‘Show Your Work’ Challenge to Government Climate Scientists

Written by Professor Tim Ball – PhD Climatology (London)

It is good to see constructive dialog among colleagues. To further such discussion it is necessary to keep to PSI’s commitment to open public debate, when the science demands it. John O’Sullivan http://principia-scientific.org

Well said John. Your point was exemplified in the traditional math exam instructions “Show your work.” In fact it is more important in real science because without it reproducible results are not possible. 

But there is another important point and that is what led me to support what the Slayers were doing. As you know, as a climatologist I had very limited training in physics and math, however, I knew enough to know that the diversity of answers I was getting from a limited number of physicists indicated problems with official IPCC science. This is partly on display here but is dealt with through discussion and at least an attempt to keep an open mind.

It occurred to me during a radio interview, when being harangued once again about claim that 97% of scientists agree, and as is my style, came out as a semi-spontaneous response, that it is likely that 97% of scientists have never even looked at what the IPCC write in their reports. Specialists in one area assume that specialists in another wouldn’t lie or cheat, especially in science.

The retired editor-in-chief of The Lancet put the cat among the pigeons with a recent claim:

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)60696-1.pdf

I know that this is an understatement about what has and is going on in environmental research, and it is even worse for climate research. I know most of you have seen this quote before but it bears repeating.

“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”

Here is the original German source for Puls’ quote: https://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/2012/05/08/dafuer-schaeme-ich-mich-heute/

It was translated here: http://notrickszone.com/2012/05/09/the-belief-that-co2-can-regulate-climate-is-sheer-absurdity-says-prominent-german-meteorologist/#sthash.5LpKcJv0.dpbs

It must also become a goal of all of us in PSI to get other scientists to read the IPCC Reports. Not the summaries, but the original “The Physical Science Basis” Report of Working Group I” – .

http://ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/

Here is an interesting comment (Box 2.1) in that work, that speaks to the Lancet question about 5 Sigma:

Box 2.1 | Uncertainty in Observational Records

The vast majority of historical (and modern) weather observations were not made explicitly for climate monitoring purposes. Measurements have changed in nature as demands on the data, observing practices and technologies have evolved. These changes almost always alter the characteristics of observational records, changing their mean, their variability or both, such that it is necessary to process the raw measurements before they can be considered useful for assessing the true climate evolution. This is true of all observing techniques that measure physical atmospheric quantities. The uncertainty in observational records encompasses instrumental/ recording errors, effects of representation (e.g., exposure, observing frequency or timing), as well as effects due to physical changes in the instrumentation (such as station relocations or new satellites). All further processing steps (transmission, storage, gridding, interpolating, averaging) also have their own particular uncertainties. Because there is no unique, unambiguous, way to identify and account for non-climatic artefacts in the vast majority of records, there must be a degree of uncertainty as to how the climate system has changed. The only exceptions are certain atmospheric composition and flux measurements whose measurements and uncertainties are rigorously tied through an unbroken chain to internationally recognized absolute measurement standards (e.g., the CO2 record at Mauna Loa; Keeling et al., 1976a).

Uncertainty in data set production can result either from the choice of parameters within a particular analytical framework—parametric uncertainty, or from the choice of overall analytical framework— structural uncertainty. Structural uncertainty is best estimated by having multiple independent groups assess the same data using distinct approaches. More analyses assessed now than in AR4 include published estimates of parametric or structural uncertainty. It is important to note that the literature includes a very broad range of approaches. Great care has been taken in comparing the published uncertainty ranges as they almost always do not constitute a like- for-like comparison. In general, studies that account for multiple potential error sources in a rigorous manner yield larger uncertainty ranges. This yields an apparent paradox in interpretation as one might think that smaller uncertainty ranges should indicate a better product. However, in many cases this would be an incorrect inference as the smaller uncertainty range may instead reflect that the published estimate considered only a subset of the plausible sources of uncertainty. Within the time-series figures, where this issue would be most acute, such parametric uncertainty estimates are therefore not generally included. Consistent with AR4 HadCRUT4 uncertainties in GMST are included in Figure 2.19, which in addition includes structural uncertainties in GMST.

To conclude, the vast majority of the raw observations used to monitor the state of the climate contain residual non-climatic influences. Removal of these influences cannot be done definitively and neither can the uncertainties be unambiguously assessed. Therefore, care is required in interpreting both data products and their stated uncertainty estimates. Confidence can be built from: redundancy in efforts to create products; data set heritage; and cross-comparisons of variables that would be expected to co-vary for physical reasons, such as LSATs and SSTs around coastlines. Finally, trends are often quoted as a way to synthesize the data into a single number. Uncertainties that arise from such a process and the choice of technique used within this chapter are described in more detail in Box 2.2.:

Note that the only record given credence is that from Mauna Loa. Charles Keeling, who built the site and instruments and made all the assumptions, was an ardent promoter of the AGW story from the start and patented the equipment and the measurement technique which is held by his family. He also convinced the IPCC to make only stations using his equipment as the sole measure of atmospheric CO2 levels.

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Read more from Dr Tim Ball at drtimball.com

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Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    jerry krause

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    Hi Tim,

    “As you know, as a climatologist I had very limited training in physics and math, however, I knew enough to know that the diversity of answers I was getting from a limited number of physicists indicated problems with official IPCC science.” Tim Ball

    If I remember correctly, you have written that you had to get your doctorate in climatology from a department of geography because there were a very limited number of climatology departments at that time. So I ask: Was your training in physical science also very limited along with your training in physics and math?

    In writing a comment to John O’Sullivan’s statement with which you introduced this article, I discovered I have been asking the same question for nearly a year. It is: what were Galileo’s two new sciences?

    It is said that Galileo founded the modern science of the physical world. However, if we cannot give a good answer, or answers, to this question, what is the science of physics, chemistry, astronomy, meteorology, geology, climatology, etc. that we practice?

    Jim McGinn just commented: “CO2 climate fraud is not a scientific issue. It’s a political issue.” I ask: Was it a political issue in 1827 when Joseph Fourier proposed the hypothesis of the atmospheric greenhouse effect without specifically referring to the role that carbon dioxide might play in this atmospheric effect? I consider the answer to this question unimportant because I know that Svante Arrhenius’s 1896 article, with the title On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground was bad science. Why?

    The publisher of Galileo’s classic had written a preface to the reader in which it was stated (as translated by Crew and de Salvio): “intuitive knowledge keeps pace with accurate definition.” There were two parts to Arrhenius’s article. One part was his calculation of the effective radiation temperature of the earth’s surface. The second part was his calculation of the average temperature of atmosphere which, as now, was measured about 1.5m above the earth’s surface. Which result is still very near to that calculated in the same way, but using many more surface measurements. I have to admit I do not know what the temperatures measured from space are claimed to be. Are they the earth surface temperatures or are they atmospheric temperatures or are they temperatures of cloud surfaces?

    However, while I do not know the answers to these latter questions, I do know it is not good science (accurate definition) to compare the earth’s surface temperature with that of the atmosphere 1.5m above it.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Oliver K. Manuel

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    I agree that we all need to openly share both information and logical analysis of misinformation.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Jim McGinn

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    John O’Sullivan:
    “Jerry, It is a pity you prefer to spend so much time on arcane issues rather than work with us within your specialty to help expose the CO2 climate fraud.”

    Jim McGinn:
    John, CO2 climate fraud is not a scientific issue. It’s a political issue. No intelligent, educated person actually believes CO2 is a problem. For the vast majority the stated belief in AGW is just a means of staying employed or socially accepted.

    The mischaracterization of H2O, much of it spiritualistic in nature, is a genuine scientific problem. (Take note of the desperation Ed Bo resorted to recently in order to defend his spiritualistic belief in H2O.)

    Jerry, you are too scattered and naive. You keep bringing up Galileo yet you employ the same methods that the opponents of Galileo used against Galileo. All in all, you seem to not have a non-obvious (non-AGW skeptic) point or position based on substance or evidence.

    James McGinn / Solving Tornadoes

    The real reason H2O is involved in storms:
    https://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=16329&start=30#p114666

    Reply

  • Avatar

    jerry krause

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    Hi John,

    “It is good to see constructive dialog among colleagues. To further such discussion it is necessary to keep to PSI’s commitment to open public debate, when the science demands it.” John O’Sullivan

    I had written an essay titled What Were Galileo’s Two New Sciences and had submitted it to you for publication. To which you replied, “Jerry, It is a pity you prefer to spend so much time on arcane issues rather than work with us within your specialty to help expose the CO2 climate fraud.” as you declined to publish it.
    John, I wrote my arcane article because I considered that science, as now practiced, demands it. The issue of what you term CO2 climate fraud is the tip of the iceberg of how science, in the past century plus has begun to be practiced. I discovered http://principia-scientific.org a few days short of an year ago. And I wrote several comments to an article written by Keith Bryer. http://principia-scientific.org/prevailing-theories-have-been-proven-wrong-before/#comments

    One comment began: “Keith, you drew our attention to Galileo who, I believe most of us can agree, ‘paved’ the road which led to what might be termed modern science. And I believe most of us can agree he did this by writing Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences. However, this book, as translated to the English language by Crew and de Salvio and published in 1914, was never assigned as a textbook to be read by any of my chemistry or physics professors. And I, as a chemistry instructor, never assigned it as a textbook to be read by my students. Near the end of my retirement I did finally read it. But it has taken decades for some of what I read to begin to sink into my consciousness. Maybe you have asked: What were these two new sciences?”

    In another I reviewed 20th Century cases where scientific communities had tried to censor the scholarship of certain scholars just as was ‘true’ in the case of Galileo. It has been discovered that the scientific communities were wrong and that the scholarship of these 20th Century doubters possibly is a better alternative to the previously accepted knowledge. These cases had nothing to do with what might be claimed to be Fraud. These cases of censorship were just bad science.

    I close by thanking you for declining to publish what I had submitted because I have now discovered evidence which I had not yet seen when I had originally written my essay. For I now would not need to correct some of what I had written.

    Have a good day, Jerry

    Reply

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