Friday, August 29, 2014

Simple Simon at WUWT: Climate models and paper aeroplanes

Sou | 11:16 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

Today Anthony Watts, the anti-science blogger at WUWT, is living up to the reputation that Wondering Willis Eschenbach expressed so clearly. That of Simple Simon.

I noticed yesterday how he was enamored by a vacuous comment from one of his readers. It was another light bulb moment, showing just how shallow is Anthony Watts.  Here's the original exchange, which appeared below a dumb article of the "I don't believe it" type.

Tom Trevor  August 28, 2014 at 7:41 am
You know when I was a boy I would build models, I wasn’t very good at building models, but I built them anyway so I could play with them afterwards. I would pretend that the models were real ships or planes, but I alway knew they weren’t even close to real ships or planes.
For some reason these people can’t seem to tell the difference between a climate model and the real climate.

Anthony Watts  August 28, 2014 at 7:54 am
Congratulations Tom on a great comment.

rogerknights  August 28, 2014 at 8:46 am

Anthony has now elevated Tom Trevor's comment to a Quote of the Week (archived here). Seriously!

Anthony also put up that shonky chart of Roy Spencer and John Christy, which I've written about here and here.

If you want to read about climate models, one of the best articles is the article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

From the WUWT comments

Mike Bromley the Kurd writes gobbledegook:
August 28, 2014 at 3:04 pmWe have become so innured to the weasel words of climate science that we almost don’t read them any more. And when the MSM gets a hold of these speculations, add another layer of biased obfuscation.

fobdangerclose is as good at spelling as Mike was:
August 28, 2014 at 3:07 pm
It reminds me of what goes on with 5th grade young girls. You make your graph look like all the others or your not in the click.

Latitude drifts to thoughts of sex:
August 28, 2014 at 3:13 pm
You people just don’t understand…..one day the temp is going to shoot straight up and meet that line
just wait and see
It’s called volatile induced anthropogenic global rectified alarmism…………….VIAGRA

Which gets Rick K all excited:
August 28, 2014 at 3:54 pm
I think you’re right on. That is HARD science right there. Unfortunately the warmunists and their believers will soon find they’ve been STIFFED. The only thing going UP are their expectations, which will soon go limp as their house of cards is ERECTED on sand. Their expected CLIMAX is definitely PREMATURE.
Their VIAGRA problem will soon become:
FLACCID: Failed Long-term Anthropogenic Climate Change Identification Disorder.
I am so EXCITED to be here! You have no idea!

Dave is easily impressed at the cleverness of Latitude and Rick K
August 28, 2014 at 5:16 pm
You guys are friggin geniuses!!

Rud Istvan sets out his conspiracy theory:
August 28, 2014 at 4:26 pm
Hate to spoil a bit of the fun here, since agree with the general sentiment. But Dr. Spencer’s comparison is to RCP 8.5, which has elsewhere on this blog ( and elsewhere) been established to be literallyimpossible. The better comparison is to RCP 6.0 (the old SRES A2 is closer to 6.0 than to 4.5). Of course, the change from AR4 was made to obscure the many provably false assumptions in the explicit SRES, covered up by yet more IPCC blathering.
There is no need to resort to hyperbole to stop CAGW. The wheels are coming off all by themselves. Best that the high road is taken.

Keith Minto sees value in models, but he is a greenhouse effect denier:
August 28, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Engineers build and test models and (mostly) get it right. That is their job, the models can fail but, lessons are learned, the models modified until the desired outcome is achieved. Think of aircraft,vehicles, buildings, bridges. The big difference in climate models is that Co2 is assumed to be major driver, producing the present divergence from reality, and I cannot see that changing in the future.
There is no connection between quiet,behind the scenes,engineering model generation where accuracy is literally life and death,and these noisy,politically motived grant seekers masquerading as scientists. 

Benson slipped in a comment querying the data sources for Roy Spencer's silly chart
August 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm
Tropical mid-troposphere, compared to a small number of balloon data sets – really? How many data sets were screened to come up with that one 


  1. Anybody who writes the formula for carbon dioxide as "Co2" has, by displaying their total lack of knowledge of basic chemistry, already lost the argument. I automatically ignore any discussion where the protagonists can't write chemical formulas (I'll exempt subscripts), or basic things such as pH.

    PS many engineering "models" are computer programs - I can't make a small-scale physical model of most chemical engineering plants, but I can model their behaviour using a computer.

    Perhaps Keith Minto thinks that engineers build physical models to do this (Calvin and Hobbes cartoon):

    1. cO2 affects the Ph of the oceans.

      Do you agree MWS?

    2. Wait for the Idsos to start claiming "Cobalt is plant food"!


    3. Well it can't be O=C=O because that stands for Orbiting Carbon Observatory. On the other hand, maybe it's Organized Crime Observatory or it's Oceania Customs Organization or ... something sciencey.

    4. "or basic things such as pH."

      Was the pun intentional?

  2. "For some reason these people can’t seem to tell the difference between a climate model and the real climate."

    For some reasons deniers think climate scientists think like they do. Of course real climatologists aren't so dumb as Anthony and his chums. Heaven help us if they were.

    1. They can tell the difference between a model plane and a real plane. That puts them on a higher level of intelligence. Genius probably.

    2. The fact they think its possible that somebody couldn't spot the difference between a model plane and a real plane would - in the sense they are using it - mark them out as retards.

      But, looking at this in a wider sense than is possible in the denialist mind, is a drone (a remotely piloted aircraft) a plane or a model plane? Some drones are as big as real planes, fly like a real plane, but just don't have a pilot. But drones vary in size down to ones that are more on the scale of model planes.

    3. those silly scientists and engineers, they keep on building models of planes, but can't even tell the difference between it and the real thing.

  3. There's a fine line between 'slightly stoopid' and 'really stoopid'.
    Mathematical modelling is treated with derision in Wattsian circles but Tom T's comment, as representative of the constructivism that permeates that website, is totally ignorant of computer simulation modelling (CAE) in engineering analysis and design. CAE is now so good in the automotive industry that design modelling is largely done via computer simulations rather than actual prototype testing. Tom T should check to see that his mode of transport has a No-Computer-Models-Were-Used-In-The-Development-Of-This-Vehicle sticker.
    And when Tom T collects his medications he might refuse the generic brands but does he ask if any of his medications have been designed with the help of computer models? Tom T might even unknowingly benefit from the development of pharmaceutical models that now successfully predict the negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. Then again, probably not. In Tom's case, ignorance is bliss.

    1. When I encounter in comments someone deriding climate or other kinds of models, I use to ask how they think the processors of the computer they use to post their drivel on the Web are developed? By an engineer with a very big magnifying glass, and a very small soldering iron?

    2. i've generally got the impression that they don't mind models per se -- just the ones that involve computers. some sort of "old man yells at clouds" syndrome, perhaps.

  4. Perhaps Anthony, as a fossil fuel industry shill, is complementing Tom on constructing a disingenuous piece of sophistry where the misinformation is skillfully hidden within a personnal story that everybody empathises with.

  5. Actually if you build a radio-controlled plane and fly it around, it's using exactly the same laws of physics as the real thing. Which makes it a pretty useful model.

    So that really was a very crappy comment you elevated to 'quote of the week', Anthony.


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