Friday, May 21, 2010

Deniers sink into depression

Seems like the evidence for dangerous climate change has been mounting relentlessly of late. The Arctic sea ice, which so recently was being celebrated by Watts et al, is now trending below the record 2007 numbers, putting an end to their premature gloating about the "recovery" of the sea ice, the absurdity of which we've noted before.

April 2010 was the hottest April in GISS records from 1880 -- which likely makes it the hottest April in more than 2,000 years. This is more bad news for pretend scientist Scott Armstrong, who used his pretend field of "scientific forecasting" to create a pretend bet with Al Gore -- a "bet" he has lost for seven out of the last eight months. That's no problem for Scott -- he's just stopped giving monthly updates on the "bet" -- the last was in September of 2009. He has replaced them with full-on pathetic ramblings promoting the disgraced serial liar Monckton (even repeating his oft-shredded claim to have been a "science advisor to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher") and promoting his own psuedoscience in the face of the National Academy of Science report (which found that global warming is real, humans are the cause, and the threats to human welfare are large), which he hopes will be persuasive if he crams enough repetitions of "science" and "scientific" into the description:

Based on scientific research on forecasting [by which they mean not hypothesis tested by experiment, but naive reasoning by analogy; see below], the most appropriate method for forecasting climate over the 21st Century would be a naïve no-trend extrapolation. Due to the substantial uncertainty about climate, it is not possible to forecast even the direction of change and one should not, therefore, forecast changes. As with many conclusions from scientific research on forecasting, this conclusion derives from a finding that is not intuitive: in complex situations with high uncertainty, one should use methods that are conservative and simple (Armstrong 1985; Armstrong 2001).

While much has been made of the climate models used to support forecasts of dangerous manmade global warming, these were used in effect only as tools to present forecasts. The actual forecasts were made by unaided judgment; that is, by judgment unaided by forecasting principles. A substantial body of research has shown that unaided judgment cannot provide useful forecasts in complex situations with high uncertainty (Armstrong 1980; Tetlock 2005), such as is the case with climate.

What Armstrong is trying to say here, with many unnecessary words, is that predictions are hard, especially about the future, and that, per his made-up discipline of "scientific forecasting," it's impossible to make predictions about complex systems.

Except climate models have predicted warming from 1980, and we have had three decades of warming. Armstrong doesn't explain that, he merely launches into more meaningless jargon-ridden "sciencesque" drivel:

The forecasting procedures described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report violated 81% of the 89 principles relevant to climate forecasting.

81%, wow. 81% is a lot. And such a precise number! But what does it mean? It means that Scott Armstrong, a non-scientist, made up a bunch of rules, rules we may assume real working scientists were blissfully ignorant of. And then Scott Armstrong, in his capacity as judge and jury, decided that the scientists failed to follow his rules -- 81% of the time. And this is how he "proves" that climatologists don't follow the "principles" of his psuedoscience, "scientific forecasting."

Not convinced? Well, let Scott Armstrong protest to you a little more that his work is scientific:

For example, the methods and data were neither fully disclosed nor were they easy for independent researcher to access, no reasonable alternative forecasting methods were assessed, and prediction intervals were not assessed objectively (see “Global warming: Forecasts by scientists versus scientific forecasts”).

Those who were responsible for making the forecasts had no training or experience in the proper use of scientific forecasting methods. Furthermore, we were unable to find any indication that they made an effort to look for evidence from scientific research on forecasting. It is perhaps not surprising then that their implementation of their forecasting method was inappropriate.

There are pages more of this wearying dreck, but it is just more of the same. Prediction is impossible. I, a scientific scientist, have proved it scientifically. So-called scientists, who fill their work with boring stuff like observations and testable hypothesis, fail because they are not SCIENTIFIC, like me!

Scott Armstrong on "scientific forecasting" sounds like a guest column for What's Up With That penned by Gollum. They aren't ssssscientific, my Precious! We hates them forever!

And speaking of the denier Mothership, the sea ice is stressing them out. For the time being, they're continuing the "Sea Ice Updates," but as the sea ice plummets, the "updates" become ever more free-floating, defensive and vague:

It is still too early in the year to see much interesting. Still about six weeks before significant melting begins in the interior of the Arctic. Stay tuned.

Really, Steve? If it's too early to see anything interesting, why did you start providing weekly updates five weeks ago? It was interesting enough when a late melt season brought the ice close to the 1979-2009 average. Now, as in the old Weekly Update skit, suddenly, Steve's lost interest. Pay attention, budding conspiracy theorists, because Steve is giving a clinic: You feed a conspiracy by seizing on and hyping any random piece of data that fits with your theory, and letting your eyes glaze over at the masses of dispositive evidence, which is inevitably "not interesting." What other tips of the trade do you have for us, Steve?

When the facts are running against you, change the subject:

The Catlin Arctic Survey arrived at the North Pole this week. . . . Arctic non-warming since 1938 . . . predictably conclude that pH might be lower than it used to be – due to CO2. . . .

Note particularly the claim that the Arctic hasn't warmed since 1938, a lie backed up with a random graph from a patchwork, discredited data set in direct contradiction to all the reliable temperature records from the Arctic:

This is ninja-level distraction, because not only are the temperatures irrelevant to the "sea ice update," the outrageous lie distracts the critical reader from the central problem -- Steve's not talking about the sea ice.

How about vague and shifty claims, Steve? No problem:

As you can see, not much has changed during the last two weeks.

The sea ice anomaly -- the ice missing compared to the 1979-2009 average -- has increased by over a half a million square kilometers and there in now less ice than the there was in 2007, the worst year on record. Sea ice volume as of 5/13/2010 is at its lowest level ever, worse than 2007. Yeah, nothing much.

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