Tuesday, January 3, 2017

#6 Debating Republican Disconnect From Climate Science - Model substance + contrarian scientists

After my dialogue with EM I share links to information relating to the substance of climate models, then a hard look at some renowned scientists who have become climate science contrarians for hire, Seitz, Singer, Lindzen, Spencer, Christy.  

EM writes:  I would like to articulate now the ONLY point I was trying to make at any point of this discussion: AGW is real. That is clear. That is obvious. I am making no sort of denial of this fact nor am I being “disingenuous” by stating that we don’t fully understand the way the climate system operates over a long period of time.  I’m sure you’ll give me the “bull shit!” response, but this is not at all a bullshit statement.
What you have proffered is feigned agreement with the obvious.  What makes it feel disingenuous is your “we don’t fully understand” - That argument can be applied to anything and everything (except religion with it’s blinding self-certainties, although that’s about the landscape of the human mind and ego rather than physical realities.  -  Or would you disagree?).

To retain a bit of added truthiness, you toss in “long period of time” - What’s that mean?  How long?  What uncertainties?  EM, can you explain why do those uncertainties concern you more than what’s known for certain?  Simply implying that there might be game changing uncertainties out there without offering anything is what could politely be called disingenuous.
EM writes:  Climate science (in the scope of science) is relatively new and we certainly can and will improve our holistic knowledge in the subject in the coming months, years, and decades. 

Nearly two centuries is not relatively new!  I’ve already addressed this misleading Republican meme with a list of climate science milestones: 

4. Debating Republican Disconnect From - Climate Science History

Beyond that, I don’t think EM appreciates how consistent the long development of climate science has been.  I learned about the fundamentals more than forty years ago and nothing has changed radically.  Refinements of understand, sure, non-stop, and sometimes startling “why didn’t I think of that” surprises.  But, at the end of the day, it’s all been amazingly consistent and new pieces keep fitting into the whole of our understanding with logical consistency and even harmony.  

If I’m mistaken, or you think I’m misleading, show me.
EM writes:  No real climate scientist, or anyone with knowledge of the scientific process for that matter, denies that increasing our knowledge of our planet is necessary.

Very sneaky EM, knowledge of the scientific process.  That lets major Republican leaders and most of our fellow citizens off the hook.  Seriously though, we aren’t talking about a vague agreement that increasing knowledge is good.

We are talking about honestly learning about climate science!

 EM writes:  I get my information from the same research you do; you could draw the same conclusions I do from the research, because the scientists who do the research acknowledge just as much. 

That’s a cop out.  And what’s with, ‘I could draw the same conclusion because researchers acknowledge just as much.’  Acknowledge just as much what?  None of that makes sense.  Besides I was thinking in terms of the information confronting interested laypeople.

Every time a serious climate scientist publishes another report, there seems to be dozens of astro-turfers ready to attack it with anything they can conjure.  Fidelity to the truth of the matter is never a concern.  Neutralize and disappear the scientific information from public awareness, that is their goal. 

Haven't you ever searched Google or YouTube for climate science related information and found you’ve had to wade through link after link of transparent misleading nonsense, before finding the serious scoop? I sure have.

Why do you turn a blind eye to the misinformation being feed the public? 

Meet The Climate Denial Machine
Jill Fitzsimmons.  |  November 28, 2012

Despite the overwhelming consensus among climate experts that human activity is contributing to rising global temperatures, 66 percent of Americans incorrectly believe there is "a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.

The conservative media has fueled this confusion by distorting scientific research, hyping faux-scandals, and giving voice to groups funded by industries that have a financial interest in blocking action on climate change. 

Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets have shied away from the "controversy" over climate change and have failed to press U.S. policymakers on how they will address this global threat. When climate change is discussed, mainstream outlets sometimes strive for a false balance that elevates marginal voices and enables them to sow doubt about the science even in the face of mounting evidence.

Here, Media Matters looks at how conservative media outlets give industry-funded "experts" a platform, creating a polarized misunderstanding of climate science.


One would think we could draw the same conclusions from the same information.  But not anymore.  Have you seriously questioned why things have gotten so out of hand these days?

Are you aware of the stable of ever ready contrarian scientists standing by to attack any news report from scientists using innuendo, science by rhetoric along with slander and downright character assassination rather than constructively reviewing the evidence in an good faith manner.  

Drs. Seitz, Lindzen and Singer being perhaps the most malicious, all worthy of the title god-fathers of Science By Slander, the first is gone, the other two not long for this world, but their damage has been done.  These days Drs. Spencer and Christy at UAH using models to process satellite temperature data make an interesting study in real scientists who are possessed by a political mission.  A couple who have subjugated their scientific scruples for the needs of their self-serving faith-driven mission, that being small government.

At the end of this, I’ll include a few links to explain my obvious contempt for each of these ethical lowlifes, links that provide a glimpse into the way this strategic campaign of disinformation and stupefaction unfolded.

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 American Scientist - Manufactured Ignorance
Book Review
MERCHANTS OF DOUBT: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. 
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Bloomsbury Press, 2010

Historians a thousand years from now may wonder what went wrong: How, after scholars had so thoroughly nailed down the reality of anthropogenic climate change, did so many Americans get fooled into thinking it was all a left-wing hoax?

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway give us some very good—if disturbing—answers in their fascinating, detailed and artfully written new book, Merchants of Doubt. In it they show how a small band of right-wing scholars steeped in Cold War myopia, with substantial financing from powerful corporate polluters, managed to mislead large sections of the American public into thinking that the evidence for human-caused warming was uncertain, unsound, politically tainted and unfit to serve as the basis for any kind of political action. …

The documentary Merchants Of Doubt
{suggested subtitle: “uncertainty in any findings”}

Published on Aug 30, 2016
Merchants of Doubt is a 2014 American documentary film directed by Robert Kenner and inspired by the 2010 book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. The film traces the use of public relations tactics that were originally developed by the tobacco industry to protect their business from research indicating health risks from smoking. The most prominent of these tactics is the cultivation of scientists and others who successfully cast doubt on the scientific results. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merchants_of_Doubt_(film)

 EM writes:  Models speculate, and this creates uncertainty in any findings, no matter what kind of modeling you are doing.
EM, why does “speculate” and “uncertainty” come out sounding like dirty words from your month?  Why not mention that this “speculation” is done using the best information available, processed according to the laws of physics.

Why not mention that when modern aircraft or complex piping networks for power plants, or any other complex modern marvels are designed, it’s all about “speculating” and considering “uncertainty” and producing a product that works in the real world thanks to very smart minds and experts in their respective fields working together towards one common goal.  

For scientists that common goal is all about understanding our planet as well as humanly possible and explaining their finds to our leaders and everyone else.

I’ve come to worry that the Republican Mind - with its religious absolutism and self-certainty, coupled with unbridled self-interest, along with their acceptance of lying and cheating as the way of business and politics - is totally incapable of relating to someone who’s truly more interested in understanding this planet (that we were born out of and will die back into) as well as possible.  An attitude that’s content with living out our simple day to days, fulfilled by things that your too-much-is-never-enough mind can’t imagine, including learning about this wonderful Earth around us.  It’s become my biggest fear.
EM writes:  Here’s a dandy link to the benefits and drawbacks of scientific modeling, because clearly you believe that I’m denying the existence (I’m not) of AGW. 
There’s a fine line between “not denying” and belittling or not taking as seriously as you should.  That link was overly simplistic and omit important factors.  Below I’ve included a few links that offer a more realistic understanding.
EM writes:  I will now try, to the best of my ability, to respond to your specific critiques, many of which are judgments based on, wait for it, assumptions that you have made about my background, my knowledge, and my character. 
Sorry, I try to confine my assumptions to the words I read and what they are telling me, though I don’t always succeed.  That’s why I appreciate you taking the time to call me out on what you believe I’ve misrepresented.  I look forward to responding.
EM’s point #1
CC wrote:  “Dude , I don’t believe you are the innocent you pretend to be.  If you were that naive you wouldn’t be commenting on AWG over here!  That doesn’t mean we can’t continue a constructive dialogue, I just want you to know where we stand.”  
    1. E.M. responds: What isn’t “innocent” about questioning models? Climate scientists question modeling all of the time; this is how we refine modeling. It is a crude process where adjustments (see #20) are made over and over. I am not na├»ve; I am cautious with speculation. 
What isn’t innocent is your one-sided approach to climate models.  ALL science and engineering models are questioned by their makers.  To belittle them as “a crude process” is what I would characterize as contemptible.  

The earliest climate models, over half a century ago, may seem “crude”, but they were based on physical laws and they confirmed some early fundamental notions and pointed the way towards further fruitful investigation.

In the previous post I focused on the many climate model successes,

#5. Debating Republican Disconnect From Climate Science - 
Model Uncertainty

In this installment I want to share a little information about Climate Model substance.  Followed by a look at some of these scientists who have lost their scruples and now spread misdirection.

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History of climate modeling
Paul N. Edwards
Volume 2, January/February 2011  2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 

The history of climate modeling begins with conceptual models, followed in the 19th century by mathematical models of energy balance and radiative transfer, as well as simple analog models. Since the 1950s, the principal tools of climate science have been computer simulation models of the global general circulation. From the 1990s to the present, a trend toward increasingly comprehensive coupled models of the entire climate system has dominated the field. Climate model evaluation and intercomparison is changing modeling into a more standardized, modular process, presenting the potential for unifying research and operational aspects of climate science. 
 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. WIREs Clim Change 2011 2 128–139 DOI: 10.1002/wcc.95

The First Climate Model

In the late 1960s, NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, New Jersey, developed the first-of-its-kind general circulation climate model that combined both oceanic and atmospheric processes. Scientists were now able to understand how the ocean and atmosphere interacted with each other to influence climate.  The model also predicted how changes in the natural factors that control climate such as ocean and atmospheric currents and temperature could lead to climate change.  The model still stands today as a breakthrough of enormous importance for climate science and weather forecasting.

For those who are interested, here’s a taste of what a serious discussion about climate models sounds like.

Steve Easterbrook: Constructive and External Validity for Climate Modeling
(Not to be mistaken with Don of the same last name, but unrelated denier guy.)

Rotman Institute of Philosophy

Published on Feb 17, 2015
Discussion of validity of scientific computational models tend to treat “the model” as a unitary artifact, and ask questions about its fidelity with respect to observational data, and its predictive power with respect to future situations. For climate modeling, both of these questions are problematic, because of long timescales and inhomogeneities in the available data. 

Our ethnographic studies of the day-to-day practices of climate modelers suggest an alternative framework for model validity, focusing on a modeling system rather than any individual model.  (400 hundred more words to this introduction.  Like I said, this is big league stuff.  If you can’t keep up with this, please don’t pass along someone else’s agenda driven nonsense.  It takes a lot of work to become an expert, and there’s are reasons we have experts, don’t second guess them if you don’t have a clue.)

Presented at the Knowledge and Models in Climate Science: Philosophical, Historical & Scientific Perspectives Conference at the Rotman Institute of Philosophy, Western University
Constructive and External Validity for Climate Modeling
Steve Easterbrook, University of Toronto
October 24-26, 2014


As for the matter of who’s scientists you should trust, their actions speak for their moral character.  

I know that Michael Mann is a favorite villain, he’s even endured death threats.  They say he’s a malicious fabricator of science.  But I challenge you EM to present your best evidence against Dr. Mann’s work or character and lets see how it compares with the following gallery of scientific rogues and vandals.  In particular, Singer, Seitz, Lindzen, Spencer, Christy.

Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists

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Singer pulled off an particularly despicable coup that highlights the amoral ruthlessness of these “opponents” of constructive climate science education.

The Cosmos Myth - Singer and Revelle

Did S. Fred Singer trick Revelle into an association to achieve an agenda? 

When the sequence of events is examined, the intentions seem to implicate his agenda. "The energy companies reportedly began taking steps to prevent the public from believing that humans are warming the planet" ... "as early as the 1980's". It looks like even then, Singer was working with Michaels, Balling, Ellsaesser and Lindzen. …

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Carolyn Revelle, What My Father Really Said

by John P. Reisman — last modified Oct 08, 2012 

John Coleman, Fred Singer, Richard Lindzen and others have claimed or inferred that Roger Revelle did not promote action on human caused global warming. Nothing could be further from the truth. As always, context is key; Coleman, Singer, Lindzen and others are taking what Roger Revelle meant out of context. Revelle recommended immediate prudent steps to mitigate and delay climatic warming.

(Imagine, how much ahead of the game we would be, had we heeded that advice a few decades back, but the runway behind us won’t do us any good.)
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This one is a bit harsh, but then the details are harsh, Lindzen joins Singer’s fun.

Richard Lindzen and other issues.

In his 1995 article, “The Heat Is On,” Ross Gelbspan notes that Lindzen charged oil and coal organizations $2,500 per day for his consulting services. [4], [5]

Misrepresentation from Lindzen, March 6, 2012

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Posted on 8 April 2012 by dana1981

*Points of agreement
*”'Uncertain' doesn't imply ‘unknown'"
*Inconsistencies in Lindzen's arguments
*Lindzen "does a disservice to the scientific method”
*Scientists in the service of politics?
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In October 2012, Dr. Dick Lindzen gave an interview to Alex Epstein on his Power Hour program that turned out to be such a crock of malicious garbage that I took it on myself to do a detailed review with critique and supporting objective information. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015
Lindzen's slander as weapon for scientific persuasion.

#1-Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness - The Question

#2 The Conspiracy - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#3 Government is driving AGW - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#4 Nature in Balance? - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#5 Spurious feedback - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#6 clouds, vapor, Iris Effect - Dissecting Dr Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

#7/7 environmentalism and environmentalists - Dissecting Lindzen's intrinsic obtuseness

      Sharing an email I sent to the professor this evening:
Dear Professor Dick Lindzen
For another example of over the top malicious dirty tricks in the name of climate science denial, there’s this gem which involves the collusion of the Wall Street Journal.

{#11a} SPPI, Monckton, Frederick Seitz, WSJ - anatomy of a character assassination (regarding the Ben Santer Affair)
Frederick Seitz pretending to be what he ain’t

Science Academy Disputes Attack on Global Warming
William K. Stevens | April 22, 1998

… The petition was accompanied by what appeared to be the report of a scientific study concluding that emissions of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, pose no climatic threat and instead amount to ''a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution.'' The article was attached to a letter by Dr. Frederick Seitz, a past president of the academy and president emeritus of Rockefeller University, urging people to sign the petition and calling attention to the article.

Many atmospheric scientists and ecologists who believe global warming to be a serious threat had expressed anger and alarm over the article because it was printed in a format and type face similar to that of the academy's own journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In his letter, Dr. Seitz, a longtime skeptic on the question of global warming, also identified himself as a past academy president. …
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April 20, 1998

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy (Frederick Seitz). This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. 

The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.

The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.

In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a major consensus study on this issue, entitled Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1991,1992). This analysis concluded that " ...even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. ... Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises." 

In addition, the Committee on Global Change Research of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE, will issue a major report later this spring on the research issues that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainties associated with global change phenomena, including climate change.


Bruce Alberts (president)
Jack Halpern (vice president)
Peter H. Raven (home secretary)
F. Sherwood Rowland (foreign secretary)
Ronald L. Graham (treasurer)
Mary Ellen Avery
Ralph J. Cicerone
Edward E. David Jr.(*1)
Marye Anne Fox
Ralph E. Gomory(*2)
David M. Kipnis
Daniel E. Koshland Jr.
Mary-Lou Pardue
Luis Sequeira
I.M. Singer
Robert H. Wurtz
Richard N. Zare
(*1) abstained
(*2) unable to participate
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Frederick Seitz, Physicist Who Led Skeptics of Global Warming, Dies at 96
By Dennis Hevesi. |. March 6, 2008
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Then there is the dynamic duo of Roy Spencer and John Christy at UAH.  Another case study contrarian tactics.

Roy Spencer is one of the few climate contrarians with real credentials.  That doesn’t stop him from propagating some real whoppers, however.  Here I’ve collected links to critiques of Roy’s work.  I’m starting with the posts I’ve made on my blog, including my 3-part review of his new book, The Great Global Warming Blunder:  How Mother Nature Fooled the World’s Top Climate Scientists.

Christy and Spencer’s Satellite Temperature Record Mistake
1. Andy Revkin writes about the episode in the New York Times.

Dr. Spencer Goes to Salt Lake City

The Great Global Warming Blunder

Blog Posts

L’Affaire Spencer

5. Remote Sensing Publishes Rebuttal.  Remote Sensing published a rebuttal to Spencer and Braswell’s paper.  The rebuttal, written by Kevin Trenberth, John Fasullo, and John Abraham, is mostly based on an earlier RealClimate post by Trenberth and Fasullo, but tidied up and updated for publication.

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Climate Misinformer: Roy Spencer
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Bad Week for Roy “Wrong-Way” Spencer
Peter Sinclair  |. September 7, 2011
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A revealing interview with top contrarian climate scientists
John Christy and Roy Spencer are pro-fossil fuel and anti-scientific consensus  |  by Dana Nuccitelli
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Examining Dr. John Christy's Global Warming Skepticism
The following is post from Skeptical Science is by Dana Nuccitelli
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Climate-science contrarian Roy Spencer's oil-industry ties
By Sue Sturgis | September 7, 2011


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