Climate Change’s Inherent Uncertainties

January 26th, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

I don’t usually recommend articles on other blogs.

But there is an unusually good essay at Quadrant Online about the pickle climate scientists now find themselves in after selling their souls to their government masters in order to produce “scientific evidence” of human-caused climate change.

In Climate Change’s Inherent Uncertainties, Garth Paltridge also lays out in simple terms why climate forecasts can’t be trusted.

I couldn’t find a single statement that I disagreed with. Which is strange, because I disagree with myself on a routine basis.

67 Responses to “Climate Change’s Inherent Uncertainties”

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  1. John Benton says:

    I read this somewhere else and it stood out as an unusually honest assessment of the state of climate science.

    What a pity it’s come about a decade too late. Unfortunately even in engineering, we are experiencing the fallout from overconfident and arrogant climate scientists who have been unable to admit the huge uncertainties in much of their work.

    Although the models we work with are very far removed from climate models, I have noticed an increasing distrust in engineering models from clients.

  2. Hops says:

    My understanding is that Muller’s analysis was strictly statistical in nature. He didn’t trust computer models either. Yet his conclusion was that there is a correlation between rising CO2 and a warming trend.

    The computer models are not just for the purpose of proving the trend, but for trying to understand how different regions will be affected.

    • Chic Bowdrie says:

      Until lately there was no doubt about the correlation between CO2 and warming, only whether the warming was a symptom rather than a coincidence. Now even the correlation is in doubt, suggesting that CO2 may have little to do with warming.

      Computer models are not data, hence will never prove a trend. Until the models improve reliance on natural factors and reduce reliance on CO2, their predictions cannot be trusted.

      • Hops says:

        CB, by what methodology is the correlation between CO2 and warming in doubt? If you back test it against the record, how does it work out? There have been many times in the past century when the warming leveled off. In fact, in the 1940’s it cooled, but then shot up again. Can you imagine if it did actually cool off for a while now? If it isn’t CO2, we are long overdue for a reversion to the mean.

        Muller’s conclusion was that CO2 is causing the warming, nothing else we know of.

        • Peter In MD says:

          CB, “Until lately there was no doubt about the correlation between CO2 and warming, only whether the warming was a symptom rather than a coincidence”

          I’ve never heard that, the only two theories I’ve heard are Warming leads a rise in CO2 by about 800 years, or CO2 leads warming, which ice cores show isn’t true.

          So where did the coincidence come from?

          • Chic Bowdrie says:

            A coincidence comes from the possibility that CO2 has a negligible effect on temperature and vice versa.

          • Hops says:

            I’ve read that more recent analysis of the ice cores, with better equipment, indicates the warming and CO2 increase were about coincident within the margin of error.

            But of course, there are things other than CO2 that induce warming, such as the orbit around the sun, or release of soot from volcanos. Even if warming once led CO2, that doesn’t mean CO2 won’t cause warming, or that the CO2 released back then wasn’t part of a positive feedback.

        • Chic Bowdrie says:

          The correlation’s in doubt when you have to look for it in the deep ocean.

        • Aaron S says:

          Hops, why do you assume this warming is not a natural part of the climate cycle? or more specifically how do you eliminate that the warming is related to the very high level or solar activity coeval to the warming? We are currently at the peak of an interglacial. Did you know that during the last interglacial peak (at ~120k yr bp) the global sea level peaked at 20 feet higher than modern? This was predominantly driven by the composite forcing of the orbital cycles, which were more in phase (constructive interference) compared to modern, but the point is this is not even close to that level of global warming and CO2 was less than 300ppm during that recorded event. The Earth had no issue returning to a full glacial phase from those elevated temperatures, so there is not clear evidence that we are breaking some threshold or tipping point of no return. This century of warming may not even make it into any comparable global record (sea level, ice cores…) I know of (please share if you have one) unless it continues for significantly more time. I just think people are avoiding the obvious: the climate is likely modulated dominantly by the sun. The IPCC models are so simple in addressing the sun- they don’t factor in the magnetics and clouds, UV light, or feedbacks to solar forcing. IMO: I think it is scary to some if Humans are not in control.

        • NoFreeWind says:

          Did you or Dr Muller ever to consider El Nino? Duh!

          Didn’t you hear, the oceans ate the warming the past 15 years, maybe they spit it out from 1977-1998.

  3. Pete Brown says:

    When you disagree with yourself, at least you know it’s a fair fight… 😉

  4. Hops says:

    Why is uncertainty in a model taken as justification for inaction? Surely the probability distribution is not one sided. In the long run, they may be too conservative.

    As I understand the IPCC projections, they do not currently include any positive feedback such as methane release. So there may be jump conditions not represented in the models because we cannot currently predict them.

    • Bart says:

      Because there are competing costs for action, and we cannot perform a valid cost/benefit analysis to determine which actions provide maximum benefit without weighing the outcomes properly based on likelihood.

      The IPCC does include positive feedback from water vapor, for which the only evidence is very dubious. Without that positive feedback, the all-things-being-equal projection of CO2 induced warming is minor. Putative additional positive feedback from methane release is speculative at best, given that the Earth has endured warmer climates in the past and there are no indications of any such effects.

      • Hops says:

        Warming in the past happened at much, much slower rate, no?

        So any release of CO2 or methane from previously frozen substrate would have been too gradual to notice. Right?

        • Bart says:

          So, if a car runs over you at 50 mph, it will kill you, but if it runs over you at 5 mph, you’ll be OK?

          Time scale is irrelevant. If something bad were going to happen with methane, it already would have.

          • Hops says:

            Unlike CO2, methane is broken down in the atmosphere. So yes, time scale matters a lot. To match your analogy, if you drink a gallon of whiskey in one night, you’ll die, but if you drink it over the course of a month, you’ll get a lot of pleasant little buzzes because it breaks down in your liver.

            Time scale also matters a lot to the ability of plants, animals, and societies to adapt to warming.

          • Bart says:

            This is where a lot of lay people and others not so untutored, but lacking training in feedback systems, get into trouble. What you are describing is, in fact, a negative feedback The methane breaking down reduces the impact of rising temperature. The internal dynamics are therefore stable, and external forcing cannot destabilize the system.

        • John K says:

          Hello Hops,

          You asked:

          “Warming in the past happened at much, much slower rate, no?”

          Do you have any evidence of that? However, we have enormous evidence that the ICE AGE commenced much, much faster! Consider the PERMAFROST!

          Have a great day!

          • Hops says:


            Using this ancient evidence, scientists have built a record of Earths past climates, or paleoclimates. The paleoclimate record combined with global models shows past ice ages as well as periods even warmer than today. But the paleoclimate record also reveals that the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.

          • Bart says:

            “But the paleoclimate record also reveals that the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.”

            In fact, we have no way of knowing this. The error bars are huge, and there are no independent means of verification.

            In recent time, the rise of ~1910-1940 is almost precisely the same as that of ~1970-2000. As the former was definitely not caused by rising CO2, there is no reason to believe the latter was.

            You have been sold a bill of goods, a narrative without proof. This is not science.

          • NoFreeWind says:

            Hop say:
            >But the paleoclimate record also reveals that the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.

            Jus at the English CET temp record and you can see there were 3 periods of similar “rapid warming”, BEFORE 1920, when we didn’t even have cars!

            Did you ever read about how glaciers advanced and destroye hundreds of years old villages in the Alp’s during the little ice age, in a matter of years? What caused that reverse global warming? We don’t really know, just like we don’t really know what is happening know, except we do know that the oceans and clouds and sun can have dramatic effect on our climate and weather. Their effect is much more established than what the change of 1 part in 20,000 parts of the atmosphere from something to CO2 could do.

  5. Hot Potato says:

    I agree, great article. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I will be using it in my internet travels.

    I know Christmas has passed us by, but this truly is a Paltridge in a pear tree.

  6. Aaron S says:

    Great link! It is well written and very informative, and in my opinion add to their list of climate uncertainties solar forcing and associated feedbacks (the article listed oceans and clouds).

  7. Hops says:

    I see Dr, Mann’s libel case against the National Review et al will be now proceeding to the discovery phase. He seems to have nothing to hide, while the NR grasped at every legal straw to prevent it going to trial. They failed. In fact, their lawyers quit.

    I wonder what sort of dirt will come out of the discovery phase.

    • Streetcred says:

      Funny that … I thought it was Steyn who wanted out ? NR will relish the discovery phase. If Mann was so confident he would not be dilly-dallying in the case against Dr Ball where, to my knowledge, discovery has been ordered.

      • Hops says:

        If Mann wasn’t confident, why would he bother with a law suit?

        According to some sources, the defendant’s lawyers may have quit because the defendant publicly bad-mouthed the judge. I suppose they feel free to bad mouth anyone without regard to facts. Such arrogance!

        But the broader point is that climate scientists have not “sold their souls to their governments masters.” They are doing honest work in a relatively new and challenging field. If anything, most have had to struggle against the government, such as Hansen’s long running battle with the Bush administration, which sold its soul to the fossil fuel industry.

        The idea that climate scientists are political pawns in a plot to advance sort of socialist agenda is a figment of the right wing imagination.

        • John K says:

          Hi Hops,

          You query:

          “If Mann wasnt confident, why would he bother with a law suit?”

          Why do you seem to believe Mann is the only one behind his law suit? As to your question, intimidation comes to mind. Threaten legal action and financial penalties against anyone who questions the claim that unscientific, speculative historical temperature boasts (i.e. the hockey stick graph) based on conjured tree-ring and lake bed varve guesses and absent empirical temperature measurement for almost the entire 500 to 2000 year period graphed in order to cower opponents and suppress CAGW dissent against psuedo scientific blather. Hockey stick graphs claim to present the global or hemispherical mean temperature record of the past 500 to 2000 years as shown by supposedly quantitative climate reconstructions based on climate proxy records (like tree rings and lake bed varves). Remember, satellites capable of measuring temperatures over the surface of the entire earth and thus allowing people to average them didn’t exist until 1979!!! That apparently doesn’t dissuade some from merely conjuring up global temperature fables, in the form of hockey-stick graphs and calling it DATA!

          DATA is an acronym meaning DIRECT ACCESS TO ANSWERS. The supposed mystery as to whether Mann is a fraud or not depends on the question. If Mann’s HOCKEY STICK GRAPH/SPECULATIVE BOAST merely answers the question can you conjure up an imaginary temperature graph that reflects your best guess/hunch as to what temperatures might have been over a period 500 to 2000 years based on hunches about tree rings and lake bed varves then it would be hard to call that a fraud. However, SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE COMPRISES THE FACTS AND LAWS OF NATURE NOT SPECULATION. SINCE ALMOST THE ENTIRE TEMPERATURE RECORD DISPLAYED IN THE HOCKEY STICK GRAPHS HAS NEVER BEEN OBSERVED AND/OR MEASURED HOW CAN ANYONE WITH AN I.Q. ABOVE SINGLE DIGITS POSSIBLY CALL IT SCIENCE? If Mann simply represents some addlepated dreamer conjuring up graphs then of course fraud becomes irrelevant, but so does almost anything he claims. If however, Mann and others like yourself actually claim these graphs to be empirical hemispheric and/or global temperature observations/measurements then you all should seek counseling and be confined to rooms with very soft walls and no sharp objects or ignored for possible lack of integrity.


          You went on to assert:

          “But the broader point is that climate scientists have not sold their souls to their governments masters. They are doing honest work in a relatively new and challenging field.”

          Which climate scientists? Apparently, you mean Dr. Roy Spencer, John Christy and others who appear skeptical about CAGW. The CAGW crowd chucked reason along time ago.

          You then went on to spout:

          “If anything, most have had to struggle against the government, such as Hansens long running battle with the Bush administration, which sold its soul to the fossil fuel industry.”

          Did the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 differ under Bush anymore than Clinton or Obama? Hmmh! No, CO2 continued to increase under them all quite unabated. Apparently, your opinion of Bush merely reflects ideological distain without any empirical support. As to “fossil fuels” would that include NATURAL GAS (80% CH4)? It can be formed from common earth ores like iron oxide, calcite and water deep within the earth. Keep in mind it’s a VOLCANIC GAS!!! I’ve provided evidence about this many times on Roy’s blog you might do well to research an Astrophysicist by the name of Thomas Gold.

          You then bizarrely chimed in with:

          “The idea that climate scientists are political pawns in a plot to advance sort of socialist agenda is a figment of the right wing imagination.”

          Really? Then why do all the CAGW alarmist schemes they so often support like the Kyoto Protocol, innumerable EPA regulations on the earth’s hydrocarbons, etc. by design do nothing to halt or reduce the human contribution of CO2 in the atmosphere but merely re-distribute wealth. Why would one Al Gore (A large Occidental Petroleum stockholder) work feverishly to impose Cap and Trade legislation that again does nothing to seriously alter human atmospheric CO2 contributions but as likely gate-keeper likely re-distribute enormous sums of money to certain vested financial interests like just maybe OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM!!! Why if he’s so interested in SAVING THE PLANET does he own 15 homes and consume I’ve heard the energy equivalent of 15 average american citizens? Apparently, he’s reduced it from 20.

          Are you on medication?

          Have a great day!

          • John K says:


            My post above should have said:

            -Does Manns HOCKEY STICK GRAPH/SPECULATIVE BOAST merely answers the question -can you conjure up an imaginary temperature graph that reflects your best guess/hunch as to what temperatures might have been over a period 500 to 2000 years based on hunches about tree rings and lake bed varves? If so it would be hard to call that a fraud.

            It should also have said:

            Why would one Al Gore (A large Occidental Petroleum stockholder) work feverishly to impose Cap and Trade legislation that again does nothing to seriously alter human atmospheric CO2 contributions but as likely gate-keeper likely re-distribute enormous sums of money to certain vested financial interests like just maybe OCCIDENTAL PETROLEUM?!!!!

            Question marks are important!

            Have a great day!

          • John K says:

            Possible correction: Al Gore’s family owned a significant stake in Occidental Petroleum. If anyone know’s their recent exposure. Please let us know.

          • Hops says:

            Climate change was a major topic at the recent World Economic Forum, where Bill Gates joined Al Gore. Richard Branson once again just offered his view of the menace of climate change. Are these billionaires and top economists delusional socialists? Really? Maybe, John K, you should set aside YOUR ideology, step back, and consider that YOU might be the one out of touch with reality.

          • Bart says:

            Gore, definitely. The others…

            “The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

            – Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

          • John K says:

            Hello Hops,

            Thank you for the reply. I apologize that my last post seemed a little sarcastic. However, you stated:

            “Maybe, John K, you should set aside YOUR ideology, step back, and consider that YOU might be the one out of touch with reality.”

            If you re-read my post please notice my objection didn’t bear on IDEOLOGY. The problem with the many assorted Hockey Stick Graphs or more accurately stream of conscious fantasy wall/internet art projects involves the almost complete absence of any factual basis for their claims. If the graphs presented the record of actual temperature measurements/observations or even averages of actual measurements/observations my post if it existed would have been completely different. My post raised many SCIENTIFIC objections to the HOCKEY STICK FICTION concerning LOGIC and METHODOLOGY that you have yet to respond to. IT APPEARS THAT YOU HAVEN’T THOUGHT THROUGH THE MANY PROBLEMS INHERENT IN THE HABIT OF SUBSTITUTING FACT WITH SPECULATION!

            As to IDEOLOGY remember it cuts both ways! You seemingly assume others possess it but you do not. My post addressed your apparently FACT FREE defense of Mann and his apparently creative Hockey Stick fantasy art projects. In addition, you even raised the specter of the Bush administration supposedly selling it’s soul for the hydrocarbon industry or as you call it “fossil fuel industry.” FYI I personally never voted for the most recent Bush (I think it’s 43). Nevertheless, you failed to provide in your post any evidence of what you claim. Note I’m not disputing whether he has or hasn’t morally compromised himself as to the Iraq war and other issues. My point is that you have yet to provide a factual basis for your claim. Btw, if you wish to make an IDEOLOGICAL attack regarding the “fossil fuel industry” and politics you had better address the LONG CHAIN OF LIKELY CO-CONSPIRATORS INVOLVED. Remember, Bill Clinton signed into law a resolution calling for the over throw of Saddam Hussein back in the 1990’s, both he and Hillary, Gore, John Kerry and many other Democrats supported the war in Iraq. As I mentioned in my previous post Al Gore has deep connections to the “fossil fuel industry” however much you wish to cut him slack for spouting environmental bromides and targeting industry competitors. Oh! While Obama claims to have been against the Iraq War that didn’t stop him for his obvious failings in the Mid East including apparently escalating conflict in Afghanistan on multiple levels and apparently attempting to create and maintain a Morsi dictatorship in Egypt.

            Btw, you do seem to easily assume the posture of “leftist climate apologist” when you bring up Branson and Bill Gates! You seem to suggest look even these BILLIONAIRES support the CAGW canards. First, Branson owns Virgin airlines which can use all the political help it can get to remove competitor through onerous carbon legislation that would favor himself. Last I checked planes run on hydrocarbons! Oh! you might also remember that BURT RUTAN of SCALED COMPOSITS won Branson’s prize for the first privately made vehicle to enter space. Burt Rutan came out against CAGW! As to Bill Gates he may support very strict environmental controls and government control of the environment. Many business people support SOCIALIST SOLUTIONS. Certainly the Nazi’s did and many industrialist supporters did. In fact, Hitler supported very extreme environmental policies including ‘Re-wilding” and was a vegetarian.

            Have a great day!

        • NoFreeWind says:

          >They are doing honest work in a relatively new and challenging field.

          Are you really sure about that? I would look into that if I were you.

    • Bill Sparling says:

      I would like to think that Mann was honestly incorrect (as has been proven – the error I mean) rather than dishonest. If so, then he was slandered & libeled. BUT, if he was not, then that is an entirely other thing.

  8. stevek says:

    Heat is very good at finding a way to escape. In order for co2 in to warm planet to such a degree many things would have to fall in place. This is why I’m not betting on agw.

  9. Hot Potato says:

    The hypocrisy of Liberals. It’s always been assumed that Libs were the champions of free speech, free expression…free everything (The Man is putting us down!), but when you pull back that cheap and tawdry veil, you find it’s quite the opposite. At this rate, within a decade, despite further mounting evidence that the climate forecasting models are wrong and human-related behavior isn’t having any discernible effect on climate, Roy and those of us who appreciate his voice and agree with him here, will be incarcerated for hateful speech and hateful thoughts. It will be blasphemous to dispute what will soon be indisputable by law. Such is the precedent the Mann case will set. Is that a slippery slope? You bet ya. But in this increasingly illogical world where cold means warming, slippery slope becomes a valid argument. In the meantime, I’m going to “hate” as much as I possibly can before it’s illegal.

  10. Ron Sinclair says:

    Thanks for posting this Roy. A very interesting and well written piece. Definitely a keeper.
    It also appears as though the writer waited until he “retired” before speaking his mind. Makes sense, based on what has happened in past history to folks who spoke out too soon.

  11. stevek says:


    Check out:

    This is what things are coming to, if they are not there already.

  12. James says:

    The delusion is computer models are accurate predictors. When in human history has anyone been able to accurately predict the future outside of biblical prophets? Answer is no one. Climate scientists are no more better than a fake psychic if you think about it because they are trying to predict future events so many years out their accuracy is very very low. Yet we are to spend billions upon billions on these predictions. Edgar Cayce would have loved this scam

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @James “When in human history has anyone been able to accurately predict the future outside of biblical prophets?”

      The IPCC have already admitted that in the 2001 review (TAR). They stated clearly that future climate states cannot be predicted. Then they went ahead and did exactly that under the guise of theoretical scenarios based on climate model probabilities.

      It was expert reviewers Vincent Gray who convinced them that unvalidated climate models could predict nothing. Not to be dissuaded, the IPCC changed the fine print to read ‘projection’ in the place of ‘prediction’.

      If it were not for the courage and integrity of scientists like Roy Spencer and John Christy, we’d be completely under the effect of the pseudo-science practiced by the IPCC, NOAA, NASA GISS, NCDC, et al.

      • James says:

        That is my point Gordon. The climatologists can’t predict the future. No one can. Indeed, the IPCC report says 50-60% error. That’s pretty much throwing darts at the proverbial board. I can say to a 50-60% error it WON’T be warmer in 100 years and be just as accurate.

      • CC Squid says:

        “If it were not for the courage and integrity of scientists like Roy Spencer and John Christy, wed be completely under the effect of the pseudo-science practiced …”

        In ten years these and the other true scientists names will have been forgotten, except by us! By that time the average persons belief in science will have been seriously compromised! I live in Colorado and frequently drive on I-25 and pass the AF Academy’s solar grid and wind farms near Pueblo. When I do I think of the great waste of my taxes and the nations resources and time that have been expended on these items. As this equipment ages their decaying remainders will be monuments to academic and scientific corruption for decades to come.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          @CCQUID “By that time the average persons belief in science will have been seriously compromised!”

          It’s already seriously compromised.

          I know the following sounds off-topic but it’s not. It’s an example of the pseudo-science that is being passed off in schools and universities as science. It is also an example of the kinds of pseudo-science being passed off in general science with its AGW equivalent in what Roy is talking about here.

          Two examples paralleling the AGW pseudo-science:

          In 1966, at the Wismar gathering in Philadelphia, scholars gathered to discuss the reliability of the theory of evolution. The basis for that theory is that life formed from roughly 5 basic elements: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and phosphorus. In the ensuing years, those elements magically formed themselves into life as we now know it with its infinite complexity.

          The consensus from Wismar was that the odds against that happening were astronomical. Even dyed in the wool evolutionists admitted they had no answers as to how those elements could form life based on what we know about the 4 different atomic bonds required to form amino acids and proteins. Many clung to theories like natural selection even though no scientist can explain what it is and how it operates.

          Since 1966, scientists have gathered data about DNA which reveals codes built into the DNA that are used to form amino acids and proteins. Without those codes in the beginning, how would amino acids and proteins have been formed? And, where did the codes come from?

          Even if we did know that, biologist Rupert Sheldrake likened the process from protein to life, to dropping off building materials at a construction site and expecting them to form themselves into a building.

          The theory of evolution is a faith-based theory that people have accepted blindly and defended through sheer emotion.

          In the HIV/AIDS arena, until about 10 years ago, HIV was referred to as the virus ‘thought’ to cause AIDS. In the interim, the media have converted that theory to HIV being the AIDS-virus.

          Recently, the scientist who discovered HIV, Dr. Luc Montagnier, made it clear that HIV will not harm a healthy immune system. Since HIV was first put forward as the cause of AIDS in 1983, Montagnier has never accepted that HIV alone can cause AIDS. He claimed there had to be a co-factor and it seems he is now suggesting the co-factor is lifestyle.

          In an interview on the site houseofnumbers (under videos), he expounded on HIV and AIDS for an hour. During the interview, he admitted he has never seen HIV, isolated it, or purified it.

          No one has seen HIV, that’s why there is such an interest in the viral load theory, which claims to amplify HIV using the PCR method for DNA amplification. The scientist who invented the method, Kary Mullis, claims PCR cannot be used to do that. The point missed is why HIV need to be amplified.

          Dr. Montagnier explained that in his interview. HIV existence is based on cell cultures taken from people with full-blown AIDS. Montagnier has inferred that HIV is 1 in 1000 parts of that cell culture and he made the inference based on RNA particles which ‘COULD’ be a virus. Photos of HIV on the Internet are not HIV but the entire cell mass.

          Again, the HIV/AIDS paradigm is based entirely on emotion and opinion. There is absolutely no direct proof that HIV exists yet the medical community feels justified in attacking it with potent and toxic chemicals that can destroy livers and kidneys and even cause AIDS. The name of drug-induced AIDS has been changed to IRS. Dr. Peter Duesberg has branded that process as AIDS-by-prescription”.

          The drug companies who make those cell poisons, which were initially for cancer chemotherapy, have a disclaimer on their products. It states that the product will NOT cure HIV. So, HIV+ people are put on a regimen of cell poisons for life while myopic medical professionals claim HIV is being eradicated.

          Do I need to point out that many of those professionals profit from speaking on behalf of drug companies and from patenting their methods?

          To make matters worse, people who are skeptical of the prevailing paradigm are ostracized. Dr. Peter Duesberg, the youngest member of his era inducted into the National Academy of Science, has had his career ruined because he claimed HIV could not cause AIDS. He is an expert in viruses and he claimed HIV does not behave like a typical virus.

          Now the scientist who discovered HIV, and who was awarded a Nobel for his work, agrees in principle. Too late for Duesberg’s career.

          Roy Spencer and John Christy are being targeted by the same kind of paradigm protectors who behave much like the same paradigm protectors who ostracized Galileo and Copernicus.

  13. Stevek says:

    Modeling one thing in isolation is doable. For example c02 itself. Or rotation of earth. Or increase in water vapor in closed system. Or increased wind.

    Try doing them all together and it’s the interactions that will drive you batty.

    Either the models have been extremely unlucky or they are seriously flawed.

    When we don’t have good models , we need to turn to history or intuition or experience etc.

    The problem must be looked at in a different way.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      @Stevek…”Modeling one thing in isolation is doable”.

      Models are used all the time but they are of no use unless you can replicate them in reality. For example, I can model an electronics circuit using one of the many programs available to do that. If I can build a circuit using real components, and it works along the lines of what the model predicted, the model is validated.

      I know from decades working in electronics that no design is perfect. Even alignment of communications receivers using accurate generators and oscilliscopes is not always perfect based on the instrumentation alone. Sometimes one has to use his ears or eyes to tweak the alignment even though the instruments show the alignment is electronically accurate.

      Same thing with design. You can design an amplifier, allowing for it’s natural tendency to oscillate at particular frequencies (poles) but when you build the unit, variations in tolerances in parts can cause unforeseen oscillations. That requires tweaking of feedback systems to control it.

      I think it is incredibly arrogant for modellers to make claims with a 95% confidence level that their models are validated. That’s what they are claiming when they program data into their machines based on carbon-based anthropogenic warming and positive feedbacks related to heat that contravene the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

      The modelers have still not gotten it that infrared radiation is not heat. They are applying the 1st law, which covers such energy and applying it to heat, claiming the second law is satisfied because a balance of infrared energy is positive.

      Heat transfer is not covered by the 1st law, which was modified into the 2nd law by Clausius because the 1st law allowed conditions of perpetual motion with heat transfer. The 2nd law laid out conditions to prevent perpetual motion (a tipping point), the product of positive feedback. That incorrect physics is programmed into climate models.

      Expert reviewer Vincent Gray forced the IPCC to acknowledge that their models are not validated hence they can predict nothing. That’s why the IPCC now talks in scenarios with ‘projections’ rather than ‘predictions’.

      • Christopher Game says:

        Clausius “modified” the first law? The second law was essentially propounded by Carnot in 1824, before the first independently by Clausius and by Rankine in 1850. Carnot’s principle still holds if interpreted in the light of the asymmetric interconvertibility of heat and work.

        • Gordon Robertson says:

          @ChristorpherGaines “Clausius modified the first law? The second law was essentially propounded by Carnot in 1824, before the first independently by Clausius and by Rankine in 1850”.

          Carnot had nothing to do with the 2nd law. He made the essential mistake of claiming there were no losses in a heat engine. It was Carnot’s claim that got Clausius interested because he reasoned there had to be losses.

          Carnot eventually realized his mistake, much to his credit. By then, Clausius had begun studying heat as a lossy system, leading to the 2nd law. Along the way, he coined the term entropy to describe the disgregation of atoms in a body that occurs as the body is warmed…like metal expanding.

          AGW proponents are making the mistake of regarding infrared energy as heat. Clausius pointed out that infrared energy can be exchanged between bodies of different temperatures but that heat can only be transferred from the warmer body to the cooler body, under normal conditions. The only way to reverse that process is to supply external energy, as in a refrigerator.

          AGW defies the 2nd law by claiming that heat can be transferred from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface. The AGW alarmists think that is fine as long as a balance of infrared energies is positive. That’s where they confuse heat for infrared energy. The 1st law applies to IR summation but heat cannot be summed using the 1st law. The 2nd law covers heat transfer by applying rules related to losses.

          Clausius summed it up nicely: IR can be exchanged between bodies but heat can flow in one direction only under normal conditions, from hot to cold.

          • Christopher Game says:

            The accuracy of your history is about on the same level as your attempt to copy my name.

          • RW says:

            “AGW defies the 2nd law by claiming that heat can be transferred from a cooler atmosphere to a warmer surface.”

            Actually, it doesn’t.

    • mick9 says:

      You can’t use linear analysis to measure an integrated system,true.Like using a ruler to measure the volume of a beachball.
      Climate science is in its infancy and for the long term we can hope that they will develop accurate formulas that they can plug the variables into.
      Then they would predict the 14 day weather forcast with better accuracy.

      Until then they should STFU

  14. Hot Potato says:

    Opportunists, Hops. That’s what they are. Opportunists capitalizing on inculcated fear & loathing except it’s Davos and not Vegas. The very people they purport to want to help are the very people who will be harmed by their ideas if translated into policy.

  15. stevek says:

    Time will tell. Another 2 or 3 years of no warming and more and more scientists will man up and admit a mistake.

    We learn from mistakes. Erring on side of caution is not the worst thing in world.

    • Bill Sparling says:

      “Erring on side of caution is not the worst thing in world.” except when the consequences of that error exceed what you were supposedly trying to prevent.

  16. Gordon Robertson says:

    Thanks for the link Roy. I enjoy articles that are to the point and dismantle accepted truth. Sometimes they are a long time coming.

    The article is partly about the excesses of the IPCC in expressing confidence levels of 95% that humans are causing global warming. In AR5. they increased that confidence level to 98% while admitting there has been no warming trend the past 15 years. They got around that by claiming the warming is merely on hiatus.

    In TAR, the IPCC produced Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph, which claimed warming in the 1990s that was unprecedented over the past 1000 years. Mann based his work on tree ring proxies and that study was demolished by statisticians McIntyre and McKittrick, causing the IPCC to withdraw the Mann graph and replace it with the spaghetti graph.

    More recently, I cam across this delicious article by the late John Daly, which slices and dices Mann’s tree ring proxies into little bits.

    The opening statement sets the scene: “A tree only grows on land. That excludes 70% of the earth covered by water. A tree does no grow on ice. A tree does not grow in a desert. A tree does not grow on grassland-savannahs. A tree does not grow in alpine areas. A tree does not grow in the tundra. We are left with perhaps 15% of the planet upon which forests grow/grew. That does not make any studies from tree rings global, or even hemispheric.

    Why did no one at the IPCC reviews pick up on that glaring hole in Mann’s work? Probably because the IPCC depends on surface data for it’s claims and that data covers about 30% of the planet. Satellites cover 95% of the planet and they are ignored by the IPCC.

  17. James says:

    A good example of the difficulty of modeling the planet’s climate is simply examining our own lives. We know we will wake up, we know we will sleep at some point, we know we will eat, we know we will go to work if we have a job or not if we don’t, we know we will more than likely drive a car. Past these basics, the variables are immense. We have no idea if an accident shall occur that effects our day or even the rest of our lives, we have no idea what may occur to us, losing our job, getting a new job, what we will eat or drink, if something violent will occur, fire will happen at work or home, and so forth, and there is no computer model that can predict it. Sure, people could apply statistics but those stats don’t really tell you about YOU. They are nothing more of a general overview of what happens to a vast number of people not individuals. The climate has many times more variables and people actually believe a computer model can account for all these things. Just looking at our daily lives and the variables there should show someone how hard it is to generate a model that can predict anything with so many variables accurately.

    • David A says:


      The climate is subject to the laws of physics, especially conservation of energy. So while it can be difficult to predict in short time periods — months, years — it gets easier for long time periods where it depends more on energy conservation.

      • Chic Bowdrie says:

        I think you have it backward, David. Weather models are getting spectacularly accurate nowadays. Error propagation increases with the number of factors of which time would be a major one. Even with the best possible climate model, the likelihood that temperatures would deviate from predictions would increase with time.

  18. stevek says:

    Plugging a bunch of rules and equations into a computer program then running a simulation doesn’t amount to much unless it predicts reality.

    It may be fun, it may take some smarts, it may get you grants, the media may like it. But science is based on reproduceable predictions of reality.

    The funny thing is the one scientific result the models produced was that the models are wrong with a high confidence interval.

    trying to peddle these models as truth is a total sham and completely dishonest.

    • David A says:

      Here’s a model for you:

      How precise do you need it to be (and why?).

      • Chris says:

        Suppose you use the period from 1850 to 1860 to calculate the models parameters. Pretend no other data exists. Now let the model run from 1860 to the present – how well does it fit the data then?

        It really doesn’t say very much (other than you have sufficient degrees of freedom) to say that when I curve fit the data, the fitted curve matches the data. You can do that more easily with a polynomial series, and get better (but just as meaningless) results.

        Only the predicative properties of the model count, and to date they have failed that test.

      • Chic Bowdrie says:

        I would like to see the model fit 1910-1940 temperatures as well as it does from 1960 to the present. Probably, there are some natural factors not being accounted for.

        Also, do you know if the anthro only and natural factors only graphs were independent best fits or simply separated from the composite “all” result?

  19. David A says:

    Do conservatives ever make climate models, or do they get by just with criticizing other’s?

  20. Dr. Strangelove says:

    “the chances of a climate sceptic, or anyone else for that matter, proving the disaster theory to be oversold are also virtually nil.”

    I disagree with this statement. CAGW is positive assertion. It asserts that man’s greenhouse gases emission will lead to climate catastrophe. The burden of proof lies on those making a positive assertion. You cannot prove a negative. Therefore there’s no need to disprove the disaster theory. It is false unless proven otherwise.

    Try this example. I assert that Roy will kill Michael. Since nobody can disprove my assertion, the police must take extraordinary measures to protect Michael. Normally nobody will take me seriously but hey this is “climate science.”

  21. Jim Brough says:

    I ll bring a slightly different note to this blog. Beware of modelling.
    I remember the dire prognostications of the Club of Romein the 1970s based on sophisticated computer modelling. Have a look at the forecasts and compare them with todays reality.
    In the lead-up to the Rio de Janeiro conference in 1992 a major conference was held in Helsinki in 1991. The Helsinki recommendations were based on facts but the Rio conference got aboard the green bandwagon and ignored the Helsinki recognition of nuclear energy as an important way of lowering CO2 emissions.
    In 1993 Greenpeace issued a report they had commissioned from the Stockholm Environment Institute, in the lead up to a major international conference. Another example of computer modelling.

    Another main finding of the study was that by 2030 “renewable” energy sources could be providing 60% of total energy supply, making it possible to abandon nuclear power by the year 2010.
    The phase-out of fossil fuels would be achieved through major improvements in energy efficiency, especially in the transport, buildings and electricity sectors. The rapid introduction of renewables would complete the phase-out.

    Anthropogenic Global Warming is mired in politics.

    Regards, Jim Brough

  22. Gordon Robertson says:

    @RW “Actually, it [2nd law] doesnt.

    There are two versions of AGW and about 3 versions of the 2nd law, whether you are talking about heat transfer, entropy, or whatever.

    One version of AGW claims that CO2 in the atmosphere traps heat. As meteorologist/physicist Craig Bohren claimed, that theory is a metaphor at best and, at worst, plain silly.

    Heat cannot be trapped, it’s not a substance. IR from the surface could conceivably be trapped but the mechanics of radiative transfer using IR is so complex it does not come down to a one to one photon/CO2 molecule thing.

    The 2nd AGW theory speculates that IR from the surface is absorbed by CO2 molecules and radiated back to the surface, increasing surface T to a temp higher than what the surface was warmed by the sun. That theory is equally silly.

    If the surface temperature could be raised by radiation from a cooler atmosphere, that was supplied by the surface in the first place, you’d have a positive feedback and a perpetual motion situation. That’s why the 2nd law is contradicted.

    AGW alarmists, like Stephan Rahmstorf, claim that back-radiated IR can be added to incoming solar energy to increase surface temperature. What they are saying in effect is that incoming short wave solar energy warms the surface, which radiates a long wave IR, which is collected by anthropogenic CO2 making up 1/1000nds of 1% of atmospheric gases, then back-radiated to the surface and added to the incoming energy that created it.

    Nonsense physics.

    The problem with such alarmists is that they are so caught up in math and Boltzmann that they cannot break themselves away to examine the real problem. IR is not heat. They are applying the conservation of energy principles of the 1st law and claiming the 2nd law is satisfied as long as outgoing IR is > incoming IR.

    They are not allowing for losses in the radiation of IR nor the tiny intensity of the IR that can be re-radiated from anthropogenic CO2. Imagine the huge IR flux radiated by the surface and the tiny amount of ACO2 atoms available to intercept it, never mind the amount re-radiated.

    Heat is the relative kinetic energy of atoms in a body or substance. IR can raise the KE of such a body/substance but IR from a cooler body cannot raise the KE of a warmer body. That comes from Clausius who wrote one version of the 2nd law.

    KE can be transferred from a hotter body to a cooler body via radiation but why should KE be transferred from a cooler body to a warmer body? If you look at the atomic processes in an atom, why should the higher KE in a warmer body be affected by IR from a cooler body?

    If you can explain that, I’ll be more inclined to listen to you. If you can explain it, however, you are contradicting the existing theory of heat transfer.

  23. Eli Rabett says:

    Now some, not Eli to be sure, might point out that thee and Dr. Christy have been supported by the government, either directly or by grants, since the year dot. But of course, on you it looks excellent.

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