Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Problem of Choice

Eli is in San Francisco with about 15,000 other science nerd.  He, however, has the good fortune that Ms. Rabett has decided to come along and visit some of her favorite fiber arts emporia.  However that does not detract from the fact that stuff is going on from early to late and no one wants to miss anything. 

This year AGU will put several of the symposia up on the net as video on demand, live stream a couple of the big talks, and your favorite scientists might make their posters available for viewing at home.  The program, with abstracts is here

Among the talks to be live streamed, which will also be available within 48 hours as video on demand is

Event: AGU Union Frontiers of Geophysics Lecture
Speaker: Professor Sir Bob Watson, CMG, FRS and Chief Scientific Adviser to Defra
Date & Time: Wednesday, 5 December: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. PST

In the video on demand category we have

GC13E. The National Climate Assessment: Draft Findings, Building Capacity, and Implementing a Sustained Process (Video On-Demand) 
a feature here will be the scene setter by Walsh and cast on The Science of Climate Change
John E. Walsh; Donald J. Wuebbles; Katharine Hayhoe; Kenneth Kunkel; Graeme L. Stephens; Peter Thorne; Michael F. Wehner; Josh K. Willis; Russell Vose
GC14C. The North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program: Studies Based on NARCCAP Simulations (Video On-Demand)

PA21B. Communication of Science Through Art: A Raison d’Etre for Interdisciplinary Collaboration I (Video On-Demand)
which includes a talk on the Politics of Snow, by an artist, Diane Burko who

The creation of this body of work was made possible because of the collaboration of many glacial geologists and scientists who continually share their visual data with me. Since 2006 I’ve been gathering repeats from people like Bruce Molnia (USGS) and Tad Pfeffer of Alaskan glaciers, from Daniel Fagre (USGS) of Glacier National Park and Lonnie Thompson and Jason Box (Ohio University’s Byrd Polar Center) about Kilimanjaro, Qori Kalis and Petermann glaciers as well as from photographer David Breashears on the disappearing Himalayan glaciers. In my practice, I acknowledge the photographers, or archive agencies, such as USGS, NASA or Snow and Ice Center, in the title and all printed material. 
Bjerknes Lecture: A22A. Tropical Convection: A Half Century Quest for Understanding (Video On-Demand)

by Robert Houze and the Charney Lecture (Drew Shindell)

Charney Lecture: A22B. Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change While Advancing Human Development (Video On-Demand)

 Much else going on including (of course) PA 13A Strategies for Neutralizing the Negative Commercial Influence on the Conversation Around Climate Scienceand PA 13B Countering Denial and Manufactured Doubt of 21st Century Science

A choice that is driving Eli nuts is U12A with Molina, Cicerone, Isaksen, Steed, Watsoh and Reifsnyder talking about the ozone story and P12B with Ray P and others talking about planetary atmospheres.

Where is bilocation when a bunny needs it?

More tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Well, I guess that now is not a bad time to announce the developers' preview release of WattsBuster-2.0. It's even less user-hostile than WattsBuster-1.0. (once you get past the pig-sized 1G download, that is -- sorry, didn't have time to make it smaller).

Thanx to html/javascript kindly supplied by Nick Stokes, I was able to ditch the QGIS interface and replace it with a browser-based Google Maps front-end.

I wrapped it all up in a VirtualBox Linux virtual machine appliance file, so that (in theory) it will run on most any Mac/Windows/Linux machine enough memory (suggest 1 GB or more).

The appliance file can be downloaded from

To run WattsBuster 2.0, just install and launch VirtualBox (, import the appliance file and hit the VirtualBox "Start" button.

A GoogleMap browser window will appear, along with a popup window with controls that let you filter GHCN stations by urban/rural status, data record length, etc.

Apply the filter controls to display "long duration" stations and see how few stations you need to replicate the NASA/GISS results.

When you start clicking on stations, a data plot panel (gnuplot) window will appear and will show global-avg results updated with each new station that you click on. The upper plot shows global-avg temps; the lower plot shows how many of your selected stations actually reported data for any given year.

AGU attendees who want to abuse their hotels' free wifi can start downloading the appliance file now in the hopes that the download will finish before the conference ends.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Anonymous said...

Quick followup:

WattsBuster raw data results are plotted in red, adjusted data results in green. The official NASA/GISS "meteorological stations" results (included for comparison purposes) are plotted in blue.

--caerbannog the anonybunny

Lewis Cleverdon said...

Eli – I wonder if we may agree that the IPCC is not simply a channel by which govt.s are empowered to censor the climate science reaching both the UNFCCC and the public – via the media misrepresenting its findings as the scientific consensus ?

I’d suggest that it is also the global sink for most scientists’ concerns (apart from individual efforts like Hansen, Mann, Anderson and a few others who endure massive attack) for where else than the IPCC can they hope to get their views heard on the global stage ?

Given that the global UNFCCC negotiations must, by mandate, limit their considerations to the info supplied by IPCC, and that body has yet to even hint at an apology for its grossly misleading prognoses over two decades – such as projecting the loss of arctic ice cover in the wrong century,
and given that it promotes as the consensus works that persist with basing patently failed models not on what observations state is the present condition but on what it would be if the models had proven correct,
it is hard to see any reason for the IPCC to retain scientists’ credibility – other than the lack of a credible alternative forum for a global climate science assessment.

For the IPCC to have excluded proper account of all of the peer-reviewed findings of the acceleration of six out of seven mega-feedbacks from all Assessment Reports to date - is patently worse than incompetent. To now refuse to include them in AR5, with the acceleration of Albedo Loss, Permafrost Melt, Forest Combustion and Soils Desiccation becoming patently obvious, is not only highly discreditable – it indicates a high degree of institutional corruption-by-mandate. It is, after all, the Inter-Governmental Panel on climate change, not an Independent Scientific Authority on climate destabilization.

From this perspective it seems urgently necessary to initiate an independent global climate science entity, comprising scientists of standing in their fields,
under a title on the lines of: “Independent Climate Science Authority”
with a remit of providing assessments annually of:
- a current overview of climate dynamics and the prognoses for their development;
- a critique of the shortcomings of the most recent output by the IPCC, particularly its contrasts with its submitted papers and with more recent publications;
- a review of the current parameters for a commensurate global policy of mitigation to comply with the UNFCCC preventive mandate and of the requisite techniques thereof.

What I cannot tell is just what fraction of climate scientists would welcome the launch of an independent climate science authority. It would not of course in any way preclude scientists contributing to IPCC as well as ICSA – the resulting contrasts in output would be highly informative to policy-makers and to the public alike. But equally I’d doubt that prevaricators with scientific credentials would find they attracted consensus support for their participation.

So how would we go about taking soundings among scientists and, if they were positive, encourage the launch of such an organization ?



Hank Roberts said...

A plea:

For those like me who take new information best as ASCII, someone point to a list of transcripts -- text files -- that will be available, somewhere, eventually.

Oh please.

EliRabett said...

It is Eli's experience that when Louis presents a closely reasoned argument that reaches a non-evidenciary conclusion, the place to start is with the assumptions. Contrary to his assertions:

Facts are that the IPCC reports are, within their constraints, e.g. the political convocation at the end of each process, the best available science of their time. If anything the political influence has biased these reports to the least alarming possibility and that the scientific part of the drafting process itself is quite cautious. There is a clear trace through the twenty years of reports showing increasing certainty of dire conclusions and that the attempts to delegitimatize them are the result of a well funded campaign of industrial interests coupled to an economic ideological base.

So no, Eli does not agree that the process is broken, just that there are some who would like to break it.

Lewis Cleverdon said...

Eli - it's not often that I manage to generate a 180 degree misunderstanding in the reader. You wrote:

"Facts are that the IPCC reports are, within their constraints, e.g. the political convocation at the end of each process, the best available science of their time. If anything the political influence has biased these reports to the least alarming possibility and that the scientific part of the drafting process itself is quite cautious."

Just to be clear, I would entirely agree with your assessment if it described the reports as "the best available global overview of the science - as I'm of the opinion that the scientific input is degraded by mandated political pressures to understate the rising hazard in the output reports. Quite where your misunderstanding arose I'm not clear.

Should we readers of Rabbet Run take it that you are content that the Inter-Governmental Panel should continue to exclude proper account of the observed acceleration and prognoses for even such feedbacks as albedo loss and permafrost melt ? Or would you welcome the benefits of an independent global scientific assessment that helps keep the Panel focussed on the appalling damage and dire scientific projections now unfolding in the real world ?



a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Surveys have shown that a large majority of scientists are satisfied with the summary of the IPCC. This has been documented several times, including in the 2008 survey by Bray and von Storch.

Remember, that the IPCC is by definition a consensus document. It will not go as far as some in the field would like (e.g. you) and will go further than others are comfortable.

Leave conspiracy theories to the denialist loonies. You cannot hope to outdo them.

Lewis Cleverdon said...

Ray, two points -
first, this is normal political business of information-flow management, not conspiracy. The degree of effective censorship has been detailed by the late great Stephen Schneider, among others.

Second, while scientists in general may have been content with IPCC output in 2008, I'd take some convincing that those in the Earth sciences are now. Excluding not one but six out of seven interactive mega-feedbacks from proper review for 20 years is a fundamental error, and a failure of science's duty to inform society of an existential hazard. That duty cannot in my view be abdicated by informing a small fraction of the political class.



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