FAIL: 34 years and billions of dollars… for what?

Texas TI99 from 1979

Texas TI99 from 1979

UPDATE: Stewart, in the comments, makes an excellent point:

“There is a great analogy with the development of hydrological models in the 1960′s (because we could automate computation) – in 2013, we are still unable to simulate process accurately – it doesn’t stop us from building the models with increasing complexity which many then blindly believe however the programmer has decided to represent individual processes…

In 1979, personal computers looked like this.

In 2013, you carry around a supercomputer in your pocket (a smartphone), with the processing power of a warehouse full of TI 99s, and millions of times the 16k storage capacity.

Such is the speed of progress in computer technology. How has climate science fared by comparison?

In climate, the only number that really matters is the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2. Normally, over a period of years, greater understanding, better modelling and greater computing power will reduce the margins of error as the theories become more finely tuned.

So how has the IPCC done, after 34 years and billions of taxpayer dollars? The following plot shows the range of climate sensitivity since the Charney Report of 1979, and then through the IPCC’s FAR, SAR, TAR, AR4 and AR5:


Epic fail

As as you can see, despite a slight narrowing of the range in AR4, the precision of the sensitivity value hasn’t improved at all from 1979 to today. Not one bit. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Despite billions of dollars of taxpayers’ hard earned cash, thousands of scientists and years of research, the entire climate science community has failed to improve on the original estimate for climate sensitivity made 34 years ago.

Prof Nir Shaviv writes:

if the basic premises of a theory are wrong, then there is no improved agreement as more data is collected. In fact, it is usually the opposite that takes place, the disagreement increases. In other words, the above behavior reflects the fact that the IPCC and alike are captives of a wrong conception.

Full story here.

(h/t Lubos)

IPCC’s political exercise in consensus building

Climate politics

Climate politics

The IPCC has never been about science. It has always been about building a gargantuan “consensus” by which to fashion the alarmist narrative and steamroller any attempt at genuine debate.

The organisation is stacked with scientists who are already convinced that global warming is man-made and dangerous and that something must be done. It is riddled with environmental activists from Friends of the Earth, WWF and other extreme-green organisations who are on a crusade to save the planet. Despite claims that the IPCC only considers “peer-reviewed” literature, previous reports have relied heavily on grey literature which, oddly enough, always supports the consensus. Funny that.

So it is of very little consequence that the latest Summary for Policymakers for Working Group 1 (Physical Science Basis) of the 5th Assessment Report, continues in the same way, building on the alarmism created in reports 1 – 4. As we have learned, this document is pored over by scientists and policy wonks for days, with every paragraph, sentence and word subjected to tough negotiation in order to ensure the message remains focussed, and isn’t diluted by, oh, I don’t know, er… facts?

It helpfully advances the narrative created over the past thirty years, so that compliant journalists can continue to print the same old rubbish (more ABC: same old rubbish) they’ve been printing for years. At the press conference, virtually every journalist was a subscriber to the cause, with only David Rose of the UK Daily Mail daring to ask something “off script”.

You only have to look at environmental journalists in Australia to realise that they are almost invariably eco-warriors. Why would anyone who isn’t want to be an environmental journalist in the first place?

It’s bizarre, but since temperatures have actually fallen slightly since the last report in 2007, the IPCC is now more certain that humans have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the 1950s. The IPCC claims that climate models have improved since AR4, but cannot give a best estimate for climate sensitivity, the only number that really matters in the end, because of, quote:

“a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

Feeling confident so far? The pause in warming is brushed aside as due to:

“reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle.”

In other words, the dog ate it. Where’s my heat, dude? It’s in the ocean, where we can’t measure it.

Whether the IPCC’s dire warnings will be proved correct is yet to be seen. But as an exercise in political spin, it will no doubt succeed. All we can remember is the old adage, if it’s about consensus, it isn’t science.

Note: For the inside peek at the highly suspect IPCC process, head to Donna Laframboise’s excellent Delinquent Teenager.

Lewandowsky on IPCC leak

At it again…

At it again…

UPDATE: A commenter jokingly suggests below that Lew should “see a shrink”, but the strange thing is that he ticks several of the boxes for the psychological characteristic of narcissism, including:

  • Magical thinking: Narcissists see themselves as perfect, using distortion and illusion known as magical thinking. They also use projection to dump shame onto others.
  • Arrogance: A narcissist who is feeling deflated may reinflate by diminishing, debasing, or degrading somebody else.
  • Envy: A narcissist may secure a sense of superiority in the face of another person’s ability by using contempt to minimize the other person.
  • Entitlement: Narcissists hold unreasonable expectations of particularly favorable treatment and automatic compliance because they consider themselves special. Failure to comply is considered an attack on their superiority, and the perpetrator is considered an “awkward” or “difficult” person. Defiance of their will is a narcissistic injury that can trigger narcissistic rage.

I will leave it to readers to decide…

Stephan Lewandowsky weighs in with his usual tact and diplomacy on the IPCC leak, spraying the D-word around like confetti:

“Science is one of the most transparent endeavours humans have ever developed. However, for the transparency to be effective, preliminary documents ought to remain confidential until they have been improved and checked through peer review,” he said in an emailed comment.

“The leak of a draft report by a reviewer who has signed a statement of confidentiality is therefore regrettable and dishonourable.”

“However, what is worse than the leak itself is the distortion of the content of the draft chapter by some deniers,” he said.

Prof Lewandowsky said that the report’s statement that humans have caused global warming was a “virtual certainty” meant it’s [sic] authors had 99% confidence in that view.

“That’s up from ‘very high confidence’ (90% certain) in the last report published in 2007,” he said.  [Hey Stephan:  How, specifically, were those 90% and 99% numbers calculated?  What, specifically, changed between 2007 and now that accounts for the alleged 90% reduction in uncertainty?]

“In other words, the scientific case has become even stronger and has now reached a level of confidence that is parallelled only by our confidence in some very basic laws of physics, such as gravity or thermodynamics.”

To claim otherwise by cherry-picking part of a sentence out of context is absurd, he said.

“Although it illustrates the standard approach by which climate deniers seek to confuse the public. Climate denial lost intellectual respectability decades ago, and all that deniers have left now is to misrepresent, distort, or malign the science and the scientific process.” (h/t Tom Nelson via WUWT)

Nowhere in Lewandowsky’s world is there ever any hint of doubt, uncertainty, contrition or scepticism about his own beliefs. He’s right on everything – always.

This is evident from the UWA FOI emails (on which more will follow in due course) where the many emails of complaint to the University about his recent work are dismissed in the same cavalier manner as any legitimate questioning of the alarmists’ position on climate.

Commenting on one particular blog article critical of the Moon Landing Denier paper, the Deputy VC at UWA, Robyn Owens, emails Lewandowsky:

“The sooner we get Critical Thinking 101 back to being a compulsory unit for all university students (and the rest of the population) the better!”

To which Lewandowsky responds:

“These folks are beyond educable.”

Funny thing is that the more Lewandowsky, John Cook and others like them insult, demean and belittle their ideological opponents, the more those opponents will dig in and fight back.

Quote of the Day: IPCC AR5 leak

Quote of the Day

UPDATE: The headbangers have all made up their minds too. Un-skeptical Pseudo-Science, the ABC, who wheel in a tame alarmist to hose the story down (see comment below).

From the It’s the Sun, stupid Department, a startling acknowledgement that the IPCC doesn’t know everything about the Sun’s effect on our climate (or the magnitude of such effects):

Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.

Delingpole writes on it here.

Download everything from AR5 if you so choose at WUWT.

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