To show how even-handed he is, Anthony Watts posted a TED video of Gavin Schmidt talking about climate models (archived here). Anthony wrote:
Love him or hate him, it is worthwhile to understand where he is coming from, so I present this video: The emergent patterns of climate change.
The "love him or hate him" is the language of deniers. They aren't interested so much in what Dr Schmidt has to say, they prefer to get personal. It's a "must have" for the Serengeti Strategy.
Anthony adds quite unnecessarily: "comments welcome".
It's worth watching the video full screen (click in the bottom right) and reading the transcript:
It's short. In just over 12 minutes Gavin Schmidt shows how scientists write code to emulate what happens with clouds, solar radiation, ice, natural and human-made aerosols, soil and vegetation, and other things that together shape our climate.
For a more detailed discussion of climate models, you can't do much better than this article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.
I went through the WUWT comments till I got up to ten lessons. There is more to learn, but ten is enough to get you going as an accredited science denier. Here they are, with examples in the WUWT comments below.
- Lesson 1: accept one part of science and follow it up with a silly statement. Deniers are good at "silly". The silly statement proves to the crowd that you really are a science denier.
- Lesson 2: Make a grossly inaccurate statement and don't even pretend to back it up with any data, not even false data.
- Lesson 3: Make out that physics, chemistry and biology can only explain the past and aren't any use as a predictive tool. (Such people would, I expect, never step into an aeroplane and would quite happily and optimistically step out of a window on the 50th storey.)
- Lesson 4: If you haven't anything intelligent to add to the discussion, go for vulgarity.
- Lesson 5: If you don't like the data, claim a conspiracy.
- Lesson 6: If you can't refute the science, make out that the scientists stole their ideas from deniers.
- Lesson 7: If you can't refute the science and can't stomach facts, don't look. Avoid it altogether where possible. When that fails, try to ignore it.
- Lesson 8: Pretend that science is based on "faith" rather than evidence and reasoning.
- Lesson 9: Trade on your reputation as a fake sceptic and dazzle with meaningless gobbledegook.
- Lesson 10: Harass any organisation that promotes sound science by sending spam.
From the WUWT comments
The first out of the gate is a denier and the rest follow. The WUWT deniers give a very good lesson in "how to be a science denier".
May 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm
” We know what happened over the 20th century. Right? We know that it’s gotten warmer. We know where it’s gotten warmer. And if you ask the models why did that happen, and you say, okay, well, yes, basically it’s because of the carbon dioxide we put into the atmosphere. We have a very good match up until the present day. ”
and if you tell the models ahead of time that’s what happened….
Those computer games can not tell you something you don’t know.
That's an odd thing for Latitude to write. Latitude is a regular science denying commenter at WUWT. What he or she is saying now is that it's well-accepted that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause global warming.
The last sentence is very wrong. If you watch the video you'll get a glimpse of all the extra knowledge that comes from the models. It's not just that CO2 warms earth, it's how dust gets spread around the globe and how that affects weather; and how quickly the CO2 warming happens; and what changes does a hole in the ozone layer cause; and lots more as well. Such changes would be almost impossible to work out without a complex climate model.
Lesson 1: accept one part of science and follow it up with a silly statement. Deniers are good at "silly". The silly statement proves to the crowd that you really are a science denier.
Gerry Parker says:
May 3, 2014 at 12:12 pm
And despite these claims of model skill, they consistently over predict warming.
The lesson that Gerry and quite a few others at WUWT provide is to make a completely wrong statement. Best not to provide any evidence or examples or it becomes too obvious that what you're saying is wrong. For example, if Gerry had put up a chart of CMIP5 and CMIP3 against observations he would see that firstly, observations have been within the model envelop right the way through since 1860, and secondly that the mean of the models has only been above the observations very few occasions. Similarly it's only been below the observations on very few occasions:
|Figure TS.9 (a) Source: IPCC AR5 WG1|
May 3, 2014 at 12:23 pmLouis gives us another lesson in denial. This one is commonly used by "ice age cometh-ers". The trick is to argue that just because science explains past events doesn't mean that science can explain future events. This is the equivalent of arguing that if you jump off a 30 storey building with no aids, you might fly. Roy Spencer is good at this sort of thing, when he talks about rear-view mirrors.
“The models are skillful.”
That phrase was repeated several times, so it must be the take-away message. But it is one thing to tune the models to forecast the past and quite another to accurately forecast the future.
Lesson 3: Make out that physics, chemistry and biology can only explain the past and aren't any use as a predictive tool. (Such people would, I expect, never step into an aeroplanenever step into an aeroplane and would quite happily and optimistically step out of a window on the 50th storey.)
JEM says, apparently in response to Gavin saying that "a model result is skillful if it gives better predictions than a simpler alternative":
May 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm
Dear Gavin, unless you are carrying the error range of every number you feed into your model all the way through every calculation and out into the result, what’s coming out is not skillful, it’s fecal.
Lesson 4: If you haven't anything intelligent to add to the discussion, go for vulgarity.
May 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Let’s not forget that inconvenient warming of the 30s-40s has been disappeared so that the models can align with temps.
Layne learnt from Lesson 2 (making a grossly inaccurate statement), but she or he adds a twist and tosses in a conspiracy theory. That hundreds of people all around the world have conspired over decades to alter the temperature data recorded by volunteers and official weather offices. Layne is arguing there has been a massive world-wide "fiddling" of data maintained independently by multiple organisations, which would have required not just a massive cover up but incredibly sophisticated coordination worldwide. Shame that no-one has so far been able to uncover this conspiracy.
Lesson 5: If you don't like the data, claim a conspiracy.
Gary Pearse says (excerpt):
May 3, 2014 at 1:01 pmGary is referring to Willis' convoluted thunderstorm hypothesis. It's a cocktail of the Gaia hypothesis and Richard Lindzen's failed Iris hypothesis, mixed up in a folksy manner with some some big dollops of fake data (eg Willis maintains that surface temperature varied by +/- 0.3 degrees over the last 100 years) and the tiniest smidgen of real science for good measure. Willis argues variously that we might be heading for an ice age and all the science is wrong and Wondering Willis is right.
“Emergent” hmm where have I heard this before. Oh yeah, Willis’s ‘emergent phenomena’ that serve as a governor on climate overheating. I and others have stated before that something as good as Willis’s emergent phenomena and other climate findings won’t be out there long before they begin to be stolen. They are just too good. Okay, Gav has only used the word emergent, half of the idea but that’s a start.
Lesson 6: If you can't refute the science, make out that the scientists stole their ideas from deniers.
stephen richards says:
May 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm
Watching that piece of merde makes me sick. I cannot bring myself to do it.
Lesson 7: If you can't refute the science and can't stomach facts, don't look. Try to ignore it.
JFA in Montreal says:
May 3, 2014 at 1:55 pm
Priest of all persuasion of religion held the same discourse: you can’t comprehend anything up until you get the big picture. The underlying message is “you’re just to imbecile to see the light”. Of course, they know the only light is the one shining on them, for power, fame and profit.
This person doesn't understand science so belittles it. In addition to Lesson 5 (claiming a conspiracy with nefarious intent - "power, fame and profit"), pretend that just because you don't understand it, no-one else could possibly understand it. It's used by people who claim that climate science is religion not science.
Lesson 8: Pretend that science is based on "faith" rather than evidence and reasoning.
Steve McIntyre says:
May 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm
Mosh, I do not share the kneejerk antagonism to “models” of many commenters, but the CA post to which you refer doesn’t exactly support your assertion: it indicates that GCMs with positive feedbacks have no “skill” in forecasting global temperature relative to a “naive” no-feedback log relationship of Callendar 1938. I think that it’s entirely reasonable to criticize models on that point. As you and I have discussed, it’s unfortunate that the modeling community have failed to fully map the parameter space and left low-to-no feedback largely as a terra incognita, a mapping failure that seems to originate from a kind of academic stubbornness in the modeling community – it’s hard to contemplate similar behavior from commercial organizations.
As well as being his usual waffle, if you manage to decipher it, Steve is indulging in wishful thinking. From what I gather, he's hoping that someone some day will discover an unknown "parameter" that will offset all the global warming that we see. It will mop up all the warming and climate change will go away all by itself.
Most WUWT readers won't try to figure out what he's saying. They'll just be quite delighted that a notable fake sceptic has lowered himself, as he does from time to time, and joined in the hoi polloi denialati at the low brow denier blog, WUWT.
Lesson 9: Trade on your reputation as a fake sceptic and dazzle with meaningless gobbledegook.
Now I haven't even got a third of the way down the comments. There are doubtless many more lessons in how to be a good little denier.
John Coleman says:
May 3, 2014 at 5:30 pm
I sent the following email:
I note you have presented talks by several proponents of Global Warming/Climate Change. However, you have not given an opportunity to present the other side of the issue to climate skeptics. There are several notable, peer reviewed climate experts who present the skeptical view. Among them are Richard Lindzen at MIT, Willie Soon at the Harvard Smithsonian Observatory, Judith Curry at Georgia Tech, Roy Spencer and John Christy at the University of Alabama and a long list of other Ph.D. experts. Please invite one or more of these experts to take the stage at a future conference. Balance of scientific opinion is important.
I think if would be excellent if they heard from many of the rest of you.If you are a fake sceptic, particularly one who is known as a journalist turned television weather announcer, send a dumb email and urge everyone else to do the same. Thankfully junk email isn't quite as damaging to the environment as snail mail.
Lesson 10: Harass any organisation that promotes sound science by sending spam.
Going against the tide of denialism
There were very few people who tried to buck the trend, some of them just a little bit. I mean when you're battling a tide of denialism of more than 120 comments, you're asking for trouble. Some people buck the trend because they want to appear as "reasonable" fake sceptics. Others might be more genuine.
Jeff Alberts quoted HenryP and indicated that times, denialism goes a bit too far for his liking, and says:
May 3, 2014 at 7:07 pm
The climate is changing only because of natural reasons.
It is God who made it so.
Actually THERE’S the #1 stupid skeptic argument.
Stephen Philbrick says:
May 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm
I thought it was fairly good.
Some false notes, but overall, an effective presentation.
I liked the orders of magnitude paradigm, a very useful way to illustrate the difficulty of the problem
Surprisingly, he used only 14, with the size of the earth as the upper bounds – somewhat surprising as he clearly (despite some comments upthread) acknowledged the influence of the sun. The 4 down 14 to go was simply the artifact of a live presentation.
I see some chuckles about Fortran, and can only assume people are doing serious modeling.
In a recent role with my company, I worked with a moderately sophisticated financial model. It was written in Fortran, because we had to model interest rates, inflation, and the interactions as they affect bond prices and yields, not to mention stochastic insurance loss projections. Fortran was used because it is a suitable language to do very heavy duty number-crunching. It makes a nice sound-bite to treat it as antiquated, but only to those who don’t really do heavy duty modeling. (Which is not to say it is always the best option – I’ve modeled some processes in APL, some others in Excel,, the choice depends on how much number crunching is needed. One can have a highly sophisticated model that doesn’t require a lot of number crunching, but models of the financial world and models of the climate need to do a lot of brute force calculations)
May 3, 2014 at 7:12 pm
I thought it extremely interesting and would happily sit through a longer lecture by Dr Schmidt.
I may not agree with his conclusions but the talk certainly allows you to see where he is coming from. Note that he admits the models are “wrong” and should, can and hopefully will be improved. However he thinks that they are good enough for a “reasonable” projection of the future and that future improvements in the models will refine the projection but not fundamentally change it.
If you had a model that you thought gave a reasonable projection and the results of that projection gave you cause for concern, wouldn’t you speak loudly too? Dr Schmidt models climate and the results have convinced him that there are grounds for concern.
He spoke fairly from his point of view and that is the best that anyone can do.