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posted by Dopefish on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:30AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the climate-change-simply-happens dept.

Papas Fritas writes "Patrick Michaels writes in Forbes that atmospheric physicist Garth Paltridge has laid out several well-known uncertainties in climate forecasting including our inability to properly simulate clouds that are anything like what we see in the real world, the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away. According to Paltridge, an emeritus professor at the University of Tasmania and a fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, virtually all scientists directly involved in climate prediction are aware of the enormous uncertainties associated with their product. How then is it that those of them involved in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) can put their hands on their hearts and maintain there is a 95 per cent probability that human emissions of carbon dioxide have caused most of the global warming that has occurred over the last several decades? In short, there is more than enough uncertainty about the forecasting of climate to allow normal human beings to be at least reasonably hopeful that global warming might not be nearly as bad as is currently touted.

Climate scientists, and indeed scientists in general, are not so lucky. They have a lot to lose if time should prove them wrong. "In the light of all this, we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem-or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem-in its effort to promote the cause," writes Paltridge. "It is a particularly nasty trap in the context of science, because it risks destroying, perhaps for centuries to come, the unique and hard-won reputation for honesty which is the basis of society's respect for scientific endeavor.""

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by aliks on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:37AM

    by aliks (357) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:37AM (#3317)

    Its worth checking the credentials of the authors of this kind of paper.

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/patrick-michaels- history-getting-climate-wrong.html/ [skepticalscience.com]

    It gives you a good feel for which side of the argument the author is coming from.

    --
    To err is human, to comment divine
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by CowMan on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:40AM

      by CowMan (2314) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:40AM (#3320)

      There's a link error there, corrected;
      https://www.skepticalscience.com/patrick-michaels- history-getting-climate-wrong.html [skepticalscience.com]

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by Curupira on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:47PM

        by Curupira (1984) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:47PM (#3425)
        Also, every story like this one should have this obligatory SBMC comic [smbc-comics.com]. :-)
        • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:15PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:15PM (#3441)

          You totally just made that comic up and went back in time to post it didn't you ;)

          It's way too appreciate to be just coincidence it already exists.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: 2, Funny) by mcgrew on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:56PM

            by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:56PM (#3474) Homepage Journal

            It's way too appreciate to be just coincidence it already exists.

            Ah, the dangers of commenting from a smartphone with autocorrect. Could you try that again? I have no idea what you were trying to convey; "appreciate" doesn't work in the sentence at all. What word did you mean to use?

            --
            Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
            • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:09PM

              by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:09PM (#3477)

              *appropriate

              Better ;)

              --
              "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
            • (Score: -1) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:16PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:16PM (#3484)

              It must be really sad to live in a world where your brain isn't capable of making the tiny leap from "appreciate" to "appropriate".

              First time I read it, I thought, "hum, appreciate doesn't make sense there. You know I bet he meant appropriate. Yeah, that totally makes sense in this context."

              • (Score: 5, Funny) by jcd on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:45PM

                by jcd (883) on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:45PM (#3590)

                I'm so proud of you, AC. Sometimes you have these flashes of brilliance. Other times... I don't know what happened to you.

                --
                "What good's an honest soldier if he can be ordered to behave like a terrorist?"
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by theluggage on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:18AM

      by theluggage (1797) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:18AM (#3346)

      It gives you a good feel for which side of the argument the author is coming from.

      Actually, the summary gives a pretty good idea what side of the argument it is coming from: "the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away" is hardly objective, neutral commentary, is it?

      Basic physics hint: put a saucepan full of ice on the fire, and the temperature will stay pretty constant as long as the heat is being "used" to melt the ice. Not a viable climate model in itself, but food for thought for any laypersons who think lack of average temperature increase is somehow a disproof of "global warming".

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:53PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:53PM (#3393)

        If it is disproof you are looking for, "the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away" is probably better.

        We keep being told that global warming IS happening, the science is settled, anyone who tries to argue that they may still be missing a variable or two in the equation is labelled a climate change denier - and yet, we are still waiting. Global warming should have been here years ago. The oceans should have rised several feet years ago. And all we hear are lame excuses as for why the predictions didn't hold, but we should still believe everything the very same group of people keep telling us.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:28PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:28PM (#3411)

          the science is settled

          WHO'S telling you that? Give some sources.

          I'm sick and tired of hearing that parroted. If someone is saying "the science is settled", they are not scientist! The only time I've EVER heard that line used is by people who refuse to look at any evidence contrary to their own views.

          The only people making "lame excuses" are the ones constantly trying to pigeon hole science as having 100% faith it can never be wrong. That's not science, it's religion. Science is the art of being wrong and learning from it to improve our understanding of the universe so we can be more right next time.

          I'm not arguing for or against climate change. Climate especially isn't black and white, but there was never a prediction sea level was going to rise "several feet" years ago. Find a source I dare you, because it's most likely the media, non-scientists, misinterpreting the science and blowing things out of proportion. If you can't tell the difference you failed at science and don't belong here, please find some where else to be ignorant.

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by harmless on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:10PM

            by harmless (1048) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:10PM (#3479) Homepage

            Climate especially isn't black and white, but there was never a prediction sea level was going to rise "several feet" years ago. Find a source I dare you,

            There you go:

            Estuarine Beaches [google.de]

            This is a book from 1994. To Quote:

            "There is now a general consensus that global sea levels will rise at an increased rate from those in the recent past (Barth and Titus 1984; Tooley and Shennan 1987; National Research Council 1987; Oerlemans 1989; Meier 1990). Estimates of sea level rise range as high as 1.17m by the year 2050, considering only changes in greenhouse gases (Hoffman 1984), but the actual rise is likely to be considerable less than that extreme. [...]"

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by pe1rxq on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:46PM

              by pe1rxq (844) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:46PM (#3518) Homepage
              It makes a prediction for 2050. Several feet was the extreme and mentioned as such. 2050 is in the future, not serveral years ago. The prediction might have been made in 1994, but AC was not claiming that. Mr. AC was claiming 'The oceans should have rised several feet years ago' which is different from your quote....
        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by mcgrew on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:50PM

          by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:50PM (#3519) Homepage Journal

          When I first saw the AC comment above, I thought "uh, oh, a bad slashdotdotter's here". It's obvious when you see it, a stupid and/or trollish post by an AC that gets modded up. I always suspect someone with mod points wants to troll so he makes an AC comment and mods it up himself. Not sure about this one, there's one insightful, one flamebait, one underrated. All are undeserved; it isn't flamebait (who's being flamed?) but it certainly isn't insightful. It would be overrated at 0.

          The wrong people are getting mod points. Where are mine? I have yet to get a single one. I'll tear the AC apart point by point:

          We keep being told that global warming IS happening

          True, we have been told that. Actually, what we've been told is that almost all climate scientists say the Earth is warming.

          the science is settled

          False. Nobody in the scientific community has ever said that.

          anyone who tries to argue that they may still be missing a variable or two in the equation is labelled a climate change denier

          False. Of course there are missing variables, there always are in any endeavor. Climate change deniers are the ones who say "well look at all the snow outside? Global warming? Bullshit! That's proof global warming is a hoax perpetrated by evil lying scientists who are hawking this nonexestant threat for the money!"

          and yet, we are still waiting

          Completely ignoring that the north pole is ice-free for the first time in history, ignoring ocean acidity, etc.

          Global warming should have been here years ago.

          False. No scientist ever said that.

          The oceans should have rised several feet years ago.

          False, no scientist ever said that, either. And his grammar shows his education level -- someone who had at least finished high school, let alone attended college, would know that the word is "risen" or "raised", not "rised". There is no such word as "rised" [google.com] unless you refer to the urban dictionary or wictionary, which are, guess what? Edited by high school dropouts. They are not references or citations. The OED also says the word does not exist. Typical Fox News watcher.

          And all we hear are lame excuses as for why the predictions didn't hold

          Such as?

          I really hope soylent gets the same kind of metamoderation slashdot had years ago, the one that actually worked, because two of the three people who moderated that are ignorant and don't give much thought to the comment they're moderating. It only took me seconds to see what's wrong with it (as did one of the three mods, who was also lazy and didn't bother choosing which downmod he wanted to use).

          --
          Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:01PM

            by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:01PM (#3529)

            I'd mod you up as insightful if I hadn't already commented in this thread.

            --
            "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:14PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:14PM (#3782)

            Let me add a few things:

            We already know that you can create an earthquake by damming up a river. Shift the amount of mass on a portion of the crust, and you get earthquakes. A lake such as that in S.C., on the Savannah river, generates quakes every so often.

            So far, so good. Now, we see that (fortunately) the ocean levels aren't rising as predicted, despite (unfortunately) the fact that the northern ice sheet has mostly gone away, because (fortunately) the increased storms in the south seem to be covering the Antarctic with a thicker ice sheet.

            Unfortunately, that means that there is a LOT of mass that has been lifted off one side of the globe, and stuck on the other. Which might imply the possiblity of increased earthquakes, and increased plate movement, and therefore increased volcanism.

            Interesting thought, eh? Global warming doesn't mean quite what we thought. But it means somethign significant, nonetheless.

            Now... as to the issue of us not understanding clouds, okay, we don't understand everything about them. I thought the Jeopardy was about knowing the pat question to every answer; science is all about searching for answers. That said, I have a suggestion: the clouds are visible, therefore would appear to be gaseous crystalline. That being the case, as the air currents move a unit of cloud from one location to the other, and the pressures change on the unit of cloud, then we should expect changes in the charge structure on the surface, which will then deposit onto the dry air surrounding the cloud, much as a van-de-graaf generator, causing... lightning.

            Which may be correct, may not be... but it's one phase of many in science: people propose ideas, eventually someone checks the ideas out, maybe...

            Now... on to this AC posting. Ummm. When I click "Create an Account" I get 500 internal server error. Which makes me very anonymous.

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Angry Jesus on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:39PM

        by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:39PM (#3458)

        "the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away" is hardly objective, neutral commentary, is it?

        Anytime you see someone referencing "no warming since 1997" you know they are an outright fraudster. 1997 had an exceptionally high average temperature, a major outlier. So of course if you set the baseline to the highest peak in recent history it will look like there hasn't been much of any increases since.

        For a while these fraudsters were saying that temps were declining. They can't say that anymore because what was an outlier in 1997 is now almost average.

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2013/03/1 8/global_warming_denial_debunking_misleading_clima te_change_claims_by_david.html [slate.com]

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by weeds on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:54PM

        by weeds (611) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:54PM (#3470) Journal

        ...ice on the fire, and the temperature will stay pretty constant as long as the heat is being "used" to melt the ice...

        This is change of state. I'm not sure you can apply that to the entire climate system.

        • (Score: 2, Informative) by theluggage on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:03PM

          by theluggage (1797) on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:03PM (#3637)

          This is change of state. I'm not sure you can apply that to the entire climate system.

          Pretty sure that "changes of state [noaa.gov]" play a role in the climate. Not to mention exchanges of heat and mechanical energy, or deep dark places that can warm up without affecting average surface temperatures... Just don't expect to fine one single, neat answer.

          Anyway, I didn't claim any sort of climate model - it was just an example showing that "heat" is not "temperature" and that even a system as simple as a pan full of ice water doesn't increase in temperature in direct proportion to the heat put in. The climate is a hell of a lot more complex than a pan full of water, and chaotic to boot: even if the alleged "pause" in increasing average temperatures is real (and not a result of cherry-picking which temperatures to average) it's perfectly plausible that any temperature rise will be an uneven process.

          • (Score: 2, Informative) by weeds on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:35PM

            by weeds (611) on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:35PM (#3654) Journal

            Good explanation. The article you reference seems to say the ice is melting owing to higher temperatures, not that the ice is melting and there is no change of temperature. Didn't mean to sound hostile. "I'm not sure" really meant "I'm not sure."

            • (Score: 1) by theluggage on Friday February 21 2014, @05:12PM

              by theluggage (1797) on Friday February 21 2014, @05:12PM (#4420)

              ...obviously the local temperatures will need to be higher to melt the ice. Heat energy doesn't move without a temperature difference. However, because heat energy has been taken out of the air or water by the melting ice, somewhere else is going to be cooler than it would otherwise have been.

              Point a fancy thermal imaging camera at your pan of ice water and you'll see columns of warm water rising up, and columns of cold water going down. There will be hot spots and cold spots. Stick a thermometer in and give it a stir, though, and you'll see that the average temperature is fairly static while the ice is melting.

              Sticking a giant thermometer into the arctic ocean and giving it a stir is not recommended.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by lubricus on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:25AM

      by lubricus (232) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:25AM (#3353)

      Agreed. Even if you are to take his statements on their scientific grounds, anyone who has submitted a scientific paper would recognize this as the reviewer who disagrees with a few of your assumptions, and rejects the paper because, what if he's right?

      Which would be fine except that:
      1. The conflict was not over cause and mechanisms, but the precise degree of outcomes.
      2. He was the solo negative reviewer and the paper was written by almost everyone else in the field.
      3. He was rejecting an entire field, but of course only to protect *the rest of science*.

      --
      ... sorry about the typos
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by lothmordor on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:08PM

      by lothmordor (1522) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:08PM (#3371)
      According to Wikipedia, Patrick Michaels [wikipedia.org] is "a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute."

      "The Cato Institute [wikipedia.org] is an American libertarian think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. It was founded as the Charles Koch Foundation in 1974 by Ed Crane, Murray Rothbard, and Charles Koch, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the conglomerate Koch Industries [wikipedia.org]."

      But I'm sure the fact that he takes money from the fossil-fuel industry [youtube.com] has absolutely no impact on his views.

    • (Score: 1) by captain normal on Thursday February 20 2014, @08:46PM

      by captain normal (2205) on Thursday February 20 2014, @08:46PM (#3684)

      This just in: In spite of a cold winter on the U.S. East coast, The earth has had the 4th warmest January in history.
      http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/02/january-wa s-fourth-warmest-recorded-history-because-not-ever yone-lives-near-you/358340/ [thewire.com]

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by people on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:53AM

    by people (281) on Thursday February 20 2014, @10:53AM (#3329)

    This is the second "climate skepticism" nonsense article posted on Soylent, in the very short time that the site. The previous story one has now been edited, after the fact, to claim that it was actually intended to be sarcasm. We also recently had the strange Fox News story about a solar power plant.

    I would hate for this site to become a platform for crackpot science and conspiracy theories. I understand that a second editor needs to sign off on articles for them to be published? Perhaps quality would be improved if instead of just one editor approving, a handful of editors would vote on each story?

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by girlwhowaspluggedout on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:19AM

      by girlwhowaspluggedout (1223) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:19AM (#3348)

      Look at it as an opportunity to take crackpot claims apart [soylentnews.org] and help others [soylentnews.org] become better informed [soylentnews.org].

      Put another way, Soylent is the best disinfectant :)

      --
      Soylent is the best disinfectant.
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:24PM (#3375)

        I look at it more as an opportunity for Soylent to feed the trolls and imitate the worst of Slashdot, without even the financial motive to justify it. Next thing you know we'll be seeing a front page full of articles on intelligent design and women in STEM.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by pe1rxq on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:58PM

        by pe1rxq (844) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:58PM (#3431) Homepage

        I don't mind doing that on occasion, but the amount of crackpot articles seems to be pretty high right now. You should also keep in mind that the comments might be more down to earth the summaries certainly weren't. The front page looks more like crackpot-HQ right now.
        It leaves me worying about the mental state of the editors aswell......

        What is next? Young earth creationism?
        If this kind of crap becomes a daily occurance I might end up running back to Dice and beg them for forgiveness.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Thursday February 20 2014, @08:24PM

          by HiThere (866) on Thursday February 20 2014, @08:24PM (#3671) Journal

          The problems with Beta stem from formatting. I don't think anyone expected that to fix the "editing".

          P.S.: IIUC, if you want better articles, you need to submit them. It would probably be possible to submit reports on every story from Science News, Science, and Scientific American. I don't think they'd all get selected, but having them available to choose from might change the stories the editors picked.

          --
          Javascript is what you use to allow unknown third parties to run software you have no idea about on your computer.
    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by hubie on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:22PM

      by hubie (1068) on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:22PM (#3577) Journal

      Interestingly enough, my first story submission here was to an editorial [wiley.com] printed in the inaugural edition of the peer-reviewed open-access journal Earth's Future. It makes the point about the potential impacts of the things that aren't in the climate models (namely, an accurate albedo). Very nice, I think, summary of where things stand and the issues involved. Perhaps my summary was too boring or not as sensational as this one, because my submission was rejected. I'm a long time Slashdot reader, and I'm not bitching about my story being rejected because I know how things work, and I also know we're early into this site, but it disappointed me in the sense that I really hope the only kind of stores that pass muster here are not just the same NSA/Snowden/bitcoin/etc. kind, because then this place will really only be just Slashdot with a throwback UI.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @02:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 21 2014, @02:42AM (#4013)

      Slashdot was pretty badly biased the other way. You've gotten used to that, so it seems normal and this seems weird. Stick around so you get recalibrated.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by lubricus on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:04AM

    by lubricus (232) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:04AM (#3338)

    The summary confuses a couple different issues, so let's take them apart:

    How is it then...hands on their hearts ... maintain there is a 95 per cent probability that human emissions have caused most of the global warming.

    This is the certainty behind the associations between human emissions and global warming: what has happened.

    Well known uncertainties in climate forecasting

    This concerns the precise prediction of future climate.

    Yes, of course there are uncertainties and assumptions in models, this is why the IPCC reports have several models of emissions, and error ranges around projections AR 4 [www.ipcc.ch].

    We're geeks here, so we know the strengths and weakness of models, and how they can have assumptions and uncertainties and still be useful. We also know the difference between confidence in attributing past occurrences to causes, and predicting the future.

    Paltridge (who believes anthropogenic climate change is real but thinks the impact will be minimal) is essentially worried (original article here) [quadrant.org.au] that the public won't understand there will be errors in specific predictions, and thus all of science will suffer a breach of trust, or something. (The linked article then goes about the standard arguments of how the structure of science funding makes scientists converge upon the standard school of thought yada yada).

    Just wanted to be clear about the argument being presented: Paltridge believes in human caused global climate change. He simply thinks that the predictive models might be off on the degree of warming. From this he says science will be doomed because everyone will say "ug, science, remember how they overestimated that climate change thing".

    --
    ... sorry about the typos
  • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:06AM (#3340)

    Who reads this crap anyways? I guess Garth just earned another paycheck, like the piano player at the whorehouse.

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by girlwhowaspluggedout on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:09AM

    by girlwhowaspluggedout (1223) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:09AM (#3341)
    Although TFA has Paltridge saying that "we have at least to consider the possibility that the scientific establishment behind the global warming issue has been drawn into the trap of seriously overstating the climate problem-or, what is much the same thing, of seriously understating the uncertainties associated with the climate problem-in its effort to promote the cause", he had previously described Climate Science [afr.com] in slightly different terms...

    Suffice it to say that climate science is an example of what Canadian educator Sue McGregor calls "post-normal science", in which "the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent". In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid subconscious cherry-picking of data to suit the popular theory of the time. Even Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were not immune from the problem. In their case they were of sufficient genius (and were sufficiently lucky!) for their theories ultimately to trump the inaccuracy of the observations they had selected. Other scientists are rarely so prescient or so lucky. In the modern era, the problem is compounded by the existence of vastly complex computer models that can be tuned, again more-or-less subconsciously, to yield the desired result. From theory to observation and back again - if we are not careful, the cherry-picking can go round and round in an endless, misleading loop.

    But the real worry with climate research is that it is on the very edge of what is called postmodern science. This is a counterpart of the relativist world of postmodern art and design. It is a much more dangerous beast, whose results are valid only in the context of society's beliefs and where the very existence of scientific truth can be denied. Postmodern science envisages a sort of political nirvana in which scientific theory and results can be consciously and legitimately manipulated to suit either the dictates of political correctness or the policies of the government of the day.

    There is little doubt that some players in the climate game - not a lot, but enough to have severely damaged the reputation of climate scientists in general - have stepped across the boundary into postmodern science. The Climategate scandal of 2009, wherein thousands of emails were leaked from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in England, showed that certain senior members of the research community were, and presumably still are, quite capable of deliberately selecting data in order to overstate the evidence for dangerous climate change. The emails showed as well that these senior members were quite happy to discuss ways and means of controlling the research journals so as to deny publication of any material that goes against the orthodox dogma. The ways and means included the sacking of recalcitrant editors.

    Paltridge, incidentally, is the author of The Climate Caper [connorcourt.com], a book that shows that:

    the case for action against climate change is not nearly so certain as is presented to politicians and the public. He leads us through the massive uncertainties which are inherently part of the 'climate modelling process'; he examines the even greater uncertainties associated with economic forecasts of climatic doom; and he discusses in detail the conscious and sub-conscious forces operating to ensure that scepticism within the scientific community is kept from the public eye.

    It seems that governments are indeed becoming captive to a scientific and technological elite - an elite which is achieving its ends by manipulating fear of climate change into the world's greatest example of a religion for the politically correct.

    --
    Soylent is the best disinfectant.
    • (Score: 5, Funny) by GeminiDomino on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:14PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:14PM (#3404)

      I guess "postmodern science" is a more acceptable phrase in academia than "politicized bullshit"(NB: Redundancy noted).

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by lubricus on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:40AM

    by lubricus (232) on Thursday February 20 2014, @11:40AM (#3361)

    FYI: The IPCC is not "profoundly defensive" about the limits of modeling, they acknowledge and address them as you would in any scientific endeavour.

    Here's a summary of their response:
    http://co2now.org/Know-the-Changing-Climate/Scient ific-Predictions/ipcc-faq-climate-projection-model -reliability.html ...and the section of the report dealing with this:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/a r4-wg1-chapter8.pdf

    --
    ... sorry about the typos
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Open4D on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:42PM

    by Open4D (371) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:42PM (#3387) Journal

    Hmmm, that's a nice round number, 17 years. I wonder why they picked that; it must have some special relevance to the standard deviation of the mean of the variance over pi or something. But ... I could swear that a year ago they were talking about 16 years. Oh, never mind.

    Surely that choice wouldn't be motivated by an attempt to use the fact that 1998 & 2002 were particularly hot years as evidence against a decades-scale warming trend? I mean, I'm sure if they picked 18 years, or - even better - if they applied proper statistical analysis techniques to the whole data set, that would continue to support Mr Michaels's claim that "the scientific establishment has painted itself into a corner over global warming".

    Please inform the Cato Institute that using similarly innovative statistical techniques (a 17 minute period) I have provisionally calculated my defecation rate as 42kg per day.

    [/sarcasm]

    BTW, here's the Global Surface Temperatures graph [nasa.gov] from http://climate.nasa.gov/news/468 [nasa.gov]

    • (Score: 1) by sar on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:56PM

      by sar (507) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:56PM (#3563)

      Thank you mister, your excellent application of 17-something statistics made my day :)

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by L.M.T. Spoon on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:56PM

    by L.M.T. Spoon (641) on Thursday February 20 2014, @12:56PM (#3395)

    I get really annoyed when people associate science with statements like "they have a lot to lose if time should prove them wrong" and that scientists "put their hands over their hearts and swear..." [from the last link the summary]. Climate debate is one thing, but it is incredibly unfortunate that science in the public mind is increasingly seen as a fanatical quest for certainty.

    As many of us, hopefully, understand: hypotheses are disproven, not proven correct, but may be accepted when they are sufficiently replicable. And a scientist, as a scientist, has a lot to lose if data is falsified, not if the theory is eventually disproven. For, generally, past theories are stepping stones to modernity and progress. Of course if a scientist never gets any verifiable or consistent results, that scientist will be eventually out of a job, but that is the same question as in any profession.

    Do not falsify your data and keep looking.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:02PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:02PM (#3435)

      I was tempted to post something snarky about how how a scientist has a lot more to lose if he fails to impress journal editors, but then it hit me. It's probably always been hard to do a job with integrity, whether that job is science or law or software development.

      Fight the good fight.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by lajos on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:10PM

    by lajos (528) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:10PM (#3400)

    In New England we have the inability to properly simulate weather for more than a couple hours ahead. If 3-5 inches of snow is predicted, we might get 2 feet with 2 weeks of power outage or a light sprinkle. But it might also end up being rain, or shine.

    The same people giving us predictions of the affects of GW?

    So I think he has a point there. Al Gore also knows this, otherwise he wouldn't be living in a beachfront mansion.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:39PM

      by umafuckitt (20) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:39PM (#3420)

      Your argument is flawed in two ways. Firstly, you are exaggerating. Short-term weather forecasts are more accurate than you imply. Secondly, climate is a different thing from weather (which is what you're talking about). It is modeled differently and done so by different people.

      • (Score: 1) by lajos on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:29PM

        by lajos (528) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:29PM (#3453)

        "Firstly, you are exaggerating."

        No, I'm not. Just come up here and spend a couple of months. Weather predictions, short or long term, are a joke. Even from NOAA.

        Sure, climate science is different from local weather. But they are related.

      • (Score: 1) by Maow on Thursday February 20 2014, @09:40PM

        by Maow (8) on Thursday February 20 2014, @09:40PM (#3739) Homepage

        Your argument is flawed in two ways. Firstly, you are exaggerating. Short-term weather forecasts are more accurate than you imply. Secondly, climate is a different thing from weather (which is what you're talking about). It is modeled differently and done so by different people.

        I think you missed one way the GP's argument is flawed:

        Al Gore also knows this, otherwise he wouldn't be living in a beachfront mansion.

        "Global warming is ____ because Al Gore ____!!1!"

        Oh for fuck sakes, no preview ... again!

        Hrm, complaining loudly fixed it.

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:49PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:49PM (#3426)

      You're confusing weather with climate.

      Climate - "the weather conditions prevailing in an area in general or over a long period."

      Weather - "the state of the atmosphere at a place and time as regards heat, dryness, sunshine, wind, rain, etc"

      Weather is a data point for a small area, Climate is the collection of data for larger regions. Maybe we're getting a lot of snow here in the North East, but Australia has been having an extreme heat wave [theguardian.com]

      Climate predictions, like weather predictions, can and may be wrong, but there's quite a bit of evidence and a decent trend indicating it probably isn't.

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2, Informative) by lajos on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:25PM

        by lajos (528) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:25PM (#3449)

        I'm not debating or denying GW. All I'm saying is, at least where I live, we can't even get reliable prediction on local weather. The models required to predict global changes are many orders of magnitude more complicated, even if done by different scientists.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:53PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:53PM (#3468)

          All I'm saying is, at least where I live, we can't even get reliable prediction on local weather. The models required to predict global changes are many orders of magnitude more complicated, even if done by different scientists.

          Might as well say some mechanic are unreliable so how can we expect engineers at Ford or GM to design cars?

          Forecasting the weather and predicting climate are completely different things. Yeah, it's a complex thing to do, but it doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. The worse that could happen is the prediction is wrong and is used to refine future predictions.

          The media on the other hand is what this whole climate debate is about. Journalist unqualified to understand the science take, "We expect see level to rise by between 90 and 160mm over the next 100 years." as "OMFG!!! we're all going to drown! Quick someone build an ark! WE'RE DOOOOOOMMMMMEEEEEDDDD!!!!!!". Then a bunch of yokles jump on the bandwagon calling scientists every name under the sun because they're worried we're going to to what? Switch from sweet life giving oil to bird cooking solar.

          Yes I realize I'm being hypocritical in my hyperbole, but it's for comedic effect. Admittedly I'm not a very funny person.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 1) by hubie on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:38PM

          by hubie (1068) on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:38PM (#3585) Journal

          You're talking about different issues. Short-term forecasting is trying to capture the current state of the atmosphere and propagating that forward in time to produce a reasonably accurate local forecast. That suffers from the problem of not knowing the initial state sufficiently well that your errors propagate out until they are large enough in about 5 days or so to not be reliable. Climate models are not trying to tell you what the weather will be like on Monday, May 5th, 2080, but what the overall average state of the system will be. I can very quickly construct a model that will tell you, within about 10 degrees or so, what the temperature will be on a month-to-month basis (hotter in July and colder in December in the Northern Hemisphere), but my model won't be of much use to you if you want to know what the weather will be on your birthday.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:46PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:46PM (#3464)

        So we can build a good model of general things on a basis of thousands of bad things? Did not realize you could do that in science. I usually would call that a flawed hypothesis and of the ilk of the idea of rings and spheres.

        It is a good point. You however, have failed to prove it wrong other than whipping out the dictionary and a vague 'seems to be trending'.

        So much for my hope that this site wouldn't be the same people arguing about something as silly as the weather. It is one of the reasons I moved to this site. The hope it would be about tech and not something as boring as politics.

        I have to ask you why do you argue about it? Does it *really* bother you that much someone is posting something 'wrong'? Here is a hint people are wrong all the time. Some will even be loud about it. What do you care? Is it your personal mission to purge the internet of 'bad things'? If so what do you think about censorship? Do you see it as a 'good idea' when it is something you do not like?

        Or are you like this strip?
        https://xkcd.com/386/ [xkcd.com]

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:07PM

          by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:07PM (#3476)

          So we can build a good model of general things on a basis of thousands of bad things?

          So we build a good or bad models of general things on a basis of thousands of observations (things that have already happened so we know they're correct). Then we can compare the model to what actually takes place and refine it to make it better? Wow, Science is so awesome!!

          Fixed that for you.

          --
          "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:12PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:12PM (#3481)

          Please, for the sake of all of us, go back to the other site.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:09AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 22 2014, @09:09AM (#4750)

        Except that the people predicting climate variations are not very good at it either. The Farmers Almanac is more likely to tell you what the correct rainfall will be Summer next year then the NOAA.

        One of the most ( if not the most accurate ) predictions in science is that of the anamolous magnetic monet of the electron. 11 digits accuracy. Can you name one prediction from climate science, that is done to 3 digits accuracy?

    • (Score: 1) by mcgrew on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:54PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 20 2014, @06:54PM (#3630) Homepage Journal

      You seem to misunderstand the difference between weather and climate, and between climatologists and meteorologists. They are NOT the same people and your local weather has little to do with global climate.

      Al Gore also knows this, otherwise he wouldn't be living in a beachfront mansion.

      Al Gore has the cash to not care of his house is swept into the ocean.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:13PM

    by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @01:13PM (#3401) Journal

    It's sad to have to say it but people who didn't know any of this already won't know it in another 17 years either.

    Feel free to not prove me wrong :P

    I always thought the people drumming on about climate change didn't understand what science is and isn't (and perhaps that's still true) but maybe the real problem is that they don't know how scams work? Of course even if they knew that it would still be very hard to admit to being hooked (but then again that's a big part of why it works so...).

    *dives into infinite pool of negative karma --truth first*

    --
    Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Vanderhoth on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:12PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Thursday February 20 2014, @02:12PM (#3439)

      Of course even if they knew that it would still be very hard to admit to being hooked

      Being hooked on what? A scam?

      I'm neither for or against climate change, but looking at the data it seems we are trending toward a much warmer global climate. I'm also of the opinion that, even if it's not man made, what do we have to lose by being more conscientious about our impact?

      • We cut down on fossil fuel
        • which won't last forever
        • will allow us to be more independent of areas in the world that appear to be in constant conflict
        • fewer environmental disasters like the BP oil spill in the gulf
        • less smog in cities leading to better health over all
      • In return we get cheaper, more reliable, renewable energy sources, which I can tack on to my house and use to decrease my dependence on the power company.

      Seems to me the benefits of the "scam" are pretty good for us in general. A scam usually means one person is profiting by fleecing someone else, but I hear it more and more used as term for "we all benefit, but I don't like it."

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:12PM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) Subscriber Badge on Thursday February 20 2014, @05:12PM (#3573) Journal

        Let's not bother trying again in 17 years :)

        --
        Bite harder Ouroboros, bite! tails.boum.org/ linux USB CD secure desktop IRC *crypt tor (not endorsements (XKeyScore))
  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by phenonadhominem on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:56PM

    by phenonadhominem (1841) on Thursday February 20 2014, @03:56PM (#3524)

    To use the conspiracy 'theory' meme is unscientific. We should not just close down conversation but debate it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interglacial_period [wikipedia.org]

    We are due an ice age so carbon is not necessarily bad.

    Benefits of more carbon in atmosphere:

    Increases growth rate of plants and timber
    More precipitation
    Increased temperature prevents snowball earth scenario feedback loop as ice cover increases and reflects.
    Open up tundra to crops (this is happening in Russia)

    Negatives:

    More variable temperature trending upwards
    Flooding from precipitation
    Higher sea levels

    Black swan:

    Going back into Ice age could be mitigated by preventing carbon from being locked up. On the other hand methane cycle not fully understood and could cause massive warming either from exposed tundra or volcanoes.

    Temperature output from Sun may dim more quickly over time so requiring CO2 just to stay the same. Same for nuclear reaction in earth.

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by linsane on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:19PM

      by linsane (633) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:19PM (#3545)

      Quite a big negative:
      Carbon Dioxide being absorbed by the sea and dissolving the shells off little animals at the bottom of the food pyramid.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by mcgrew on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:48PM

      by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Thursday February 20 2014, @07:48PM (#3660) Homepage Journal

      Going back into Ice age could be mitigated by preventing carbon from being locked up.

      You haven't thought about it much. We don't need any more warming now, we're already in the normally hot period so we certainly don't need to heat the climate any more right now. Keep those fossil fuels in the ground for another 5000 years when the normal cyclical cooling starts, then burn, baby, burn. But keep going the way we are and in 5000 years there will be no fossil fuel left to warm the cooling planet.

      The industrial revolution came 5000 years too soon. Right now we're really warm, 10,000 years from now it's going to be damned cold. Save that fuel! We're going to need that CO2 blanket 5000 years from now, but it certainly isn't needed in the present day.

      --
      Free Martian whores! [mcgrewbooks.com]
  • (Score: -1, Troll) by captain normal on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:45PM

    by captain normal (2205) on Thursday February 20 2014, @04:45PM (#3562)

    This whole post and summary is a troll. Did we escape from the madness of /. only to draw in all the anti-government shills out there?

    • (Score: 1) by unitron on Friday February 21 2014, @12:53AM

      by unitron (70) on Friday February 21 2014, @12:53AM (#3926) Journal

      You seem to have attracted the attention of a rather thin-skinned moderator who couldn't be bothered to post an enlightened counter-argument.

      --
      something something Slashcott something something Beta something something
      • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Friday February 21 2014, @01:38AM

        by Vanderhoth (61) on Friday February 21 2014, @01:38AM (#3957)

        Or, you know, a moderator doing what a moderator is supposed to do. His comment wasn't constructive or on topic and seeing as a moderator can comment or moderate, but not both, they did exactly what they were supposed to. I find it rather disturbing you, being a double digit UID, would call a moderator out on such a trivial comment, that deserved the moderation it got.

        Infrences have been made.

        --
        "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
        • (Score: 1) by unitron on Friday February 21 2014, @02:59AM

          by unitron (70) on Friday February 21 2014, @02:59AM (#4022) Journal

          Considering that TFA was from a CATO/Koch shill, I thought his comment was on-topic, nor did I consider him to be trolling.

          --
          something something Slashcott something something Beta something something