Monday, March 30, 2009

Gavin A. Schmidt v. Belligerent Kook

Mr. Gavin A. Schmidt, a real, god honest climate scientist for NASA, tries to politely reply to a belligerent Bill O'Reilly type kook at Embedded in Gavin's response are some very useful scientific insights.
Comment by Adam Gallon — 30 March 2009 @ 7:35 AM

Perhaps this scientifically illiterate public is using its senses? We’ve been bombarded with horror stories about the disasterous effects of “Global Warming”, “Climate Change” or whatever it’s name is today. Then we, the public, compare reality to the computer models.

[Response: Ah, ‘you’ the public. Well, I’m part of the public too, and your tiresome list of red-herrings, cherry-picks and outright untruths does not accord in any way to what this member of the public sees. I’m sure the other members of the public would appreciate you not speaking for them either. But since you put it all down in a list, it’s easy enough to critique. - gavin]

We’ve been told that AGW will lead to more frequent & destructive hurricanes.

[Response: It may well do. The magnitude of such an effect is still difficult to discern. - gavin]

We see such storms have dropped to an historic low, lower than at least the past 30 years, possibly the last 50, as measurements aren’t as good in the pre-satellite era.

[Response: Physical understanding is not based on time-series correlations of noisy data. ]

Speaking of measurements, we’re told that (insert year you like) is amongst the “warmest on record”.

[Response: Well, yes. It was. ]

We find that these records have been adjusted, possibly for good reason, but such adjustments do seem to favour reducing temperatures a bit before the 1930s, raising them a little post 1950s.

[Response: So you would rather leave in obvious errors that reduce the overall trend? Hmm… Many adjustments also reduce the trends (such as correcting for UHI and the bucket corrections on the SST). I suppose those are ok? ]

We see that the surface stations are poorly positioned to return accurate measurements, the ones in the USA demonstrably so, ones elsewhere are unlikely to be better.

[Response: You fail to see that ocean temperatures, satellite measurements, glacier melting, Arctic ice retreat, changes in phenology are all consistent with a warming planet. Or that all the independent analyses actually agree, or that the GISTEMP analysis is very similar to what you get only if you use the ‘good’ stations? ]

We question whether measurements from what was the USSR are trustworthy, when how cold things were in the back end of Siberia would be taken into account when fuel was allocated via a government office in Moscow, a few thousand miles away.

[Response: Changes in vegetation as a response to warming as seen by satellites over the same areas are obviously caused by former-USSR apparatchiks painting the ground green. ]

We’re told that anyone who questions the veracity of AGW, is a paid lackey of some big energy company.

[Response: No. You appear to be doing it for free. You realise that you are undermining the market for professionals in this field though?]

We note that it’s a government that’s sticking a tax on a tax with fuel duty added to the pump price, then VAT (Sales Tax) is stuck ontop of the gross sum; we note that our vehicle tax is linked to its CO2 output, so who’s making the most money from this?

[Response: Oh my god! The UK government taxes food - they must want us all to starve! When you stop using services that the government pays for (err… like roads), I’ll take you more seriously. ]

We’re told that the North Pole is melting, more and more is going each year, with 2007’s melt meaning some 2m sq miles less than 2003

[Response: You dispute this? Long term trends in all seasons are towards less Arctic sea ice. You truly have to be blind not to see this one. ]

We see that the arctic sea ice extent has increased since then, currently up around the 2004 levels, so we’re told that it’s not actually the area, it’s the thickness and what birthday it’s celebrated.

[Response: Ah, the old short term noise trick again. Don’t you get tired of always using the same crutch? ]

We see intrepid men, paddling their way to the pole, to demonstrate how much the ice has melted. We see them getting picked up by the ship that’s followed them and then find out that an expedition got 60 miles further north in 1922.We see another intrepid group, walking to the pole, “Tweeting” as they go, telling us they’re measuring the thickness of the ice, whuic has never been done before. We find out that the weather’s so cold, that it certainly isn’t the air temperature that’s melting any ice and that the USN has had automated bouys measuring the ice thickness, bobbing away for years.

[Response: The reason why there is ice there in the first place is because it’s cold. And the reason why we don’t have great in situ measurements is because working there is tough. Pretending to rediscover these facts is no surprise to any potential explorers or to any readers. And if you looked at what the Arctic buoys are showing with respect to ice thickness, it is clear there is a long term decline. Probably just because former-USSR apparatchiks keep moving them though….]

We’re told that the sea level’s rising, flooding Pacific Islands.

[Response: Sea levels are rising. Or are you in complete denial of this also? ]

We haven’t seen any being evacuated, we see that Venice is actually doing what it has been doing, ever since some bright Italian decided to build a city on a swamp.

[Response: Actually Venice is built on islands in a lagoon, not a swamp. And they are spending billions of dollars building a barrage system to reduce their risk of flooding - which is increasing due both to rising sea levels and subsidence. I’m sure the good people of Bangladesh would appreciate your support for a similar construction across the entire Bay of Bengal. ]

We’re told that a warmer climate is a worse climate.

[Response: No, it’s just a different climate and one we have not spent the last 200 years adapting to. ]

We remember what our grandparents told us and old news reels show of the winter of 1947-8, where snow lay on the ground for months, livestock starved in the fields if a helicopter couldn’t get hay to them and we think “Thank (insert name of diety) that hasn’t happened this year”.

[Response: And we remember the summer of 2003 where 30,000 excess deaths occurred during a summer heat wave. What is your point? ]

We’re told that non-climatologists aren’t “qualified” to voice opinion on this matter.

[Response: When it comes to the science, you are right. Expertise does matter. Your contributions, for instance, are pretty much worthless, other than as an indication of how people behave irrationally when it comes to dealing with complex issues. Your opinion on what society should do about scientific discoveries however is worth exactly the same as mine since that is part of the democratic give and take. ]

We see a failed politician making films & globe trotting on a private jet; a highly intelligent man with a PhD in Engineering chairing the IPCC.

[Response: And we see underemployed peers of the realm pretending to know something about climate give testimony on capitol hill. Or retired TV presenters complaining about conspiracy theories. Or science fiction authors briefing the president.]

But seriously, all those trends show how layman’s opinions on global warming have almost nothing to do with the science. it has to do with PR. “warmists” have a formidable PR machine. we have Andrew Watts and Steve McIntytre - both admirable men who make sound rational appeals to our intellect. this doesn’t work with most people. “Warmists” appeal to emotions and exploit ignorance (pretty easy marks).

[Response: Oh yes, the IPCC reports, or the National Academies are full of hyperbole and appeals to emotion. Not like anything that comes from Monckton or Art Robinson of course. ]

I wonder if this will make it passed the censor’s red pen here?

[Response: This is the most tedious complaint of all. Your contributions add nothing to any conversation. They simply regurgitate trivial and easily dismissed talking points you pick up from the flotsam of the blogosphere. Your freedom to contribute in your own house, on your own blog and indeed anywhere else that will have you is unabridged. That we choose to try and keep conversations on topic, civil and free of the seemingly inevitable tedium of your style of ‘argument’ is our choice. You do not have to read. Think of the blog like a dinner party - interesting discussion and disagreement is welcome, but boorish abuse of the hosts is not. You fall well into the latter category and we act accordingly. Now run off and complain about how mean we are. - gavin]

Comment by Adam Gallon — 30 March 2009 @ 7:35 AM


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