Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Climate Hustle

A Perfect (Twitter) Storm

Posted on 14 March 2017 by Rob Honeycutt

Last week an entertaining barrage of tweets erupted from Dr. Gavin Schmidt's account in response to a blog piece written by Dilbert creator Scott Adams. Being that Adams' original tweet promoting his blog post makes the presumptuous claim of "saving the world" by teaching climate scientists how to communicate science, you can only imagine how this would raise the ire of more than a few actual real-life experts.

 

Aside from the ludicrous notion that saving the world somehow pivots on convincing "skeptics", Adams' fundamental fallacy is the notion that it's the job of climate scientists to convince "skeptics" that climate change is real. What we know from research is, when someone has taken a specific position as a "skeptic" of man-made climate change, adding more information generally produces a backfire effect. They actually reject the science more in response to more information. It doesn't matter how persuasive you are. Most anyone who has already made this choice is not going to be persuaded, regardless of how the science is packaged.

Schmidt's initial response suggests that he fully understands this, saying upfront that his comment would be unlikely to change Adams' thinking. And subsequent tweets from Adams confirm his expectation. But, for those who follow climate science and the public debate, Schmidt's tweets serve as an entertaining take down of Adams' untethered world-view.

Down the Rabbit Hole, then a Hard Right

For anyone who's spent time following Scott Adam's blog, you will know this is an utterly bizarre world of anti-logic where "persuasion" is the dog whistle of choice. I would describe his blog as an authoritarian version of Lewis Carol meets the Beatles on acid. The rhetoric is hard and absolute, not to be challenged, whilst the logic is non-linear, rejecting basic ideas like the existence of reality.

None of Adams' concepts are supported in any manner. He produces no research tied to it. There is no rigorous method applied to rationalize it. It's little more than cultish ramblings validated by a small loyal following acquired through his previous success as a cartoonist. 

Exit the 140 Character Limit

Gavin does a great job of explaining Scott's errors within the limitations of a Twitter thread. Other bloggers have also taken up the exchange at Greg Laden's Blog and at And Then There's Physics. But we can also take a little more time and look at these points individually.

Adams opens with this passage...

I don’t know much about science, and even less about climate science. So as a practical matter, I like to side with the majority of scientists until they change their collective minds. They might be wrong, but their guess is probably better than mine.

That said, it is mind-boggling to me that the scientific community can’t make a case for climate science that sounds convincing, even to some of the people on their side, such as me. In other words, I think scientists are right (because I play the odds), but I am puzzled by why they can’t put together a convincing argument, whereas the skeptics can, and easily do. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

As a public service, and to save the planet, obviously, I will tell you what it would take to convince skeptics that climate science is a problem that we must fix. Please avoid the following persuasion mistakes.

One might reasonably assume that the points that followed would make a serious attempt to demonstrate where the scientific community doesn't make convincing arguments, and one might assume examples of strong "skeptic" points. As you'll see, neither are delivered. Instead we're left with the sense Adams is not only far out of his depth relative to climate science, but he's also far removed from what actual cognitive research finds. 

His list of points follow:

"1. Stop telling me the “models” (plural) are good. If you told me one specific model was good, that might sound convincing. But if climate scientists have multiple models, and they all point in the same general direction, something sounds fishy. If climate science is relatively “settled,” wouldn’t we all use the same models and assumptions?"

Here Adams show us his severely limited understanding of what climate models actually are. He fails to grasp the idea that climate models are a boundary conditions experiment rather than an initial conditions one. You can't create one really good computer model and ever expect that it will be representative of the planetary climate system when what's being modeled is a chaotic system. Even reality wouldn't operate this way!

Think of it like this. If you could instantly replicate the Earth (solar system and all) and start both Earth(a) and Earth(b) in precisely the same states, within a short time the two climate systems would diverge, even though they would continue to operate within the limits of the forcings imposed on them. This is what models also do. What models and model runs are telling us is, what are the boundary conditions within which the climate system will progress given known forcings.

2. Stop telling me the climate models are excellent at hindcasting, meaning they work when you look at history. That is also true of financial models, and we know financial models can NOT predict the future. We also know that investment advisors like to show you their pure-luck past performance to scam you into thinking they can do it in the future. To put it bluntly, climate science is using the most well-known scam method (predicting the past) to gain credibility.

Again, Adams does not grasp what climate models are. There is a functional difference between financial/economic models and climate models in that climate models are bound by physics (link). Financial models are statistical rather than physics based. Conflating the two is essentially a way to avoid making the effort to understand the value proposition climate modeling presents to the body of science.

3. Tell me what percentage of warming is caused by humans versus natural causes. If humans are 10% of the cause, I am not so worried. If we are 90%, you have my attention. And if you leave out the percentage caused by humans, I have to assume the omission is intentional. And why would you leave out the most important number if you were being straight with people? Sounds fishy.

Anyone who follows climate science – even peripherally – will understand Adams is ignorant of human attribution research.  The only thing fishy here is that Scott doesn't even attempt to research this before making an assumption and expounding on the subject in a blog post.

The single most discussed part of the IPCC reports is the attribution statement! They state that most or all of the warming of the past 50 years is very likely due to human contributions of greenhouse gases. Gavin demonstrates that the likely contribution is 110%. It's not like this is hidden information. It's not like it hasn't been discussed ad nauseam on almost every climate blog around, for years. Scott merely hasn't read it yet, and has the audacity to presume he has something of value to offer to the scientific community on how to communicate this matter.

4. Stop attacking some of the messengers for believing that our reality holds evidence of Intelligent Design. Climate science alarmists need to update their thinking to the “simulated universe” idea that makes a convincing case that we are a trillion times more likely to be a simulation than we are likely to be the first creatures who can create one. No God is required in that theory, and it is entirely compatible with accepted science. (Even if it is wrong.)

Gavin waved this one off, for good reason, but this touches on the untethered aspect of Adams' world view that I mentioned above. It's a big non sequitur dropped into this topic, for what reason, we don't know.

Personally, I have no problem admitting that I do not understand quantum mechanics. I've read a number of popular books about it. I think it's a fascinating subject which I'm always eager to try to understand more. But QM is a world that is far outside of what we experience in our everyday lives. There is also an incredible void of experimental evidence that can validate what scientists say about the quantum realm. With QM there are many highly trained physicists poring through the math. They're checking the concepts. They're publishing research and arguing with each other to validate the concepts. Ultimately it all has to be testable to a level to convince the broader scientific community that there are realistic claims being made.

In this, even as a non-scientist, I can simultaneously not fully understand the subject but have a strong sense that, however strange the quantum world is, the subject is scientifically valid and important. I know this is a broadly accepted theory and has been so since the early part of the 20th century. As a non-scientists I know I'm not on thin ice to discuss quantum theory.

This is a complete contrast to Adams' "simulated universe."  This idea has a basis in cognitive research in the work of Berkeley professor, Donald Hoffman. There's a good TED talk where he describes his research related to how our brains interpret reality. The challenge is, as with climate science, Adams is unequipped to analyze and interpret this cognitive research. Dr. Hoffman's work looks interesting. It's an area worth exploring. There were a number of logical leaps in his TED talk that I would want to know more about. But this research is definitely not established. It's a fairly new area Hoffman is exploring, and it may prove to reveal some interesting things about reality, but it also might not. 

What Scott has done is spin it into, as he says, "[T]rillions of times more likely..." that reality is a simulation. (In his TED talk, Hoffman specifically suggests this is unlikely.) And out of that Adams flings off into a realm of dogmatic, non-linear, anti-logic untethered to anything rational, on par with 1960's pop guru's explaining "chakras" and "planes of enlightenment."

5. Skeptics produce charts of the earth’s temperature going up and down for ages before humans were industrialized. If you can’t explain-away that chart, I can’t hear anything else you say. I believe the climate alarmists are talking about the rate of increase, not the actual temperatures. But why do I never see their chart overlayed on the skeptics’ chart so we can see the difference? That seems like the obvious thing to do. In fact, climate alarmists should throw out everything but that one chart. 

This one is particularly irksome to me because I've repeatedly done the work to show where "skeptics" are erroneously using temperature charts. I can only imagine that Scott is discussing the numerous misrepresentations of GISP2 data as global temperature data, where, in fact it's a local measure of temperature at the Greenland summit. Those charts have been "explained away" so many times that it's beyond absurdity. 

It's unclear what "one chart" Scott thinks he's describing here. One of the basic tenets of science is, you can't make stuff up to support your preferred conclusions. There are many charts showing the rise in industrial era temperature, millennial temperature, holocene temperature and even temperature extending back over many millions of years. This information is easily accessible to anyone interested in reading the actual published research, or even taking the time to read the IPCC reports.

6. Stop telling me the arctic ice on one pole is decreasing if you are ignoring the increase on the other pole. Or tell me why the experts observing the ice increase are wrong. When you ignore the claim, it feels fishy.

What smells fishy is that Adams hasn't taken the time to read what scientists say about NH vs SH sea ice. It's easily available. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a very clear description of what is happening. And ironically, Scott makes this claim during a season when we've just witnessed an extreme decrease in Antarctic sea ice.

7. When skeptics point out that the Earth has not warmed as predicted, don’t change the subject to sea levels. That sounds fishy. 

I'm not sure what Scott's preoccupation with fish is, but what is abundantly obvious about this comment is... No one does this. He certainly doesn't bother to offer a citation or example of where this has happened. My experience has been that, when "skeptics" talk about this topic, scientists address it. Repeatedly. This particular stinking zombie myth has had its head removed from its body more times than there are pages in all of George R. R. Martin's novels combined.

8. Don’t let the skeptics talk last. The typical arc I see online is that Climate Scientists point out that temperatures are rising, then skeptics produce a chart saying the temperatures are always fluctuating, and have for as far as we can measure. If the real argument is about rate of change, stop telling me about record high temperatures as if they are proof of something.

Again, Scott presumes that adding more information is going to change a "skeptic's" position. If we just keep giving them the information that scientists 'should' be giving them, that would fix it. Research shows that Adams is deeply misinformed. Scientists are not ever going to change the minds of confirmed "skeptics" any more than Martin Luther King caused any racist to change their position. MLK was effective because he confronted the facts of a critical issue in ways that made people uncomfortable. Dr. King forced us to face reality.

9. Stop pointing to record warmth in one place when we’re also having record cold in others. How is one relevant and the other is not?

Because there are more of the former than the latter, Scott. This is the shifting temperature distribution predicted by climate scientists many decades ago. Fewer low temperature extremes and more high temperature extremes. To even have a chance of understanding climate science would require familiarizing one's self with what a distribution curve represents.

10. Don’t tell me how well your models predict the past. Tell me how many climate models have ever been created, since we started doing this sort of thing, and tell me how many have now been discarded because they didn’t predict correctly. If the answer is “All of the old ones failed and we were totally surprised because they were good at hindcasting,” then why would I trust the new ones? 

Reprise #2. It's not clear how Adams concludes this would have any affect on persuading anyone since his understanding of models is essentially non-existent, nor is it clear how he even gets to "If the answer is..." Adams should trust what experts say about their models, but that involves actually taking the time to listen to what climate modelers are saying about their work.

11. When you claim the oceans have risen dramatically, you need to explain why insurance companies are ignoring this risk and why my local beaches look exactly the same to me. Also, when I Google this question, why are half of the top search results debunking the rise? How can I tell who is right? They all sound credible to me.

Here we get a double barreled straw man argument. It's not clear how he concludes that anyone is saying that sea level has risen dramatically. Certainly sea level is rising. It's rising faster than in the past. SLR is accelerating. But I'm not sure that could be properly stated as "oceans have risen dramatically." And where is Scott's data coming from suggesting that insurance companies are ignoring SLR? I find that insurance companies are highly cognitive of the inherent risks.

It is certainly reasonable to ask why Google delivers inaccurate information on sea level rise. If I had any Google exec standing in front of me right now, I'd be forcefully asking the exact same question. It definitely takes a certain level of skill to validate what is a reliable source of information and what isn't (I frequently have this discussion with my own teenaged kids). I have to admit, though. I'm more than a little suspicious that Scott actually does have the capacity to know a reliable source when he sees it. I think he actually prefers being confused for his own particular purposes of being (faux) incensed about climate communication.

And, yes Scott, with 1 meter of SLR in 2100, your local beach will look significantly different.

12. If you want me to believe warmer temperatures are bad, you need to produce a chart telling me how humankind thrived during various warmer and colder eras. Was warming usually good or usually bad?

Again here, I have my doubts that this is a genuine question, but rather just a randomly crafted point without any substance. Humans, in our current form, have only been around for perhaps 200,000 years. The last interglacial (the Eemian; 120kya) global temperature reached only, perhaps, 1°C higher than today. There were precious few of us and we nearly went extinct  along the way. Our early survival can easily be ascribed to luck as much as our capacity as an adaptive species.

The challenge we face is that we have 7 billion people alive today. We will likely be pushing past 9 billion this century, while we're potentially going to warm the planet some 4°C over the stable preindustrial temperature range that gave rise to modern human civilization. It would take an extreme level of deliberate ignorance to avoid the obvious conclusions that this implies.

13. Stop conflating the basic science and the measurements with the models. Each has its own credibility. The basic science and even the measurements are credible. The models are less so. If you don’t make that distinction, I see the message as manipulation, not an honest transfer of knowledge.

Reprise #2, again. We've already established that Adams is nearly clueless about what models are or what they do. 

14. If skeptics make you retreat to Pascal’s Wager as your main argument for aggressively responding the climate change, please understand that you lost the debate. The world is full of risks that might happen. We don’t treat all of them as real. And we can’t rank any of these risks to know how to allocate our capital to the best path. Should we put a trillion dollars into climate remediation or use that money for a missile defense system to better protect us from North Korea?

We have no way to conclude what Scott is talking about when he doesn't offer any reference here. We all know Pascal's Wager is the idea that you should believe in God because, if God is real then you go to heaven, and if he's not it doesn't matter anyway, assuming an omnipotent being wouldn't see through such a thin ruse.

The problem is, no one in the climate science community makes this argument. Literally, no one. What scientists do is present the available scientific understanding. The research acts to constrain the range of what is reasonable and rational. Within the constrained range of understanding we have the opportunity to make specific and hopefully effective decisions on how to best respond to threats.

Adams puts forth classic false equivalences. Usually people frame this as, should we spend money to eliminate hunger or invest in climate mitigation. That's a false choice since no one is suggesting that we address climate instead of other issues. Climate change is a threat multiplier. We can't ignore any of the many other critical human issues we face. But addressing climate change will help to ensure those other issues don't become much more critical along the way. 

Scott ends with this...

Anyway, to me it seems brutally wrong to call skeptics on climate science “anti-science” when all they want is for science to make its case in a way that doesn’t look exactly like a financial scam.* Is that asking a lot?

People ask me why I keep writing on this topic. My interest is the psychology around it, and the persuasion game on both sides. And it seems to me that climate scientists are the Hillary Clinton of scientists. They think facts and reason will persuade the public. Even though science knows that doesn’t generally work.

Ironically, Scott ends saying that scientists know that facts and reason won't persuade anyone, after he's ranted on about 14 points of why the facts and reason sound "fishy" to him. Like a large number of "skeptics", Adams has amply demonstrated that he has no interest in (or is too lazy to) even starting to understand climate science topics. He demonstrates a fundamental level of ignorance related to each and every topic discussed. And somehow he believes conveying that ignorance will help to inform climate scientists how to persuade "skeptics." 

Throughout this piece I've used scare quotes on the term "skeptic" for the very reason that Scott Adams has embodied here. He is not – in any way, shape or form – skeptical, nor are any of those whom he purports to be speaking for. Skepticism requires the humility and self-awareness to know when you don't have a sufficient grasp of a topic to substantively discuss it. Skepticism requires that you take the time to fully inform yourself before attempting any of the kinds of conclusions he puts forth. As has been stated over and over again, this is not skepticism. This is "white walker" level denial. 

Scott claims that his interest here is the psychology, but there is an ample body of cognitive science that is specifically directed to the climate science issue which (a) Adams does not refer to nor intimates that he even understands exists, and (b) most certainly has not contributed to in any substantial (or even glancing) manner.

Facts and reason are what scientists do regardless of what people choose to believe. That has been true since the earliest application of science. Facts and reason are what gave us modern society. What is most exciting about science is that it can tell us things that we don't know, and sometimes science tells us things we don't want to believe. It's not the scientists' job to repackage reality based on what people will be persuaded by. It is the job of individuals to have the humility to stop and listen when the scientific community is in broad agreement on critical scientific issues like climate change, and from that take appropriate informed actions.

By the same right, science does need effective communication in order for more people to understand what scientific research is telling us. There is a long list of very effective communicators out there already. But these are people who actually understand the science they're communicating, or people who are working in conjunction with scientifically trained advisors. Any potential value that Scott Adams might bring to the table is significantly undermined by his lack of knowledge on the topics of climate science and cognitive science, which is further compounded by his peculiar brand of sociopathy.

And... No, I don't expect Scott Adams to be "persuaded" by any of this.

1 0

Bookmark and Share Printable Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Prev  1  2  

Comments 51 to 94 out of 94:

  1. Rob@50,

    I can aswer for JupiterJosh here:

    Environmental impact of acid rain, impact of CFC on strat O3, health effects of tobacco smoking, etc. research that impacted policies of politicians encumbered by certain industries.

    We all know that and understand each other. What JupiterJosh seems to lack in his understanding is the distinction between the roles in climate mitigation efforts played by scientists, advocates and politicians. He would like climate scientists to play at least both first two (in not all 3) roles. His definition of "skin in the game" aptly applies to politicians who make commercial decisions. Climate scientists are not even qualified for such decisions, to start with, which indicates how unrealistic Josh's expectations are. As for activists, scientists can choose to become them as private citizens only and it would be foolish to mix activism and science. Read Gavin's comment on RC to have a thoughful opinion about it.

    0 0
  2. JupiterJosh

    Which purse-string-holding politicians are we talking about here?  Let's put the matter in a wider context:

    I've read that there's over thirty-thousand climate scientists at work around the world (I hope that's correct).  The IPCC reports provide a summary of the consensus viewpoint of this huge number of researchers, a consensus based on strong evidence.

    Now, as it happens, almost all the governments of the world — including the US — accepted this consensus and signed the Paris Agreement as a consequence.  What has since changed?  All that has changed is the US government.  So of all the world's politicians we have a small group effectively holding the world to ransom.  (And yes, I know that some politicians in other countries also reject the science — but their governments have not.)

    Climate scientists have done their damndest to apprise politicians of the danger.  One would have thought the Paris Agreement settled the matter.  What can they do now against a very powerful group whose aim is to destroy them and their science?  I don't think you can reason with an enemy who has vowed to destroy you.

    0 0
  3. Tom Curtis @ 44:

    I quite realize the necessity to smooth out what will certainly be an irregular yearly rise and fall of sea levels. For example, we cannot be sure exactly when the penguins, with their rhythmic jumping up and down, will crack off Larsen C. Anyhow, by my reading, I would agree that Greenland will melt first. Surely, it is generally agreed that there is more ice in Antarctica.

    At the risk of running into the repetition problem, I remind you of my question. At what point can we measure sea level rise and point to that rise as incontrovertible evidence that one or more of these models is accurately predicting sea level rise?

    If the graph @40 is incorrect as of now, can you point me to a better one?

    In this case, persuasion by the sea itself will speak far more than a bunch of graphs. Surely, The Donald would acknowledge a one meter rise of sea level around Mar a Lago.

    "Since 2006, the average rate of sea-level rise in South Florida has increased to 9 millimeters a year from 3 millimeters a year, for a total rise over the decade of about 90 millimeters, or about 3.5 inches, according to Shimon Wdowinski, a research scientist at the University of Miami."

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2016/07/donald-trump-maralago-climate-change

    Shimon sez:

    "The average rate of sea-level rise increased by 6 millimeters per year over the last decade - from 3 millimeters per year before 2006 to 9 millimeters per year after 2006."

    http://www.rsmas.miami.edu/news-events/press-releases/2016/new-study-shows-increased-flooding-accelerated-sea-level-rise-in-miami-over/

    This is more along the lines of what my casual but accurate graphing exercise of the smooth curve extreme range on the graph @40 indicated. This is a lot more than suggested by the info in your link:

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/

    As a technical point, this graph from colorado.edu is in millimeters, and the graph @40 is in meters.

    If policy is to be changed by effective persuasion, then it would be requisite to paint all the graphical pictures at the same scale. Scott Adams may not have any good knowledge about the climate, but he does have good knowledge about persuasion.

    To get to one meter of sea level rise, it would be necesary to go one silly millimeter at a time, over a long period of time. When you say, "the current best estimate from an empirical stance would be a near 1 meter sea level rise", you don't mention the year 2100 for one thing. For another, what does the term "empirical stance" mean?

    Finally, Michael Sweet @43:

    "It is not really possible for amateurs to determine which model is the best fit right now."

    Neither is it really possible for the experts to determine best fit. But you already knew that.

    On other fronts, is humor understood and allowed here?

    0 0
  4. JohnFornaro... "Scott Adams [...] does have good knowledge about persuasion."

    I don't believe this is even remotely established. Adams certainly believes this is the case and repeats it often. Personally, I don't think saying you're an expert in something actually makes you an expert. (Yes, I realize you didn't use the word "expert" but Adams generally presents himself as such.) 

    0 0
  5. John Fornaro @53:

    1)

    "At the risk of running into the repetition problem, I remind you of my question. At what point can we measure sea level rise and point to that rise as incontrovertible evidence that one or more of these models is accurately predicting sea level rise?"

    And I remind you of my answer:

    "[I]t will be a decade or two before we can significantly resolve which projection/model combination is most accurate with respect to sea level rise."

    2)

    "If policy is to be changed by effective persuasion, then it would be requisite to paint all the graphical pictures at the same scale."

    Not to put to fine a point on it, if our elected representatives cannot cope with the mental difficulty of understanding a change in scale, there is no hope of persuading them of the actual science and it implications.  Understanding science requires an ability to reason, and if a change of scales defeats a person, they lack that ability. 

    What is more, if we continuously elect representatives whose capacity to reason is so easilly defeated, we probably deserve the consequences.

     

    0 0
  6. I'm hoping that we agree that neither amateurs nor experts can determine which model best fits the data.

    Tom Curtis @55:

    "It will be a decade or two before we can significantly resolve which projection/model combination is most accurate with respect to sea level rise."

    Which is fair on one level, but it is also permission for Congress to say, wait and see. Ten to twenty years is not three years.

    I made an effort to demonstrate that, with at least one model, within three years, there should be a measurable rise in sea levels which could not be dismissed on a partisan basis.

    On some other site, I was advised that the extreme predictions are more to be believed than the less extreme predictions about sea level rise. This is why I chose the extreme example in the graph @ 40. What is the thought about sea level rise on this site?

    About persuasion, I said that Scott Adams does have good knowledge about persuasion. As you noticed, I didn't say anything about Scott's "expertise". In addition, Scott says that he's an expert in persuasion, not an expert in "something". Scott did not force people to give him money over his career; he persuaded them. It sounds like you may not agree with me that without, for example, a verifiable rise in sea levels of about 4cm in three years, that policymakers need to be persuaded to change carbon emission policy.

    I also said that if policy is to be changed by effective persuasion, then it would be requisite to show all the graphical pictures at the same scale. It's easy to make fun of congresscritters for being visually challenged; I do it all the time.

    I pasted the colorado.edu graph mentioned above over the graph @40, squeezed it down to about the right scale at least on the abscissa. The ordinate of the colorado.edu graph should be flattened even more. 1 cm barely registers.

    The illustrated flat curve is not at all persuasive regarding catastrophic sea level rise.  [Edit just before posting:  I was not able to upload the described image from my computer to this post, using the 'Insert Image' tool]

    What is the best predictive model showing expected sea level rise?

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [PS] The comments policy includes information at the bottom about posting images and other useful stuff. You have to host the image somewhere else on the web and then use that URL with the image tool.

  7. JF... "I'm hoping that we agree that neither amateurs nor experts can determine which model best fits the data."

    I'd have to say, that's a non-statement on par with, "I can neither confirm nor deny existence of such an operation without the explicit concent of the secretary." (re: Mission Impossible)

    On persuasion without expertise, I'd suggest that's a dangerous area on many levels. This is how you end up with people in positions of power and importance who do not have to moral character or requisite skills to perform their duties. 

    0 0
  8. JF... Regarding sea level rise, if you merely squash a chart down you're unlikely to gain any valuable information. Much of what is expected from future sea level rise is a function of ice sheet dynamics. The 1m+ projections for SLR are a function of how fast Greenland and Antarctica are melting. There's a lot of research being done on that very issue but the dynamics are extremely complex. 

    In terms of "persuasion" what are scientists supposed to do? They can't just make up numbers. They have to have a basis for any projections they put forth. That's what make science so much more difficult than political rhetoric. 

    What seems ridiculous to me is that people, such as Adams, have some expectation that if scientists were more clever with their words or graphics, then people would easily be convinced of the dangers we face with climate change. I'm sorry but such thinking oversimplifies the issue and doesn't even start to offer any substantive insights into what could actually be done to more effectively communicate complex issues to non-scientists.

    0 0
  9. JohnFornaro @56, it is not a rational response to uncertainty to assume that, with 100% certainty the uncertain thing won't happen.  That, however, is the effective attitude you say I give Congress "effective permission" to adopt.

    I would suggest that the information I have provided should lead Congress to adopt now, a policy of converting to parkland any land subject to flooding by king tides or by 1:50 year rainfall events or more in coastal areas, or within around 300 mm of that datum.  Converting to Parkland would involve buying back private properties using eminent domain.  They should further commit to reviewing the policy in a decade.  Standards for levies are a bit different as you greatly increase the cost of the response if you do multiple builds.  There I suggest they set a standard for levies equivalent to a Katrina level storm surge plus around 1.5 meters.  Again, they should commit to decadal review.  

    This policy admits to the near certainty that there will be significant sea level rise, and then hones in on the most appropriate level of response by dealing with the the near certainties first and progressively responding as we have better information.  Both of the suggested short term standards (300 mm and 1.5 meters) should be refined by a short term review by relevant experts (of which I am not one). 

    In the US, I understand many people have a phobia about reasonable government regulation, so you may prefer to simply legislate that in any property sales, the buyer must provide the supplier with the height above sea level of the property, along with the height of a representative storm surge plus the 300 mm; along with the specific cost of flood ensurance for the property.  At the same time, any law prohibiting insurance companies from varying the cost of flood insurance based on local conditions plus expectations based on climate change should be repealed; and any government flood insurance, including any emergency help in the event of flood other than to rescue occupants, should be banned for properties below the surge plus 300 mm datum, unless the properties are protected by levies meeting the 1.5 m datum.

    These two regulations amount to a requirement that buyers do not conceal faults in a property they are selling, and that the government not subsidize the insurance, or become the insurer of last resort for people who ignore the reality of sea level rise.  Nor reasonable, and principled objection to excessive government regulation can object to those requirements.

    Of course, many of these courses of action would not actually be in the power of Congress, and must devolve to state or local governments.

    0 0
  10. John Fornarno,

    Admiral David Titely recently testified in congress

    "The more we looked at the data, the more we saw that not only were the air temperatures coming up, but the water temperatures were coming up, the sea level was coming up, the glaciers were retreating, the oceans were acidifying. When you put all those independent lines of evidence together, coupled with a theory that was over 100 years old that had stood the test of time, it kinda made sense.

    Does it mean we know everything? No, but does it mean we know enough that we should be considering this and acting? Yes, it’s called risk management and that’s what we were doing."

    You are asking us to wait until we are certain that it will be a catastrophie before we take action. Scientists will never say they are completely certain.  We have to act on the best inforamtion that is available.  Scientists have been in agreement that action should be taken since at least 1965 when  the Academy of Science warned President Johnson.

    If we wait until we are certain which of the sea level model is correct it will be too late to have any affect on the result.  Since Tom's data shows that we are currently running above the high estimate from the IPCC, it seems like it might already be late to start getting serious about sea level rise.  Experts have characterized ice melt in the Antarctic as "unstoppable".  Tamino has posted here and here about flooding in the USA already caused by sea level rise.  Miami Beach is spending hundreds of millions of dollars in a futile effort to hold back the sea.  This affects current real estate prices.  

    How much worse does it have to be before you think we should take action?  

    0 0
  11. Rob Honeycutt @ 57:

    "I'd have to say, that [my comment about how even 'experts' cannot determine the best climate model.] is a non-statement on par with, 'I can neither confirm nor deny... ' "

    If you would drop a line along those lines to to Michael Sweet @ 43?

    I totally agree with you that "persuasion without expertise" can be a dangerous area on many levels. I would say informally that neither Obama nor Trump are climate science experts, for example. You bring up, as an aside, I'm sure, the issue of morality, and this is a very important issue to bring up, since it is the morality of our government as a whole which has led to our involvement, as one example only, in elective war without purpose, since at least Vietnam.

    Discussions about morality suck the air out of a discussion at approximately the same rate as a black hole sucks matter.

    I'm trying to focus on two things only at the moment. Persuasion and sea level rise.  Anyhow...

    0 0
  12. Rob Honeycutt @ 58:

    "JF... Regarding sea level rise, if you merely squash a chart down you're unlikely to gain any valuable information."

    I have to disagree. I squashed down the Colorado.edu graph to the same ordinate scale as the graph @ 40. The valuable information is that there is no catastrophic sea level rise out to 2020. The comment was made above @ 55 that "if a change of scales defeats a person, they lack that ability" to reason.

    Clearly, getting the graphs at the same scale shows that the sea level rise, at least as predicted by the models of those 'experts', is not something to be alarmed about.

    The prediction of a 1m rise in sea levels is out to the year 2100, and is the extreme level predicted by the highest 'expert' NOAA assessment. You ask,

    "In terms of 'persuasion' what are scientists supposed to do?"

    To better persuade policy makers, climate scientists could present the data at the same scale, project out to the same time, and work harder to refrain from berating the idiotic morons who comprise our government. At least do the first two things.

    "What seems ridiculous to me is that people, such as Adams, have some expectation that if scientists were more clever with their words or graphics..."

    Did I mention scale and timeframe?

    The colorado.edu graph is a flat line on sea level rise over the same time frame that NOAA predicts a 4cm rise. Both graphs cannot be correct.

    0 0
  13. Tom Curtis @ 59:

    " it is not a rational response to uncertainty to assume that, with 100% certainty the uncertain thing won't happen."

    Uhhhhh.... wut? I didn't get the meaning of that at all.

    "I would suggest that ... Congress to adopt now, a policy of converting to parkland ... [various low lying areas] ... using eminent domain". This makes some sense to me too, but is a 'run awaaaayyy' approach. [say it like Monty Python] Abandon the flooded areas. Perhaps like New Orleans? Remember that the Low Countries in Europe have been working the high sea level problem for many years with notable success, and that seems to be the approach that the Corps of Engineers is using in New Orleans at the moment.

    But you mentioned "eminent domain". And then you asserted that "phobia about reasonable government regulation". What people actually have is a phobia about UN-reasonable government regulation. From a persuasion standpoint, 'unreasonable government regulation' is an LKS.

    You do offer a free market solution that should be adopted as soon as is practicable, tho: "that buyers do not conceal faults in a [low lying] property they are selling, and that the government not subsidize the insurance, [nor] become the insurer of last resort for people who ignore the reality of sea level rise".

    0 0
  14. JF @62... Apparently you chosen to ignore the point I've made. No, merely squashing a chart down is not – in any way, shape or form – a substitute for real analysis. You have to understand the processes at work. You have to understand the data. You have to understand other influences on the data outside of the specifics you're looking at. Tamino does the actual analysis that you're incapable of (here).

    "To better persuade policy makers, climate scientists could present the data at the same scale..."

    You're just not getting it, John. You're asking for something that won't visually show exactly what deniers avoid understanding. And you're not grasping how you're employing a technique that is exactly how people intentionally manufacture doubt about climate science. 

    Look, all the information is there. It's presented over and over in compelling ways that even children can understand. Those who don't understand these things are not failing to grasp it because it's being poorly communicated. They're not understanding it because they don't want to understand it. That's not something that can be changed through anyone's abilities of persuasion. 

    My often used comparison here is Martin Luther King. Dr. King didn't advance the civil rights movement by trying to persuade racists that their ideas were wrong. He did it by forcing our nation to confront the atrocity of our racism.

    0 0
  15. JF... "I would say informally that neither Obama nor Trump are climate science experts, for example."

    Interesting here is the avoidance of the obvious.

    The former listened to and acted upon the advice of leading experts. The latter does not. 

    0 0
  16. JohnFornaro @63:

    "Uhhhhh.... wut? I didn't get the meaning of that at all."

    In your comment @56 you wrote:

    "Tom Curtis @55:

    "It will be a decade or two before we can significantly resolve which projection/model combination is most accurate with respect to sea level rise."

    Which is fair on one level, but it is also permission for Congress to say, wait and see. Ten to twenty years is not three years."

    "Waiting and seeing" for an indeterminate period is in fact doing nothing, hence my comment about acting as though the uncertain thing won't happen.  That is not a rational response when there is a certainty of sea level rise, but uncertainty about the amount.  That is particularly the case given that the earlier the policy response, the lower the overall cost of responding to sea level rise, at least if the initial steps are measured as with the two proposals I made.

    "This makes some sense to me too, but is a 'run awaaaayyy' approach."

    You ignored the section where I said:

    "Standards for levies are a bit different as you greatly increase the cost of the response if you do multiple builds. There I suggest they set a standard for levies equivalent to a Katrina level storm surge plus around 1.5 meters. Again, they should commit to decadal review."

    Clearly I was suggesting a two strategy response, with the particular strategy used in particular area dependent or relevant costs.  Therefore your characterization of the strategy is an inaccurate caricature.  I will grant that the different cost structure will favour retreat over the construction of levees, but as the percentage of land effected for any state other than Florida (where levees will not work, in any event) is small, that it likely the most cost effective strategy.

    With regard to phobia, it is the nature of phobias to mistake irrational fears for rational fears.  In this context, that comes from mistaking reasonable regulations for unreasonable.

    With regard to my second preference strategy (the free market solution), it has the effect of placing the cost of adapting to sea level rise specifically on people living in low areas; whereas the cause of the costs are (mostly) the use of fossil fuels.  That is, it accepts as a reasonable policy the existence of a large externality born by a small proportion of the population, but not paid for by the causes of the externality.  To my mind that is irrational, but given the  phobia about rational regulation in the US, I expect only the free market approach has a chance of getting up in the short term.

    0 0
  17. What is the best predictive model regarding sea level rise?

    0 0
  18. Rob Honeycutt @ 64:

    "No, merely squashing a chart down is not — in any way, shape or form — a substitute for real analysis."

    I presented and compared the data from two charts at the same scale. Your characterization of my correct scalar presentation of the data is false.

    I only have time to read at the moment, and I might be back later.

    0 0
  19. John Fornaro @68:

    "I presented and compared the data from two charts at the same scale. Your characterization of my correct scalar presentation of the data is false."

    I assume you are reffering to your method of comparing the graphs described @56:

    "I pasted the colorado.edu graph mentioned above over the graph @40, squeezed it down to about the right scale at least on the abscissa. The ordinate of the colorado.edu graph should be flattened even more. 1 cm barely registers."

    You have, off course, not actually presented the combined graph here.  And certainly the original graphs do not have the same scale.

     

    0 0
  20. John... As for which predictive models is going to best project sea level rise, this is exactly my point. 

    You must know the key mechanisms at play in order to resolve this.

    Current SLR is partly a function of thermal expansion of the oceans and partly a function of ice sheet contributions. The thermal expansion part is reasonably easy to model (for researcher capable of doing that work). Ice sheet contributions are vastly more complex.

    Thus, I will say it one more time, squashing two charts down to the same scale will tell you absolutely nothing about the ice sheet dynamics which will be the primary issue with future sea level rise.

    0 0
  21. Tom Curtis @ 69:

    "You have, off course, not actually presented the combined graph here. And certainly the original graphs do not have the same scale."

    Off course I cannot share the graph I made because the software limitations of the site preclude the addition of one's own material.

    Anyhow, here are the two graphs I compared this morning:

    RealClimate, Graph #1 (The NOAA highest projection, Parris, et al, 2012)

    http://www.realclimate.org/images//Horton_SLR_Survey.png

    Colorado, Graph #2 (University of Colorado 2016)

    http://sealevel.colorado.edu/files/2016_rel4/sl_ns_global.png

    Rob Honeycutt @ 70:

    "You must know the key mechanisms at play in order to resolve this."

    I'm afraid that it is more persuasive to present graphs of the data at the same scale. It should be clear that I am talking about measurable sea level rise, not the cause of the rise. You use the colloquial term "squash". I have applied a scalar transformation of the ordinate of Graph #2 to match the ordinate scale of Graph #1. I have no problem with using the colloquial term "squash" if it means, in this case, scalar transformation of the ordinate with the purpose of comparing two graphs at the same scale.

    I have not chosen an indeterminate timeframe, but have limited my analysis of the two charts to the period, 2017 to 2020.

    Graph #1 projects about 4cm of sea level rise in the period from 2017 to 2020. Graph #2 projects about 1cm of sea level rise in the period from 2017 to 2020, according to the trend line.

    If either of these values is observed and measured between 2017 and 2020, would that be incontovertible evidence that the models predict sea level rise correctly?

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Models of sea level do not predict. Rather they forecast what sea level rise will be under a given set of input assumptions about climate forcings and other key factors. Ditto for GCMs.

  22. 0 0
  23. Graph #1

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [RH] Fixed image size.

  24. Apologies for not knowing how to use the image link tool.

    0 0
  25. JF...  Simple lies are always more persuasive than the complex truth. That doesn't mean it's right to tell lies. In other words, whether squashing (or "squeezing", as you originally termed it) two data series together is more persuasive is irrelevant. 

    The issue we face with sea level rise has little to do with the measured amount of sea level rise to date, since what is critical about SLR is ice sheet contributions. 

    Do you grasp that, at the peak of the last interglacial when global mean temperature was about 1°C warmer than now, global sea level was about 20 feet higher than today? That is the crisis that looms before us today.

    Do you grasp that, with >3-4°C rise in global mean temperature it's likely we could eventually see total loss of the ice sheets. That takes some centuries to play out, but think of it this way. We are but a few centuries removed from the Renaissance. Within a single generation of energy use today, we could be ensuring people within a few hundred years of us would see about 70 meters of sea level rise. And whether or not you think bringing up morality muddies the waters or not, that absolutely has deep moral implication.

    What you're doing is exactly what climate deniers do. They try to pick out a short time scale that ignores nearly all the important relevant research on the matter, and say, "Well, look here! There's no crisis!" That is an act of pure deception. That is hiding the actual relevant information (which is widely available) in favor of a convenient and easy lie.

    That, in a nutshell, is the problem. It is very easy to create and disseminate misinformation. It is far more difficult to do real science and communicate its meaning and implications.

    0 0
  26. Rob:

    If you want to keep using the colloquial terms "squash" or "squeeze", as a short hand for a scalar transformation of the ordinate of a graph, that's fine with me.

    The two sources that were suggested to me predict a sea level rise of one to four cm in the next three years. I believe that would be incontovertible evidence of sea level rise. I'm not getting the sense that you agree with these two sources.

    0 0
  27. JohnFornaro @76.

    Concerning predictions of SLR, the graph you present @73 shows a 2000-17 SLR of 30mm (lowest) to 120mm (highest) with a "likely" range of 60mm to 100mm.

    The data used in the graph you present @72 gives an average SL in 2000 of 16mm and an average for the final 12-months of data (to June 2016) of 82mm. This implies an SLR over the 15½ years of 62mm and pro rata a 17 year SLR (2000-17) of 68mm.

    The graph @73 can be scaled to provide a projection of 2017-20 SLR (It would be perhaps 11mm to 22mm "likely".) but the lumpy nature of the SLR record strongly suggests that using such a projection as "incontovertible evidence" (I'm not sure of what) would be foolhardy.

    0 0
  28. MA Rodgers: We also need to keep in mind that sea level rise is does not occur uniformly throughout the global ocean system.

    0 0
  29. JF... 1) "Squeeze" was your original term, not mine. 2) You've not explained what you mean by "scalular transformation" nor have you demonstrated that you have the capacity to work with data rather than rescaling an image file.

    The incontrovertible evidence you're looking for relative to sea level rise is going to be related to ice mass losses since that is where most of the future contributions to SLR will come from.

    0 0
  30. JF... "I'm not getting the sense that you agree with these two sources."

    You're still missing the point here. I'm disagreeing with the use of those as being incontrovertible evidence. You're selecting a very short time frame which is prone to a great deal of variation and will give you different answers for different time frames. Thus, no, you're not going to get incontrovertible evidence using such a method. Even if the results currently agreed with the overall scientific evidence, over a different time frame they very well may give you a very different result. 

    When discussing climate change it's best to avoid short time frames for anything, even if you think they agree with a point you're trying to make.

    0 0
  31. Rob Honeycutt @ 79:

    "'Squeeze' was your original term, not mine."

    Do you have a point? A scalar transformation of either the ordinate or the abscissa in any graph is a fair math move.

    From:

    https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Change-the-scale-of-the-vertical-value-axis-in-a-chart-05973661-e56a-4486-a9f3-f9ce41df0021

    "You can customize the scale to better meet your needs."

    For example, one might want to make a flat line look like a sharply rising line. One might want to misinform shallow thinking politicians, always a fair move in principle.

    I'm studying whether or not one to four cm of sea level rise, if observed and measured accurately by 2020, three years from now, would be incontrovertible evidence that the graphs of the two models that I studied have accurately predicted sea level rise. I guess not.

    The "climate experts" have no idea by what amount the sea levels might be rising, and they have no idea of how much sea level rise would be non-partisan, incontrovertible proof of sea level rise. The issue continues to be persuasion.

    Nice chatting tho.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Your condescending tone is neither warranted nor welcome. 

  32. JF...  I'd suggest that "persuasion" is merely Scott Adams favorite dog whistle. I'd also say that, no, altering a graph just for the purposes of persuasion is not appopriate.

    A good example is with climate deniers. It seems to be persuasive to many when they take a temperature graph of the holocene and change the Y-axis to start a 0°C. Like here. That is persuasive for those who are not inclined to look any deeper into the matter. 

    The problem is, for every piece of incontrovertible evidence there is another anti-science meme produced by someone out there designed to cast doubt on the science. Google any climate topic out there and see what comes up. It's a smattering of both real science and conspiracy addled fake science, and for most people it's hard (sometimes impossible) to tell the difference.

    I am curious about this statement, though.

    "The "climate experts" have no idea by what amount the sea levels might be rising, and they have no idea of how much sea level rise would be non-partisan, incontrovertible proof of sea level rise."

    Climate experts actually do have a strong idea of how much sea levels are rising. They also understand the uncertainties and the variability within the data. So, I'm not clear how you justify that statement.

    And the second half of that statement just doesn't make sense to me. "Non-partisan, incontrovertible proof" (evidence would be a better word) doesn't seem to describe anything since science is, by nature, non-partisan. 

    0 0
  33. John,

    We do not expect sea level rise to change much in the next four years.  According to your graph at 72, from the middle of 2012 to the middle of 2016 (the last four years of data) sea level rose about 20 mm.  Why are you so focused on the next four years?  We already have the data you seek in the last four years.   Sea level rise was in the range of 1-4 cm you indicate.  Over time we expect the sea to rise faster. 

    Short time periods have much more noise than long time periods.  El Nino's tend to have faster rise and La Nina's slower rise.  If the next four years are mostly La Nina (through random chance) sea level may rise more slowly.  That would mean nothing.  From 2005 to 2011 we see this effect.  From 2011 to 2016 we see faster rise as there more El Nino's.  You need to adopt a longer time frame to eliminate the noise.

    Sea level rise experts are people who have devoted their lives to learning about glaciers and the ocean.  The partisans are absent from the scientific debate.  

    If you can provide the data about exactly how much CO2 will be emitted for the next 80 years the scientists can give you a better projection.  You ask more than can be known.  

    There are many questions about how the great ice sheets will behave.  20 years ago scientists thought that the great ice sheets might grow from more snow.  They learned that the sheets melt from below from a warming ocean.  A few years ago scientists thought that there was no possible mechanism for greater than 2 meters of sea level rise before 2100.  A  mechanism for the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet has now been discovered (3-4 meters of rise).  It is not yet known exactly how that mechanism will affect the next 80 years.  We have to go with the best science that we have today.  That is reflected in the graphs you have posted.  

    Exact predictions of the future are hard.  There is no doubt  that AGW is causing the sea to rise and will continue to rise.  If you think there is an issue with that, buy land in Miami.

    0 0
  34. JohnFornaro, I have just taken a expanded image of the IPCC projections, and the upper limit of the likely range shows a 100 mm increase relative to 1986-2005 levels by 2020.  Taking the midpoint of the baseline period, that requires a 100 mm increase relative to 1995, or a mean rate of 4 mm per year.  The rate since 1995 has been approx 3.3 mm per year, for a total increase of approximately 69 mm since then, leaving a 31 mm increase or 7.75 mm per annum to reach the upper limit of the likely range.  We have already exceded the lower limit of the likely range, and effectively reached median estimate for 2020.  That suggests we are currently running between the median and upper likely limit of the AR5 projections, and on the upper likely limit of the AR4 projections.  Unfortunately, that tells us the IPCC projections are running low for sea level rise other than from large scale ice sheet events, which will be lumpy and hence unlikely to show up over short periods early in the century.  That is, on current evidence 2100 sea level will be in the upper range of the IPCC projection plus an unknown further amount from large scale ice sheet collapse.

    I am not sure where you got the 4 cm expectation between now and 2020, but suspect it may be because you have not correctly baselined the IPCC projections. 

    0 0
  35. JF: If you want to keep using the colloquial terms "squash" or "squeeze", as a short hand for a scalar transformation of the ordinate of a graph, that's fine with me.

    RH: Squeeze' was your original term, not mine.

    JF: " 'Squeeze' was your original term, not mine." Do you have a point? A scalar transformation of either the ordinate or the abscissa in any graph is a fair math move.

    John. If you  do not understand RH's comment that 'squeeze' was your original term, consider this. Your first comment I have quoted above sounds as though you have disdain for folksy types who write 'squeeze' when they mean scalar transformation, but you will condescend to converse with them on their folksy level. It sounds like a conversational gambit to make onlookers perceive you as the mathematically sophisticated one. RH countered that the folksy term came from you.  You then disowned your own rhetorical gambit, even as you dropped in "abscissa", which sounds like another attempt to portray yourself as mathematically elite. (None of us care, really, what terms are used, and scalar transformation is fine; the issue is simply tangential to the discussion.)

    Maybe you did not mean it that way, but that is how it reads. On the other hand, I find it folksy and unsophisticated to consider the atempt to validate or invalidate a model based on ridiculously short time spans, such as 4 years.

    Just keep in mind that you are conversing with people who understand this material better than you do.

    0 0
  36. NASA has just updated it's Sea Level Facts webpage. It contains two charts. The first chart tracks the change in sea level since 1993 as observed by satellites. The second chart, derived from coastal tide gauge data, shows how much sea level changed from about 1870 to 2000.

    Click here to access this NASA webpage.

    0 0
  37. Leto @ 85: "...scalar transformation is fine..."

    Of course it is. Rather than discuss data, I'm being criticized for scaling the data to present the information to a policymaker in an easier to understand fashion, because persuading policymakers is the fundamental task at hand.

    JF @ 53: "As a technical point, this graph [ http://sealevel.colorado.edu/ ] is in millimeters, and the graph @40 is in meters.

    If policy is to be changed by effective persuasion, then it would be requisite to paint all the graphical pictures at the same scale. Scott Adams may not have any good knowledge about the climate, but he does have good knowledge about persuasion."

    The objection made was this: "...if our elected representatives cannot cope with the mental difficulty of understanding a change in scale, there is no hope of persuading them of the actual science and it implications."

    JF @ 56: "I pasted the colorado.edu graph mentioned above over the graph @40, squeezed it down to about the right scale at least on the abscissa. The ordinate of the colorado.edu graph should be flattened even more. 1 cm barely registers."

    Then the objection became: "In other words, whether squashing (or "squeezing", as you originally termed it) two data series together is more persuasive is irrelevant."

    I clarified by mentioning scalar transformation.

    Then the objection became: "No, merely squashing a chart down is not — in any way, shape or form — a substitute for real analysis."

    Then the argument became "'Squeeze' was your original term, not mine." Of course I used "squash", but hey.

    My question [@ 42] is pretty simply stated:

    At what point can we measure sea level rise and point to that rise as incontrovertible evidence that one or more of these models is accurately predicting sea level rise?

    My question will not be answered, and I know why.

    Persuasive evidence, measured in the real world, such as, for only one example, a 4cm rise in sea level in only three years, is not necessary, personal criticism is.

    Leto: "Just keep in mind that you are conversing with people who understand this material better than you do."

    JH: "Your [JF's] condescending tone is neither warranted nor welcome."

    Obviously, condescension is a one way street on this site.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Moderation complaints are prohibited by the SkS Comments Policy

    Please note that posting comments here at SkS is a privilege, not a right.  This privilege can be rescinded if the posting individual treats adherence to the Comments Policy as optional, rather than the mandatory condition of participating in this online forum.

    Please take the time to review the policy and ensure future comments are in full compliance with it.  Thanks for your understanding and compliance in this matter.

  38. JohnFornaro @87.

    The question you pose is:-

    "At what point can we measure sea level rise and point to that rise as incontrovertible evidence that one or more of these models is accurately predicting sea level rise?"

    We can measure sea level with enough accuracy to plot a global value for Sea Level Rise. We can therefore check whether the SLR projected by "these models" are consistent with the measured values. I would assume that when you talk of "these models" you refer to the graphical representations of SLR presented @40 and @39. Note that these projections of SLR derive from work carried out in 2012 or 2013. That is, the graph presented @40 is sourced from Horton et al (2014), a paper submitted in 2013. And that presented @39 derives from Bamber & Aspinall (2013) submitted in 2012. This means SLR data measured after "these models" were completed includes data beginning from mid-2013. Thus the SLR data as graphed @73 already includes three years of such data, a length of period you have suggested would be adequate.

    Assuming all this conforms to the intention of your question, the only part of the question remaining outstanding is whether 3 years of SLR data would be adequate for the establishment of "incontovertible evidence" that "these models" are "accurate." As I made plain @77, I'm not sure what it is you are attempting to establish 'incontrovertibly', what particular aspect of "these models"  you hope to estabish as "accurate"  but 3 years doesn't seem long enough for anything useful to be learned given the lumpy nature of global SLR data.

    0 0
  39. JF...    When you use a terms like "scalar transformation" and "abscissa" it implies that you're working with actual data rather than a graphic representation of data. So, far I've seen no evidence of this. 

    "At what point can we measure sea level rise and point to that rise as incontrovertible evidence that one or more of these models is accurately predicting sea level rise?

    My question will not be answered, and I know why."


    Excellent! That must mean you now grasp that the question is irrelevant. 

    It's rather like asking when you can measure the impact of the speeding train as it crashes into your body instead of measuring the speed it's approaching you ahead of time.

    As has been repeated many times over, sea level rise is a function of ice sheet dynamics. That is the entire story. 

    Look, JF. There is no magic bullet here. There is no one graph that you're going to create that is going to convince people who don't want to be convinced. There is an abundance of compelling graphical representations of the science on climate change out there. Any one graph (sea ice retreat, global mean temp, CO2 levels, ocean heat content, sea level rise, changes in animal migration patterns, seasonal patterns for plants, storm intensity, etc, etc) should be enough to give any rational person pause to think about this, and collectively should convince anyone that this is real and very serious.

    The problem is that the people who refuse to believe it are doing so because of other reasons. No graph, no matter how incontrovertible, is going to fix that. 

    I have a suspicion that's not what this conversation is actually about for you, though.

    0 0
  40. JF...  Let's think of this another way, in terms of scientific confidence and risk.

    1) Global mean temperature is rising: High level of confidence.

    2) Rising CO2 is the primary factor in rising temperature: High level of confidence.

    3) Rising CO2 is due to human activities: High level of confidence.

    4) Rising global temperature will cause ice sheets to lose mass: High level of confidence.

    5) Ice sheet losses will lead to sea level rise: High level of confidence.

    6) Rate/pace of ice sheet losses: Low level of confidence.

    From this you can easily determine that (a) sea levels will rise as we continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere, (b) we don't know exactly how quickly the sea level rise issue will play out. There is virtually no doubt this is occurring. The evidence is already incontrovertible. There is significant risk that this will play out faster than models are telling us.

    0 0
  41. Rob Honeycutt @90, excellent summary.  I woud add that we have a far firmer idea of the low end of possible sea level rises (mostly determined by thermal expansion of sea water) than we do of the high end.  We also have some reasonable empirical and model based estimates of the final (equilibrium) sea level rises due to increased temperature, with 7 meters or more for the 2 C that current policy aims at, and 20-50 meters for the likely range of end century temperatures with BAU.  What is not known is how long it will take to reach that equilibrium level.  From those estimates it follows that a low rate of sea level rise in the 21st century means a longer period to reach equilibrium (which is good news), but it does not mean we will not be dealing with 7 plus meters of sea level rise in the long run.

    0 0
  42. Thanks, Tom. It strikes me that JF is potentially trying to focus on an element of #6 to make an "incontrovertible" argument of persuasion, and is actually looking for the opposite. My suspicion is that he's purposefully creating a straw man argument by ignoring all the other elements that are actually incontrovertible.

    "My question will not be answered, and I know why" is a strong indication that he's been persuing a specific answer all along.

    0 0
  43. "Obviously, condescension is a one way street on this site."

    JF. Don't blame Tom and Rob for my comment. They have been very patient.

    I'll leave you guys to it.

    0 0
    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Mr Fornaro has recused himself from further participation in this venue, finding the burden of complying with the Comments Policy too onerous.

  44. The  Dilbert strip behind this furor:

    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2017/05/why-science-journals-arent-published-in.html

    0 0

Prev  1  2  

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2019 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us