Monday, October 31, 2011

Watts Up With That "Ben Santer" discussion thread?

{Saturday, November 5th.} 
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The following is a selection of reader comments from over at What’s Up With” discussion thread regarding a talk given by Dr. Ben Santer to Anthony Watts and friends at Chico State University, California October 21, 2011.

"Dr. Ben Santer speaks on climate modeling, and everything else"

I copied the comments (unaltered other than formatting adjustments) into this WUWTW.blogspot blog in order to share the comments and ask the questions that are impossible to present over at WUWT.

You see, WUWT is a political rahrah blog, where one must show extreme restraint* in sharing real questions that are critical of the Watts' AGW skeptics squad and their flow of vitriol... innuendos... and plain old balderdash.

{*Although speaking of restrain, 

there is one excellent communicator at this particular WUWT thread:  otter 17  who does an enviable job of presenting real climatological knowledge along with questions for the “AGW skeptics” to reflect on
. . .  in a most diplomatic manner.
I recommend his commentary for all who want to learn more about constructively communicating with “AGW skeptics”}

As for myself

I am too old and heartbroken at the mess we’ve made (and allowed to happen) these past few decades > in the face of full foreknowledge
  >all the while seduced by that Siren Song of Reaganomics

. . .    to retain much of that diplomatic fervor.

Instead, my priorities revolve around integrity and expressing my impressions with as much civility, rationality and supporting evidence as I can muster at the moment. 
Always retaining a sincere curiosity for learning more about this incredible planet that has created and nurtured humanity.

So with that introduction on to the main course:

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Anthony Watts


Dr A B says:
October 21, 2011 at 1:52 am
” … identification of natural and anthropogenic “fingerprints” in observed climate records”.
To save having to listen to all his nonsense, in brief, what does he claim man’s elusive “fingerprint” on climate to be ?
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CC says: 
Why is it so easy to dismiss what Dr. Santer has to say?

By what justification do you hold his expertise in such contempt that you refuse to listen to what this expert has to share?

Besides for starters: You ignore the fingerprint of all the giga tons of GHGs society injects into our thin atmosphere, above and beyond the background natural flux!

On what basis do you dismiss the physical properties of society injected GHGs... and their cascading effects?

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1DandyTroll says:
October 21, 2011 at 5:17 am
So, essentially, the logic is it has to be like so or everything falls apart. But the only thing that seem to be missing is that little evil overrated thing called proof. If he’s going to go on and on about something shouldn’t there be a point to the whole point?
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CC says:  
Sounded to me like Ben Santer's point was explaining climate dynamics and the methods used by scientists to arrive at their conclusions?  He actually did a very nice job of describing what his team and climatologists base their conclusions on.  

Why can't you present some specific critiques that can be tested against known knowledge?

All you've done is reveal how emotion-based your opinions are.

You say “essentially, the logic is it has to be like so or everything falls apart”
Respectfully, what are you talking about?  Care to share any specifics? 
Why do AGW hoaxers/“skeptics” never follow the same rules climatologists adhere to?

You say "that little evil overrated thing called proof."
What about that little thing called "intellectual honesty" and the misdirection of applying engineering standards of proof to Earth Sciences?

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT platitudes designed to avoid looking at the full spectrum of evidence!

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p g says:
October 21, 2011 at 1:55 am
Santer’s reply to the first question in Part 2 is completely unsatisfactory. He basically says: “Look at the photographs of the things we’ve changed. Clearly we’ve changed them. So man has got to be the cause of the climate change.” 
What kind of argumentation is that! He wasn’t lying when he said that answer “came from the seat of his pants”.

What Santer and his group have done is that they took the murder weapon, wiped off all the fingerprints, asked CO2 to hold it for a minute, and now insist CO2 committed the murder because its fingerprints are on the only ones they can see on the weapon. It amazes me how the sun drove the climate on earth for 4.5 billion years, and now they expect us to believe that it stopped 100 years ago and that everything has since been taken over by man-made CO2.
Puny muons can’t change the system, by puny CO2 does it all?

Unfortunately I do not have the luxury of having 90 minutes to waste watching Santer spill from the seat of his pants.
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CC says:  
 What does pg mean the answer was completely unsatisfactory, heck we can't even decipher the question except that it was some claim that humans are too insignificant to impact our planet -  
do WUWT'zers dispute that humans are having a profound impact upon our planet's life sustaining biosphere?

pg. then goes off with a pipedream of a dime novel chapter about weapons and wiping prints and who knows what all.  Then pg tells us he wouldn’t waste his precious time hearing a word Santer has to say. 

PG, how can you insult the guy when you won’t even bothered to hear what he’s actually talking about?
Your above comment sounds like pure substance-less background chorus. 

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful ignorance and artful avoidance.

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g w says:
October 21, 2011 at 11:16 am
The simple truth is that there is no direct fact-based evidence that human activity has had or is having any detectable impact on global climate, leaving the AGW hypothesis as what it has always been, mere speculation. If such evidence existed we would doubtless all know about it.
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CC says: 
The simple truth?
The simple truth is that when discussing natural systems 
we cannot apply the engineering standards 
that are used when building bridges and rockets,  
It's a cynical act of dishonesty?

Stuff like the above lead me to claim:
... yours (et al.) is a political/emotional, dogmatic argument devoid of actual curiosity or interest in learning what is actually happening within our planet's biosphere.

{Gene tell me, is "environmentalism" a bad word in your estimation? If so, why?
Don't you realize we are absolutely dependent on a healthy environment?
How's that logic work?}

There are no “proofs” in climatology and to demand them is an act of profound and tragic cynicism towards the reality of what Earth Sciences are all about to begin with.

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT sorority house debate tricks.

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... But should you have an interesting in examining the evidence, here's a good start:

Greenhouse effect has been falsified

Ice Sheet losses are overestimated

The science isn't settled

Empirical evidence that humans are causing global warming

How do we know CO2 is causing warming?

Is the science settled?

10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change

10 key climate indicators all point to the same finding: global warming is unmistakable

Now of course this will be a test.
For example the folks at WUWT have this tendency that anything coming from a climatologist's perspective must be demonized or at best ignored.  All the above links go to folks who have cut out a niche for themselves as a sort of library and internet repository of factual climatological information.

Should you reject them as a valid source of information can you give specific justifications?

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gb says:
October 21, 2011 at 3:30 am
And our atmosphere has .03% CO2 which around 3 trillion tonnes of CO2- and we suppose to believe 80% of it is from humans. I wouldn’t care if 100% was from humans, what I care about is wasting my time listening to an idiot.
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CC says: 
What’s a person supposed to make of this comment?
First, the fallacious argument that GHGs being a tiny overall
percentage of our atmosphere's composition somehow means it doesn't matter.  It's a ridiculous notion to wave around.  There are poisons that will kill you with concentrations measured in the thousandths of grams.  

Talk about resorting to willful ignorance, comments like these take the cake. 
PS. talking about that tiny CO2 %  SEE HERE

Then gb says it doesn’t even matter how much CO2 we are injecting.  Why?  Because he can't understand the science?  What happened to a healthy sense of humility and awareness of personal self-limitations?  Just because gb can't understand it doesn't mean that people who have spent years learning and studying this stuff don't understand it... including a healthy awareness of where weaknesses reside.

Then gb calls Dr Santer an "idiot."  Who is gb to judge Santer an idiot?  On what basis does gb justify such a judgement... can he explain it?  Or is it just some form of emotional diarrhea?

gb do you believe it is possible for other people who have dedicated years studying a subject to know more about it than you do?    

Or, are you simply convinced you're the smartest fella in the room and don’t need to listen to no one, any how, anyway?

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willfully ignoring the full scope of evidence available.

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Alan the Brit says:
October 21, 2011 at 3:39 am
Oh dear, hear I go again, & I am sorry for this, but UNIPCC SPM reports, “we don’t know exactly how Element A (Sun), affects element B (Earth’s Climate), but we know for certain that it has been overpowered by Element C (manmade CO2)!

Now that’s pure logic – NOT! Apparently a 1/10th of 1 percent change in TSI & a 6-8% change in UV/EUV in somehing that contains 99.9% of the mass of the Solar Sytem (the clue is in the name – it’s not called the Solar System for nothing), 332,290 times the mass of the Earth, doesn’t affect Earth’s Climate at all today (just the winter weather in the Northern Hemishpere according to The Wet Office – UK), although it has done for billions of years beforehand as they readily admit! Makes sense? I don’t fink so!!!
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CC says: 
That is a very misleading characterization of what the UNIPCC SPM actually says.

You sound like another one guilty of trying to apply engineering standards to Earth Sciences and Earth understanding.  It is a cynical act that does learning a grave disservice.

>>>  And a damning act of betrayal to younger generations. 

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT cute straw man fabrications while willfully ignoring real down to Earth happenings.

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C H says:
October 21, 2011 at 3:56 am
I think our leader is grumpy today after being pretty near “used up”. How he carries the load he totes is a mystery to me, but that’s why he’s our leader in this battle against abject foolishness. We “weekend warriors” should all keep that in mind.
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CC says: 
This is significant because it underscores the essence of Mr. Watts’ WUWT blog, 
it is a political movement.  

Yes, a political movement with a "leader" and all that clap trap.  What we need today is organizations dedicated to learning about climatology rather than all this crazy making as demonstrated by these WUWT’zer comments.

Tossing around terms like “abject foolishness” while willfully rejecting any attempt to actually hear what climatologist are trying to explain, is an awful way to prepare for a challenging future.

Instead of always trying to out-shout folks like Santer and Trenberth with ever increasing ferocity and demonizing PR campaigns - why not try to understand what they are actually saying?

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful
ignoring and avoiding real down to Earth happenings.

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naturalclimate says:
October 21, 2011 at 5:10 am
Disko Troop says:
October 21, 2011 at 2:09 am
Dr Santer is obviously a man of great intellect and, I have no doubt, integrity, but he seems to have had his “Great Idea” when he was young and now spends his life trying to protect the Plinth that his statue will eventually stand on.
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CC says: 
Another example of vacuous name calling.

Why not get specific about what Santer said?  Why resort to all that personal drivel that reflects worse on the writer's character than Dr. Santer’s?

Why can’t folks explain specifically what it is about Dr. Santer, or the substance of his work, that deserves such levels of contempt?

Get specific and also be as skeptical of your own charges and claims as you are of him.

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -

NOT willful ignorance and character bashing.

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berniel says:

October 21, 2011 at 1:22 am
When it is all said and done, it is this man who will go down in history as the most important actor at a pivotal moment in the history of the whole extraordinary story in the history of science. December 1995. IPCC SAR Ch 8. Ben Santer. Study him well. He is the man.
Let me see if I can help you out. He may have intellect, but if so it is of the type most focused on the methods of deceit and dishonesty. berniel, you may be right on that one, even if you didn’t mean to use the /SARC tag. It was an extraordinary moment indeed, one that too many have forgotten. He alone reversed the science of the time, concluding a discernible human fingerprint on climate, when the agreed expert opinion was the opposite. Presto! No evidence required. 

He’s the man alright. If you don’t really care what scientists think.
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CC says:
Talk about no evidence required - you present a link to an unsupported bullet point list by "icecap" and expect that to be accepted as fact... but you reject the considered opinion of dozens of national scientific academies and many thousands of experts... now that sounds like "no evidence required".  :-(
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Mycroft says:
October 21, 2011 at 7:46 am
So this is the Santer who changed the “no discernable human influence” to discernable human influence, and had thousands of scientists asking for their names to be taken off the IPCC document!
As for punching someone?  looks like the only thing he’s punched is a hole a candy bag.
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CC says: 
Actually berniel & Mycroft  
what you say there is a blatant lie and a willful mis-telling of what actually happened!   
I image you may be among the many who have been duped by the Wall Street Journal’s creative censorship when it comes to presenting IPCC realities.  

Would you have any interest in learning the rest of the story ?

. . . . . . .   I support my claims with the actual censored articles in question.  

Are you interested in reflecting on the full facts of this matter?
If you are, I'm curious what you think... 

Please begin here:
{#11a} SPPI, Monckton, Seitz, WSJ - anatomy of a character assassination

Seitz’s Wall Street Journal, June 12, 1996, Op-Ed
Ben Santer’s censored reply ~ Wall Street Journal letter to Ed, June 25, 1996
IPCC’s censored reply ~ Wall Street Journal letter to Ed, June 25, 1996


"{#11b} Lord Monckton, Mr. Ferguson, SPPI, v. Dr. Ben Santer - anatomy of a character assassination"

“In this email I want to look at how some lies never die.
In particular, today's reincarnation of the Wall Street Journal's travesty, with it's relentless, substance lacking, attacks on Dr. Benjamin Santer...”
Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful ignorance and disingenuous character bashing.

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trb says:
October 21, 2011 at 6:37 am
 Thank you for all of your efforts. Your extraordinary efforts have illuminated many here. The presentation of this video of Dr. Santer is very interesting in that he makes a very sharply shaped arguments to defend his positions. He seems to without exception avoid comparisons that would cast any doubt on his earlier pronouncement about human caused global warming.

When I went to engineering school we were taught to present the results of an experiment and our conclusions. It was required to present the best arguments as to why those conclusions might be wrong. Quite often the apparent conclusion was overturned by the argument against the conclusion. In the video Dr. Santer slides between very short term time scales and then moves to long term conclusions. In general he speaks as a advocate not a scientist. The “we know” certainty is the revelation.
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CC says: 
Why not be specific about exactly what Santer avoided?  What was he supposed to acknowledge?  What comparisons?

Ahh, the good ‘ol engineering school story line.  

Well, our planet is not a bridge or rocketship and to constantly pretend that you can fairly apply engineering standards to Natural Sciences is a terrible miscarriage of intellectual integrity.  

Shame on you!  This isn’t a sorority house debate, we are talking about our planet’s biosphere and it’s future climate > something upon which every human depends on > in every way.

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful ignorance and artful avoidance of real down to Earth happenings.

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Joe Bastardi says:
October 21, 2011 at 10:26 am
In the end, the one question Dr.Santer and all claiming humans are responsible for this must answer: If in 2030, the earths temperature has returned to levels as measured by objective satellite based instruments at the start of the warm PDO in the late 1970s, will you admit your position to be incorrect? If they answer yes, then the simple follow up is to wait and see rather than chasing what could be a ghost.

If they answer no, they expose themselves as the agenda driven people many of them are. Either way, its a simple test over a very short period of time relative to the majesty of the creation, and one must be arrogant or ignorant.. or perhaps both, to not allow for the chance to make sure one has the correct answer in this matter

{For more on Joe's track record click}
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CC says: 
Talk about setting up a strawman.

Worse, apparently since Bastardi’s previous global cooling trend predictions have failed so miserably now he needs to grasp two decades into the future when he believes things might be cooling.  So we are all to do nothing to learn more or address a real physical condition that is known and understood.
{... This is bastardi's advice?  Wait for two decades?}

He doesn’t provide any mechanism to explain his cooling theory, and he seems to totally ignore what is known of GHGs and the increasing volumes society continues to inject into our atmosphere.

Then good 'ol
Bastardi reaches for his hobby-horse, the 'agenda' thing.
Dare I ask, what agenda?  

That scientists are dedicated to better understanding society’s impact upon this planet and its atmosphere?

We are back to politics here, and the real underlying message in all this crazy-making:
It's all about leaving the current “corporate free-market” untouched. 
Plain and simple, or would... or could someone provide a better answer/justification for willfully ignoring known science in favor of all this crazy-making?

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful ignorance and artful avoidance of real down to Earth happenings.

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S G says:
October 21, 2011 at 11:01 am
Anthony, thanks for the video.
Somehow Santer sidesteps the data from 7 radiosonde/satellite data sets that show the lack of a hot spot at the top of the troposphere over the tropics. This lack of a hotspot means that either the surface temperature data set is wrong or the theory of greenhouse forcing of global temperatures is wrong.
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CC says: 
Again with the broad claims, lacking specifics or links.  
It was an hour talk he couldn’t touch on everything.  
Besides it is a complex topic that can’t be understood with superficial soundbites.

As for the “hotspot” it sounds to me like you are relying on old stories and don’t take into account that this is an active, ever advancing area of science.  

To begin with are you aware that the “hotspot” is not a supposed artifact of AGW, no the “hotspot” is actually an artifact of any global warming - why do so-called skeptics keep ignoring that point?  Can you even describe the basic dynamics of what the "hotspot" is?

If you are interested in learning what the Santer types have to report, here is an excellent informative write-up from those folks over at that library of AGW science information

“There's no tropospheric hot spot”

Please intelligent curiosity and a honest desire to learn is what we need -
NOT willful ignorance and artful avoidance of real down to Earth happenings.

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E W says:
October 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm
If there exists a statement on global warming by any organization, it in and of itself indicates that said organization has an agenda.
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CC says: 
OK lets consider the agenda of these scientific organizations . . .

What is wrong with their agenda?

Observing; digesting information; learning from that information; pursuing new questions and details; reporting back to colleagues and explaining their science to the public and policy makers.

What is wrong with that agenda?

What about your agenda?  

Is it that the “corporate free-market” must remain unmolested?  

Or can anyone out there give a better description of WUWT'zers agenda? 

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Keith says:
October 21, 2011 at 3:10 pm
A cooling stratosphere might have been an indicator that heat was being trapped in the troposphere by GHGs, but not necessarily so. In order for that to be the case, one would have to demonstrate that heat was indeed building up in the upper troposhere.

All measurements show that this has not been happening. Therefore, there must be a mechanism other than ‘greenhouse’ warming that caused stratospheric cooling. I’d suggest looking up for the answer, but waaaaay beyond the troposphere.
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CC says: 
What if what you say doesn’t bear scrutiny?
A reading of the details surrounding this issue show that the preponderance of measurements actually do agree that a continued warming is occurring.

Here's another informative article and discussion thread from SkepticalScience;

“Continued Lower Atmosphere Warming”
Posted on 14 October 2011 by dana1981

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