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Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

I think it's premature to say that CO2 hasn't cranked up the surface temperatures as much as has been predicted. There's a reason why the standard climatological period is 30 years.

No... if they predicted it and it fell short of their prediction, then of course it's OK to point that out. We can speculate that the heat went into the ocean etc., but the predictions of surface temperature change were specific enough to be falsifiable (like all good scientific ideas), and they were duly falsified.

Rule of thumb: pointing out true facts is always OK.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

It's true that the rate of warming over the past 15 years is a bit slower than it was during the 1980's and 1990's particularly in the atmosphere. But the ocean where over 90% of the heat energy goes anyway continue to warm. Don't you think it's reasonable that scientists should investigate why that is true? The more we learn the better our understanding will be.

Absolutely, I am completely in support of continued climate science research. Perhaps someday they will understand exactly why pumping huge amounts of CO2 over the last decades didn't crank up the atmospheric temperature as much as they (rather prematurely) predicted. Hoping for understanding here is still a tall order, because the climate is so complex, chaotic, and full of tricky feedback cycles.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

What Figure 6 are you referring to?

Sorry, from the last link, to

There is plenty of uncertainty about [clouds and their effects] and it's an area of active research

Mmmm hmm.

Statistically speaking it's a faux pause

I think you mean "politically speaking".

and warming has continued as expected given the vagaries of natural variation. The pause meme depends on cherry picking 1998, a year that was more than 2 sigmas above the trend.

No it doesn't. There's a real plateau that throws a wrench in the works for climate projections of carbon sensitivity. Mann and his peers have been scrambling to issue explanations for the slowdown/pause/whatever you want to call it.

Judith Curry rather sarcastically remarked to the effect that "if there's no pause, then how is it possible that there are explanations for it?" Which is, of course, an insightful observation. Science doesn't always give us the results we expected to get, and the thing to do is roll with it, not fight it.

Comment: I find it hilarious; Big Brother aspects less so (Score 2) 80

by sideslash (#49606629) Attached to: Microsoft's AI Judges Age From Snapshots, With Mixed Results
C'mon, it's a fun tech project, and people should stop whining about it.

What's not funny is where we are going with this kind of technology. Always on facial recognition and people tracking is already happening some places in the world. Casinos and airports were probably the leaders in the field, but soon it will be everywhere. I despise the thought of a government database tracking people everywhere, not to mention law enforcement reliance on face recognition that (as evidenced here) may be less than perfect. "The computer says you did it, so you're guilty."

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

but it is not a greenhouse gas that can drive warming because the amount of WV in the atmosphere is strictly limited by temperature (and regionally the availability of water to evaporate).

Forgot to mention -- have you forgotten about the ocean?

The level of WV is not something humans can have any significant direct effect on therefore it is not something to worry about.

CO2 is a tiny part of the GHG picture, and it's not clear what effect changes in CO2 have on the planet overall. Since The Pause has shown that our most trusted projections of CO2 sensitivity were wrong, perhaps we should be open minded toward the possibility that this tiny fraction of GHG contribution is just that -- a tiny fraction of GHG contribution. A minuscule shift in cloud cover across the earth, and "poof", all the carbon reduction in the world doesn't make any net difference at all. (Not saying that happens, just that it's a possibility.)

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

While there may be some in the scientific world who dislike Mann several investigations of him have not turned up any damning evidence of wrongdoing.

The studies in question didn't attempt to interact with the damning evidence from the emails, in fact they carefully avoided addressing it.

Regarding similar studies confirming Mann's hockey stick graph here are some:

Huang 2000

Smith 2006

Oerlemans 2005

Here's a book from the National Academies of Science with more details:

Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years

If you throw out data from measurements are not known to be reliable proxies for global temperature, you are left with very little if anything; and certainly not with a thousand year hockey stick shape. The hockey stick is an artifact of cherry picking data. There are many reasons for an upswing in various physical measurements in the 20th century, including (yes) a warming temperature as we swing up from a low point on the multi-century scale, but also modern agriculture and its effects on things like tree growth.

Case in point, take Figure 6 -- the proxies seem to show a dip which we'd identify as the Little Ice Age of ca. 1300-1870. Not much else is obvious there, except the somewhat misleading superimposition of the instrumental record. It's not really fair to slap instrumental readings on the end of the proxies, since even assuming these proxies reflect global temperature in some way (big assumption), they will flatten out upswings like the instrumental record shows in the late 20th century.

It's true that water vapor is responsible for the largest chunk of greenhouse warming but it is not a greenhouse gas that can drive warming because the amount of WV in the atmosphere is strictly limited by temperature (and regionally the availability of water to evaporate). The level of WV is not something humans can have any significant direct effect on therefore it is not something to worry about.

Water vapor's status as the number one greenhouse gas makes it a hard problem because of the water cycle. What is the effect of cloud cover? How is the water cycle affected by more CO2? These are the billion dollar questions.

The "Pause" is not something that is statistically significant. Here is a statistical analysis that uses several different techniques to try and find some significance to the "Pause" but fails. There is no reason statistically to say the rate of warming since the 1970's has changed significantly.

The Pause has shown that the most highly vaunted predictions of carbon sensitivity were mistaken. What we do with that from here is a tricky question. Simply changing the fudge factors for aerosol albedo to keep our predictions "accurate" is a pretty lame response (Mann's, if you hadn't guessed).

Comment: Re:Geo-engineering is intrinsically riskier (Score 2) 105

by sideslash (#49596137) Attached to: Climatologist Speaks On the Effects of Geoengineering

Also there's some low-lying geoengineering fruit such as albedo changes in urban environments in hot locations which is a considerable part of the world, reforestation, and putting out large coal bed fires.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I personally would lump all three of those in with carbon reduction as "rolling back to more of the way things were", and therefore (a bit more) intrinsically safe than, say, dumping iron into the ocean.

Comment: Geo-engineering is intrinsically riskier (Score 5, Insightful) 105

by sideslash (#49595787) Attached to: Climatologist Speaks On the Effects of Geoengineering
At least with carbon reduction we're attempting to reverse climate changes through a mechanism believed to trigger those changes. However, with new intervention mechanisms that aren't fully understood, I don't trust anybody's model of what they think will happen.

My (likely) worst case scenario: an ice age in 100 years. That would be worse than global warming.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

So you've (you believe) destroyed Mann's original hockey stick graph.

I haven't done anything at all. I'm just reading other people's work. Why is this so personal to you? It's weird how you are sticking up for Mann like he's your twin brother or something. I have nothing personal against him, I just happen to have seen some damning evidence of wrongdoing.

When are you going to start going after the more than 1 dozen similar studies done since then by different researchers using different proxies and different techniques that show substantially the same thing?

Such as?

You don't need to know the past to determine if climate variability is natural or anthropogenic, you just need to know the present. Knowing the past is interesting but we can observe all of the major factors we know about in the present and it's clear that the increase in CO2 concentration is the leading factor in current climate change. Maybe there's some factor(s) we don't know about but unless someone finds something and can support it scientifically you can't assume there is.

You've said this before, but it still doesn't make sense to me. CO2 is not the most significant greenhouse gas on the earth -- not now, and not ever expected to be in the future. Water vapor is the most significant GHG. If we don't understand all the potentially self-balancing feedback cycles, we can't hope to accurately model the resulting temperature change after injecting some extra CO2. And (surprise, surprise), it turns out that all the most highly acclaimed projections as to CO2 sensitivity were in fact at least partially wrong. The Pause has been going on for something like 18 years. I think it will soon be old enough to purchase alcohol.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

You're going to have to explicitly point out to me what scientific improprieties you found because I'm not aware of any.

Since you are claiming unfamiliarity with the whole hockey stick fraud situation, here's a nice, short and sweet treatment of Mann and the hockey stick controversy. It's just an internet blog, but then so is Slashdot. I'll quote one paragraph:

In doing this research McIntyre and McKitrick had legitimately accessed Mann’s public college web site server in order to get a lot of the source material, and whilst doing this they found the data that provoked them to look at the bristlecone series in a folder entitled “Censored”. It seems that Mann had done this very experiment himself and discovered that the climate graph loses its hockey stick shape when the bristlecone series are removed. In so doing he discovered that the hockey stick was not an accurate chart of the recent global climate pattern, it is an artificial creation that hinges on a flawed group of US proxies that are not even valid climate indicators. But Mann did not disclose this fatal weakness of his results, and it only came to light because of McIntyre and McKitrick'’s laborious efforts.

Regarding truncation of the Briffa series, it was Briffa that said that data should not be used and Mann simply followed his advice.

That's not how science works. Each person publishing a paper must be able to explain their own results, not point fingers at others.

But in the end you could throw out all of the paleoclimate data and everything that Michael Mann and Phil Jones have done

(resisting urge to make sarcastic remark here)

but it wouldn't make a difference to the finding of anthropogenic climate change which is based on physics. Paleo data is merely corroborating evidence.

Careful, if you don't know the climate variability of the past, how can you say whether measured 20th century variability is natural or anthropogenic? Paleoclimate studies (reliable or not) are the only way I know to explore that, wouldn't you agree?

Your comment about physics reflects a widely held assumption, but isn't factual. The complex feedback loops and chaotic behavior of our earth's atmosphere and oceans make it a fools errand to attempt to reduce it to a fundamental physics formula.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

And it sounds to me like you are determined to find fault with the emails rather than taking what the authors said about them at face value.

In the case of emails that are unambiguously embarrassing as they reveal scientific improprieties, "taking what the authors said about them at face value" is a uniquely sycophantic reaction.

You showed me a few negative quotes about Michael Mann. You didn't show me in any way that his reputation has suffered or that he isn't getting grants or getting published in scientific journals.

I don't see the need to get into that stuff. I concisely demonstrated what I set out to demonstrate. You may proceed to move the goal posts and play your own game of football as you see fit.

You don't seem very interested in details, but I'll just point out here that within climate science, there are lots of groups of researchers researching lots of things, and there is disagreement about how much different parts really matter. For example, Mann's work in paleoclimate proxies is regarded by many people as a poorly supported exercise in fudging data. Some other paleoclimate researchers swear by his work and cite it extensively.

For more information you probably would rather not know, read about Mann's problematic use of Bristlecone pine proxies. You can also learn about how he uses data series upside down sometimes, and about the discarding of large swathes of data that didn't work toward his desired result (truncation of the Briffa series).

But be careful! Your opinion of Mann as a scientist may decline. Be careful to "hide that decline", or Slashdot mods will regard you as a heretic and down-mod you with a "-1 (Disagree)".

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

I have read a few of the Climategate emails and to me it just looks like an exercise in quote mining and much ado about nothing. The quotes like "Hide the decline" and "Mike's nature trick" were taken completely out of context and only people determined to find something wrong would consider them incriminating.

It sounds like you read either Mike Mann's or one of his close allies' commentary on the emails. Regardless, I refuted your earlier claim that Mann's reputation is fine in scientific circles.

Comment: Re:EPA has exceeded safe limits, needs curbing (Score 1) 351

... revelations about the fraudulent hockey stick with the dramatic downfall of Michael Mann's reputation, ...

LOL, the only place Michael Mann's reputation has suffered is climate science deniers eyes. His reputation in scientific circles is doing just fine.

Nope. Here's a quote from Wallace Broecker who is a professor of Environmental science at Columbia University:

"The goddam guy is a slick talker and super-confident. He won't listen to anyone else," one of climate science's most senior figures, Wally Broecker of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York, told me. "I don't trust people like that. A lot of the data sets he uses are shitty, you know. They are just not up to what he is trying to do.... If anyone deserves to get hit it is goddam Mann."

Here's Michael Liebreich, a clean energy executive, activist, and engineer:

@MichaelEMann I've read #HSCW, #WUWT, #McIntyre and #Climategate emails. I think you were sloppy and unethical. I also think #AGW is real.

Here's Michael Hulme, prof of Climate Change at U. East Anglia addressing Mann's use of unproven statistical methods, i.e. leading to circular reasoning:

"I don't think it was seminal for scientists. To me that was never a decisive interventional piece of evidence. The data was absolutely scanty."

You seem to be unaware that many rank and file climate scientists today are actually angry at Mann and what he has done to their field of study. If you are an honest and open minded person, go read the ClimateGate emails yourself. See where Mann's (then) boss at UVa said in an email that he felt like barfing in response to the way Mann insisted on hijacking the peer review process at Nature. Read about Mann and Jones's privately expressed worries over The Pause. Read about the efforts taken by Mann and Co. to deny auditors like M&M access to their raw data.

If you're an honest and open minded person, reading some of that stuff will make you mad.

In Nature there are neither rewards nor punishments, there are consequences. -- R.G. Ingersoll