The pathetic AAPG

For a long time the AAPG enjoyed the dubious distinction of being the only organisation with any kind of scientific credibility that maintained an officially septic position on climate change, as reported by the official journal of record, wikipedia. That changed recently when they adopted a new statement. The old statement was at least brave in being boldly scientifically illiterate, and was (presumably) only there to demonstrate to the left that some of their prejudices against Big Oil were correct. The new one, as Eli points out, is pathetic in its desire to appease both sides,. and yet still manages to remain scientifically illiterate (our planet has been far warmer and cooler than today many times in the geologic past, including the past 10,000 years isn’t true, unless you stretch the meaning of “far” quite… far; the current climate warming projections could fall within well-documented natural variations in past climate and observed temperature data is also wrong (unless they have very low standards for “well documented”)).

But its when we come down to stuff like AAPG supports reducing emissions from fossil fuel use as a worthy goal. (However, emission reduction has an economic cost, which must be compared to the potential environmental gain.) that the problems begin. Does “emissions” in this context mean GHGs, or are they thinking of more local pollutants, or is it deliberately ambiguous? If they don’t mean GHGs, then this is f*ck all to do with climate change. If they *do* mean GHGs, then why is reducing them a worthy goal, unless you’re admitting that GHGs cause climate change, and that this is a problem? If reducing GHGs has a potential env gain, then you’re admitting that emitting GHGs is going to cause cl ch, and that this has a cost.

Later on they say AAPG supports the pursuit of economically viable technology to sequester carbon dioxide emissions and emissions of other gases in a continuing effort to improve our environment… If sequestering CO2 improves the environment, then why are they bothering to quibble about whether CO2 is a problem? Clearly it must be.

Multi-scale analysis of global temperature changes and trend of a drop in temperature in the next 20 years!?!

Tim Lambert provides the abstract of Zhen-Shan and Xian; MW was kind enough to send the text. I’ve seen it before… probably via Monckton or one of the std.septic channels. Lambert describes it as “just a rubbish paper that should not have been published”. It comes up as one of the Schultz 7.

But why is it rubbish? (of course it must be, since it rejects the consensus :-), but is more detail of any value?).
Continue reading “Multi-scale analysis of global temperature changes and trend of a drop in temperature in the next 20 years!?!”

Sawyer: prophetic or wot?

Two sources point me towards a Neville Nicholls letter about a 35 year old paper by Sawyer, but Inel gets the hat tip. Nicholls uses the paper to demonstrate that concern about GW is nothing new (it also blows the “everyone was predicting a new ice age in the 70’s” away, but thats another story), and he considers Sawyers about-right prediction of 0.6 oC T rise by 2000 as “perhaps the most remarkable long-range forecast ever made”. I suspect it doesn’t have much competition (any proposals?) but how does the Sawyer paper actually read?

Curiously enough, I had cause to be flipping through 70’s editions of Nature a month or so back, and came across Sawyer, and thought nothing much of it. Just shows you need fine judgement to get a letter into Nature πŸ™‚
Continue reading “Sawyer: prophetic or wot?”

Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory?

Back to the septic tripe I fear (thanks Fergus). From, whatever that is, we have someone “updating Oreskes“. And the work has been submitted to… yes you guessed it, E+E. Bit of a hint there re quality. Does this come under be careful what you wish for?

Oreskes said The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

The dailytech doesn’t trouble to tell us exactly what the new categories are, but says Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers “implicit” endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no “consensus.” which means it can’t be using the same as Oreskes, since O doesn’t distinguish implicit endorsement from neutrality.

But the new study does find 32 papers that reject the consensus. The dailytech article says that the consensus is defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change and I would be very surprised to see a paper rejecting that. More likely, the new study is using some other definition (perhaps the Benny Peiser definition, which amounted to “I don’t understand this abstract but something in it looks usable to me”).

I wonder if the 32 will survive any better than Peisers 34 did?

[Updates: st finds me the reliably septic Monckton who reports *7* papers explicitly rejecting the consensus, and 32-7 implicitly rejecting it. Tim Lambert has had a go at the 7. I don’t have access at home, so won’t comment much yet, but reading the bit about Cao (which TL thinks doesn’t belong) it seems clear that the new work is using a different definition of “consensus” to O; and its not clear what that defn might be. I’m also baffled by one of the new categories – “Quantitative evidence for the consensus” – that apparently has no papers in it. Shurely shome mishtake -W]

Fun from a Czech physicist, and other wiki tales of glee

Have a look at this edit, where Lumidek loses his rag.

Slightly less wacko, but not losing touch with the septic, the AAPG seems to be coming closer to reality whilst being careful not to get there.

Meanwhile someone calling themselves SFredSinger, who may or may not actually be Singer, tried this on for size but it didn’t work. [Oops, and I missed the connection with item 1].

The value of polling scientists

There have been various attempts to survey scientists opinions about climate change. Wiki has an article on this: Scientific opinion on climate change. Check the recent history for another attempt… πŸ™‚

All of these attempts have various methodological problems which I’m sure you can think of for yourselves; but they also suffer from a structural problem which is what I’ll discuss here: which is: does it matter?

Continue reading “The value of polling scientists”

NERC strategy

NERC has a new strategy draft out (I think its public – if you can’t read it, its not…).

And it has an ambitious goal: UK to lead the world in the prediction of the regional and local impacts of
environmental change from months to decades
. So thats bad news for the rest of the world, you’ll be left trailling in our footsteps, crushed by the weight of powerful science flowing from our mighty budget which dwarfs yours. Or the goal might just fail. Or the rest of you might just decide that NERC can have this bit and go off and do something more exciting instead.

But enough snarking, whats more interesting is the shift from 2100 to the near future, and towards regional and local. The decades stuff fits in nicely with the recent Smith paper, so thats OK. But the regional and local? Its what governments want, so since we’re an organ of the UK govt I suppose we do what they want… mind you, only recently Lenny Smith was criticising the over-interpretation and over-localisation of results.

And a for what they might mean by “prediction”… please don’t forget the unresolved earlier thread.

Hard To Tell If Wikipedia Entry On Dada Has Been Vandalized Or Not

From The Onion, Hard To Tell If Wikipedia Entry On Dada Has Been Vandalized Or Not. Sadly the actual article is boringly factual (or it was; I’ve had a go at improving it but I doubt it will last. I like the way my version ends with an impassioned yes yes).

My first go didn’t last long, but then the punctuation was distracting. I think its better with the punctuation removed entirely before the sort. But should the sort be case sensitive?

Projection / Prediction

I’m now hopelessly confused about the distinction between climate projection and prediction.

I used to be happy with what I thought was the case: that given the range in model results, and no good way of knowing the best, calling them predictions seemed too precise; so use a weaker word like projection instead. But.

The IPCC glossary says “A climate prediction or climate forecast is the result of an attempt to produce a most likely description or estimate of the actual evolution of the climate in the future, e.g. at seasonal, interannual or long-term time scales”

That isn’t a very good definition, because its near meaningless. Indeed, it appears to make the outcome dependent on the intention of the researcher(s) producing the runs.

And “A projection of the response of the climate system to emission or concentration scenarios of greenhouse gases and aerosols, or radiative forcing scenarios, often based upon simulations by climate models. Climate projections are distinguished from climate predictions in order to emphasise that climate projections depend upon the emission/concentration/ radiative forcing scenario used, which are based on assumptions, concerning, e.g., future socio-economic and technological developments, that may or may not be realised, and are therefore subject to substantial uncertainty.”

I read that as saying that all that distinguishes pred from proj is knowning the forcing scenario; if we knew future GHG (and solar, and volcanic) accurately, we would call them predictions. That doesn’t seem right either.

Over at RC, discussing the recent Smith 10-y forecasts, Gavin says “the kinds of simulations used in AR4 are all ‘projections’ i.e. runs that attempt to estimate the forced response of the climate to emission changes, but that don’t attempt to estimate the trajectory of the unforced ‘weather’.

This is at least a meaningful distinction – predictions attempt to forecast the actual trajectory of the ‘weather’. Or it would be meaningful if I was sure what ‘weather’ meant in this context. I presume not actual weather, but year-to-year fluctuations, including El Nino etc. But then thats not really “climate” prediction, since climate averages out the ‘weaher’.

Anyone have a more exact definition?