Category Archives: Mathematics

Solar Power

It’s getting more cost effective, but it will always need load leveling. But I found this amusing:

Looking even further ahead, if we want a stable climate, humanity must bring net carbon emissions to zero.

There is no good reason to believe bringing net carbon emissions to zero is either a necessary or a sufficient condition for a “stable climate.” This planet has never had a stable climate, and it’s delusional to imagine that we know how to give it one now.

Speaking of which, Professor Curry has some thoughts on “skin in the game.”

If you are a weather forecaster in the private sector, you will quickly lose your clients if your forecasts are consistently wrong. Daily forecasts are evaluated daily; seasonal forecasts are evaluated several times each year. Clearly weather forecasters have skin in the game in terms of their forecasts.

With regards to climate projections, the predictions being made now will be irrelevant in 2100, which is their target prediction date. In fact, the forecasts become obsolete every 5 years or so, as new model versions are implemented. Recent attempts to evaluate climate model projections in CMIP5 during the early 21st century have shown striking discrepancies between model projections and observations.

Defenders of the climate models and climate model projections argue that climate models shouldn’t be expected to verify on decadal time scales.

In other words, climate modelers have no skin in the game in terms of losing something if their forecasts turn out to be wrong. In fact, there is actually a perversion of skin in the game, whereby scientists are rewarded (professional recognition, grants, etc.) if they make alarming predictions (even if they are easily shown not to comport with observations).

Let’s give them more money!

Judith Curry

…has resigned her tenured faculty position:

A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science. Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc.

How young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists).

Despite the fact that she was protected by tenure, I suspect that she will be able to speak out even more effectively now.

[Update Thursday morning (London]

Thoughts from Mark Steyn.

Saturday-morning update]

Tucker Carlson interviews her.


A New Little Ice Age

Has it already started?

Earth’s new climate will affect much more than the energy sector. Abdussamatov leaves us with a dire warning.

“The world must start preparing for the new Little Ice Age right now. Politicians and business leaders must make full economic calculations of the impact of the new Little Ice Age on everything — industry, agriculture, living conditions, development. The most reasonable way to fight against the new Little Ice Age is a complex of special steps aimed at support of economic growth and energy-saving production to adapt mankind to the forthcoming period of deep cooling.”

An overheated planet has never been a threat, say climate skeptics, not today, not ever in human history. An underheated planet, in contrast, is a threat humans have repeatedly faced over the last millennium, and now we’re due again.

To me, the evidence is quite a bit more compelling than it is for warming. He’s relying on history and empirical data, not computer models.

Watching Climate Science Bubbles

…from the outside. Thoughts from Scott Adams, with an interesting idea:

…what if the worst-case scenario is really, really likely, as in the case of climate change disaster? In that case, shouldn’t you manage to the worst case? Well, yes, but only if you are sure the risk is as high as you think. And I don’t see any way a non-scientist could be exposed to both sides of the argument and assign a risk to it.

Given the wildly different assessments of climate change risks within the non-scientist community, perhaps we need some sort of insurance/betting market. That would allow the climate science alarmists to buy “insurance” from the climate science skeptics. That way if the climate goes bad at least the alarmists will have extra cash to build their underground homes. And that cash will come out of the pockets of the science-deniers. Sweet!

But if the deniers are right, and they want to be rewarded by the alarmists for their rightness, the insurance/betting market would make that possible.

It would also be fascinating to see where the public put the betting odds for climate science. Would people expose themselves to both sides of the debate before betting?

The smart ones would.

Obsolete Climate Science

An important essay from Richard Epstein:

The worst way to get a full exchange of views on the complex matter of global warming is to pack the IWG entirely with members from the Obama administration, all surely preselected in part because they share the president’s exaggerated concerns with the problem of global warming. The only way to get a full and accurate picture of the situation is to listen to dissenters on global warming as well as advocates, which was never done. After all, who should listen to a “denier”?

This dismissive attitude is fatal to independent inquiry. No matter how many times the president claims the science is rock-solid, the wealth of recent evidence gives rise to a very different picture that undercuts the inordinate pessimism about climate change that was in vogue about 10 years ago. The group convened in the Obama administration never examined, let alone refuted, the accumulation of evidence on the other side. Indeed, virtually all of its reports are remarkable for the refusal to address any of the data at all. Instead, the common theme is to refer to models developed by others as the solid foundation for the group’s own work, without questioning a word of what those models say.

The second major mistake in the government studies is the way in which they frame the social costs of carbon. As all champions of cost/benefit analysis understand, it is a mistake to look at costs in isolation from benefits, or benefits apart from costs. Yet that appears to be the approach taken in these reports. In dealing with various objections to its reports, the IWG noted in its July 2015 response that “some commenters felt that the SCC estimates should include the value to society of the goods and services whose production is associated with CO2 emissions.” Their evasive response has to be quoted in full to be believed: “Rigorous evaluation of benefits and costs is a core tenet of the rulemaking process. The IWG agrees that these are important issues that may be relevant to assessing the impacts of policies that reduce CO2 emissions. However, these issues are not relevant to the SCC itself. The SCC is an estimate of the net economic damages resulting from CO2 emissions, and therefore is used to estimate the benefit of reducing those emissions.”

In essence, the benefits from present or future CO2 emissions are not part of the story. Yet a truly neutral account of the problem must be prepared to come to the conclusion that increased levels of CO2 emissions could be, as the Carbon Dioxide Coalition has argued, a net benefit to society when a more comprehensive investigation is made. The entire process of expanding EPA regulations and other Obama administration actions feeds off this incorrect base assumption. The most striking admission of the folly of the entire EPA project comes from EPA Chief Gina McCarthy, who has stated that she would regard a decrease of one one-hundredth of a degree as enormously beneficial, notwithstanding its major cost, because its symbolism would “trigger global action.” No cost/benefit analysis would justify wasted expenditures solely on symbolic grounds. After all, human progress on global warming will only suffer if other nations follow our false siren on CO2 emissions, while ignoring the huge pollution that envelops major population centers like Delhi and Beijing.

It’s both junk science, and junk economics.

[Update a few minutes later]

A podcast with Judith Curry.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Bob Zimmerman has thoughts on the upcoming squealing of the climate pigs.

Baby It’s Cold Outside

I know I shouldn’t complain in southern California, considering how brutally cold it is back east, but we woke up this morning to a 63-degree house, and listening to a struggling furnace on the morning after the coldest night of the season to date. The blower seems to be on the fritz.

On a Sunday.

I had other plans today, but I’m going to have to take it apart, and see if I can fix it. It’s twelve years old. Hoping it’s just a bad capacitor. I doubt I’d be able to find a replacement motor today.

[Update a few minutes later]

Not really complaining, and have no right to. If we were back east right now, this would be life threatening, and we’d either have to get an emergency HVAC guy in, or find somewhere else to stay, but for us, it’s just an inconvenience. Worst case is extra blankets tonight, and I’ll find a replacement motor (or limit switch, or whatever the problem is) tomorrow.

But it’s also a reminder of how thin the veneer of modern technology can be, and that nature is not our friend. Whatever the climate is doing (and anyone who claims they can confidently predict it out decades is either fooling themselves, or attempting to fool us), we have to maintain enough societal wealth to deal with it. The policies promulgated by those who insist we can control the climate would have the opposite effect.

[Monday-morning update]

When we woke up this morning, temp in the house was 61 F. A couple hours later, it’s down to 60. It will probably warm up when the sun gets higher, but high temp today is only predicted to be 67.

In troubleshooting, I’ve learned two things: 1) Modern gas furnaces are complicated as copulation and 2) the burner isn’t lighting, which is why the blower motor isn’t bothering to. The status light isn’t flashing any of the error codes in the manual, just steady on, the way it’s supposed to if everything is copacetic, so it’s not useful for diagnostics. I’m suspecting the gas valve (a problem with which the control board would be unaware), but not sure how to tell if it’s working. Could also be the igniter, except I’d think I’d at least momentarily smell gas if that were the problem. Anyway, I’ve got to go start poking at things with a VOM.

[Update a few minutes later]

OK, I am briefly smelling gas when it tries to start up, so the valve seems to be working. Now suspecting igniter:

1. Remove burner compartment door to gain access to the ignitor.
2. Disconnect the ignitor from the Ignition Control.
3. Using an ohmmeter measure the resistance of the ignitor.
4. Ignitor cool should read between 40 to 75 ohms.
5. Reconnect ignitor.
6. Place unit in heating cycle, measure current draw of ignitor during preheat cycle. Should read approximately 4 to 4.5 amps.
7. If ignitor is receiving 115 Volts and will not light, replace.
8. After check and/or replacement of hot surface ignitor, reinstall burner compartment door and verify proper unit operation.

Supposed to be 40-75 ohmns, showing infinite. That seems like the problem. Looks like they’re about $20. Now to go out and find one.

[Update a while later]

OK, a replacement (and improved version) was $42 bucks. The old one had clearly failed; you could see the burn through in the element that had opened it up. It probably got hit by a piece of dust or something when it was hot. House is now warming up.

[Update a while later]

Temp is up to 64 degrees and rising. In retrospect, I would have saved time if I’d relied on Occam: If something isn’t igniting, first check to see if there’s ignition.

Further thoughts: Pilotless ignition saves fuel, and is probably more reliable, but if a pilot blows out, it doesn’t cost $40+ to relight it.

Anyway, I understand my furnace much better now. It was the first time since we had it installed a dozen years ago that I’d opened it up to see how it works.

The Global Warming Movement

Is it on the verge of collapse?

We can only hope so.

[Afternoon update]

The latest climate conspiracy theory. Tough words from Professor Curry:

Get over it, your side lost. Changes of Presidential administrations occur every 4 or 8 years, often with changes in political parties.

Get busy and shore up your scientific arguments; I suspect that argument from consensus won’t sway many minds in the Trump administration.

Overt activism and climate policy advocacy by climate scientists will not help your ’cause’; leave such advocacy to the environmental groups.

Behave like a scientist, and don’t build elaborate conspiracy theories based on conflicting signals from the Trump administration. Stop embarrassing yourselves; wait for the evidence.

Be flexible; if funding priorities change, and you desire federal research funding, work on different problems. The days of needing to sell all research in terms of AGW are arguably over.

I repeat: We can only hope so. But “behave like a scientist” seems to be beyond many of them.

The “Consensus” On Climate Change

Scott Adams explains why he accepts it, even though it’s probably wrong:

when it comes to pattern recognition, I see the climate science skeptics within the scientific community as being similar to Shy Trump Supporters. The fact that a majority of scientists agree with climate science either means the evidence is one-sided or the social/economic pressures are high. And as we can plainly see, the cost of disagreeing with climate science is unreasonably high if you are a scientist.

While it is true that a scientist can become famous and make a big difference by bucking conventional wisdom and proving a new theory, anything short of total certainty would make that a suicide mission. And climate science doesn’t provide the option of total certainty.

To put it another way, it would be easy for a physicist to buck the majority by showing that her math worked. Math is math. But if your science depends on human judgement to decide which measurements to include and which ones to “tune,” you don’t have that option. Being a rebel theoretical physicist is relatively easy if your numbers add up. But being a rebel climate scientist is just plain stupid. So don’t expect to see many of the latter. Scientists can often be wrong, but rarely are they stupid.

…I accept the consensus of climate science experts when they say that climate science is real and accurate. But I do that to protect my reputation and my income. I have no way to evaluate the work of scientists.

If you ask me how scared I am of climate changes ruining the planet, I have to say it is near the bottom of my worries. If science is right, and the danger is real, we’ll find ways to scrub the atmosphere as needed. We always find ways to avoid slow-moving dangers. And if the risk of climate change isn’t real, I will say I knew it all along because climate science matches all of the criteria for a mass hallucination by experts.

It does indeed.

[Late-evening update]

The Scott Adams post was via Judith Curry, who has related links from other “heretics” (i.e., they “believe” in AGW, but aren’t hysterical about it) Roger Pielke and Matt Ridley:

The truly astonishing thing about all this is how little climate heretics – such as myself, Roger Pielke, and Matt Ridley – actually diverge from the consensus science position: RP Jr. hews strictly to the IPCC consensus; Matt Ridley is on the lukewarm side of the IPCC consensus, and I have stated that the uncertainties are too large to justify high confidence in the consensus statements.

RP Jr and Matt Ridley provide appalling examples of the personal and arguably unethical attacks from other scientists, journalists, elected politicians and others with government appointments.

Scott Adams provides some genuine (and as always, humorous) insights into the psychology behind the dynamics of the climate debate.

As to the question: to be or not to be a climate heretic?

I’m planning a climate heretic blog post shortly after the first of the year. After seeing RP Jr’s title, perhaps I will title it ‘Happy Heretic’ (stay tuned). Here’s to hoping that the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives on climate science and our policy options .

I’ll personally be looking forward to it.

The Father Of Global Warming

dials back the alarm:

What a difference a few months make!

Just in time for holiday season, and for the Trump Administration, the father of the climate alarm, formerly a climate scientist with NASA/GISS, and now a full-time scientist/activist, has ameliorated his grand climate alarm. The 10-year ultimatum announced in 2006, made more dire in 2009 and since, is now moderated.

This October, we were told that the net emissions of of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere must go negative. Now, “we don’t need to instantaneously reduce GHG amounts.”

A climate scientist might want to see Dr. Hansen’s math and model simulation to understand the revision in the last sixty days.

Maybe the climate can survive Donald Trump after all!

He’ll probably kill us all some other way.