Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Denier weirdness: Judith Curry asks the IPCC a (dumb) question

Sou | 4:36 AM Go to the first of 14 comments. Add a comment

Judith Curry isn't shy about coming across as a very silly person.

Today she writes (archived here):
The idea of asking the IPCC questions is an interesting one.  It seems to me that there somewhat of a disconnect between what the public/policy makers want to know, and the way that the IPCC frames it’s conclusions.
In the past, I’ve criticized and made recommendations regarding the IPCC.  But I’ve never thought about asking them questions.  Well, at the top of my list would be:
How have you responded to the IAC recommendations?  If you have not yet implemented the IAC’s recommendations, then why not?

That's typical of Judith Curry - criticising something that she knows nothing about but "never thought about asking them questions" first.  Had she ever thought about looking for the answer?

I had to check the date of her article to make sure I hadn't inadvertently gone back a few years.  It was her latest.  Brand new.

I remembered that review, which took place three years ago.  The IAC made a few recommendations.  It took all of ten seconds to Google IAC IPCC to confirm the answer - which anyone who's followed the recent changes at the IPCC would already know.

Yes, Judith.  The IPCC has responded to the IAC recommendations.

Yes, Judith.  The IPCC has implemented changes in response to the IAC recommendations.

Judith Curry is constantly criticising things she knows nothing about - like climate models, like the IPCC.

Wattsupwiththat has been boring the past few days.  Judith Curry's site is painful.  It's looking more like WUWT every day.  Her previous article was by someone arguing that metabolic changes to phytoplankton in a warming world - and the flow-on effects - won't be bad because the populations will be able to move easily.  I'll hazard a guess that her guest author had never heard of food webs or ecosystems (or harmful phytoplankton blooms).  There was a lot more wrong with the article than that but I can't be bothered going into it further.  It reminded me of Anthony's "OMG it's insects" series.  I've archived it here for the curious.


  1. The whole phytoplankton post was odd in that it was claiming that the press release about the paper was wrong and that in fact the paper was saying phytoplankton might thrive in certain regions. What it missed though (I think) was that the issue was that a warmer world would change some Nitrogen to Phosphate ratio that would then change the ability of the phytoplankton to sequester CO2. That's at least how I read the paper. It wasn't so much about the phytoplankton as about the ocean's ability to absorb CO2.

    1. Thanks, Wotts.

      I don't have access to the paper, but neither the press release nor the abstract seems to go into any detail about the specific implications of their findings other than that it changes the dynamics of the marine environment and will lead to "a greater prevalence of blue-green algae called cyanobacteria which fix atmospheric nitrogen,"

      Does the paper specifically address the implications for atmospheric CO2?

    2. here is a write up at the conversation


    3. What we call natural balances are just those things which have occurred and the reason that we are here.
      There is nothing magical or fixed about those balances
      a new balance could arise, one in which the ocean no longer supports humans. The balance does not exist purely to feed humans

    4. Sou, this is from the paper itself

      Specifically, global warming and associated ocean stratification may be expected to increase the N:P ratios of eukaryotic phytoplankton. This will tend to increase N limitation in the ocean, but may also increase export fluxes of carbon, given that C:N is relatively conserved. These data add to concerns about the effect of global warming on marine ecosystem functioning.

      The terminology is not one I'm familiar with but I take the above to mean that this would reduce the ability of the oceans to absorb CO2. As John mentions, there's nothing special about us that the system needs to evolve into a state that's optimal for our existence.

      As an aside, I was having a discussion with a geophysicist who had been involved in the oil industry. They suggested, quite correctly, that global warming just means that we'll evolve to a new equilibrium. I agreed, and then pointed out (as John as here) that there was no reason why that equilibrium should be one in which we (humans) can exist. In fairness to them, they then acknowledged that they hadn't considered that.

    5. Wotts, one can add that even if we may be able to survive in the new equilibrium, getting there might prove quite harmful. One can be quite comfortable both at the top and at the bottom of a cliff, but getting from the top to the bottom might be less comfortable if the transition is ... lets say too fast.

    6. Lars, indeed I agree. We do appear to changing our climate faster than it has changed in all of human history and possibly faster than any other records indicate.

  2. Thomas, if what you "believed" were true, I've no doubt that is what Judith would have written. But she didn't. So she doesn't.

    The IPCC welcomed the IAC review. The IPCC is under no compulsion to adopt any of the recommendations, but it has done so.

    The IAC did not conduct an audit. It conducted a review. Based on other comments you've made here in the past, I'm not at all surprised that you don't know the difference. Your "employment" is similarly not under any compulsion to adopt any recommendation by an outsider's review.

    I'm guessing you understand the IPCC, its workings, structure, decision-making mechanisms or probably the purpose of it no better than you understand the basics of climate science. Maybe even less if that were possible. From your comment, you obviously don't understand anything about the IAC review.

  3. Thomas probably doesn't even know that it was the Chair of the IPCC and the Sec-General of the UN who commissioned the review in the first place. (I wonder if Judith Curry is aware of that fact.)

  4. Thomas, if your organisation has never commissioned a review of any kind then it's no surprise that you are so fearful of audits. Maybe it has and you're just not in the loop. (Sounds like you work in a large organisation so I'd be surprised if the management team had never brought in consultants. But I'm not surprised you don't know about it.)

    Based on your lack of knowledge of other matters, it's similarly no surprise (to me) that you don't know the difference between a review and an audit. Nor is it any surprise (to me) the lengths you go to demonstrate that. (Pun intended.)

  5. Your job doesn't matter in any real sense, but your background in compliance helps explain why you got the purpose of the review wrong. Unlike what you thought, it wasn't a compliance review. You wrote:

    it represented a critique of the IPCC's adherence to its then-existing practices and procedures for report compilation and was intended to provide the UN Secretary-General (and IPCC, of course, along with the UNEP and WMO due to their oversight of the IPCC) assurance that the group was adhering to the same.

    Whereas the stated purpose of the review was:

    to present recommendations on possible revisions of IPCC processes and procedures for strengthening the capacity of IPCC to respond to future challenges and ensuring the ongoing quality of its reports.

    Your lengthy post about audits is irrelevant and you got the purpose of the review wrong.

    The review was critiquing and recommending changes to structures and procedures with a view to strengthening the capacity of the IPCC, not about compliance with or adherence to existing practices and procedures. Quite a different beast.

  6. You're daft, Thomas.

    Your own quote shows it's not a compliance audit.

    And you're trying to get out of it by arguing that the IAC was hired to do something other than what it said it was hired to do and something different to what it did do.

    What an idiot you are.

  7. Your nuts! You're arguing "the client says they want us to do A, but we know they really want us to do B, so we'll give them B".

    But the IAC didn't give them B.

    Being more rational that Thomas, the IAC didn't do what Thomas thought they were meant to do (Thomas thought that they were "meant" to do a compliance audit despite the fact that wasn't what they were contracted to do in the ToR.)


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