2011-03-31 00:05:34Having trouble on Romm's ClimateProgress
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

http://climateprogress.org/2011/03/29/wattsupwiththat-attack-fabrication/#comment-334506

I'm having trouble getting something posted on CP: Seems like Romm is being particularly thin-skinned, and my comment has been "in moderation" for over 12 hours.

Neal

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#26:

Neal J. King says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

climate undergrad @24:

It makes more sense to include Watts than Romm, because, if the final results match the preliminary reports from the BEST sponsor Caldeira, Romm will have no antipathy to the results anyway; whereas Watts could reasonably be expected to doubt the results, because they are likely to come out against his belief. Giving him the opportunity to critique and influence the methodology ahead of time reduces his ability to claim that there are methodological errors later.

Also, another point: Romm seems to be personally antagonistic to Muller. So what would be the point in trying to include him?

Regardless of whether Muller likes Gore or not, let’s keep our eyes on the ball: What counts is the results of the study, not whether anyone is fond of Al Gore. As reported in previous postings, both Caldeira (a sponsor of the BEST) and Muller have indicated that the results are going to be very close to the conventional wisdom, basically because they can see already that the corrections made to compensate for the issues raised by the skeptics are not going to make much difference. The fact that Muller is probably considered a “lukewarmist” will probably increase the credibility of the result.

And by the way, I think Muller would be very stupid to try to slant the results: If his results are very different from previous studies, a lot of very expert eyes will be looking very hard for the cause of discrepancy. If the architecture of the study is open & transparent, as was advertised, I think any jimmying will be clarified within 3 weeks, and Muller & BEST (and also Rohde & Caldeira) will go down in flames. And if the architecture of the study is NOT open & transparent, BEST will have failed in one of its most important goals, and so Muller & BEST (and Rohde & Caldeira) will still go down in flames. I would bet money that none of these folks are that stupid.

With regard to moving on to the next public argument: That’s inevitable. But the next step is not “it’s uncertain” but “it’s not due to human activity”; then it goes to “it’s not going to be that bad”; then “it’s too expensive to do anything”; and finally to “it’s too late to do anything”. So we’re going to go through all these stages of public debate before we get to “we need to actually do something about this”; so we may as well get through them as fast as possible, rather than getting hung up forever at the first one.

Even a journey of 1000 miles starts with just one step.

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#39:
Neal J. King says:

JR, where is my comment #26?

[JR: It contained a false statement.]

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#40:

Neal J. King says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

JR,

If you believe a particular statement is false, why not just call it out?

I don’t think most readers would find my perspective particularly objectionable.

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2011-03-31 01:10:55
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5
#42:
Neal J. King says:

JR,

If you believe a particular statement is false, why not just call it out?

I don’t think most readers would find my perspective particularly objectionable.

[JR: It is a long stated policy of CP. Otherwise, I have to waste a lot of time, as I'm doing now. Also, I KNOW that statement is false.]

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My opinion of Joe Romm is declining swiftly.

2011-03-31 02:11:49
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Yeah, I have to say, there is a lot of ego behind all of Romm's comments.  

I think your comments are astute and accurate, Neal.  There's really not much point to having Romm in on the BEST study.  What does it gain?  And, whether we like Muller or not, he does accept that the planet is warming and that we are causing it, and that we should be doing something about it.  That's a good thing.  

If Muller can carry out a study that is detailed and accurate and drag along key deniers like Watts so that they clearly understand this is really happening, that's also a good thing.

I always see Romm as our Anthony Watts.  I don't like Watts for his methods and that he allows such vitriolic speech on his site.  Romm maintains bit more decorum than Watts but is actually prone to be equally as vitriolic in his own language as Watts.  (I found it a little humorous that they were arguing over who deleted nasty comments faster, missing the whole point of why there might be nasty comments in the first place.)

Ultimately I think Romm and Watts are going to end up sideline players in the whole climate issue.  When we're all taking action on climate change, who cares about the Romm/Watts tit for tat?

2011-03-31 04:21:21Romm
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal,

Wow, that is weird.  I just read CP, and thought "I should ask Neal about that, or perhaps even start a thread", only to find that you have already done it!

Neal, maybe he objected to this:

"Romm seems to be personally antagonistic to Muller"

He probably also did not  appreciate you suggesting that it males sense to have Watts involved in BEST.  I see your reasoning about inlcuding Watts in BEST, but my concern is that Watts will contaminate/sabotage BEST (intentionally or not), and what could have been the end of the myth that the temperature record is corrupt/uncertain will not be.  Setting us back in time--that is a very real danger and they are startegic enough to know that.  Also, it is bad anough that they have involved Mosher.  IMHO, it should have been a totally indepedent exercise, with no "personalities" or people with vested interests (e.g., Watts, Mosher) included.

I have had several email exchanges with Romm, and I still have not figured him out.  This is my take:

Pros: His heart is in the right place, he is pro science and doe snot misrepresent the science, he is well connected and has some influence in the "debate", has a relatively large audience, and he does not take an shit form the likes of Watts (he says it as it is), he is accurate and corrects errors (maybe not happily though) 

Cons:  He is abrasive, arrogant and moody, he has let this tiff with Watts  become personal (I could't do it, but guys like Romm should be able to do so), he is sometimes too aggressive IMOHO, he is political (but this has been made a political battle), he does not like to be shown to be wrong on anything, or be on the receiving end of critique.

With that all said I too have had several comments deleted there-- usually b/c my other internet persona is more aggressive than Albatross.  In fact, almost all my comments at CP immediately go into moderation-- so he does run a tight ship, and even knowing that I am on board, he does not let me get away with crap.  That I respect.

I suspect that his server was being ovewhelmed by Wattoids yesterday Neal, and being in a bad mood and perhaps overwhelmed he deleted your entire comment as it seemed to be defending Watts, at least on a quick read.  When called on it, Joe being who is, was reluctant to back down.

Anyhow, those are my thoughts.  Joe is an important ally in this battle, and probably under an immense work load and much pressure and fighting in the trenches daily, all day (I am a much better dad and husband when I do not fight the good fight on the internet for a few days, it is actually very stressfull, so I cannot imagine how it affects him).  So may consider cutting him some slack.  I know I have to remind myself of that whenever I see that yet anothe comment of mine has been deleted or has gone into moderation at CP.  They have plans to hire someone to help with the blog, that will probably improve things.

2011-03-31 05:52:15
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

1) "Romm seems to be personally antagonistic to Muller"

Don't you think it's true? It seems kind of obvious!

2) Watts setting us back: The whole point of the BEST study is to make things transparent: If it is, and we can therefore find out what went wrong if the results are funny, Muller goes down in flames. If it's not, and we can't find out why, Muller didn't do his job, and he still goes down in flames. If it's transparent, but the results are "wrong", and the whole climate-science community can't figure out why, then they/we are a bunch of weenies. So if you assume the climate-science community is not a bunch of weenies, either the BEST results will support the mainstream (dragging along Watts et al., unless Romm scares them off); or Muller goes down in flames. Either way, we win. In other words, it's all up to us. Watts is essentially irrelevant.

But it makes very good politics to include Watts, to get his buy-in.

3) "Overwhelmed by Wattoids": Well, I didn't see anything from Wattoids except a couple of entries by Watts. If anything, he was overwhelmed by Rommulans, who were breaking their arms slapping themselves on the back.

4) "he does not let me get away with crap": I try not to write crap.

Overall, I think Watts is right on Romm: with this attitude, he does himself more harm than good.

2011-03-31 05:55:21
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.203.226

Nealstradamus, he probably has you pegged as a concern troll. So-called "friendly fire" methinks.

2011-03-31 06:11:18
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

Rob, then he's not thinking about what he's reading.

The only concern I have is that he himself will raise so much fuss about Muller and Watts that it will give Watts an excuse to back away from his support for the BEST results when they come out in support of conventional wisdom. It hasn't happened yet; but Romm seems so sure that someone's going to poison the well that he's getting an early start on it.

2011-03-31 06:57:18
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal,

Please note, I said "maybe he objected to this".  I was trying to put myself in Romm's shoes and figure out what might have set him off.  In fact your assessment is probably correct.  But again, Joe's actions were probably made in the heat of the moment.  That does not make them right, and I can certainly understand that this would be really annoying for you.

Re you saying "I try not to write crap."

Come on Neal, we are all "friends" here.  I was of course not serioulsy suggesting that you or I write "crap", intentionally or otherwise.  I was specifically referring to me perhaps pushing the envelope in frustration in the past at CP, and that Joe had not displayed bias on those occassions.

This whole fiasco that has been brewing the last 5 years or so (since blogs became influential) has everyone a little trigger happy and overly sensitive.  Understandable, but really sad. 

I do agree with you that Romm should perhaps hold off (and exercise restraint) until the BEST results are finalized (when is that going to be anyone know?), but Anthony and Mosher are sure doing their fair bit of baiting! 

What is truly sad is that outside cyberspace people have no effing idea about any of this juvemile and ridiculous turf war.  Yet we spend hours, days, weeks, and months getting all riled up and bickering, and sometimes I wonder if I am slowly divorcing myself from thew real world and my family for little or no gain.  Some days (like today) I just want to say to hell with it and what will be will be.

Now I need to make some final revisions to my thesis so that I can submit the final version on Friday....

PS:  Neal, I think you are quite the strategist, and that your straTegy on this is probablyt he best.  What would you suggest that Romm and we do when Watts goes on a bender and starts posting misinformation on the web about BEST? That is a sincere question :)

2011-03-31 07:44:59Issue of interpretation
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.185.238.238
Is this about Neal thinking Joe is "personally antagonistic about Muller" and Joe thinking he's not? I'm guessing Joe considers his views on Muller fact based, rational and logical. On the other hand, he's a very passionate guy and when the testosterone gets pumping in the heat of battle, he never takes a backward step. So to ascribe his motives is a tough one and the issue of moderation is always a tension between those who want to have their say and those who want to maintain quality discussion.

I think what I'm saying is chillax :-)

As for BEST, it's hard to say (again) but my suspicion is it's a MacGuffin. It's not the central danger. The central danger is Muller using BEST to propel himself into the limelight where he can effectively spread all his misinformation to the general public. By making him accountable, I hope to minimize the danger.

Albatross makes a good point. We need to choose our battles wisely, direct our small resources to where they are most effective, to have the greatest impact. We need to think general public more than blogosphere politics.

2011-03-31 09:03:36
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

- Of course, I can't be sure what he's picking on, because he doesn't state. However, whether JR has a rational reason or not, it is quite obvious that he is antagonistic towards Muller: He refers to him as a confusionist, presumes that he's looking for a way to twist the results, etc. If he doesn't realize the nature of his own attitude, that is a very high degree of self-ignorance. Even if he has a perfectly good reason to hate him, he should be aware that he does hate him; and that this is obvious to other people.

- With regards to writing crap or non-crap: I think I write pretty carefully, in a balanced way. I don't see it as an issue of bias: I think I'm representing a different point of view than he, and it's one that he can't make ridiculous. Maybe he's been fighting so long that he doesn't realize that there are lots of ways to fight, and they have application in different situations. What I see happening is that Muller (for his own self-interested self-aggrandization) is setting a trap for the WUWTers; and JR is simultaneously attacking the trap and trying to scare the prey into the trap (yes, it doesn't make sense) instead of letting the trap work as designed. Not a good way to hunt!

- The BEST results are supposed to be available during the first half of 2011.

- How should we handle the situation when the results come out?

a) If the results are strange, we need to encourage experts to understand why. But I suspect this won't be the case.

b) If the results are as expected, and if the WUWTers don't object, I would not spend time crowing: I would congratulate the WUWTers for their contribution towards resolving the issue of GW (seriously), encourage them to take some credit and thereby entrain other skeptics into the resolution; and move the debate into the evidence for AGW and climate sensitivity. I would continue to monitor for back-sliding, but I think the best protection is if the WUWTers are invested in the result: Then they can argue with the hard-core deniers that "real people", not just grant-seeking eggheads, have shown that the G is W'ing.

c) The hardest case is if the results are as expected, but the WUWTers object. In that case, we have to get them to explain what the problems are, and why they didn't point them out during their extensive consultation with the BEST team. We will have to draw out the BEST team and get them to correct what the WUWTers are saying. It will take a bit of discussion.

Note that, to be able to do this, we have to be on "speaking terms" with both WUWTers and BEST. This is why I believe JR's approach is completely disfunctional: If he continues as he has been, JR will be on speaking terms with neither. In case a), JR will add nothing to what other groups will do to investigate; in case b), he will delay the process by insisting on rubbing the WUWTers' noses in their capitulation, which will dis-invest them in the result, so they won't promote the resolution; in case c), JR will be screaming at both sides, which will help nothing.

- Muller: There's no doubt that he wants to ride this issue to greater fame. My point has always been that he has no real investment in which way the argument turns out, he just wants to be the one who makes the splash. The way to make use of this engine is to help him make a positive splash, not just fight his making a negative splash. The key to this is being able to clue him in to a more correct perspective, rather than picking a fight with him. Unlike Lindzen or Dyson, Muller doesn't necessarily need to be a contrarian, he'd rather be right. But this is why I emphasize giving him rather straightforward corrections rather than trying to beat up on him. JR has said so many nasty things about him that I doubt Muller will give any thought to anything he writes.

Old taoist saying: "How do you tame a stubborn horse? Give him a big field."

Muller is a wild stallion. Don't try to turn him into a pony. See if you can turn him into a racehorse.




2011-03-31 09:33:53Training Muller
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.185.238.238

I appreciate that strategy. But better minds than mine have already tried that route. I've spoken with one scientist who has been in contact with Muller over an extended period of time, trying to correct his misinformation. They have a fairly good rapport. It has had no effect. So I think the Neville Chamberlain approach with Muller won't work.

So I'm trying the Muller Misinformation route instead. I will endeavour to keep the language civil and respectful. Brad Johnson has agreed to let us repost the Al Gore/penguin misinformation and was also happy for me to SkSify the language. It will be interesting to see whether he repeats his Mann/decline conflation at Thursday's hearing.

That said, Neal, I only learned of this scientist reaching out to Muller AFTER I posted the MM#1 post so I can't say I did it with that knowledge in mind :-)

2011-03-31 09:40:06Muller
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Given the amount of absolute crap in his lecture, I have a hard time believing Muller really cares that much about being right.  Maybe in his research, but certainly not in his lectures.  And his lectures can have as much impact as BEST, maybe even more.

2011-03-31 09:40:16
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Hi Neal,

Thanks for your insightful thoughts.

"There's no doubt that he wants to ride this issue to greater fame"

Not that I disagree, but what led you to this conclusion? I hope that you are right about him, and that he does not turn out to be a "confusionist" or someone interested in encouraging FUD.  Dana has pointed out some errors Muller has made concerning the WMO graphic, it will be interesating to see whether or not he changes his talk accordingly.  That would be a sure sign that he is operating in good faith.

Neal, if we were in the same city I'd suggets we get together for a beer or dinner and chat.  Even chat forums like this are not always a good medium for clearly conveying thoughts or attributing the right tone. I'm sure glad to have a master startegist like you on our "side".  Would you mind if I asked what your background is?

The fallout after the emergence of the BEST results is certianly going to be interesting to follow. Anyhow, I hope there are no sore feelings between us on this-- I for one have enjoyed the nuances of this exchange and also learnt a little along the way.

2011-03-31 09:43:51fame
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Albatross - for one thing, Muller has greatly inflated the importance of BEST, calling it the most important climate science research on the planet right now.  Also giving lectures falsely denigrating others' work, and the fact that he's testifying before congress about climate science.  I think it's pretty clear he's trying to position himself as a go-to climate science expert.

By the way, it was John who pointed out the errors, not me.

2011-03-31 10:11:14
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

John,

I guess the best guidance I can suggest is to write more as if you were writing to him, than if you were writing at him, or about him. For instance:

- It's not really necessary to fix every point: prioritize to keep it shorter. Muller is never going to like Gore. Heck, the first time I saw Gore on TV, I didn't like him. He was haranguing some climate scientist; and he may very well have been right, but he was so condescending that the guy was going apoplectic.

- I haven't studied the Climategate arguments as much as I ought to have, because I have been mostly working on trying to collect payment on some work I did over the last few years; the paperwork is a mess. But a few of you have been hashing the story over several times. It still seems to me that you guys never address the point that is really sore: The question of the reliability of proxies, and how this question was side-stepped by the bad-caption error. This is what pissed Muller off; and I also saw somewhere in one of McIntyre's ravings that this was what his beef boiled down to. However, in the SkS articles, although I have raised this point in my critiques, nobody ever seems to write the article to acknowledge that point and to support the rationale behind proxies. Well, if we're not going to address their main concern, why should we expect them to accept our viewpoint? We have to acknowledge their point before we can correct it.

2011-03-31 10:18:17
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Dana,

Good points.  Apologies to John for not giving credit where credit is due.  It is also your fault Dana for writing so many posts ;)  Just kidding mate....my fault for not thinking before typing.

2011-03-31 10:20:38caption?
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

Not sure what you're referring to with the 'bad caption error', neal.  If you mean the WMO report cover, we've acknowledged the lack of documentation for that here, but it's such an obscure report that it really doesn't warrant any more than a brief acknowledgement.  The only reason anybody knows about it is from the stolen Climategate emails.

As for tree rings as a valid temp proxy, we discussed that here.

2011-03-31 10:47:14
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

dana,

I think there are a large number of errors in Muller's talk, especially about biological/ecological issues. But I think he is also a victim of people over-interpreting what he is saying:

- Someone complained that he had stated that there would be 2% increased cloud cover that would wipe out the warming. That is ridiculous, as Muller has stated that he believes there will be warming. What I believe he said was that there were uncertainties in the models, particularly about clouding; and that a 2% increase in cloud cover would wipe out the warming. He was not predicting a 2% increase in cloud cover, he was talking about the fact that such an increase would wipe out warming, and that current models could not rule this out. That was how I read his informal style of presentation.

- Likewise, his summary of the "hiding the decline": When he quotes words, he's not really intending to give the literal words, even if he says, "That's what they said": It's a talk, not a paper, and he's speaking informally. Remember what I was saying about a physicist explaining to a barmaid what he's doing? That's the approach he's taking, and he's talking as if he were at a bar (in that 2-minute period), talking to the barmaid. It's not a quote, it's an interpretation. And I already explained before what he was pissed off about. That's why he said: "The tree rings don't proxy the temperatures after 1961. So how do you know they proxy the temperatures before 1961? I don't know." He wasn't saying there is no explanation, he was making fun of the style of presentation, that did not surface the issue and resolve it. As I said before, I believe he has a point: Their error in not explaining clearly what they were doing put them in the position of side-stepping an important matter of principle, which is, How do you know when you can trust the proxies?

- I believe he is absolutely wrong to be so cavalier about ocean acidification. I have no idea of where he gets the idea that there is no justification for concern. This is certainly an area where he should be drawn out.

- I think his points on the significance of the CO2 contributions of China vs. the US are interesting and quantitatively based. I believe he got some input from Art Rosenfeld, who has worked in the area of energy consumption since the '70s on this ma

- As I said before, he wants to make a big splash. He doesn't care about getting all the details right, he wants to get the big picture right. You can condemn him for this attitude, but that's not going to help us. In fact, a LOT of good scientists have pretty big egos and think a lot more of their own work than they do of others' work. What the BEST project can do now - if it's done right, both technically and politically - is to settle the question of whether or not the Earth is warming among the people most interested in this question: and that includes the WUWTers and their followers. You can say that the IPCC studies have done this, but in all the important ways they HAVEN'T: because there is a strong & determined opposition refuses to accept it. Until the WUWTers and their ilk have accepted it, society as a whole cannot move beyond this point securely, because there will always be that that 35 - 50 % of the population in the US that will dig their heels in; and they vote, and they spend. We need to get beyond this, and if the hook can stay in the WUWTers' mouth long enough, BEST is our best chance of doing this.

2011-03-31 10:56:53
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Muller is such a mixed bag.  When you watch his entire lecture he says a lot of correct stuff, things we've been saying all along.  

It's warming.  We're causing it.  It's our CO2.  It's a very serious problem.  We have to do something about it.  Solar and wind are great solutions.  Etc.

But then he goes and mucks it all up with "hide the decline" and hand waving about hockey sticks, not to mention a long list of other strange perspectives that seem woefully uninformed for a scientist of his stature.

So, what's going on here?  I bet he's fairly, to very, conservative politically.  But he's also clearly a very good scientist.  That, in itself, has to set up a pretty serious cognitive dissonance.  So, you can see him playing both parts in the lecture.

I think there are ways to play this well by thinking it through and discussing strategies here on the forum.  We're off to a good start with John's first post.  Point out the errors in his statements.  It might be worth while to do a piece pointing out the things he says that are accurate.  Maybe?  Don't you think that will irk the WUWT crowd as much as anything?

But I'm still with Neal in that Romm is literally handling this the worst way possible.  Romm's no-holds-barred attacks on Muller are just reactions.  I don't believe he's thinking it through at all.  He's just in attack mode and has been since day one on this issue.  

2011-03-31 11:05:33
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

 

Albatross,

Muller was a protegé of Luis Alvarez (Nobel prize for experimental particle physics), and worked with him on a lot of wild projects that often crossed disciplinary grounds: an explanation of the dinosaur extinction due to a giant asteroid, the idea of a death-star that influenced asteroidal orbits (Nemesis), a device for fitting yourself with an optometric prescription in 15 minutes, etc. I was aware of him at Berkeley, but never spoke with him.

I have known a lot of scientists; I was in the PhD program for Physics at Berkeley, and I was at CalTech for a year and saw Richard Feynman at Physics X every Monday night when I was a sophomore. Muller had the reputation of being brash and ambitious, and everything I saw in the video corroborates that. Ambitious scientists don't like to be wrong. They ARE likely to assume that other people are wrong, however.

I don't know if Muller will change his views, because I don't know if we've acknowledged his concerns. But we need to talk TO, not talk AT.

I'm in Munich, although I'm occasionally in San Francisco; my background is in physics, and right now one of my major hobbies is the historical development of quantum mechanics; my working life for the last decade has focused on technical standards for telecommunications - which is essentially technical politics.

Yes, we can hope for the best for the BEST; and the best would be if JR just leaves the topic alone for awhile. No, no hard feelings.

2011-03-31 11:14:18
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Has anyone tried to contact Romm directly and get him to at least discuss the strategy we're implementing?  The first goal when trying to deal with someone on your side who is being detrimental to the cause is not to say that they are wrong, or say something that implies they are wrong or carries similar connotation, but to introduce them to the existence of the better strategy in the first place.  He doesn't have to like it, we just need to get him talking on it.  Then we get him to like it.

If JR's approach is so damaging as it seems like you guys are implying, then maybe instead of just complaining about Romm someone should send a friendly email.

Not to sound condescending, I think that this is the best approach.

2011-03-31 11:16:05
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

dana,

- "bad caption": Not clearly stating on the graph that some of the data are tree-ring data and some are thermometers; or alternatively just stating that these are best-guess temperatures from a variety of techniques (including of course thermometers).

- I don't find a response to Curry useful: She doesn't seem to think, anyway, so what do you respond to?

- The discussion of the tree-ring proxy doesn't address the fundamental question, which is: Why should I believe the tree rings are accurate proxies for temperature before 1961 when they're no good after 1961? Particularly in eras where there are no back-up thermometers to validate them?

2011-03-31 11:21:36
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

Regarding the proxy accuracy before 1961, wasn't the divergence problem only with a (I don't really want to say "isolated" but will) sample of high-latitude trees?  Don't the rest show agreement with modern temperatures after 1961?  I think the question is valid for those trees, but not necessarily for the rest if the same problem does not exist for them.

2011-03-31 11:26:46
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

The way I see that argument panning out, assuming some truths here:

- Tree ring data from Northern Siberia (this was the location, no?) is faulty after 1961.

- Why should we trust the data before 1961?

- Other tree ring proxies do not have this problem; they are consistent with observations.

- We can reasonably conclude that they are accurate before 1961.

- The trends from the Northern Siberian trees matches the trends from the other non problematic trees.

- If they match, it is likely they are accurate.

These "truths" being that the tree ring data from the vast majority of other TR proxies do not have this divergence problem; the trends match the northern trees that diverge before 1961; there is no spatial variability-related reason (so on) that disallows conclusion of accuracy in the northern trees before 1961.

 

Is that a reasonable approach?  An even better one would be to provide a reason for the divergence - has any attempt been made to explain it?  Better yet, has any explanation been corroborated and accepted as the most likely reason?

2011-03-31 11:34:10
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

Alex C,

If you look at the referenced postings and comments at JR's blog, you will see that I have discussed this strategy several times. There are three postings: in the first two, after a few tries, I found someone that echoed my approach, and then the thread petered out. This most recent thread, I got some response, and then JR killed my follow-up.

My reading is that he is stuck in attack-dog mode, as Rob indicates. He has no valid critique of my strategy, so he just says I'm lying - although he doesn't say about what. Personally, I don't see much point in talking to him. It would be easier and more meaningful to talk with Muller.

If you want to talk with him, be my guest.

2011-03-31 11:47:29
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

Rob,

"But then he goes and mucks it all up with "hide the decline" and hand waving about hockey sticks, not to mention a long list of other strange perspectives that seem woefully uninformed for a scientist of his stature."

Part of "being right" is that you have to find where other people are "being wrong". That's part of the game.

 

"So, what's going on here?  I bet he's fairly, to very, conservative politically."

He might not be conservative; the biographical sketch in one article had him protesting at UC Berkeley as a student. However, I vaguely recall someone telling me that he challenged one of the leaders of the Nuclear Freeze campaign, a lady named Randall Forsberg, at a talk; that might be interpreted as conservative, or as wanting to stand out. He describes himself as conservative, saying, "On the whole, I think that an increase in average global temperature is more likely to be bad than good; maybe that's just being conservative.

 

"It might be worth while to do a piece pointing out the things he says that are accurate.  Maybe?  Don't you think that will irk the WUWT crowd as much as anything?"

Yes, catch him doing something right! That's a good idea.

2011-03-31 11:54:14
Alex C

coultera@umich...
67.149.101.148

If I was to contact Romm, how would I go about doing that?  Is he the one who reads through the climate american progress action email?  That is the only means by which I can see to get any message to him that is available on his site.

2011-03-31 11:55:03
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.5

Alex C.,

I guess the answer can come from a general discussion of temperature proxies. Probably this is covered in an "elementary" course in palaeoclimatology - which I've never had the fortune to take.

The problem in this case is that the issue was simply side-stepped, which is not good. Experts can be expected to realize this, but not non-experts.

I am by no means complaining that this side-stepping was deliberate. But I can see how it would piss some people off: sloppy.

2011-03-31 13:13:57
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

Neal,  many thanks for sharing information on your backround.  Wow, very impressive!  I originally thought that you might be a philosopher, then again, my wife's dad is a (retired) professor of philosophy and his PhD was on quantum physics if I recall correctly.

Anyhow, I like your idea of talking to the person (i.e., Muller) rather than at him/her.  If s/he is amendable to reason the former approach is likely to resonate and more likely to meet with success. 

2011-03-31 13:18:22
Albatross
Julian Brimelow
stomatalaperture@gmail...
199.126.232.206

AlexC,

I think that your approach has merit.  As you note, it would have to be carefully worded, with no negative connotations, but if done right it might be effective.  I don't know who her eis "closest" to Romm-- sometimes this sort of thing is best communicated by someone who is close to the recipient.

2011-04-01 05:43:49Another shot at posting at Romm's
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.101

#21:

Neal J. King says:
  1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    dhogaza @19:

    It’s very reasonable for Muller to say he doesn’t know, when the final results are not in.

    He’s still lined up to support the conventional wisdom on GW. I recommend keeping your gunpowder dry for the moment that he overturns conventional wisdom (and I think that will not happen).

    In the meantime, he lays on plenty of praise for Watts & McIntyre: that gives them an investment in the results.

    We might be fairly close to putting the “question” of global warming to bed. This is not the time to over-turn the chess board.

 

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Let's see if JR can stomach it.

2011-04-01 06:04:02
Rob Honeycutt

robhon@mac...
98.207.62.223

Hey, just saw it.  Romm let you through on this one.  ;-)

2011-04-01 06:04:58
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.192.114

Nealstradamus, I finally read that thread, he sure did overreact. 

2011-04-01 06:24:37caption
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
64.129.227.4

neal, regarding the caption, the IPCC was very clear that it was including both proxies and instrumental temperatures (see my Curry post).  The WMO report cover wasn't, but heck, it was a report cover.  They probably should have chosen a different graphic, or not spliced data together, but like I said, it was just an obscure report anyway.  The only reason anybody even knows about it is because of the stolen "hide the decline" email.

I think this omission is a big problem in Muller's talk.  He's basically suggesting that this splicing and lack of explanation was widespread, when in fact it was just on this one obscure report cover, and the IPCC was quite clear about what it was doing.  Especially the AR4, which was very detailed about the divergence problem and removing the 'decline' data and so on.

2011-04-01 10:15:52Can't imagine what could be bugging JR:
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
84.151.31.101

He's let other comments post since then, so what's with this one?

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#25: "Neal J. King says:

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

toby @ 24:

Let’s give it a chance. Right now, based on Muller’s (fulsome) praise of their input, their prominence would get a lease on life. That price is worth paying to put the question to bed.

Anyway, there are still further positions they can defend: Is the GW anthropogenic? Will it be that big? Will it be that bad? We are not at the end of controversy, unfortunately. But if we don’t get past the first one, we’re never going to get past the rest.

They might swallow it. It would be good for the world if they did. Let’s not make it any harder for them to do so."

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