A Few Things Ill Considered

Another “Hide the Decline” moment?

The fallout from the BEST project results continues, with the denialosphere frantically trying to disown and defame Richard Muller. Marc Morano is at his shrillest pitch ever, and believe me that is as shrill as shrill gets! I guess it works at some level, because he did make me look at his website. That high pitched squeaking broke down all my intellectual safeguards and I followed a link from his almost daily inbox spamming.

Today’s (approving) hysteria was about an article in the DailyMail which gives you the general flavour of the treatment Muller is receiving. Given his own rather vile treatment of other climate researchers, the very ones that BEST shows “had truly been very careful in their work” and had “managed to avoid bias in their data selection, homogenization and other corrections” (Muller’s own, rather arrogant, words) I find it hard to be all that sympathetic despite being sure he is getting a true beating. (Morano makes certain his pack of mad dogs has Muller’s email address close at hand). Kind of a “what goes around, comes around” moment, if you ask me.

Anyway, nothing too surprising in all that. I did, however, note with interest that the Daily Mail article quotes Curry extensively and on her blog she does not back away from very much of it. This is interesting because she is actully a named author on the BEST papers. “The direct quotes attributed to me are correct”, she says. She denies saying this latest “scandal” “has to be” compared to Climategate, but acknowledges she probably did so anyway! In her view, looking at a 200 year record does not make it clear enough that the last decade showed little trend. This is of course not a relevant observation for a climatological analysis, one decade is not enough to describe the behaviour of a 30 year average. Does Dr. Curry really not know this? Would she say one thing in a mainstream media context, and another in a scientific context?

An interesting question, one that is informed by this additional comment:

This graph shows that the trend of the last decade is absolutely flat, with no increase at all – though the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have carried on rising relentlessly.

‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting,’ Prof Curry said. ‘Whatever it is that’s going on here, it doesn’t look like it’s being dominated by CO2.’

This is a pure crock of bull. Real Climate has a great discussion of just what it is that climate models do and do not say about short term variability here, I highly recommend it. The take away message is that, in fact, many individual model runs do show decades in which the natural variability temporarily masks the long term trend. There is no expectation that an enhanced CO2 forcing will dominate on that timescale. The actual temperature record over the last 40 years even contains examples of such “pauses”.

i-2545e30660b3e6e0635b19ea507c186f-GISS-1880-2010-land-ocean.gif

I scare-quote “pauses” because they are not in fact actual pauses in the climatic trend at all, as evidenced by the eventual continuation of the global temperature rise. Such is almost certainly the case for the recent “pause” as well, at least there is no reason to think otherwise, and no evidence of any actual change in the situation.

Okay, so ‘This is nowhere near what the climate models were predicting’ is just wrong, but does Dr. Curry know it’s wrong? Well, here she is a while ago on her own blog quoting extensively from research exactly to that effect:

Because of the large effect of year-to-year variability on decadal trends, roughly 10% of the 10-year TLT trends in the 20CEN/A1B runs are less than zero (Figure 4A). This result shows that anthropogenically forced models can replicate the recent muted warming of the surface

So she is clearly aware of the truth of this matter, yet for her it is more important that the temporary noise in the trend gives her a hook upon which to hang her FUD than it is that the long term trend is as clear as it ever was.

The hardest thing I find to reconcile in Curry’s writings is her active participation in avoiding the cessation of this insane experiment with our one and only world with her personal estimation of a ~5% chance that we may end up with a warming of 10oC or more!! That was a “WTF??” moment if ever she has blogged one, and she has blogged many.

Update: Tamino has a closer look at JC’s embarassing intellectual follies.

Comments

  1. #1 Hengist McStone
    October 30, 2011

    So thats twice in a week that the denyosphere has shifted it’s position. Only a week ago Anthony Watts came out with ‘The issue of “the world is warming” is not one that climate skeptics question’ Now this pits him against Judith Curry’s position as stated in the Daily Mail. Oh wait she’s claiming she was misquoted or something – sorry I can hardly keep up – still it’s more exciting to follow the deny-o-skept-o-sphere than to read that boring and troublesome real science.

  2. #2 skip
    October 30, 2011

    Yeah, JC is a puzzle.

    I wonder if within a year we’re going to see a Mulleresque recanting from her.

    Because of our bout with the preposterous Richard Wakefield last year, I actually spent a lot of time on her blog (RW kept linking her mindlessly assuming she was backing up his horseshit . . . needless to say that was not the case.)

    She at times seems like a disciplined and sober researcher. But it’s almost as if she’s adopted this Devil’s Advocate identity and cannot relinquish it, diverting her from simple scientific/factual honesty. An amazing character.

  3. #3 cervantes
    October 31, 2011

    Playing this contrarian role is the only thing that causes anyone to pay attention to her. That’s why she does it. Narcissism, essentially.

  4. #4 Jason Calley
    November 1, 2011

    The alarmist cry of “The world is warming!” is just as silly as the skeptic cry of “The world is not warming!”

    Which world? Measured or modeled? Estimated? What are the error bands? Just the land? All of it? 51% of it? Oceans too? How deep? Where at? Average temperature rising or total heat content rising? (And no, they are not the same.)Big rise, little rise, catastrophic rise, negligible rise, historically common or unprecedented?

    Until both sides stop name calling and discuss verifiable limits and data, nothing is resolved. But resolution is probably not the goal, and name calling is more fun for most people.

    Bah!

    Hey folks, this is NOT rocket science. Rocket science is simple by comparison. This is difficult, very difficult. The illusion that ANYONE has a deep understanding of the Earth’s climate system will prevent any meaningful discussion. The best response to any dogmatic statement on climate is “Why do you think that? What is the data? How can we verify that? What would it take to disprove that?”

  5. #5 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    “The alarmist cry of “The world is warming!””

    Hmm. Care to say what’s “alarming” about “the world is warming”?

    Heck even self-proclaimed skeptics who complain of “alarmists” are all saying that the world is warming and they never doubted it.

    “Which world?”

    Earth

    “Measured or modeled”

    Measured.

    “Estimated?”

    Measured.

    “What are the error bands?”

    Pop along to this graph:

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.gif

    And note the green error bars.

    “Just the land? All of it? 51% of it? Oceans too?”

    Take a look at the title of the graph.

    “How deep?”

    Surface. Take a look at the title of the graph.

    “Where at?”

    This world. The land and ocean, surface. Or were you just restating your earlier ignorance?

    “Average temperature rising or total heat content rising?”

    Temperature. That’s why the title is “Temperature” and why you asked about “the temperature graph” and “the world is warming” which is a temperature trend, not an energy trend.

    “Big rise, little rise, catastrophic rise, negligible rise”

    The expected rise. Rather large and since the last time the earth had this atmosphere we had no ice caps, catastrophic with the major cities in their current locations.

    “historically common or unprecedented?”

    Unprecedented.

    “Until both sides stop name calling and discuss verifiable limits and data, nothing is resolved.”

    Since these questions were already resolved, but you “didn’t know” the answers, it looks like verifiable limits and data being discussed isn’t going to resolve anything, you’re still gonna deny.

    “The illusion that ANYONE has a deep understanding of the Earth’s climate system will prevent any meaningful discussion”

    How about the reality that we know enough about the climate system to meaningfully discuss our role? Will that help meaningful discussion? No, it hasn’t so far, all that’s happened is we get tone troll denialists who don’t know a damn thing and think that their lack of knowledge is universal.

    “Why do you think that? What is the data? How can we verify that? What would it take to disprove that?”

    I would ask you the same thing about your statement: “The illusion that ANYONE has a deep understanding of the Earth’s climate system”.

    Why do you think that? What is the data? How can we verify that? What would it take to disprove that?

    Or are we just getting another denier in the house?

  6. #6 Raging Bee
    November 1, 2011

    Until both sides stop name calling and discuss verifiable limits and data…

    Um…in case you haven’t been listening, one side HAVE done actual science, and have worked from verifiable limits and data. Can you guess which side that is? Here, I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the side who have stolen emails with no legal authority and lied about what those emails said.

  7. #7 Wow
    November 1, 2011

    PS, Jason those questions were answered on the very graph that was a large part of the posting. Seems like you didn’t need to read the post before you could come to a conclusion about your questions.

  8. #8 Gordon Andelin
    November 1, 2011

    Until both sides stop name calling and discuss verifiable limits and data…

    Um…in case you haven’t been listening, one side HAVE done actual science, and have worked from verifiable limits and data. Can you guess which side that is? Here, I’ll give you a hint: it’s not the side who have stolen emails with no legal authority and lied about what those emails said.

    Perhaps you could provide undeniable evidence that CO2 causes warming. Do we just accept as fact that temperature proxies and GCM’s are undeniable proof of causation? Are you saying that scientists who don’t believe in AGW haven’t done the science? Please provide evidence to back that statement up. Are you saying the Climategate emails aren’t factual. Provide the evidence.

  9. #9 Jason Calley
    November 1, 2011

    Hey Wow, hey Raging Bee,

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply. Here are some reasons why I think that the current discussion of climate is worth polite debate instead of name calling and dogmatism.

    Let’s discuss the “ten year pause” mentioned above. Here is what it looks like on Wood For Trees:
    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/best/from:2001/plot/best/from:2001/trend
    Ok… a “ten year pause.” What exactly does that mean? Does it mean a ten year period over which the ten year running average has a zero trend? Or maybe a ten year period where the five year running average is zero (as in the graph above)? Or maybe a ten year period where the raw data (or should it be adjusted data? Adjusted how?) shows a zero trend? Even if we agree on exactly how we are going to define a ten year pause, can we use a historical chart to do an existence proof? For example, the graph in the article above shows a period from about 1940 to 1950 (and remember that the five year running average distorts the ends of that time period)with a fairly steeply declining temperature. Is that natural? Are we sure? Maybe the extreme amounts of particulates put in the air during the process of a World War plus the effect of massive transocean shipping stirring up cold water from below the surface layer and cooled down the Earth. Add to that the effect of crude above ground testing of nuclear weapons. Who knows? Let’s assume that it WAS natural. OK, then we have shown (if our assumption is correct) that the undisturbed climate system can, in fact, experience ten year pauses. Can we still expect ten year pauses in a system with rising CO2? In other words, if we wish to use historical data illustrating a natural variation that includes ten year pause events, wouldn’t we need to find a ten year period with a negative trend at least as strong as the postulated positive trend being forced by the CO2? Yes, we would need to find such a negative trend — but the strength, the value of that trend is exactly what is up for proof and discussion! It is the part that we are trying to find out! The article says that climate models show such pauses for up to 10% of the time. Does that mean that there is only a 10% chance of our finding the world having currently experienced ten years of pause? Does that make the skeptics 90% correct if they say the warming has stopped? And again, we are assuming that the models are accurate in their predictions, a prediction being made for a non-linear, self-iterative system, one guaranteed to jump between semi-stable states in a chaotic manner. Can you name one other branch of science where scientists claim to predict the behavior of chaotic systems for decades into the future?

    Even the things that seem simple are not always so. You say that the current trends are unprecedented. Maybe so… But look at the graph in the article above. Look at the period of 1910 to 1940. Compare it to the period from 1980 to 2010. Is 1980 – 2010 truly unprecedented? I think we can say that for the last 100 years it is slightly steeper than the warming trend of earlier in the 20th century, but is it catastrophically steeper? I would say no. You may disagree.

    What I will not say, is that these questions are trivial, that you are ignorant, that skeptics are flat Earthers or Creationists, or that the science is settled. None of those are the general case. This is a very complicated subject and no one — no, not even NASA — has so much understanding that they can be arrogant or rude about it.

  10. #10 Raging Bee
    November 1, 2011

    Here are some reasons why I think that the current discussion of climate is worth polite debate instead of name calling and dogmatism.

    That’s precisely why I accept the AGW hypothesis: those advancing this hypothesis have proven themselves credible by dong actual science; while those who oppose it have resorted to theft, hacking, lying, name-calling, and in some cases, actual threats of violence.

    Perhaps you could provide undeniable evidence that CO2 causes warming.

    CO2 is well known to be a greenhouse gas. The evidence is available for all to see; and the fact that you’re asking ME for it — rather than looking it up from actual scientists in the relevant fields — kinda raises questions about your honesty.

    Are you saying that scientists who don’t believe in AGW haven’t done the science?

    Most of the scientists who don’t believe in AGW are not CLIMATE scientists. So no, most of them haven’t done the science, because that’s not their field of expertise.

    And if the opponents of AGW have ANY science on their side, then why are so many of them resorting to theft, hacking, lying, name-calling, and in some cases, actual threats of violence? Galileo didn’t disprove geocentrism by acting like that.

  11. #11 Raging Bee
    November 1, 2011

    This is a very complicated subject and no one — no, not even NASA — has so much understanding that they can be arrogant or rude about it.

    You can’t win the argument, therefore it’s all just so complicated that no one really knows anything? That’s an old anti-rationalist argument, routinely used by fools and con-artists after they’ve been debunked; and it does nothing for your credibility.

  12. #12 skip
    November 1, 2011

    Can you name one other branch of science where scientists claim to predict the behavior of chaotic systems for decades into the future?

    Straw man.

    Climate scientists are not claiming to predict the “behavior of chaotic systems” writ large, but one general claim: It’s going to get hotter.

    (This in affirmation of Raging Bee’s final paragraph.)

  13. #13 Jason Calley
    November 1, 2011

    Hey Raging Bee, you say “and in some cases, actual threats of violence.”

    We may disagree on some other things, but like you, I do not believe in initiating violence. I will say — just to keep the record clear — that I think violence is justified in self defense, but that no one is justified to initiate violence. I do not think that even the wearing of caps, headgear, helmets, badges, uniforms or costumes justifies the initiation of violence.

    If it becomes required to decrease human generated CO2 emissions, I can only hope that some method of reduction is found that does not require men with guns to kill those who disagree or those who choose not to pay so-called carbon taxes.

  14. #14 Raging Bee
    November 1, 2011

    If it becomes required to decrease human generated CO2 emissions, I can only hope that some method of reduction is found that does not require men with guns to kill those who disagree or those who choose not to pay so-called carbon taxes.

    Thank you for admitting that your opposition to the AGW hypothesis is based, not on science, but on paranoid hatred of government and refusal to accept collective sacrifice for a common good. Didn’t take you long to resort to name-calling and dogmatism, did it?

  15. #15 blueshift
    November 1, 2011

    “refusal to accept collective sacrifice for a common good”

    I know you are saying this in response to a silly claim by another poster, but there is no need to assume that reducing CO2 emissions will require collective sacrifice. You could easily design a carbon tax so that it is revenue neutral. The US at least can borrow at negative interest rates (adjusted for inflation), meaning the markets would pay us to deploy electric grid upgrades, efficiency upgrades etc. etc. At the same time we would be reducing our long term health costs, and preserving the many services provided by our natural habitats.

    There are a few entrenched interests that would need to sacrifice, but it is clear that the “wait and see” approach entails far more collective sacrifice than a rational response to the known risks.

    Ok, /rant off.

  16. #16 mandas
    November 1, 2011

    I absolutely love the hypocrisy of deniers like Jason Calley. He starts post #4 with “The alarmist cry…”, then a few short sentences later he complains “….Until both sides stop name calling…”

    So Jason, since you have clearly identified yourself as a denier and a hypocrit, let me address this paragraph at your post #10:

    “….What I will not say, is that these questions are trivial, that you are ignorant, that skeptics are flat Earthers or Creationists, or that the science is settled. None of those are the general case. This is a very complicated subject and no one — no, not even NASA — has so much understanding that they can be arrogant or rude about it….”

    Firstly, you are partly right. These questions are not trivial, but you are spectacularly wrong with your assertion that organisations like NASA are arrogant or rude about it. On the contrary, organisations like NASA and NOAA et al are busy gathering the evidence, doing the analysis, and publishing the results in peer reviewed, scientific journals. If you want to know the answers to your questions, how about you actually read some peer reviewed journal articles. The answers are all there you know.

    Bu then, deniers like yourself and the idiots you worship (like Watts, Monckton et al) are busy writing blog posts and giving lectures that are totally devoid of any evidence or reason. They are worse than creationists – whose methods and rationality they share – because creationists are just harmless idiots that the vast majority of us can ignore. They barely even exist outside the USA.

    But climate change deniers are harming the environment that we all rely on for our survival and prosperity. Quite frankly, I am sick of idiots like yourself who totally lack any education in science, but think you know far more that real scientists with real educations who have spent decades studying and analysing the issue.

    Do you really think that ignorant people like you – and I use ignorant in its proper grammatical sense – who know absolutely nothing about the subject, have come up with a bunch of clever questions that scientists haven’t thought of? Or are you one of these fools who accuses scientists of some sort of conspiracy to fabricate data in order to obtain research funding?

    You made one correct and important point. Climate change should be discussed by polite debate without name calling. On the second part of that point, you have shown your hand and failed spectacularly to follow your own suggestion. “Alarmists” huh?

    On the first part of your point, climate change IS being subject to polite debate in the forum where it counts – among scientists. Its only outside the realm of real science that the debate changes – because deniers keep putting forward zombie ideological viewpoints that are contrary to both the evidence and everything we know about science.

    I wonder why you have chosen this particular field of science to be ‘skeptical’ about? Why don’t you turn your ‘skepicism’ to quantum physics or astrophysics? They are both fields with huge unanswered questions, and both seems to operate way outside what we would consider common sense. The answer is obvious of course. You are ignorant of all three fields of study, but there is little ideology involved in questioning quantum physics or wondering about dark energy. But there is plenty of ideology involved in a viewpoint questioning climate change, especially if you are in the pocket of the fossil fuel industry, or are such a right wing nut-job that you will unquestioningly oppose everything that greenies or liberals support.

    What is your reason for ignorantly questioning the expertise of scientists?

  17. #17 Mlax
    November 1, 2011

    RE: Post#9
    “Can we still expect ten year pauses in a system with rising CO2?”
    From your own link from the woodfortrees site, put in the time period 1988 to 1998 (as one example).
    See?
    Now put back in the period 2001 to 2011.
    See?
    Now put in the period 1988 to 2011.
    What does that indicate to you?

    “Look at the period of 1910 to 1940. Compare it to the period from 1980 to 2010. Is 1980 – 2010 truly unprecedented? I think we can say that for the last 100 years it is slightly steeper than the warming trend of earlier in the 20th century, but is it catastrophically steeper?”
    Plot the period 1910 to 2011.
    Putting the similarity of the trend slopes for 1910-1940 and 1980-2010 aside, you aren’t seeing anything unprecedented in that overall 1910-2011 trend?
    Sorry, but you are deluding yourself if you are trying to assert that the climate has not warmed significantly and unprecedentedly over that period. And I say that as a former denier myself, so I know well how tempting that delusional mindset is.
    I see nothing complicated at all in drawing sensible conclusions from a basic examination of the trends. You know, as well as keeping your eyes open, it’s as important to keep you mind open when viewing these trends. It’s hard to do if your natural political mindset doesn’t accord with the facts. It’s been a very hard transition for me to make, I can assure you, so I empathise with you if you are in the midst of your own philosophical struggle. Several regular posters here will help you “see the light” much better than I can, if you are open enough to engage with them. I suggest that, if your request is genuine, you ask them for help and they will treat you with respect and provide you with quality information. But believe me, if you are just a troll you will be treated as such – fairly and very harshly.

  18. #18 Jason Calley
    November 1, 2011

    Hey Raging Bee, mandas and Mlax,

    Just a few points before I move on, the first being a point of etiquette. Do you really find the term “alarmist” so very distasteful? It seemed to me to be a pretty accurate word; after all, you were obviously upset, disturbed, alarmed by what you see as a worsening climate, something with literally planetary disaster in the wings. I am a bit mystified. If, in fact, you find the term so very objectionable, I do here and now, very publicly apologise and promise you that I did not mean to give such offence. I understand why skeptics do not like the “denier” label because of its usage as “Holocaust denier.” Seriously, what would be a good neutral term to describe someone who thinks that we are experiencing a climate disaster? (And please…no grade school response like “Wise and Knowledgeable Climate Scholars” or “We Are Factually Correct and Everyone Else is Stinky Climate Proponents.”) Just a neutral term suitable for mixed (either pro or con on the subject) company.

    Next, I am amazed — unhappily so — at the extreme polarization I see in the current climate studies. It is a darned shame, and more like something between opposing drunken soccer clubs than science. Too bad.

    I read your responses and think, “What is this guy talking about?! That is not at all what I said, or even implied! Where the heck did THAT come from?! This is not even rational!” I read what you post and honestly, it is hard to find two sentences that do not make me say “No! That is a logical fallacy, that is an unwarranted assumption, that is simply not true, and that is a circular argument!” I have very little doubt that most of you feel the same way when you read my few posts above.

    It is possible that with a few hundred hours of face to face conversation and lots of strong coffee we could come to a surprising number of mutual positions. I do not see it happening online though.

    And lastly, I have no doubt that those of you who bother to post here are very sincere and very convinced that our planet is on the verge of an unparalleled disaster. I can only imagine how many times you have woken up in the middle of the night, sick to your stomach from thinking about it. Those of you who have children or grandchildren have an extra burden to bear. I am sorry for your pain, I really am.

    Thank you for your input, my best to you and to yours.

  19. #19 skip
    November 1, 2011

    And I say that as a former denier myself, so I know well how tempting that delusional mindset is. –Mlax

    Is that what you were? I never picked up on it.

    “I read your responses and think [the worst of the quality of your arguments].”– Jason

    You’re of course welcome to think it. Can you document a specific instance of, for example, distorting your views or circular reasoning? That’s the kind of rational argument the regulars here will take on at face value–and acknowledge where appropriate. Mandas, myself [not that I count myself in their company], Coby, and others have all backtracked when shown up.

    So, specifics please . . . .

  20. #20 Ian Forrester
    November 1, 2011

    Jason Calley whined:

    Next, I am amazed — unhappily so — at the extreme polarization I see in the current climate studies. It is a darned shame, and more like something between opposing drunken soccer clubs than science. Too bad.

    Yes, there is polarization in this area but it is not between differences in science. The polarization is between honesty and the dishonesty shown by all AGW deniers and their supporters.

    You have obviously chosen to support the AGW deniers. Can you give us a reason for this decision? You obviously cannot make your choice by evaluating the science since that is beyond your intellectual abilities. So, please tell us why you are an AGW denier. What did you read or someone tell you that made you decide that climate scientists are all wrong?

    Spend more time reading the scientific literature or decent text books rather then wasting time on denier sites and you may learn something and perhaps understand a bit of climate science.

  21. #21 mandas
    November 1, 2011

    Jason

    You asked:
    “……Seriously, what would be a good neutral term to describe someone who thinks that we are experiencing a climate disaster?…”

    The best phrase I can think of is “climate scientist”. But for those of us who aren’t actually climate scientists, then the term you should use is “someone who accepts the evidence”.

    You also stated:
    “….Next, I am amazed — unhappily so — at the extreme polarization I see in the current climate studies. It is a darned shame, and more like something between opposing drunken soccer clubs than science. Too bad….”

    Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me make this perfectly clear, so you get this. THERE IS NO POLARISATION IN CURRENT CLIMATE STUDIES. Zero. Zilch. Nada. None.

    The ONLY polarisation is between scientists and non-scientists. Every single working climate scientist who publishes in this field agrees that the climate is changing, and humans are responsible. The ONLY disagreement in science is regarding the likely extent of that change – and even in that regard there is not significant disagreement.

    So once again I ask. Why do you – who has no expertise on this issue – side with people with no credibility and disagree with the people who know what they are talking about?

  22. #22 Mlax
    November 1, 2011

    Skip,
    Yes, when I first happened upon this site three years ago (or more) I was a committed denier. I would come back regularly, here and elsewhere, in the hope that the pro-AGW crowd would be smited by some new research or evidence that showed AGW to be a crock. A lot of my denial was based on fear: surely humanity wasn’t really in the process of committing very serious and potentially irreversible environmental harm?
    I don’t recall the exact moment I fully stopped pretending, but it wasn’t all that long ago. I think a turning point might have been when you yourself admitted on this site that you had once been a Christian fundamentalist (or had held a belief system along such lines). I thought, Well, if an intelligent man like Skip can turn an ideological/philosophical corner, then maybe I can leave my AGW denialist b.s. behind and use my brain for a change. So I did; one can only ignore the evidence for so long.
    But I fully recognise the motivations of people who post here like JC because I used to think like that. If he is an intelligent man at heart, then he will come out of it eventually, I hope.

  23. #23 mandas
    November 1, 2011

    And Jason, if you want to know why I think we are experiencing a climate disaster, let me explain.

    I am a wildlife scientist. I study the ecology of wildlife species; their ecosystems, their biology and populations, and the relationship between animals and their environments. And I cannot begin to tell you just how bad things are in the world at the moment.

    Things are bad enough because of habitat fragmentation and the over-exploitation of resources. Whole populations are undergoing sever decline, and trophic order collapse is underway in many parts of the world. Climate change is making this far worse. When species are forced into isolated fragments of their former range, they have nowhere to go if the circumstances in that fragmented habitat change. Whether it be by one-off disaster (drought, flood, fire), or the gradual change in vegetation or invertebrate populations because of climate change, many species around the world are going locally extinct, and many populations will go completely extinct in the very near future. Of that there is absolutely no doubt.

    So why should you care? Well, the natural environment and individual species are like a game of ‘kerplunk’ (if you know what that is). You can pull out one stick (species) and nothing may happen. But pull out too many sticks, or the wrong stick, and all the marbles fall out. That’s what’s happening all over the world right now. And guess what? We rely on these species for food, and to keep the rest of the ecosystem functioning properly.

    We humans like to think we are so clever, and are somehow immune to the impacts that nature has on other species. I am here to tell you right now we are not. Have you ever seen a species undergoing exponential growth? It is a fairly common phenomenon when there is an abundance of resources and there are no pressures to limit population growth such as predation or disease. On every single occasion the population eventually increases at such a high rate that it grows beyond the natural limits that would be imposed by resource limitations. An extreme imbalance is created, and the resources that the population relies on for survival start to undergo decline and collapse.

    Eventually, the limitations imposed by resource limitations take their toll. The population starts to compete internally for the few resources that are available. However, because there is simply not enough to go around there is no alternative other than for the population to undergo rapid collapse – normally far below what would normally be sustainable, because the available resources have already declined below what would be a ‘natural’ balance.

    Does any of this sound familiar to you? Climate change is NOT about it being a few degrees hotter, sea level rise or more extreme weather events. Climate change is about a fundamental change to the ecosystem that we rely on to survive.

    You want to know why I am an ‘alarmist’? It’s because I have seen it before, and I know what is happening. Now, why are you a denier?

  24. #24 Raging Bee
    November 1, 2011

    Those of you who have children or grandchildren have an extra burden to bear.

    Yeah, life is more complicated when you give a shit what kind of world the next generation will inherit from us.

    I am sorry for your pain, I really am.

    Given the lengths you go to to run away from the truth, I’m sure you’re being quite sincere in your sympathy here. Now if you could respond to your fear by joining in sensible action, instead of running away, you’d be helping us make things better…

  25. #25 Chris S.
    November 2, 2011

    “It may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two when the temperature cools relative to the present level.

    And then I know what’s going to happen. I will get millions of phone calls: “Eh, what’s going on? So, is global warming disappearing?” “Have you lied on [sic] us?””

    Mojib Latif on prediction.

    I note that Jason Calley decided not to tackle the theoretical physics behind CO2 – related warming…

    Mlax

  26. #26 Chris S.
    November 2, 2011

    Oops, was going to direct a comment to Mlax but went to try & find some of his(her) older posts to check something first. Couldn’t find them so hit Post without deleting his(her) name.

    Did have a little chuckle reading back over some of the old crakar/snowman posts though.

  27. #27 Wow
    November 2, 2011

    “Here are some reasons why I think that the current discussion of climate is worth polite debate instead of name calling and dogmatism.”

    However, since you haven’t bothered to actually educate and instead asked questions that merely wasted everyone’s time because most of them were answered in the damn graph on the posting to which you were whining in, why would anyone believe you’re here to do anything other than name call and promote your dogma?

    A whine, as everyone else has pointed out, started off with name calling and dogmatism.

    Irony. It’ doesn’t just mean “made of iron”.

    You are called a denier not because it’s a name but because it is an accurate label.

    You don’t disagree being called “human” or “Caucasian”, even though these too are as much labels as “denier”.

    This is because you don’t like the science but have nothing substantive to debate, yet still must deny the evidence.

    “Ok… a “ten year pause.” What exactly does that mean?”

    Nothing to a trend of global temperatures. You were asking what the temperature TREND was, remember.

    “OK, then we have shown that the undisturbed climate system can, in fact, experience ten year pauses.”

    Pauses of ten year temperature averages have nothing to do with temperature trends of climate.

    “You say that the current trends are unprecedented. Maybe so… But look at the graph in the article above. Look at the period of 1910 to 1940. Compare it to the period from 1980 to 2010″

    Ten year means have nothing to do with climate temperature trends.

    Is there something wrong with your noggin?

    You were asking what the temperature trend was. A global temperature trend cannot be ascertained with any less than a 30 year average without having the noise be a large factor in the value calculated.

  28. #28 Neil Bates
    November 2, 2011

    Jason, cutting through all the thicketry: you see before you a graph with an upward trend, and some fluctuations that mean of course, sometimes the line goes down instead of up. But overall, it keeps going up, as does CO2 (which rises in a more linear fashion since it is just an input with slow sinks, what else?) That is clear. Do you really want to bet our future against all that razz-mataz of yours?

    BTW, whatever else we can say, “Climategate” is basically made obsolete by this latest affirmation of the warming, since the accusation was about fudging the data instead of theoretical claim of connection. True?

    “Fine minds make fine distinctions.”

  29. #29 skip
    November 2, 2011

    It is tempting, Mlax, to say flattery will get you everywhere, but the truth is it is precisely because I recognize my *lack* of brilliance that I have applied the bitter intellectual lesson of being an ex-fundy to the climate debate. I do not want to find myself on the wrong side of the facts, and it’s this posture of humility that I preach when engaged, as a non-expert, in the climate debate

    I was during my evangelical years a . . . what’s a good term . . . *preening faux intellectual*. The idiocy I believed and preached and buttressed with clownish arguments is exactly what I see climate deniers doing.

  30. #30 Raging Bee
    November 2, 2011

    I do not want to find myself on the wrong side of the facts, and it’s this posture of humility that I preach when engaged, as a non-expert, in the climate debate.

    Welcome to the strange and shocking world of intelligence analysis. Or, as the denialists call it after they get debunked, “ad-hominem attacks.”

  31. #31 daedalus2u
    November 2, 2011

    If there is a 5% chance of a 10 C rise, isn’t that enough to base extreme mitigation measures on? At a 10 C rise, everything melts and sea level goes up ~70 meters. What is the value of everything that would be flooded? Lets say it is only $100 trillion. 5% is $5 trillion. At a discount rate of 5%, that is $250 billion. Thus it is worth $250 billion per year to stave off a 5% chance of a 10 C rise by one year.

  32. #32 monty
    November 2, 2011

    Hi Coby
    This is great. Glad you brought up Curry’s crazy views on climate sensitivity too. I had been on at her for some time about what her views were….she repeatedly failed to answer me and just let the usual deniers on her blog attack me. Finally, she gave the answer. Does she REALLY believe that climate sensitivity could be 0C? Or that it might be as much as 10? If the former, she’d have a hard time explaining the past climate record; if the latter even she must realize we are in deep sh*t.

  33. #33 coby
    November 2, 2011

    I have had that utterance of hers in mind since she said it months ago. In addition to the sociopathic nonchalance about a possible 10oC rise, she apparently believes it is possible that climate sensitivity is negative!

    If she is true to form, we will never hear any scientific justification whatsoever for either of those extremes…

  34. #34 mandas
    November 2, 2011

    Coby et al,

    This issue of the 10 year pause and the comment made by JC that you referred to have been done to death so many times that maybe we should include them in the long list of zombie arguments that just keep getting resurrected over and over again by deniers. There was a very good paper released recently on the issue:

    Santer et al, 2011, Separating Signal and Noise in Atmospheric Temperature Changes: The Importance of Timescale

    here: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/pip/2011JD016263.shtml

    The paper concludes:

    “….In summary, because of the effects of natural internal climate variability, we do not expect each year to be inexorably warmer than the preceding year, or each decade to be warmer than the last decade, even in the presence of strong anthropogenic forcing of the climate system. The clear message from our signal-to-noise analysis is that multi-decadal records are required for identifying human effects on tropospheric temperature. Minimal warming over a single decade does not disprove the existence of a slowly-evolving anthropogenic warming signal….”

    Interstingly, this is what Pielke Snr (who is a ‘skeptic’) has to say about the issue:

    “….I agree with Santer et al that “[m]inimal warming over a single decade does not disprove the existence of a slowly-evolving anthropogenic warming signal….”

    source: http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/comments-on-the-new-paper-separating-signal-and-noise-in-atmospheric-temperature-changes-the-importance-of-timescale-by-santer-et-al-2011/

    So to all you deniers out there, can you please, please, please come up with something new. Having to play wackamole with the same old crap is getting tiresome.

  35. #35 Wow
    November 3, 2011

    SkS has a long list of denier arguments. Someone once suggested calling them after their number in the list. E.g. “Polar bear numbers are increasing” is “a 37″.

  36. #36 Chris S.
    November 3, 2011

    skip @29: “what’s a good term . . . *preening faux intellectual*.”

    I believe the term used first was “interminable bore” was it not?

  37. #37 Mlax
    November 3, 2011

    . . . preening faux intellectual . . .
    . . . interminable bore . . .

    Hee, hee, I may well have been looking in the mirror when I constructed those utterances. I was in the midst of quite an amount of ideological angst during those trying ‘Wakefield Years’. Also, I am a committed a-hole, so am naturally vitriolic, inconsistent and irritating.

    Keep up the good work on this site. It serves a purpose.

  38. #38 Wow
    November 4, 2011

    Pfft. Nobody’s perfect, Mlax.

    It’s taking the chance of change that makes the difference between someone merely human and someone superhumanly ignorant.

  39. #39 Daniel J. Andrews
    November 8, 2011

    I am a wildlife scientist. I study the ecology of wildlife species; their ecosystems, their biology and populations, and the relationship between animals and their environments. And I cannot begin to tell you just how bad things are in the world at the moment.

    Same job as mine (most of my work is in the far north of Canada, mainly boreal forest but some tundra work). I had someone ask me what it is like to be a wildlife biologist. My answer was along the lines of, It is like seeing signs of death everywhere you look. You know what should be there and you know how it should be interacting, but when you look, it isn’t there and everywhere you do look, you see signs of something very wrong. Just in my career I’ve seen decreases in many of the bird species. I’ve seen whole forests dying young. Our sustainable forestry initiatives are mainly unsustainable.

    Reading colleagues papers and talking at meetings I’m made aware of what is happening in other areas (ocean fisheries, whole lake ecosystems, tropical forests).

    Historically and in the present day, I see decline, sickness, and death and it alternately depresses me, angers me, motivates me, or demotivates me.

    And I cannot begin to tell you just how bad things are in the world at the moment.

    Just had to quote that again. I wish mandas was exaggerating. Climate change is just going to make what was already happening much faster and worse. I really would have liked to have seen Passenger Pigeons darkening the sky for days as they passed overhead, unaltered prairies, horizon to horizon buffalo, untouched old growth southern forests, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and Great Auks and the waves of bird migration that are now just a fraction of what they once were….

    by the way, I did counter-balance all that with the excitement of the work I do, the things I get to see, the places I do research, the beauty of quiet and remote areas that you have all to yourself (and another cranky biologist). I have a whole bunch of “jealous” pictures I post when I get back from the field that I take just to make people jealous (even if I can’t wait to get out of there myself). :)

  40. #40 mandas
    November 9, 2011

    Hi Everyone

    More on the deep pool of foolishness that Judith Curry seems to have fallen in to. I have just stumbled across a very interesting thread at her blog, here:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/11/07/two-new-papers-vs-best/

    It seems JC has allowed a guest poster to put forward two papers that supposedly counter the BEST analysis. The papers conclude:

    “…LL demonstrates that the 20th century’s global warming was predominantly a natural 100-year fluctuation. The leftovers are caused by UHI, the warming effect by increasing station elevation, changes to the screens and their environments in the 1970s, variations in the sun’s magnetic field that could influence the amount of clouds, warming caused by increasing anthropogenic CO2, and further unknown effects….”

    Unfortunately for JC, the thread was read by Dr Richard Tol, who is a statistician and has a CV as long as your arm in climate issues. He destroyed the papers, pointing out a number of methodological flaws which rendered them useless. In the process, he took JC to task for making a conscious decision to publish rubbish on her website.

    It would appear from her reaction that JC has now demonstrated that she is totally lacking in credibility and has completely lost the plot. Rather than accepting the criticisms, she defended both the papers and her decision to publish, and accused Tol of political motivation. You can read their discussion on the thread, or you can read a summary of it with the good bits highlighted here:

    http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2011/11/09/is-judith-curry-peddling-disinformation/

    The exchange demonstrates conclusively that JC has very little credibility left, and seems to be taking active steps to destroy what little remains. Although she is supposed to be an atmospheric scientist of some standing, she is trying so hard to sit on the fence and lend credibility to denier arguments that she can no longer see what is credible and what is not.

    For long time readers of this forum, there is an interesting side note to the discussion. Our old friend Dick Wakefield makes numerous contributions to the thread (as per his normal modus operandi), and he even tries to argue statistics with Tol. The farce is strong with that one!

  41. #41 Ian Forrester
    November 9, 2011

    Curry is making a mockery out of science. She says:

    An argument is an argument. Given that Ludecke’s arguments got published in reputable scientific journals, their merit (or lack thereof) should be discussed.

    Good grief, one of the papers is published in Energy and Environment and the other in International Journal of Modern Physics C, which is where, I believe that G & T’s piece of fish wrap debunking the greenhouse effect was published. It is quite obvious that she is willing to spread lies to feed are terribly engorged ego. Surely her academic institution must look into this and take proper steps to ensure the credibility and honesty of science and those espousing it.

  42. #42 skip
    November 9, 2011

    Thanks for the heads up on this, guys.

  43. #43 Marco
    November 9, 2011

    Ian, close, but no cigar ;-). Gerlich and Tscheuschner made it into the International Journal of Modern Physics B.

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