Michael Crichton became one of the favorite celebrities of The Reference Frame. So it should not be surprising if we point out that he was the key witness in the U.S. senate environmental committee two days ago. You may read his speech here. Some of you may prefer Real Video in which case you should jump to minute 41: 20 (unless you prefer Hillary Clinton).
He explained some crucial features of the scientific method of inquiry: especially the requirement that the experiments and calculations must be repeatable - in principle by anyone - without silly comments that certain things are only allowed to priests or "experts". He compared the high standards of drug testing - with a story showing that the standards can be incredibly strict - with the relaxed atmosphere in climate science - where people find it completely natural to write unbelievable sentences like "we won't give you our data because your aim is to find some problems with it"; where data can be touched by many people; where verification is not a part of the process; where data are usually not archived.
Not surprisingly, Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick were proudly celebrating Crichton's intelligent testimony because their heroic analysis of the "hockey stick graph" was chosen as one of the examples how the climate community itself - without the help of the "outsiders" - is unable to produce trustworthy results.
On the other hand, it is even less surprising that the alarmist propagandistic blog replied with attacks. Such a reaction seems very painful to me because I am convinced that Crichton has not said a single sentence that a scientist who deserves this name could disagree with - except that he forgot that he was married. :-) Mr. Mann and Mr. Schmidt are completely unimpressed by Crichton's description of the methodological and ethical principles of science. Moreover, they offer their readers a pile of untrue and mostly untrue statements. For example,
- Mann and Schmidt argue that the scientists were not proclaiming an imminent ice age in the 1970s; it is easy to check that their assertion is false, for example here
- they argue that 30 years of global cooling does not mean that global warming is not right; this sentence is so bizarre that it probably deserves no comments; of course that 30-year-long trend does not imply any solid conclusions, much like another 100-year-long trend, but it is enough to rule out some of the silliest theories - and it is enough to learn that a decade is a period in which the climate may evolve in an essentially random direction
- Mann and Schmidt argue that important pieces of climate sciences were independently verified; this is untrue as the example of the very most influential piece of climate science - the hockey stick graph - shows quite clearly; it had not been verified for several years and once the people started to attempt to verify it, it became pretty clear that the hockey stick graph was methodologically rubbish
- they also say that the chaotic character of weather does not change anything about their belief that climate can be predicted; well, it is obvious that the chaotic nature of weather reduces the potential for accurate medium-term as well as long-term predictions; what is their argument against this rather obvious observation? This silly text
The direct influence of the Sun
Incidentally, Mike Ros has pointed out a press release about an article by a physicist from Duke and his colleagues from North Carolina in the September issue of Geophysical Research Letters. I can direct you to the full paper:
- The Sun has contributed more than thought to recent warming, according to combined satellite data
They adopt a phenomenological approach and calculate the most likely magnitude of the influence of 11-year and 22-year solar cycles on the measured temperatures.
Honestly, it is pretty unclear to me how the 22-year cycle - in which the solar magnetic field returns to the original position - can affect the terrestrial climate. The only change after half ot this period - 11 years - is that the poles of the solar magnetic dipole get interchanged. The solar magnetic field as seen on the Earth is just about a nanoTesla, compared to microTeslas of the geomagnetic field. Nevertheless, if it's OK to conjecture that the climate now evolves primarily according to the carbon dioxide, it is probably also legitimate to conjecture that such a 22-year-long periodic solar effect exists and to try to quantify it.
Their result is that the influence of the Sun is roughly 3 times larger than what the climate models predict (and re-use); the influence is particularly large for the lower-frequency, 22-year cycles because of the inertia of oceans. Their total estimate is that up to 0.15 K out of the measured 0.40 K jump in temperature in 1980-2002 is probably due to the Sun's direct influence.
Of course, the higher influence the solar cycles have, the more likely it is that the weather will cool down by 2020.
They use some formulae that may be incomprehensible to those climate scientists who are not physicists such as William Connolley. ;-) For example, they became "Newtons of climate science" and re-invented "integral Z(omega) d_omega f(omega)" (to account for different influence of different frequencies) instead of "Delta_omega x f+(omega)" which could be easier to swallow for WC, right? :-)