As I said before, I don’t think much of the latest prediction of cooling. But apparently , the authors take it seriously, and believe it as a prediction (pers comm). So RC has decided to see if they are serious. My expectation is that they will find some spurious excuse for wimping out (I’ve offered to put up $100 on the bet not being taken, with me paying out if it is taken; any offers?).

Andy Revkin covers this. The only complaint I have is that JA is being airbrushed out of the picture. Such is life.

Coming soon: betting on sea ice.

[Update: I *can* spell climate -W]

Comments

  1. #1 mugwump
    2008/05/09

    How dare they stray from orthodoxy! Punish the unbelievers!!

    But where are the bets from the high priests of RC against the more outlandish predictions on the high side?

    Seriously, this childish exercise only establishes how immature climate science and climate scientists are: “If they don’t take our bet then they don’t really believe their results, nyah nyah nyah”. Thank God the rest of science got past that a few centuries ago.

    [I admit I'm baffled by your attitude. These people have made something that they claim is a prediction. And we've checked by emailling them that when they said prediction they really did mean it. So... do they believe their results? My guess is that when it comes down to it, no, they don't. They know full well that their model isn't good enough. But if they are confident, and they are right, they can make some money off us. Severe punishment, no? I'd have thought that this was the sort of testing you'd be all in favour of -W]

  2. #2 dhogaza
    2008/05/09

    Thank God the rest of science got past that a few centuries ago.

    I could swear that Stephen Hawkings is still alive today. Or are you suggesting that theoretical physics is not science?

  3. #3 dhogaza
    2008/05/09

    How dare they stray from orthodoxy! Punish the unbelievers!!

    How, exactly, is offering them the opportunity to make 5000€ “punishment”?

    But where are the bets from the high priests of RC against the more outlandish predictions on the high side?

    Which “outlandish” predictions on the high side do you have in mind? I presume, since the prediction they’re betting against is a peer-reviewed article in the high-profile journal “Nature”, that you have in mind a published scientific prediction and not, say, some crap you’ve read on some blog somewhere. Right?

  4. #4 mugwump
    2008/05/09

    Which “outlandish” predictions on the high side do you have in mind? I presume, since the prediction they’re betting against is a peer-reviewed article in the high-profile journal “Nature”, that you have in mind a published scientific prediction and not, say, some crap you’ve read on some blog somewhere. Right?

    I do indeed, dhogaza. But I detect from your tone that you don’t believe I can produce such predictions. So before I do so, what say we have a little wager? That would be in perfect keeping with the new “climatology in the pub” model of scientific discourse adopted by William and his colleagues.

    I bet you US$2,500 I can produce peer review predictions of temperature increases over this century that James Annan (or William) will not similarly bet US$2,500 to support.

  5. #5 guthrie
    2008/05/09

    Hmm, mugwump, playing word games again? You dropped the word “outlandish” from your last post. Oh, and do you know what the difference is between prediction and projection?

  6. #6 Hank Roberts
    2008/05/10

    I’d offer to bet a dollar that he doesn’t, but if I paid off or collected, Heartland could sic the Feds on me for online gambling. They used to call it freedom:
    Why Prohibitions on Internet Gambling Won’t Work … http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=14715

    Now they call it money laundering.

  7. #7 mugwump
    2008/05/10

    [I admit I'm baffled by your attitude.]

    Really? I am baffled by your bafflement. The nature of scientific enquiry is meant to be one of open discourse. Frankly, I wouldn’t bet on any climate models being correct, whether they predicted an increase or decrease in temperature over the next ten years. The models have so many free tunable parameters that their predictions are (very nearly) useless over the short term, and do little more than confirm “CO2 == warming” over the longer term. You know that William. I suspect so do your fellow travelers.

    [Ah, well given that, I'm sure you're very strongly critical of the recent Nature study, on the grounds that they certainly do think they are predicting... whatever -W]

    Given that, what’s the point of singling out certain predictions for a bet? If you’re going to be consistent, you should trawl the literature for predictions you think have a better than 50/50 chance of being wrong, and publicly throw down the gauntlet as you have done here. If you did that, you’d have a lot more bets out there against *outlandish* [happy guthrie? better go find another straw to clutch at] predictions on the high side than against predictions on the low side.

    [Again, not sure what you mean. No, I'm not going to trawl the literature. If you think there is anything in nature or Science in the past year or so that fits your bill, please point it out. I *have* bet on the non-warming side of Arctic sea ice, not that I expect you to give me any credit for that... -W]

    But of course, that’s not the point of this bet. This bet is intended to douse any speculation that maybe the Earth won’t warm as much as previously predicted in the near future, because if the punters get that idea in their heads maybe they’d start thinking the whole AGW business is a load of overblown hype by a bunch of environmental fascists desperate to impose their vision of society on the rest of us, and we couldn’t have that, could we now?

    [The bet is intended to make the point that while the authors have claimed a "prediction" in a press release and the paper, they don't actually mean that when it comes down to it -W]

  8. #8 mugwump
    2008/05/10

    Oh, and do you know what the difference is between prediction and projection?

    Guthrie, you’re a classic example of someone educated beyond his intellectual capacity.

    Let’s see, the American Heritage Dictionary (as used by answers.com) defines “projection” in this context as “A prediction or an estimate of something in the future, based on present data or trends.”

    So, fire up the ol’ brain cells and explain the difference between projection and prediction that actually makes a difference in this context.

  9. #9 guthrie
    2008/05/10

    Cool, I know I’m getting somewhere when people patronise me. Now, I see no reason to play the “how many degrees do you have” game, but I have to question the wisdom of such a person as yourself, who has amazingly managed to avoid the actual important point I made in my previous post.

    Way to go pal. And lets see which smart comment you come up with about this post, I can think of several possibilities.

  10. Stoat:

    Pielke Jr. has publicly wimped out of the bet, so you can keep your $100. :)

  11. (…unless you’re explicitly looking for a wimping-out by Keenlyside et al.)

  12. #12 mugwump
    2008/05/12

    I *have* bet on the non-warming side of Arctic sea ice, not that I expect you to give me any credit for that…

    Betting against two outliers in a row is not much of a bet. That said, I do give you credit for taking the non-alarmist stance in that case.

    [The bet is intended to make the point that while the authors have claimed a "prediction" in a press release and the paper, they don't actually mean that when it comes down to it -W]

    The high-level message is we could well have a pause in warming. Just from a dynamical systems perspective that seems perfectly reasonable. Many complex dynamical systems exhibit non-smooth responses when you change their driving forces at equilibrium. That the climate could exhibit step changes in response to increasing CO2 followed by plateaus doesn’t seem at all surprising to me (in fact, given the wide variation in time constants in the climate system, I would be more surprised if the the temperature response was smooth).

    Given that the message of the paper is perfectly reasonable, what’s the point of a bunch of public, heavyweight climate scientists contriving a specific bet they know they have little chance of losing (don’t worry, your choice of overlapping periods makes that obvious) and then challenging the authors to accept it, with the subtext being if they don’t their study is hogwash?

    [That there could be a pause, or that GW is not monotonic, is perfectly true. That this paper tells us anything useful about this is not. As to losing the bet, AFAIK the bet corresponds exactly to what the paper says. If you're saying that there is very little chance of their prediction being correct, then I agree -W]

  13. #13 outeast
    2008/05/12

    Betting against two outliers in a row is not much of a bet.

    Mugwump, William has longer-term bets over Arctic sea ice melting going as well… with me, for a start:)

    ‘I bet you US$2,500 I can produce peer review predictions of temperature increases over this century that James Annan (or William) will not similarly bet US$2,500 to support.’

    Since the proposed bet is with the *authors of the paper*, what you should be looking for (to be making an apples-to-apples comparison) is predictions *made by William, and that he claims to stand by* that he would not be willing to bet on. (Same for Annan etc, of course.)

  14. #14 mugwump
    2008/05/12

    That there could be a pause, or that GW is not monotonic, is perfectly true. That this paper tells us anything useful about this is not.

    So it is not just their forecast you object to, but their entire methodology. Nothing in your bet suggests that. Nothing in your response either here or at RC addresses their methodology. So, as I said originally, this is closer to the days of Newton where mathematicians would set each other problems but not reveal how they solved them.

    [Try to drop the hostility and read what we've written. In fact, I doubt that their mdoel is good enough for what they are trying to do, but thats slightly to one side. The point is that their own figures and data presented show that their model isn't good. And we've said that -W]

    How does placing a bet rather than seriously analyzing their methodology advance science? And where are your objections to other, obviously broken methodologies, such as those behind the hockeystick reconstructions?

    [That the HS is broken is your viewpoint; if you're going to assert that as a given then you need to go talk elsewhere. The point of this (once again, sigh, is to point out that they don't believe their own forecast. Thats not directly science - its communicating science. They have "overcommunicated" their science. Clear now? -W]

    From the abstract:

    Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.

    I’d say there’s pretty close to a 50/50 chance that 2008-2017 turns out no warmer than 1998-2007. Purely gut of course, based on the big spike at the end of last century and the beginning of this one. Much the same gut that drives your bet against two consecutive Arctic minima.

    This bet only sends one message: “punish the unbelievers!”

    [You've said that already, and it was wrong then. Try to look beyond your blinkers, or take them off, or whatever the correct analogy is -W]

  15. #15 mugwump
    2008/05/12

    I bet you US$2,500 I can produce peer review predictions of temperature increases over this century that James Annan (or William) will not similarly bet US$2,500 to support.’

    Since the proposed bet is with the *authors of the paper*, what you should be looking for (to be making an apples-to-apples comparison) is predictions *made by William, and that he claims to stand by* that he would not be willing to bet on.

    Outeast, the bet I proposed was with dhogaza, not William. I just needed an independent measure of what constitutes an outlandish prediction on the high side. Given dhogaza’s support for William and William’s own gambling proclivity, a prediction that William refuses to bet in favour of seems like a reasonable definition.

  16. #16 mugwump
    2008/05/12

    From the abstract (once again, sigh):

    Our results suggest that global surface temperature may not increase over the next decade, as natural climate variations in the North Atlantic and tropical Pacific temporarily offset the projected anthropogenic warming.

    and the press release:

    “Just to make things clear: we are not stating that anthropogenic climate change won’t be as bad as previously thought”, explains Prof. Mojib Latif from IFM-GEOMAR. “What we are saying is that on top of the warming trend there is a long-periodic oscillation that will probably lead to a to a lower temperature increase than we would expect from the current trend during the next years”, adds Latif.

    Are they contentious statements? Hardly.

    The point of this (once again, sigh, is to point out that they don’t believe their own forecast. Thats not directly science – its communicating science. They have “overcommunicated” their science. Clear now? -W]

    In which case you have “overcommunicated” your response. Their forecast (in general terms) is quite reasonable. As is their press release. A gentleman’s bet of a beer or a dollar or a year’s supply of playboy (it’s been done) would have been a far more reasonable response, and would likely have elicited acceptance or at least negotiation over what constitutes a win (at least from anyone with a a sense of humour). A 2500 Euro bet accompanied by “if you don’t accept you clearly don’t believe your own predictions” is a much more aggressive “offer”. Like the bully in the Glasgow pub: “I called you a c*nt. Are you a c*nt?” That’s not an invitation to debate.

  17. #17 Sean O
    2008/05/12

    As I have commented on RC and elsewhere, it appears that I agree with mugwump. This should have been a gentleman’s bet not a bully bet. This is a poor indicator of scientific confidence and I sincerely hope that it doesn’t catch on. Does the scientific community really need the added benefit of public wagering of fairly large sums of money to make sure that scientific credibility is assured?

    I think you should revise your position and suggest that RC maintain the wager but make it more gentlemanly and less bully-like.

    [I entirely disagree. Firstly, they have the dosh. Secondly, they are quite welcome to clarify their position as "oh we didn't really mean it" if they didn't mean a prediction -W]

  18. #18 Christa
    2008/11/29

    Reporting on the climate change debate is not for sissies. Setting aside the bet that global temperatures will be lower in 20 years, Lindzen offered Annan an alternative bet. Betting on the outcome of scientific controversies is a good idea. Organizing such bets is similar to the concept of idea futures markets. Instead of trading weather futures, one might be able to trade climate futures. In the meantime, the Long Bets Foundation is taking bets on a variety of future predictions. At the Long Bets Web site, people propose bets with real money held in escrow to be paid out to a selected charity when the bet is won.
    ——————
    Christa

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