Sunday, April 9, 2017

Monbiot Considers The Problem With Freedom

As I've lamented before, my passion for writing about these issues is at the bottom of my real life duties and expectations priority list.  The spring-time jobs are coming in fast an' furious, three posts laying there waiting for some free time.  I did notice an interesting read worth sharing while I'm out on assignment.  Once again George Monbiot nails it.
___________________________________________________________
Posted: 07 Apr 2017 01:05 AM PDT
Freedom is used as the excuse for ripping down public protections on behalf of the very rich.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 5th April 2017
http://www.monbiot.com/2017/04/07/the-problem-with-freedom/

Propaganda works by sanctifying a single value, such as faith, or patriotism. Anyone who questions it puts themselves outside the circle of respectable opinion. The sacred value is used to obscure the intentions of those who champion it. Today the value is freedom. Freedom is a word that powerful people use to shut down thought.
When thinktanks and the billionaire press call for freedom, they are careful not to specify whose freedoms they mean. Freedom for some, they suggest, means freedom for all. In certain cases, this is true. You can exercise freedom of thought and expression, for example, without harming other people. In other cases, one person’s freedom is another’s captivity.

When corporations free themselves from trade unions, they curtail the freedoms of their workers. When the very rich free themselves from tax, other people suffer through failing public services. When financiers are free to design exotic financial instruments, the rest of us pay for the crises they cause.

Above all, billionaires and the organisations they run demand freedom from something they call “red tape”. What they mean by red tape is public protection. An article in the Telegraph last week was headlined “Cut the EU red tape choking Britain after Brexit to set the country free from the shackles of Brussels”. Yes, we are choking, but not on red tape. We are choking because the government flouts European rules on air quality. The resulting air pollution frees thousands of souls from their bodies.

Ripping down such public protections means freedom for billionaires and corporations from the constraints of democracy. This is what Brexit – and Trump – are all about. The freedom we were promised is the freedom of the very rich to exploit us.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

#B-Unauthorized annotation of Chairman Lamar Smith’s March 29 Climate Science statement. (2 of 2)

US House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith had a hearing March 29 during which he made many claims and insinuations which are frankly false.  
In this exercise I keep my commentary to a minimum and allow scientists to speak for themselves by way of a number of embedded YouTube videos.  If the videos don’t work for you, I’ve included the URL’s so you can link to them.  I also included links to other resources where appropriate.  This collection is for sharing.  For more of an introduction you might try: Confirmed Lamar Smith Manipulated Bates (feb 5th) A Line by Line Review.  Official Hearing Record:

For Immediate Release Media Contact: March 29, 2017
Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method
Part 2 
{Link to Part 1}
____________________________________________



Chairman Lamar Smith continues:  For example, the Science Committee heard from whistleblowers that National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) employees put their “thumb on the scale” during the analysis of data.

___________________

Recent Ocean Warming has been Underestimated




~~~~~


Bruce Wielicki - Climate Change: Fact And Fiction 

Dr. Bruce Wielicki senior scientist for Earth 
science at NASA's Langley Research Center - cloud expert
~~~~~
There's more to this claim of "thumbs on the scale," for the rest of that story link to and check the list of information rich stories:

Confirmed Lamar Smith Manipulated Bates - 
A Line by Line Review of Smith’s February 5th statement.

#A-Unauthorized annotation of Chairman Lamar Smith’s March 29 Climate Science statement. (1 of 2)

US House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith had a hearing March 29 during which he made many claims and insinuations which are frankly false.  
In this exercise I keep my commentary to a minimum and allow scientists to speak for themselves by way of a number of embedded YouTube videos.  If the videos don’t work for you, I’ve included the URL’s so you can link to them.  I also included links to other resources where appropriate.  This collection is for sharing.  For more of an introduction you might try: Confirmed Lamar Smith Manipulated Bates (feb 5th) A Line by Line Review.  Official Hearing Record:

For Immediate Release Media Contact: March 29, 2017
Statement of Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas)
Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications, and the Scientific Method Part 1 {Link to Part 2}

Chairman Smith: Today we will examine the scientific method as it relates to climate change. We must ensure that the underlying science that informs policy decisions is based on credible scientific methodology.
___________________

STATE OF THE CLIMATE IN 2015 - Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 
NATIONAL CENTERS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION | August 2016 (v97n8)
~~~~~
A Climate Minute - Climate Science History
John P Reisman  |  (starts at 0:17)
____________________________________________
I believe the climate is changing and that humans play a role. 
___________________

Tendency to underestimate climate impacts
____________________________________________
However, I also believe significant questions remain as to the extent.
___________________

WHAT ARE THESE SIGNIFICANT QUESTIONS?  

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unauthorized annotated Fyfe coauthors letter to US Rep. Lamar Smith

The Fyfe et al 2016 clarifying letter to US Representative Lamar Smith is well written.  There's nothing to complain about and I don't.  Still at 1000 word there's only so much it can say, and I'm going to use this opportunity to make my point using the words of other scientists.  Remember my beef is about communication, not the science.

I’ve borrowed from about a dozen climate studies, along with some other info and let their quotes speak for themselves.  I apologize for some of the hard feeling.  I do not apologize pushing for better recognition of our* failures to communicate, how else can we learn, how else can we improve?  (slight edit, I realized Josh Willis' quote belongs at the start of this reading, not at the end.)

Best Wishes.  

For the background to this, link here
* Climate science communicators big and little.

“One way to think about it is that global warming continued, but the oceans just juggled a bit of heat around and made the surface seem cooler for a while” 
Joshua Willis Ph.D. - JPL

Source for the text:

Letter to Lamar Smith
March 28, 2017    communication   Ed Hawkins  Climate Lab Book

The Committee on Science, Space & Technology of the US House of Representatives conducts regular evidence hearings on various science topics. On Wednesday 29th March, there is a hearing on “Climate science: assumptions, policy implications, and the scientific method”. The following letter, summarising the scientific findings of Fyfe et al. (2016) and Karl et al. (2015), has been submitted as evidence to this hearing.

The broader context is that the Committee Chairman, Mr. Lamar Smith, has previously discussed the findings of Fyfe et al. (of which I was a co-author), claiming: “A new peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Nature, confirms the halt in global warming”

This statement is incorrect, and motivated the clarification on what Fyfe et al. actually says.

Dear Mr. Smith,
We are coauthors of the Fyfe et al. paper published in 2016 in Nature Climate Change [1]. You recently referenced this paper at a Subcommittee hearing on March 16, 2016 [2]. We are writing to clarify what the Fyfe et al. paper actually finds and claims. We also want to ensure that the conclusions of the Fyfe et al. paper are not misconstrued as a criticism of Thomas Karl, of the Karl et al. paper published in Science in 2015 [3], or of the valuable research that Dr. Karl and his team have performed over many years.


Fyfe Co-authors sent clarifying letter to Representative Lamar Smith

Considering what I’ve written about Fyfe et al 2016 and also my dialogue at and Then There's Physics I feel compelled to post the following without further comment, though I will be looking at it in a future post.

I am fortunate that izen made me aware of this letter and I thank CLIMATE LAB BOOK, for having a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License.


_______________________________________________________

Letter to Lamar Smith

The Committee on Science, Space & Technology of the US House of Representatives conducts regular evidence hearings on various science topics. On Wednesday 29th March, there is a hearing on “Climate science: assumptions, policy implications, and the scientific method”. The following letter, summarising the scientific findings of Fyfe et al. (2016) and Karl et al. (2015), has been submitted as evidence to this hearing.

The broader context is that the Committee Chairman, Mr. Lamar Smith, has previously discussed the findings of Fyfe et al. (of which I was a co-author), claiming: “A new peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Nature, confirms the halt in global warming”. This statement is incorrect, and motivated the clarification on what Fyfe et al. actually says.



Dear Mr. Smith,

We are coauthors of the Fyfe et al. paper published in 2016 in Nature Climate Change [1]. You recently referenced this paper at a Subcommittee hearing on March 16, 2016 [2]. We are writing to clarify what the Fyfe et al. paper actually finds and claims. We also want to ensure that the conclusions of the Fyfe et al. paper are not misconstrued as a criticism of Thomas Karl, of the Karl et al. paper published in Science in 2015 [3], or of the valuable research that Dr. Karl and his team have performed over many years.

Thomas Karl is a first-rate climate scientist. He served NOAA with distinction for decades. Dr. Karl and his colleagues at the National Center for Environmental Information (NCEI) developed rigorous scientific methods for estimating global changes in land and ocean surface temperatures. This is a critically important area of climate science.

NCEI made its surface temperature data sets freely available to the climate science community. This helped scientists around the world to conduct research on the size, rate, and causes of long-term temperature change, and helped to improve our knowledge of natural climate variability. NCEI temperature data are also key yardsticks for evaluating the performance of computer models of the climate system.

Science is dynamic, not static. All surface temperature data sets have evolved over time, as scientists found better ways of accounting for the effects of changes in measurement systems, measuring practices, and the geographical coverage of observations. Similar improvements have occurred in measurements of the heat content of the world’s oceans, and in satellite estimates [4,5,6] of temperature change in Earth’s atmosphere. The evolution of observed temperature data sets is a normal, on-going scientific process. It is not evidence of questionable behavior.

In their 2015 Science paper, Karl et al. identified changes in three different aspects of surface temperature measurement systems. These observing system changes must be addressed in order to reliably estimate the true, climate-related temperature signals in the data. After accounting for the evolution of the measuring system, Karl et al. concluded that the rate of surface warming in the first 15 years of the 21st century was “at least as great as (in) the last half of the 20th century”.

Fyfe et al. acknowledged the “high scientific value” of the work performed by Dr. Thomas Karl and his colleagues. We stand by our statement. It is of great benefit to understand how observational temperature data are affected by changing measurement systems. Karl et al. deserve credit for focusing attention on this issue, and for inspiring important research on the further improvement of surface temperature datasets [7].

While Karl et al. focused on developing a better understanding of temperature observations, Fyfe et al. summarized and synthesized scientific understanding of decadal changes in warming arising from natural variability of the climate system. The emphasis in the Fyfe et al. paper was on studying internal variability (caused by phenomena like El Niños, La Niñas [8], and the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation [9-12]) and on assessing the effects of natural external changes in volcanic aerosols [13] and the Sun’s energy output [14].

Fyfe et al. found that the rate of temperature increase in the early 21st century was slower than during the latter part of the 20th century. Reduced warming was apparent in both surface observations and in satellite measurements of the temperature of Earth’s lower atmosphere (the troposphere).

The bottom line is that Karl et al. and Fyfe et al. reached different conclusions regarding the warming rate in the early 21st century. 

This was largely due to different justifiable choices the two sets of authors made about the timescales and periods of interest. The Karl et al. finding – that the recent rate of surface warming is larger than in previous data sets – is supported by an independent study of surface temperature measurements [7]. 

Other sources of information support the Fyfe et al. finding of a reduced rate of surface warming in the early 21st century. These sources include independent satellite estimates of tropospheric temperature change, physical understanding of the waxing and waning of different “modes” of internal variability, and measurements of the changes over time in volcanic aerosols and the Sun.

All of the factors studied by Karl et al. and Fyfe et al. (changing observing systems, internal variability, and natural variations in the Sun and volcanoes) affect temperature records, and affect our interpretation of the size and significance of decade-to-decade changes in warming rate. The scientific challenge is to reliably quantify the contribution of each factor to short-term changes in warming rate [15].

Finally, we would like to emphasize that Karl et al. and Fyfe et al. agree on the most important scientific points. We agree that human influence on climate is real, is large, and is ongoing. We agree that this influence is primarily due to fossil fuel burning, and to the resulting human-caused changes in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping greenhouse gases [16]. 

We agree that human-caused changes in greenhouse gases should lead – and do lead – to global-scale warming of Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and land surface [17]. We agree that we have identified large global warming signals in the observed surface temperature changes from the late 19th century to the present [18], in the satellite atmospheric temperature data that have featured prominently in recent Congressional hearings [19,20], and in ocean heat content measurements [21].

And we agree with Karl et al. that on top of the underlying global-scale warming trend over the past 150 years, we should see – and do see – natural, decade-to-decade ups and downs caused by internal variability, volcanic activity, and changes in the Sun’s energy output. These decade-to-decade fluctuations in warming are not a scientific surprise. They have been discussed at length in every national and international assessment of climate science. 

Sometimes the “ups” act in the same direction as human influences, leading to accelerated warming. Sometimes the “downs” lead to a short-term decrease in warming. Our disagreement with Karl et al. about the size of the most recent short-term fluctuation does not call into question the reality of long-term human-caused warming.

Sincerely,
Ben Santer, Matthew England, Ed Hawkins, Michael Mann, Gerald Meehl, Yu Kosaka, Shang-Ping Xie

The co-authors of the Fyfe et al. paper, who are Canadian Government scientists (John Fyfe, Greg Flato, Nathan Gillett & Neil Swart), felt that it would not be appropriate for them to communicate directly to elected officials in the U.S. pursuing an inquiry. However, they did write a supporting note to Ben Santer affirming their scientific support for the statements made in the letter written by himself and the other co-authors of the Fyfe et al. paper.


Notes:
[1] Fyfe, J.C., G.A. Meehl, M.H. England, M.E. Mann, B.D. Santer, G.M. Flato, E. Hawkins, N.P. Gillett, S.-P. Xie, Y. Kosaka, and N.C. Swart, 2016: Making sense of the early 2000s global warming slowdown. Nature Climate Change, 6, 224-228.
[2] https://science.house.gov/sites/republicans.science.house.gov/files/documents/HHRG-114-SY18-WState-S000583-20160316.pdf
[3] Karl, T.R., A. Arguez, B. Huang, J.H. Lawrimore, J.R. McMahon, M.J. Menne, T.C. Peterson, R.S. Vose, and H.-M. Zhang, 2015: Possible artifacts of data biases in the recent global surface warming hiatus. Science, 348, 1469-1472.
[4] Santer, B.D., T.M.L. Wigley, and K.E. Taylor, 2011: The reproducibility of observational estimates of surface and atmospheric temperature change. Science, 334, 1232-1233.
[5] Wentz, F.J., and M. Schabel, 1998: Effects of orbital decay on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature trends. Nature, 394, 661-664.
[6] Mears, C. A., and F.J. Wentz, 2005: The effect of diurnal correction on satellite-derived lower tropospheric temperature. Science, 309, 1548-1551.
[7] Hausfather, Z., K. Cowtan, D.C. Clarke, P. Jacobs, M. Richardson, and R. Rohde, 2017: Assessing recent warming using instrumentally homogeneous sea surface temperature records. Sci. Adv., 3, e1601207.
[8] Kosaka, Y., and S.-P. Xie, 2013: Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling. Nature, 501, 403-407.
[9] Meehl, G.A., J.M. Arblaster, J.T. Fasullo, A. Hu, and K.E. Trenberth, 2011: Model-based evidence of deep-ocean heat uptake during surface-temperature hiatus periods. Nature Climate Change, 1, 360-364.
[10] England, M.H., et al., 2014: Recent intensification of wind-driven circulation in the Pacific and the ongoing warming hiatus. Nature Climate Change, 4, 222-227.
[11] Trenberth, K.E., 2015: Has there been a hiatus? Science, 349, 791-792.
[12] Steinman, B.A., M.E. Mann, and S.K. Miller, 2015: Atlantic and Pacific multidecadal oscillations and Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Science, 347, 988-991.
[13] Solomon, S., J.S. Daniel, R.R. Neely, J.-P. Vernier, E.G. Dutton, and L.W. Thomason, 2011: The persistently variable “background” stratospheric aerosol layer and global climate change. Science, 333, 866-870.
[14] Kopp, G., and J.L. Lean, 2011: A new, lower value of total solar irradiance: Evidence and climate significance. Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L01706, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2010GL045777.
[15] Flato, G.M., et al., 2013: Evaluation of climate models. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., et al. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, pp. 741-866.
[16] The basis for our understanding of human-induced changes in climate stretches back to the 1850s, when carbon dioxide was first identified as a greenhouse gas. It is not a new development. Similarly, our observational understanding of large-scale temperature change dates back to the 1930s, when it was first shown that global land areas were warming (see ref. 17).
[17] Hawkins, E., and P.D. Jones, 2013: On increasing global temperatures: 75 years after Callendar. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 139, 1961-1963.
[18] Bindoff, N. et al. Detection and attribution of climate change: from global to regional. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Stocker, T.F., et al. (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 867-952.
[19] Santer, B.D., et al., 2013a: Identifying human influences on atmospheric temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 26-33.
[20] Santer, B.D., et al., 2013b: Human and natural influences on the changing thermal structure of the atmosphere. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110, 17235-17240.

[21] Gleckler, P.J., et al., 2012: Robust evidence of human-induced global ocean warming on multi-decadal time scales. Nature Climate Change, 2, 524-529.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Statistical Certainty vs Geophysical Realities - communication challenges

Looks like Bates is on hold for a couple posts so I can look at a discussion at the blog …and Then There's Physics Though I'm prefacing it with an essay I wrote "Colorado Floods - statistical certainty vs geophysical realitiesabout the September 2013 televised release of the preliminary report on the torrential rain event that hit central Colorado a few weeks earlier. Given by the Western Water Assessment (WWA) together with Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES).  

All in all it was an excellent understandable detailed report, fact after fact after fact.  But when reporters asked scientists to tie those facts together, the messaging broke down into babble because the panel members were too ...?... to dare make Thee AGW connection.  

I'm prefacing my repost, with the kickoff comment at ATTP.  Some commenters are rather critical of what I've done, though some appreciate what I'm trying to convey and agree.  My unpolished style has taken a few hits.  No doubt I wish I had more time to focus on it, bet I could do much better, bit more schooling would have been lovely, alas that is not my fate, doing the best I can with what I got, I ask the reader's indulgence and focus on the issue being raised.


izen says:

@-ATTP
I agree that the rate of warming, or the distribution between land, sea and air of the energy accumulating from a rising forcing is a matter of scientific interest. 

How that interest, and research is reported and framed has been shaped by seepage. The result is what can look like reasonable scientific language, but because of a carefully established misleading context that language can be parsed in general terms that confirm the misinformation.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

¶3 A look behind the curtain of John Bates’ facade - The John Bates Affair


This is the third installment (paragraph 3) of this citizen's examination of the article at the heart of this season’s faux climate scandal media sensation the John Bates Affair.  For some background and introduction link here.  I’ve borrowed Bates’ subtitle since I’m exploring his wordsmithing in order to ponder his motivations and it seemed to fit well enough.

by John Bates, posted on February 4, 2017 | ClimateEtc - J. Curry
“A look behind the curtain at NOAA’s climate data center.”
sourcearstechnica.com
(Can you see the difference?)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bates writes in ¶3:   In the following sections, I provide the details of how Mr. Karl failed to disclose critical information to NOAA, Science Magazine, and Chairman Smith regarding the datasets used in K15. 
___________________________
This sounds like Mr. Bates the prosecuting attorney setting up a jury to convict.  Critical information like what?  

Technical infractions of documenting protocols?  Procedures that take years to satisfy and were the source of many contentious meetings between departments and Bates trying to iron out his fastidious (perhaps even obstructionist) red tape with real world needs.  Bates does not share that side of this story.

What’s galling with that sentence is that having read through all this a number of times I already know Bates provides nothing of the sort.  Not a hint of any slight or infraction against Chairman Smith by Dr. Karl.  The NOAA claim perhaps woven between the lines.  The Science Magazine claim amounts to nothing more than another creative and hostile insinuation.  I can’t help but wonder if this wasn’t Judith’s ghostwriting.

Bates ¶14   ... Did Karl et al. disclose to Science Magazine that they would not be following the NOAA archive policy, would not archive the data, and would only provide access to a non-machine readable version only on an FTP server?

Has Dr. Bates stopped beating his wife?  That sort of framing is gratuitous and only good for contriving prejudices.