Climate and the Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

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Climate and the Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:13 am

Reuters | Canada first nation to pull out of Kyoto protocol

Canada on Monday became the first country to announce it would withdraw from the Kyoto protocol on climate change,
dealing a symbolic blow to the already troubled global treaty.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Apollonius » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:37 pm

I'm pulling out of this discussion.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:26 pm

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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Azrael » Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:56 pm

Isn't it true that, on average, the 1980s were hotter than the 1970s, the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s and the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s? There may be year by year (el Niño, etc.) or even multi-year fluctuations (Mt. Pinatubo, etc.), but decade by decade on the Earth as a whole, there's an unbroken trend.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:39 am

Azrael wrote:Isn't it true that, on average, the 1980s were hotter than the 1970s, the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s and the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s? There may be year by year (el Niño, etc.) or even multi-year fluctuations (Mt. Pinatubo, etc.), but decade by decade on the Earth as a whole, there's an unbroken trend.


How would we know this?

Unbiased measurements of global temperature by satellites have only been available since 1979.

The oceans have only been fully instrumented via the ARGO project since 2007.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Azrael » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:56 am

Typhoon wrote:
Azrael wrote:Isn't it true that, on average, the 1980s were hotter than the 1970s, the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s and the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s? There may be year by year (el Niño, etc.) or even multi-year fluctuations (Mt. Pinatubo, etc.), but decade by decade on the Earth as a whole, there's an unbroken trend.


How would we know this?

Unbiased measurements of global temperature by satellites have only been available since 1979.

OK. That still leaves the other three decades: the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s, the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Fri Dec 23, 2011 4:32 pm

Azrael wrote:
Typhoon wrote:
Azrael wrote:Isn't it true that, on average, the 1980s were hotter than the 1970s, the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s and the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s? There may be year by year (el Niño, etc.) or even multi-year fluctuations (Mt. Pinatubo, etc.), but decade by decade on the Earth as a whole, there's an unbroken trend.


How would we know this?

Unbiased measurements of global temperature by satellites have only been available since 1979.

OK. That still leaves the other three decades: the 1990s were hotter than the 1980s, the 2000s were hotter than the 1990s.


Image

Due to transient natural events: a trough due to Mt. Pinatubo generated cooling and two el Nino peaks; the super el Nino of 1999 and the el Nino of 2010.

There are three problems:

0/ 1979 is an arbitrary starting point;

1/ Extracting a possible tiny trend from time series data completely dominated by large natural variations; and

2/ Determining how much, if any, of the trend is due to natural variation or man-made effects.

This requires making a set of statistical data analysis and model assumptions which may, or may not, be correct.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Azrael » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:32 pm

I'm trying to understand your position. So far, the picture I'm getting (and please let me know if I'm wrong, or clarify things) is that you don't think that there is enough data to accept Anthropogenic Global Warming. As a physicist, you are used to the five sigma criterion, and that criterion hasn't been met with AGM.

AGM supporters may appear to be jumping the gun, however, if they are correct, by the time the data satisfies anything close to the five sigma criterion, it may be too late. AGM supporters may advocate the Precautionary principle, which states that states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action (such as continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions). Conversely, in particle physics, the burden of proof is on those who reject the null hypothesis.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:34 pm

Azrael wrote:I'm trying to understand your position. So far, the picture I'm getting (and please let me know if I'm wrong, or clarify things) is that you don't think that there is enough data to accept Anthropogenic Global Warming. As a physicist, you are used to the five sigma criterion, and that criterion hasn't been met with AGM.

AGM supporters may appear to be jumping the gun, however, if they are correct, by the time the data satisfies anything close to the five sigma criterion, it may be too late. AGM supporters may advocate the Precautionary principle, which states that states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action (such as continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions). Conversely, in particle physics, the burden of proof is on those who reject the null hypothesis.


Five sigma is not the issue.
Rather the issue is wrecking the standard of living of billions of people over an untested hypothesis which has become a cultural meme accepted by many without question.

The so called precautionary principle is in direct contradiction to the scientific method: assuming a hypothesis to be correct without evidence.
As such I would argue that it makes no sense.
The problem in invoking it that the track record of supposed experts in predicting future man-made disasters is abysmal.
They have been consistently wrong.

Also, if one is invoking the precautionary principle, why focus on supposed marginal man-made climate change?
Should we not be also be preparing for the next extinction level meteor strike?
Moving cities underground?
The next electric power and electronics destroying massive coronal discharge from the sun?
Mandating Faraday cages eveywhere for both to forestall the deaths of hundreds of millions?
The next ice age?
Developing technology to keep the earth from freezing - an event which would result in the possible deaths of billions?

With these example, we at least have good empirical evidence that they have occurred in the past and can be reasonably certain that they will occur again.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:47 pm

Methane aka as gas from the planet's . . .

Continued:

the glowing carp wrote:
Colonel Sun wrote:1/ the amount of methane already in the atmosphere from other sources;


Amount of Methane currently in Atmosphere is 5 gt, Shakhov estimates there to be up to 1300 gt available to be released in current event.

2/ the amount of methane being produced from other sources


Around 0.014 gtpa

3/ the amount that would be necessary to make a difference as a greenhouse gas


5gt of Methane creates 0.5 w/m2.....times that by 260 is 130 w/m2...off to Venus.

Is there an unknown mechanism that is limiting the amount of methane in the atmosphere?


err........Dunno, you can sit around on your arse waiting to find out if you like.


the glowing carp wrote:Sorry that should be Shakhova et al (2008).

Right now the gas is evacuating from cavities, once the gas has fully evacuated relatively warm sea water will fill the cavities and melt Clathrates.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Tue Dec 27, 2011 8:52 pm

WCR | Methane Time Bomb in Arctic Seas – Apocalypse Not

Dlugokencky, E. J., et al., 2009.
Observational constraints on recent increases in the atmospheric CH4 burden.
Geophysical Research Letters, 36, L18803, doi:10.1029/2009GL039780.

Dmitrenko, I.A., et al., 2011.
Recent changes in the shelf hydrography in the Siberian Arctic: Potential for subsea permafrost instability.
Journal of Geophysical Research, 116, C10027, doi:10.1029/2001JC007218.

Another way of looking at the same issue: emipirically

Image

Our planet has been far far warmer in the past than today, and the methane would have been released, yet life not only survived but thrived.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Tue Dec 27, 2011 10:09 pm

WUWT | The climbdown on methane and climate change

Semiletov and Shakhova:

"We would first note that we have never stated that the reason for the currently observed methane emissions were due to recent climate change.

In fact, we explained in detail the mechanism of subsea permafrost destabilization as a result of inundation with seawater thousands of years ago.

We have been working in this scientific field and this region for a decade. We understand its complexity more than anyone. And like most scientists in our field, we have to deal with slowly improving understanding of ongoing processes that often incorporates different points of views expressed by different groups of researchers."


Image

Interesting how both the mainstream media and the blogsphere completely misinterpreted and misrepresented these recent results
and thus worried and alarmed many.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Mr. Perfect » Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:52 pm

Azrael wrote:I'm trying to understand your position. So far, the picture I'm getting (and please let me know if I'm wrong, or clarify things) is that you don't think that there is enough data to accept Anthropogenic Global Warming. As a physicist, you are used to the five sigma criterion, and that criterion hasn't been met with AGM.

AGM supporters may appear to be jumping the gun, however, if they are correct, by the time the data satisfies anything close to the five sigma criterion, it may be too late. AGM supporters may advocate the Precautionary principle, which states that states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action (such as continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions). Conversely, in particle physics, the burden of proof is on those who reject the null hypothesis.

The leaked emails from "climate researchers" are more than enough to take nothing about MMGW seriously at all.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Zack Morris » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:09 pm

Mr. Perfect wrote:The leaked emails from "climate researchers" are more than enough to take nothing about MMGW seriously at all.


Not necessarily. There was nothing particularly damning about them. That's (allegedly) the purpose of peer-reviewed journals after all. Data is out there from numerous sources and anyone is free to analyze it. You seem to be surprised that scientists become attached to their own interpretations.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Thu Dec 29, 2011 7:19 pm

Zack Morris wrote:
Mr. Perfect wrote:The leaked emails from "climate researchers" are more than enough to take nothing about MMGW seriously at all.


Zack Morris wrote:Not necessarily. There was nothing particularly damning about them.


I disagree. Admissions that empirical data does not agree with preconceived models, collusion to fudge results to give preconceived outcomes, and conspiracy to prevent papers that do not agree with the prevailing AGW dogma from being published and to have scientists publish papers that do not support the dogma be fired.

Climategate 2.0 collection

In any other field that purports to be a science, such actions would be considered unacceptable conduct.

Zack Morris wrote:That's (allegedly) the purpose of peer-reviewed journals after all. Data is out there from numerous sources and anyone is free to analyze it.


One of the more damning aspects of the e-mails is the efforts of the so-called climate researchers to prevent access to original data for independent analysis.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Zack Morris » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:36 pm

Typhoon wrote:I disagree. Admissions that empirical data does not agree with preconceived models, collusion to fudge results to give preconceived outcomes, and conspiracy to prevent papers that do not agree with the prevailing AGW dogma from being published and to have scientists publish papers that do not support the dogma be fired.


In other words, what you're saying is that they are using the data that makes their models look best. This is standard practice in physics journals, in statistics journals, in materials science, in MEMS research -- you name it, they do it. Take the data that makes your model look correct and throw away the rest. Leave it to others to validate your results or introduce new evidence to back up or refute the claims you are making.

There's nothing different about climate science research.

One of the more damning aspects of the e-mails is the efforts of the so-called climate researchers to prevent access to original data for independent analysis.


You're alleging a conspiracy to withhold climate data? How much data is being withheld? All of it? Or a small fraction? And who is it being withheld from? Is it any worse than physicists do? Because I've written to many authors regarding papers published in the American Institute of Physics' journals only to be met with "gee, I can't seem to find it" or "I'm not giving it you."
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Marcus » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:48 pm

Zack Morris wrote:In other words, what you're saying is that they are using the data that makes their models look best. This is standard practice in physics journals, in statistics journals, in materials science, in MEMS research -- you name it, they do it. Take the data that makes your model look correct and throw away the rest. . .

In case you are under the impression this sort of thing can't or doesn't happen, read Part IV of The China Study:

Excerpt from a review:
THE FINAL CHAPTERS

The final part of the book is titled “Why You Haven’t Been Told This Before”. Dr. Campbell aims to explain to readers why the health and diet information that the public hears isn’t the same as what he has detailed in his book. After all, if all health benefits of a plant-based diet have so much scientific backing, why haven’t we been seeing them all over the news?

First he explains the “dark side of science” – the part where the members of nutrition committees that review studies and create public reports are largely pro-industry. This means they have some sort of connection, often financial, to an industry like dairy, meat, or drug. Because of this they often only promote science that helps these industries, often ignoring the truth. Dr. Campbell has served on (and ultimately been removed from) many of these committees for challenging the recommendations and conclusions they come to.

Dr. Campbell goes onto explain some of the government’s nutrition recommendations and the studies upon which they are based. It turns out that these studies are often incomplete or inaccurate, but by pulling out tidbits of information and twisting words they are able to make claims that benefit food industries. Rarely is there information released that isn’t somehow backed or sponsored by a large corporation. (This goes for fruits and vegetables too, not just meat and dairy).

Finally Dr. Campbell questions if our government is truly doing what is best for us. Did you know that only 3.6% of the U.S. National Institute of Health’s budget is designated for projects related to nutrition? (p. 315) Or that the government offers extreme tax cuts for pharmaceutical industries that make more and more drugs with serious side effects? It seems a little backwards to me.

Dr. Campbell encourages us to take the information he has given us and take charge of our own health.

IN CONCLUSION

I was thoroughly impressed with The China Study. It basically provided scientific evidence and first hand accounts for what I had been hearing about nutrition and health. I had heard that eating a plant-based diet was better for health, but this book provided charts and graphs to tell me exactly why and how my body would benefit. I had heard that the government and food industries totally distorted the nutrition information we receive, but now I have specific names and examples of these distortions to back it up.


Reader review:
One thing this book will make you think about is how our government funds a public health care system largely devoted to expensive and invasive medical procedures, and to putting people on drugs for the rest of their lives.

For me, the most thought provoking and intriguing chapters of this book are contained in part four, "Why Haven't You Heard This Before?" They include, "Science--The Dark Side", "The 'Science' Of Industry", "Government: Is It For The People?", and "Big Medicine: Whose Health Are They Protecting?"
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Fri Dec 30, 2011 12:56 am

Zack Morris wrote:
Typhoon wrote:I disagree. Admissions that empirical data does not agree with preconceived models, collusion to fudge results to give preconceived outcomes, and conspiracy to prevent papers that do not agree with the prevailing AGW dogma from being published and to have scientists publish papers that do not support the dogma be fired.


In other words, what you're saying is that they are using the data that makes their models look best. This is standard practice in physics journals, in statistics journals, in materials science, in MEMS research -- you name it, they do it. Take the data that makes your model look correct and throw away the rest. Leave it to others to validate your results or introduce new evidence to back up or refute the claims you are making.

There's nothing different about climate science research.



Not in my experience in my former or current fields.

What you're describing is scientific fraud - a strong allegation. Do you anything other than personal anecdote to back it up?

If other groups try to reproduce one's results and cannot this will raise suspicion, and if consistent may lead to investigation,
It discovered that one was selecting - biasing the data, then it will likely lead to
some form of censure and a dishonourable entry in Retraction Watch

Most of the problems seem to be in biological and, specifically, medical research.
Not surprising considering the stakes, human nature, and that training of medical doctors is different than that of scientists.

A prominent case in physics is the Schön scandal.
Schön was found to have been engaging in the type of behaviour you described above.

The problem in so-called climate research is that the bogus results are being used to promote agendas that would cripple
the industrialized and industrializing nations. In other words, the consequences are far more reaching, potentially
affecting the well-being of billions, than than a fraudulent publication in some journal.

Zack Morris wrote:
One of the more damning aspects of the e-mails is the efforts of the so-called climate researchers to prevent access to original data for independent analysis.


You're alleging a conspiracy to withhold climate data? How much data is being withheld? All of it? Or a small fraction? And who is it being withheld from?


The conspiracy to withhold data is well document in the Climategate 1.0 and 2.0 e-mails.

Zack Morris wrote:Is it any worse than physicists do? Because I've written to many authors regarding papers published in the American Institute of Physics' journals only to be met with "gee, I can't seem to find it" or "I'm not giving it you."


Odd. I read several papers per week and often have questions for the authors. Most have been both prompt and forthcoming with their replies.

However, these are my anecdotes versus your anecdotes, so neither, I would argue, qualify as evidence.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Zack Morris » Fri Dec 30, 2011 2:55 am

Apology from Typhoon: Not used to having mod capability. Accidently hit "Edit" instead of "Quote". Removed my comments below, leaving only the original ZM text.
Will be careful not to repeat in the future. Sorry.

_____

Typhoon wrote:Not in my experience in my former or current fields.

What you're describing is scientific fraud - a strong allegation. Do you anything other than personal anecdote to back it up?


I could name names but I'd rather not.

I can offer more details, though. A good friend of mine whose adviser is a prominent statistics professor at my university (whose stats program is certainly in the top 5 nationally) tells me he has frequently come across papers whose analyses are either not reproducible (because of major omissions by the authors) or not at all applicable beyond the extremely narrow, cherry-picked data picked for the papers. Regarding cherry picking, it's common practice, he tells me. Most recently, his adviser, whose specialty is financial modeling, asked him to collaborate on a paper having to do with hedge fund returns. I don't know the technical details but I presume it was related to the topic of fund cloning. They had a concept and developed a model around it. When tested against the actual data, it didn't look so hot anymore. The professor's advice? 'Just pick 4 or 5 points for which it looks good.'

I've heard from a CS professor (at our very well regarded CSE dept.) that it's much the same in the field of image processing, which is far from some sort of bogus science.

In my own field, which is very heavy on modeling, I've been disillusioned by what I've seen. Our group's alumni have all gone on to relatively successful careers at places like Intel. Imagine my dismay at discovering that I can't ever seem to replicate their results, even when I manage to dig up the code they actually wrote. In one case, the interpolation scheme a colleague used to implement a published model was obviously incorrect: it did not reduce to the discrete set of equations in the limit of the sample spacing being reduced to 1. I've spent a whole year trying to replicate published models with absolutely zero success. And I know why: the authors took tremendous liberties implementing the equations they list in their manuscripts. The code is not available because they don't want anyone to see the fudge factors, the magical initial conditions, and little tweaks customized on a case-by-case basis. They always compare to a few experiments but you can bet the models break down as soon as they are applied to any other data. These aren't empirical fits, by the way, but chemical rate equations with a solid analytical basis.

This summer, I corresponded with one author about a very simple model he had implemented. It was a perfect test case. The code was not available but he was very explicit about his initial conditions and his choice of discretization. When asked for the code, he didn't even give a reason, but simply refused. Very well, I wrote my own. I wasn't at all surprised when it didn't work. So I sent it to him. He made some trivial tweaks and sent it back, saying it now looked correct. Did it reproduce his results? Nope. Not at all.

My favorite examples involve hunting down PhD theses describing similar models only to find that not only is the code unavailable, but their formulas are flat out incorrect and could not have been implemented as written. Because of how utterly stupid the scientific journal system is, authors conceal these things with brevity and generality.

I have a couple of colleagues working in MEMS-oriented groups at our department. One of the groups has even received national media attention. They both tell me that journal papers are often not completely reproducible because devices that are described are often the single one out of perhaps ten or more attempts that actually functioned. There is an enormous amount of variability in these processing techniques, everyone understands that, but nobody ever talks about failed cases or problems encountered. All of that is swept under the rug.

Returning to my field, crucial experimental parameters are omitted because they are difficult to measure. Initial concentrations, for example, and boundary conditions are simply made up when attempting to model the experiments, and then elaborate justifications are made for why the model itself is still accurate.

I think you have to take this stuff for what it is: imperfect but sometimes qualitatively valuable. Consider density functional theory. It's garbage when it comes to making quantitative predictions concerning some of the best known material systems to man. We all know that. But we still use it because within some range of limits, it is a useful tool. Someone not familiar with the technique could easily start a blog ridiculing DFT and its inability to predict the silicon band gap, or the essentially unobservable nature of predictions of molecular structure. Likewise for molecular dynamics, which is little more than crude empirical fits and classical mechanics, and is widely used (almost unquestioningly) to study very complex biological phenomena.

In light of all that I've seen, I don't have any reason to be surprised by the so-called 'Climategate' emails. The people most likely to hold them up as evidence, in my experience, are not scientists.

Odd. I read several papers per week and often have questions for the authors. Most have been both prompt and forthcoming with their replies.


How often do they send over their complete data and code (if applicable)?
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby NapLajoieonSteroids » Fri Dec 30, 2011 4:01 am

The Real Face of Physics

What is called “physics” today is the profession that’s been around for thousands of years. This is the profession that has its origins in the professional scribes of ancient Egypt and before. In Newton’s time the same profession was called “scholasticism.” Then, after Newton took over the European scholasticism these academic doctors changed their professional name to “natural philosophers” to indicate that they no longer worshipped Aristotle’s books but Newton’s book. When Newton will finally be gone, these same doctors will change their allegience again to whomever is the new master of scholasticism and worship that book.

Academic physics, is a protected monopoly like the other legal profession. To free science from the monopoly of doctors of physics we need to expose physicists as cultists, charlatans and fringe entertainers, in short, as the current representatives of the scholastic profession. And this can only happen if we take legal action against physicists and their teaching of the cult of Newtonism as science.


This crank is good for a laugh or two but what Zack Morris has seen is similar to something I experienced, which disillusioned me to a point that I couldn't in good conscience continue along that path. It is one reason I attempted to avoid "scientific" arguments of any kind, even if it is detrimental to the point I am attempting to get across. At least with the humanities, you are surrounded by fey loons who will be forgotten (and forgivable) in a year's time.

Humility is an important virtue for science that a lot of scientists (being they are brilliant and well trained) have not acquired. This adversely effects not just their field but the fruits of their labors and the common population. The politicization of Anthropogenic Global Warming has only made the field of climate science much more foolhardy.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Azrael » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:25 pm

Typhoon wrote:
Azrael wrote:I'm trying to understand your position. So far, the picture I'm getting (and please let me know if I'm wrong, or clarify things) is that you don't think that there is enough data to accept Anthropogenic Global Warming. As a physicist, you are used to the five sigma criterion, and that criterion hasn't been met with AGM.

AGM supporters may appear to be jumping the gun, however, if they are correct, by the time the data satisfies anything close to the five sigma criterion, it may be too late. AGM supporters may advocate the Precautionary principle, which states that states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action (such as continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions). Conversely, in particle physics, the burden of proof is on those who reject the null hypothesis.


Five sigma is not the issue.
Rather the issue is wrecking the standard of living of billions of people over an untested hypothesis which has become a cultural meme accepted by many without question.

The so called precautionary principle is in direct contradiction to the scientific method: assuming a hypothesis to be correct without evidence.
As such I would argue that it makes no sense.
The problem in invoking it that the track record of supposed experts in predicting future man-made disasters is abysmal.
They have been consistently wrong.

That's a very good point.

Also, if one is invoking the precautionary principle, why focus on supposed marginal man-made climate change?

Because the time horizon is relatively short. Decades or centuries, rather than tens or hundreds of millions of years.

Should we not be also be preparing for the next extinction level meteor strike?

That sort of thing only happens once every hundred million years or so. AGW could happen much, much sooner.

Moving cities underground?
The next electric power and electronics destroying massive coronal discharge from the sun?
Mandating Faraday cages eveywhere for both to forestall the deaths of hundreds of millions?
The next ice age?
Developing technology to keep the earth from freezing - an event which would result in the possible deaths of billions?

Now you're talking about things that may happen once every thirty thousand years or so. Again, AGW could happen much sooner.

With these example, we at least have good empirical evidence that they have occurred in the past and can be reasonably certain that they will occur again.

Yes, but we probably have much, much longer to prepare for those natural disasters.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:40 pm

Zack Morris wrote:
Typhoon wrote:Not in my experience in my former or current fields.

What you're describing is scientific fraud - a strong allegation. Do you anything other than personal anecdote to back it up?


I could name names but I'd rather not.



It's better not to.

Zack Morris wrote: I can offer more details, though. A good friend of mine whose adviser is a prominent statistics professor at my university (whose stats program is certainly in the top 5 nationally) tells me he has frequently come across papers whose analyses are either not reproducible (because of major omissions by the authors) or not at all applicable beyond the extremely narrow, cherry-picked data picked for the papers. Regarding cherry picking, it's common practice, he tells me. Most recently, his adviser, whose specialty is financial modeling, asked him to collaborate on a paper having to do with hedge fund returns. I don't know the technical details but I presume it was related to the topic of fund cloning. They had a concept and developed a model around it. When tested against the actual data, it didn't look so hot anymore. The professor's advice? 'Just pick 4 or 5 points for which it looks good.'


Again, this is all anecdotal. I don't think should condemn an entire field on hearsay. One would really have to go through the papers in question.

On the other hand, there is the every present "publish or perish" pressure with cutthroat competition for grants so, given human nature,
it's not too surprising that some people will choose to corners. ideally peer review and replication should weed this out, but given that most
published papers are read only by the authors and the reviewers, and given the exponential growth in the number of journals, it's not practical.

Zack Morris wrote: I've heard from a CS professor (at our very well regarded CSE dept.) that it's much the same in the field of image processing, which is far from some sort of bogus science.


Well, I am a bit familiar with specific subfields of the vast field of image processing and I have not come across rampant fudging in those specific subfields.
So again, it's my hearsay versus your hearsay.

Certain aspects of image processing are among the most difficult current algorithmic challenges.
For example, segmentation of complex natural images: all current algorithms will fail on some subset of such images.
However, that does not mean that they are in any way bogus.
There are canonical databases, such as the The Berkeley Segmentation Dataset, against which algorithms are tested and results reported.

Zack Morris wrote:In my own field, which is very heavy on modeling, I've been disillusioned by what I've seen. Our group's alumni have all gone on to relatively successful careers at places like Intel. Imagine my dismay at discovering that I can't ever seem to replicate their results, even when I manage to dig up the code they actually wrote. In one case, the interpolation scheme a colleague used to implement a published model was obviously incorrect: it did not reduce to the discrete set of equations in the limit of the sample spacing being reduced to 1. I've spent a whole year trying to replicate published models with absolutely zero success. And I know why: the authors took tremendous liberties implementing the equations they list in their manuscripts. The code is not available because they don't want anyone to see the fudge factors, the magical initial conditions, and little tweaks customized on a case-by-case basis. They always compare to a few experiments but you can bet the models break down as soon as they are applied to any other data.


Sounds like your group would benefit from remedial courses in numerical methods :wink:

Numerical methods can be both subtle and complex. As such they are under emphasized with many grads learning them [poorly] on-the-fly.

Zack Morris wrote:These aren't empirical fits, by the way, but chemical rate equations with a solid analytical basis.


Chemical rate equations? Have you investigated the stochastic simulation method that is quite robust as compared to the many numerical stability, boundary sensitivity, and initial condition problems that can plague conventional continuum ode or pde methods? The time steps are intrinsically determined by the rate constants. This method, which solves the equivalent chemical master equation has been used mostly in computational biology wherein the approximation of a continuum concentration can break down. A few years ago I read a paper from LANL that provided a significantly decrease in the order complexity of the algorithm. Also there has been some recent work in implemenation on GPUs. Obviously don't know if it's applicable to your work, but thought I'd mention it in passing as few people know about it.

Zack Morris wrote:This summer, I corresponded with one author about a very simple model he had implemented. It was a perfect test case. The code was not available but he was very explicit about his initial conditions and his choice of discretization. When asked for the code, he didn't even give a reason, but simply refused. Very well, I wrote my own. I wasn't at all surprised when it didn't work. So I sent it to him. He made some trivial tweaks and sent it back, saying it now looked correct. Did it reproduce his results? Nope. Not at all.


Everyone can and does make mistakes in algorithms. Are you sure you got the implementation right? :wink:

Zack Morris wrote:My favorite examples involve hunting down PhD theses describing similar models only to find that not only is the code unavailable, but their formulas are flat out incorrect and could not have been implemented as written. Because of how utterly stupid the scientific journal system is, authors conceal these things with brevity and generality.


The better journals have a policy of requiring that data, and any relevant analysis code, associated with a published paper be archived for independent analysis.
This should be standard policy for all journals. That is it not is a current failing.

Zack Morris wrote:I have a couple of colleagues working in MEMS-oriented groups at our department. One of the groups has even received national media attention. They both tell me that journal papers are often not completely reproducible because devices that are described are often the single one out of perhaps ten or more attempts that actually functioned. There is an enormous amount of variability in these processing techniques, everyone understands that, but nobody ever talks about failed cases or problems encountered. All of that is swept under the rug.


It took an enormous industrial R&D effort to go from the lab to dead pixel free large LCD displays that we now take for granted. The MEMS situation is likely analogous.

Was recently talking about OLEDs with a company guy from Sony. He said that the current rejection rate for faulty industrial OLED displays is about 30%.

Zack Morris wrote:Returning to my field, crucial experimental parameters are omitted because they are difficult to measure. Initial concentrations, for example, and boundary conditions are simply made up when attempting to model the experiments, and then elaborate justifications are made for why the model itself is still accurate.


Experimental science is a difficult undertaking.
Every model has assumptions, the question is whether or not the assumptions are physically realistic.

If you're in a new field wherein people are still trying to figure out how to do things, consider yourself fortunate.
Any advance you publish may make you one of the "grand old men" of the field, even if it seems trivial in the future.

Basic research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I am doing.

~ Werner von Braun

Zack Morris wrote:I think you have to take this stuff for what it is: imperfect but sometimes qualitatively valuable. Consider density functional theory. It's garbage when it comes to making quantitative predictions concerning some of the best known material systems to man. We all know that. But we still use it because within some range of limits, it is a useful tool. Someone not familiar with the technique could easily start a blog ridiculing DFT and its inability to predict the silicon band gap, or the essentially unobservable nature of predictions of molecular structure. Likewise for molecular dynamics, which is little more than crude empirical fits and classical mechanics, and is widely used (almost unquestioningly) to study very complex biological phenomena.


It's a flawed analogy. The underlying physics on which DFT is based, QM, is known.
Unlike climate research, the known problems and limitations of DFT are out in the open. No one is trying to hide them.
Someday, someone will come up with an improvement on current DFT. It's a very active area of research.

Analogous open problems are solving the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics in the turbulent regime,
the QCD confinement problem, and the existence of Yang-Mills theory and the mass gap
to name but three.

In the case of the earth's global climate, a far more complex open system, the underlying factors driving the dynamics are still being discovered.
As a minimum, current models are thus incomplete.

Zack Morris wrote:In light of all that I've seen, I don't have any reason to be surprised by the so-called 'Climategate' emails. The people most likely to hold them up as evidence, in my experience, are not scientists.


Well, for the sake of argument, let's take what you've written at face value.
Then you've provided an excellent and highly compelling case as to why so-called climate research should be completely discounted when it comes to economic and other policy.

Zack Morris wrote:
Odd. I read several papers per week and often have questions for the authors. Most have been both prompt and forthcoming with their replies.


How often do they send over their complete data and code (if applicable)?


We typically [re]produce the code ourselves from the papers and test it against similar, but not identical, data.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:58 pm

Azrael wrote:
Typhoon wrote:
Azrael wrote:I'm trying to understand your position. So far, the picture I'm getting (and please let me know if I'm wrong, or clarify things) is that you don't think that there is enough data to accept Anthropogenic Global Warming. As a physicist, you are used to the five sigma criterion, and that criterion hasn't been met with AGM.

AGM supporters may appear to be jumping the gun, however, if they are correct, by the time the data satisfies anything close to the five sigma criterion, it may be too late. AGM supporters may advocate the Precautionary principle, which states that states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action (such as continuing to increase greenhouse gas emissions). Conversely, in particle physics, the burden of proof is on those who reject the null hypothesis.


Five sigma is not the issue.
Rather the issue is wrecking the standard of living of billions of people over an untested hypothesis which has become a cultural meme accepted by many without question.

The so called precautionary principle is in direct contradiction to the scientific method: assuming a hypothesis to be correct without evidence.
As such I would argue that it makes no sense.
The problem in invoking it that the track record of supposed experts in predicting future man-made disasters is abysmal.
They have been consistently wrong.

That's a very good point.



The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894

Azrael wrote:
Also, if one is invoking the precautionary principle, why focus on supposed marginal man-made climate change?

Because the time horizon is relatively short. Decades or centuries, rather than tens or hundreds of millions of years.


Well, it's been several decades now and nothing has changed. The climate has continued to fluctuate.

Azrael wrote:
Should we not be also be preparing for the next extinction level meteor strike?

That sort of thing only happens once every hundred million years or so. AGW could happen much, much sooner.


We don't know when the next extinction level meteor strike will occur. It could another hundred million years from now or it could be tomorrow.

Azrael wrote:
Moving cities underground?
The next electric power and electronics destroying massive coronal discharge from the sun?
Mandating Faraday cages eveywhere for both to forestall the deaths of hundreds of millions?
The next ice age?
Developing technology to keep the earth from freezing - an event which would result in the possible deaths of billions?

Now you're talking about things that may happen once every thirty thousand years or so. Again, AGW could happen much sooner.


We don't know have often such events occur as civilization was not, until the mid 20th century, sufficiently industrialized to be impacted.

Solar storm of 1859

Azrael wrote:
With these example, we at least have good empirical evidence that they have occurred in the past and can be reasonably certain that they will occur again.

Yes, but we probably have much, much longer to prepare for those natural disasters.


Why spend time, effort, and money in preparing for a disaster that is in the imminent future . . . and always will be.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Sat Jan 07, 2012 9:04 pm

Nothing to see here.



Move along and please continue to believe the pronouncements of so-called climate scientists.
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Re: The Anthropogenic Global Warming Controversy

Postby Typhoon » Mon Jan 09, 2012 5:53 am

And then there’s the National Institute of Statistical Sciences Stanley Young and Alan Karr’s “Deming, data and observational studies“. Here’s their abstract:

“Any claim coming from an observational study is most likely to be wrong.” Startling, but true. Coffee causes pancreatic cancer. Type A personality causes heart attacks. Trans-fat is a killer. Women who eat breakfast cereal give birth to more boys. All these claims come from observational studies; yet when the studies are carefully examined, the claimed links appear to be incorrect. What is going wrong? Some have suggested that the scientific method is failing, that nature itself is playing tricks on us. But it is our way of studying nature that is broken and that urgently needs mending.

Part of what’s broken is statistics.


One can add so-called global warming to their list.
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