Climate Science Was Broken

 

Natural scientists have sought to understand the workings of the climate system and its various parts. But in recent decades the process of discovery has been subverted, and the science is going in circles. Richard Lindzen tells how it came to this in his essay: Climate Science: Is it Currently Designed to Answer Questions?

As you might guess, the title is a rhetorical question. From his long and deep experience with the field, Richard Lindzen can and does describe in detail how and why climatology is failing as a natural science. The machinations and convolutions bring to mind the quotation:
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
– Otto von Bismarck

Perhaps because the field was contaminated with political aims early on, the whole enterprise has come to resemble a legislative process:


Lindzen sets the record straight with names and maneuvers which have crippled efforts to answer questions about the functioning of earth’s climate system.

When an issue becomes a vital part of a political agenda, as is the case with climate, then the politically desired position becomes a goal rather than a consequence of scientific research. This paper will deal with the origin of the cultural changes and with specific examples of the operation and interaction of these factors. In particular, we will show how political bodies act to control scientific institutions, how scientists adjust both data and even theory to accommodate politically correct positions, and how opposition to these positions is disposed of.

By taking a few minutes to read his text (here), you can learn from Lindzen some important truths:

  • How science was perverted from a successful mode of enquiry into a source of authority;
  • What are the consequences when fear is perceived to be the basis for scientific support rather than from gratitude and the trust associated with it;
  • How incentives are skewed in favor of perpetuating problems rather than solving them;
  • Why simulation and large programs replaced theory and observation as the basis of scientific investigation;
  • How specific institutions and scientific societies were infiltrated and overtaken by political activists;
  • Specific examples where data and analyses have been manipulated to achieve desired conclusions;
  • Specific cases of concealing such truths as may call into question gobal warming alarmism;
  • Examples of the remarkable process of “discreditation” by which attack papers are quickly solicited and published against an undesirable finding;
  • Cases of Global Warming Revisionism, by which skeptical positions of prominent people are altered after they are dead;
  • Dangers to societies and populations from governments, NGOs and corporations exploiting climate change.

Summary:

Thanks to Richard Lindzen and others for putting on the record how broken is the field of climate science. It is dangerous in itself, and it also extends into other domains, threatening the scientific basis of modern civilization. Fixing such scientific perversions will be difficult and lengthy, but it can only start with acknowledging how bad it is. It truly is worse than we thought.

No matter that these contortions extend back for some years; there is no statute of limitations on crimes against science. And the bad behavior is unabated: witness the fresh Revisionism of attacks in 2016 against Exxon and other oil companies for not proclaiming warming alarms in the 1970’s.

Was there ever a field of knowledge so abused, corrupted and corrosive? Who will drain the swamp of Climate Science and contend with the alligators there?

Climate Change is a Social Science

The post What is Climate? Is it changing? explained how “Climate Change” is a double abstraction: it refers to the derivative (change) in our expectations (patterns) of weather. Thus studies of “Climate Change” are a branch of social science, not physical science.

For example, here is a typical study, without the pretense or claim to be doing physical science.

Extreme weather perceptions in your neighbourhood and beyond, Published in Environmental Sociology, by Dr Matthew J. Cutler of the University of New Hampshire, USA. (here)

The author of the study, Dr Cutler, found that although higher household earnings were negatively associated with perceptions of extreme weather, homeownership was indeed a contributing factor – stating that “homeownership and lower incomes appear to independently increase perceptions.” Age, gender, education and political persuasion were also significantly related to extreme weather perceptions. Odds were higher among younger, female, more educated, and Democratic respondents to perceive effects from extreme weather than older, male, less educated, and Republican respondents.

Summary:

Climate Science is properly identified as a branch of Environmental Sociology. Its focus on “Climate Change” aims to understand how and why people perceive weather patterns to be changing or dangerous.

For the sake of human health and prosperity, all studies pertaining to Climate Change should be appreciated as social science investigations, having nothing to do with natural science or physics. Needless to say, any public policy proposals regarding Climate Change can not be evaluated as having any beneficial effect upon the physical world. They are solely motivated by social perceptions and concerns, and should be assessed on the costs and impacts required to reduce levels of concern.

Climate Science Culture War

Climate Science Culture War

 

Look in the Past for Extreme Weather

Recently I posted X-Weathermen are Back on news stories claiming that extreme weather events can be tied to global warming.  As Mike Hulme explained, the methods do not support those attributions.

Now we have a study looking at extreme weather in the past and concluding: Climate data since Vikings cast doubt on more wet, dry extremes.  It seems that our weather today is quite tame by comparison. There are the usual comments assuring readers that this in no way contradicts global warming doctrine.  But the conclusions say otherwise:

Climate records back to Viking times show the 20th century was unexceptional for rainfall and droughts despite assumptions that global warming would trigger more wet and dry extremes, a study showed on Wednesday.

Stretching back 1,200 years, written accounts of climate and data from tree rings, ice cores and marine sediments in the northern hemisphere indicated that variations in the extremes in the 20th century were less than in some past centuries.

“Several other centuries show stronger and more widespread extremes,” lead author Fredrik Ljungqvist of Stockholm University told Reuters of findings published in the journal Nature. “We can’t say it’s more extreme now.”

Ljungqvist said many existing scientific models of climate change over-estimated assumptions that rising temperatures would make dry areas drier and wet areas wetter, with more extreme heatwaves, droughts, downpours and droughts.

The 10th century, when the Vikings were carrying out raids across Europe and the Song dynasty took power in China, was the wettest in the records ahead of the 20th, according to the researchers in Sweden, Germany, Greece and Switzerland.

And the warm 12th century and the cool 15th centuries, for instance, were the driest, according to the report, based on 196 climate records. Variations in the sun’s output were among factors driving natural shifts in the climate in past centuries.

“This paper adds to the growing evidence that the simple paradigm of ‘wet-gets-wetter, dry-gets-drier’ under a warming climate does not apply over land areas,” said Ted Shepherd, a professor at the University of Reading.

For more on how rainfall is distributed across the globe see Here Comes the Rain Again

Rainbow signifying the promise of safety from global flooding

 

Daily Doom and Gloom

joe-btfsplk

Today doom-saying dominates. Remember when Science Fiction combined possibility and danger, with more on the upside? Contemporary pessimism about the future is part of a larger and deeper malaise in societies, and one that differs across the globe. It’s the West (US and Europe) driven by Fear, while in the East Hope is more abundant, and the Middle East is acting out its sense of historical humiliation.

From Geopolitical analyst Dominique Moïsi:

Moïsi contends that both the United States and Europe have been dominated by fears of the “other” and of their loss of a national identity and purpose. Instead of being united by their fears, the twin pillars of the West are more often divided by them—or, rather, by bitter debates over how best to confront or transcend them. For Muslims and Arabs, the combination of historical grievances, exclusion from the economic boon of globalization, and civil and religious conflicts extending from their homelands to the Muslim diaspora have created a culture of humiliation that is quickly devolving into a culture of hatred. Meanwhile, Asia has been able to concentrate on building a better future and seizing the economic initiative from the American-dominated West and so creating a new culture of hope.

The European culture of fear is dominated by the interrogation “Who are we?” Unlike Europeans, Americans are not preoccupied by the ghost of their past. America has always seen itself as a future, a project more than a history. Three key questions contribute to the current American identity crisis. Have we lost our soul – that is, our ethical superiority? Have we lost our purpose – that is, our sense of a unique national mission? Finally, have we lost our place in the world – that is, are we in decline? In other words, if Europeans are asking, “Who are we?” Americans are wondering, “What have we done to ourselves?”

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2575587-the-geopolitics-of-emotion

An extended review of Moïsi’s book is here.  Interview with Moïsi here.

 

ignorance

The purveyors of climate doom are part of a larger culture in the West, and their prophecies fall on people already primed to believe the worst.  Their only power comes from the weakness of listening and failing to add lots of salt to the pronouncements.

Just say No!

And remember this:

If you can keep your wits about you while all others are losing theirs, and blaming you. The world will be yours and everything in it, what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.
Rudyard Kipling

 

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Environmentalist Manifesto


Obama and other Western political leaders keep saying that Climate Change is the biggest threat to modern society. I am coming around to agree with him, but not in the way he is thinking. I mean there is fresh evidence that we can defeat radical Islam, but we are already losing to radical environmentalism.

The Environmentalist Game Plan

Mission: Deindustrialize Civilization

Goal: Drive industrial corporations into Bankruptcy

Strategy: Cut off the Supply of Cheap, Reliable Energy

Tactics:

  • Raise the price of fossil fuels
  • Force the power grid to use expensive, unreliable renewables
  • Demonize Nuclear energy
  • Spread fear of extraction technologies such as fracking
  • Increase regulatory costs on energy production
  • Scare investors away from carbon energy companies
  • Stop pipelines because they are too safe and efficient
  • Force all companies to account for carbon usage and risk

Progress:

  • UK steel plants closing their doors.
  • UK coal production scheduled to cease this year.
  • US coal giant Peabody close to shutting down.
  • Smaller US oil companies going bankrupt in record numbers.
  • Etc.

Collateral Damage:

  • 27,000 extra deaths in UK from energy poverty.
  • Resource companies in Canada cut 17,000 jobs last month.
  • Etc.

For more info on progress see: http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/terence-corcoran-clean-green-and-catastrophic

Summary:

Radical environmentalism is playing the endgame while others are sleeping, or discussing the holes in the science. Truly, the debate is over (not ever having happened) now that all nations are signing up to the Paris COP doctrine. Political leaders are willing, even enthusiastic dupes, while environmentalist tactics erode the foundations of industrial society.  Deaths and unemployment are unavoidable, but then the planet already has too many people anyway.

ISIS is an immediate threat, but there is a deeper and present danger already doing damage to the underpinnings of Life As We Know It. It is the belief in Climate Change and the activists executing their game plan.  Make no mistake: they are well-funded, well-organized and mean business.

A Tale of Two Indices

 

 

n_daily_extent

Sorry to be serious on April 1.  I am not a fan of ice charts restricted to one month, for reasons illustrated in the post Ice House of Mirrors (some humor there in honor of this day.) But March monthly average sets the baseline for the year’s melt season, and so there is considerable attention and significance attached to the month just concluded.

Here is a chart showing March 2016 compared to the previous ten Marches according to two different indices of Sea Ice Extent: MASIE (Multisensor Analyzed Sea Ice Extent) produced by the National Ice Center and SII (Sea Ice Index) produced by NOAA (both accessed at NSIDC).

MASIE and SII March

It is evident that the March annual maximum is trending slightly upward in MASIE and slightly downward in SII. Note that the indices were quite similar the first five years. Then since 2010, SII has declined quite strongly.

Note on Sea Ice Resolution:

Northern Hemisphere Spatial Coverage

Sea Ice Index from NOAA is based on 25 km cells and 15% ice coverage. That means if a grid cell 25X25, or 625 km2 is estimated to have at least 15% ice, then 625 km2 is added to the total extent. In the mapping details, grid cells vary between 382 to 664 km2 with latitudes.  And the satellites’ Field of View (FOV) is actually an ellipsoid ranging from 486 to 3330 km2 depending on the channel and frequency.  More info is here.

MASIE is based on 4 km cells and 40% ice coverage. Thus, for MASIE estimates, if a grid cell is deemed to have at least 40% ice, then 16 km2 is added to the total extent.

The significantly higher resolution in MASIE means that any error in detecting ice cover at the threshold level affects only 16 km2 in the MASIE total, versus at least 600 km2 variation in SII.  A few dozen SII cells falling below the 15% threshold is reported as a sizeable loss of ice in the Arctic.

Putting NOAA Reports in Context

With the background above, we can interpret NOAA`s meaning when they report (here) that 2016 winter ice extent is the smallest on record. That refers to the annual maximum daily extent they observed on March 24. Climatology usually uses the March average to indicate the year’s maximum (given the volatility of daily readings). As we can see, 2016 March average was higher than 2015, virtually tied with 2006 and just below 2011. SII showed March ice to be 364k km2 less than MASIE.

NOAA: “The extent in 2016 was 431,000 square miles (1.12 million square kilometers) below the 1981–2010 average, which is like carving away an area of ice the combined size of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and most of Louisiana.”

In other words, 2016 is below average by about the size of 2000 grid cells in their system, or 1.5% out of 136,192.  

For more background on the two datasets see here.

2016 in Perspective

As an example, consider how this March compares in the two indices.

In the graph MASIE shows 2016 starting the month at average extent, then declining and then recovering.  2016 ended below average in extent and comparable to 2015.  Meanwhile SII showed much less extent, rising to a late maximum and then declining sharply to be 400k km2 less at day 91.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Results for the first quarter of the year show the large differences between the two indices. SII portrays this winter as abnormally low, while MASIE shows an average year, slightly higher than 2015.

Looking at the extents in the various seas making up the NH Sea Ice, it is clear that all are typical, with three exceptions.  Compared to 2015, Barents and Baffin Bay are down (Barents lost 100k km2 in the last five days), while Okhotsk surplus more than offsets the losses elsewhere.

Summary:

As the divergence of SII increases, it becomes less clear what it is really measuring.

The tables below give the reported ice extents in M km2:

Month 2016 2016 MASIE SII SII Deficit
Averages MASIE SII 2016-2015 2016-2015 SII-MASIE
Jan 13.922 13.472 -0.019 -0.131 -0.450
Feb 14.804 14.210 0.121 -0.199 -0.593
Mar 14.769 14.405 0.101 0.038 -0.364

n_monthly_bm_extent_web

ns_Yamal

New Russian Nuclear Icebreaker “Yamal”, sharing the name of the infamous hockey stick tree.