One For Mr. Conolly I Think?

the iPCC has looked at a number of
different cases and it reports that temperatures
could be, in the worst case, up
to 4˚C higher by 2100. However, based
on Frank’s work, when considering the
errors in clouds and CO2 levels only, the
error bars around that prediction are
±15˚C. this does not mean—thankfully—
that it could be 19˚ warmer in 2100.
rather, it means the models are looking
for a signal of a few degrees when
they can’t differentiate within 15˚ in
either direction; their internal errors and
uncertainties are too large. this means
that the models are unable to validate
even the existence of a CO2 fingerprint
because of their poor resolution, just as
you wouldn’t claim to see DnA with a
household magnifying glass

This is why I stay away from this sciencey stuff, I have no inflation base from which to be able to judge such claims. But perhaps someone with more knowledge could do the judging?

66 comments on “One For Mr. Conolly I Think?

  1. The judgement is simple. The models make predictions, but they aren’t able to measure what happens to see if the predictions match reality.

  2. The only way to judge the climate scare scam is to look at motivation as the science tells us nothing. The scam looks to me to be motivated primarily by eco loon pessimists. The type always with us on some crusade or other seeing imminent disaster based on subjective anecdotal evidence, ignorance and prejudice. Proselytized into a religious like belief swiftly adopted by politicians who are equally ignorant and gullible and/or see the potential to exploit the fear to their advantage.

    They having access to large sums of money so dole it out(skimming it a bit one way or another on the way) to the scientific community who quickly recognise a cash cow when they see it. So they then become motivated to milk it for all it’s worth and debunking the eco loons is no way to ensure that will happen.

  3. “…. all models are wrong, but some are useful.”

    George Box

    My own view, based on nothing more than seeing management consultants create massive business plan models forecasting out 10 years, is that every time the wrong answer comes up a small plug is made in assumptions in the model to ensure it matches the general consensus.

    Consider a team of climate scientists doing some good honest research and when they finally get an answer from their model that doesn’t match the consensus, they can:

    1. Publish and be ridiculed as climate deniers and kiss goodbye to research grants and probably further employment

    2. Go back in to their model and tweak some of their assumptions to match the consensus

    3. Quietly drop the model.

    Given that all Government research grants in to climate science are based on the assumption that climate change is happening and a significant portion is man made 3 is difficult so that only leaves 1 & 2.

  4. BiND,

    I come from a similar background (though on the other side of the table – I was the management consultant making the forecast models for the last 10 years) and what you say is the same way I see it.

    I really think #2 is prone to happening. This doesn’t mean that climate change isn’t occurring*, but is a typical human response. I read a long article by a Dutch scientist who said he saw this happening. I’ve also flown out to New York to interview* one of he modellers on the NASA model and came away with the same impression.

    I don’t think it’s done with malicious intent – if 19 other models come up with X +- y, and you’re outside this range, why wouldn’t you consider you might have one of your 68 assumed parameters ‘wrong’ and adjust accordingly?

    *My background is physics, at one of the good universities. I’ve changed my mind on climate change 3 times in 2 decades: Strong beliefs, weakly held. As Keynes said, when the facts change…
    I’m currently a luke warmer. A change is happening, we’re causing it, but don’t stress, you better figure out eg antibiotic resistance more urgently.

    **This was just for fun. I’m interested in the topic, and you only live once, it was a nice opportunity to have.

  5. “I’m currently a luke warmer. A change is happening, we’re causing it, but don’t stress, you better figure out eg antibiotic resistance more urgently.”

    That’s about where I stand.

    I’ve been a fan of Bjorn Lomborg ever since he wrote the Skeptical Environmentalist. I was first attracted to it because he was pilloried so much by greenies and left wingers but he made so much sense that I was convinced although given my biases he was pushing at an open door.

    I wish the Copenhagen Consensus would get more play amongst politicians and the MSM.

  6. “But perhaps someone with more knowledge could do the judging?”

    It’s lying leftist cockrot designed to promote socialist tyranny.

  7. ‘A change is happening, we’re causing it’

    That is a matter of faith, not science. There is no evidence of change, and further none to show man ‘causing’ it.

  8. “Public Health” is similarly obsessed with models, though in their case they have actual real data at their disposal but inconveniently does not support their views, so they prefer the models instead. Scandalously the media lets them get away with this.

  9. “But perhaps someone with more knowledge could do the judging?”

    It’s sort of right in general terms, but the business about adding up all the uncertainties to get +/-15 C is not valid, and adding up all the errors (which can be both positive and negative, and so partly cancel) to get a huge total is definitely incorrect. The figures the IPCC talk about are a fairly abstract quantity called the “forcing”, which is *not* the actual energy imbalance, as the author seems to assume from his comparison of it with the estimated extra energy is. The forcing is the imbalance that would result if the atmosphere made no adjustment in response to it. But of course, the atmosphere does respond, cancelling most of the imbalance out.

    There are some errors and exaggerations in this particular piece, but the conclusion it comes to is still valid even with a more careful accounting. The uncertainties in the models are broad, and very probably underestimated. They’re predicting a very much faster rise than is in fact observed. And if you suppose “natural background variation” is cancelling most of the greenhouse rise out to explain this, it implies that those natural background variations are a lot stronger and longer-lasting than the models predict, which means it is impossible to tell whether the rise in temperature observed was really anthropogenic, or just background weather.

    The basic physics of the effect leads us to expect a rise, but the unknown level of noise in the data due to normal weather means we can’t distinguish it from everything else going on.

    As a side note, although it doesn’t affect the other conclusions, they got the physics a bit wrong here: “clouds both reflect incoming solar ultraviolet radiation, providing a cooling effect, and prevent the escape of infrared energy back into space,supplying a warming effect”

    Clouds reflect very little of the ultraviolet, because very little of it gets through the ozone layer. What I think happened is somebody said “shorter wavelengths” meaning visible light, and somebody translated that to “ultraviolet” since the general public probably don’t know much about wavelengths.

    Also, the warming effect doesn’t precisely occur because clouds “stop infrared energy escaping to space”, although this is a bit subtle. Virtually all the energy that enters the system escapes the system, and continues to do so whether clouds are in the way or not. The Earth as a whole has to radiate all the energy it absorbs, which happens when its average temperature as seen from outer space is about -20 C. If there were no clouds or greenhouse gases, it would be the Earth’s solid surface radiating this energy, at this temperature. But because the atmosphere is partly opaque to infrared, instead it is the middle atmosphere about 5 km up that radiates the infrared, and settles at this temperature. The surface is then held at a higher temperature than this by a different effect, which is that gases get hotter if you compress them and cool if you let them expand. The pressure difference between the height of the clouds and the ground, combined with the circulation of the atmosphere, serves to warm the air at the surface by an amount that depends on the height difference.

    The truth is, in order to keep the rate of escape of infrared energy to space *constant*, clouds adjust their temperature to achieve this balance, and clouds at different heights have different amounts of heating effect at the ground due to the compression-expansion pressure-related effects in the circulating atmosphere.

    Multiple layers of cloud, all with different thicknesses and densities and droplet sizes, all at different temperatures, radiating infrared both up and down, interact in a complicated way. The simpler climate models tend to model cloud simply as “percentage of the sky covered”, which doesn’t really cut it.

    I think it should be pretty apparent from my complicated explanation why they didn’t explain it properly in an article designed for public consumption. But they really ought to tell you when they’re simplifying (I am too!) because these not-quite-right physics explanations cause a lot of confusion and argument when people with a bit of physics background start to poke holes in them.

  10. @dearieme

    “The Earth as a whole has to radiate all the energy it absorbs”: why?

    Because if it didn’t & there was a slight positive imbalance between energy absorbed & energy emitted it’d eventually warm to fusion temperatures and…game over.

    But I do have a problem with NiV’s physics.

    ” The surface is then held at a higher temperature than this by a different effect, which is that gases get hotter if you compress them and cool if you let them expand. The pressure difference between the height of the clouds and the ground, combined with the circulation of the atmosphere, serves to warm the air at the surface by an amount that depends on the height difference.”

    OK, gasses do heat if compressed. But that’s a temporary effect due to the same volume containing a greater amount of energy. It’d difficult to see how you’d get a transfer of heat from the clouds to the ground by a self sustained circulation. That’s going in the opposite direction to convection. If the air in the vicinity of the clouds is at a higher temperature, it’s going to have a lower density. It’s not going to force its way through cooler ground level air at a higher density.

  11. Because otherwise it would get hotter and hotter and hotter and then we would all die. Obviously it’s in equilibrium. Doing things to its albedo might shift that equilibrium to a new point, but at that new point once again energy in = energy out.

    I don’t think the climate models right now are sufficiently robust even to provide a sign for the temperature change, let alone a magnitude. There could well be something going on, but it’s extremely hard to see it in the noise, yet we are being asked to derange the world economy to the tunes of trillions of dollars a year on the basis of the models alone.

  12. bloke in spain: Google “adiabatic lapse rate”. I don’t have time to go into detail here right now., but NiV is correct.

  13. Dear Mr Worstall

    “How long?” he said.

    “Seven and a half million years,” said Deep Thought.

    Lunkwill and Fook blinked at each other.

    “Seven and a half million years …!” they cried in chorus.

    “Yes,” declaimed Deep Thought, “I said I’d have to think about it, didn’t I? And it occurs to me that running a programme like this is bound to create an enormous amount of popular publicity for the whole area of philosophy in general. Everyone’s going to have their own theories about what answer I’m eventually to come up with, and who better to capitalize on that media market than you yourself? So long as you can keep disagreeing with each other violently enough and slagging each other off in the popular press, you can keep yourself on the gravy train for life. How does that sound?”

    The two philosophers gaped at him.

    “Bloody hell,” said Majikthise, “now that is what I call thinking. Here Vroomfondel, why do we never think of things like that?”

    “Dunno,” said Vroomfondel in an awed whisper, “think our brains must be too highly trained Majikthise.”

    So saying, they turned on their heels and walked out of the door and into a lifestyle beyond their wildest dreams.

    http://www.earthstar.co.uk/deep1.htm

    Timescales are a bit different, but the principle holds.

    Predictions that mature when you are safely dead ensures none of your enemies can prove you wrong.

    DP

  14. From my gliding experience, it’s the surface level air that warmer, giving rise to rising thermals which keep you up there. Different terrain warms differently. But that the result of insolation & the differing energy reflectivity/adsorption of different surface materials.
    So yes, you can get downward air currents where differing surfaces adjoin. A sea/land junction, for instance. But the net energy transfer due to air movement is up, not down.

  15. Most folk who use modeling in a professional scenario – somewhere perhaps where somebody’s behind is physically at risk – are required to undertake validation prior to proceeding with using any predicted behavior to inform decision taking.

    The “consensus” climate models aiui have been resistant to validation even when hand tuned to simulate/mimic past known outcomes.

    Using “weather is not climate” take a look at the ensemble forecasts for London and notice the divergences that emerge after ca. 72 hours. I’d add that if the modeling was skillful why wouldn’t you want to advertise your skill on that page with a modeled vs. observed graph?

    Given that the climate models are touted as bigger, better versions of weather prediction I think it’s not necessary to labor this point much further

    What I would say though from direct personal experience is that there is a propensity to use weather models where there is sparse or non existent observations for the model to operate on – which leads too regularly to wildly inaccurate forecasts and even assessments of present conditions that are flat out wrong.

  16. “why?”

    Because any temporary imbalance results in the Earth’s temperature rising, causing it to emit more energy until it balances again.

    And because the amounts of energy entering and leaving the system are so colossal that if more than the tiniest fraction of it hung around, the oceans would boil. To a very good approximation, sufficient for the purposes of calculation, the amount entering is effectively equal to the amount leaving.

    Incoming solar radiation at the top of the atmosphere is 342 W/m^2, which is about 10 gigajoules per year. It takes about 4.2 megajoules to heat a tonne of water by 1 C. If we suppose sunlight warms the top ten metres of the oceans, then the input is enough to heat the oceans by 238 by C/year. If it was even 1% of that, temperatures would be rising by 1 C a year, or 100 C per century, and I don’t think there would be any argument about whether global warming was occurring or not! The observed rate is 100 times smaller. So better than 99.99% of the energy entering has to be leaving, which is probably close enough for calculation purposes.

  17. why wouldn’t you want to advertise your skill on that page with a modeled vs. observed graph?

    Given the amount of PR whinnying and self congratulation that surrounded UKMO rinsing the taxpayer for the biggest, fastest computer evah! – the question above is very pertinent to the “skillfulness” of climate prediction.

  18. “So better than 99.99% of the energy entering has to be leaving, ”

    Better than 100% has to be leaving. There ‘s a certain amount of thermal leakage from the earth’s core plus energy from radioactive decay in the crust material. Any less than 100…a few zeros …& an x somewhere & the earth’s surface would be molten lava.

  19. “It’d difficult to see how you’d get a transfer of heat from the clouds to the ground by a self sustained circulation.”

    “But the net energy transfer due to air movement is up, not down.”

    In the atmosphere, the net energy transfer is still upwards, but heat transfer is slowed near the surface. As BiCR says, this effect is called the adiabatic lapse rate.

    If you build a big dam in the river, the water level rises upstream of it, but the net flow of water is still downstream. And the amount of water spilling over the dam is the same as the amount entering the river at the top, or that would flow if there was no dam. The dam (when full) doesn’t *reduce* the amount of water escaping.

  20. @NiV
    Sorry, but I can’t see your last comment adds the slightest to the sum of human knowledge. The net transfer of energy due to atmospheric circulation is from the surface up. Not down.
    One might say it’s one of the advantages of having an atmosphere. Stops molten lead flowing in daylight hours.

  21. “Sorry, but I can’t see your last comment adds the slightest to the sum of human knowledge. The net transfer of energy due to atmospheric circulation is from the surface up. Not down.”

    Yes. We agree. So what’s your problem with the physics?

  22. Take a step back and look at the various forcings that they plug into the model. The sulphate forcing is a BIG one, for which. for most of the time, they have zero data. Even in recent years it’s as much estimation as measurement.

    How do you put an error bar on a value you just don’t have (e.g. sullphate forcing in 1945) and had to make up?

    If one were uncharitable, one would suggest that the sulphate forcing was largely determined tautologically to make the models do what the AGW theory says they should… And hence it just becomes a curve-fitting exercise with an excess number of parameters and cannot have any predictive value, let alone value as proof of the theory…

  23. It is junk, as you’d expect. NiV has got most of it right; and I suspect you want pretty pictures rather than the physics anyway. So you should stop at the “running hot” stuff, which isn’t really true, and read https://moyhu.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/current-global-temps-compared-with-cmip.html instead, which has nice pictures.

    If GCMs were as tuneable as the denialists seem to think, someone would have produced one that shows cooling, or no warming, with increasing CO2. Weirdly, that hasn’t happened, because the underlying physics makes that essentially impossible. Which reminds me of another flaw with the article, and indeed with most of the denialists thinking, which assumes that its all down to the models. It isn’t, of course.

  24. If GCMs were as tuneable as the denialists seem to think,

    No … just would like to see some statistical rigor applied to the predicted outcomes – you know … validation.

    patronising twat

  25. > validation

    The you need to stop hiding in silly blogs and go and look at real ones. You’re not going to find any statistical rigour about GCMs here, or in the denialosphere.

    If you’re interested in evaluation and validation of GCMs, then the obvious place to look is the IPCC report. I know, I know, you don’t actually want to look – you’re just blowing smoke. But on the off chance that anyone else does, https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/ is the obvious place (IPCC AR5 WG1). Clue: the chapter you;re looking for is “Evaluation of Climate Models”.

    > patronising twat

    Ignorant dickhead.

  26. The question I most ask is “where lies the burden of proof”.
    After that the question I most ask is “what standard of proof is required”
    We have a civilisation built on the combustion of carboniferous materials (wood, coal, oil, gas) which has provided everyone with increased wealth and comfort throughout its existence.
    Do we need to abandon that in order to avoid extinction, or not?
    Do those who say yes to a fireless stone age have to prove their case and if so to what standard.
    Or is it the other way round? Do those who see their current lives as better than those of any of their ancestors need to prove their case?

  27. It’s all horse shit.

    We know how much carbon man pumps into the atmosphere
    We know how much is pumped in naturally.

    We know what the temperature of the planet is at any given concentration of naturally sourced carbon (both rising and falling temps) (Vostock ice cores before man colonised).

    Therefore we know what the temperature should be at any given CO2 level irrespective of source.

    Because the current temperature does not match the projected temperature nor does it appear to be on any kind of convergence path indicates that CO2 is not a cause of temperature variation.

    There is evidence (those Vostok ice cores again) that CO2 is a trailing indicator of temperature rise not a leading one.
    (CO2 comes out of hiding on rise and goes back on falling)

    The problem with our atmosphere is not CO2 but all the other pollutants that are put in there by private individuals who don’t pay any kind of compensation to the other private individuals who are disadvantaged by those pollutants.

  28. “The Earth as a whole has to radiate all the energy it absorbs”: why?

    Because if it didn’t & there was a slight positive imbalance between energy absorbed & energy emitted it’d eventually warm to fusion temperatures and…game over.

    Thank God I didn’t learn physics from the web. So you propose to argue about whether the atmosphere is increasing in temperature based on the argument that it must (because God wills it I suppose) be at a steady temperature.

    I don’t deny that some physics taught at university probably makes baseless assumptions, uses windy assertions, treats as fundamental mere empirical observations, claims rigour when none is available, and generally carries an air of hocus pocus, but much of it is better than that.

  29. This is the point at which William usually denies he is *that* William Connolley, because he wasn’t banned from the whole of Wikipedia, just certain topics. He thinks this sort of hair-splitting makes him more intelligent than the rest of us, instead of just a raging twat.

  30. Dearie me,

    look at Boyles law, increasing atmospheric temperatures means low earth satellites fall out of the sky because of atmospheric drag, they aren’t so it isn’t.
    Why am I surprised that you fuckers who pride yourselves on your ability to detect fake news can’t add up.

    Ecks doesn’t have any idea as to how far and wide this purge is going to be, free markets being much more efficient.

  31. > We know what the temperature of the planet is at any given concentration of naturally sourced carbon (both rising and falling temps) (Vostock ice cores before man colonised).

    This is almost an attempt at intelligent thought. Well done. However, you have failed the most basic test, which is to apply your theory to the observations. If you did, you’d notice that temperature is not a 1-to-1 function of CO2 concentration, even though there is a decent correlation (which is kinda obvious when you think about it, because ice ages are astronomically timekept).

  32. The climate science videos of potholer54 on youtube provide a good explanation of why we can’t use Vostock Ice Cores to conclude that AGW does not exist. Actually the ice cores corroborate the theory that man is warming the planet.
    What I want to know is ‘by how much?’ and ‘do we need to be bothered?’ as things are working out all right for now. Where are the increases in ‘extreme weather events’ (temperature recordings excepted of course) and where is the ‘increased desertification’ we were led to expect?

  33. “temperature is not a 1-to-1 function of CO2 concentration”

    So what is it? A surjection? The same CO₂ concentration can give two different temperatures? Or two different CO₂ concentrations can give the same temperature?

  34. “If GCMs were as tuneable as the denialists seem to think, someone would have produced one that shows cooling, or no warming, with increasing CO2. Weirdly, that hasn’t happened, because the underlying physics makes that essentially impossible.”

    How hard have you tried?

    I would think you could get instances of cooling in individual climate runs fairly easily – use a precipitation model that reduces the tropical water vapour feedback (it all rains out at a slightly higher altitude, so humidity doesn’t rise and you don’t get an upper tropical hotspot) and then ramp up the background variability, using for example the index cycle mechanism Lorenz proposed. There would be many cases where the dips in the background exceeded the warming, and you’d get net cooling.

    Or purely for the intellectual challenge, you could get average ensemble cooling by proposing a biological feedback from increased CO2 raising the production of dimethyl sulphide, which nucleates cloud formation. It only kicks in when the CO2 level rises above a particular threshold, and only stops when it drops again. Who knows what’s waiting around in the oceans?

    I’m pretty sure if I could be bothered, I could come up with a dozen different mechanisms by which it could be done. I think it’s more likely nobody’s tried. Whether that’s because modellers don’t think that way, or because they’re scared of what would happen to them if anyone found out what they were doing, I really couldn’t say.


    By the way, I have a recollection from the dim and distant past of somebody telling me that the very early climate models had a problem with runs frequently diverging towards a snowball earth, and they initially had to fudge the maths to stop it before methods improved. Is that true? Or am I mis-remembering?

  35. zzzzz……..

    No seriously. What is it with environmentalists? The way I figure it, so long as the earth lasts another 50 years I won’t be needing it any more after that.

    So. There you go.

  36. William Connolley – “If GCMs were as tuneable as the denialists seem to think, someone would have produced one that shows cooling, or no warming, with increasing CO2. Weirdly, that hasn’t happened, because the underlying physics makes that essentially impossible.”

    Except we know it is not impossible. As there have been periods in the past that have been cooler and yet had higher CO2 levels. But you also miss the point. The fact that none of the models show cooling proves how useless they are. You would expect predictions to be distributed in a fairly random manner. Some would be higher than the observed data, some would be lower. Except they are all higher. That can only be achieved by false models.

    We also know from the East Anglia e-mail hack that they fiddled with their models until they “worked”.

    “Which reminds me of another flaw with the article, and indeed with most of the denialists thinking, which assumes that its all down to the models. It isn’t, of course.”

    There is pretty much nothing else except the models. So yeah. It is.

    But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of a Zealot dishonest enough to get booted from the politically correct swamp of Wikipedia.

  37. This is probably completely invalid, so please prove me wrong.

    Look at the amont of fossil fuels produced over the last few decades. You see it follows the economy, going up in booms, down in busts. Look at CO2 during the same periods, those peaks are not discernable.

    So we are supposedly trying to reduce fossil fuel use to lower CO2, yet we can see that when economic circumstances actually did reduce fussil fuel use, CO2 was unaffected.

    The shape of the fossil fuel consumption curve is a signal, and that signal must be discernable in the output to plausibly claim a connection.

  38. Bobrocket
    “private individuals who don’t pay any kind of compensation to the other private individuals who are disadvantaged by those pollutants.”

    I’ll accept cheques or cash. How much should I get paid?

  39. One of the problems with saying that a certain CO2 level correlates with a certain temperature is that with the non-linearity of the earth’s feedback systems, you get hysteresis. So if you approach a certain CO2 concentration from one direction, you get one temperature, from a different one, another temperature. This is one of the reasons that the long term climate is devilishly hard to model.

    As to how the radiation balance works, you need to understand black body radiation. As the temperature rises, the earth emits higher energy radiation, thus radiating more energy until it approaches equilibrium. You can see this effect in heating iron, it starts out at dull red, and as the temperature rises the color changes as the iron emits more energetic photons. Reaching equilibrium is where the interesting stuff happens.

  40. Except the black body radiation from a body at 300K is effectively indistinguishable from one at 298K or 302K. Even the amount of radiated energy (Stefan-Boltzmann) is only about 2.5% different, and that’s assuming no albedo change.

  41. I thought Gaia is self-regulating so whatever we do, she makes it right, just like any mother does for her wayward kids. I bet she especially loves us scruffy, coal mining oicks. Whereas she probably hates those sanctimonious, raging twats who have no faith in her restorative powers.

  42. ISTR that that distributed computing modelling thing done about a decade ago (in conjunction with the BBC???) had a large number of model runs descend into snowball earth and simply be discarded.

    Now, as for Connoley’s “argument”, how many people have been paid to take the GCM’s and see what their sensitivity is? To see if they can “tweak” them to do other things? i Or to fit other output curves just to see? (e.g. Ford Motor stock price, or something else) Given that the sulphate forcing is largely tautologically-defined, if you change just this, you should be able to make them fit anything.

    Someone managed to shake the sulphate data loose a few years back. and the shape of the curve didn’t even pass the laugh test cos it made no physical sense…

  43. Question: it it in the GCM developper’s interests to try to fit their models to other stuff? What would the people with the money bags say if they discovered that they could be fit to the tune of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer using the same techniques as used to fit them to the temp data?

  44. Tim –
    I went to a lecture by Julia Slingo, the woman who runs the met office. It was all about their climate models (with a slice of DOOM and more funding please thrown in). When questioned the reliability of predictions her response was “if you question the models you are questioning the fundamental laws of physics”. Hummm.
    Although you say that you stay away from science, you very much have the ability to validate some of the claims that are made and decide whether you trust the people making them.You could also go to the met office site, look at the HadCRUT4 global temperature graph and wonder why (if CO2 = DOOM) the temperature slope 1910 – 1940 (before “CARBON”) is pretty much the same as 1980 – present (with “CARBON”).

  45. @dearieme
    “Thank God I didn’t learn physics from the web. So you propose to argue about whether the atmosphere is increasing in temperature based on the argument that it must (because God wills it I suppose) be at a steady temperature.

    I don’t deny that some physics taught at university probably makes baseless assumptions, uses windy assertions, treats as fundamental mere empirical observations, claims rigour when none is available, and generally carries an air of hocus pocus, but much of it is better than that.”

    Well, we can start with the non-theoretical, realworld knowledge that the planet’s temperature has been constant within a few degrees for the past half billion years. No university educated physicists, whatsoever, were required to achieve this. So we’re left with God or some other mechanism. But no theories are worth a light unless they can encompass what actually exists.
    One of the disadvantages of the university educated, isn’t it? Trying to bend the world to agree with their oh so clever theories. And don’t we see so much of it? The amount of monumental fuck-ups that have the indelible stamp of Oxbridge all over them.

  46. Sorry to rain on the parade, but there’s a decimal point missing from that error bar of 15°C. Not even the nuttiest warmist thinks that temperatures are going to warm that much by 2100.

  47. “This is probably completely invalid, so please prove me wrong. Look at the amont of fossil fuels produced over the last few decades. You see it follows the economy, going up in booms, down in busts. Look at CO2 during the same periods, those peaks are not discernable.”

    You might find the second graph in this article interesting…
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%E2%80%A6or-natural/

    The problem again is trying to detect a small signal in the presence of strong noise of unknown magnitude. Personally, I’m not convinced it’s possible with the data – the noise is too strong and messy to pick out the relatively small contribution of humans. The biggest effects are the annual cycle from vegetation (removed by taking a running 12 month average in the graph linked, I expect), and temperature, which affects the rate CO2 is absorbed by the oceans.

    That said, I’d expect purely on physics grounds that if the noise was lower, that anthropogenic peaks and troughs would be visible. It’s not magically going to disappear. However, even if detected that wouldn’t necessarily mean that it was the cause of the long-term rise, for the same reason that the obvious correlation of CO2 rise rate with temperature means temperature is the cause of the long-term rise. It depends on the dynamics of the relationship.

    Note, this does *not* mean that CO2 rise isn’t anthropogenic. It just means we can’t tell by this method.

    “if you question the models you are questioning the fundamental laws of physics”

    Hmm. So the next questions would be:
    “Does that mean you’ve found a way to find actual solutions to the Navier-Stokes equation numerically on a coarse grid? Why then did the Clay Institute offer a million dollars for a solution if it’s so easy? And what are you going to do with the money?”

  48. “Well, we can start with the non-theoretical, realworld knowledge that the planet’s temperature has been constant within a few degrees for the past half billion years.”

    Nope!

    Plus ice ages, Dansgaard-Oeschger events, Bond events, the Younger Dryas, the holocene optimum, the Minoan warm period, the Roman warm period, the Medieval warm period, the Little Ice Age, …

    I guess it depends what you mean by “a few”? But by any other definition, it’s still not changed.

  49. @ NiV
    “Does that mean you’ve found a way to find actual solutions to the Navier-Stokes equation numerically on a coarse grid?”
    I think that was basicly what she was claiming, as far as I understood. She certainly mentioned them at the start. But I might have misunderstood, being a mere engineer.
    Interestingly, in a whole lecture theatre full of Cambridge science & engineering bods, I was the only one with a critical question.

  50. “the non-theoretical, realworld knowledge that the planet’s temperature has been constant within a few degrees for the past half billion years.”

    Very droll, but that knowledge comes entirely from the sort of educated people you despise so much. They used theory to derive it. Because there was no choice.

  51. NiV

    I did find it interesting, yes. When I looked into this some years ago I was surprised to find you can actually see the global economy in the fossil fuel consumption figures. I think I also found a better graph for atmospheric CO2 (i.e. not a straight line spanning several decades) which looked as if you should be able to see variations in human output.

  52. I think I’m right in saying that William Conolly is a failed scientist who was forced out and now repairs radios for a living.

    He is also a failed green candidate and failed Wikipedia editor.

    He is a nasty piece of work.

    I’m laughing at the thought of his face on the day Trump won.

  53. Interestingly, in a whole lecture theatre full of Cambridge science & engineering bods, I was the only one with a critical question.

    Try working in a major corporation.

  54. I’m not calling rank here, but I’ve written articles, refereed articles, edited journals, and perhaps most importantly taught some managerial finance about evaluating projects.

    What you see everywhere is “lower ranking” proponents of ideas pushing them to “higher ranking decision-makers by emphasizing particular parts of their statistical work.

    The simple thing here is that you have two ideas that go together — the point estimate of plus 4, and the interval estimate of plus or minus 15 — and you need to be talking about both … or you should just be sent back to the drawing board. It’s just fibbing.

    What happens in practice is that if the interval is wide proponents focus on the point estimate. Students do it all the time, and they get marked off for it. When professionals do it, our filters should tell us they’ve descended from neutrality to advocacy.

    I know of no field other than climate change where results this un-sharp would go through peer review and get published. Physicists are rightly proud of their 5 sigma criterion; climate changers are using a 0.3 sigma criterion, and crossing their fingers that no one is paying attention. It’s sleazy.

  55. GCMs are very tuneable – to believe otherwise is odd – after all they are designed to show CO2 drives climate change – it’s a base assumption.

    It is true that CO2 is a contributor – but we are uncertain about how much – hence all the arguing over the Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity.

    Nick Stokes graph of temperatures will rapidly show a decline below the 95% band once we go full full El Nina.

    The Green side of this debate are purveyors of fake news – the 97% consensus and their shrill demands that the science is settled. It is not. Most sensible people who read this stuff can work out that the world is probably getting warmer. Humans have contributed to it. And we do not know the extent of human contribution. The models are not very good and the IPCC lack credibility. Sleazy is indeed the word for it.

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