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The Certainty Monster vs. The Uncertainty Ewok

Posted on 2 March 2012 by dana1981

In a recent post on her blog, climate scientist Judith Curry discussed relatively recent global surface temperature changes, and the causes of those changes.  Curry put forth 3 "hypotheses" (one of which is actually a theory, not a hypothesis [see if you can pick out which]):

I.  IPCC AGW hypothesis

II. Multi-decadal oscillations plus trend hypothesis

III:  Climate shifts hypothesis

Note that in all three of these theories/hypotheses, there exists an underlying (human-caused) warming trend, and thus what Curry is really discussing is how to best explain the short-term noise in the climate system.  However, Curry incorrectly states:

"Each of these three hypotheses provides a different interpretation of the 20th century attribution and has different implications for 21st century climate."

As noted above, the attribution of the observed global warming is not the question here.  In each case, the long-term warming is attributed to the external radiative forcing, which has been dominated by human greenhouse gas emissions (Figure 1). 

50-65 years

Figure 1: Percent contributions of various effects to the observed global surface warming over the past 50-65 years according to Tett et al. 2000 (T00, dark blue), Meehl et al. 2004 (M04, red), Stone et al. 2007 (S07, green), Lean and Rind 2008 (LR08, purple), Huber and Knutti 2011 (HK11, light blue), and Gillett et al. 2012 (G12, orange).

Curry references work by Tsonis and Swanson as a good example of hypothesis III (climate shifts), and says:

"Hypothesis III is the hypothesis that I find most convincing"

However, as Swanson put it:

"What do our results have to do with Global Warming, i.e., the century-scale response to greenhouse gas emissions? VERY LITTLE, contrary to claims that others have made on our behalf."

It's certainly valid to examine why the warming of global surface temperatures is dampened or accelerated over short timeframes, but Curry has mistaken this short-term question with the physical cause of the long-term warming, which is dominated by the radiative forcing from human greenhouse gas emissions.

Curried Cherries

In the same blog post, Curry also attempts to defend those who cherry pick convenient starting points and short-term data to argue that global warming has stopped.

"There has been slight warming during the past 15 years.  Is it “cherry picking” to start a trend analysis at 1998?  No, not if you are looking for a long period of time where there is little or no warming, in efforts to refute Hypothesis I."

Looking for a period of time (and no, 15 years is not a "long" period) to support a specific conclusion is by definition cherry picking.  Starting in 1998, which was the strongest El Niño event in a century (and which was only 14, not 15 years go), is cherry picking.

As we discussed in response to Vahrenholt's similar claims, virtually every non-greenhouse gas effect over the past decade has acted in the cooling direction, and yet the planet has continued to warm.  Again, it's certainly worthwhile to look at those other effects, which climate scientists are doing, but we should not mistake short-term and long-term effects.  Curry is once again going down the up escalator.

The Uncertainty Ewok

Curry often likes to emphasize what she has termed the "uncertainty monster," which generally involves exaggerating climate science uncertainties, and claiming that the IPCC is imprecise in its discussions about uncertainties (a claim examined by SkS here and by Hegerl et al. here).  Strangely, in perpetuating the myth that Earth hasn't warmed as much as expected, Curry completely disregards the uncertainty range:

"Is the first decade+ of the 21st century the warmest in the past 100 years (as per Peter Gleick’s argument)?  Yes, but the very small positive trend is not consistent with the expectation of 0.2C/decade provided by the IPCC AR4.  In terms of anticipating temperature change in the coming decades, the AGW dominated prediction of 0.2C/decade does not seem like a good bet, particularly with the prospect of reduced solar radiation."

It's simply inaccurate to describe the recent warming as inconsistent with IPCC AR4 projections, as we recently discussed with regards to Scafetta's widget, and as Gavin Schmidt recently demonstrated (Figure 2).

model data comparison

Figure 2: Annual mean global surface temperature anomalies from the IPCC AR4 models plotted against the surface temperature records from the HadCRUT3v, NCDC and GISTEMP products. Everything has been baselined to 1980-1999 (as in the 2007 IPCC report) and the envelope in grey encloses 95% of the model runs.

As Figure 2 shows, the observational data fall well within the envelope of climate model runs.  While the most likely trend over the next few decades is 0.2°C surface warming per decade, there are going to be some short periods with slower surface warming, and some with faster warming.

Skeptical Science's Dikran Marsupial has described the uncertainty monster as an "uncertainty Ewok," because while there are of course climate uncertainties, some of which are quite substantial, science and statistics have developed and refined sensible approaches to dealing with them and they are nothing to be scared of.  The existence of significant uncertainties does not mean we don't know anything or that no conclusions can be drawn.  We understand the main drivers of the climate reasonably well, and the climatologists (and the IPCC) consistently take the remaining uncertaities into account when drawing conclusions.  The uncertainty interval of the AR4 model projections provides a good example of dealing with the uncertainty ewok; they allow us to conclude that a long term (e.g. 30+ years) cooling trend would be inconsistent with our understanding of climate physics (under this scenario), but the level of uncertainty in the projections prevent us from drawing strong conclusions about the expected trend for the next decade, at least using the last generation of climate models.

ewok

Figure 3: Phillip, the Uncertainty Ewok

The Certainty Monster

In another recent post, Curry looks at the main global surface temperature influences (anthropogenic, volcanic, solar, ocean cycles) and speculates about their effects on temperature from 2015 to 2050.

"It is a plausible scenario that we will continue to see relatively flat trend in temperature for the coming decade.  The most recent climate shift has been argued (Tsonis et al) to have occurred 2001/2002.  A climate shift would probably occur sometime before 2050, although whether the shift trends warmer or cooler remains to be seen.  At some point a warming trend would likely resume.   To me this seems like a more plausible scenario than the 0.2C/decade projection to 2050 from AR4."

However, we must once again note that Swanson and Tsonis do not dispute the underlying human-caused global warming trend.  In fact, Swanson and Tsonis (2009) noted that a climate with large internal variability will also tend to be more sensitive to external forcings like greenhouse gases:

"It is straightforward to argue that a climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies (c.f. Roe [2009]). If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models..."

Curry argued that the right combination of solar and volcanic activity and internal variability could potentially combine to offset human-caused warming for the next ~40 years.  While this is hypothetically possible (for example, if there were numerous large volcanic eruptions), it is a highly implausible scenario.

By 2050, atmospheric CO2 will likely be around 500 parts per million (ppm), which corresponds to a 1.3 Watts per square meter (W/m2) radiative forcing compared to today's level of about 390 ppm, or approximately 0.7°C transient surface warming over the next 40 years just from CO2.  In comparison, a change in TSI from today's levels to those of a Maunder Minimum (the largest solar minimum in the past several centuries) would only cause a radiative forcing of 0.17 to 0.44 W/m2, or about 0.1 to 0.25°C transient cooling.  The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) generally does not cause more than 0.2 to 0.3°C surface temperature change on decadal timescales, and barring repeated closely-spaced large eruptions, volcanic effects on surface temperature are short-lived.

Thus to offset the large human-caused radiative forcing up to 2050 would require a new Maunder Minimum, a preponderance of La Niñas (which would shift the warming to the oceans), and several large volcanic eruptions.  This also disregards the warming effects of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, and the likely reduction of human aerosol emissions (and their associated cooling effect), which will cause additional warming over that period.  Curry's is not a very likely scenario, to put it lightly.

Curry Misrepresents AGW Theory and IPCC Report

Moreover, Curry talks about selecting "long" timeframes during which global warming is relatively flat to disprove the consensus anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory.  But such a scenario in which a number of non-CO2 influences combine to dampen human-caused warming, as has happened over the past decade or so, does not disprove the AGW theory. 

This is demonstrated by Figure 2 above, in which the observed temperatures fall within the envelope of model runs.  The AGW theory does not expect perfect 0.2°C surface warming every decade, because climate scientists are aware that short-term influences can align to dampen or amplify the underlying warming trend.  Periods of little warming on the order of a decade are entirely expected and consistent with the AGW theory.

Curry further asserts:

"Until the warming from 1910-1940 and the cool period from 1940′s to 1970′s are convincingly explained, I find it difficult to think than [solar forcing and natural internal variability] aren’t important in explaining the variability earlier in the century."

But solar forcing and internal variability did play a role in the 1910-1940 warming, as discussed in the 2007 IPCC report (Chapter 9.4.1.5):

"A number of studies detect a significant natural contribution to early 20th-century warming (Tett et al., 2002; Stott et al., 2003b; Nozawa et al., 2005; Shiogama et al., 2006). Some studies find a greater role for solar forcing than other forcings before 1950 (Stott et al., 2003b), although one detection study finds a roughly equal role for solar and volcanic forcing (Shiogama et al., 2006), and others find that volcanic forcing (Hegerl et al., 2003, 2007) or a substantial contribution from natural internal variability (Tett et al., 2002; Hegerl et al., 2007) could be important. There could also be an early expression of greenhouse warming in the early 20th century (Tett et al., 2002; Hegerl et al., 2003, 2007)."

And the AGW theory and IPCC report have explained the 1910-1940 warming and mid-century cooling (Figure 4).

ipcc fig 9.5

Figure 4: IPCC AR4 Figure 9.5.  Comparison between global mean surface temperature anomalies (°C) from observations (black) and AOGCM simulations forced with both anthropogenic and natural forcings.  All data are shown as global mean temperature anomalies relative to the period 1901 to 1950, as observed (black, HadCRUT3) and as obtained from 58 simulations produced by 14 models with both anthropogenic and natural forcings. The multi-model ensemble mean is shown as a thick red curve and individual simulations are shown as thin yellow curves. Vertical grey lines indicate the timing of major volcanic events.

In short, Curry does not accurately represent either the AGW theory or IPCC report.

The Real Uncertainty Monster

While we cannot accurately predict how solar or volcanic effects or internal variability will change in the coming decades, the one thing we can be certain about is that the anthropogenic warming trend will continue its steady rise as long as greenhouse gas emissions continue their upward march, and it is very unlikely the natural effects will be able to offset that human-caused warming for very long.

Climate "skeptics" often need to make a monster out of the uncertainty to avoid the fact that it often simply isn't large enough to make their positions plausible.  For the "skeptics," the fact that the remaining uncertainty is insufficient to cast serious doubt on the anthropogenic global warming theory or provide justification against taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - that's the real uncertainty monster.

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Comments

Comments 1 to 32:

  1. The thing that really convinces me about the last 15 years is Foster & Rahmstorf's work. By doing a fairly straight forward multivariate regression and removing the effects of solar variation, El Nino and areosols they get a pretty steadily increasing trend for each of the major temperature data sets though there is still some residual noise. Even the noise is surprisingly consistent across the data sets -

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  2. Curry's too busy preaching what sells to study the truth.

    The ugly factor missed in these analyses is the run-down of the latent cold storage in the system. The Greenland ice sheet has shown huge losses; 95% of the globe's glaciers are in retreat; and PIG in the Antarctic has passed the tipping point.

    Ask Curry to factor the ice-block melt into her pablum presentations.

    PIG Adds a New Wrinkle

    "expected to create an iceberg of about 900 square kilometres."
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  3. I could imagine Curry's entry into my discipline - biology. Given her current form in climatology, she'd come in with three hypotheses for human reproduction:

    I. Sexual reproduction hypothesis: Humans have two sexes, each of which produce a specific type of gamete, which come together in the female reproductive tract after intercourse, and which then fuse and go on to develop into a new individual.

    II. Spontaneous generation hypothesis: offspring develop at random, and with no external influence, within a female's uterus.

    III: Stork hypothesis: as is widely known by sceptical old wives, biologists are all alarmist about having a bit of fun - babies are brought, bundled in bunny rugs, to fortunate parents via the agency of avian couriers belonging to the family Ciconiidæ.


    Each of these three hypotheses provides a different interpretation of the natality attribution and has different implications for 21st century contraception and population management...
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    Response:

    [dana1981] 'Stork hypothesis' literally made me LOL!

  4. I think the interesting point is the status of internal climate variability (which is called in the literature "intrinsic", "chaotic" or "unforced" variability) and what it means for surface temperature in transient sensitivity (but not the heat content of the whole Earth system and not for equilibrium sensitivity after a more or less long relaxation time).

    If we look at a precise prediction, like the regional and global surface temperature in 2100, it is important to cope correctly with such variability. The main point for human affairs seems to be the ocean-ocean and ocean-atmosphere heat transfers, because only oceans can slow or accelerate the surface signal on decadal-to-century scale.
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  5. I've always disagreed with the way uncertainty of future temps is framed. Instead of staying if current emission trends continue "there is a 95% chance we will between 2-6 C of warming by 2100" we should say "there is a 95% change we will have 4C of warming sometime between 2080 and 2120" (or whatever the correct time span should be). And I'd guess there is a 95% of 6C between 2120 and 2160.
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  6. Mike @5,

    Given the range of uncertainty (predicted dT 2-6K) and the fact that dT is proportional to ln(dCO2), if you want to express your uncertainty as a around a=2100, with dT=4, then you would end up with Piosson distribution. Therefore, the confidence interval would be from say 2060 to 2260 (only roughly, I'm too lazy to calculate it for you), so not a symetric normal distribution as you would think (with your guess of sigma-a of 20).

    Is there a point in framing temp predictions that way? I don't think so. It can only fuel "skeptic" (==ignorant) thoughts, that "it's not that bad, because it may not happen until 2260 so we have more time".

    What matters, is how much warming we are commiting to the pipeline (not just immediate but equilibrium warming) and thats dT. It does not matter if a given dT happens in a=2100 or 2260, it's irrellevant (just instant) on the geological timescale. A question of dT itself is far more important, and scientists correctly present AGW problem from that perspective.
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  7. Mike @5, because we can predict climate to some extent, but not weather, predictions for temperatures at the end of this century are couched as predictions for mean global temperatures in a given one or two decade period. To then further express uncertainty in temporal terms on top of that would create confusion.
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  8. Curry: "Is it “cherry picking” to start a trend analysis at 1998? No, not if you are looking for a long period of time where there is little or no warming, in efforts to refute Hypothesis I."

    It isn't cherry picking if you select a time period specifically to fit a preconceived notion?

    Ummmm... what!?! That's the bloody definition of cherry picking.
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  9. Yes Curry rather misrepresents the work of Swanson and Tsonis by cherry-picking their broad hypothesis about climate shifts without actually considering what Swanson and Tsonis determine via quantitative analysis of temperature series. For example in their 2009 paper on the attribution of 20th century temperature variation Swanson and Tsonis state:
    "Removal of that hidden variability from the actual observed global mean surface temperature record delineates the externally forced climate signal, which is monotonic, accelerating warming during the 20th century."
    and determine that internal variability (their shifting of climate regimes) has made essentially zero contribution to 20th century warming.

    I don't have a problem with Swanson and Tsonis' hypothesis about climate shifts, and it seems entirely reasonable that changes in ocean current behaviour (as measured for example by changes in the NAO index), might give rise to small effects on surface temperatures variability on decadal time scales.

    But you can't hijack Tsonis' and Swanson's hypothesis without also making clear Swanson and Tsonis' own conclusions that the effects average out to around zero on multi-decadal timescales and anyway have contributions to surface temperature variability of only around 0.1 oC above and below the mean temperature (see Fig 2 of paper linked to just above).
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  10. # 8
    To avoid discussions of cherrypicking, I think a good approach is to fit a local model to the entire time series. That model can then be used to evaluate over which periods the time series show significant changes. And no need to discuss when to start the analysis since all data is used from the time series discussed.
    Gavin Simpson gives a good introduction to this approach at his blog. The following plot for HadCrut shows in blue which periods had a significant increase:



    I hope this is not too far off topic.
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  11. SRJ,

    That's an excellent graphic. Looking at it that way sort of puts an exclamation point on the whole "it's stopped warming" meme, simply by demonstrating how noisy, and yet patterned over the recent long term, the climate has been.
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  12. CBDunkerson in post #8 said what exactly what I was going to say. I can't resist pointing it out again though...

    I find Curry has a certain way with words which manages to take simple concepts and shroud them in convoluted wording which makes you wonder what Curry is really trying to say. Is her convoluted writing related to her (convoluted) thought processes as she tries to please the "skeptics" while not throwing away her scientific credibility?

    She wrote,

    "Is it “cherry picking” to start a trend analysis at 1998? No, not if you are looking for a long period of time where there is little or no warming, in efforts to refute Hypothesis I."

    To reword what I think she is saying,
    "Is it “cherry picking” to start a trend analysis at 1998? No, not if you are trying to cherry pick a period with little warming."

    You can't scour the data to look for departures from the hypothesis without taking into account all the other data you just overlooked.
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  13. Curry's III seemed to me to be an obfuscated way of saying that we don't know anything, or, we don't know enough to make any predictions. We don't have any way of knowing if a coin will come up heads or tails, but we do have considerable knowledge of thermodynamics. If we drill a hole (remove some weight) on the '6' side of a die, we may not be able to predict every roll, but we can predict with confidence that '6' will come up more than it did before.

    Mike #5,
    I've had the same thought about time frames for temperatures rather that temperatures within a time frame. Though, I can not argue with the counters that Tom and chriskoz made. My own motivation was driven by my perception that a lot of people seem to think that warming will end at some point, even if BAU continues, and I want a way to make it clear there is no upper limit. At least there isn't one that we care about, because we will pass the point where we can sustain much, if any, population prior to running out of fossil fuels. It is just a matter of when, rather than if, that will happen, if BAU continues.

    I do have a quibble with the amount of skew in Chris' distribution. It makes sense if the actual warming were only big-O(ln(CO2)), but the feedbacks may make it more linear, at least over the range we care about.

    Thinking back on Hansen's observation of the increasing coverage of 3-sigma conditions, and looking at the poor harvests that occurred when and where they did, I'm wondering if we can predict a time window when an event like the Russian wheat harvest of 2010 hits a typical agricultural area 1 year in 10 (present day?), 1 year in 5, and so on.
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  14. Curry is IMO fabricating what the "AGW hypothesis" is all about.

    Any reasonable construct of the Earth climate system takes into account incoming solar energy, greenhouse gases, inter-play between components of Earth climate system (e.g. ENSO), albedo (from ice or aerosols), and hemispheric insolation (continental position & Milankovitch cycles).

    As such, an "AGW hypothesis", if such a thing even stands separate from the rest of our understanding of atmospheric physics and climatology, is nothing more than the observation that human-induced increases in greenhouse gases have the expected effect of warming the Earth climate system, moderated or amplified by the other forcings. The surface/satellite temperature records are a tiny part of our understanding of AGW, moderated as they are by the various interchanges of energy within the climate.

    As such, Curry implying that periods where lower solar insolation, higher aerosol albedo, and interchange of energy within the Earth climate system (e.g. very strong El Nino in 1998 followed by various La Ninas & weaker El Ninos in the 2000s) somehow "refute" any hypothesis at all is, IMO simply mendacious.
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  15. Dana,

    Excellent post! It is very disturbing that Curry (chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at The Georgia Institute of Technology) does not understand the difference between a "hypothesis" and a "theory". I am willing to bet that even her students know the difference. Moreover, the options are not mutually exclusive.

    And I really have a problem with her chracterization of the first option as "IPCC AGW hypothesis". She is playing rhetorical games and polarizing the discussion. The IPCC was not the originator of the theory of AGW for goodness' sakes! The theory of AGW has arisen from the growing body of scientific/theoretical and observational evidence since the days of Fourier and Arrhenius. Moreover, the IPCC does not discount natural external forcings (e.g. solar, volcanic aerosols) nor does it discount internal climate variability/oscillations. In short, her possibilities are nonsensical, incorrect and not not mutually exclusive.

    Mighty Drunken @12 is correct, she often writes in such an obscure and convoluted style that it makes it almost impossible either understand what she is driving at or to hold her accountable.

    Curry is also very good at obfuscating and evading being held accountable or correcting glaring errors. Although Dana has very nicely nailed her in his post above. If Curry is paying attention and decides to respond to Dana's post I predict that she will be evasive, argue strawmen and cede nothing. In other words, she will just continue to obfuscate even more.

    Really, at this point her job is now clear, it is not the at the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, rather it is being a "Merchant of Doubt" and feeding fodder to the fawning and uncritical fake skeptics who have overrun her blog. For the most part that blog is a cesspit of ignorance and hatred, and is virtually void of any credible scientific and rational discourse.

    Curry's rapid descent from a once reputable, objective and rational scientist is disheartening and should also be an embarrassment to The Georgia Institute of Technology. It has also not gone unnoticed by her colleagues and peers, including (FWIW) me.

    And why does Curry's three bizarre hypotheses/theories remind me of Pielke Senior trying the same trick in an opinion piece in the AGU's newspaper EoS in 2009? Hypotheses that were quickly dismissed as nonsensical by eminent climate scientists. Curry needs to be more original than this, but first she must learn how to formulate hypotheses correctly.
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  16. Composer & Albatross - yes, it seems as though Curry confuses the AGW theory with some sort of CO2-only hypothesis (i.e. only CO2 influences temperatures). This is evident from her quotes in the 'Curry Misrepresents AGW Theory and IPCC Report' section. For example,
    "I find it difficult to think than [solar forcing and natural internal variability] aren’t important in explaining the variability earlier in the century."
    According to the AGW theory and IPCC, they are! This is really basic stuff too - something any climate scientist should fully understand.
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  17. Dana@16,

    You know, this really makes me wonder if Curry has even read the IPCC assessment reports.

    As I understand it, there are really only three options that can explain Curry's nonsensical hypotheses:
    1) She has not read the ARs.
    2) She has read the ARs, yet chooses to misrepresent and distort their content and even fabricate strawmen,
    3) She is not well and is losing control of her faculties.

    I hope it is not #3. If it is #1 that would be truly embarrassing and reflect poorly on her for talking through her hat. If it is #2, that also reflects incredibly badly on her because it suggests that she is being mendacious and insincere.

    This is no win for Curry in the realm of scientific integrity. Unfortunately , it will curry favour with the angry mob of fake skeptics who frequent her blog.
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  18. "...it will curry favour..."
    Pun intended? :-)
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  19. Incidentally, as a fan of the old Star Wars trilogy I must raise some slight protest regarding (a) the use of a photo of what is unambiguously the Ewok character named Wicket to represent 'Philip the uncertainy Ewok', and (b) the suggestion of Ewoks that "they are nothing to be scared of" given the role played by the Ewoks in the film Return of the Jedi. Tongue firmly held in cheek, of course.
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  20. Now, "the uncertainty Gungan", that I can get behind without reservation. :)
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  21. Yes, the Ewok managed a very creditable showing against the Evil Empire, at the end of the day--er, movie. The storm troopers were certainly frightened of them by then!

    I had wondered if perhaps Dr. Curry's 'not cherry picking' comment was trying to invoke the notion of falsification via one negative result--a la Einstein's "I can never be proven right. . ."

    But it's hard to quite make that thought work--finding a stretch with less warming surely doesn't allow one to beg off proper assessments of significance.
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  22. OT
    I was always a bit disappointed that the Ewoks were not actually Wookies (or a similar race); it would have been so much more believable that Wookies could tear up stormtroopers. Fighting a Wookie in close quarters would have been, ah, frightening. Yeah, Lucas wanted primitives to defeat the techie STs, and Wookies have tech, but hey, still today, some humans are still in the stone age. It isn't as though technology spreads everywhere instantaneously; though, it sure seems that way.
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  23. Have you looked at the Josh cartoon that Curry links to?

    "Josh encapsulates all this with a cartoon."

    I mean, seriously...
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  24. Lars - yes, I saw that. The cartoon makes no sense whatsoever, and then for Curry to say it "encapsulates all this" just made me shake my head in disbelief.

    It's bad enough for a climate scientist to advertise a cartoonist who constantly belittles climate scientists (I rarely visit Curry's, but have seen her post several Josh cartoons), but then to claim that particular cartoon makes sense is just astounding to me.
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  25. Josh has a problem with the concept of 'statistical significance', I see.
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  26. I disagree, Dana. The cartoon does makes sense. The problem is that the sense is completely uninformed by a well-understood convention that Curry, once upon a time, completely agree with. How much more evidence is necessary before the conclusion that she is incompetent can be generally drawn? Does she still teach? Or has she become an administrator?
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  27. DSL,

    Curry still teaches and has grad students. My advice to any grad students considering enroling in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at GIT would be to run away and fast.
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  28. At least the title of this article makes sence. From my experience, the idea that there is actually a serious debate over climate change is what causes most inaction, not the actual arguments of the deniers.
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  29. "As I understand it, there are really only three options that can explain Curry's nonsensical hypotheses:
    1) She has not read the ARs.
    2) She has read the ARs, yet chooses to misrepresent and distort their content and even fabricate strawmen,
    3) She is not well and is losing control of her faculties."

    When Curry first went public with her odd ideas, she engaged Gavin Schmidt in a lengthy thread over at RC.

    It was clear that either she hadn't read AR4, or she had only skimmed it superficially. She made many of the arguments then that she continues to make now, and Gavin and others did their best to educate her on what the scientific work that underlies the IPCC reports (and the reports themselves) say.

    She's been corrected a multitude of times since, including the responses to her "uncertainty monster" paper.

    Yet she's not budged an inch.

    It's possible that #2 is true but I wouldn't be surprised to learn that #1 (is still?) true.

    I don't think #3 is true.

    It's really frustrating to see someone in her position remain absolutely deaf to all attempts to educate her as to her mistaken assumptions about mainstream climate science. It's one thing when someone who's relatively uneducated like anthony watts refuses to learn. But a department chair at GIT? geez.
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  30. Many posters here seriously underestimate Curry, and seem to figure the triumphant-truth shows the holes in her empress's new clothes. It's a dangerous underestimation.

    It hasn't shown holes - just added fuel to her fire. She certainly understands both the subject and the evidence. Her rejections and spin-twists aren't weakness - they're servants to her larger purpose.

    Her attack at the science has method and a very clear self-centred agenda. Her own words provide the motivation turning point - she was 'vilified' for recommending 'The Hockey Stick Illusion'. After that, she deliberately set about attacking 'the IPCC consensus'.

    She's selling, not telling - and she doesn't hide the reasons why.
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  31. When the focus on uncertainties makes someone overlook the results before his eyes reminds me of that song by The Police: "a blind man looking for a shadow of doubt".
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  32. With respect to that painfully lame Josh 'cartoon', and with a hat tip to one of the themes of this thread, there is only one thing that I would say to the denialati who imagine humour in Josh's writing, and that is:

    These are not the interpretations that you are looking for...
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