2 thoughts on “Climate Research”

  1. The peer-review system in general (not just climate science) serves two masters: the ideal of pure scientific communications and the pragmatic need of measuring fitness for promotion.

    It can be no surprise that the first archetypal master is neglected in service to the material second.

  2. Ah, yes. “Climate change.” It’s scientific. The models make no usable or testable predictions, or if they do make a prediction the world perversely disproves it and it fails to come to pass, but it’s all very scientific, because Al Gore says so, and you should believe him because SCIENCE.

    A model that’s not predictive? If it isn’t predictive, how is it a model? This is, of course, a rhetorical question. In the sciences, we say that a hypothesis must contain a testable proposition, and if isn’t testable, it’s meaningless noise.

    A very bright fellow named Schwarz once said, “Science is mathematical modeling of reality, empirically constrained. Science strives for spareness of form with maximum generality. Science discards models which make predictions not borne out by reality.”

    Perhaps more to the point, well. I’m not a bright guy, but I know who a few bright guys are and I can use the Internet to find stuff they say. Anyway, the next time someone tells you that the “Earth’s temperature” is rising, remember that Dr. Jerry Pournelle, science fiction author and retired NASA engineer, said:

    “…in the late 1960’s, I found it difficult to come up with the average skin temperature of an astronaut in a full pressure suit to a one degree F accuracy. I used dime sized thin copper disks with thermocouples soldered to them; we taped them to the astronaut’s skin. We chose back of hand, mid back, mid abdomen, and other such places so that we would have some comparability: the point of the tests was to measure the ventilation systems in the suit. We could measure the air flow of the controlled temperature air we used for ventilation, and the input temperature of that air, so that got another thermocouple from the harness. One of the thermocouples in the 12 thermocouple set went into a carafe of melting ice; the ice had been frozen from distilled water. That gave us a reference temperature accurate to 0.1° F. The thermocouple machine printed what it could see at one minute intervals; when we consolidated the data we sampled those one-minute readings since we didn’t have the data entry capability to use them all for average…”

    The Earth’s atmosphere, if we indulge the useful fiction that it only goes up 200 kilometers and stops there, is 100 billion cubic kilometers. The spacesuit’s volume was one fifth of a cubic meter. The Earth’s atmosphere is is 5 * 10^20 times the size of that spacesuit. That’s a five followed by twenty zeroes.

    So, naturally, if someone says that he knows the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere down to one tenth of a degree Celsius, and furthermore claims not merely to know this for the present day but also for centuries and even millennia in the past, and furthermore claims to be able to predict it for centuries into the future, that’s pretty impressive and I’m very curious about how the measurements were taken and how the predictive model works. The “climate scientists” get awfully quiet when you ask them those questions, though, and some of them even invoke baroque and bizarre conspiracy theories, accusing you of “shilling” for “Big Oil.” (“‘Shut up,’ he explained.”)

    Likewise, all of this “global warming” that they claim to have measured is claimed to have arisen by the mechanism of human activity adding to the carbon dioxide levels of the air. We are told that it absorbs infrared radiation. But so does water vapor, in the same frequency bands, and vastly more efficiently, by at least two orders of magnitude. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere are measured in parts per million, water vapor in percentage points.

    So there are appropriate scientific terms for this kind of claim. One of them is “preposterous.”

    In my opinion, as someone who took some undergrad science courses at university level long before this began, it’s rather simpler than that. You have a group of people calling themselves “climate scientists.” Who is and who is not a “climate scientist” isn’t clear. The late leader of this group, and creator of the “global warming” meme, one Stephen Schneider, was a Red Diaper Baby by birth and cultural inclination and a mechanical engineer by training, also with some background in high-energy plasma physics, and had no academic training whatsoever in meteorology. When real meteorologists like Anthony Watts dare to point out that the Emperor has no clothes, they’re shouted down, slandered, and shut out, because they’re “not real climate scientists,” and accused of taking bribe money from “the oil companies” by people who live on hundred-million-dollar grants that the National Science Foundation gives them to print phony studies in which they declare that we’re all doomed unless we go back to the caves, right now.

    But what is clear is that the late Dr. Schneider made a very lucrative career for the last four decades of his life out of making wild-eyed claims that white people had offended Gaia by refusing to live in mud huts and hunt rats by candlelight with flint tools, and were about to suffer a horrendous divine punishment at the hands of Nemesis, Real Soon Now. In the 1970s he predicted an imminent ice age, destroying all civilization in the Northern Hemisphere by 1980.

    Then in the 1980s he was on the fringes of the hysteria about “acid rain” and the equally nonexistent “hole in the ozone layer” (short science lesson: ozone is a tremendously unstable form of oxygen that arises when ultraviolet radiation from the sun impinges upon the upper layers of the atmosphere, and, absent sunlight–like, during the 6 month long period of darkness in the Arctic and Antarctic–the ozone breaks down almost instantaneously, turning back into normal oxygen, and stays that way until spring and direct sunlight return, at which point ozone is instantaneously produced once again), then he returned to what psychiatrists used to call “l’idee fixee” and declared that civilization was about to be destroyed, Real Soon Now, by uncontrolled runaway increases in temperature caused, once again, by selfish ol’ Whitey, who had offended the Gods by the unspeakable hubris of thinking mud huts and watching half his children die of cholera before the age of four weren’t good enough for him.

    The late Dr. Schneider famously admitted in print in an interview with Discover Magazine way back in 1989 that it was all a shuck and jive to terrify the Great Unwashed Public into giving up authority over their own lives to “experts” who would make the “right” choices. Here are the words exactly as he spoke them, exactly as they were printed, exactly as econazis have been denying he said, ever since.

    “On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” Interview in Discover Magazine, October 1989, pp. 45–48, Oct. 1989

    “I readily confess a lingering frustration: uncertainties so infuse the issue of climate change that it is still impossible to rule out either mild or catastrophic outcomes, let alone provide confident probabilities for all the claims and counterclaims made about environmental problems. Even the most credible international assessment body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has refused to attempt subjective probabilistic estimates of future temperatures. This has forced politicians to make their own guesses about the likelihood of various degrees of global warming.” From his article “Misleading Math about the Earth: Science defends itself against The Skeptical Environmentalist,” Scientific American, January 2002.

    The truth is not in these people. Every word from the “global warming” religionists is a lie, including “a,” “an,” and “the.”

    They LIE. They LIE and LIE and LIE and LIE and LIE and in public forums they stand up before the entire world and admit they’re making this crap up as they go along, trying to terrorize the rest of us into giving up control of our lives to them, because they Know Better and it’s For Our Own Good. “I found a neat trick to hide the decline.”

    Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad.

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