Saturday, February 18, 2017

Two professors

Brad DeLong:

Statement for the BBC on the Disruption of Berkeley Speaker Event on February 1, 2017

Last night, February 1, while I was teaching, a number of people came to the Berkeley campus to hear a speaker invited by the Berkeley College Republicans. A larger number came to peacefully demonstrate against the speaker--to express their belief that the speaker was not invited because people thought that he had great and important insights about politics and moral philosophy, but rather because he is a specialist in making Asian, Hispanic, African-American, Muslim, and other minorities feel small and unsafe.

About 20 "anarchists" used violence to upset this peaceful civil society gathering, and the police decided that the danger to life and limb was too great to allow the talk to proceed. This is a great loss: a university is, first, a safe space for ideas, and if members of the university to whom it has delegated the power to invite speakers do invite a speaker, that speaker should speak. This is part of a pattern of protests in Berkeley being disrupted by "anarchists" with goals unrelated to those of the university and its community. This is a shame. You cannot learn anything except by listening to the great insights of people who think differently from you: that is what a university is for. The "anarchists" do not understand what a university is.

A university is both a safe space in which ideas are to be expressed and a space in which those ideas are to be evaluated. When one sets forth ideas or causes ideas to be set forth in a university, one is doing so because one believes that these ideas are--potentially, at least--great ones. In so doing, members of the university are accountable only to, as Berkeley Professor Ernst Kantorowicz said in the 1940s, "their conscience and their God".

If the members of the Berkeley Republican Club believe that their invited speaker has ideas about politics and moral philosophy that are--even potentially--great, I really wish that they would explain why they think they are great. They have a duty to the university to do so. But perhaps they invited their speaker because they hoped he would make African-American, Asian, Hispanic, Muslim, and other minority members of the university feel small and unsafe. If so they need to examine their consciences and pray to their gods, and think hard about whether they understand the purpose of a university.

For a university is not just a safe space for ideas to be expressed, and a place where such ideas are then to be examined and assessed, but it is also a safe space for scholars. All members of the university have a duty to make all other members feel welcome, and feel that they belong. Violations of that basic courtesy also cast doubt on whether people understand the purpose of a university, and, indeed, whether their time ought to be spent outside one. 

For the contrary position, Erik Loomis' advice to his undergrads and others who read his blog:

....And then of course, this brilliance.

[Video of neo-Nazi getting sucker-punched by masked person who immediately runs away.]

Now, you might say that you don’t want to see a Nazi get punched. Nonviolence and all. That’s an incorrect stand to take. You should always punch a Nazi. That said, I do have a criticism. Couldn’t they have stuck around for a second and kicked Spencer in the ribs a couple of times?

Your mileage may vary, but I've read about anti-Trump supporters going to his moronic campaign event today, and they'll need to decide which philosophy they follow. For what it's worth, I'll side with Erik Loomis - that is, Loomis from several years' back:

On Metaphors and Violence

The last couple of days have been a bit challenging for me. Being attacked by a David Horowitz wannabe for saying I wanted to see Wayne LaPierre’s head on a stick has led to a world of fun, ranging from a meeting with the Rhode Island State Police last night to people inundating the University of Rhode Island community with warnings of their murderous colleague in their midst.

So to clarify, I want to make it blindingly clear that I did not call for the assassination of Wayne LaPierre.....

But let’s also be clear–these people KNOW I am not calling for LaPierre’s assassination....The fact that my intemperate language helped give them a lever to try and turn that narrative is unfortunate and I apologize for it....

And look, if I used violent metaphors, that’s a bad thing. I will admit that at certain moments such language might become part of my vocabulary....I probably shouldn’t use that language and certainly will be a lot more conscious going forward of not using it again, particularly since it doesn’t help in the battle against actual violence. Violence is a huge societal problem that influences all of us in various ways. Some may use violent metaphors to express their frustrations....

And to be clear, Loomis wasn't being metaphorical when he more recently suggested that people acquire criminal records and seriously endanger both other people and themselves. I just hope he reconsiders.

I know that voice

You can tell someone is ubiquitous when you're listening to a climate change podcast featuring Steven Chu, an unidentified member of the audience asks him a question and you realize you know who the questioner is.

John Mashey's question about whether ARPA-E will survive Trump got a confident reply from Chu that it will survive because it's an excellent program that enjoys Republican support. This corresponds to an interesting post by Stoat basically predicting however delusional/deceptive Trump may be, his administration will likely be constrained into being just a normally-bad Republican administration.

Would that we were to be so lucky, to only lose four years of human endeavor in America. And maybe it will work out like that, that the normally-bad Republican outcome is what we end up with. That's the close to the best-case scenario though,* with everything else being worse.

Anyway, William made some optimistic bet offers at his post, I made my own pessimistic ones in the comments, but there's no sweet spot between our positions. And no one else looking like they want to take the bets.

*Very best case is some accidental twists of luck lead them into doing the right things, and they lie about their prior intent to do the wrong things. No- so-best is that environmental disasters push them that way, like another Katrina.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

RTFR No. 543

One of the watchwords here at Rabett Run has been RTFR, a derivative of RTFM but no less trenchant advice.  So with everybunny jumping up and down about the baselines and adjusting boats to buoys or whatever (Zeke has a nice summary at ATTP), Eli though he would take his own advice, and thanks to the kindness of Climate Peter, he found the article which introduced ERSSTv.4

On page 928 in the summary Eli finds

Buoy SSTs have been adjusted toward ship SSTs in ERSST.v4 to correct for a systematic difference of 0.12 C between ship and buoy observations. Although buoy SSTs are more homogeneous and reliable than ship observations, buoys were not widely available before around 1980. However, the selection will not affect the evolution of the SSTAs. Further studies are needed to consider the potential of including C-MAN SSTs and other near-surface ocean temperature measurements not presently incorporated in ERSST.v4 (e.g., from oceanographic profiling instruments).
Pleasingly pretty much saying what Rabett Run has been telling one and all.  Ocenographic profiling instruments Eli assumes includes the Argo float network which only went operational about five or six years before the HRSSTv4 data set was done.

Oh yes, the timeline first submitted 20 December 2013, accepted 3 October 2014 and appeared on line 4 February 2015, so as they say, out there well before the Karl et al paper appeared in June.  ERSST.v4.

Friday, February 10, 2017

If We Had Buoy Data From the Past We Would Use That

Much, just about all of David Roses claims in his hit piece on Tom Karl has been walked back, not the least by Rose's source, John Bates.  Among the statements which Bates has disowned and which now must be considered fabrications was the paragraph

Dr Bates said: ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and “corrected” it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.’
but there was actually more both following and afterwards
But Dr Bates said this increase in temperatures was achieved by dubious means. Its key error was an upwards ‘adjustment’ of readings from fixed and floating buoys, which are generally reliable, to bring them into line with readings from a much more doubtful source – water taken in by ships. This, Dr Bates explained, has long been known to be questionable: ships are themselves sources of heat, readings will vary from ship to ship, and the depth of water intake will vary according to how heavily a ship is laden – so affecting temperature readings.

Dr Bates said: ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out and “corrected” it by using the bad data from ships. You never change good data to agree with bad, but that’s what they did – so as to make it look as if the sea was warmer.’

ERSSTv4 ‘adjusted’ buoy readings up by 0.12C. It also ignored data from satellites that measure the temperature of the lower atmosphere, which are also considered reliable. Dr Bates said he gave the paper’s co-authors ‘a hard time’ about this, ‘and they never really justified what they were doing.’
Bunnies can read why this is wrong many places including articles by Kendra Pierre Louis in Popular Science, Zeke Hausfather and lots more.  John Bates can comment on whether it is Rose's fabrication or his.  AFAEK the question has never been put directly to either or answered.
In any case, this has given rise to several including John Bates claiming that NOAA made a dishonest choice when it moved combined the buoy and ship readings by joining the buoy to the ship readings.  In his response to Zeke Hausfather he writes (italics from ZH)
  1. ‘They had good data from buoys. And they threw it out […]’ 
v4 actually makes preferential use of buoys over ships (they are weighted almost 7 times in favour) as documented in the ERSSTv4 paper. The assertion that buoy data were thrown away as made in the article is demonstrably incorrect.
Response:  Verbiage used by David Rose is not the key issue here. The issue is the substantial adjustment of the buoy temperatures to match the erroneous ship values, and neglect of data from the Argo buoys.
Well actually it was a direct quote, so Bates is being very slippery here.  But this has given rise to the blathering point that the ship data should have been adjusted to the buoy data.  Much twitting has been wasted on that.  If there is a constant adjustment in either direction it makes no difference in determining the anomaly.  The fact that the size of adjustment is minimally different in v3, v4, v5 and on into the 22nd century is no never mind.

However, there is a significant reason to adjust the buoy data to the ship data.  Peter Thorne has done a service by explaining why NOAA and others update their records.  In his article, Prof. Thorne reproduces a figure from the recent IPCC AR5 report

Changing contribution of different measurement techniques (top panel) and their timeseries relative to the average of all sources at any given time (bottom panel). Note large and systematic offsets between distinct sources that vary through time. Source: IPCC

Ship measurements were the first, actually they go back well before 1920 and buoy measurements only kick in late in the twentieth century.  Earlier (and this would be pretty much anything published before 2000) would only, or massively depend on the ship measurements.  Thus offsetting the buoy to the ship data would cause the least confusion for anybunny looking at older publications. 

Makes sense to do it that way.


Eli has been slumming, but there is nothing new under the sun.  Roger Pielke Sr. demands, nay demands that people pay attention to him

Most of the issues raised in our papers have NOT been scrutinized. Where are the “many times?
There is a control on challenging information that given to us, the media and others that is not healthy to scientific objectivity. This extends to a range of other issues in climate science such as Judy Curry discussed in her most recent interview.

Some beg to differ
  • Roger,
    Most of the issues raised in our papers have NOT been scrutinized. Where are the “many times?
    So what? Again, just because YOU highlight some issues, doesn’t mean that they’re issues that others should scrutinise. Either – as you seem to be suggesting – there is some kind of conspiracy to not scrutinise these extremely important issues that you’re highlighting, or they’re not nearly as important as you seem to think they are.

    …and Then There’s Physics, I believe people with the credentials of Roger Pielke deserve responses on substantive scientific issues. NOAA/NASA ignoring scientific questions by responsible scientists is an indication of “circling the wagons,” in violation of the principle of open government.
    How in the world can you trust a secretive government?
  • Look, Eli is not exactly Roger’s friend, but this is simply an observation.
    People spent a lot of time looking at issues that Roger or, for example Peter Wadham raised and people thought after a while that a lot of that time was wasted and didn’t appreciate the responses they got
  • eli I have wasted years looking at roger’s issues.
    there is no there there.

Facts Matter - Inoculation Edition

This got a fair amount of attention a few weeks back:

National outbreaks of fake news and partisan “disinformation” have convinced many Americans to doubt scientific consensus—such as the near-unanimous agreement among experts that human-caused climate change is real....a group of researchers, led by a psychologist at Cambridge, think they can stamp out the viral spread of fake news and lies just like we stamp out every other infectious disease—with vaccinations.

Their ‘mental inoculation’ works under the same principal as actual inoculations—that is, exposure to a weakened version or fragment of some nasty contagion can allow a person to recognize and develop immunity to future threats. In their study, the researchers found that they could effectively ‘vaccinate’ Americans from climate change misinformation by presenting them with information on the scientific consensus alongside a pre-emptive caution that some politically motivated groups are spreading lies about that consensus.

The inoculation method, published Monday in the journal Global Challenges, was effective regardless of participants’ political leanings; Republicans, Democrats, and Independents were equally likely to reject the misinformation when it was subsequently presented to them. And among those predisposed to believe climate misinformation, the researchers saw no evidence that the inoculation could backfire, making them more resistant to scientific facts.

The usual rule that new-study-needs-replication applies, but this is a hopeful contrast to the Backfire Effect, that refuting deeply held misinformation can end up reinforcing those beliefs. Getting the truth out to people before the lies burrow into their self-identity seems to be the trick.

More reason to announce that 2017 will be a hot year but not as hot as 2016, and that the denialists are going to pretend this is meaningful.

More speculatively, I can't help but notice that we all don't live in caves that often, most people believe in some (screwy) version of evolution, and that truth and science seem to make halting progress over time. We're not complete prisoners of our psychology - not sure the studies have captured that yet.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

A Public Service Announcement

There are times when some comment is so wrong no bunny wastes any time explaining to the hard of learning why it is wrong, and this, as bunnies in the US are learning, is a mistake and, of course, this lets the foolish person claim that they are the discoverers of revelation, which can be annoying.  Twitter, of course, is an annoyance amplifier and as ATTP is finding out, vigilance against inanity is a never ending fight.

Eli is a creature of good will and habits, so he had let one Dr. Mark Imisides an industrial chemist rattle on and on, but everybunny has limits and the well stuffed Dr. Imisides** finally reached Eli's.  Thus this public service announcement which may be tweeted at the well stuffed Dr. Imisides when needed.  To pick a point where to start, let Eli pick this one

Imisides is quite impressed by this argument, which simply calculates the heat content of the oceans vs. the heat content of the atmosphere and concludes
That is, if we wanted to heat the entire ocean by 1˚C, and wanted to do it by heating the air above it, we’d have to heat the air to about 4,000˚C hotter than the water.
The well stuffed Dr. Imisides of course, is confusing heat content with heat flow, which, to be truthful is a common mistake, but there is something about Dr. Imisides' attitude that withdraws the milk of bunny kindness from Eli's furry breast, sort of the Pielke effect as it were.

Allow Eli to state the obvious.  Energy flows in from the sun.  Most of it is absorbed in the oceans, cause the oceans are most of the surface, and increasing at that.  Energy flows out through the atmosphere.  That means that the energy flow in must be balanced by the energy flow out or the whole ball would melt and all of that energy passes through the atmosphere, because, at no place on Earth does the land or sea touch space.  The only way off planet for energy is by radiation to space.

Since the energy lost from the surface of the oceans passes through the atmosphere and is radiated to space, the energy FLOW must be balanced and absent some change in the atmosphere such as increased greenhouse gases, atmospheric temperatures will not change.

True, if you increased the rate at which the sun heated the oceans they would warm, but we know by direct measurement that that is not happening.  We also know that the heat content of the oceans is increasing and the oceans are warming.  If solar irradiation is NOT increasing, and we KNOW it is not, Eli points out that
heating the ocean requires limiting the net rate at which it loses heat.  That's what increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere does.
 So to return to Twitter with an analogy for Mom

However, Eli would not be Eli were he not to pass comment on other Dr. Mark Imisides bon mots.  For example
And another problem is that air sits on top of water – how would hot air heat deep into the ocean? Even if the surface warmed, the warm water would just sit on top of the cold water.
Well, yeah, Mark.  The ocean IS stratified, and the exchange between the deep ocean and the surface does take a long time, like a thousand years and occurs at places where there is upwelling driven by thermohaline circulation.  You could look it up

** A long time ago a friendly analytiker once described to Eli the final ceremony after a certain class of chemists passes their oral exam, that the candidate stands at attention and the examiner stuffs his shirt.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Boiling Bates Down

Allow Eli to simplify the issues about Karl et al. 15 and John Bates

  • Bates designed an overly complicated set of procedures for climate data archiving.
  • He got upper management at NOAA to sign on because the charts looked pretty.
  • There were huge delays in implementation because of software problems and more.
  • The process was a huge time sink.
  • But it had the virtue of making Bates the Gatekeeper.
  • Others were not happy with this.
  • They had science they wanted to publish so they found a way around Gatekeeper Bates.
  • Gatekeeper Bates went crying to Lamar Smith.
  • Trump becomes president
  • Denialists need an issue and cast about.
But of course, there is more:  Turns out Bates beef with Karl was personal.  Scott Johnson at Ars Technica writes
There may also be something beyond simple “engineers vs. scientists” tension behind Bates’ decision to go public with his allegations. Two former NOAA staffers confirmed to Ars that Tom Karl essentially demoted John Bates in 2012, when Karl was Director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Bates had held the title of Supervisory Meteorologist and Chief of the Remote Sensing Applications Division, but Karl removed him from that position partly due to a failure to maintain professionalism with colleagues, assigning him to a position in which he would no longer supervise other staff. It was apparently no secret that the demotion did not sit well with Bates.

The Speed of Entropy

In a post fact world, everything degrades to heat in microseconds, so Eli, although perhaps only a day behind, is well, a day behind, or two or three.  The latest attempt to recreate the furor following the hack of CRU Emails is a combined David Rose and Judy Curry and a whole bunch of others attack on Tom Karl and the paper that he was the first author of about the rate of global temperature change.

That paper, took away one of the blathering points that the denialists were so fond of.  As Science summarized it

Previous analyses of global temperature trends during the first decade of the 21st century seemed to indicate that warming had stalled. This allowed critics of the idea of global warming to claim that concern about climate change was misplaced. Karl et al. now show that temperatures did not plateau as thought and that the supposed warming “hiatus” is just an artifact of earlier analyses. Warming has continued at a pace similar to that of the last half of the 20th century, and the slowdown was just an illusion.
although the point has been rather blown away by the global temperature evolution of the last three years, each a record.

The attack has, at the speed of heat transfer already given rise to two technical responses to Rose, one by Zeke Hausfather and the other by Victor Venema.  There may be others.  Adding to the confusion is that there are really two separate bleats in the Rose argument.  The first which is what Zeke and Victor go after is that Karl, et al, manipulated the data.  Short answer: No.  Long answer: David Rose is an ignorant, well, this is a family blog. 

The second is that "proper archiving procedures were not followed", this being pushed by John Bates, directly at Judith Curry's blog, so down the Climate Audit Rabett Hole we go.  However, and here is where Eli may be pointing to some things that have not appeared elsewhere, Bates does appear to have solved one mystery, that being who was the NOAA source for Lamar Smith in 2015 when Smith went after Karl, et al.
The letter alleges for the first time, that “information provided to the [House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology] by whistleblowers appears to show that the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists." The letter states that “Dr. Karl rushed to publish the study before all appropriate reviews of the underlying science and new methodologies used in the foundational climate datasets were conducted.”
Tom Peterson, one of the et al on the Karl paper talked to the Washington Post at that time
That author, Thomas Peterson, described in an interview some of the internal tensions at NOAA between the scientists and computer engineers who were writing software code for the data and wanted more time to make sure it was reliable. The scientists felt confident using the data that had already been made public and were ultimately vindicated by the latest version.

The conclusions of the Science paper were based on corrections and adjustments to even earlier land and sea temperature measurements. These were intended to address what scientists described as measurement biases in readings taken of ocean temperatures and land temperatures that did not fully account for the rapidly warming Arctic.
 And Peterson laid out the source of this reignited conflict back in 2015
Peterson acknowledged that tensions over timing developed between the scientists and a team of computer engineers — some contractors, some civil servants — who were rewriting the software code to process the data once it was collected from stations worldwide. The engineers wanted more time to test and retest the software to ensure its reliability, he recalled. The scientists argued that it was taking too long.
and in a direct quote said:
“We’re talking about a time lag of years between the science and when they thought the software testing would be ready because of this question of whether one piece of software might develop a glitch, ” said Peterson, now president of the World Meteorological Organization’s Commission for Climatology."
An interesting question for Dr. Bates is, since he was in charge of the software, why was this taking so long?  The perfect always being the friend of delay, questions must be asked.

The other thing that is interesting is that Bates has roused the ire of some pretty temperate people, including Peter Thorne, who comes just within the Irish libel laws of calling Bates out as the Kelly Anne Conway of climate science
The 'whistle blower' is John Bates who was not involved in any aspect of the work. NOAA's process is very stove-piped such that beyond seminars there is little dissemination of information across groups. John Bates never participated in any of the numerous technical meetings on the land or marine data I have participated in at NOAA NCEI either in person or remotely. This shows in his reputed (I am taking the journalist at their word that these are directly attributable quotes) mis-representation of the processes that actually occured. In some cases these mis-representations are publically verifiable.
Prof. Thorne also provides a number of detailed demolitions of claims made in the Rose article attributable to Dr, Bates.  The upshot of Prof. Thorne's post is, that in many respects this is another Bates was not Hansen's supervisor at NASA situation with echoes of MBH 98.

Good times