Defending the Tribe

This is a really interesting email string form the CRU emails, via Steve McIntyre:

June 4, 2003 Briffa to Cook 1054748574
On June 4, 2003, Briffa, apparently acting as editor (presumably for Holocene), contacted his friend Ed Cook of Lamont-Doherty in the U.S. who was acting as a reviewer telling him that “confidentially” he needed a “hard and if required extensive case for rejecting”, in the process advising Cook of the identity and recommendation of the other reviewer. There are obviously many issues involved in the following as an editor instruction:

From: Keith Briffa
To: Edward Cook
Subject: Re: Review- confidential REALLY URGENT
Date: Wed Jun 4 13:42:54 2003

I am really sorry but I have to nag about that review – Confidentially I now need a hard and if required extensive case for rejecting – to support Dave Stahle’s and really as soon as you can. Please
Keith

Cook to Briffa, June 4, 2003
In a reply the same day, Cook told Briffa about a review for Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences of a paper which, if not rejected, could “really do some damage”. Cook goes on to say that it is an “ugly” paper to review because it is “rather mathematical” and it “won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”. Here is the complete email:

Hi Keith,
Okay, today. Promise! Now something to ask from you. Actually somewhat important too. I got a paper to review (submitted to the Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Sciences), written by a Korean guy and someone from Berkeley, that claims that the method of reconstruction that we use in dendroclimatology (reverse regression) is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc. They use your Tornetrask recon as the main whipping boy. I have a file that you gave me in 1993 that comes from your 1992 paper. Below is part of that file. Is this the right one? Also, is it possible to resurrect the column headings? I would like to play with it in an effort to refute their claims. If published as is, this paper could really do some damage. It is also an ugly paper to review because it is rather mathematical, with a lot of Box-Jenkins stuff in it. It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically, but it suffers from the classic problem of pointing out theoretical deficiencies, without showing that their improved inverse regression method is actually better in a practical sense. So they do lots of monte carlo stuff that shows the superiority of their method and the deficiencies of our way of doing things, but NEVER actually show how their method would change the Tornetrask reconstruction from what you produced. Your assistance here is greatly appreciated. Otherwise, I will let Tornetrask sink into the melting permafrost of northern Sweden (just kidding of course).
Cheers,
Ed

A couple of observations

  1. For guys who supposedly represent the consensus science of tens of thousands of scientists, these guys sure have a bunker mentality
  2. I would love an explanation of how math can have theoretical deficiencies but be better in a practical sense.  In the practical sense of … giving the answer one wants?
  3. The general whitewash answer to all the FOIA obstructionism is that these are scientists doing important work not to be bothered by nutcases trying to waste their time.  But here is exactly the hypocrisy:  The email author says that some third party’s study is deficient because he can’t demonstrate how his mathematical approach might change the answer the hockey team is getting.  But no third party can do this because the hockey team won’t release the data needed for replication.  This kind of data – to check the mathematical methodologies behind the hockey stick regressions – is exactly what Steve McIntyre et al have been trying to get.  Ed Cook is explaining here, effectively, why release of this data is indeed important
  4. At the very same time these guys are saying to the world not to listen to critics because they are not peer-reviewed, they are working as hard as they can back-channel to keep their critics out of peer-reviewed literature they control.
  5. For years I have said that one problem with the hockey team is not just that the team is insular, but he reviewers of their work are the same guys doing the work.  And now we see that these same guys are asked to review the critics of their work.
  • Waldo

    And this is why the “source” is all important, Anon.: Papa Bear wants to argue “facts” but his “facts” come from a rather dubious line of sources so may not be “facts” at all. One can look here and see the BBC report: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm. on the subject. It indicates a single professor challenges the report which the original authors still stand by. Nothing is proven; there is no verified “OOPS,” only an accusation. Subtleties, I know, but this is why the blogosphere is so problematic: you, Papa Bear, took a blog based off a blog as proof-positive and then you wanted to argue “Facts” because, I strongly suspect, this is what you want to hear.

  • Papa Bear

    1.) http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data.htm is summary level information and is completely non-responsive to the issue I raised.

    2. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html contains nothing about the Himalayan OOPS – again, completely non-responsive.

    3. While reading Hansen, J., 2007: Climate catastrophe. New Scientist, 195, no. 2614 (July 28), 30-34 was fascinating, http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html provides no further insight into how the IPCC authors seem to be unable to pass 5th grade mathematics (this too is non-responsive).

    4. While http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ may contain something deep in its bowels about glaciers or the Himalayan mountains, neither word is mentioned anywhere at the summary level. Again, I must point out that the argument is non-responsive and if it does address the issue at any level, like all the others, the logic is buried.

    5. http://www.desmogblog.com/madhav-khandekar – According to the DeSmogBlog website’s own words, they “thoroughly investigates the academic and industry backgrounds of those involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action on global warming. If there’s anyone or any organization, ( i.e. scientist, self-professed “expert,” think tank, industry association, company) that you would like to see researched and reported on DeSmogBlog, please contact us here and we will try our best.”

    The idea of you using this website to shoot any messenger is quite laughable. If you cannot read the politics in their own statement, I don’t even know what to say.

    Despite this, the best they can say is Khandekar is “Listed as an “Allied Expert” for a Canadian group called the “Natural Resource Stewardship Project,” (NRSP) a lobby organization that refuses to disclose its funding sources.” & that his is “Listed as a member of the “Scientific Advisory Board” for a Calgary-based global warming skeptic organization called the Friends of Science (FOS)” that may have about a third of its funding from the oil industry.

    If I use that line of reasoning, anyone that gets funding based on proving AGW must be ignored. I suspect that you would not like that applied to your “facts, figures, & references”. However, if we get over the sophomoric appeals to authority, character assassination and misdirection, we come back to facts. Unfortunately, you have not responded to my argument.

    6.) Oh wait, there is the last post on 12:55 ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm) …

    A.) The headline “Himalayan glaciers melting deadline ‘a mistake'”

    B.) The Himalayan OOPS authors response? “The authors deny the claims”

    (I have to admit that the words above are a powerful argument). However, there is more refutation from the IPCC:

    C.) When asked how this “error” could have happened, RK Pachauri, the Indian scientist who heads the IPCC, said: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.”

    (Wow, what eloquence!)

    D.) So where did this information come from? According to the very BBC article you quoted “The IPCC relied on three documents to arrive at 2035 as the “outer year” for shrinkage of glaciers.
    They are: a 2005 World Wide Fund for Nature report on glaciers; a 1996 Unesco document on hydrology; and a 1999 news report in New Scientist.
    Incidentally, none of these documents have been reviewed by peer professionals, which is what the IPCC is mandated to be doing.
    Murari Lal, a climate expert who was one of the leading authors of the 2007 IPCC report, denied it had its facts wrong about melting Himalayan glaciers.
    But he admitted the report relied on non-peer reviewed – or ‘unpublished’ – documents when assessing the status of the glaciers.”

    (Hmmm, doesn’t sound good.)

    E.) So what is the “consensus”. Again, according to YOUR article “But in a joint statement some the world’s leading glaciologists who are also participants to the IPCC have said: “This catalogue of errors in Himalayan glaciology… has caused much confusion that could have been avoided had the norms of scientific publication, including peer review and concentration upon peer-reviewed work, been respected.”
    Michael Zemp from the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich also said the IPCC statement on Himalayan glaciers had caused “some major confusion in the media”.
    “Under strict consideration of the IPCC rules, it should actually not have been published as it is not based on a sound scientific reference.
    “From a present state of knowledge it is not plausible that Himalayan glaciers are disappearing completely within the next few decades. I do not know of any scientific study that does support a complete vanishing of glaciers in the Himalayas within this century.””

    It is entertaining how you cherry picked the original authors continuing to make completely unsubstantiated claims as the focal point of that article when the BBC was totally backing the argument from the “dubious” blog I originally quoted (and the BBC added more expert opinion backing my original point).

    I stand by my original opinion.

  • Papa Bear

    1.) http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data.htm is summary level information and is completely non-responsive to the issue I raised.

  • Papa Bear

    2. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html contains nothing about the Himalayan OOPS – again, completely non-responsive.

  • Papa Bear

    3. While reading Hansen, J., 2007: Climate catastrophe. New Scientist, 195, no. 2614 (July 28), 30-34 was fascinating, http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/authors/jhansen.html provides no further insight into how the IPCC authors seem to be unable to pass 5th grade mathematics (this too is non-responsive).

  • Papa Bear

    4. While http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ may contain something deep in its bowels about glaciers or the Himalayan mountains, neither word is mentioned anywhere at the summary level. Again, I must point out that the argument is non-responsive and if it does address the issue at any level, like all the others, the logic is buried.

  • Papa Bear

    5. http://www.desmogblog.com/madhav-khandekar – According to the DeSmogBlog website’s own words, they “thoroughly investigates the academic and industry backgrounds of those involved in the PR spin campaigns that are confusing the public and stalling action on global warming. If there’s anyone or any organization, ( i.e. scientist, self-professed “expert,” think tank, industry association, company) that you would like to see researched and reported on DeSmogBlog, please contact us here and we will try our best.” The idea of you using this website to shoot any messenger is quite laughable. If you cannot read the politics in their own statement, I don’t even know what to say. Despite this, the best they can say is Khandekar is “Listed as an “Allied Expert” for a Canadian group called the “Natural Resource Stewardship Project,” (NRSP) a lobby organization that refuses to disclose its funding sources.” & that his is “Listed as a member of the “Scientific Advisory Board” for a Calgary-based global warming skeptic organization called the Friends of Science (FOS)” that may have about a third of its funding from the oil industry. If I use that line of reasoning, anyone that gets funding based on proving AGW must be ignored. I suspect that you would not like that applied to your “facts, figures, & references”. However, if we get over the sophomoric appeals to authority, character assassination and misdirection, we come back to facts. Unfortunately, you have not responded to my argument.

  • Papa Bear

    6.) Oh wait, there is the last post on 12:55 ( http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8387737.stm) …

    A.) The headline “Himalayan glaciers melting deadline ‘a mistake'”

    B.) The Himalayan OOPS authors response? “The authors deny the claims”

    (I have to admit that the words above are a powerful argument). However, there is more refutation from the IPCC:

    C.) When asked how this “error” could have happened, RK Pachauri, the Indian scientist who heads the IPCC, said: “I don’t have anything to add on glaciers.”

    (Wow, what eloquence!)

    D.) So where did this information come from? According to the very BBC article you quoted “The IPCC relied on three documents to arrive at 2035 as the “outer year” for shrinkage of glaciers.
    They are: a 2005 World Wide Fund for Nature report on glaciers; a 1996 Unesco document on hydrology; and a 1999 news report in New Scientist.
    Incidentally, none of these documents have been reviewed by peer professionals, which is what the IPCC is mandated to be doing.
    Murari Lal, a climate expert who was one of the leading authors of the 2007 IPCC report, denied it had its facts wrong about melting Himalayan glaciers.
    But he admitted the report relied on non-peer reviewed – or ‘unpublished’ – documents when assessing the status of the glaciers.”

    (Hmmm, doesn’t sound good.)

    E.) So what is the “consensus”. Again, according to YOUR article “But in a joint statement some the world’s leading glaciologists who are also participants to the IPCC have said: “This catalogue of errors in Himalayan glaciology… has caused much confusion that could have been avoided had the norms of scientific publication, including peer review and concentration upon peer-reviewed work, been respected.”
    Michael Zemp from the World Glacier Monitoring Service in Zurich also said the IPCC statement on Himalayan glaciers had caused “some major confusion in the media”.
    “Under strict consideration of the IPCC rules, it should actually not have been published as it is not based on a sound scientific reference.
    “From a present state of knowledge it is not plausible that Himalayan glaciers are disappearing completely within the next few decades. I do not know of any scientific study that does support a complete vanishing of glaciers in the Himalayas within this century.””

    It is entertaining how you cherry picked the original authors continuing to make completely unsubstantiated claims as the focal point of that article when the BBC was totally backing the argument from the “dubious” blog I originally quoted (and the BBC added more expert opinion backing my original point).

    I stand by my original opinion.

  • Wally

    Ah, Waldo, you’ve yet to learn anything from you discussion here, uh?

    “My issue is …. a good deal of questionable science done by tangentially qualified people or people who may be working for an organization that stands to lose money or people who are simply charlatans .. or who are clearly people writing in the blogosphere who question the scientists but who rely on the blogosphere for their information.”

    First, lets deal with the first part, that “questionalbe science” bit. If I recall correctly, you never once argued that the science itself was faulty. Only that the science is coming from authors, journals or years you call into question. That’s a large difference there.

    Second, lets deal with this appeal to motive or the “stand to lose money” bit. If cap and trade or any similar legislation are passed, neally all of us stand to lose money. And the few that don’t are likely to gain money or power. So, pretty much everyone has skin in this game. This point is meaningless, just like the last.

    Third, there is nothing inherently wrong or faulty about the blogosphere. Similar to the first issue, you need to attack the argument not the arguer. Until you learn this, people are unlikely to listen to you. As you may have noticed, you haven’t exactly convinced anyone here of your point yet, have you?

  • Waldo

    Au contraire, Wally – I’ve learned a great deal from these discussions and it’s been very interesting. And a great deal that I’ve always thought has held true.

    And nooooo Wally, I never argued that any science was faulty; I argued that we, the lay-people (as you put it), are reliant on somewhere for our information since we do not do original research nor do we have the expertise that the people who do do original research have. Therefore the source material is of prime importance when making the sort of pronouncements that CS and blogs like it make. I cannot see any rational way to argue against this since everyone here seems to be a layperson and no one here seems to be doing original research and almost everyone here relies on blogger material.

    But there is an extraordinarily stubborn obtuseness on this point that, I suspect, is because bloggers and posters alike are rather self-aggrandizing and, probably, already convinced of the AGW no matter what. Thus to admit that there are people with more firsthand knowledge and expert experience who disagree with them would undercut their whole purpose online. So no, Wally, it never occurred to me that I would change anyone’s mind anymore than you could expect to go to RealClimate and change theirs. RealClimate, by the way, answers a great many of the charges made on this blog…but I doubt you will read them and, even if you did, your mind is set in stone.

    Rather, I have been satisfying my own curiosity in the hopes that someone who comes to this blog and reads our repartee will come to his or her own conclusions. And I think anything else I would have to write on the subject is somewhere in this thread, so I shall not rehash it more.

    I didn’t quite follow the thread of Papa Bear’s thoughts above, but no matter. Yes, I read the article – If the IPCC did not follow its own criteria and gets burned, then that is their own fault. It is interesting that the paper from the hydrologist (VM Kotlyakov) is not mentioned as an IPCC source…nor is the 1999 New Scientist news report with “might” have contributed to the opinion. Were they part of the IPCC evaluation or not? And if they weren’t, why are they being mentioned?

    And actually, Papa Bear, you’ve made an excellent case for peer-review, as have several other people on this blog, even if you and they didn’t mean to. If the IPCC had simply followed peer-review they might have avoided questions of accuracy. Which is what I’ve been arguing all along and which raises so much ire here. Good, we agree, peer-review science rules!

  • Wally

    Waldo,

    Your statement has proven yet again, that you fail to learn the most basic leason to have come out of this coversation.

    “I argued that we, the lay-people (as you put it), are reliant on somewhere for our information since we do not do original research nor do we have the expertise that the people who do do original research have. Therefore the source material is of prime importance when making the sort of pronouncements that CS and blogs like it make.”

    “Source material” here is a very loaded phrase. Obviously you’re pointing to some sort of good vs. bad source material. Good being what you believe to be reputable journals from repuatble authors, and bad being basically everything else, as you’ve made clear through our discussion. Only this is an extremely faulty line of thinking. One only gets to being a reputable author (or researcher) by doing good work. Thus, there is a lag between good work and being reputable. Plus, being reputable is subject to many subjective critiria, such as institutions (working or degrees from), awards, or journals published. For example, there is no objective measure saying UC Davis is better than UC Riverside. Anything that pretends that is it does so is being disengenuous. Just as you are being disengenuous by pretending you know what are good sources and bad based on authors, journals or even dates. Those are subjective measures that you’ve come to believe in for reasons you can hardly explain yourself.

    And as an aside to your statement: We are all differing degrees of laymen. Those of us that have greater understandings of the tools used in climate research, and the subject matter in general, do not need to defer to the ruling of the experts as much as, say a history of art major.

    “But there is an extraordinarily stubborn obtuseness on this point that”

    What “stubborn obtuseness?” If there is one major problem with your arguments, its that they are not specific. You fail time and time again to point out specific problems and to clearly illustrate root of those problems. Basically, stop speaking in generalities. It makes you sound like you came here with an axe to grind, and by god you’re going to grind it no matter what is said.

    “RealClimate, by the way, answers a great many of the charges made on this blog…but I doubt you will read them and, even if you did, your mind is set in stone.”

    Well first, you obviously have no consept of my mindset (nice ad hominem). I read the holy peer reviewed literature, I have training in sciences, statistics and mathematics to judge that research. I’m not on any side, other than that of concluding what the data supports. Plus, if you had it your way, I wouldn’t give two shits what a climate blog, real climate or climate skeptic, has to say. And yet again, I see generalities, what questions do they answer again? Why do you assume more questions don’t come from thier “answers?”

    “Rather, I have been satisfying my own curiosity in the hopes that someone who comes to this blog and reads our repartee will come to his or her own conclusions.”

    Pray Waldo, who’s conclusions are the abiguous people here coming to?

    “Yes, I read the article – If the IPCC did not follow its own criteria and gets burned, then that is their own fault.”

    Ah, but wasn’t the IPCC the so called expert? What ever will we do now? Good thing someone was checking to make sure those experts were doing good science?

    “If the IPCC had simply followed peer-review they might have avoided questions of accuracy.”

    Yes, this is a good point. The IPCC isn’t even peer reviewed in the same manner of typical journals. But yet, its the IPCC that carries so much political weight and thus controls power over our lives. Also, the entire climategate issue points to a problem with peer review, it can be manipulated. A few individuals not acting ethically and skew the nature of the publications and the grant funding. Peer review is maybe the best system we have, but we should never forget it has its faults.

    “Good, we agree, peer-review science rules!”

    Another rather sad statement that demonstrates your immaturity. Go take a class in science ethics. You might be surprised to hear what kind of discussion you get when you bring up peer review and its alternatives….

  • Waldo

    Oh Wally, again with the holier-than-thou? Again with the same old questions? Now we are treading down the path quite taken at this point. I will simply refer you to the thread over your head.

    Interestingly, my time spent on blogs like CS, reading up on climate science, reading about the skeptics, reading what the skeptics have to say, reading the climate scientists blogs and about the governmental agencies, is slowly making a convert out of me: I am slowly beginning to believe that we have a very big problem with anthropogenic global warming and we’d better do something about it.

    I hope that I am wrong about this. Usually, however, things have to get very bad before real action is taken – and again, I hope this is not the case in this instance.

    But I look over at “A First” and find, once again, the tabloid Mailonline apparently taken as a scientific source (and, Wally, to suggest this is a subjective issue is simply silly). And I am once again am amazed at how far this blog will go to accept any source as long as it tells its tiny readership what it wants to hear. The “Mailonline”? Really?

    I will leave the cabal in peace for a while but I do have a question for you that usually blogs like these leave unanswered – why I do not know.

    Is it so hard to believe that we are altering the atmosphere? I assume that almost everyone here has flown over or driven through some part of Europe or North America (or South America, Africa etc.). We have altered almost every aspect of the physical landscape, we have denuded the oceans of many types of life, we have polluted or altered rivers, etc etc. I’m not saying this is necessarily bad, just that it is – and it would be idiotic to deny that in many instances we have polluted our environment to such an extent that we have irreparably damaged it and threatened ourselves. I dare you to deny that. So why do we think that the atmosphere should be that much different? It may seem incredible (I know, I know, CO2 is only a fraction of the atmosphere), but given humanity’s track record, is it all that unlikely?

    I’ll drop in from time to time – probably with a different moniker. Here’s hoping for a temperate tomorrow.

  • ADiff

    Given the data, the assumptions of the theory, and the inability of AGW theorists to either explain actual observations at variance with their theoretical predictions or to answer charges of errors in their theories and shortcomings in the underlying data sets, it begins to appear unlikely current AGW projections of rates of warming or speculative estimates of the impacts thereof are at all realistic. The apparent ideological fixation of so much of the ‘environmental community’ on trying to defend ‘Catastrophic Global Warming’ theories is consuming more and more of the resources available to address any number of very real environmental problems (many of which, unlike AGW, were it actually be happening, are amenable of effective practical solutions). This obsession with an increasingly problematic theory has become a very real obstacle to progress in addressing environmental problems, and increasingly is eroding public support to environmental initiatives of any kind, undermining the reputation of environmental activists or all kinds, and of the government supported Academic community in general.

    Exercises in obvious rhetorical ‘bobbing and weaving’ and gamesmanship by its less scholarly advocates only reinforces the growing tendency on the part of more and more of the general public to question the objectivity, and the motives, of AGW proponents generally.

    It probably won’t be long before we begin to see significant movement across both major parties to equivocal ‘moderate’ skepticism with regard to any major investment in efforts to address factors (i.e. CO2 emissions) fewer and fewer voters believe practicably amenable or likely significantly involved in phenomenon viewed as less certain almost by the hour.

    Especially in view of recent data reinforcing the absence of continuation of the warming period of the 80s and 90s, AGW is likely going to become a harder and harder sell in itself, much less with respect to efficacy or net benefits.

  • Anonymous

    @Waldo:

    “I do have a question for you that usually blogs like these leave unanswered – why I do not know. Is it so hard to believe that we are altering the atmosphere?”

    We are.

    “We have altered almost every aspect of the physical landscape, we have denuded the oceans of many types of life, we have polluted or altered rivers, etc etc. … in many instances we have polluted our environment to such an extent that we have irreparably damaged it and threatened ourselves. I dare you to deny that.”

    Altered many aspects of the physical landscape, yes. Brought some forms of animal life to extinction, yes. Threatened the lives of a couple hundred thousand people here and there, yes. Made a couple more people move, yes. Threatened ourselves as a race, no. Threatened the nature, no, no way.

    “So why do we think that the atmosphere should be that much different? It may seem incredible (I know, I know, CO2 is only a fraction of the atmosphere), but given humanity’s track record, is it all that unlikely?”

    Well, do you want to talk about looking into a magic ball or do you want to talk about measuring actual numeric chances? If it is the latter, welcome to the debate.

    Here, a question that you always wanted a skeptic to answer – answered. If you have any other *scientific* questions which you think the skeptics as a whole are dodging, bring it on.

    “Interestingly, my time spent on blogs like CS, reading up on climate science, reading about the skeptics, reading what the skeptics have to say, reading the climate scientists blogs and about the governmental agencies, is slowly making a convert out of me: I am slowly beginning to believe that we have a very big problem with anthropogenic global warming and we’d better do something about it.”

    If it is the science that makes you convert, I actually welcome the change. As I say, bring it on.

  • another anon

    @Waldo
    “Interestingly, my time spent on blogs like CS, reading up on climate science, reading about the skeptics, reading what the skeptics have to say, reading the climate scientists blogs and about the governmental agencies, is slowly making a convert out of me: I am slowly beginning to believe that we have a very big problem with anthropogenic global warming and we’d better do something about it.”

    Can you detail what scientific arguments which support AGW theory in particular have made a convert out of you?

  • Wally

    Waldo,

    Why would I want to reread your endless appeals to authority, strawmen and hyperbole? And you think those things are answers to our question?

    Let me point out one example in you most recent post:

    “But I look over at “A First” and find, once again, the tabloid Mailonline apparently taken as a scientific source (and, Wally, to suggest this is a subjective issue is simply silly).”

    I never said that mag was a scientific source. There is little point in debating with you if you continually misrepressent arguments made, withdraw to fallicous arguments, and fail to even be factual.

    “Is it so hard to believe that we are altering the atmosphere?”

    No, not at all. Every time I fart or breath I “alter the atmosphere.” The issue is what effect this has.

    “We have altered almost every aspect of the physical landscape”

    This is hyperbole. Stick to the facts. How much land have we changed, in what way? I fly over the southwest, I don’t see a lot of change. I fly over the northwest, still not a lot of change out side a few major cities.

    “we have denuded the oceans of many types of life, we have polluted or altered rivers, etc etc.”

    Which types of life, how many, where, what is the effect? What rivers, why is that bad?

    “I’m not saying this is necessarily bad, just that it is – and it would be idiotic to deny that in many instances we have polluted our environment to such an extent that we have irreparably damaged it and threatened ourselves.”

    Sounds like you’re saying its bad if its “irreparably damaged” and by doing so we are threatening ourselves. By the way, what exactly are you talking about? Where are we doing any sort of irreparable damage? And that begs the question, is it really damage or is it just change? There is no correct state of a river. No correct species to live in that river.

    “I dare you to deny that.”

    Dared and done. Change has certainly occured, irreparable damage though? That assumes its damaged (begging the question fallacy here Waldo, please stay factual and logical) and you can’t prove its even irreparable. Then of course you also hide behind subjective qualifiers like “in many instances.” What does that mean? That one time we spilled 2 million tons of oil in a bay? That plant that was closed because it released too much Hg into the near by river? Without specific facts, you argument lacks any teeth. Its just subjective handwaving that is far from convincing.

    “So why do we think that the atmosphere should be that much different?”

    Is this retorical? The atmosphere is a lot different than some unnamed river. You have to prove or at least give strong evidence that we’re causing an effect, AND that this effect is bad, otherwise I’m hardly convinced to change my stance on the matter.

    “It may seem incredible (I know, I know, CO2 is only a fraction of the atmosphere), but given humanity’s track record, is it all that unlikely?”

    I don’t know exactly (could bring up a few papers showing the increase in CO2 is likely insignificant though), but you’re the one making the claim. Leaving me with a question mark at the end of your rather terrible argument is very telling. You can’t support an affermative conclusion. You can only hand wave and hope your uncertainty in the matter convinces us of something. Why would that be, why would I be convinced of someone arguing from uncertainty? Sorry, we can do better.

    “I’ll drop in from time to time – probably with a different moniker.”

    Oh joy. To get ride of you uncertain, strawman, hyperbolic, appeal to authority, begging the question arguments would be a great. Good day.

  • Waldo

    Wally, believe it or not, I did have respect for you. But this level of denial is extraordinary and explains a lot. Really? You want citations on smog, deforestation, oil spills, rivers catching fire? That’s just pedantry (your latest tactic). And this…

    “How much land have we changed, in what way? I fly over the southwest, I don’t see a lot of change. I fly over the northwest, still not a lot of change out side a few major cities.”

    …is one of the dumbest things I’ve read yet on this thread. I mean, there’s no other word for that – it’s just plain dumb (I’m from the PNW, by the way, and hoping it saves what pristine wilderness it still has left).

    Okay, enough with the yahoos of skepticland…

  • Wally

    Waldo, believe it or not, I lost most of my respect for you a while ago, pretending I’m in denial over some nonspecific issues has made me lose what was left of that.

    “You want citations on smog, deforestation, oil spills, rivers catching fire? That’s just pedantry (your latest tactic).”

    Sure we’ve made mistakes, I don’t deny some of these issues. What I’m with holding judgement on is these mistakes meaning we’re also causing “irreparable damage.” That is something you have yet to provide any evidence for, let alone prove.

    As for this little bit:

    “…is one of the dumbest things I’ve read yet on this thread. I mean, there’s no other word for that – it’s just plain dumb (I’m from the PNW, by the way, and hoping it saves what pristine wilderness it still has left).”

    Lets remember your words:

    “We have altered almost every aspect of the physical landscape”

    Almost every aspect of the physical landscape? What kind of idiotic drivel is that? And you pretend to live in the PNW? Have you ever flown from Seatle to Boise? Exactly what “almost every aspect of the physical landscape” have we changed?

    Sorry Waldo, you’re certifiably loco.

  • ADiff

    Waldo’s latest comment made pretty clear his views are based in a ideological worldview that’s fundamentally anti-humanist. So good luck arguing logically. There’s about as much chance of that as arguing libertarianism with a Marxist.

    Waldo’s worried about preserving “pristine wilderness”? It appears Waldo’s one of those folks who’ve internalized the hypocritical ‘Deep Ecology’ horse-crap derived from Teilhard’s anti-humanist rantings. That explains a lot to me.

    To whatever extent one’s view is tainted with Deep Ecology, it’s a mission to save ‘the Earth’ from mankind…and if that means impoverishing or even killing, untold millions, to them, ‘so be it!’. After all, all those (other) people are the problem.

    “There is no such thing as ‘meaning’ in Nature.” – Fridtjof Nansen

  • An Inquirer

    Well, I see that in my absence, a lot more heat was generated than light. 🙂
    “Fools rush in where angels are afraid to tread.” I might be a little foolish, but I am taking a break from correcting papers to wade into this discussion. Waldo, one of your central issues seems to be the question of why do posters on this website trust skeptical sources but not the majority of experts who publish in the prestigious climate journals. In setting up an answer to that, would like to insure an understanding of the steps in the AGW argument:
    1. Under laboratory conditions, a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial levels will increase temperatures by one degree.
    2. This laboratory result will hold true in the chaotic conditions of the physical world.
    3. Not only will the result continue, but the effect will be amplified because of increased water vapor that will be induced by higher temperatures.
    4. This trend will swamp natural variations in temperature as evidenced by GMT in the last 140 years.
    5. We will therefore experience temperatures higher than what we have experienced in human history.
    6. These temperatures will have dramatic and catastrophic impacts the environment & humans.
    Mainline skeptics have no problem with #1, and most will not have a problem with #2 although so far that has been very difficult to prove. Scientific analysis is crucial for #3, and data & analytical techniques are extremely important for #4 & #5. I probably will not get into #6 in this post.
    Why not just rely on the experts published in the prestigious climate journals – and there seem to be about 25 key experts who supply the crucial information upon which AGW rests? First of all is the difficulty in replicating and verifying their work – or even seeing their data. Consider the work of Phil Jones: for years he ignored requests to see the data upon which the HadCru record was built. Then he said that he could not release it because of confidentiality agreements with other countries – but he could not come up with any confidentiality agreements. Finally, he said that he lost the data. (Consider yourself a professor – what would you do with a student’s research paper when a student gives such excuses for lack of data? Now consider yourself a non-politically-decision maker who needs to make a trillion dollar decision.) In justifying the lack of adjustment for UHI, Phil Jones cited a study by Professor Wang (in New York) on historic Chinese temperatures. However, Professor Wang would not reveal the data for his study. When continually pressed, he said he did not have it, but that he saw it at one point in time. When asked for the format or source of what he saw, he provided answers that further raise suspicion; others familiar with the source say that such documents never existed. These are only two examples of many. Contrast that to the work of Steve McIntyre or Anthony Watts or Professor Christy for Professor Pielke; not only can I see the data used, but they also make their code available, and I can replicate their work. (Perhaps an interesting note: a subsequent study by a pro-AGW scientist concluded that half of China’s warming trend has been due to UHI.)
    (Late breaking update: British authorities have just said that they will make available the data and code that Phil Jones had sequestered for so long. Given the various stories out of HadCru over the years, I am not sure what we are going to see. Was any data actually destroyed? Do any confidentiality agreements exist to prevent the release of some data? I am going to give the situation lots of time before coming to conclusions.)
    Professor Christy (considered to be a skeptic) did have an error in his equations to estimate GMT from satellite data, but that error was discovered (after quite a while) because his algorithm was publicly available. A couple of years later, RSS (considered to be a pro-AGW camp) had satellite results which showed a tendency to more cooling. Professor Christy helped RSS by showing them what was amiss with their algorithm. This exemplifies one reason have faith in skeptical sites – they willingly provide data that does not help their cause.
    To amplify why skeptic analysis seems more reliable, I will remind you of a couple incidents. A few years ago, a pro-AGW wanted to embarrass the skeptical community by displaying their gullibility. Under a false name, he posted a false study that would seem to support the skeptic case. The study was quickly picked by skeptical sites, but within hours, these same sites dismissed it as bad science. Also, this past year, a popular contributor to the WUWT was dismissed from future contribution because he resisted acknowledging a mistake in his last article. Contrast this to AGW sites and journals which keep posting and referencing junk science.
    By the way, what chance does a skeptic have in publishing in certain journals? – about as much chance as an atheist in the Roman Curia.
    Another by the way, I believe you are far too dismissive of articles that have some type of link to industry organizations. I urge you not to poison the well, but to examine the facts and analysis of the article. I am amazed that you summarily dismiss the work of Idso even though you do not explain what shortcomings he has in his data or analysis. Meanwhile you seem to accept authors whose data, analysis and projections are rifled with cherry pickings, questionable analytical steps, and questionable data manipulation. If you look into it, you may find industry articles winning in the department of reliable data for a couple of reasons. First, the media would quickly pick up and castigate any unreliable data from industry sources. Second, industries can be sued for putting out unreliable data – the tobacco industry was successfully sued.
    On the issue of reliability of data and analysis, it may be useful to examine what happens to organizations that have relied on the forecasts from pro-AGW centers. Entrepreneurs believing that warmer climate was coming to England planted Mediterranean-style vegetation; they have been wiped out. Highway departments have not inventoried enough salt and sand to deal with ice and snow. Farmers who planted longer-maturity crops lost their crops. Interestingly, this last fall, Midwest farmers in a big way went back to techniques not practiced since the seventies – they are plowing their soil black so that the soil will warm up faster next spring.
    Time for me to break.

  • An Inquirer

    Waldo, I noticed that you had a question about “net warming bias,” but I did not notice a response to your question. A warming bias occurs in the temperature record not because the climate is giving us higher temperatures but because developments around the site are inducing the temperatures to read higher. The Urban Heat Island (UHI) is the most commonly discussed item that produces a warming bias. The concrete and steel common in cities retain the day’s heat and the night time temperatures are higher – not because of CO2 but because of the steel, tar and concrete. (Interestingly, temperature readings show that the GMT rise is due to night time temperature readings. Some AGW advocates say that higher night time temperatures are also an AGW fingerprint.) A warming bias happens for other reasons. Over the past few decades, new thermometers have been installed which rely on a cable to connect the thermometer to an inside monitoring station. In this switch, many thermometers were moved closer to buildings which give off heat. Hence, another source of warming bias. Furthermore, in dozens of cases, air conditioning exhaust units were placed near thermometers – quite a bias from that exhaust! Also, other thermometers were placed next to airport tarmacs with obvious problems in getting a reliable record decades long.
    Temperatures go through extensive manipulations before they become part of the GISS data base. (Manipulations also are done is HadCru records, but the methodology is much less known.) If the manipulations succeeded in removing the warming bias, then growth in anomalies should not be correlated to economic development around the thermometers. However, McKitrick and Michaels showed that economic development does indeed drive positive anomalies.
    The method to read sea surface temperatures has also changed during the years, and some argue that the change in methodologies could introduce a warming bias.
    A cooling bias is also conceivable. If a thermometer gets moved to a higher elevation, then one would expect temperatures to measure lower. And a fruitful source of controversy is what happens when a tree grows up and shades a thermometer. On one hand, shade is associated with coolness. However, the thermometer is supposed to be already measuring temperatures in the shade, and a tree helps to retain heat near the ground during the night. Interesting!

  • hunter

    You know, if there was a way to convert troll energy to useful work, the energy crisis of the world would be solved in every dimension: toxins, sustainability, climate, dependability.
    Nothing is as energetc, as Waldo so aptly demonstrates, as troll based energy sources.
    Happy New Year!

  • Waldo

    Adiff and Wally: wow, you somehow got Marxism and anti-humanism from concern over “pristine forest.” You guys are such cards!!

    Thank you, Inquirer. I’m a little confused by a number of things which perhaps you could clear up.

    I go to Real Climate or any of the government scientific sites I find links to code, publications, and data. I am also confused because, again whenever I visit one of these sites I mentioned above, the claims for climate change comes from observable data (weather stations, satellites, boreholes, tree rings, etc.) so I’m wondering what “reproducible results” people were looking for?

    Where did you get your information about Wang and Jones from? – could you post a link (I tried a quick Google search but came up with more of the same blog postings which I am already dubious of).

    When I look at the “500” list someone posted earlier, I find a number of reputable climate skeptics posting in both high-impact, prestigious journals and lesser known journals (along with the industry shills). Also, when I do my own searches on university databases I can always find sources that counter global warming science. In fact, weren’t the two papers mentioned in the email above actually published? Was it the IPCC that published them? I’m sorry to doubt you, but I’m not sure I believe your charges of censorship.

    I personally will dismiss the industry journals – I do not trust them to tell the truth anymore than I would trust an oncologist working for big tobacco.

    Have you read the “500” list or even a portion of it? I’m pretty sure the people posting here have not – they are simply posting the list (interesting that no one seemed to know what a “climate bias” was). Would you please read an Idso paper with me and explain it? I can probably access it from one of the electronic databases I have access to – although I cannot promise this. A shorter one would be appreciated since I am reading outside my area and would have a lot of back-tracking and catching-up to do. Anything you get on Academic Search Premiere I should also have access to. If I can, I’ll find a scientist to read it on my end also.

    Cheers.

  • Waldo

    Oh yeah, where did you hear that about the Midwest farmers? I can probably find that one out first hand.

    Again, cheers!

  • An Inquirer

    Waldo, New Year Greetings to you!
    I hope to write more later, but first regarding the Midwest farmers: that info came personal observation while driving four hours across the Midwest in November, and then talking with several farmers about my observation. Last night at a funeral, while talking with relatives who are farmers, I mentioned my blog conversation with you about AGW and soil management practices. And the farmers just laughed. Reminds me of A Repbulican who has argued that his party must embrace a pro-AGW position because to do otherwise would “offend the sensibilities of the educated class of the East and West Coasts.” While that may be true, workers and employers who must deal with the reality of climate are laughing and riduculing the AGW ideas of the “educated class of the East and West Coasts.”

  • Waldo

    Oh…so you were driving through Iowa or Ohio or Indiana and from your car window you noticed them Hawkeyes and Buckeyes and Hoosiers were using a different plowing technique in November. Gotcha’. Yeah, those silly Coasters and their education! Thankfully there’s no agriculture on the West coast to worry about and no famous universities in the Midwest to screw things up.

    I know, I know: I’m twisting your words.

    There were actually a number of things I was having a hard time confirming. Who were the “entrepreneurs” in England who planted Mediterranean crops? Who used AGW predictions to gauge sand and salt stockpiles? I actually live in the Midwest, and I have not noticed a lack of winter road maintenance. Where I am they have stopped plowing some country roads, but that has to do with the local budget.

    You almost pulled the avuncular, professorial type off, by the way. Just a bit too much in character…

  • Waldo

    By the way, that’s a little weird to be laughing over AGW at a funeral, don’t you think?

  • hunter

    Like so many trolls, Waldo is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.

  • An Inquirer

    No, not really weird to laugh at a funeral, whether over AGW or fond memories. I surely anticipate that people will laugh at my funeral. Since you returned to the subject of this funeral, I can mention that the deceased had 80 years of keeping track of the killing frost that ended the growing season. Of course, one anecdotal record does not disprove a theory. But this one certainly does not advance the theory. (Step #4 in a previous post.)

    The salt and sand situation arises in England where the Met office (strong advocates of incorporating AGW thoughts into their discussion) once again issued a seasonal forecast that was quite unreliable.

    As far as England and Meditteranean plants. I have heard more than I researched, but I understand that the South Comfort garden in Devon has concluded that the climate is not ready for these plants. The names of David Matzdorf, John Copeland, and Roy Lancaster have been mentioned. And a paper by Thompson etal concluded that the invasive species that have done well are perennial grasses, not Meditteranean plants. Apparently mature olive trees can handle occasional freezes in England, but the experience with young olive trees have been otherwise, so wise gardeners are now nuturing young olive trees in greenhouses before planting them outdoors.

    I realize that you were trying to be sarcastic about my observing through my car window, but I hope that you recognized that I talked with farmers to inquire what was going on. I get out of my office — to add reality to my computer analysis, and actually talk with people who must deal with climate. If you check with NOAA, I believe you will find that 2009 had the coolest summer on record in several states, and the coolness would have been even more impressive if we dealt with raw data and not adjusted data and if we did not include stations tainted with UHI and siting issues.

    I do want to return sometime to your question about the data and models that linked on various “pro-AGW” sites. Good question, but not one that I will get into tonight.

  • Waldo

    Perhaps you should research a little more and listen a little less, Dr. Inquirer. This is from The Garden at Southern Comfort, Devon, England:

    “The 1/4 acre town plot with an art déco style house, Southern Comfort, sits on the south-facing slope of the Meadfoot Valley 1/2 mile from the centre of Torquay. The small, almost straight valley climbs in a westerly direction from Meadfoot Beach. It is sheltered from all but the fiercest easterlies which, mercifully, are relatively rare. The valley enjoys an exceptional microclimate. Frosts are also very rare and, on the occasions when they do occur, are limited to car windscreens and the extreme tips of grasses.”

    The Mediterranean style plants are doing quite well there, thank you.

    As for the paper by “Thompson et al” – what paper is that?

    David Matzdorf – is this the guy with the blog called “Growing on the edge” which shares pictures of exotic plants? Blog, dude.

    John Copeland – is this the founder of the Weather Channel who wants to sue Al Gore? or the John Copeland Nagel from the Notre Dame law school who, for some reason, blogs about weather?

    Roy Landcaster – the author of “Plantsman’s Paradise: Travels in China”?

    Were you just dropping names to make it sound like you are a researcher?

    And suuuure, you talked to “several farmers” while randomly driving around the Midwest in frigid November. Funny no one else has.

    Sorry man, you jumped the shark a couple of times along the way, but the last one went too far over the pond. Don’t bother answering back about “pro-AGW” science. You’re not a scientist and you’re pulling this stuff out of the air (play on words, get it?).

    Never forget the golden rule: don’t bullshit a bullshitter.

  • Anonymous

    Ha-ha-ha!

    Waldo is accusing someone on this board in lack of scientific argumentation. That’s the same Waldo who presumes that what researchers do is “drop names”. The same Waldo who has never during this thread discussed anything but sources of this and that paper. And that’s the same Waldo who has just been hit by a brick wall of scientific arguments and pretends that they don’t matter because the author of these arguments (again, the all-powerful source!) has shared one bit of his personal, anecdotal experience. Never mind that this experience is in no way central to the author’s position, in no way deplores his other, much more important points, and has presumably been offered solely to make the otherwise dry material a bit more digestible.

    The name you’ve chosen for yourself, Waldo (“don’t bullshit a bullshitter”), suits you perfectly.

    Troll more.

  • hunter

    anoymous,
    Waldo, just to clear up any lingering doubts about who and what he is made sure his last post dealt with them:
    “don’t bullshit a bullshitter”.
    He knows he is a troll.
    Placing trolls on diets is always a great timely idea.

  • Waldo

    An Inquirer is a faker. Probably a wannabe. There is no “scientific argumentation” there, Anon., just crap that Inquirer made up or heard from another amateur like him/herself/itself and then plastered for the credulous fakers and wannabes here.

    Do you see that and not want to admit it or do you really not see that? Do you really think he/she/it looked out his/her/its car window and noticed how farmers had plowed their fields? Really? You believe her/it/him that England understocked its road salt or that the Devon garden failed because some idiot believed England’s climate would turn into Italy’s? For Pete’s sake, son, were you born yesterday? Or did you read this in the Mailonline?

    He/she/it is precisely the reason that people like myself want hollow appeals to authority.

    And the reason you, little hunter, Wally, Adiff and the rest of the deniers get so mad is because it is so easy to simply follow up on your “scientific arguments.”

  • Waldo

    Anyone want to read a paper? This is –

    Conflicting Signals of Climatic Change in the Upper Indus Basin (PDF)
    (Journal of Climate, Volume 19, Issue 17, pp. 4276–4293, September 2006)
    – H. J. Fowler, D. R. Archer

    The abstract reads:

    Temperature data for seven instrumental records in the Karakoram and Hindu Kush Mountains of the
    Upper Indus Basin (UIB) have been analyzed for seasonal and annual trends over the period 1961–2000 and compared with neighboring mountain regions and the Indian subcontinent. Strong contrasts are found between the behavior of winter and summer temperatures and between maximum and minimum temperatures. Winter mean and maximum temperature show significant increases while mean and minimum summer temperatures show consistent decline. Increase in diurnal temperature range (DTR) is consistently observed in all seasons and the annual dataset, a pattern shared by much of the Indian subcontinent but in direct contrast to both GCM projections and the narrowing of DTR seen worldwide. This divergence commenced around the middle of the twentieth century and is thought to result from changes in large-scale circulation patterns and feedback processes associated with the Indian monsoon. The impact of observed seasonal temperature trend on runoff is explored using derived regression relationships. Decreases of 20% in summer runoff in the rivers Hunza and Shyok are estimated to have resulted from the observed 1°C fall in mean summer temperature since 1961, with even greater reductions in spring months. The observed downward trend in summer temperature and runoff is consistent with the observed thickening and expansion of Karakoram glaciers, in contrast to widespread decay and retreat in the eastern Himalayas. This suggests that the western Himalayas are showing a different response to global warming than other parts of the globe.

    The introduction reads:

    Instrumental records show a systematic increase in
    global mean temperature (Folland et al. 2001a,b), with
    global mean temperature increasing at a rate of 0.07°C
    decade1 over the last century (Jones and Moberg
    2003). In addition, the 1990s were the warmest decade,
    and 1998 the warmest year since the start of the global
    mean temperature record in 1856 (Jones and Moberg
    2003). However, the warming has not been globally uniform.
    High northern latitudes have been particularly
    affected, with reconstructions of mean surface temperature
    over the past two millennia suggesting that the late
    twentieth century warmth is unprecedented (Mann and
    Jones 2003) and attributed to the anthropogenic forcing
    of climate (Thorne et al. 2003).
    In most parts of the world there have been differential
    changes in daily maximum and minimum temperatures,
    resulting in both a narrowing of diurnal temperature
    range (DTR) and an increase in mean temperature
    (Karl et al. 1993; Easterling et al. 1997; Jones et al.
    1999). However, there are suggestions that the western
    Himalaya region is showing a different response to
    global warming (Kumar et al. 1994; Yadav et al. 2004),
    with an increase in DTR and a cooling of mean temperature
    in some seasons, possibly as a result of local
    forcing factors.

    Kind of sounds like a pro-AGW paper doesn’t it? If I understand correctly, AGW is accepted by the authors but they wonder why a particular region of the Himalayas is responding differently than other high latitudes, possibly because of regional factors. And it cites the dreaded “Mann” as a source. Did anyone actually read any of the “500” papers here?

    Come on, read with me. It’s off the “500” list, after all.

  • Anonymous

    @Waldo:

    “Kind of sounds like a pro-AGW paper doesn’t it? If I understand correctly, AGW is accepted by the authors but they wonder why a particular region of the Himalayas is responding differently than other high latitudes, possibly because of regional factors.”

    No. Please learn to read.

    Here are the conclusions made in the end of the paper:

    1. Summer temperatures in the observed region go down.
    2. Winter temperatures go up.
    3. Temperature range increases.
    4. Runoff decreases due to summer cooling.
    5. Glaciers near the observed region grow.
    6. Summer cooling has an effect at all elevations, winter warming has an effect at lower elevations only.
    7. Temperature measurements used are viable due to such and such.

    Does it look like the paper support the idea of catastrophic warming to you?

    The paper cites Jones and Mann because the material in the paper has direct relevance to the curves and trends reported by these gentlemen, and does not support these curves and trends. That the authors of the paper use reverances like “it is possible that global warming has induced process coupling in this region that occurs on scales too small for current GCMs to resolve well” is an indication of their respect to the work of their colleagues, even though their personal results do not support that work, not an endorsement of the idea of catastrophic AGW.

  • Wally

    Waldo, its nice you’re reading something. But if we’re really going to talk about this paper, we’re going to have get past the abstract and the start of the introduction.

    As you state: “Kind of sounds like a pro-AGW paper doesn’t it? If I understand correctly, AGW is accepted by the authors but they wonder why a particular region of the Himalayas is responding differently than other high latitudes, possibly because of regional factors. And it cites the dreaded “Mann” as a source.”

    It appears you didn’t actually read it, or you have issues with reading comprehension. A quote from the paper: “More remarkable, however, is the sudden divergence in temperature trend between the high latitudes and the western Himalayan region in the latter half of the twentieth century. Climate proxies and instrumental records in the northern high latitudes indicate unprecedented warming (Jones and Moberg 2003), but instrumental records from some UIB stations suggest a cooling of mean temperature (my own words here: and none of them increased, it was either ~zero change and not significant or negative), annually and in all season except winter.”

    Overall I think this work sticks to the facts very well. The authoers clearly mark where trends are significantly different from zero (something lacking in many pro-AGW papers). They discuss the previous research and how their research fits in fairly. Generally, I leave this paper thinking climate research is anything but resolved. In this particular part of the world we see a cooling trend. Also in this area I’d expect a cooling trend, leaving less run off water to impact human life more than a warming trend (more water, fertile land, less glaciers). So if anything, yes this is a paper that clearly casts doubt on catastrophic AGW, particularly the warming and the catastrophic part (the paper doesn’t go into the causes). Now this is just one area among many, but it does illustrate how general warming trend does not necessarily mean the same things for all regions. Or in short, we haven’t figured out the world’s climate.

    As for not reading the list of 500, I can say I’d never read this one (I’m working my way down the list on the ones that seem most interesting), but I’m happy you pointed it out and we are having a discussion about the science instead of the names of the authors or journals.

  • Waldo

    Weeeeelll, Wally and Anon., I’m not sure I’m going to read this paper in quite the same way you kids are.

    I actually don’t think it makes a definite statement about “catastrophic” global warming one way or the other, but I think it pretty clearly accepts that climate change is happening and the authors then make scientific conjectures about why this particular region of the world is reacting “in contrast to widespread retreat and decay in the eastern Himalayas.” It’s all there above. It even sounds like the predicted water shortages are occurring which caused such a hullabaloo with IPCC papers. Plus it uses data from East Anglia and, yeah, sounds like a pro-AGW paper to me that examines an anomaly. To suggest that it “casts doubt” on AGW seems like an inference to me not clearly stated in the paper. In fact, I found this on page 4281:

    “This suggests that the rate of increase of winter
    temperatures in the UIB region may also have accelerated
    in the period since 1960, a possible signal of global
    warming.”

    I will not suggest that either of you need to “learn how to read” since pretty clearly we all do. But I might suggest two things: one, that you learn to read without the a priori belief that climate change is bunko (or whatever reason,conspiracy theory or not); and two, admit that none of us really know what we are talking about. We are all bullshitters sitting here at our keyboards debating science that we all know only a little bit about (I know more in general terms than I am willing to let on).

    But this has been very interesting. I am planning on looking at more.

    I am wondering if anyone would like to hop over the Real Climate and read their response to the “hockey stick” controversy. I actually find this text very challenging. It would be interesting to read it with other people:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/02/dummies-guide-to-the-latest-hockey-stick-controversy/

    Perhaps, since we are being open minded, we might look at all sides of the argument, no? Or are you only interested in authorities on this side of the blogosphere?

  • Waldo

    By the way, the ONLY reason I am willing to read Fowler and Archer is that their paper was published in the Journal of Climate published by the AMS. Otherwise I would not waste my time.

  • Anonymous

    @Waldo:

    “I actually don’t think it makes a definite statement about “catastrophic” global warming one way or the other, but I think it pretty clearly accepts that climate change is happening and the authors then make scientific conjectures about why this particular region of the world is reacting “in contrast to widespread retreat and decay in the eastern Himalayas.””

    What matters is measurements, analysis and numbers. For all you know, the authors of the paper could have been enamored with the notion of catastrophic AGW in 2005 and became disillusioned with that notion after consistently running into things such as those mentioned in the paper that run counter to it.

    The results shown in the paper clearly show that temperature trends in the region surveyed by the authors look nothing like the global trends predicted by the proponents of catastrophic AGW. The authors note the rather significant difference and conclude that it might make sense to determine what is going on. That’s it. If you want to show that the authors endorse the notion of catastrophic AGW, bring a different paper of theirs where their results will support that notion.

    “We are all bullshitters sitting here at our keyboards debating science that we all know only a little bit about”

    Ouch. Speak for yourself, please.

  • Waldo

    The authors pretty clearly state that the temperature trends in the region they examine go against the other trends in like regions. They very clearly state that. For all you know, they are absolutely objective observers of yet another effect of AGW and are convinced of its occurrence – that some regions get colder in summer and warmer in winter. Shall we find out?

    And if measurements, analysis and numbers are all that matter, then Mann, Hansen, NASA, the IPCC, NOAA, the EPA and East Anglia have it over Climate Skeptic in spades.

    I doubt that the people who put together the “500” list actually read Folwer’s paper. Perhaps they read none of them. And yet, here it is, proudly posted on CS. This is why we are engaged in a bullshit session, Anon.

    I mention it only in passing, but anyone read the profile of the arctic biologist in the December (?) New Yorker? The subject had some pretty specific things to say about AGW.

  • hunter

    Keep the troll on a diet.

  • Wretched Dog

    Way back up there somewhere, Waldo mentioned that the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine ‘doesn’t exist’.

    Yes, it does. See http://www.oism.org/, so I am not sure what his statement: “There is no OISM – it is a rather odd association which materialized around the time of the Oregon Petition Project – you may draw your own conclusions about either.”

    It either exists, or it doesn’t. It significantly predates Dr. Robinson’s Global Warming Petition Project — Scientists who are skeptics regarding AGW. Go to: http://www.petitionproject.org/

    Does the fact that they are skeptical of AGW make their scientific opinion worthless?

    From its OISM website: “The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine is a non-profit research institute established in 1980 to conduct basic and applied research in subjects immediately applicable to increasing the quality, quantity, and length of human life. Research in the Institute’s laboratories includes work in protein biochemistry, diagnostic medicine, nutrition, preventive medicine, and aging. The Institute also carries out work on the improvement of basic education and emergency preparedness.”

    Didn’t see any

  • Waldo

    From

    The Shrinking Glaciers of Kilimanjaro: Can Global Warming Be Blamed?
    (American Scientist, Volume 95, Number 4, pp. 318-325, July 2007)
    – PW Mote, G Kaser

    Off your 500 list:

    “If human-induced global warming has played any role in the shrinkage of Kilimanjaro’s ice, it could only have joined the game quite late, after the result was already clearly decided, acting at most as an accessory, influencing the outcome indirectly. The detection and attribution studies indicating that human influence on global climate emerged some time after 1950 reach the same conclusion about East African temperature far below the peak.

    The fact that the loss of ice on Mount Kilimanjaro cannot be used as proof of global warming does not mean that the Earth is not warming. There is ample and conclusive evidence that Earth’s average temperature has increased in the past 100 years, and the decline of mid- and high-latitude glaciers is a major piece of evidence. But the special conditions on Kilimanjaro make it unlike the higher-latitude mountains, whose glaciers are shrinking because of rising atmospheric temperatures. Mass- and energy-balance considerations and the shapes of features all point in the same direction, suggesting an insignificant role for atmospheric temperature in the fluctuations of Kilimanjaro’s ice.”

    It’s right there in the paper. Read it yourself.

    It is pretty clear that whoever put the paper together did not read or did not read closely.

  • Wally

    Waldo,

    Yes, the WINTER temperatures had risen. That was 3 months out of the year, and at the high elevations its still below freezing so it really doesn’t matter. The annual data showed an actual decrease in mean temperature. So tell me what’s more compelling, the whole of a group or a subset of the group?

    Anonymous above summarized the author’s conclusions on the paper very clearly in a post above. That, combined with any reasonable interpretation of the paper done by yourself, should have made it pretty the authors aren’t supporting AGW in anyway what so ever (just using CRU data, doesn’t mean you support AGW BTW). If anything they are showing global warming is NOT effecting this region of the planet. Thus, this is a paper furthering the ‘skeptical’ stance. That stance being basically: We don’t know AGW is actually occurring, much less do we know that it will be anything like ‘catastrophic.’ That’s the point. That’s why its on this list. I will concede this isn’t the strongest paper on the list. Personally, I don’t care for such a regional approach, simply because they are specific to that one area. But that doesn’t mean it is unimportant. How supposed climate change is effecting specific areas is important. After all, every area is going to be unique for its own reasons. Global trends may be good, bad, not present or amplified depending on the area.

  • Anonymous

    Facepalm. I am done with you, Waldo. Instead of admitting that the facts stated in the article run counter to the notion of catastrophic AGW, and that you were wrong in stating the opposite, you are simply declaring victory and moving on to another paper. You obviously can continue this indefinitely. Good luck.

  • Waldo

    Read the paper folks. YOU may disagree with the scientists about their conclusions. But it’s all there. Let me post again.

    From the abstract:

    “The observed downward trend in summer temperature and runoff is consistent with the observed thickening and expansion of Karakoram glaciers, in contrast to widespread decay and retreat in the eastern Himalayas. This suggests that the western Himalayas are showing a different response to global warming than other parts of the globe.”

    From the intro:

    “However, there are suggestions that the western
    Himalaya region is showing a different response to
    global warming (Kumar et al. 1994; Yadav et al. 2004),
    with an increase in DTR and a cooling of mean temperature
    in some seasons, possibly as a result of local
    forcing factors.”

    From page page 4281:

    “This suggests that the rate of increase of winter
    temperatures in the UIB region may also have accelerated
    in the period since 1960, a possible signal of global
    warming.”

    From the conclusion:

    “in contrast to widespread retreat and decay in the eastern Himalayas.”

    Don’t get mad at me because your paper does not say what you want it to say. You asked me to look at the papers, Anon. Cya if you want to whimp out.

    Sorry, Anon., if that is frustrating to you.

  • Waldo

    Has it ever occurred to anyone here that maybe, just maybe, your reasoning – that scientists are jilting taxpayers, destroying industries, cooking the books; that somehow you know the science better than the scientists; that the Mailonline provides balanced commentary and that industry funded scientists will come to unbiased conclusions – are really not that convincing?

    Yeah, that is kind of a dumb question…

  • hunter

    Troll,
    Do you think you look smarter or dumber by ignoring the plain evidence of the climategate letters, as well as the numerous reports from scientists suppressed by AGW promoters?
    Do you think you look clever or incredibly naive by asserting that somehow scientists are immune from the problems and human failings that effect all other endeavors of human life?
    You have generated a great deal of smoke to simply repeat arguments from authority.
    Please find something else to do.

  • ruralcounsel

    Coming in late, and with less than full reading of the “Waldo Thread”, but wanted to make one point…

    I think the meaning of the email w/regard to the mathematics is quite clear too, and it sure isn’t what you say it is. It appears to me that what the reviewer is saying is that he has a paper that he doesn’t know how to refute, appears to be mathematically correct, and he wants help seeking weaknesses he can cite in order to try to reject it. And he wants to reject it because he doesn’t like the conclusions.

    Oh, and FYI, I’m a Ph.D. in engineering from MIT with my thesis in mathematical modeling.

  • Waldo

    Hello Rural, doesn’t sound that way to me. I think the author pretty clearly says that authors with their monte carlo stuff “NEVER actually show how their method would change the Tornetrask reconstruction from what you produced.” This has more to do with English than with Math. Now, this may be vanity and a bruised ego but is it *proof* that something was rotten in the state of East Anglia? Not really. That’s not math, just observation. Why don’t you use some of those advanced math skills on the threads on this blog?

    And we’ve had at least one person on this thread who pretended to be an academic-researcher who, upon a little investigation, proved to be anything but. Hmmm….