Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Real Climate bashes Santa Fe and contrarians

Mark Boslough's most damning criticism of the deniers: they have no shared defining ideology and motivation!

Mark Boslough is ironically employed as a scientist in New Mexico. His most significant contribution to the mankind occurred in 1998 when he spread a fake article claiming that the Alabama school board redefined \(\pi\) to be equal to the Biblical value \(3.0\).

This article, seemingly successfully humiliating all the Christians in the U.S., together with a couple of nearly identical papers about the 1994 collision of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet with Jupiter, convinced the folks at the Real Climate that he is the most qualified "climatologist" to describe the Third Santa Fe Conference on Global and Regional Climate Change which took place during the Halloween week.

The author of the \(\pi=3.0\) paper rightfully remarked that the Santa Fe conference was "notable for the breadth of opinion — and the span of credibility — of its speakers." But those who know the first 100 digits of \(\pi\), much like your humble correspondent does, will probably figure out that Boslough's implicit opinion that the climate skeptics were sitting at a lower end of the credibility spectrum than himself is slightly upside down: it's rotated by \(\pi\) radians relatively to the truth and be sure it's more than \(3.0\) radians.

Aside from incompetent ideologically driven hacks such as himself who have no idea about climate science, or any science for that matter, there have been some serious scientists attending the conference. In particular, the conference was "remarkably well run", using Boslough's own words, by Dr Petr Chýlek of LANL who has a degree from the same Charles University in Prague as your humble correspondent (it's my undergrad Alma Mater). Dr Chýlek's advantage in the number of citations over Mr Boslough is about one order of magnitude.

That's a part of why Dr Chýlek is often referred to as a climate skeptic although he would probably prefer an even more accurate term, a genuine scientist. At any rate, Dr Chýlek imposed a rather strict rule that the terms such as "deniers, contrarians, warmers, and alarmists" are not allowed at the conference which should stick to the science. I will rigorously obey Dr Chýlek's rules in this blog entry as well: that's why I will refer to those who don't really belong to the same group as Dr Chýlek and who are close to Mr Boslough as LFCSes.

And in order to keep the highest aristocratic standards of diplomatic behavior which is so characteristic for your humble correspondent, I won't even explain that the acronym stands for lying f*ck*d-up comm*nist s*ith*ads, a meticulously accurate description of the conference participants who have been or could be invited to publish a rant on George Soros' web-based private lavatory, RealClimate.ORG. Although I won't mention what the acronym means in the text below, I kindly urge everyone who knows the meaning of the acronym to expand it in the text below at all places where the acronym appears.

At any rate, the LFCS called Mr Boslough has bashed the "contrarians" and especially Judith Curry, a renegade, who was given an exemption and she could explain the detailed reasons why LFCS named Michael Mann is an... Apologies, this whole sentence had to be completely omitted because there's no way to be more than 3% honest and to preserve at least 3% of the usual standards of politeness at the same moment.

Well, Dr Chýlek allowed Judith Curry to express some of her sentiments because she's been under a bigger attack and she must have the right to ventilate the perceived grievances. Moreover, her opinion doesn't really tilt the conference in either direction because as she correctly estimated, she's a 50% alarmist and 50% denier. We also learn that Mr Boslough
... was disappointed, however, that the poster abstract [he] submitted with Lloyd Keigwin (WHOI), “Misrepresentations of Sargasso Sea Temperatures by Global Warming Doubters,” was rejected.
It had to be truly disappointing when LFCS named Mark Boslough learned that Dr Chýlek didn't want incompetent aggressive crackpots to exploit their incredible presence at the conference to attack actual scientists. Let me ignore the long and vacuous Curry-bashing by LFCS Mark Boslough and jump to the most important point of his article:
The main lesson I took away from the conference was this: there is no consistent contrarian science, and there is no defining contrarian ideology or motivation.
Wow, the "contrarians" must be the ultimate losers if they're not controlled by a defining "contrarian" ideology or motivation and if they even dare to question the scientific results of each other. More seriously, I just find this complaint stunning.

Under normal circumstances, you could expect that those people will at least try to lie to their readers and pretend that they're impartial and un-corrupt and that they could a priori reach conclusions of either sign; they could a priori agree or disagree with others. But the likes of Mr Boslough haven't even tried to pretend such a thing. The idea that they should try to be impartial, at least for a while, sounds so utterly extraterrestrial to them that they haven't even considered such an option.

Just to be sure, having no defining ideology or motivation (except for finding the truth, whatever it is) is a rudimentary prerequisite for any community to be called a scientific community. By the completely unmasked sentence, Mr Boslough makes it very clear that he considers it to be normal for a community in a scientific (?) discipline to be driven by the same ideology or by the same motivation and to guarantee "consensus about the science" for everyone, too.

By the way, Mr Boslough fails to have a unified ideology with his fellow LFCSes such as James Hansen, Michael Mann, Al Gore, and many others as well. That's because those other LFCSes actually claim that the "deniers" do have a unified motivation: they're hired by the Big Oil to lie about the climate in order for Philip Morris to sell even more cigarettes, or whatever is exactly the most current explanation of all the "contrarians" by Al Gore.

Let me assume that the reader has some basic traces of morality so he or she understands why science can't be controlled by the same ideology or the same motivation. So let's talk about the "criticism" that the "contrarians" don't have a unified "consensus science" to replace the LFCSes' "consensus science". What are those things in which the "contrarians" disagree with each other?

William Gray has criticized many talks about the solar drivers: this ocean cycle expert believes that the solar influence isn't important. What a sin! The total variations of the solar output in decades are comparable to 0.1% so they should normally lead to variations of the temperature on Earth comparable to at most tenths of a Celsius degree. If there weren't extra mechanisms that amplify the solar activity – such as clouds influenced by cosmic rays – and if the overall solar output could be a good measure of the Sun's climatic impact and individual frequencies wouldn't matter, the justification for Gray's position would be as strong as the justification for his views that CO2 isn't important. On the positive side, the fact that ocean cycles (such as ENSO) do matter seems indisputable; ocean dynamics is surely a part of the complete picture.

There are arguments going in both ways but of course that the genuine scientists, or skeptics, or whatever term you like, must allow others to evaluate the available evidence in such a way that they may conclude that the Sun's variations aren't important. Genuine scientists' or skeptics' goal isn't to replace one totalitarian pseudoscientific regime in science by another. Their broader societal goal is to return science to the climate science. LFCSes are like a Hitler who can only understand the existence of one possible foe, namely a Stalin. But get used to it, LFCSes: Stalin and Hitler are not the only two possibilities.

Returning to the topic of the Sun, Gray isn't the only one. Roy Spencer recently decided that the evidence supporting cosmoclimatology got pretty strong but Richard Lindzen would still be more likely to say "No" than "Yes". Various people have different guesses what really matters and Richard Lindzen surely thinks that the internal, largely chaotic variability and "long-term meteorology" – a natural extrapolation of the processes in which he's the world's leading expert – is what dominates the climate change. Each of these people may construct a model that at least subjectively seems consistent enough with the observed data and more satisfactory than the models of the other folks, whether they're LFCSes or not.

Whether the solar variations are really important for the evolution of the terrestrial climate is a very difficult technical question and there doesn't exist any "easy way" how to immediately settle this question without much work. Only in the world of LFCSes, difficult technical questions can be given fast answers using "overarching ideologies and motivations". In science, it is simply not possible.

The same thing holds for other topics in which skeptics' disagreement is pointed out by LFCS Mr Boslough's rant. Dr Petr Chýlek disagreed with Dr Fred Singer's usage of uncorrected UAH MSU satellite data which used to show a much smaller warming trend which was pretty much zero in the mid troposphere. Now, the question whether the correction made things more accurate – and I am inclined to believe that it did – is once again an extremely technical question that can have both answers. Once again, there's no "cheap way" to answer this difficult question.

The number of real experts who can independently judge whether the UAH MSU correction made things more accurate is very low. I am not one of them. My sociological criteria tell me that it's more likely that the correction should have been made. But of course, I don't care. Whether a mid-troposphere warming trend should be 50% higher or lower is a technicality. I didn't have any belief and I couldn't have any belief a priori; and I don't really care about the outcome, either.

It is totally obvious how LFCSes such as Mr Boslough are "answering" such questions. They use the same methodology as if they decide whether \(\pi\) is equal to \(3.0\). Is the answer \(3.0\) good for "the cause"? Mr Boslough figures out that it is because if \(\pi\) were equal to \(3.0\) in his most famous paper, then the Christians would look like morons. As far as Mr Boslough's reasoning goes, this answers the question: the claim \(\pi=3.0\) has to be included in the paper and similar papers may be spread all over the world.

But scientists use a very different methodology. Climate science is made out of thousands of distinct technical questions. The answers to many of them are completely unknown and mostly uncorrelated to each other. There's no "big-picture" way to answer all of them as long as people are doing science. So as long as one studies things that are close to the cutting edge, he will inevitably find scientists who will disagree about the answers to these technical questions. If a community agreed about all things they're researching, it would mean that they're not doing any real research: they're either participating in a parroting exercise to support a predetermined uniform "ideology or motivation", or they're just repeating true tautologies that have been previously established.

Atmospheric phenomena are complicated so people's opinions about what matters in the climate inevitably reflect this complexity. If, in some subcommunity, it doesn't, it shows that this subcommunity isn't really scientific: it's a group of fascist *beep* *beep* LFCSes struggling to *beep* *beep* and *beep* *beep* and we should better *beep* *beep* to *beep* *beep* to protect the elementary values of science and the modern civilization in general. So *beep* to all the LFCSes.

And that's the memo.

The man who is still the boss of the IPCC proposed to "shake" the regulator at Fannie Mae because he stands in the way of the expansion of the fradulent renewable industry and because construction produces CO2 emissions. The IPCC wants to take him on an aircraft and take him to a turbulent place. Richard Branson offered a one-way ticket space for him; he would happily oblige. Via Eco Tretas

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