Saturday, June 24, 2017

Leo Goldstein has an oddly paranoid poke at the IPCC

Sou | 2:22 AM Go to the first of 6 comments. Add a comment
Some of articles at WUWT are indistinguishable from gibberish. In the past few months, Anthony Watts has taken to publishing articles by a very strange man. He now calls himself Leo Goldstein. When he first wrote articles for WUWT, he wrote as Ari Halperin. He's the chap who came up with the Google conspiracy, and developed a tool to combat it, made by Google :D.

Here's one bit of gobbledegook from Leo today (archived here, latest here). He wrote about equilibrium climate sensitivity and quoted the IPCC's AR5 Working Group 1 report:
The equilibrium climate sensitivity quantifies the response of the climate system to constant radiative forcing on multicentury time scales. It is defined as the change in global mean surface temperature at equilibrium that is caused by a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration.” (p. 16)
That's fine. Thing is, I don't understand what Leo's difficulty is.

He continued:
This “definition” is found in the IPCC AR5 Summary for Policymakers. In its usual repertoire, the IPCC gives two different definitions for the same term, and uses semantic trickery to make the reader feel they are equivalent. The definition assumes that all radiative forcing is caused by change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration, something that the IPCC wanted to prove.
Leo said that there were two definitions of equilibrium climate sensitivity, but didn't say what the other one was. I can't find any other definition, which doesn't surprise me. The above is similar to the definition used since the very first IPCC report, which stated in one part (page xxv of the Policy Makers Summary):
The long term change in surface air temperature following a doubling of carbon dioxide (referred to as the climate sensitivity)...

Leo also claimed that either the definition he quoted, or the one he claims exists but didn't quote, "assumes that all radiative forcing is caused by change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration".  Well, that's just wrong. It looks as if he's confusing how climate sensitivity is defined with something else in his imagination. The IPCC reports have long provided charts and diagrams showing the different radiative forcings. For example, below is one figure that shows human-caused and natural (solar) forcings.

Figure 1 | Bar chart for RF (hatched) and ERF (solid) for the period 1750–2011, where the total ERF is derived from Figure 8.16. Uncertainties (5–95% confidence range) are given for RF (dotted lines) and ERF (solid lines). Source: Figure 8.15 IPCC AR5 WG1

Leo does seem to be very confused about terminology commonly used in climate science. He goes on to complain that the definition of equilibrium climate sensitivity is different to the definition of climate. Well, duh! Of course it is. They are different things. The first refers to the rise in surface temperature on a doubling of CO2. The second refers to the mean and range of weather variables (temperature, precipitation, wind etc) over a period of time, usually 30 years.

Leo tries to argue that "The word climate does not need to be defined". He thinks that the IPCC's intention is "to give the word climate a meaning different from the conventional one".  He doesn't say what he thinks the "conventional" meaning of climate is. His mind is so clouded with paranoia that it could be anything at all.

Leo has a lot more to complain about. He doesn't like the definitions of:

  • Climate change commitment - which could be described as what's still to come in the pipeline when there's a radiative imbalance, and which will take a very long time to be fully realised. That's because of slow process such as changes in the ocean and the cryosphere.
  • Climate model - which is the "numerical representation of the climate system based on the physical, chemical and biological properties of its components, their interactions and feedback processes, and accounting for some of its known properties".  Models help scientists understand the intricacies of systems, in this case, climate.
  • Extreme weather event - which is an "event that is rare at a particular place and time of year".
His complaint about the definition of climate change commitment had something to do with his rejection of the greenhouse effect.

His complaint about the definition of  climate model was that he didn't believe the definition saying "each sentence is false".

His complaint about the definition of  extreme weather event was because he doesn't understand the meaning of the word "rare". Or that's the only conclusion I can draw, because he wrote: "According to this definition, a weather event that happens once a week is an extreme weather event." Rare doesn't mean "once a week".

Leo's pièce de résistance - a very strange anomaly

Now if you thought what I've reported so far is a bit strange, wait till you read this next bit. Leo also had a complaint about the definition of global mean surface temperature, which he quoted as: 
An estimate of the global mean surface air temperature. However, for changes over time, only anomalies, as departures from a climatology, are used, most commonly based on the area-weighted global average of the sea surface temperature anomaly and land surface air temperature anomaly
Leo's objection this time was:
The word “anomaly” implies that the Earth has a “normal global temperature.” There is no such thing. This is something only flat-Earthers could believe. Departures from climatology are not anomalies, but variations.
Someone needs to tell Leo that anomaly doesn't imply any "normal global temperature". An anomaly is, as the definition stated, a departure from climatology. Maybe Leo doesn't know what is meant by climatology. What that is, is the measured range and average of things like temperature, precipitation and wind over a period of time, usually 30 years. That 30 years could be any 30 year period. NASA uses the period 1951 to 1980 as the base line. The UK Met Office Hadley Centre and Australia's Bureau of Meteorology use 1961 to 1990.

When Leo talks about variations I can't help but wonder what he thinks the variations are from. How would he measure those variations if it wasn't from a baseline period? If so, wouldn't he be reporting his variation as an anomaly from that same baseline.

The IPCC is the best of its kind, but it's not perfect

The only point of agreement I could find with Leo's critique was when he quoted the following two definitions, without comment. No comment was necessary. Neither of the definitions are scientific in the least. Both of them are in the IPCC AR5 WG1 Glossary (I checked):
  • Heat wave. A period of abnormally and uncomfortably hot weather. See also Warm spell.
  • Warm spell. A period of abnormally hot weather. For the corresponding indices, see Box 2.4. See also Heat wave.

I wonder if Leo has anyone looking out for him? He comes across as one seriously disturbed little person. He can't think straight and suffers severe paranoia.

From the WUWT comments

markl gets the ball rolling with a thought apropos of nothing. I guess he just had to get this thought on a blog somewhere:
June 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm
Propaganda has no conscience.

Robert is an example of the intellect at WUWT:
June 22, 2017 at 7:06 pm
A genuinely brilliant article that I sincerely hope becomes often shared.
Truth wins by being shared.

While we're on the subject of WUWT intellect (is there such a thing?), if it weren't for WUWT's excessive use of filters and diligent mods, one would think that Magnus Berg was a bot:
June 22, 2017 at 9:59 pm
Very important scrutany thank you! 

Nick Stokes is not at all the typical WUWT-er. He's an anomaly :)
June 22, 2017 at 9:29 pm
The definition assumes that all radiative forcing is caused by change in the atmospheric CO2 concentration, something that the IPCC wanted to prove.”

It doesn’t. It simply says that the sensitivity is what would happen if CO2 doubled. It doesn’t say it will double. It doesn’t say that temperature couldn’t change for other reasons.

Climate sensitivity is much discussed here. People have strong opinions, usually that it should be some number less than what the IPCC quotes. So how would you define it?

CheshireRed is an example of the mindless conspiracy theorist that Anthony Watts attracts to WUWT:
June 23, 2017 at 12:17 am
Is anyone surprised? The UN are experts at rigging anything they wish, and that includes the definitions of AGW that help to shape their agenda. Entirely predictable.

markstoval is another. This is what WUWT has become these days.
June 23, 2017 at 4:27 am (opening sentence of a longer paranoid denier comment)The entire discussion boils down to the fact that the UN IPPC is a propaganda agency which is tasked with making people believe in a falsehood. 

References and further reading

IPCC, Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of WorkingGroup I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, T. F. Stocker, D. Qin, G.-K. Plattner, M. Tignor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley, Eds. (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 2013). (link)

From the HotWhopper archives


  1. Well put Sue. I couldn't figure out what the problem with the IPCC ECS definition was either. It seems to be generally agreed, even by the likes of Judith Curry.

    BTW, is it my imagination, or has AW been posting articles (or should I say cutting and pasting other peoples' articles) more frequently since he announced his recent 'break' than he was up to that point?

    1. He's been decidedly upbeat since his panhandling effort, and he did get a rather large response. [Should be enough to lift any financial anxiety he had for a few months - or weeks, depending on how badly off he is.]

      I don't know how long it will last. While he's been more prolific these last few days, the quality of WUWT's audience and guest articles is as bad as it's ever been. Not that he would care. (Anthony is like Trump - all that matters is big numbers and adulation, not reputation.)

    2. As of 26th June Watts continues to post (cut and paste) daily. Must have had a miracle cure or something. Those who threw a few bob in the begging bowl must be pleased.

  2. It seems that denialists, having failed to offer rational arguments on the science, are now turning to a new field, linguistics, as solice. Next stop? Metaphysics maybe!

  3. The Science Show

    Runs through the story from the 1980's with the science from the 1800 to today.

  4. To clarify the RN Science Show here is the outline.
    Most of the who's who of the usual suspects are reviewed.

    The science is 150 years old and growing each day, yet it is still being rejected by politicians and some academics. We shall talk to some of those who remain unconvinced by climate research and its conclusions. Have they ever changed their minds? Do they perceive any risk at all? How can critics remain unmoved as the evidence mounts?


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