Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hansen et al. Redux


Eli, and the bunnies, have been following the on line review of Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms: evidence from paleoclimate data, climate modeling, and modern observations that 2 °C global warming is highly dangerous by J. Hansen, M. Sato, P. Hearty, R. Ruedy, M. Kelley, V. Masson-Delmotte, G. Russell, G. Tselioudis, J. Cao, E. Rignot, I. Velicogna, E. Kandiano, K. von Schuckmann, P. Kharecha, A. N. Legrande, M. Bauer, and K.-W. Lo.

The Weasel is also taking part both in the burial and the rising

Think it's over.  Think again.

UPDATE:  Peter Thorne remarks in the comments

As the review process is ongoing I shall wait for its conclusion to say anything substantial (if at all). 
That said, my review is on record and as such it is hardly a secret that my position is the literature is the place to discuss science and there are many far more appropriate avenues and fora to explain and expound the policy implications. This position is not in any sense remotely consistent with any entirely unwarranted accusations of a desire for obfuscation. 
Indeed, exactly the opposite is what is being expounded in my review. 
Use the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. The scientific literature is not the appropriate tool for advocacy. It is where science advances are carefully, meticulously and objectively discussed and defended so that the science process can continue on its merry way. If we blur that line we shall create an almighty mess where the literature becomes all about position statements. A very slippery slope. The scientific method has cast us in good stead for Centuries. It is all about cold hard facts, methods etc. It is not an advocacy vehicle.
Yesterday a rather more, let Eli say, interesting, reply to the Thorne and Archer reviews appeared from James Hansen.  It was less about the reviews than the review process.    He starts in the usual way by thanking the solicited reviewers (Eli suspects there must have been a third, but maybe the food fight scared the dread third reviewer away, or maybe the third reviewer gave up on page 60 of the paper.  Never mind)

Hansen then says something surprising about the review process
Contrary to the impression that may be obtained from some media, including blogs, I find our experience with the ACPD publication method to be exceptionally effective. The innovative aspect of ACPD (and a few other journals) is the open publication of the Discussion version of the paper, which is used to generate open public comments as well as official referee assessment. This Discussion version of the paper is published; it is freely and permanently available.
Hansen likes the open review.  A considerable amount of ink has been spilled, concern trolling tutt, tutting about the media firestorm let loose by the announcement of the paper.  This publicity was not an accident 
I was responsible for drawing media attention to the Discussion paper. If I did it over again, I would do the same. The reason for wanting publicity is the relevance of the paper’s conclusions to ongoing climate discussions, specifically the Paris summit this December, and the urgency of achieving effective policy changes needed to avert undesirable consequences of climate change that would especially affect young people and future generations.
The publicity was successful in drawing attention to issues that the paper highlights, notably the threat of large sea level rise. Criticism that it got too much attention seems clearly wrong. Would it have been better to keep the process and issues hidden from the public while they were being worked out? 
and the problems caused by interfering comments from some of the looser thinkers roped in by the publicity. 
The only argument presented for that conclusion is that the publicity resulted in some irrational (bad science) comments from climate change “deniers”. Is there harm in that? On the contrary, it shows a disinterested judge or observer that all opinions are given a hearing. Yes, a few may be of low scientific quality and thus a nuisance, but the public probably wants all to be heard. When an editor cuts off such discussion after it becomes an excessive nuisance, a judge can readily verify that fact and affirm that all parties had a fair opportunity
Hansen raises the point that the open review process is a protection against group think making it easier for unorthodox voices to be heard and that in the normal peer review process it can take years for such views to be accepted.  This argument has actually modified Eli's POV on where the winds come from.  There is a place between blogs, arXiv and Science for really speculative papers, but the authors need to strongly defend themselves.  Allowing the papers to be published is another call, but it is sink or stadium wave.

Hansen accepts that the paper must be shortened and simplified.  They understand that their point of view diverges from the IPCC consensus.  They strongly believe that their point of view needs to be heard, not only by other scientists
The second reviewer represents IPCC positions, many of which we disagree with. We will respond to these matters point by point. We also strongly disagree with the contentionthat pointing out the policy implications of our results is “out of scope”. On the contrary, when scientific results have policy implications, we believe it is an obligation of climate scientists to draw attention to those implications.Otherwise, as history has shown, we run the risk of laypeople drawing conclusions about this complex issue that are erroneous, ill-informed, misleading and counterproductive. Do we expect policymakers to read scientific journals and figure it out? Certainly a scientist is free to avoid or obfuscate the policy implications if they so choose, but they cannot impose such a constraint on other scientists.
Eli would be pleased to print a reply from Peter Thorne to this challenge.

25 comments:

Fernando Leanme said...

Ha señalado, like most climatologists, and scientists, isn't properly trained to provide good quality input into policy decisions to do somethng to control climate change. I think I can set up a 6 month intensive training program to teach them subjects they need to consider before they be one effective participants. I write this because I want to emphasize those of you who have the educational background and mental conditioning to absorb new information in a hurry can benefit from such training.

To be honest, to develop the curriculum I would need to consult with others and with the trainee candidates. Maybe we can make this into a graduate course in the "Ethics, Project strategy planning, economics and politics of terraforming and climate control"

William Connolley said...

> Yesterday

Do you mean "AC C8227: 'Response to RC C5209 (David Archer, Referee) and RC C6089 (Peter Thorne, Referee)', James Hansen, 19 Oct 2015"?

That was on the 19th. See-also http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2015/10/19/joan-crawford-has-risen-from-the-grave/#comment-54395

H> when scientific results have policy implications, we believe it is an obligation of climate scientists to draw attention to those implications

E> Eli would be pleased to print a reply from Peter Thorne to this challenge.

Its a very weak challenge. The obvious reply is "Fine. Put your science in science journals and then draw attention to the science via you blogs and mailing lists. As you already do."

Entropic man said...

I happened to reread Hansen et al 1984 today.

Thirty years ago his 1D model projected that 2010 would be 1C warmer than 1850, That has turned out to be spot on.

Hansen has a very good record as an accurate forecaster when most of his colleaguestend to be too conservative. Take him seriously!

Mitch Lyle said...

It is easier to forecast temperature than sea level. I would bet on a meter, but plan for 2.

Everett F Sargent said...

What William said ...

It's dated 10/19/2015 11:57:33 AM (both duplicate replied even) and I downloaded it as soon as it was available NINE days ago.

Where have you been these past NINE days?

That technically, fulfills the author's responsibility to reply to all comments in the open part of the 'peer' review process.

That's all it does. It's in no way shape or form a real reply to gross deficiencies that exist in that paper.

As to your so called 'challenge' we all are still waiting on Hansen's substantive reply to Thorne FIRST!!!

Also please point to one other peer reviewed paper, by someone else other that Hansen et/ al., who makes the absurd claim of five meters SLR by 2100 AD. One paper. One paper that goes beyond a simple curve fitting exercise and than has the audacity of extrapolation of said curve by 10X even. One paper that has real physics.

The ends don't justify the means.

Everett F Sargent said...

Oh and if you are going to quote from Hansen's non sequiter of a reply than ...

Quote this ...

"I believe that the perspective we bring to the problem is welcomed by almost all IPCC scientists, but we need to confront a small reticent subset."

That's EXACTLY the part I am MOST concerned about. That's the ONLY part of his reply that I noticed.

The reticence of Church, et. al. to throw out BAD semi-empirical methods, to really throw out Hansen(2011) in one passing sentence even ...

"The fourth approach is concerned particularly with the contribution from ice-sheet dynamical change, for which it considers kinematic limits. Pfeffer et al. (2008) argued that scenarios of GMSL rise exceeding 2 m by 2100 are physically untenable, ruling out, for example, the heuristic argument of Hansen et al. (2007) giving 5 m by 2100."

Note that that chapter has transposed two publication dates, the above is in reference to Hansen(2011).

Heuristic argument ...

"It is a speculative, non-rigorous argument, that relies on an analogy or on intuition, that allows one to achieve a result or approximation to be checked later with more rigor; otherwise the results are of doubt. It is used as a hypothesis or conjecture in an investigation. It can also be used as a mnemonic."

Kind of at the level of dousing! Not very useful, not very meaningful and not very promising for the vast majority of real SME SLR experts

Hansen clearly is no SME SLR expert and anyone who is a SME SLR expert who reads that paper would still come to the same conclusion of AR5 WG1.

I'll even make a very big bet with anyone anywhere that AR6 WG1 will still outright dismiss Hansen15 as a 'heuristic argument' because nothing has changed between 2011 and 2015 wrt Hansen's methods.

Everett F Sargent said...

Read the whole last paragraph of Hansens's reply (sans the meaningless last sentance).

"My present concern about group-think is not a criticism of IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), even though I strongly disagree with a very tiny subset of IPCC participants who have controlled the message about the threat of sea level change. ... Most of the IPCC scientists, at least THOSE THAT I HAVE CONTACT WITH, share my concern that the presentation of IPCC reports has led to under-appreciation of the threat of sea level rise. I believe that the perspective we bring to the problem is welcomed by almost all IPCC scientists, but we need to confront a small reticent subset."

Hansen needs to name names, he's so 'out there' in his protesting advocacy role, he doesn't appear to be scared of anybody so ...

Here's my own challenge to Hansen ...

Name some names of those IPCC scientists (specifically the SME SLR people) whom he considers 'reticent' and name some names of those scientists (specifically the SME SLR people) whom share his five meter SLR by 2100 AD nonsense.

I'm kind of guessing that Thorne would be 'reticent' according to Hansen's warped and biased views.

Hansen takes a proverbial shit on the table and expects others to eat that stuff.

Everett F Sargent said...

Here's another part of Hansen's reply that Eli 'forgot' to mention ...

"In our paper we are questioning “group-think” conclusions. I am acutely aware of the difficulty of this, because of an analogous experience a few decades ago. I was the head of a small research group that could only afford a used computer, which we could not update. The computing capacity was orders of magnitude less that that at large centers, and electronic connections allowing users at remote places to use computers at the large modeling centers did not exist."

1972-1981 Staff Member/Space Scientist: Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), Manager of GISS Planetary and Climate Programs (Hansen's most recent CV)

So with CU within four blocks walking distance of Tom's Restaurant and PU's GFDL within 50 miles of Tom's Restaurant and with POTS and something called a modem, we would have to assume that NYC had no phone lines, no modems, no roads and no airports!

Randolph Center VT (VTC) had time share to a Dartmouth computer in 1972.

In Vicksburg MS our people flew out west to DOD computers in the 70's and used modems.

Now those placed are in the sticks and in the sticks SQUARED!

Not buying Hansen's 'lame and weak' excuses, not buying them for one second.

Everett F Sargent said...

The best part of Hansen's reply though, has got to be this part (which Eli did quote) ...

"The reason for wanting publicity is the relevance of the paper’s conclusions to ongoing climate discussions, specifically the Paris summit this December, and the urgency of achieving effective policy changes needed to avert undesirable consequences of climate change that would especially affect young people and future generations."

Hansen would appear to be slightly delusional.

AFAIK no climate scientists will play a direct role at all in COP21. It's all going to be about official government representatives, no one is going to discuss Hansen's paper or any other individual climate science paper for that matter.

Especially a paper that says "Hey lookie over here, I wrote a (discussion) paper, first and only one of it's kind, never been seen before, and you just MUST pay attention to MY paper because it douth prophesied the end times by 2060 even."

So Hansen's dons his sandwich board and stands on his soapbox in front of COP21 proclaiming the end times paper. Meanwhile, no serious player in the COP21 negotiations gives Hansen the time of day, but they do throw some loose 'chump' change in his direction, as they don't want to be seen talking to a loon.

Here's hoping that ACP get's this out the door officially by November 30th. I do mean that too.

wheelism said...

"Hansen would appear to be slightly delusional. AFAIK no climate scientists will play a direct role at all in COP21. It's all going to be about official government representatives, no one is going to discuss Hansen's paper or any other individual climate science paper for that matter."

Here's hoping that you're wrong.

Everett F Sargent said...

Another 'cute' part of Hansen's reply ...

"The second reviewer represents IPCC positions, many of which we disagree with. We will respond to these matters point by point."

So the 2nd reviewer is a 'reticent' IPCC SOB or some such. Good to know that.

As to Eli's 'challenge' to Thorne, well if Hansen is to be 'trusted' by the ACPD folks, it would appear that Eli will have to put that 'challenge' on hold until such time that Hansen has 'promised' a 'point by point' reply.

If a 'point by point' reply does materialize, then it is likely will be an over-the-top doozy like a few other replies of Hansen's in that discussion thread.

Can't wait for it.

Everett F Sargent said...

wheelism,

I'll let Hansen answer your question ...

"Do we expect policymakers to read scientific journals and figure it out?"

Also this part ...

"Otherwise, as history has shown, we run the risk of laypeople drawing conclusions about this complex issue that are erroneous, ill-informed, misleading and counterproductive."

Ooh, holier-than-thou.

Should read ...

"Otherwise, as history has shown, we run the risk of scientists drawing conclusions about this complex issue that are erroneous, ill-informed, misleading and counterproductive."

Face it, Hansen ain't a policy person and he ain't ever going to be in a position to be a policy person.

EliRabett said...

Looking at the list of US attendees for COP 20, Eli finds,

Drew Shindll, NASA Giss
Michelle Gierach, JPL, Oceans
Elizabeth Jewett , NOAA Ocean Acidification
Jack Kaye, NASA, SMD

and a few others. Outnumbered, but not zero.

Everett F Sargent said...

Oh lookie here ...

Recent Progress in Understanding and Projecting Regional and Global Mean Sea Level Change
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40641-015-0024-4
(Peter U. Clark , John A. Church, Jonathan M. Gregory, Anthony J. Payne)
(Open access at least on my PC)

I wonder who those 1st two lead authors are/were?

Oh, just the Coordinating Lead Authors for Chapter 13 of AR5 WG1 (Sea Level Change), why those two 'reticent' climate scientists!!!

From these two SME SLR experts (which Hansen abjectly is NOT) ...

"The largest estimates of acceleration in mass loss from the two ice sheets for 2003–2013 equal or exceed the acceleration of GMSL rise calculated from the satellite altimeter sea level record over the longer period of 1993–2014. However, when increased mass gain in land water storage and parts of East Antarctica, and decreased mass loss from glaciers in Alaska and some other regions are taken into account, the net acceleration in the ocean mass gain is consistent with the satellite altimeter record. New studies suggest that a marine ice sheet instability (MISI) may have been initiated in parts of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), but that it will affect only a limited number of ice streams in the twenty-first century. New projections of mass loss from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets by 2100, including a contribution from parts of WAIS undergoing unstable retreat, suggest a contribution that falls largely within the likely range (i.e., two thirds probability) of the AR5. These new results increase confidence in the AR5 likely range, indicating that there is a greater probability that sea level rise by 2100 will lie in this range with a corresponding decrease in the likelihood of an additional contribution of several tens of centimeters above the likely range. In view of the comparatively limited state of knowledge and understanding of rapid ice sheet dynamics, we continue to think that it is not yet possible to make reliable quantitative estimates of future GMSL rise outside the likely range. Projections of twenty-first century GMSL rise published since the AR5 depend on results from expert elicitation, but we have low confidence in conclusions based on these approaches."

Hmm, so Hansen is guessing at SLR and these four authors are suggesting that ice sheet contribution will be less than previously thought.

So the battle of the 'reticent' SME SLR scientists versus one 'activist' non-SME non-SLR scientist. I do wonder who will win.

See also ...

Watson CS, White NJ, Church JA, King MA, Burgette RJ, Legresy B.
Unabated global mean sea-level rise over the satellite altimeter era. Nat Clim Chang. 2015.

I have lots more, next up, some stuff from Hansen's own blog.

Peter Thorne said...

As the review process is ongoing I shall wait for its conclusion to say anything substantial (if at all).

That said, my review is on record and as such it is hardly a secret that my position is the literature is the place to discuss science and there are many far more appropriate avenues and fora to explain and expound the policy implications. This position is not in any sense remotely consistent with any entirely unwarranted accusations of a desire for obfuscation.

Indeed, exactly the opposite is what is being expounded in my review.

Use the appropriate tool for the appropriate job. The scientific literature is not the appropriate tool for advocacy. It is where science advances are carefully, meticulously and objectively discussed and defended so that the science process can continue on its merry way. If we blur that line we shall create an almighty mess where the literature becomes all about position statements. A very slippery slope. The scientific method has cast us in good stead for Centuries. It is all about cold hard facts, methods etc. It is not an advocacy vehicle.

EliRabett said...

Since nobunny reads the comments, Eli has moved Peter Thorne's comment up to the top of the post. Nobunny reads to the bottom either.

Thank you Peter.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I think Peter Thorne is full of shit. Considering the magnitude of the diversity of the problems, and the extreme nature of the problems, then I have no problems with credible scientists sticking it to the status quo in the scientific literature. In fact, I demand it. And I note credentials are not going to cut it in the coming era of corruption.

Credibility, get it?

EliRabett said...

Now 8c, one could be a bit more gracious to honored guests, and actually say the same thing. Mom Rabett would pull your ears.

8c7793aa-15b2-11e5-898a-67ca934bd1df said...

I happen to be a scientist who blames scientists for these problems.

My ire knows no bounds.

David B. Benson said...

Having read all the way to the end of the comments, I'm going to the duo piano concert now.

BBD said...

All this chest-beating, EFS.

My original point to you was that multi-metre SLR over several centuries is a terrifying prospect. I do not much care if JH has over-estimated the rate of rise this century. It doesn't matter at all if you extend the horizon to 2200 and the drainage of the WAIS has destabilised the Wilkes and we are *committed* to >5m by 2300. Try to step back from the trivial bollocks and consider what actually matters.

Put your ego away. Drop the silly animus against JH.

Everett F Sargent said...

BBD,

Who exactly created the animus to begin with in the 1st place? Indiana Jones did!

I didn't write that GDPOS advocacy paper, Indiana Jones did.

Here's one for you ...
Sea Level Rise Briefing - August 26, 2015
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=11978#

http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a011900/a011978/Slide2_print.jpg
Figure 2 (Nerem) -- NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites have measured the loss of ice mass from Earth’s polar ice sheets since 2002. Credit: Nerem/CU-Boulder

Those are linear lines on the SMB data by Nerem, they are not linear lines on the rate of chance of the SMB data.

The USACE uses up to five SLR curves the highest one being 2.5 meters in 2100 AD, other than the baseline linear RSL rate all other curves are quadratics.

I can tell you as a matter of fact that the USACE is using more conservative curves for a given 2100 AD SLR value than one would obtain by using an exponential fit (meaning the USACE curves are higher valued for all time than an exponential with the same end point value).

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, who is a federal coastal planner understands both the near term design window as well as the longer term consequences of SLR, mush more so than Hansen will ever understand.

What federal coastal planners need right now is the best objective guidance going forwards wrt SLR. Hansen's paper is what it is, a hoser paper. No one, and I do mean no one, would take his advice wrt SLR, he's not an SME and he doesn't even claim to be an SME.

Hansen would not even have a paper if he had used a quadratic or linear SMB curve, Hansen dropped the 40-year doubling time for a very good reason, it would not have shown what he wanted to show a "The Day After Tomorrow" scenario. So Hansen dropped the 40-year and added the 5-year doubling time.

The more I think about it, the more I want the ACP to publish that GDPOS paper. The sooner the better.

Also no one should confuse Hansen's paper as a 'projection' a 'prediction' or a 'forecast' because all it really is is an assumption prescribed as input to their model.

BBD said...

Everett

You are very visibly ignoring what I just said.

Susan Anderson said...

Excellent article. Yes, anyone who posts repeatedly in other people's comment sections is likely to be ignored after a bit.

Reminder: clicking on "said" allows one to collapse the thread to material that is not so prolific and axe-grinding.

As to substance, I tend to agree with Hansen that we are too eager to hide from obvious dangers by focusing on the minutiae of narrow science.

And how exactly does time stop at 2100?

Kevin O'Neill said...

Peter Thorne writes: "The scientific method has cast us in good stead for Centuries."

This is Panglossian *advocacy* without any underlying basis in fact. By what metrics are we to judge "good"? Wealth inequality, technology access, knowledge of basic science in the general population?

It's also a bait and switch. The scientific method is not the threatened by policy implications being discussed in journal papers. First, policy implications do not equal advocacy, but even if they did I'm not sure how the scientific process would be threatened.

No, from what I've witnessed, the lack of discussion leads to misunderstanding on the part of the general public. One only needs to read any of the denier sites to see how words are twisted, basic concepts misunderstood, and the implications of scientific research completely stood on its head. In many cases it's not only the general public, but scientists outside their specific field of expertise that misunderstand the policy implications of many scientific papers.

Given the state of the world today, and the state of the climate we appear to be handing down to future generations, it's difficult to comprehend how one can sincerely believe that the specific form of the scientific process we've chosen to implement is the best of all possible scientific methods.

'If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.'

Me, I'd vote for some changes.