deep down in the ocean were it cant be seen or as some of you might know as “the pipeline”.

    Can anyone tell me where most of the heat was supposed to “build up”? It was supposed to be in the upper 700m remember?

    Let me remind you, 5.3% in the air land and ice, 80% in the top 700m of the ocean and 14.7% in the deep ocean. Apparently this theory has now been falsified and over 50% of the heat is now stored in the deep ocean and not 14.7% as first thought.

    But how did all this heat get there undetected? shouldn’t this missing 50 plus% have to pass through the upper 700m? If so why was it not detected? Another theory falsified.

    http://www2.ucar.edu/news/missing-heat-may-affect-future-climate-change

    There is an old saying “a bad craftmans blames his tools” in this case “a bad climatologist blames his tools”.

  37. #37 Chris S.
    April 19, 2010

    “Isnt it nice to receive a response like the one in 35 as opposed to 33. Do you see the difference Mandas?

    The IPCC are kind enough to produce all their data for their predictions and calculations Chris. So it is a simple task to compare their predictions with the real world. Thanks for asking.”

    But crakar, you didn’t answer the question. I asked how you knew what the IPCC said the figures should be for 2010. You answered that it can be done, but not how you did it. A subtle difference I know, but an important one. Can you show me where the IPCC says what the CO2 conc & temp “should” be in 2010? Or, if not, how you came to the conclusion that they had predicted wrongly?

  38. #38 skip
    April 19, 2010

    Its another straw man of course.

    “The IPCC says *This, exact, thing would have happened! It didn’t, therefore the AGW is falsified! Ha!”

    Of course the theory is incomplete but this is not the same as falsified.

    Crakar: The weakness in your argument is the demand for an impossible level of specificity [most of which you are imputing on your own from thin air] from a theory no one claims is complete.

    Analogy: My orthopedic consultant told me five years ago he feared my right hip would “go” in 1-5 years if I didn’t get a PAO (periacetabularosteotamy–I had one done on my left hip five years ago; it was in much worse shape.)

    His theory: I suffer from congenital developmental displasia that went undiagnosed until I was in my mid-thirties (I always thought it was just tendonitus.)

    Well its been five years, and the hip hasn’t “gone” yet–although its starting to bug me again. But should I not just worry? After all, by your logic his prediction was false and thus his theory falsified.

  39. #39 skip
    April 19, 2010

    I would also like to present my own falsifiable hypotheses about what is going to happen shortly:

    Hypothesis-1: Crakar: You will not answer the questions Mandas and I posed to you before your most recent departure. They are:

    1. What hypothetical state of affairs would have to exist for you to believe that AGW is true and potentially menacing–not that you have to prove AGW, or prove a negative, but only what *would* it *take*–hypothetically. The answer would include a statement along the lines of, “Ok, Skip, I would believe AGW if [insert hypothetical satisfactory argument(s)].”

    2. Crakar, do you believe the logarithmic relationship between CO2 concentration and atmospheric heat absorption shows that AGW is “a crock of shit”?

    3. Do you believe the British Parliament is part of the climategate conspiracy–or that you were simply wrong about the CRU emails?

    Again, my falsifiable hypothesis is that you will answer none of these questions.

    Hypothesis-2: You will respond to this post with a maelstrom of red herrings that might include but not be restricted to:

    (1) missing hot spots,
    (2) something about Al Gore,
    (3) some region currently experiencing record cold,
    (4) something about Australian politics
    (5) a link you did not read nor will you stand by if pressed
    (6) a reference to AGW “religion”
    (7) early 20th century cooling
    (8) something else highly creative I haven’t thought of yet.

    Hypothesis-3: Your response will have an average of 2 editing errors per line–although this hypothesis is in danger based on the improved quality of your recent posts.

  40. #40 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    “……Isnt it nice to receive a response like the one in 35 as opposed to 33. Do you see the difference Mandas?…”

    I guess the difference is, Chris isn’t used to dealing with your comments as much as many of the rest of us are. We have been over many of these issues time and time again, and you continue to ignore our responses, then just cut and paste the next piece of denialist nonsense. Skip and I ask you reasonable questions, which you never answer, yet you demand that we answer your questions – even though we have done so repeatedly.

    We point you to research papers – yes, actual research papers with hard data and conclusions drawn by climate scientists, which you then never read. In response, you give us opinion pieces from people like Joanne Nova who has no knowledge of climate science at all, and has an agenda based on where she draws her funds (you do know she is paid by an oil company??). Even worse, these opinion pieces link to actual papers, which they obviously haven’t read because they attempt to use them to support conclusions which are completely at odds with the actual findings of the papers. The quote mine, cherry pick, and use complete furphies such as hacked emails, ‘hide the decline’, or ’30,000 scientists’ to distract people from the real issue of science.

    This thread is all about falsification of theories – and I have repeatedly stated that AGW is a falsifiable theory and that it makes testable predictions. I have also stated repeatedly – here and elsewhere – that it is completely nonsensical to try and draw conclusions based on short term, statistically insignficant trends. I have also – here and elsewhere – talked about complexity and confounding factors – which must be considered when predicting outcomes in systems such as climate. In this, I am supported by every scientist and every mathematician in the world.

    Yet in your first post back from holidays you bang on about errors in IPCC predictions over a ten year period, and how this supposedly reveals flaws in the theory and models. Is there any wonder that I – and others – get frustrated with you and respond to you in a manner that you so thoroughly deserve. You are supposed to be an intelligent person. How about you start acting like one. Do some reading. Do some research (science papers – not blog posts by morons who have no idea what they are talking about other than their own agenda). The come in here, and ask an intelligent question. I’m sure you are capable of it.

  41. #41 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    Looks like you really did miss me Skip, you do realise that everytime you avoid responding to my posts by hiding behind the skirt of a strawman you simply encourage me to continue.

    So lets recap what has been said previously. Coby begun this thread by claiming that denialists use the falsifiabilty clause to prove the AGW theory false.

    You challenged me to respond (post 28), i responded by making two statements. The first was to claim the IPCC’s very own predictions of temp and CO2 levels from 2000 to 2100 are already incorrect after only ten years. Mandas had a hissy fit and you called it a strawman, only Chris resonded with a post worthy of attention and i will respond to him in time.

    The second statement highlighted the missing heat, this is a topic i have mentioned in the past with not one worthy response and once again this has been ignored by you and yet you respond with your own demands and expect me to drop everything and reply.

    When it is all said and done the fact remains that the AGW theory dictates there should be X amount of heat build up in the Earths climate system but when we measure this heat build up we can only find 40 % of it.

    So where is the rest of it? Trenberth claims it is sitting at the bottom of the Mariana trench beyond the reach of our prying eyes but if this were true then it would falsify the theory espoused by Hansen et al that the upper 700m of the ocean holds 80% of the heat.

    Lets not forget that famous quote by Josh Willis “The oceans are absorbing more than 80 percent of the heat from global warming,” he says. “If you aren’t measuring heat content in the upper ocean, you aren’t measuring global warming.”

    earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/

    Well Josh we are not measuring an increase in heat in the upper ocean because Trenberth has falsified your theory by saying its all down in Davey Jones locker.

    Of course this does leave us with one conumdrum, if the heat began in the atmosphere due to CO2 and ended up at the bottom of the ocean then surely it must have passed through the upper ocean on its way down. If so then surely the rise and then fall of heat in the upper ocean would have been seen by the ARGO data. This rise and fall of heat in the upper ocean was not seen so therefore Trenberths new theory has been falsified which can only lead us to one conclusion.

    That conclusion is the 40% of heat measured in the system is in fact the only heat in the system, the only place the other 60% exists is in the minds of trenberth et al.

    Ergo the theory of AGW has been tested and falsified.

    Now i know Skip will run around in ever decreasing circles screaming strawman because that is how he deals with confronting the truth and the realisation that he has been duped all these years. Never the less the facts are there for all to see.

    Cheers

    Crakar

  42. #42 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    Chris,

    Real world CO2 levels used are those compiled by NOAA.

    Real world temp data is from RSS and UAH.

    IPCC predictions are taken directly from their very own propaganda and is based on the A2 scenario.

    The data is compiled using the least squares linear regression method.

    Do you require any further information?

    Cheers

    Crakar

  43. #43 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    crakar

    Your last post is a perfect example of EXACTLY what I was talking about in post #41 – you completely disregard EVERYTHING you have been told.

    We have had this discussion about the Argo dataset before, and unless you suffer from a serious case of Alzheimers, you are well aware of that fact. You know – because you have been shown papers and even the statements from the Argo website – that the Argo system is barely complete, and they state categorically that their data is new and does not reveal any trends. In fact, they state on their website (and I have given you this quote before, so you know this):

    “…The global Argo dataset is not yet long enough to observe global change signals. Seasonal and interannual variability dominate the present 6-year globally-averaged time series. Sparse global sampling during 2004-2005 can lead to substantial differences in statistical analyses of ocean temperature and trend (or steric sea level and its trend, e.g. Leuliette and Miller, 2009). Analyses of decadal changes presently focus on comparison of Argo to sparse and sometimes inaccurate historical data. Argo’s greatest contributions to observing the global oceans are still in the future, but its global span is clearly transforming the capability to observe climate-related changes….”

    http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/global_change_analysis.html

    So – I will say this once again, even though it appears completely pointless because you refuse to do it – DO SOME RESEARCH!

  44. #44 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    Last post (thank God)

    Skip,

    Hype #1

    1, I have answered this question in the past albeit not to your liking.

    2, The log relationship between CO2 concentration and its ability to absorb OLR shows us how much temp increase will be derived from increasing CO2 content. When this is compared to the IPCC predictions we see a large difference between the two. This difference is due mainly to the IPCC’s assumption of +ve feed backs from WV. I have demonstrated more than once the temp predictions by the IPCC are incorrect based on this +ve feed back assumption.

    Therefore the log relationship shows the IPCC version of AGW to be a crock of shit.

    3, I would have to answer no to both options here Skip, in fact i think you summed up the behaviour of the CRU scientists best. I would think the email evidence would be enough to charge some with obstructing FOI but beyond that the emails do not provide enough evidence to bring charges for other infractions.

    Remember the emails give you a small insight into the mind set of these people, we have an email where Trenberth calls it a tragic situation because they cannot account for the lack of warming, now he claims the heat has snuck into the lower depths of the oceans when they were not looking.

    Hype #2 Topics not mentioned

    1, Check
    2, Check
    3, Check
    4, Check
    5, Check
    6, Check
    7, Check
    8, Check

    Hype #3

    Well how did i do Skip, did i get a passing grade?

  45. #45 skip
    April 19, 2010

    Hypothesis-1: Crakar: You will not answer the questions Mandas and I posed to you before your most recent departure.

    Hypothesis confirmed.

    Hypothesis-2: You will respond to this post with a maelstrom of red herrings

    You challenged me to respond (post 28),

    No, I didn’t. You didn’t read my post. First red herring.

    The second statement highlighted the missing heat

    The second red herring; I never claimed to have a basis to account for the “missing heat” . . .

    and yet you respond with your own demands and expect me to drop everything and reply.

    Fine, answer my questions–which you cannot–and I will answer the “missing heat point”.

    When it is all said and done the fact remains that the AGW theory dictates there should be X amount of heat build up in the Earths climate system but when we measure this heat build up we can only find 40 % of it.

    Did you understand my analogy at all?

    Hypothesis confirmed.

    Hypothesis-3: Your response will have an average of 2 editing errors per line–although this hypothesis is in danger based on the improved quality of your recent posts.

    Hypothesis Falsified. Much better editing.

    But Crakar, it has been proven (and you have even admitted) that you are both a plagiarist and a citation distorter. Can you prove *either* of these truths about me? As such, the burden is on *you* to demonstrate that you are prepared to have a falsifiable position of *your own*.

    I frankly admit I don’t know the science of the (supposed) missing heat issue–just as you don’t. You are dogma blogging, quoting something you found on Wattsup or wherever that you hope proves your point. I’m admitting my deficiency but insisting on ground rules of the debate.

    Answer my questions or show yourself yet again to be a shameless dodger.

  46. #46 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    crakar

    “….we have an email where Trenberth calls it a tragic situation because they cannot account for the lack of warming, now he claims the heat has snuck into the lower depths of the oceans when they were not looking….”

    WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

    Once again, you take things out of context and refuse to do any reading other than denialist websites. The ‘lack of warming’ has NOTHING to do with global temperatures, and refers to the divergence problem with tree ring proxy reconstructionss post-1960.

    Can we please have a conversation based on reality, and not your fantasy world of denialist blogs.

  47. #47 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    crakar

    Is this the ‘missing heat’ in the upper 700m of the ocean that you ar referring to in your conversation with skip?:

    “…..Domingues et al (2008) and Levitus et al (2009) have recently estimated the multi-decadal upper ocean heat content using best-known corrections to systematic errors in the fall rate of expendable bathythermographs (Wijffels et al, 2008). For the upper 700m, the increase in heat content was 16 x 1022 J since 1961. This is consistent with the comparison by Roemmich and Gilson (2009) of Argo data with the global temperature time-series of Levitus et al (2005), finding a warming of the 0 – 2000 m ocean by 0.06°C since the (pre-XBT) early 1960′s….”

    And I apologise for using Argo data, since I have demonstrated that it should not be relied on for trend information. But it was only used to confirm data from other sources so in this case it is acceptable.

    What’s your next cut and paste that fails to falsify the theory?

  48. #48 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    Skip,

    Maybe your analogy should have included information that you are going blind.

    I fail to see how i failed your Hyp #1 I have answered your questions, just because you do not like the answers does not mean i have failed to answer.

    Hyp #2 is also a pass in my eyes as i did not mention any of the 8 topics you listed.

    “I frankly admit I don’t know the science of the (supposed) missing heat issue–just as you don’t. You are dogma blogging, quoting something you found on Wattsup or wherever that you hope proves your point. I’m admitting my deficiency but insisting on ground rules of the debate.”

    Is this another attempt to drag this debate into an area where you feel you can compete on level terms?

    I have presented an argument which i feel shows the theory to be falsified and you respond by saying neither of us know what we are talking about and so ends the debate.

    Ok then what are we doing here? If you cannot make the simple connection between a theoretical warming and a real world observation then i am wasting my time.

    Thus any discussion that involves falsification is considered taboo, what are you doing here Skip? I have no idea why i am here anymore.

  49. #49 skip
    April 19, 2010

    Crakar:

    Your role here is to illustrate the narrative of the dogmatic denier. I need you here for that purpose. Whether its a waste of your time only you can decide.

    You dodged the answer to Hyp 1. You know it. I know it. We all know it. You hid behind the “I don’t have to prove a negative”, and “Its not my job to prove your case” dodges.

    I defy you to document otherwise.

    Crakar we all know why. You have no answer. You will *never* answer.

    And by the way, *has it even occurred to you to ask me the analogous question?*

    No.

    You never have. It is *so* revealing. It is such an obvious flag of the dogmatist. You assume I’m like *you*. This whole time you’ve been projecting your own dogmatism on me!

    Crakar, I’m sorry but its a dead giveaway!

  50. #50 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    “…..I have presented an argument which i feel shows the theory to be falsified and you respond by saying neither of us know what we are talking about and so ends the debate…”

    Wish to respond to post #48?

  51. #51 crakar24
    April 19, 2010

    Skip,

    I have answered your question about 3 times now and each time i have approached the question from a different perspective and everytime i do you reject that answer as if i have got the question wrong. I do not believe there is a right or wrong answer to your question but is suspect you believe it is.

    I did not hide behind anything in answering your question i have just given up trying to please you, as i have said many times in the past i will acept AGW when the evidence supports the theory. There is nothing wrong with this answer except it is not an answer that you can respond to in a denier bashing way. I do not require leaps of faith or the seeing of signs such as sheep shrinking to believe in something just empirical evidence will do.

    I am sincerely sorry that this answer does not conform to your view of the world but that is my answer and you can take it or leave it. By the way i did respond to your email did you receive it?

    Mandas,

    Skip has questioned my ability to comprehend the English langauge so i am running all the big 4 letter words through a word spell checker it is a bit harder to check for grammatical errors of course. My point is the story i linked which kicked off this latest spat suggests i am correct in what i say but yet you still persist with your hypocritical double speak (dont use argo only i can diatribe etc).

    So here is the story again, maybe you can explain it to me in English.

    The opening para reads

    “Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a “Perspectives” article in this week’s issue of Science. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this “missing” heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system.”

    So lets break this down a little, Trenberth BELIEVES there should be X amount of heat built up in the system but our instruments can only account for roughly HALF of this heat.

    At this point when a scientist discovers the theory predicts double what his instruments are telling him he is left with two choices.

    1, His theory is wrong, in which case he needs to go back and re examine it and see where he went wrong.

    2, Believe in his theory and claim the instruments he is using to measure the data is at fault.

    Trenberth has taken option 2, what he now nees to do is find out what is wrong with the instruments. Lets see what Trenberth has to say about that.

    “Trenberth and Fasullo call for additional ocean sensors, along with more systematic data analysis and new approaches to calibrating satellite instruments, to help resolve the mystery. The Argo profiling floats that researchers began deploying in 2000 to measure ocean temperatures, for example, are separated by about 185 miles (300 kilometers) and take readings only about once every 10 days from a depth of about 6,500 feet (2,000 meters) up to the surface. Plans are underway to have a subset of these floats go to greater depths.”

    So trenberth believes changing the way we process the data will enable us to find some of the missing heat, he also believes if we change the way we calibrate the sats we will find more of the missing heat. He also claims if we increase the coverage of ARGO data (the very data you refuse to acknowledge) we will find even more missing heat.

    The question is, is there anything wrong with the way we cal the sats? Is there anything wrong with the way we process the data? Shouldn’t that be established first before we change things to manufacture the required amount of warming? Increasing the amount of ocean sensors should improve the data although the amount of measuring equipment used seems to have no effect when we reduce land stations.

    And here is the crux of the problem Trenberth faces

    Until 2003, the measured heat increase was consistent with computer model expectations. But a new set of ocean monitors since then has shown a steady decrease in the rate of oceanic heating, even as the satellite-measured imbalance between incoming and outgoing energy continues to grow.

    The theory dictates as the imbalance between incoming and out going radiation increases the heat build up must also increase but those (obviously faulty) ARGO bouys has shown a steady decrease.

    Why is it important we get it right?

    In their Perspectives article, Trenberth and Fasullo explain that it is imperative to better measure the flow of energy through Earth’s climate system. For example, any geoengineering plan to artificially alter the world’s climate to counter global warming could have inadvertent consequences, which may be difficult to analyze unless scientists can track heat around the globe.

    The mad scientists want to fiddle with nature via geoengineering, God have mercy on our souls.

    Did it occur to anyone that CO2 is just one small part of a massively complex system? They claim the imbalance between incoming and outgoing IR is the only way to measure the heat balance, can anyone here tell me of another weather system that transports heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere? I will give you a hint it starts with a “C”. Do you think it is possible that this system could explain why the models/theory is incorrect?

    No of course not, the theory is correct all the measurements we have relied upon for the past 30 plus years and considered to correct and supportive of the theory are now all wrong.

    In the words of the great romance novalist “this is voodoo science”.

  52. #52 mandas
    April 19, 2010

    crakar

    I am continually amazed how someone can look at a paper or a statement by a scientist, and draw completely opposite conclusions to what is being suggested. It’s a talent that many in the denialist community – including yourself – seem to have, but one that I just can’t seem to cultivate. Maybe that’s why I find it difficult to attempt a rational discussion on these issues with you without getting frustrated. But, I will give it a shot with your latest post, which I must admit, does cover a very important subject. But let me address a couple of furphies before going on.

    “…At this point when a scientist discovers the theory predicts double what his instruments are telling him he is left with two choices.
    1, His theory is wrong, in which case he needs to go back and re examine it and see where he went wrong.
    2, Believe in his theory and claim the instruments he is using to measure the data is at fault.
    Trenberth has taken option 2, what he now nees to do is find out what is wrong with the instruments…”

    Of course, there is a third option – that the basic theory is correct but it just requires some modifications to make it more accurate. THIS is the path that Trenberth has chosen. He is suggesting that the heat is somewhere we cannot measure at the moment – the deep ocean. This is contrary to his earlier belief that most of it would be in the upper ocean, so he is modifying his theory. However, as I have already shown you, there are a number of studies which have already identified errors in the instrumental measurements, which when corrected, account for ALL the warming prior to 2003. And there are some studies which have ALREADY identified warming in the deep ocean; here is just a couple to start you off with your non-reading:

    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JC005237.shtml

    http://oceans.pmel.noaa.gov/Pdf/gcj_3f.pdf

    The first identifies warming down to 2,000 m, and corrects much of the ‘imbalance’ which existed without deep ocean measurements. The second does not fully address the problem, because abyssal measurements are just too sparse, but it does identify that there is warming taking place in the deep ocean, and suggests that better data is required. On this basis, Trenberth, like any scientist, is suggesting that we need more and better instrumentation to refine our knowledge. This is why he suggests:

    “….He also claims if we increase the coverage of ARGO data (the very data you refuse to acknowledge) we will find even more missing heat….”

    But of course, you throw a strawman into the mix by alleging that I don’t accept Argo data – which is just a complete misrepresentation of everything I have ever said about it. I don’t refuse to acknowledge Argo data, I just keep referring you to their website where they state that they have not been operational long enough to provide statistically significant data. That’s their position – not mine (except that I accept their word). And Trenberth is absolutely correct in stating that improving Argo will provide better data – in time.

    “…Until 2003, the measured heat increase was consistent with computer model expectations. But a new set of ocean monitors since then has shown a steady decrease in the rate of oceanic heating…”

    Yes – a steady decrease in the RATE OF HEATING, not in the temperature. The temperature is still going up, but at a decreased rate. This is consistent with AGW theory, and confirms unequivocally that the Earth is warming. How anyone can twist a statement which concludes that the ocean is warming (albeit at a rate below that which was expected by the current modelling) into something suggesting that there is no climate change beggars the imagination.

    “….Did it occur to anyone that CO2 is just one small part of a massively complex system?…”

    Yes – it occurred to everyone. Have you only just realised it?

  53. #53 Chris S.
    April 20, 2010

    crakar: At the risk of playing Jeremy Paxman to your Michael Howard I ask you again to answer my question.

    How do you (crakar) determine what the IPCC say the temperature and CO2 should be for 2010?

    “IPCC predictions are taken directly from their very own propaganda and is based on the A2 scenario.” Does not answer the question. Show me your workings please.

    @ mandas “I guess the difference is, Chris isn’t used to dealing with your comments as much as many of the rest of us are.”

    On the contrary, I’ve watched (and occasionally contributed to) the crakar debates over the years.

    “We have been over many of these issues time and time again, and you continue to ignore our responses, then just cut and paste the next piece of denialist nonsense.”

    And therein lies the problem. Someone or other always follows his Gish Gallop and thus he is able to evade any close questioning and lead everyone on a merry dance around his talking points. As an analogy, what’s the best way to catch a pig? is it everyone chase it willy-nilly or is it better to form a line & herd it into a corner.
    If we (as a community) managed to present a more uniform face to his argument we may find it is much easier to corner him – so to speak – and help him confront his errors. Saying that though, one is reminded of his reaction to Coby’s “How to talk to crakar and snowman” series…

    So, my vote is for everyone to ignore what crakar says until he’s cleared up how he has determined what the IPCC have predicted for 2010. Then go on to determine if he is aware of the concept of error bars. Not that it’ll happen like that…

  54. #54 Dappledwater
    April 20, 2010

    Chris, I remember some posters on Real Climate suggesting a list of denier zombie arguments like John Cook has at Skeptical Science. When a denier pops up with one of the oft repeated zombie arguments, commenters simply refer them to the relevant zombie. Save everyone a whole lot of time, given that it’s rare that something novel pops up, and really start to get the message through to uneducated lurkers.

    I certainly agree with you about presenting a co-ordinated approach to the problem. So:

    “How do you (crakar) determine what the IPCC say the temperature and CO2 should be for 2010?”

  55. #55 skip
    April 20, 2010

    as i have said many times in the past i will acept AGW when the evidence supports the theory.

    The same dodge Peter of Sydney used before he fled in shame.

    It begs the *exact* same question, Crakar:

    *What* would be sufficient “evidence” for you?

    Its amazing! You don’t get it, do you? I’m *not* asking you, “What do you think the evidence says now?” or “What do you think the relevant evidence is?” I’m asking you what is the “evidence” you would need to be convinced?

    And I’m going to add another question–and you will dodge it because the honest answer will cut you to the quick:

    *Do you, Crakar, believe that you are intellectually honest–with yourself and with us?*

    Its a simple Yes or No question–and I know as you read it, you are becoming very, very uncomfortable.

    You’re blatantly dodging–as you always will–and you still do not grasp the point that you haven’t even thought to ask me the analogous question.

    I’m not saying these things to be *personally* hurtful to you –notice no curse words or comments about kids–but to expose the mentality of whats going on here.

  56. #56 skip
    April 20, 2010

    my vote is for everyone to ignore what crakar says until he’s cleared up how he has determined what the IPCC have predicted for 2010. Then go on to determine if he is aware of the concept of error bars. Not that it’ll happen like that… –chris

    I certainly agree with you about presenting a co-ordinated approach to the problem. So:

    “How do you (crakar) determine what the IPCC say the temperature and CO2 should be for 2010?”

    sorry guys; i only read all the other posts later.

  57. #57 crakar24
    April 20, 2010

    Chris,

    The figures i produced are not of my doing as i am not a stats man. I know this answer will not suffice but it will have to do. Having said that you mentioned error bars, the IPCC have error bars big enough to sail the Queen Mary through and we are outside of those.

    To all, when it is all said and done we are debating whether or not the equipment we use to measure heat/temp has an error of over 50% or as Mandas has pointed out we dont have equipment to measure heat in places where we never thought to look before.

    I suppose it comes down to plausability, is it possible that the 80% of heat which was supposed to be stored in the top 700m has now suddenly without our knowledge found a home deep down in the oceans depths?

    Or is it possible that after all these years of constantly fiddling with equipment and processing algorithms we suddenly discover an error of over 50% has crept in right under our noses?

    Mandas made a good point when he said “Of course, there is a third option – that the basic theory is correct but it just requires some modifications to make it more accurate”

    That would be true Mandas except that is not what Trenberth has said, he claims we have problems with data processing and equipment calibrations. I suspect he is hedging his bets on the deep ocean theory hence the extra ARGO bouys that can go deeper.

    So the original theory has now been modified from upper ocean heating to lower ocean heating, something we cant measure with any certainty and of course once we do measure it we will have to wait many years to build up a trend value. Hence the AGW theory can live on for many years to come still with no evidence to support it and let is suppose we find the missing heat not to be there what then? Do we modify the theory once again and look elsewhere?

    A better way to modify the theory would be to reduce the over exaggeration of heat build up built in by the IPCC. This way you would not have so much missing heat that you cannot find.

    Judging by recent posts it would appear i have worn out my welcome. You can all back slap each other on another job well done whilst you patiently await the biblical floods and droughts brought on by more and less storms and hurricanes whilst you watch the sheep in Scotland shrink right before your very eyes.

  58. #58 mandas
    April 20, 2010

    crakar

    I am confused (you tend to do that to me). These two statements:

    “….AGW theory can live on for many years to come still with no evidence to support it…”

    “….A better way to modify the theory would be to reduce the over exaggeration of heat build up built in by the IPCC….”

    So which is it? Is there AGW or isn’t there? It would appear from the second statement that you accept climate change is occurring, but you have doubts as to it’s degree. yet the first statement suggest that you believe there is no such thing and no evidence to support AGW.

    And with regard to Trenberth’s position on the ‘missing’ heat, you obviously know his views because you would appear to be obtaining them from Pielke’s website (or a copy of the same). Then you have obviously read Trenberth’s most recent comments on the 16th April where he says:

    “….We are well aware that there are well over a dozen estimates of ocean heat content and they are all different yet based on the same data. There are clearly problems in the analysis phase and I don’t believe any are correct. There is a nice analysis of ocean heat content down to 2000 m by von Schuckmann, K., F. Gaillard, and P.-Y. Le Traon 2009: Global hydrographic variability patterns during 2003–2008, /J. Geophys. Res.,/ *114*, C09007, doi:10.1029/2008JC005237. but even those estimates are likely conservative. The deep ocean is not
    well monitored and nor is the Arctic below sea ice. That said, there is a paper in press (embargoed) that performs an error analysis of ocean heat content….”

    So I stand by my previous statement. Trenberth is clearly saying that much of the missing heat may well be in the deep ocean (“which is not well monitored”), and he believes the estimates in the paper I provided to you earlier are conservative (ie, underestimate the amount of heat in the abyss). He also believes there could be measurement errors, some of which were corrected in the 2003 paper I also provided to you earlier. He is also saying (and he must be at least 90% correct) that there are analysis problems with some of the data (and if the answers are different, they can’t all be correct – however, I do not believe he can state categorically that they are all wrong (my opinion)).

    Finally, I have to take you seriously to task over this statement:

    “….Do we modify the theory once again and look elsewhere?….”

    Yes, that is exactly what we do, because that is how science works. It’s called the scientific method. Do you think for one second that anyone is claiming that AGW theory is settled, and we have it perfect? We don’t even claim that about evolution, which has been around for 150 years and is one of the most heavily studied and critiqued ideas ever put forward. The basics of AGW theory are indisputable, unequivocal, scientific fact. We know that if you make changes to the gaseous mixture of the atmosphere, that you will affect climate – does anyone disagree (any morons and/or luddites may put their hands up here). And we know that humans are making changes to the gaseous mixture of the atmosphere. Neither of these two facts are in dispute. It only takes the simplest of deductive reasonings to draw the conclusion that humans are making changes in the climate. You can argue all you like about the extent of those changes – and that is what the SCIENTIFIC debate on AGW theory is all about. It is only moronic denialists who want to debate indisputable facts – sort of like a creationist arguing against evolution. I would really like to think that you aren’t in that category crakar. Please give me some reassurance to that effect.

  59. #59 skip
    April 20, 2010

    Judging by recent posts it would appear i have worn out my welcome.

    Not mine.

    Please, Crakar, continue to post. In my feeble mind and humble opinion you continue to serve a crucial purpose.

    Post, post, post. Keep posting. I don’t know if the world will ever obtain the political will to make policies that address climate change but perhaps the observers of this forum will see what you write and our responses and it will (however minutely) help bring about some small increment in policy change.

  60. #60 crakar24
    April 21, 2010

    Mandas,

    You can be reassured, but rather than steadfastly cling to a theory that states X heat build up MUST be present and yet we cannot find it.

    Maybe we should say well we thought there should be X build up but we can only measure 40 odd % perhaps we have over stated how much heat should actually be there.

    Maybe Trenberth is correct to a point, maybe once we re cal equipment, fiddle with the data differently or measure at a greater depth we will find say another 10 or 20% (just a figure for the sake of the argument) but do you Mandas really think there is another 50 odd % of heat that has snuck past us undetected?

    This is my point Mandas/Skip and all the usual dart throwers out there reading, we have measured the heat content and have come up short by over 50%, has the thought ever ocurred to any of you that maybe some/most/all of the missing heat never existed in the first place?

    To sum up and get back on topic, if we were to construct a test which had the potential to falsify the theory (in its current form) then measuring the total heat build up against the prediction would be one way of doing so.

    We have done this and the results are in.

  61. #61 crakar24
    April 21, 2010

    Skip your flattery will get you everywhere i suppose you are right this place does need a token flat earth denier in its midst, just like a skeptic site needs its warmist.

    But i feel there is no point, a perfect example is the post above, we have this gaping hole in predicted and measured heat but all you lot do is yawn and mumble something about a new and improved theory, you people are still right and i get pelted with darts.

    Maybe its time you had a new token flat earther.

  62. #62 Chris S.
    April 21, 2010

    “But i feel there is no point, a perfect example is the post above, we have this gaping hole in predicted and measured heat but all you lot do is yawn and mumble something about a new and improved theory”

    And still no answer to the question – how do you know this?

    “The figures i produced are not of my doing as i am not a stats man. I know this answer will not suffice but it will have to do.”

    What figures? The ones you gave in #32? The one you yourself qualified as (per century)? Perhaps my question is not clear enough so I’ll say what I think you’ve done & you can tell me whether I’m right, and if not tell me what you did instead:

    I think you took the IPCC (per century) trend predictions and divided them by ten to get an estimate of what 2010 should be. In effect you tried to plot a linear trend. Is this correct?

    I see you latched on to my red herring about error bars in great detail but we’ll come back to that later. Or are we back to the situation I referred to in #54? On that note – did you read the “How to talk to crakar & snowman” series?

  63. #63 SkepticalbyNature
    April 21, 2010

    I know this is probably just a dumb question, but how does the heat end up in the deep ocean anyway? What is the mechanism for it to get there (i.e. why doesn’t it just stay ‘mixed’ in the upper ocean)?

    Crakar, I am assuming that it’s not likely we have a really high-profile area of science that is actually full of dumb-asses, and that someone has been able to do an energy balance calculation along the lines of “in = out + accumulation” and shown that the measured data is consistent with the observed increase in global temperature. So as long as we know the in and out parts of the balance we must know the accumulation and if we know how much this is, we should be able to measure it, since it must exist. It exists but we haven’t measured it all; you can’t reduce the amount that exists to the amount measured if you haven’t measured all possible sources, or your measuring equipment isn’t sensitive/sophisticated enough to make the measurement. Isn’t this a fair statement? So it may be true that the heat is present in higher or lower amounts in certain places than was originally assumed, and that this might require a modification of the working theory, but how would this falsify the overall AGW theory? The ‘dark matter’ problem in cosmology doesn’t seem to be overthrowing the overall Big Bang theory, is it?

    Regards,

  64. #64 Joseph
    April 21, 2010

    But i feel there is no point, a perfect example is the post above, we have this gaping hole in predicted and measured heat but all you lot do is yawn and mumble something about a new and improved theory, you people are still right and i get pelted with darts.

    Do we actually? I think it’s kind of early to say that, statistically, given weather noise. People sometimes confuse “unable to rule out the null hypothesis” with “we have proven the null hypothesis.” One reason you might be unable to rule out the null hypothesis is that you don’t have enough data points. In this case, you might be looking at too short a time range.

  65. #65 crakar24
    April 21, 2010

    Chris,

    Of course i read the crakar & snowman series, it is not often you get a dedicated thread created in your honour.

    As i said it was not my work as i am not a stats man however i do acknowledge the relevance of your question.

    Below is a graphical representation of the IPCC projections

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-spm.pdf

    Refer fig SPM 5

    I would assume the IPCC have done the math to produce such a graph but where it is i do not know not for the want of trying.

    I suggest you look here ipcc.ch/ipccgoogle.html and see if you can find it. Beyond that Chris i cannot answer your questions in any more detail. To put it in its most simplist form both the IPCC CO2 and Temp projections are both overstated after 10 years.

    Will the CO2 levels suddenly and rapidly catch up? Maybe but i doubt it and i suspect their temp projections will continue to fall short aswell.

  66. #66 crakar24
    April 21, 2010

    SBN,

    There is no such thing as a dumb question and in your case it is a very good question, exactly how did the heat defy the theory and end up in the ocean depths?

    In your next paragraph you raise a good point that is worthy of a response, if we talk in simplistic terms and say we know how much heat is coming in and how much heat is going out then we just simply deduct one from the other and we get what is left over. In this case we claim we have a build up of heat.

    From there we came up with a theory of where the heat should be seen to build up, 5.3% on the surface and air, 80% in the upper ocean and 14.7% in the deeper ocean.

    Trenberth is now attempting to turn this theory on its head by claiming the deeper ocean must ( i use the word must because he has no evidence this is in fact correct) be absorbing more than 14.7%. He says this because the land/air temps are not increasing or at least increasing as first theorised also the ARGO data is showing much the same thing (yes Mandas i understand it is not a long term trend).

    So the only place the heat can be is in the deep ocean where we dont measure very well if at all. Mind you he did throw in a caveat which states that our instruments could be at fault and the heat is really where they theorise but we dont measure it.

    Lets begin with the deep ocean theory, you asked how did it get there? Good question and the short answer is no one knows. Surely the heat would begin in the air then transfer to the upper ocean and then transfer to the deeper ocean. Has this transfer of heat been measured?

    Maybe it is the equipment, maybe our equipment is looking in all the right places but has error levels greater than 50%

    But if that is true then how confident are we in our “in/out” calculation? Maybe our equipment cannot measure this accurately or maybe we are not looking in the right place to measure the in or out component. This is considered a reasonable assumption by Trenberth so is it a reasonable assumption for me to make? I am sure all here will think it not.

  67. #67 crakar24
    April 21, 2010

    Joseph,

    The first part of the theory were an increase in GHG act as a filter to IR is beyond question. The part which draws the attention of skeptical eyes is the IPCC’s feed back due to mainly WV and all the hyperbole surrounding it.

    So when you are out by over 50% you need to ask the question, is my theory correct you cannot simply change the rules by saying “we measure temp accurately” to “we cannot measure over 50% of the heat”.

    So yes you lot simply yawn and mumble something about a new theory.

  68. #68 Chris S.
    April 22, 2010

    (This post may take a while to get through moderation due to the number of links)

    crakar:

    “I would assume the IPCC have done the math to produce such a graph but where it is i do not know not for the want of trying.”

    At the bottom of the graph SPM 5 it tells you where to look further (in this case 10.4 and 10.29).

    10.4 is here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-3.html

    and 10.29 is here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-5-4-6.html

    Above 10.4 it tells you where to find out where the data came from (“Lists of the models used in the results are provided in the Supplementary Material for this Chapter”) which I’ll admit is a little more difficult to find (at least in the 10 minutes I gave myself for this post).

    In the legends of graph 10.29 it tells you what papers are relevant to the data, they are: Wigley and Raper, 2001; Stott and Kettleborough, 2002; Knutti et al., 2003; Furrer et al., 2007; Harris et al., 2006; Stott et al., 2006b

    The reference list is here: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch10s10-references.html

    “Beyond that Chris i cannot answer your questions in any more detail. To put it in its most simplist form both the IPCC CO2 and Temp projections are both overstated after 10 years.”

    Again, you don’t tell me how you work this out. Let’s remind you what you said above:

    “3, The IPCC predicts temp rises from 1980 to be (per century in degrees celsius) +2.4, +3, +3.9, +4.7 & +5.3C depending on the chosen scenario. Whereas the current trend since 1980 is a mere 1.5C per century.”

    In answer to my probing you produce a graph with a baseline set at 2000 – this seems rather strange. An eyeball estimate says 1980 was between 0.1 and 0.25 degrees C below 2000 and that 2010 was predicted to be 0.15 and 0.6 degrees C above 2000. Leading to an estimate of a 0.25 to 0.85 degree C change over 30 years. A simple linear extrapolation would say this translates to a (roughly) 0.8 – 2.8 degree change per century. Your 1.5 falls very comfortably in that range.

    This of course ignore the fact that the IPCC do not predict the change in temperature will be linear – have another look at graph 10.4 and you’ll see what I mean – screnario A2 is exponential and scenarios A1B and B1 are sinusoidal.

    What I also find strange is that I also asked you about CO2, and in your latest response you say “both the IPCC CO2 and Temp projections are both overstated” (note that you say BOTH twice in that sentence yet all you give is a temperature projection…

    Well that’s 20 minutes spent not 10 so I’d better stop there.

  69. #69 Sime
    April 22, 2010

    Hey Skip.. The mentality of whats going on here..

    That’s easy…

    “There is a train coming, get off the track humans.”

    “No there is not.”

    “There is a train coming, get off the track humans..”

    “No there is not..”

    “There is a train coming, get off the track humans…”

    “No there is not…”

    “There is a train coming, get off the track humans…!”

    “No there is no..”

    SPLAT!

    “Hum that was fun” said the omnipotent being.

    “I preferred the dinosaurs though, those humans were just so intransigently stupid, and they never ever listened it was always me, me, me, good bloody riddance. How the heck did I manage to get a species to evolve that could be so intelligent and so completely moronic at the same time?”

    “Ho hum, guys how’s about we hit reset and do it all again with hairy porcupines this time, perhaps they will take their heads out of their collective back sides long enough make it out of the starting gate.. tentacles crossed!”

  70. #70 Joseph
    April 22, 2010

    you cannot simply change the rules by saying “we measure temp accurately” to “we cannot measure over 50% of the heat”.

    50% of the total heat? I don’t think so. That’s nonsense.

    In any case, there’s a difference between saying we can have a good idea of the trend in the last 30 years or 150 years within a confidence interval vs. the last 10.

  71. #71 skip
    April 22, 2010

    Crakar, do you believe the logarithmic relationship between CO2 concentration and atmospheric heat absorption shows that AGW is “a crock of shit”? Skip#39

    The log relationship between CO2 concentration and its ability to absorb OLR shows us how much temp increase will be derived from increasing CO2 content. When this is compared to the IPCC predictions we see a large difference between the two. This difference is due mainly to the IPCC’s assumption of +ve feed backs from WV. I have demonstrated more than once the temp predictions by the IPCC are incorrect based on this +ve feed back assumption.

    Therefore the log relationship shows the IPCC version of AGW to be a crock of shit. –Crakar #45

    This is pure fantasy, Crakar.

    The IPCC predictions that made the logarithmic relationship relevant were for 700 ppm—not our *current* concentration levels and short term temp trends about which you think you’re making a clever point (you’re not). You had originally pounced on this because you thought it was proof that the IPCC has missed the obvious logarithmic relationship and therefore its projected temperature range predictions were botched. You in essence were fooled by Watt’s ignorance and were rightly embarrassed about it. I encourage you to go back and read the exchanges–with you boldly declaring victory and the IPCC to be “a crock of shit” based on something you didn’t even understand at the time.

    Even if you *have* cleverly shown IPCC “predictions” to “incorrect” based on your 10 year analysis, *this has nothing to do with long term implications of the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and heat absorption.*

    You’re trying to argue, “I was right about point A”[and you weren’t], “therefore my argument about point C is vindicated–however absurd it appears.”

  72. #72 crakar24
    April 22, 2010

    Skip i think you make a lot of assumptions when you write a post.

    What i have said and i will say it only one more time is that the IPCC has based its temp projections on its CO2 projections. This makes sense does it not?

    So after only 10 years the IPCC have got the CO2 projection wrong by a big way therefore their temp projections are wrong by a big way.

    So all of their doomsday apocalyptic scenarios need to be taken down a notch or two but as we both know this will not happen.

    Additionally if we look at where we are in the log curve and we double CO2 out to around 800ppm then we will get about 1C in warming (before feed backs) according to the IPCC we will get 5C or 6C from this feed back which of course is absolute nonsense and the longer CO2 levels increase and the temp remains essentially flat as it has done for many years now the more and more the IPCC projections look like a crock of shit.

    Slime,

    Trying to drum up a bit of business at Azuro?

    He is another take on your analogy.

    Dont cross the tracks

    Why not

    Because there might be a train

    I dont see a train

    But there might be

    There is no train

    How do you know

    Are the bells ringing?

    No

    Are the lights flashing?

    No

    Are the boom gates lowering?

    No

    So where is your evidence there is a train

    But…but…but…there might be so err on the side of caution and dont cross the tracks

    Stuff this i am crossing

  73. #73 Ian Forrester
    April 22, 2010

    Crakar, you are spewing your usual daily dose of garbage. IPCC CO2 projections are bang on with actual measurements.

    See here (Figure 2):

    http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_co2.html

    Are you really that stupid, lazy, slovenly, slothful, blind and lacking intelligence to actually read and interpret data or are you just plain dishonest?

    I will let the readers decide which, I have already made up my mind.

  74. #74 mandas
    April 22, 2010

    crakar

    “….What i have said and i will say it only one more time is that the IPCC has based its temp projections on its CO2 projections. This makes sense does it not?…So after only 10 years the IPCC have got the CO2 projection wrong by a big way therefore their temp projections are wrong by a big way….”

    Three things:. Firstly, do you really promise to only put forward this nonsense one more time? (is this it, or do you mean one more time after this?). In any case, if we address it now will you keep your promise and shut-up about it forever?

    Secondly, the IPCC has been around a lot longer than 10 years. But I guess you are trying to prove a point by using the most recent 10 years of temperature readings and attempting to draw a trend line through the data. The fallacy of this has been pointed out to you so many times that you would think you may have cottoned on by now. Obviously not. Maybe if you read the chapter on statistics in a high school mathematics text book you might understand. Just to help you out, here is an on-line book for your reading pleasure – it even has exercises you can try out:
    http://davidmlane.com/hyperstat/

    Finally, you are completely wrong with regard to IPCC temperature predictions. It’s complete nonsense to talk about a single prediction by the IPCC, because they use a number of models to provide a range of possibilities. Some of these models predict relatively steep temperature rises, whilst other predict only moderate increases. And guess what?! Exactly as Ian has said in the previous post, the observed temperature changes are tracking along WITHIN THE RANGE OF THE MODELS USED. In other words – the IPCC predictions, far from being ‘a crock of shit’, are perfectly valid.

    So, perhaps if you did some REAL research and read some papers rather than simply cutting and pasting the latest deniersphere rubbish, you may discover that, as Molder and Scully have said – the truth is out there (just not in the places you are looking).

  75. #75 crakar24
    April 22, 2010

    I would like to comment Mandas but i am a man of my word.

    Have a good long weekend.

  76. #77 Chris S.
    April 23, 2010

    crakar: “i am a man of my word”

    Much as I hate to disagree with you on that point I have to say you don’t seem to be. You still haven’t answered my question about how you determined what the IPCC predicted CO2 for 2010.

    If you wonder why people here get annoyed with you, just look at Ian Forrester’s post above. In seven invective strewn lines Ian has provided more information on the IPCC CO2 projections than you have in five days of posting.

    Take a look at the link Ian provides – I can’t see how it supports your claims, can you?

  77. #78 sime
    April 23, 2010

    crakar24

    Slime is not my name but it is how you are behaving and there was no call for such.

    Who I work for and what I do has nothing what so ever to do with this, grow up and if you can’t at least pretend to be an adult.

    “Stuff this i am crossing”

    And there in lies my point “Me, me, me…” stuff, the planet, stuff everything on it, Crakar24 is going to do what ever he / she wants, regardless of what anybody or anyone else says because Cracker24 is always, always right.

    If the people here have got it wrong we have a cleaner better planet, you get it wrong and we are going extinct… But hey lets have a general round of applause for Crakar24, you be proud in you self absorbed naivete.

  78. #79 crakar
    April 26, 2010

    I have read Ians post (thanks Ian) but please explain to me where it says the CO2 levels are as per the A2 scenario predictions, thanks in advance.

    To Slime,

    You bust in here like a bull in a china shop and produce the most stupid analogy i have ever read, drop a few insults which are directed squarely at me and then throw in a free plug.

    I respond and you start squealing like a pig shouting something similar to “the sky is falling”, “the sky is falling”.

    I give as good as i get, remember that next time.

  79. #80 Chris S.
    April 26, 2010

    Crakar: “I give as good as i get, remember that next time.”

    Do you? Really? Check out post #69 in which I show you where & how to find the IPCC calculations for temperature. You get given that by me, all I ask in return is that you give me something, anything, to show how you have determined what the IPCC predicted CO2 & temp for 2010. Have I received it? No.

  80. #81 crakar
    May 17, 2010

    Sorry Chris this post (69) slipped by me, i dont look on the weekends much (too busy with kids and nagging wife etc) so sometimes i miss some. Will look closer 2morrow as it is getting late here.

    Crakar

  81. #82 mandas
    September 23, 2010

    We had a discussion earlier in this thread about the ‘missing heat’ from the oceans, and there was some debate about whether or not it may be lying undetected in the deep oceans. Well, looks like people are starting to track it down:

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/gjohnson/Recent_AABW_Warming_v3.pdf

    I look forward to comments.

  82. #83 crakar24
    September 23, 2010

    Thanks for the link, have not had a good look as yet but i assume as it has only just been published it cannot have been verified or validated in any way so we should probably reserve judgment until such time that it is.

    Hopefully the study which claims the models are in error by 200 to 400% will be verified shortly and we can continue our discussion on this subject.

  83. #84 mandas
    September 23, 2010

    Not if it happens during the next week – I am off on my dingo counting expedition on Monday. Have fun while I am away.

  84. #85 skip
    September 24, 2010

    Crakar:

    If you wrote that in earnest as its one of the most enlightened things you’ve ever said on this forum.

    I too hope the study is verified. My fear is that the preponderance of scientific expertise will eventually unearth numerous methodological flaws. M&M are on the make for anything that “disproves” AGW; I would not surprise me if this is just the latest smoke and mirrors show from cranks with an agenda. But here’s to hoping . . .

  85. #86 Snowman
    September 25, 2010

    Hi guys. It’s been a while so I thought I would drop in to see how you are. Still amusing yourselves here, I see. Still having fun. Good, good….

  86. #87 crakar24
    September 26, 2010

    Nothings changed here snowman,

    Skip still does not offer any opinons about anything and still hides behind the skirt of the IPCC, “I believe in AGW because the consensus tells me it is so”.

    Mandas still picks and chooses studies which he thinks supports his point of view (confirmation bias in action).

    Coby is away due to his wife giving birth to their second child (3 cheers to coby).

    The list of “i want to believe” drive by shooters is growing by the day.

    How is everything going with you?

    Crakar

  87. #88 Snowman
    September 26, 2010

    I’m okay Crack – a bit depressed about the government imbeciles who seem determined to cover every square inch of the UK with these hideous, totally useless wind farms. They won’t be content until the country looks as if its been taken over by aliens, like something from the War of the Worlds (and bankrupting us in the process, of course).

    Speaking of politics, I see you’ve been having a high old time in Oz. Do you think the current government will last? It certainly looks pretty fragile.

  88. #89 skip
    September 27, 2010

    Oh my . . . the Abominable Snowman. Long time no see!

    Crakar hasn’t really been forthright about the things that transpired in your absence. He correclty identifies me as a fool for consensus–even as he has admitted he has no scientific capacity to critique it.

    He accuses Mandas of cherry-picking studies. To say this is a “lie” would require ascertaining motive, which of course I cannot do. Suffice it to say that, Mandas, like me, has been utterly consistent in either (a) affirming what cited studies actually *say*, and *withholding judgment* where contrarian literature is beyond our grasp.

    In contrast it is Crakar who has:

    1. Been caught plagiarizing fraudulent pseudo-science regarding, among other things, the bogus issue of the “residence time” of atmosphering CO2.

    2. Been caught changing his story about what particular sources even say.

    3. Has repeatedly provided links/studies that do not even prove his point. A recent if tangential example was Crakar’s tiff with Mandas about Australian dingos. Mandas said they cannot be regarded as “native” as they were introduced by humans several thousand years ago. Crakar, in classic form, triumphantly provided a link to a New South Wales government website that casually referred to dingos as “native”. Had he read the second paragraph (I did), he would have seen that his own link also affirmed that dingos were, lo, introduced by humans several thousand years ago, which was the basis of Mandas’ nomenclature. Worse still, the very same website affirmed among other things the fundamnetal science and environemntal and policy implications of anthropogenic global warming. Crakar simply cannot be relied on to read his own sources.

    4. When pressed to identify a hypothetical state of affairs which would convince him of the reality of AGW–not that he had to say this state of affairs necessarily existed, just if it *did* exist, he would be convinced–he couldn’t.

    Thus, in response to you Snowman, very little has changed–as I suspect it hasn’t with you either from a year ago, when you embarrassed yourself abysmally on Arctic ice extent trends:

    Dhogaza, it is now absolutely clear that you simply lack the ability to understand any of the statistical arguments relating to trend lines – either that or you do not have the integrity to admit you are wrong. Your continued refusal to answer the points made by me and others demonstrates that clearly. Snowman on Hockey Stick #190

    I won’t force you to relive your humiliation on this unless you really, really want to. But what was *your* take on the quality of Crakar’s ideas–this otherwise charming guy who has been shown to plagiarize, dogmatically mis-cite, change his story, and even cite literature that proves the opposite of his point?

    Back then you complimented his “really excellent summary” which declared without proof (in HSOT #29) that AGW science is just a conformist joke, and then you proudly pronounced:

    if you had asked me five years ago how long the AGW theory would survive, I might have said a decade. If you had asked me two years ago, I might have answered much the same. Now, with evidence piling up seemingly daily, I suspect that belief in AGW cannot last more than another couple of years, and perhaps even less. –Snowman on Hockey Stick Open Thread #30

    Never in my wildest dreams, however, did I imagine the AGW case disintegrating so spectacularly before our very eyes.

    What has happened since you, an individual who lacks a basic grasp of the mechanics of a simple linear trend line, declared the death of AGW, Snowman?

    The past decade has been shown to be the hottest in the instrumental record.

    So, Snowman! Having had a year to thing about it, what would *your* answer to the Big Question be? What hypothetical state of affairs would have to prevail for *you* to be persuaded that the best available scientific evidence affirms anthropegenic global warming?

  89. #90 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Hi Skip. I’m rather touched that you still remember my modest contributions after all this time. But I’m glad to say that my predictions about the death of AGW alarmism have been spectacularly confirmed.

    Since my last appearance here we have had climategate and the virtual collapse of the IPCC. I note that even the UK’s New Scientist magazine, hitherto the fons et origo of climate hysteria, now admits, through clenched teeth, that maybe it’s the sun after all. (Of course, this comment is immediately followed by the obligatory paragraph about the irreproachable nature of the AGW hypothesis, but the very fact that they make any concession is highly significant.)

    Anyway, Skip, it hardly matters. Time will soon show that Crack and I are right and you are – what’s the word I’m looking for? – yes, that’s it, wrong.

  90. #91 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Oh, and I quite forgot: congratulations to our genial host, Coby.

    I have a feeling, amounting to a conviction, that I am not his favourite person. But no matter: in the best traditions of intellectual enquiry, one seeks not praise, but criticism.

  91. #92 skip
    September 27, 2010

    Snow:

    have had climategate and the virtual collapse of the IPCC.

    Wow. You are really behind the times, Snow. Climategate exists in your mind only. All three independent inquiries of this faux “scandal” rejected any claims of data tampering while chastising the participating scientists for being jealous jerks, which I could have told you was true of scientists anyway.

    A number of direct questions, Snow:

    Have you read *any* climategate emails–not just *snippets* reprinted on a blog?

    Have you read *any* of the defenses of the CRU emailers?

    Have you boned up on the mathematics of linear trend lines–so as to avoid a repeat of your Arctic ice extent bungle from last year?

    Would you venture an actual answer to my question:
    what would *your* answer to the Big Question be? What hypothetical state of affairs would have to prevail for *you* to be persuaded that the best available scientific evidence affirms anthropegenic global warming?

    Oh, sorry. You already told us:

    Time will soon show that Crack and I are right and you are – what’s the word I’m looking for? – yes, that’s it, wrong.

    You’re giving yourself away yet again, Snow.

  92. #93 skip
    September 27, 2010

    Since you neither read the article yourself nor bothered to cite or link it for us, Snow, I have done all three. The article is an *editorial*, and here’s what it says. I have quoted the relevant pieces, but you can find the link here.

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727793.100-the-sun-joins-the-climate-club.html

    Title: “Editorial: The sun’s activity has a place in climate science

    ‘THE idea that changes in the sun’s activity can influence the climate is making a comeback, after years of scientific vilification, thanks to major advances in our understanding of the atmosphere.

    The findings do not suggest – as climate sceptics frequently do – that we can blame the rise of global temperatures since the early 20th century on the sun. “There are extravagant claims for the effects of the sun on global climate,” says Giles Harrison, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Reading, UK. “They are not supported.”

    Where solar effects may play a role is in influencing regional weather patterns over the coming decades. Predictions on these scales of time and space are crucial for nations seeking to prepare for the future.

    [The article then lists several mechanisms by which the sun can impact climate, then goes on to say . . . ]

    So how large are these effects? In its 2007 report, the IPCC stated that changes in solar irradiance accounted for less than 5 per cent of planet warming since 1750. The scale of the effect is unlikely to change. But having established that global average temperatures are rising and will continue to rise over the 21st century, the key task for the next IPCC report will be to refine regional and medium-term forecasts. For this, including the upper atmosphere in climate models will be key. “We have known for a while that this makes a difference,” says Gavin Schmidt of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, “especially for solar effects.”‘

    You never read it, Snow; you read *about* it somewhere and then blithely believed what Anthony Watts (or whoever) said about it. You never read what you cite. Your fondness for Crakar is born of a kindred incapacity or disinclination for intellectually honest inguiry, but then again, that’s why “debates” about science occur. At least one side is being dishonest about what the available science says.

    Sigh. oh well, at least you’re still the Snowman I remember and not some cheap impostor. Welcome back.

  93. #94 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Really, Skip, I wish you wouldn’t make these tiresome accusations. Of course I read it (it’s hardly a taxing chore) and that is why I acknowledged the observations about the sanctity of the AGW hypothesis.

    However, the interesting aspect is not the inevitable dreary apologia for climate soothsayers, it is the magazine’s choice of words: ‘…after years of scientific vilification’. How can you fail to see that this is a startling, unprecedented concession?

    And as for your belief that the three ‘independent’ panels somehow exonerated the UEA boys and their chums, well, words fail me. You must know, Skip, that these ‘enquiries’ are regarded by everyone in the UK as an acute embarrassment, and a blow to the reputation of British scientific integrity.

    Anyway, thank you for your welcome.

  94. #95 Chris S.
    September 27, 2010

    “You must know, Skip, that these ‘enquiries’ are regarded by everyone in the UK as an acute embarrassment, and a blow to the reputation of British scientific integrity.”

    Everyone? Hmm… Extraordinary claims etc. or is this what’s called hyperbole?

  95. #96 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Well, Chris S, perhaps there was a bit of hyperbole in my remark. It would probably have been more accurate to say ‘everyone apart from the chairmen of the panels and George Monbiot’.

  96. #97 skip
    September 27, 2010

    Hmm.

    Answers?

  97. #98 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    You know, Skip, I am genuinely at a loss as to how to answer your question. You might as well ask what hypothetical state of affairs would have to prevail for me to be persuaded of the reality of a God in heaven, or of fairy folk in the woodland.

  98. #99 skip
    September 27, 2010

    You’re dodging. Its so obvious. I remember this desperate rhetoric from your earlier days. You simply don’t understand science, Snow. You think this whole debate is a war of assertions and as long as you’re asserting something–no matter absurd, you’re somehow “winning”.

    Your “skepticism”, Snow, is based on things like your own misunderstanding of how linear trends work. That’s just ignorance pure and simple.

    So you’ve dodged one question in classic form. What about the others? You’re not answering them, of course, because you know, as well as anyone who knows you knows, that the truthful answers are a crushing embarrassment to you.

    This is another classic attribute of AGW deniers. They seem to think its as easy to fool everyone else as it is to fool themselves.

    So, lets recap the unanswered questions that Snowman has dodged, and of course will continue to dodge:

    Have you read *any* climategate emails–not just *snippets* reprinted on a blog?

    Have you read *any* of the defenses of the CRU emailers?

    Have you boned up on the mathematics of linear trend lines–so as to avoid a repeat of your Arctic ice extent bungle from last year?

    What hypothetical state of affairs would have to prevail for *you* to be persuaded that the best available scientific evidence affirms anthropegenic global warming?

    And since watching you dodge questions in desperation is such a potent form of refuting you, I’m going to ask a couple more:

    Do you, Snowman, believe intellectual honesty is a virtue in debate?

    Do you, Snowman, believe *you* are intellectually honest?

    Here you are, being asked simple, straightforward questions. Your forthcoming evasive responses to them will be more potent than any other argument I could make.

  99. #100 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Your problem, Skip (if I might put it so directly) is that you seem to feel I am under some sort of obligation to respond to your hectoring. Should I be offended by your assertion that the ‘science’ is somehow beyond my meagre understanding? Probably. But Skip, I can’t be bothered getting worked up about it.

  100. #101 skip
    September 27, 2010

    And there we have it.

  101. #102 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    There we have it, indeed. I think, Skip, our brief exchange of views captures the sublime pointlessness of the argument.

    ‘Look at what the scientists are telling us,’ you insist. ‘What absurd arrogance to believe you know more than those who have devoted their professional careers to this topic.’

    I reply that, in any other branch of science, I would happily concede the point. I would scarcely be foolish enough to begin a debate with quantum physicists or organic chemists. But this is different.

    It is different because the subject has becoming fatally politicized. It is different because of the moral blackmail and tribalism that has corrupted independent inquiry (and if Climategate showed us nothing else, it showed us this).

    It is different because for all the billions that have been spent on research, climate scientists are still unable to demonstrate that the modest warming of recent decades is unprecedented, and are unable to point persuasively to the human signal in any warming that has taken place. Hovering over the whole debate, of course, is the nagging and unresolved question of feedbacks.

    A few months ago I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a member of the arts faculty at a leading university. Speaking of the politically correct pressures that so shockingly inhibit intellectual freedom, he said that no one can have a future in the English department of any western university if they are interested only in the established canon – Shakespeare, Milton et al. No, they must at least pretend to be interested in gender studies, ethnic writing, and the rest.

    ‘It’s a bit like people in the science faculties,’ he went on. ‘They at least have to pretend to believe in man-made global warming if they want to have an academic future.’

    Well, for obvious reasons I can’t name names, and you have no way of knowing if I have made the story up. I can only assure you that I haven’t, and leave it at that.

  102. #103 skip
    September 27, 2010

    I think, Skip, our brief exchange of views captures the sublime pointlessness of the argument.

    With someone who dances desparately around direct, clear questions, such as yourself, it is pointless in terms of your capacity for understanding the truth of the matter. However watching your squirm might do some good so I’ll keep asking and watching as you cringe from direct, honest debate.

    [AGW] is different . . . because the subject has becoming fatally politicized. It is different because of the moral blackmail and tribalism that has corrupted independent inquiry (and if Climategate showed us nothing else, it showed us this).

    I will now ask my question for the *third* time, and watch again as you recoil from answering it, because of course of you have no answer, because you’ve never read the emails, have no idea what they do or do not say, have no idea what the participants have said in defense of themselves. But I’ll repeat the question anyway; again, watching you dance and duck and cringe might do some good:

    Have you read *any* climategate emails–not just *snippets* reprinted on a blog?

    Have you read *any* of the defenses of the CRU emailers?

    It is different because for all the billions that have been spent on research, climate scientists are still unable to demonstrate that the modest warming of recent decades is unprecedented, and are unable to point persuasively to the human signal in any warming that has taken place.

    How would *you* know, since you’ve already conceded you don’t even understand the science?

    Hovering over the whole debate, of course, is the nagging and unresolved question of feedbacks.

    I know. There are a number of them (methane reserves, low-level cloud cover, loss of carbon absorbing foliage and light-reflecting glaciation) that are potentially *horrible*. Of course you know nothing of any of this.

    So . . . you had a conversation with a guy who knows nothing of AGW and makes no claims about it, but he’s your proof that the science is fraudulent. Beautiful, Snow.

    So, anyway . . . answers to the questions?

    You’ll never answer will you, Snow? You know you can’t. This is your shame and the crux of the difference between those like myself who accept a scientific consensus as the best available evidence, and those such as yourself, who think a conversation over a gin and tonic about language arts curriculum can refute it.

  103. #104 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Gosh, Skip, such anger. And do you genuinely believe that your sophomoric diatribes make me squirm? What hubris. What self-delusion.

  104. #105 skip
    September 27, 2010

    There is little doubt that you’re as impenetrable to insult as you are to reason–I’ll grant you that, and I can assure you it is not my purpose.

    Still waiting for answers which of course will never come . . .

    You serve a purpose Snowman; in actually glad you’re back. You are another archetypal dogmatic climate denier and your public refusal to answer direct questions and engage in reasoned debate has at least potential heuristic value.

  105. #106 Snowman
    September 27, 2010

    Look, Skip, these delusions of intellectual superiority may go down well in your own little milieu, but I would save them for the students of that academic powerhouse of yours out in the desert.

  106. #107 crakar24
    September 27, 2010

    Snowman @ 89,

    After reading the last 20 posts i believe what i said in post 88 needs repeating “Nothings changed here snowman”.

    In regards to your query of Oz politics, if you had asked this question 2 weeks ago i would have said Labor will not see out the year. Of course Mandas would beg to differ, in fact if he was not off killing native…sorry introduced dingoes i am sure he would.

    The government is a collection of misfits and opportunists, we have 72 Labor, 1 green and 3 independants making up the required 76 seat majority therefore if one MP crosses the floor Labor loses its majority. So one would think there is no way Labor can keep it all together and still govern, hence the end of year prediction.

    However it now appears that Labor are not in power, for example 80% of Oz voters voted for a party (Labor and Liberal)that promised with hand on heart that there would not be a CO2 tax or some type of ETS scheme in the next term but yet here we are now forming a committee to discuss what type of tax or ETS would be introduced within 12 months. A requirement to sit on this committee is that you MUST beleive in AGW and you MUST want a TAX or ETS if not you will not be allowed to participate, hows that for democracy!!!!!

    How can this be i hear you ask, well its simple the greens want a TAX/ETS and we are now going to get one. Of course Gillard (labor leader) was hammered in the media because this policy back flip was the quickest back flip on record, she defended herself by saying a minority government needs to be flexible and therefore she cannot guarantee any of her pre election promises will be adhered to.

    Apparently Oz companies need certainty on the TAX/ETS issue so she feels we need one but i beg to differ. Both Labor and Liberal went into the election saying they will not introduce one so if they both stick to their pre election promises then we wont get one in fact it will be a certainty just what OZ companies want. So we have ONE green MP in the house of reps dictating Oz policy when it comes to a TAX/ETS to fight AGW.

    What happens when one of the three independants does not like a labor policy? If labor dont change the policy then it wont get through parliament so this time ONE independant will be dictating policy for the nation.

    So you see Snowman Labor are not in power so i suspect this minority gov to last for quite some time and the longer it lasts the poorer Oz will become.

  107. #109 coby
    September 27, 2010

    Snowman in #103:

    “Well, for obvious reasons I can’t name names”

    Yes, actually, the reasons are quite obvious.

  108. #110 adelady
    September 27, 2010

    Crakar, you left out one of the more important aspects of this committee. The only reason there are no Liberals or Nationals sitting is that Mr Abbott has said no-one from the Coalition will take up the seats offered.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/09/27/3023007.htm

    ” The Coalition has also been invited to put two of its MPs on the committee despite Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s insistence that no Coalition MP would be doing so.”

    So they’ve abandoned the chance to put a point of view, and opted out of direct access to the material that will be discussed. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face!

  109. #111 Snowman
    September 28, 2010

    Ho, ho, how droll, Coby – glad to see that the strains of fatherhood and late nights haven’t dented your sense of humour.

    Incidentally, perhaps I could clear up a slight misunderstanding evidenced in one of Skip’s remarks (a wide field to be sure). I quoted my academic friend who declared that members of his university’s science faculty at least had to pretend to believe in man-made global warming. I did not make it clear that this was not his own conclusion; he was passing on the comments of his science colleagues.

  110. #112 Chris S.
    September 28, 2010

    Snowman – at least name the university. Then one of us can contact our colleagues there & verify the claim…

  111. #113 skip
    September 28, 2010

    Since I am delusional and affiliated with an institution worthy of only sarcastic mention, it should be easy to discredit my arguments, now shouldn’t it Snow?

    Except you can’t answer my questions. Your refusal to answer them and reliance on diversion is again, the most potent argument against you.

    Interaction on this forum has taught me that the Crakars and Snowmans of the world do exist, and are impervious to factual arguments. That’s sad enough but I’ve made my peace. The next best thing would be that any lurker on the edge of the debate would look at your strategy of avoidance and think, “Well, shit. Whatever I end up believing I certainly don’t want to be like *that* guy.”

  112. #114 Chris S.
    September 28, 2010

    “Though I rather suspect they’ll be back …”

    It’s taken a while but dhogaza’s words finally came true.

    I went back & read crakar & snowman’s original goodbyes at the narratives post linked to below & I was struck by post #11 throuh to #23. Particularly the line “but apparently believer friendly sites have found it”

    What need for debate when you have stubborness hey.

    http://scienceblogs.com/illconsidered/2009/10/narratives_or_the_anatomy_of_a.php

  113. #115 skip
    September 28, 2010

    Thanks, Chris.

    I was also reading over their You-gentlemen-won’t-have-Nixon-to-kick-around-anymore posts but I don’t know how to link directly to the thread. Whats the command syntax in html?

  114. #116 Snowman
    September 28, 2010

    Now that you mention it, Chris, whatever happened to good old dhogaza? He often made observations – not all of them positive – on my character and intelligence. But at least he didn’t go off in pouting sulks when I responded, unlike some I could mention.

    But enough of that. I had intended to look in only to say hello, and have already dallied too long – others things to do and commissions to undertake. But before you start imploring me to change my mind, let me say that I will be back in another year to see how you are getting on.

    By then, of course, we will have seen a further bitter winter in the Northern Hemisphere, the coldest for decades. And by then, too, the Republicans will have gained control of the House, and perhaps even, God willing, the Senate. That really would be the beginning of the end of climate legislation around the world, for which we can only give thanks.

    But it is probably presumptuous of me to comment on US politics when we are fortunate to have with us Skip, who is not only an American but is the possessor, by his own admission, of a mighty intellect – something that will doubtless guide and comfort you all in the months ahead.

  115. #117 skip
    September 28, 2010

    Running again.

    Prophesying about the coming year?

    Actually Republican control of both houses is a slight possibility. A split chamber is more likely. And it is absolutely possible that we could have an exceptionally cold winter.

    The fact you think either of these issues is relevant to the truth or falsity of AGW is telling, Snowman, but I will make one very bold prediction about the coming year that will mark your absence before any return to the forum:

    You will never answer my questions. You can’t.

  116. #118 Chris S.
    September 28, 2010

    Come now snowman, you’re not going to leave us again before divulging which university your academic friend was referring to? You wouldn’t be MSU by any chance would you?

  117. #119 Chris S.
    May 13, 2011

    Spambots have brought this post back to the top of the pile and what do I see? Unanswered questions to snowman!

    These bots really have it in for you don’t they snow?