Saturday, June 8, 2013

Lindzen, Deconstructs Global Warming Hysteria - 3/3 Anatomy of a Con Job

{edited June 13th afternoon - for typos } 

"Citizenschallenge, you are the one who chose to make personal attacks and dishonest ad hominems about James Taylor*, The Heartland Institute and the scientists in his article.  
You want videos from climate scientists? No problem,Richard S. Lindzen Ph.D. Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT 
How many more do you want? I know you have been brainwashed to not believe there are highly credentialed scientists who do not support your position on climate change but please don’t make it so obvious."

*He's referring to 
"James Taylor Caught Doctoring the '97-Percent Consensus' Claims"

With that invitation I took up the video, it turned into a big project that I split between three posts.  Here is the last installment. Lindzen's 2009 Competitive Enterprise Institute talk can be found at my  first installment.  Lindzens words are in courier font.
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27:34  "... one of the most beautiful examples we've seen lately is a whole bunch of professional societies most completely unrelated to geophysics..."
27:47  "... sent a letter to the Senators of the US warned about all the danger of global warming and IPCC says and science demands and so on.  None of this is in the original documents..."
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Again, Lindzen offers up no evidence, simply his claim made from the authority granted to him by his ideologically motivated audience at CEI.
Here is that letter he refers to:

Also considering that our entire biosphere is intimately dependent on climate, I don't understand why Lindzen thinks these varied organizations have nothing to contribute?  Look at the list of signees:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of Biological Sciences
American Meteorological Society
American Society of Agronomy
American Society of Plant Biologists
American Statistical Association
Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
Botanical Society of America
Crop Science Society of America
Ecological Society of America
Natural Science Collections Alliance
Organization of Biological Field Stations
Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
Society of Systematic Biologists
Soil Science Society of America
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
But there's much more see:
Union of Concerned Scientists list of
If you want to learn more, you can find links to these various letters and statements.
See for yourself if you think they are grounded in ignorance or on solid evidence and concern.
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28:15  ... same thing when Suzanne Hartfield says it's accelerating next thing you know they say the president of MIT says it's accelerating.  So it's a kind of funny chain letter thing.
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"They" ? I think Lindzen's "they" are news media outlets.  If you read scientific papers or listen to scientists explaining their science you won't find that sort of Appeal to Authority. 
Why not look into it for yourself.

Do an experiment and visit UCTV's Perspectives On Ocean Science series of lectures, you can find many talk by climatologist there.  Listen to them explain their craft for yourself, please don't take Lindzen's word for it.  Also please notice the difference in tone and substance between working scientists and a professional contrarian.

to mention a few.
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29:10  Poster:  "Quite apart from the fact that climate is always changing, and such changes have consequences, Holdren's statements are sometimes untrue, and even when true, unattributable to anthropogenic warming.The consequences cited, moreover, depend on the confluence of many factors besides global mean temperature."
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No one ever said "global mean temperature" is the only factor, nor that climate isn't variable.  Climatologist know very well that there are many, many interrelated factors at work and Lindzen claiming otherwise is nothing less than a lie.

As for increasing tempo of extreme weather events
Ocean Salinities Reveal Strong Global Water Cycle Intensification During 1950 to 2000 
Extremely Bad WeatherStudies start linking climate change to current events 
Increases in Extreme Rainfall Linked to Global Warming 
Global Warming Causes More Extreme Shifts of the Southern Hemisphere's Largest Rain Band, Study Suggests 
Climate Change Evident Across Europe, Confirming Urgent Need for Adaptation 
Meteorologists See Future of Increasingly Extreme Weather Events
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I mean, there's an incredible amount of information out there conflicting with Lindzen's glib wishful claims - why doesn't all evidence carry any weight with the CEI crowds?
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30:05  and this is where logic comes in when it comes from the usual climate which always occurs someplace most claims of evidence for global warming not guilty of something called the prosecutors fallacy...
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Here the fallacy Lindzen is selling his audience is that he never makes clear specifically what he is talking about.  Sorta kinda implies it's the scientists, but actually the complaints apply to the news media and the general public and blogosphere populated by scientifically knowledgeable, but under-educated folks. 

It is very deceitful to blame scientists for the mistakes of the news media and other non-scientists.
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31:14  and this type of argument is presented time and again
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Science is an effort to increase learning and understanding. 

But, what Lindzen is doing here is misrepresentation, compounded by slander. Notice - not a genuine example in sight.  Just a cool recitation of his hostile opinions.

In fact, the more I'm listening to this man the more I appreciate it is the opinion of an extremist with an ax to grind.  He weaves his hypothetical machinations and then seamlessly transfers them to the scientific community - as though he were an objective observer rather than a skilled contrarian partisan, fabricating his story with a fiction writer's license.
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31:20  what really is the claimed IPCC consensus and how was it arrived at it certainly wasn't arrived at by a show of hands, it was a small committee that proposed it in fact even the executive summary doesn't quite say it in this way this is a press release.
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As for the IPCC process, have I got a video for you.

Usually the introductions to lecturers can be rushed through, however in this video the late Professor Stephen Schneider introduces Professor Ben Santer with a story about the IPCC and "The Big Dust Up", that was later manipulated into a lie that Dr. Santer changed the IPCC wording on his own, which is definitely not the case.

Ben Santer
The General Public: Why Such Resistance?
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31:45 in fact i used to think it was unfortunate with the IPCC, they wrote a thousand pages as summarized in only thirteen pages and that's all anyone read. Until I realized no one read the thirteen pages they only listened to the press release which is about two lines and this is a this press release..."It is likely that most of the warming over the past 50 years is due to man's emissions." 32:05  aaye this hardly constitutes a basis for concern remember looked at the numbers we're talking about a few tens of a degree
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For a PhD to peddle such misinformation is appalling.

This warming trend is going to continue, meaning heat waves will get worse, sea level will continue sneaking up the shoreline, droughts will intensify, extreme weather events will continue outdoing previous extreme weather events
(remember the El Reno tornado, 2.6 miles wide, unheard of... to date - tornado winds reached 296 miles per hour, close to the highest winds ever recorded on Earth:
{The new normal and Republican's still pretend nothing is going on.  Shame on them.}
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Interesting, he complains about people not reading the IPCC report and then he proceeds to only read the press release, then denigrate it along with claiming the IPCC used an Argument from Incredulity.

Furthermore, for decades the contrarian argument was - there is no manmade warming at all.  Now they have quietly changed their position - to "no manmade catastrophic warming."

I suggest it doesn't take much critical thinking skills to recognized that:

Anthropogenic Global Warming + wasting time = Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming
And that we have already wasted a least four decades when changes would have been much easier.
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Here's what the IPCC reports:
Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report 
Topic 1 summarises observed changes in climate and their effects on natural and human systems, regardless of their causes, while Topic 2 assesses the causes of the observed changes. Topic 3 presents projections of future climate change and related impacts under different scenarios. 
Topic 4 discusses adaptation and mitigation options over the next few decades and their interactions with sustainable development. Topic 5 assesses the relationship between adaptation and mitigation on a more conceptual basis and takes a longer-term perspective. Topic 6 summarizes the major robust findings and remaining key uncertainties in this assessment. 
Publications and Data

*about those climate science deniers who have claimed an imminent cooling trend

Monster List: Skeptics Have Touted "Global Cooling" Theory Anywhere They Could
here's a list of failed claims:
Are we heading into global cooling?
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31:50  "... Summation of the IPCC "consensus": "It is likely that most of the warming over the past 50 years is due to man's emissions."Lindzen comments: "Note that this is hardly a basis for concern" - 'Why would you get worried over this?" 
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The reason to get worried about this is because it shows that humanity is now in the drivers seat so far as the future warming of our planet is concerned.

If we are already impacting the global, we know that impact will be compounded as the seasons pass.  We can not turn this global heat distribution machine around - the only hope for future generations is for us to slow it down best we can.  And to reach this logical conclusion does not demand that every nuance be known down to near certainty.

Scientists say the earth is already suffering because of global warming and expect it will get worse. That's why 192 nations are ...

Global warming: why you should worry

Kerry Emanuel

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32:20  "... Even worst though how is it arrived at?
What was done was to take a large number of models that could not reasonably simulate norm patterns of natural behavior these are things like El Nino, Pacific Decadal, Atlantic multi-cadal oscillation claim nonetheless that such models accurately depicted natural internal variability..."
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This reminds me of more "Science in a Vacuum" 
Lindzen is only sharing slivers of information which he disingenuously assembles, then goes on to imply models are worthless. 

Lets be honest, if you want to understand climate models you can't take the word of a confirmed contrarian like Lindzen.  He may be smart, but he's no authority and he has no interest in teaching.  You need to do a little homework of your own.

For a more educated look at models, strengths, weaknesses, uses and misuses.
Oregon Climate Change Research InstituteWhy We Use Climate Models 
National Oceanic and Atmospheric AssociationModeling ClimateWhat is climate and why do we model it? 
National Academy of SciencesClimate Modeling 101 
How reliable are climate models?
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32:45   "... (IPCC) used the fact that these models could not replicate the warning episode from the 70s through the mid 90s to argue that forcing was necessary and that the forcing must have been due to man.  Why?  Because they couldn't think of anything else."

"There's a remarkable line of argument.  I mean, why am I underlining this?  Anytime you are attributing something, you are obligated to show nothing else could have caused it.  Now in this case we know of other things that didn't represent right."
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Why no specifics?  What's he underlining?  Attributing what to what?  What was shown? What was unknown?  What is Lindzen talking about? 

From listening to a lot of lectures, I know that if this were a regular climatologist would be giving specifics, including background, reasoning, doubts, thoughts for further investigation.

Instead Lindzen offers a steady stream of vague references to science that's over the heads of his audience, tosses in a lot of absolutist opining that leaves a rationally skeptical listener unable to respond in a constructive manner.
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33:25  "... so they couldn't have shown that but even if you succeed, it's a poor line of argument because it's an argument from ignorance - basically says anything else I can think of and it's exactly the type of argument that is criticized you know even though it's better prepared in the defense of intelligent design..." 33:45  "... so here you have Intelligent Design attacked for using this type of argument, you have the same argument used in support of global warming and here it's put forth as being demanded by science, whereas in the other case, i think appropriately, it's being put forward in contradiction of science..."
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What do we do with attitudes like that?
It's as though folks hate because they have become a leader in collecting climate studies and explaining them, offering links right back to the sources for those who want to look at the original studies themselves. 

In any event, seems like a good place to plug in another interesting talk, this one by Eugenie Scott from the National Center for Science Education.  Hang on, she takes no prisoners:
Eugenie Scott: Deja vu all over again: 
Denialism of climate change and of evolution.
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34:10 "... equally ironic is that global mean (surface) temperature anomaly ceased increasing back in the mid nineties..."
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Ceased in the mid nineties?  1998 was a smashing hot year for global mean surface temperatures.  For some one who demands so much accuracy of others why is he so sloppy with his own evidence and reasoning?

This notion that global warming has somehow stopped has already been addressed above, with a handful of links.  This time a short video.

24 - Global warming has stopped? Again??
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34:20  "... the so-called attribution argument, that is to say if you have a period that does not behave the way warming suggests it should behave it means there are other processes going on, that are as big..."
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Here Lindzen advocates for a theory that supposes - there is an unknown component to our Global Heat Distribution Engine (aka Climate) with a climate force "as big as" greenhouse gases. 

The thing is, scientists are well aware of the outlines of all the observable components of  our Climate.  Over at, I collected a bunch of relevant lectures and other videos that do a simple, but good, job of describe just what is going on up there and how it all ties together.
A video and lecture tour of our Global Heat Distribution Engine... 
Videos of scientist's lectures: Global Warming Education

Richard Alley
Global Warming: It's Not About the Hockey Stick
The good part don't start till 1:20
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Or for the full lecture regarding the "CO2 temperature lag" 

Richard Alley: "The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth's Climate

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34:40  "... if there are other processes going on that are as big - if there are other process going on that are just as big, you cannot make the attribution..."
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Where could this "as big a forcing" come from ?
Sounds like the notion of a planet opposite Earth's orbit...
or, entertaining the idea that we possess an undiscovered internal organ.
It's possible, but would you really bet your kid's future on it?
Here is a fascinating video from NASA.  It's an hour and half long video tour of what I like referring to as our Global Heat Distribution Engine - though some scientists take issue with that concept.  On the other hand, some scientists see it's usefulness for humans to try to grasp the interconnected enormity of our Climate System as it process the sun's energy.

NASA: Earth From Space (HD)

Empirically observed fingerprints of anthropogenic global warmingPosted on 4 September 2010 by dana1981
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35:15   "... now all projections of dangerous impact hinge on something called climate sensitivity..."
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Here we see another major misdirection, 
a diversion from what we really need to be thinking about.

"Climate sensitivity" is an intellectual notion, a label, a tool to quantify the exact degree of warming from said quantity of greenhouse gases.  Working towards an exact number for the Climate Sensitivity figure is a laudable scientific venture.

But, it's pretty irrelevant for the real world of citizens and business leaders and politicians in light of the past four decades of escalating climate upheaval with it's cascading consequences, which we are witnessing around the world.

Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Prof. Jennifer Francis (2013)

Prof. Francis' talk was filmed at the 24th annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, held in Breckinridge (Colorado) January 2013. 
You can view all videos from that conference and download the ppt presentations:
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It seems to me that a lot of people don't appreciate the flow of time.  
They believe because yesterday was wonderful and today is pretty good this is what we can count on.  But the fact is, we have a Global Heat Distribution Engine who's atmospheric insulation has been increased by a third in the past century plus, that will warm this "engine" or if you prefer that will warm our entire "Climate System".

There is momentum behind society's input and there is momentum behind the weather that is adjusting to a new climate regime.

Stated in a simple rational formula:

Anthropogenic Global Warming + wasted precious time = Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming

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36:00  "Whoever heard of science where you have any model and you test it by running it over and over again..."
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This is another bit of ideology driven crazy-making. 

"Computer Models" are used throughout the modern world, it's difficult to think of any branch of science that doesn't use Computer Modeling.  For those who are interested in a more objective description of the role of models and climate General Circulation Models within science, here are some sources:

Chapter 4. Models are the Building Blocks of Science 
The Role of Models in Science 
The Nature and Structure of Scientific ModelsPrepared by
Jennifer Cartier, John Rudolph, and Jim StewartThe National Center for Improving Student Learning and Achievement in Mathematics and Science (NCISLA)January 2001 
Why are models important and useful for students?
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37:00  outgoing radiation
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I'm not going to transcribe Lindzen's superficial prosecutorial rendition as he present scientific tidbits well above the competence-level of his lay audience.  All that was left for them, was to nod their agreement, since all they really care about is Lindzen's "authoritative" absolutist pronouncements of: "No Worries!"

If you want to learn about the topic of radiative transfer and "top of atmosphere" measurements and what they mean - requires a little investigation and learning.  After all, sound-bites are little more than buying into an "Appeal to Authority." 

There are plenty of sources for information on the topic

Tracking the energy from global warming 
Trenberth on Tracking Earth’s energy: A key to climate variability and change 
Posted on 12 July 2011 by Kevin Trenberth 
TFK09 - Unpacking the Greenhouse Effect 
Posted on 22 January 2011 by Glenn Tamblyn
Yes, all three links go to  The thing is these three links contain a full spectrum of information - with the links back to original sources.  Even if you don't like they are full of information that points you to the actual science for those that are rationally skeptical and want to learn about it for themselves.
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38:20 "... the interesting thing about it is most feedbacks in models and the nature of are occurring in the tropics..."
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What about the Arctic?
Our Arctic Ice Sheet is melting away. 
During the summer, ever greater expanses of surface area are being transformed into an oceanic heat absorption plate - big positive feed back.
Add to that Permafrost melt, and then the methane threat:
Arctic Report Card: Update for 2012
Alaska Public Lands Information Centers
Weather Underground

Dr Iain Stewart
Melting Permafrost Accelerating Global Warming

Iain Stewart also has an informative three part BBC series 
EARTH: TheClimate Wars 
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38:35  "...changes in radiation in the tropics, counter to what one might think, the zero feedback response to changes in radiation is almost zero radiation..."
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Classic example of what I call "science in a vacuum" and an appeal to authority.

Lindzen tells his story with a learned countenance, his tale is well beyond the technical level of his audience, he flatter them with confidence and everyone diffidently nods their approval.

This isn't a discussion about science, this is another example of denialist political theater.  At least over at UCTV and other venues the professors try to teach their audience about the basics of such technical concepts.  No need for that here, the audience willfully and uncritically accepts Lindzen authority on everything, and feel good about ignoring all this other information.
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39:00  feedback
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Lindzen does not mention that with higher CO2 levels the troposphere holds more water  and in fact this has been observed and measured.  Big positive feedback that reaches well beyond the tropics.

IPCC Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
8.6 Climate Sensitivity and Feedbacks
NOAA Paleoclimatology
What are positive feedbacks? 
OSS - Climate Feedback/Sensitivity

A couple easy listening video:

Dr. Ben Booth
MET Office - Climate Feedbacks

Sense from Deniers on CO2? Don't hold your breath....
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Lindzen's conclusion about establishing a climate sensitivity number:
41:35   "... so in this range you cannot tell the difference between one and a half and infinity..."
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OK, he's gotten around to talking about climate science, but is vague, concerning highly technical aspects plus Lindzen's steady spicing with uncalled for, but crowd pleasing, insults.  Given that he didn't provide any references - there's no telling exactly what he was complaining about, making it tough to offer any sort of considered response.

Except to point out the many informative links are available for your own edification, including one dealing specific with a Lindzen 2009 paper. 

Please don't take Lindzen's word for it, do your own research.
ERBE-CERES   Equilibrium climate sensitivity.
Working out climate sensitivity from satellite measurements 
Working Group I: The Scientific Basis - TCR - Transient climate response 
CERES, AIRS, Outgoing Longwave Radiation & El Nino

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42:35  " a normal world I think from what we've just seen I would say that the very foundation of the issue of global warming is wrong..."
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Lindzen says "in the normal world, we see the very foundation of the issue of global warming is wrong." and to make his case he has spent the last minutes talking about a highly technical aspect, making claims, providing proofs but it's all science in a vacuum and handwaving.

It doesn't take too much serious good-faith investigation to discover the many flaws and inconsistencies within Lindzen's superficial presentation...  even for an honestly curious lay-person.

As for "the normal world" - it's what's actually happening in the Arctic; and how that is impacting atmospheric currents; and how that is impacting weather patterns.

That is the normal world.  The roiling atmosphere that contains more moisture and energy will unavoidably producing ever wilder weather.  Remember El Reno, a tornado 2.6 miles with nearly 300 mph winds, this is the sort of stuff we have invited into our lives.
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42:45  "So we'll go from here?  It's hard to tell given that to note this constitutes an "insult to the sensibilities of the educated class and the entire East and West coast like that.""
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For Lindzen's final act he repeats his gratuitous and oh so political class baiting.  
It's not about learning about our Earth for these people, 
Lindzen convinced them it's about those villainous East and West Coast intellectuals who want to destroy our freedom.

All in all if this transparent performance is the best climate science contrarians can come up with, how do they manage to continue kidding themselves?

The End
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As a final note, here is some information regarding the hosts of this talk, 
the "Competitive Enterprise Institute" - folks who's "critical thinking skills" 
revolve around the sacred business concerns of the "greatest profit for the least effort."  Folks who then go on to rationalize ignoring our planet and biosphere 
upon which our society and children totally depends. 

It's a sad thing to watch and it's even sadder facing the 
58th birthday of an exciting fruitful life 
and in my heart being thankful it isn't my 18th with a chance to start all over again.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a advocacy group based in Washington DC with long ties to tobacco disinformation campaigns. It calls itself "a non-profit, non-partisan research and advocacy institute dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. We believe that individuals are best helped not by government intervention, but by making their own choices in a free marketplace." 
~~~ has a number of revealing article at: 
CEI Funding and such: