Diagnosis: paradigm paralysis, caused by motivated reasoning, oversimplification, and consensus seeking; worsened and made permanent by a vicious positive feedback effect at the climate science-policy interface.As William Connolley points out, in her previous post that she links to (archived here) "there is no IPCC diagnosis in there at all; and no IPCC prescription". She doesn't discuss "the IPCC's diagnosis of a planetary fever and their prescription for planet Earth". Instead it's a copy and paste from Joe Romm's ClimateProgress and another from The Onion.
In a previous post, I discussed the IPCC’s diagnosis of a planetary fever and their prescription for planet Earth. In this post, I provide a diagnosis and prescription for the IPCC.
In her latest waffle (archived here), Judith is trying to argue that climate models haven't improved. She's wrong. They have, with each new generation. She says climate models need to be ditched and replaced with ...errr...climate models. And she says that the IPCC needs to be ditched, presumably so that policy makers can be free to develop policy without being constrained by unpalatable facts.
On resource allocation
Judith misrepresents earth system research writing that most resources have been allocated to climate projections:
Specifically with regards to climate research, for the past decade most of the resources have been expended on providing projections of future climate change using complex Earth system models, assessing and interpreting the output of climate models, and application of the output of climate models by the climate impacts community.Most of the resources? That's got to be wrong. Think of all the resources that go into scientific research in Antarctica and the Arctic (people, equipment, vessels, aircraft, infrastructure). What about the cost of satellites that monitor the earth? What about all the Argo buoys? What about oceanography and glaciology? These are all big ticket items.
The IPCC reports themselves suggest that Judith is wrong about the allocation of resources. If you read the latest IPCC Summary for Policy Makers, then you'll see that the discussion of future expectations doesn't start until page SPM-14 out of 21 pages. The first seven and a bit pages are devoted to observed changes, the next seven or so pages to drivers of climate change and understanding of observed recent changes, and the final seven pages to future global and regional climate change. And I doubt that reflects the resource allocation, which is more likely to be weighted to the science underpinning the earlier sections. An understanding of distant past and recent changes is essential to determining what the future will bring.
Naturally, policy makers are more concerned with the future than the past. It's too late to make policies for the past! They need an understanding of the past so as to better prepare for the future.
Judith also implies that policy makers at the local level aren't doing anything to address climate change. She's wrong. Local authorities are addressing the issue of rising sea levels, water scarcity, flood mitigation and more. Building codes are being amended to allow for more intense rain. Planning schemes are being changed to allow for rising seas and more frequent floods. Bridges are being rebuilt to different specifications after being torn down by flash floods. Port authorities are redesigning jetties for higher sea levels.
In the midst of her mixed up article, she makes a transparent sales pitch for her own commercial models, which don't project ahead longer than weeks or months, writing:
Further, increased scientific focus on subseasonal (weeks) and seasonal (months) weather/climate forecasts could produce the basis for tactical adaptation practices with substantial societal benefits."Tactical adaptation strategies" - yeah, right. Yes, if there's going to be a drought for the next five years I want to know about it. But weeks or months ahead won't tell me that. And I'm not so concerned about whether next winter is going to be colder or less cold as I am about whether my great nieces will have to survive a world with a one or a two metre sea level rise.
I find this sentence particularly odd. Judith writes:
As a result, we’ve lost a generation of climate dynamicists, who have been focused on climate models rather than on climate dynamics and theory that is needed to understand the effects of the sun on climate, the network of natural internal variability on multiple time scales, the mathematics of extreme events, and predictability of a complex system characterized by spatio-temporal chaos.What does she think that all the various climate and earth system models do now? That's exactly what they do. And how does she propose to "understand the effects" without models? Paper, quill and abacus perhaps? Maybe not. She says she wants climate models replaced with climate models:
New structural forms are needed for climate models that are capable of simulating the natural internal variability of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system on timescales from days to millennia and that can accurately account for the fast thermodynamic feedback processes associated with clouds and water vapor.She can take her pick of timescales - either days or millenia. She won't get both in the one model from what I know of climate models. There are currently models for forecasting the atmosphere on a day by day basis (used by weather bureaux) and those that project decades, centuries and millennia used for better understanding the various elements of the earth system and making medium to long term projections. The latter will simulate on timescales from days to millennia but as far as projections go they are designed for climate timescales, not short term weather forecasts.
"No more climate information" pleads Judith Curry
Finally she gets down to the nitty gritty. Judith doesn't want anyone to report the science to government or the general public. She writes:
The IPCC needs to get out of the way so that scientists and policy makers can better do their jobs.What jobs would that be? In regard to climate, scientists who aren't wasting time blogging disinformation are getting on with things and doing their job. Policy makers want information from science and decided long ago that they would set up the IPCC to inform them about the science. Does she want 195 governments to have to each set up their own mini-IPCC to inform them about the science? That would be dreadfully inefficient to my way of thinking and leave them open to the risk of misinterpreting the science. It would have the added risk that when governments came together to agree global strategies, they'd each be working from incomplete and most probably different information bases.
There are a handful of professional scientists whose hobby is to tell lies or spread disinformation about science to anyone who'll listen. They're driven by different forces - chasing fleeting fame, money, peer group pressure, wishful thinking or because their religion dictates. Even if I were to include the full time professional disinformers, it's still only a tiny percentage of the world's climate scientists and probably fewer than would be expected, given human nature.
Judith Curry has come out of the closet and is now a full-on science disinformer. She is, to use her own words, a wicked problem. If one were to analyse her words to the media or on her blog one would find 90% empty rhetoric and 80% to 100% disinformation (high confidence).
She comes across to me as someone who regrets the academic path she chose and is jealous of her more successful colleagues. She has a really big chip on her shoulder.
When will she start using her blog for science? When will she use her blog to write about her own research? Is what she has found out about climate so irrelevant that she can't write about it?
What gets me is the number of people who encourage her who should be able to see her for what she is. Some of them even idolise her for "speaking out"! I'm not talking about all the other denier fans she has. I'm talking about people who should know better. People who otherwise seem to have some understanding of climate science. People who can't see that she's just another empty vessel shouting meaningless platitudes. For example (archived here):
R. Gates aka Skeptical Warmist | September 28, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
Judith,Boldness and conviction my foot! Judith Curry is nothing but an also-ran science disinformer chasing fame.
One thing is certain– you will either be very well known for someone who played a key role in putting the ship of climate science back on a true course or a rouge wave that will be remembered more as a curious phenomenon. Either way, you certainly show boldness and conviction and have put your ultimate legacy on the line, which I can admire regardless of future historical accounting of your efforts and impact.