Bad meets evil

Well I have been listening to Slim Shady recently:

I don’t speak, I float in the air wrapped in a sheet
I’m not a real person, I’m a ghost trapped in a beat
I translate when my voice is read through a seismograph
And a noise is bred, picked up and transmitted through Royce’s head
Trapped him in his room, possessed him and hoist his bed
Till the evilness flows through his blood like poisonous lead

But no, I mean The AGW party line at Wikipedia (thanks Roger). I’ll leave it to you to decide whether I’m bad or evil; maybe this will help [Update: its moved. Try]. I had a quick scout around google blog search but didn’t find anyone else abusing me in an amusing way. Do let me know.

Somewhat off topic, but [[Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/2009-02-23/Philosophers analyze Wikipedia]] may amuse. I couldn’t read the original articles (not because they were such dense epistomological tripe that they were unreadable, but because they are hidden behind moneywalls), but judging from the astracts there is the familiar not-understanding-what-wiki-is-about again. The idea that people don’t have reputations, for example, just shows pure ignorance.

And in yet another late-breaking update, mt’s attempts to understand RP Jr produce some interesting answers from RP himself, which I recommend you to read. To which no-one has produced a substantive response. RP has said this before, of course, though it’s lost in the morass that is the blogosphere.


  1. #1 Eli Rabett

    They were basically asked and answered a few years ago on inkstain and Rabett Run (you have to follow a bunch of links. Agitating a bag of wind is convection, doing it twice is boring.

    [Do you mean the RP segment? I assume so. Saying look at the archives isn’t going to work I’m afraid, there is too much lost down there. No-one on mt’s thread has noticed them -W]

  2. #2 Nicolas Nierenberg

    Ok I’ll play, but mostly just because I’m contrary.

    I don’t understand why everyone is in such a tizzy about what GW wrote. It’s cherry picking, and not completely accurate, but that is true of tons of stuff written about climate.

    I’m especially amused about the furor over the sea ice data. My theory is that this has people particularly upset because they feel they’ve found a clear and easy way for the general public to see the effect of GW, and they don’t want it diluted by counter arguments.

    Looking at the graph at Cryosphere today for total sea ice. It looks like it was essentially flat until 2000. Then took a big dip, and has come back a bit. I’m just talking about reading the graph, not what it means.

    So you have a 22 year trend of no change in this data and then a seven year trend of some change. I don’t really know but I’m guessing total sea ice was about average for the century during that 22 year period.

    Now lets look at temperature. There is a long trend of upward change, and a seven year trend of no change. If I say the seven years is significant versus the long term then everyone gets upset, and they should. However to be consistent they shouldn’t view the seven years of sea ice change as probitive by itself.

    BTW it is interesting that the period of significant total sea ice change corresponds to a period of little or no temperature change.

    Asbestos suit on!

  3. #3

    I’m with Nick. I think it is because, otherwise, these folks have got little or nothing going on lately. Al Gore due to speak tomorrow in DC. Snow forecast. Of course.

  4. #4 Steve Bloom

    “I don’t understand why everyone is in such a tizzy about what GW wrote.”

    People who are happy to be cross-posted at Climate Audit are probably unable to understand the problem.

  5. #5 Nicolas Nierenberg

    Mr. Bloom,

    Ah, the brilliant ad hom. If there is anything about my post here or there that you think is incorrect then feel free to actually say something.

    BTW I made the identical post at RC. I would have been very happy to have had Dr. Schmidt make a main post on the topic. He didn’t offer. So that makes me…?

  6. #6 outeast

    Looking at the graph at Cryosphere today for total sea ice. It looks like it was essentially flat until 2000. Then took a big dip, and has come back a bit.

    Without wanting to get drawn into any flame wars, I’m not sure what graph you’re looking at or how you’re interpreting it.

    I’ve not done a trend line or anything, but simply eyeballing this graph what I see is stability in the first half of the last century (with maybe a slight uptick in the 1940s), then a steady loss till 2000, then a fairly sharp decline (even ignoring the spectacular drop that is due to the 2007 probable anomaly). That’s annual extent – the trends are stronger for summer melt.

    I’m sure someone’s done the trend linesbut if my eyeball assessment is right then you still get ice loss even without the seven-year dip at the end… (I don’t know how reliable the data are for earlier in the series, but that’s a separate issue.)

  7. #7 Nicolas Nierenberg


    What you have linked to is the Arctic sea ice graphy. The global sea ice graphs are here.

    I’m not arguing that it is more or less relevant than the Arctic sea ice graph. But this is what George Will was referring to. Notice that it briefly touches the average extent recently.

  8. #8 Arthur Smith

    William, Pielke’s responses are hardly substantive; he minimally answered Michael Tobis’ questions in ways that suggest he accepts the scientific consensus, and yet he clearly is in conflict with it. Why? We have not gotten to the bottom of that at all.

    If you agree with Pielke’s self-assessment as an “honest broker”, can you point out *any* “skeptic” criticizing him for anything he has said, comparable to the criticisms he’s received from climate scientists?

    [I didn’t say I agree with the HB stuff. I do assert that he agrees with the sci.cons – which bits do you think he “clearly” conflicts with (WGI stuff preferred) -W]

  9. #9 outeast

    My bad, didn’t really register you were referring to global ice. (Plenty of people have pointed out the problems with that approach, so I needn’t reiterate – and it was Will’s move, not yours, as you point out…)

  10. #10 Magnus W

    Come on now…

    and RP, he does not seam to think that the models are worth much since he continuous to cherrypick to show that they are wrong… and then never say that he was wrong… or am I missing something?

    [I think you have the wrong RP. RP Jr is policy. RP Sr is sci, and nit-picks the models -W]

  11. #12 Arthur Smith

    I used the words “in conflict” on purpose – it may well be he personally agrees with every line in AR4 WG1, I’m not even sure that’s the question here. Yet somehow he spends much of his effort in attacks on those scientists associated with WG1, and writes extensive commentary claiming errors and making mountains out of molehills similar to the typical ClimateAudit stance. How do those two things (claimed agreement with WG1, yet conflict with WG1 people and work) reconcile? Magnus has given a bunch of examples, but he is very consistent over a long period of time in this. Most recently for instance was his long attack on RealClimate, Steig, etc. on the recent Antarctic paper, again making mountains out of, well, whatever. –

    Somehow the climate scientists are always the bad guys and WG1-style conclusions are always much more doubtful than the scientists say they are. Why, if he really does agree with the consensus?

    [No-one ever made a reputation by agreeing with people. Roger is ambitious -W]

  12. #13 Eli Rabett

    It is more than a bit disingenuous to ask why anyone cares about Will’s nonsense, he controls a lot of very significant real estate on a bunch of national, regional and local papers and magazines as well as frequent appearances on television.

    As to what is accomplished by replying to him, basically teaching him and his editors that he doesn’t get a free ride anymore but has to be at least loosely constrained by the facts. That still leaves a lot of room for opinion, but he needs to stop making up stuff to back up his opinion.

    Since Roger is a political scientist, Eli thought he would provide a policy criticism of his analysis.

  13. #14 Nicolas Nierenberg

    Mr. Smith,

    I don’t understand your point. I read the article that you linked to and it doesn’t seem like an attack to me. He is just pointing out that the view on Antarctic temperature has been evolving over time and RC should have just said that.

    The problem is that everything is viewed as a challenge to the consensus and is resisted at all costs. Antarctic temperature changes are uncertain. Modeling of local temperatures is uncertain. There is nothing remarkable in Steig coming to a somewhat different conclusion than prior studies. The next study might come to a slightly different conclusion than Steig. The problem was in someone saying that Antarctic cooling was exactly what models predict, when it wasn’t true.

  14. #15 Arthur Smith

    Nicolas – my point is, why did Pielke spend the effort on that – for what? You are quite right that people will come to evolving conclusions as the scientific evidence comes in. It’s hardly surprising. Why did Pielke find it worth his time to write such a lengthy article on the subject (and write it in a way that rather emphasized the uncertainty issues, to a degree that is hardly warranted by the facts)?

  15. #16 Nicolas Nierenberg


    It seemed to me that the point of his post was to explain how RC tied itself up in rhetorical knots trying to express certainty that just doesn’t exist.

    No matter what happens they always say that it is “consistent with the models.” In real life not everything is consistent with models. Sometimes it is different. Sometimes the models even have to change a little. It doesn’t mean the world isn’t going to get a lot warmer.

    So I agree with him. By presenting the science in this way they constantly set up people to show that something isn’t consistent and therefore the whole theory must be wrong. It’s the wrong standard.

  16. #17 cce

    Models are not created equal. Hansen’s famous model scenarios from the 1980s had a simplified ocean that significantly overstated warming of the Southern Ocean. Manabe’s model of the same era had a better representation of the ocean, and it showed “a slight cooling.” Likewise, modern models that take into account stratospheric ozone loss predict cooling of the continental interior.

    A model that contains these things will give you results consistent with observations. A model that leaves them out, won’t.

  17. #18 Magnus W

    RC mainly exits to stop myths about GW that CA and others are spreading. Now when the discussion in media seems to be more on track with reality it might be good to change.

    NN, where have RC said something wrong about the models?

  18. #19 Arthur Smith

    Nicolas, I have read every RealClimate article since the beginning, and I have never seen any article there “tied in rhetorical knots”. What they write is usually extremely solid. On the rare occasions I’ve noticed anything wrong I’ve added my comments, but it’s mostly an issue of missing some minor aspect of a problem.

    If anybody has created a rhetorical structure that has “set up people to show that something isn’t consistent and therefore the whole theory must be wrong” it is Pielke Jr.

    I’m sorry, I totally disagree with your conclusion on this. How can you not see what Pielke is doing as disparaging and denigrating the science (WG1- , WG2- and WG3-style) while claiming to agree with at least the WG1-level science. What possibly justified such a long article from Pielke on an issue (evolution in understanding of Antarctic warming or cooling) that is a regional issue almost completely independent of the global big picture? And this is just one example of many (see Magnus’ list for a start) where he has done the exact same kind of thing.

    His recent attack on Gore regarding WG2-style attribution claims is of a piece, though slightly closer to his own supposed area of policy-related expertise.

  19. #20 Nicolas Nierenberg


    Dr. Pielke’s post speaks for itself about RC, models and Antarctic temperatures.

    I have written this post on the subject of models and global sea ice.

  20. #21 Magnus W

    I stopped reading Roger a few years ago… which post? I read your link but I can’t see the link to where RC are wrong?

    And also you do see the “error bars” on the figures you are looking at? and know about the known problem with the models?

  21. #22 Nicolas Nierenberg


    The post is the one referred to by Arthur Smith above.

    Of course I know there is a range of possible results in the models I’m the one who posted the image. It just isn’t correct to say that the Arctic is more certain, or that the Antarctic shows an expectation of growth or being stable.

    What problems with the models are you referring to? I’m just quoting AR4. Why don’t you read and then let me know what I am missing.

  22. #23 Eli Rabett

    As Eli was saying earlier, to repeat, We have played this game with Roger before and if you want a more high minded and biting version of the exchange here.

    [Aha, links, good. Sadly wordpress thinks that links=spam, if you were wondering why it took a while to show -W]

  23. #24 pough

    RoJr. reminds me of Whatshisname “Everyone Needs to Shut Up and Listen to Me” Nisbet, so I find it hard to take him seriously. I tend to think of him as someone who has a burning need to be heard and perceived as The Source, no matter what he’s saying or, indeed, if he’s actually saying anything at all.

  24. #25 Magnus W

    NN, so your post is about Ice, where is RC wrong about that? and how can a model that shows a span with both + and – changes in sea ice be wrong on a short time span? (they talk centuries and probabilities, as said this has been played with Roger before… that might be why no one really takes a closer look now. And the same thing is true this time? It is possible for the models and different models to be contestant with both cooling and warming on both the same timespan and different. If Roger were cleaver enough (or started to act less clever) he could find a way to disprove the models himself… starting by looking at some of the links I posted above. It is not RCs job to keep Roger happy.)

  25. #26 Nicolas Nierenberg


    I know this may be hard to follow, but my post had nothing to do with RC. My post was inspired by the huge issue with George Will and sea ice, although it really has nothing to do with his editorial.

    If you want to say that everything is short term, and doesn’t mean all that much, and the models are right either way that’s fine. But then that would have to include the recent Arctic ice loss. And even the negative Arctic trend over the last 30 years.

  26. #27 Phil Hays

    bad of evil

    Is that like really bad??

    Yes, the models are probably wrong. They don’t predict nearly as warming at the poles as geologic records show, when run with the best estimate of CO2 levels. If the CO2 level is increased to get the polar climates warm enough, the equator is hotter than is consistent with what was living there. This shows that there is at least one major bad surprise between today’s climate and the climate of a century from now. Or would that be a “bad of evil surprise”?

  27. #28 Magnus W

    I do not know :) My point is that the models are not perfect and will improve and certainly the down scaling type of predictions will change. Nitpicking to try to prove them wrong while making basic mistakes like Roger helps no one. IMHO.

    If a signal is big enough to get out of the noise short period trends might be enough to see what is happening. but sure there have been exaggerations abut sea ice to…

  28. #29 Eli Rabett

    IEHO downscaling has about as much chance as extending the validity of a weather forecast by a factor of two. Slim to none. We got, what we got, which essentially we have had for 30 to 60 to 90 years YMMV.

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