Sunday, October 31, 2010

Maybe it ain't an act

Judy Curry continues her crazy aunt act, which is being torn apart by the usual suspects. Her arguments are so shallow and easy to refute that one is left with the conclusion that she ain't too bright to start with.


Thumbsuckers coming up bunnies, motivated by something Eli saw somewhere recently but more to the point this whole issue of who is a climate scientist. The specific remark came from Richard Lindzen by way of blog telephone, directed at Kerry Emanuel who, in Lindzen's opinion had sold out by starting to work on hurricanes because the granting agencies were directing funding in that direction. The more circumulus version is generated by the denialism fog machine that the only reason folks do climate science, is for the dineros. Of course, the scale of the dineros is a lot less than our friends write down, because most of the funding goes to the construction and launch of satellites, and, as Bert Brecht said, first feed the face and then tell right from wrong. Still, Eli thought a good rambling post would be some help in this matter.

Eli starts from the observation that what a cute little Rabett acquires in graduate school is a toolbox and a body of knowledge, aka a data set. Good little bunnies tear the data set apart with the shiny new tools extracting meaning under the mentorship of "the best Professor in the field". A bunch of us, as we grow into Rabett status, settle down to a research or teaching career, never straying too far from the Doctor Mother's Rabett Hole, improving the furniture, putting up new drapes, occasionally getting out for a conference. This is, as it were, often the personally preferred path, certainly the comfortable one. Same field, same data set, getting to know every nook and cranny, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Others hop along a different path for a couple of reasons. Sometimes the new PhD goes looking for a place where her toolbox could have a major effect. This can happen on a micro or a macro level, related area or out in left field. Often, driven by the need for a job, the brand new doctor of science sends out a few thousand resumes and one falls into the hands of a Prof. who reads it and says, gee, we could use that and the Prof. hires a new postdoc. Sometimes the prof hears about what was going on in the doctoral study, and sends out the gold plated invitation, wanting to add a new technique to the lab armory.

This happens not only to people but to fields. Eli grew up (ok, we know there is debate on that) as an AMO physicist (atomic, molecular and optical physicist), wandered into physical chemistry and then chemical physics over the course of a decade. At each step his toolbox was the entry to the new area, and at each stop, his toolbox grew. Synthetic organic, or biochem would have been a jump too far, but he found the occasional collaborator in those areas who needed to borrow a cup. Chemical Physics itself bumped along. Many went over to the earth and atmospheric science, others to mechanical engineering combustion research, still others to materials science and even biomedical stuff, all based on a useful toolbox and interesting problems.

Interdisciplinary fields are prone to this sort of talent borrowing because they are not a bridge to far for anyone trained in the one of the inter disciplines. Climate science is one of these sort of areas and Eli leaves it to the comments to list any number of those who joined up. Climate bloggers include examples, to pick on three, Gavin Schmidt, James Annan and William Connolley (who has since wandered in a different direction).

Next, we come to what Eli will call the Emanuel shift. Someone working in a field on a problem, finds another problem which is interesting, important to others and fundable. Even better, there is just the socket wrench in the toolbox to crack that nut. Gotta go for it. Tomorrow, in the next exciting chapter,Workload, Eli will explain why.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report: The Shorter Version

For those bunnies with neither the time or inclimatation to read Eli's Dummies Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report (pay attention, you know who you are) Rabett Labs offers the shorter version, together with a few notes on why this is not going away despite the furious spittle projection coming from the direction of Stephen McIntyre and Anthony Watts.


  • Evidence of extensive plagiarism in at least two sections of the Wegman Report, that describing proxy methods (plagiarized from Ray Bradley's book, see point 1 below for confirmation) and that describing social network analysis.

(See Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report, the complete handbook, by John Mashey)
  • Multiple use of references to support claims that the references contradict. In such cases, while one can disagree with the source, the disagreement must be noted to inform the reader
  • The Wegman Panel restricted the social network of climate scientists to Michael Mann's coauthors forcing him to the center of the network. They then mislead the reader by claiming this as evidence of collusive and poor peer review. Incompetence or design?
  • Use of a figure from the 1990 IPCC Report altered to support the conclusion of the Wegman Panel, coupled with an unwillingness to consult the original source, even though it was available in multiple places in the Washington area including GMU, as well as from Amazon.
One can list more questionable items, but this is a shorter list. Eli can also provide a short list indicating why this is a serious matter.
1. We have from the Weg hisself, on his Facebook page, that he was effectively forbidden to supervise graduate students in late AUGUST. For the hard of learning, Wegman has been academically emasculated with a sharp knife.

2. We have from Donald Rapp's letter that Elsevier is complaining to GMU that Wegman plagiarized Bradley's book. Elsevier has some pretty sharp intellectual property lawyers and would not expose itself to any counterclaim without believing the evidence is clear and convincing.

3. We know from Dan Vergano's report in USA Today and Deep Climate's follow up that George Mason University has concluded that the complaints it has received contain enough evidence to move from the less serious inquiry phase to a formal investigation of research misconduct against Edward Wegman and his group.
These three points alone are strong evidence, but the chickens fleeing the hen house behavior of Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts are what clinches the case. McIntyre is following his usual mode of operation, throwing everything against the wall he can find in the hope that something sticks. For those into this stuff a useful watchword would be "Remember Yamal", McIntyre's attempt to smear Keith Briffa. There was nothing there, actually, it was McIntyre who behaved badly, loudly demanding in public records that he already had and claiming that his not getting them from Briffa was evidence of Briffa's misconduct. Oh yeah, his analysis was also dicey but it wasted everyone's time and penetrated much more deeply into the media than the refutation.

Watts, well, he was busy nailing Hal Lewis on Martin Luther's door. Look over there Lucia.

NOAA Reports on Arctic Ice

Not optimistic, but simple enough for anyone. This is an interesting new direction of for reporting from government science agencies to the public on a nontechnical level. OK, they could have used someone who knows how to speak in something more varied than a monotone, but that would raise the debt. Mom and Dad need to see this but you can read the details on the web.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Kerry Emanuel Nails Hal Lewis

Well, not quite, because Emanuel summed it up well before Lewis went off half cocked. Emanuel, for those who don't know is a Professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at MIT, and pretty far to the right politically. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, an eminent scholar, but also a member of the National Association of Scholars, a group that believes that universities are dens of nasty socialists. In July of 2010, Emanuel published a comment on the state of climate science on the National Association of Scholars web site. Everyone should read it. RIGHT NOW, that means you.

He clearly understood what was happening

But it turns out that there are not enough mavericks in climate science to meet the media’s and blogosphere’s insatiable appetite for conflict. Thus into the arena steps a whole host of charlatans posing as climate scientists. These are a toxic brew of retired physicists, TV weather forecasters, political junkies, media hacks, and anyone else willing to tell an interviewer that he/she is a climate scientist. Typically, they have examined some of the more easily digestible evidence and, like good trial lawyers, cherry-pick that which suits their agendas while attacking or ignoring the rest. Often, they are a good deal more articulate than actual scientists, who usually prefer doing research to honing rhetorical technique. Intelligent readers/viewers should demand to know the actual scientific backgrounds of these posers and recognize that someone with a background in particle physics or botany may in fact know very little about climate science. Does he/she have a background in atmospheric physics? Can they answer elementary questions about radiative and convective heat transfer, or about the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere? More precisely, does their expertise actually bear on the particular points they are making? It may sound elitist these days, but there is a point to credentials.
Eli added a comment

I would like to thank Prof. Emanuel for his contribution. I grew up scientifically with many who are now well known atmospheric chemists. Our politics were all over the map. Scientific matters were vigorously debated, politics were not terra incognita, but, for issues such as ozone depletion and climate change, the science provided the boundary condition. It is a failure of our politics, better written, public policy, that many believe their policy preferences should set the boundary conditions for science.

To me, and I suspect Prof. Emanuel, the truly worrying thing about humans changing the climate by inadvertance and ignorance is that when the consequences strike, survival will require sacrificing many freedoms.

Others should think about this.

The American Physical Society Calls Tony Watts a Clown

Anthony Watts got his Hal Lewis is Martin Luther Appeal into the Christian Science Monitor. Some of the bunnies joined the fun in the comments (caerbannog, greenfyre, Eli, Mike Roddy, Scott Mandia), but the major explosion was a post from the press secretary of the American Physical Society, Tawanda Johnson

Mr. Watts,

The American Physical Society (APS), a leading organization of physicists, takes great umbrage to your analogy likening Dr. Harold Lewis’ resignation from APS to that of the plight of Christian theologian Martin Luther. Global climate change concerns science, not religion, and Dr. Lewis’ resignation bears no likeness to the Great Reformation. Furthermore, on the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree with the following observations:

• Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity;
• Carbon dioxide is an excellent infrared absorber, and therefore, its increasing presence in the atmosphere contributes to global warming; and
• The dwell time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hundreds of years.

APS continues to recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain uncertain. In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis’ claim that global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.”

Read the official APS response to Dr. Harold Lewis’ resignation:
they ain't gonna take this nonsense anymore. Tony and Hal did the denial crowd a great service by stirring up the APS.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Andy Dessler Smokes Richard Lindzen

As Andy says at the beginning,

it all fits together, its this coherence of data, and even if any one of these data set is wrong, it really would not affect your confidence because we have so much other data which suggests it's warming and because of this the IPCC calls this unequivocal, which means essentially beyond doubt. . . . The key thing to look at is look for coherence, look for lots of evidence supporting a point and you will clearly see why scientists are convinced that the mainstream view of climate science is right
The bottom line being
The real question I want to address here is this question of how much does carbon dioxide warm the climate. This is really the key question. It's not a question of does carbon dioxide warm the climate. I think that Prof. Lindzen and I will agree it does. It's a question of magnitude, a question of how much it warms the climate. What we are going to talk about here is this question of climate sensitivity. That's often referred to as climate sensitivity. We are going to use a standard measure which is how much warming would occur if we doubled carbon dioxide, so we are going to go through the math and do a very simple calculation that indicates that we might be screwed

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gerald North dishes

UPDATE: MT points to a letter in today's (10/18/10) Washington Post from Gerald North which essentially tells Joe Barton to take and insert. BTW, yes, Eli is playing blog pong, but MT started it:)

One of the delights of commenting and posting is the delicious moment comes that shows that you are right and someone else is, well, not. This is a bit unfair, as Eli has been engaging with AMac on Our Changing Climate in a useful interchange. Eli has already posted part of this as his Perils of Wisdom, and, to be honest, AMac has held up his part of the interchange with honor and intelligence, you can read it at Bart's, but for the record, Eli had a few other things to say (this is his blog after all), including

The NRC report pretty much agrees with what Eli has been saying, that useful math can be formally incorrect, or better put, not optimal, and can be improved on, but still remain useful. As the data (which contrary to TimG’s bald assertion) has grown and better methods of analysis have been applied, the results confirm the broad outlines of the 1998 and 1999 papers.

Increasingly climate disruption is being subject to a four corners offense, playing out the clock. This is a pretty old strategy perfected by Singer for delaying any action on the acid rain problem and it works, except, given the nature of climate disruption, procrastination penalties are very very high. Conclusion 4 is exactly that ploy.

The rest of the conclusions were simply argumentative bleats based on an ignorance of paleoclimate but a sharp understanding of politics with the possible exception of the data and code sharing issue, which is not a slam dunk. There is, for example, a lot of weather forecasting code which is not disclosed for commercial and intellectual property reasons. For enough carotts, Eli will argue either side of that one.

To quote from the North NAS panel

“Despite these limitations, the committee finds that efforts to reconstruct temperature histories for broad geographic regions using multiproxy methods are an important contribution to climate research and that these large-scale surface temperature reconstructions contain meaningful climatic signals. The individual proxy series used to create these reconstructions generally exhibit strong correlations with local environmental conditions, and in most cases there is a physical, chemical, or physiological reason why the proxy reflects local temperature variations. Our confidence in the results of these reconstructions becomes stronger when multiple independent lines of evidence point to the same general result, as in the case of the Little Ice Age cooling and the 20th century warming.”

Contrast this with the Wegman Report’s conclusions. The first conclusion that academic work has been politicized ranks right up there with patricide claiming mercy because she is an orphan. It goes downhill from there.

One of the ongoing ideas propagated by the denial crowd is that the Gerald North, Chair of the NAS Committee which looked into the same issues, agreed with the Wegman Panel. They should read Prof. North's written response to the question of what he thought of the Wegman Report.
8. At the hearing you were asked if you disputed the conclusions or the methodology of Dr. Wegman's report, and you stated that you did not. Were you referring solely to Dr. Wegman's criticism of the statistical approach of Dr. Mann, or were you also referring to Dr. Wegman's social network analysis and conclusions?
ANSWER: Dr. Wegman's criticisms of the statistical methodology in the papers by Mann et al were consistent with our findings. Our committee did not consider any social network analyses and we did not have access to Dr. Wegman's report during our deliberations so we did not have an opportunity to discuss his conclusions. Personally, I was not impressed by the social network analysis in the Wegman report, nor did I agree with most of the report's conclusions on this subject. As I stated in my testimony, one might erroneously conclude, based on a social network analysis analogous to the one performed on Dr. Mann, that a very active and charismatic scientist is somehow guilty of conspiring or being inside a closed community or 'mutual admiration society'. I would expect that a social network analysis of Enrico Fermi or any of the other scientists involved with the development of modern physics would yield a similar pattern of connections, yet there is no reason to believe that theoretical physics has suffered from being a tight-knit community. Moreover, as far as I can tell the only data that went into Dr. Wegman's analysis was a list of individuals that Dr. Mann has co-authored papers with. It is difficult to see how this data has any bearing on the peer-review process, the need to include statisticians on every team that engages in climate research (which in my view is a particularly unrealistic and unnecessary recommendation), or any of the other findings and recommendations in Dr. Wegman's report. I was also somewhat taken aback by the tone of the Wegman Report, which seems overly accusatory towards Dr. Mann and his colleagues, rather than being a neutral, impartial assessment of the techniques used in his research. In my opinion, while the techniques used in the original Mann et al papers may have been slightly flawed, the work was the first of its kind and deserves considerable credit for moving the field of paleoclimate research forward. It is also important to note that the main conclusions of the Mann et al studies have been supported by subsequent research. Finally, while our committee would agree with Dr. Wegman that access to research data could and should be improved, as discussed on page 23 of the prepublication version of our report, we also acknowledge the complicated nature of such mandates, especially in areas such as computer code where intellectual property rights need to be considered.

A Dummy's Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report II

A further example of research misconduct is the inclusion of a doctored version of a graphic that appeared in the 1990 IPCC assessment report (see page 137 of Strange Scholarship). Many have misinterpreted this as being a data based global record, but at least in his testimony, Prof. Wegman initially stated that it that it was a cartoon of European temperatures reflecting what was believed in 1990. What raises this from lunacy to misconduct is the distortion of the original drawing and the bootstrapping in the text. See below for Wegman's stretched figure and the original. First the WR displays their distorted graph saying

"Figure 4.5: Here we have digitized the temperature profile as presented in the IPCC Assessment Report 1990. The early period between 1100 to about 1400 of above average temperatures is known as the Medieval Warm Period and the period from about 1500 to 1900 is known as the Little Ice Age."
Then in the next paragraph they stretch it to represent a global temperature record
"Discussion: In Figure 4.5, we have digitized the temperature profile as presented in the IPCC Assessment Report 1990. The early period between 1100 to about 1400 of above average temperatures is known as the Medieval Warm Period and the period from about 1500 to 1900 is known as the Little Ice Age. The 1990 report was not predicated on a global warming scenario. It is clear that at least in 1990, the Medieval Warm Period was thought to have temperatures considerably warmer than the present era."
And finally, in the conclusions they bootstrap it to attack Mann Bradley and Hughes
"The cycle of Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age thatwas widely recognized in 1990 has disappeared from the MBH98/99 analyses, thus making possible the hottest decade/hottest year claim."

The interchange between Rep. Stupak and Wegman in the Congressional Hearing on this point is one for the ages. It's a bit long, but Eli promises that it will entertain. Under questioning Wegman admits that he did not read the 1990 IPCC report
MR. STUPAK. I think you have it in front of you, your 52-page summary there, you have a figure that you say is a digitized version of the temperature profile in the IPCC assessment report of 1990. I take it you read the 1990 IPCC report?
Some byplay about what page of the Wegman Report this was on followed by
MR. STUPAK. Well, then you must have at least discussed this temperature profile.
DR. WEGMAN. The temperature profile that was published in 1990 I believe was related to the European temperatures and was a cartoon--essentially a cartoon. The point of our discussion here was not that we were trying to say that this was what happened in 1990. The point of our discussion was that you could reproduce this shape from the CPF, CFP and the climate plus--whatever--CPS methodology so we are not endorsing that this was the temperature that was thought of in 1990. We are simply using this as an example.
Wegman says that the chart was a) a cartoon and b) based on European temperatures. Next, watch Prof. Wegman pull out the Sgt. Schultz defense.
MR. STUPAK. Were you endorsing 1300 as being a real high temperature time? Were you endorsing it in your report?
DR. WEGMAN. No, we have not said that.
MR. STUPAK. What was the 1990 IPCC temperature profile based on? Basically what was this based on? You are a statistician.
DR. WEGMAN. This--
MR. STUPAK. Was this based on data?
DR. WEGMAN. As I just said moments ago, this was a cartoon I believe that was supposed to be representing a consensus opinion of what global temperature was like in 1990 as published by the IPCC.
MR. STUPAK. Well, is this cartoon then--again, I am on page 34, I am reading now from your report, discussion you have underneath this cartoon. Last line: "The 1990 report was not predicated on global warming scenario. It is clear at least in 1990 the medieval warm period was thought to have temperatures considerably warmer than the present era." Is that your discussion?
MR. STUPAK. So we should not believe that statement then?
DR. WEGMAN. No, I said--I didn't say I believed it was. I said they believed it was. The IPCC gave that report in 1990.
MR. STUPAK. All right. This chart--
DR. WEGMAN. I didn't--
MR. STUPAK. This is in your executive summary, right, page
DR. WEGMAN. The cartoon is IPCC's cartoon, not mine.
But Bart Stupak has been well briefed.
MR. STUPAK. You relied upon it though in your executive summary. So I am looking at the cartoon. There is no data, is there, to say that around 1300 it warmer than it is in the latter half of--
DR. WEGMAN. I think that is an inaccurate statement. I think there is data. I think the data--
MR. STUPAK. Do you have any of it? Can you show us where any of that is?
DR. WEGMAN. No, I don't have it. I take no responsibility for what IPCC did in 1990. There is no way I could do that. Their data is not available to me. In fact, the reason it was digitized was that I had to go back and construct it from their picture. That doesn't mean no data exist. And in fact, as far as I know, it was based on European and Asian temperature profiles that were available in the 1990s.
MR. STUPAK. Sure, and in that, it was thought--it was still not clear that all the fluctuations indicated were truly global. In fact, I think some of the testimony earlier said that parts of western Europe, China, Japan, and eastern U.S.A. were a few degrees warmer in July than other parts of the world. Parts of Australia, Chile, and I think Greenland were actually cooler, they said, and China was actually cold
Which is interesting because earlier Prof. Wegman said that he did not have the IPCC report which would have had the data or a citation AND the original figure. The question occurs, who gave Prof. Wegman the figure and at what stage was it distorted. This is one of the things that the GMU investigation should get at.

The Wegman Report should be withdrawn.

A Dummy's Guide to Strange Scholarship in the Wegman Report

John Mashey has published a very long analysis of Scholarship in the Wegman Report, but some dummies including the editorial writer at the Richmond Times Dispatch need a Dummies Guide. Ms. Rabett and Eli enjoy short attention span sports and this looks to be one of them, with John's two pounder leaving many overloaded. Eli, always eager to please provides some help, but because dummy's are slow, the bunny is splitting this into a bunch of parts.

Even Dummies realize that Mashey is analyzing the scholarship, better put the lack of same in the Wegman Report, and GMU is looking for research misconduct based on multiple complaints, so here Eli will pick out those sections of the Wegman Report which constitute probable (really probable) research misconduct, the sort of thing that gets the NIH Office of Research Integrity on a university's butt.

Deep Climate uncovered strong evidence that two sections of the WR were plagiarized, one involving sections from Ray Bradley's book, Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary (Bradley) section 10.2, and the other from a number of sources on social network analysis. The two links are side by side comparisons of the text in the Wegman Report and the plagiarized sources. The amount of direct copying with minimal if any changes leaves no doubt that this constitutes plagiarism. Even when a citation is provided, word for word copying without indication that is is a direct quote, is plagiarism, and this is also the case if the grammar or spelling is improved a bit, or a word here and there are changed.

Anyone doubting that this was a serious matter should please explain why the publishers of Bradley's books have complained to GMU about the plagiarism. Stay tuned tho, there may be more.

Further, John Mashey (pp 189 in Strange Scholarship) points out that the Wegman Report Appendix purporting to paraphrase important paleoclimate papers also meets the definition of plagiarism, cutting and pasting sections of text from the source without indication. As an alternative the report could have given the full text of the abstracts (saying that this was being done) with a paragraph or more of their own added at the end, but what was done was plagiarism. Nope, pass the library glue.

For anyone still entertaining doubts that this conduct is plagiarism, allow Eli to quote from the NIH Office of Research Integrity Policy on Plagiarism

ORI Policy on Plagiarism

Although there is widespread agreement in the scientific community on including plagiarism as a major element of the PHS definition of scientific misconduct, there is some uncertainty about how the definition of plagiarism itself is applied in ORI cases.

As a general working definition, ORI considers plagiarism to include both the theft or misappropriation of intellectual property and the substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work. It does not include authorship or credit disputes.

The theft or misappropriation of intellectual property includes the unauthorized use of ideas or unique methods obtained by a privileged communication, such as a grant or manuscript review.

Substantial unattributed textual copying of another's work means the unattributed verbatim or nearly verbatim copying of sentences and paragraphs which materially mislead the ordinary reader regarding the contributions of the author. ORI generally does not pursue the limited use of identical or nearly-identical phrases which describe a commonly-used methodology or previous research because ORI does not consider such use as substantially misleading to the reader or of great significance.
The Wegman report should be withdrawn.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Uncle Buck

Saturday night.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Perils of wisdom from the bunny

From a comment by Eli at Our Changing Climate, two thoughts about the Wegman Report, which pretty much capture the Rabett's POV

"The absolute disqualifying thing about the Wegman report is how it wandered into areas where none of the authors had a clue and worse, into areas which had nothing at all to do with their charge. In particular the presence of the social network analysis sections were, to be nice about it, strange absent crude ax grinding. To be not nice about it the rampant plagiarism in those sections showed that Wegman and Said were not to be trusted (Scott played little role in that area).

Another issue which is not much discussed is that silly claim that “bad math” invalidates good data. Tell it to Feynman. QED with its subtractions of infinities is on very shaky mathematical grounds. The Dirac delta function is another example of a mathematical trick introduced on practical grounds to solve a set of physical problems but with shaky formal underpinnings.

We can find numerous examples of useful mathematics and statistics which were not bulletproof, but were useful for non-pathological data sets.

Wegman was a partisan on a mission. Said appears to have been a willing henchgirl, and not a very clever one at that."

Wegman? Wegman is the little guy sweeping up behind the elephant.

(Images from the US Forest Service and the Republican Party of the US)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The APS Rips Hal Lewis Theses Down

The American Physical Society has responded to Hal (Not Martin Luther) Lewis' Theses down.

There is no truth to Dr. Lewis’ assertion that APS policy statements are driven by financial gain. To the contrary, as a membership organization of more than 48,000 physicists, APS adheres to rigorous ethical standards in developing its statements. The Society is open to review of its statements if members petition the APS Council – the Society’s democratically elected governing body – to do so.

Dr. Lewis’ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the Society have a monetary stake in such funding. Moreover, relatively few APS members conduct climate change research, and therefore the vast majority of the Society’s members derive no personal benefit from such research support.

On the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree with the following observations:

  • Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity;
  • Carbon dioxide is an excellent infrared absorber, and therefore, its increasing presence in the atmosphere contributes to global warming; and
  • The dwell time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hundreds of years.

On these matters, APS judges the science to be quite clear. However, APS continues to recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain uncertain. In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis’ claim that global warming is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.”

Additionally, APS notes that it has taken extraordinary steps to solicit opinions from its membership on climate change. After receiving significant commentary from APS members, the Society’s Panel on Public Affairs finalized an addendum to the APS climate change statement reaffirming the significance of the issue. The APS Council overwhelmingly endorsed the reaffirmation.

Lastly, in response to widespread interest expressed by its members, the APS is in the process of organizing a Topical Group to feature forefront research and to encourage exchange of information on the physics of climate.

and they ain't gonna take it no more.

Anthony Watts doesn't exactly have the reputation of being the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but his recent pushing of Hal Lewis' resignation letter to the APS was several levels below weak, especially his trying to liken Lewis' sophomoronic bleat to Martin Luther's 95 Theses. The repost was an obvious futile attempt to distract his little lamps attention away from the furor about Wegman and Rapp's copy and paste skills. The APS response to Lewis shows that the milk of human kindness has dried up there in the light of this year's denialist follies.

Arthur Smith put it well, Lewis is incontrovertibly emeritus. Still, Eli has a rep to uphold, and Lewis' letter is a delight of folly. Let us parse gentle bunnies, let this too parse.

Dear Curt:

When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).

Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. . . .

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

Well of course it's different, Lewis, should know, having plunged the money hose into his mouth, ears, nose and places where no one wants to go, especially when he was chair at Santa Barbara. Lewis is another patricide claiming mercy as an orphan. Indeed, this sort of accusation is very prominent from the senior denialists, mostly because that is what they have done and they expect that everyone on the other side is doing just what they did. Afterall, they did it and they are the smartest nuts on the tree.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Chicken or the Wegman Report

Thinking about the last few posts has brought a very interesting thought to the surface. When Edward Wegman assured Donald Rapp that

By the way, this is what Wegman had to say in a recent email: “It is my opinion that Dr. Rapp has not plagiarized anything and I hold him harmless” and claims that these are “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality”.
he may have provided a key answer to the sources of the Wegman report. Remember, in the previous post we discussed how Dr. Rapp himself, relied on a paper draft which took ten years to be published. For the sake of argument dear Bunnie, how can we reconcile Dr. Wegman's statement with the fact that huge sections of of Wegman report are to be found almost word for word in Dr. Rapp's book

Flip the page for Eli's anwer to this puzzler

Some, certainly not Eli, might say that perhaps, only perhaps, Dr. Rapp had provided Prof. Wegman with an early draft of his book, or draft of a part of his book, and Wegman simply copied portions into the Wegman Report. If Eli was Donald Rapp he would be annoyed at the Wegman folk, because, well you see the problems this is stirring. It also shifts the focus to Dr. Rapp, because now, rather than the tertiary copying of the Wegman Report which arguably had plagiarized Prof. Bradley's book, it would have been Dr. Rapp who extracted the material from Bradley's book and Wegman & Co who copied the materials from Rapp's draft.

You can follow all of this by comparing files that Deep Climate has left about the similarity between the Wegman Report and Prof. Bradley's book and about the similarity between the Wegman Report and Dr. Rapp's book

Eli closes with Deep Climate's plaint: Is your head spinning now?

What if a draft of Dr. Rapp's manuscript was provided to Prof. Wegman by a third party? and remember other material in the Wegman Report was copied and pasted, specifically the social network analysis, so this does not let the Wegman Report off the hook.

The Sources of Rapping

To give credit where credit is due, Keith Kloor understands what plagiarism is and Judith Curry does not. They are having it out on on the Wegman Report beat at his and hers, but the short and sour of it is Keith's

JD (146): I do find it odd that it took this long for a complaint to be lodged.

And per Judith Curry’s argument at her thread, I’m trying to get a handle on this. All I can say is, in my line of work, things are pretty cut and dry. You can’t make shit up and you can’t steal other people’s stuff and pass it off as your own.

Kloor comes at this from the standpoint of a journalist, whose reputation depends on the trust that readers and sources will have in him. Academics have a similar viewpoint, and in addition academics have to teach and enforce these ethical considerations to our students which accounts for Eli and Keith being on the same page. Keith, of course, teaches journalism.

A letter has come to Eli through Stephan Lewandowsky from another journalism professor, Nancy Longnecker
Dear Steve,

In teaching about scholarly conduct and science writing, I am always interested in finding examples to show students both appropriate and inappropriate actions. As you know, a textbook from a reputable publisher (Assessing Climate Change by D. Rapp; 2010. Springer) appears to contain substantial sections that are largely plagiarized. This provides a great example for demonstrating what not to do to students in our Science Writing classes. It is also useful in reinforcing the critical need to assess credibility of sources.

I am looking into using this example in a large first year communication class being proposed for 2012. This will be particularly relevant since the context of that class is likely to be communicating about climate change.

Kind regards,
Associate Professor Nancy Longnecker
Coordinator, Science Communication Program
What follows below has been edited heavily in an approximately one hour period after the original posting.

A major source for Chapter 1 in Dr. Rapp's book is sudden climate transitions during the Quaternary by Jonathan Adams, Mark Maslin and Ellen Thomas which appeared in Progress in Physical Geography March 1999, 23, 1-36.

But wait Lucia and the rest of μWatt'sLegions will write, that is AFTER Dr. Donald Rapp's book was published in 2008. Adams, Maslin and Thomas must have copied from Rapp. No. We have a record of the AMT paper through the majic of the Wayback Machine extending back to 1999 and, more importantly, the Rapp book uses AMT 1999 as a reference multiple times. Indeed, reading carefully, as Eli did not do at first (acknowledged error), this is an example where a defense of inadvertence could be is believable. The AMT paper, is another interesting example of how a scientific review evolves and hangs out there in neverland over a long period of time preserved in the Wayback Machine.

Eli will provide a teaser, perhaps a slightly unfair one, of one of many places where the text in Chapter 1, page 12 of Dr. Rapp's book matched that in the AMT paper without indication of a direct quote. In fairness, Eli should note that there are examples in the Dr. Rapp's text where he did correctly quote, using quotation marks and such, from the AMT paper such as on page 33. This is moving into the area where the source is acknowledged, but there is substantial copy and paste, which if not plagiarism in the sense of unacknowledged borrowing is copyright violation. Red indicates strikeouts and additions in Dr. Rapp's book, Chapter 1 Page 12.

Climatic variability on the timescale of tens of thousands of years has turned out to be a predominant pattern in eEarth history. The last two and a half million years have been marked by many global climate oscillations, between warmer and cooler conditions. This trend of oscillations appears to be merely the continuation of a pattern of variability extending back well into the Tertiary period and possibly beyond (e.g., Kennett 1995). During the last few million years, the length duration and the amplitude of these climate cycles has increased (e.g., Crowley & North, 1991; Hodell and Venz, 1992).

Large global interglacial-glacial-interglacial climate oscillations have been recurring at approximately a 100,000 year periodicity for the last 900,000 years (e.g. Berger et al. 1993; Mudelse and Schulz, 1997), though each individual cycle has had its own idiosyncrasies in terms of the timing and magnitude of changes (e.g., Lyle et al. 1992) (Adams, Maslin and Thomas 1999).

This section, and many others in the Chapter, are word for word matches between Dr. Rapp's book and the web page containing drafts of the AMT paper. While AMT is properly cited and many of the instances are short phrases or simply sentences, there is a lot of copy and paste all of which flags plagiarism software. At a minimum there was considerable carelessness. As said above, there are also many acknowledged direct quotes properly done, from AMT. For example on page 31 Surface Reflectivity (albedo) of ice and snow

According to Adams, Maslin, and Thomas (1999):

"The intensely white surface of sea ice and snow reflects back much of the Sun's heat, hence keeping the surface cool. Presently, about a third of the heat received from the Sun is reflected back into space, and changes in this proportion thus have the potential to strongly influence global climate. In general the ice cover on the sea, and the snow cover on the land, have the potential to set off rapid climate changes because they can either appear or disappear rapidly given the right circumstances. . .
Thus we have now two of ten or twenty instances where exact quotes (with grammar improved in some cases) appear in Dr. Rapp's book without quotation marks. This is acceptable for short phrases, but not so much for sentences, and not for paragraphs.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What Eli is reading

Motivated by some nonsense at μWatt's(TM Gareth) place Eli found Death by Beer, serious but interesting with a good joke at the beginning.

You’ve probably heard the one about the brewer who drowned in a vat of his own beer. On the solemn occasion of the announcement of the tragedy to his colleagues, one of them inquired as to whether the brewer had died quickly. ‘No’, the brewery manager replied. ‘He got out three times to pee.’

And while Eli is at it here is something annoying for Magnus.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Auditing Assessing Climate Change

UPDATE: See the chicken or the Wegman Report for a possible answer to the many questions raised here

Capital Climate reports that Donald Rapp has emerged in USA Today to post a comment which fills in some holes and opens others. Dr. Rapp provides a letter that he wrote to Ray Bradley and a Mr. Fedor, who most likely is associated with Elsevier. Elsevier owns Academic Press, the publisher of Bradley's Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.

Dear Mr. Fedor and Dr. Ray Bradley:

You recently wrote to Praxis/Springer Publishing, the following message:

"Thanks to everyone for your prompt reply. I've copied author Ray Bradley and a couple of representatives from our Legal team on my reply. This is a bit of a complicated scenario. Dr. Edward Wegman (author of the Wegman Report) originally plagiarized from Bradley, and from what we can tell, some of that same content was then used by Rapp without attribution. The details can be found in the links below. Once you've had the opportunity to investigate this further, please let me know how best to proceed. We've yet to hear back from George Mason on the Wegman situation. I've had the misfortune of having to manage plagiarism throughout my career, but this is the first triangular instance. If Rapp did plagiarize, he did it from a report that isn't ours, but some of the content in that report is ours. Bit of a head scratcher."
Elsevier is concerned that it's copyright has been breached. They leave no doubt about their certainty that the Wegman report contains plagiarized material, but are not sure about Dr. Rapps's book, which they believe has substantial material from the Wegman Report including some of the plagiarized material. They are not certain of how to proceed. Since Dr. Rapp's book, Assessing Climate Change, was published with Springer, Elsevier's beef, if they decide there is any there, is with Springer.

Dr. Rapp continues
My book: Assessing Climate Change" published by Praxis/Springer contains 1,348 specific citations to references giving credit to authors for their work. It also includes 411 specific quotations by authors with their own words included in quote signs. In addition, my book provides the specific attributions to Dr. Wegman:
Note the claims here. 1348 citation and 411 specific quotes. As we shall see, this may have nothing to do with the case. The issue is whether sections have been taken directly from the Wegman report, if so whether they are are a) cited or b)shown as quotes and whether any sections, if any, taken from the Wegman report are among those which the Wegman Report took from Prof. Bradley's book. Bunnies who wish to follow along can read the text on Google Books, but before we get to that let us look at the rest of Dr. Rapp's comment.
  • "A team led by Professor Edward J. Wegman performed an independent examination of the hockey stick controversy (Wegman, Scott, and Said, 2006). They produced a lengthy report, full of details. According to Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006):"
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) performed a calculation..."
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) went on to say...:"
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) performed a calculation..."
  • "The findings of Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) are quite lengthy and only a very brief summary is given here."
  • "Adapted from Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006)."
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) have suggested that the field..."
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) also said...:"
  • "According to Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006)...:"
  • "A team led by Professor Edward J. Wegman performed an independent examination of the hockey stick controversy (Wegman, Scott, and Said, 2006). They produced a lengthy report, full of details. According to Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006):"
  • "Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) have suggested that the field, temperature history of the Earth, is dominated by a cadre (cabal) that is vitally concerned about the potential impacts of global warming, and supports the hockey stick result, as well as the procedure used to derive it. Wegman, Scott, and Said (2006) said:"
It is possible that in a few places, I may have slipped up and used words from a paper and forgot to give attribution. Let's suppose I did this 10 times, or 20; big deal.
Well, as was said above, none of this really meets the issue of whether sections of Dr. Rapp's book were taken from the Wegman Report without attribution or quoting and whether any of those sections were the ones which came from Prof. Bradley's book, but as we are quite used to now, Dr. Rapp closes with the sue John Abraham ploy
I am warning you now that if you persist in spreading the idea that I committed plagiarism, I will sue you for all you are worth. If I ever find out who the jerk is who put this on, I will sue him for all it is worth.

I also plan to contact Wegman in case he feels that he should sue Ray Bradley who is clearly at fault here.
Given what we know about the George Mason University inquiry and investigation some, not Eli to be sure, might find the ultimate statement in Dr. Rapp's comment not as reassuring as Dr. Rapp does.
By the way, this is what Wegman had to say in a recent email: “It is my opinion that Dr. Rapp has not plagiarized anything and I hold him harmless” and claims that these are “wild conclusions that have nothing to do with reality”.

Donald Rapp
Eli thought that it would be useful to compare what Dr. Rapp had written and the Wegman Report. Deep Climate had shown the similarities of a paragraph dealing with tree rings between the Wegman Report and Dr. Rapp's book, but Eli will cover the entire section. This will establish whether or not there is a substantial overlap between the two, and whether, where there is a substantial overlap, there has been a proper acknowledgement.

The rules of the game are that direct quotes must be acknowledged as such and paraphrases acknowledged by citations. Eli will provide the text from the Wegman report in black and additions, deletions from Dr. Rapp's book in red. Some, not Eli, may conclude that Dr. Rapp has simply copied most this section from the Wegman Report, with very minor grammatical changes and a very occasional substitution of a minor word. But wait, there are a couple of sentences that are not in the Wegman Report and a long quote from Dr. Soon and Dr. Baliunas added toward the end.

Still, there is no reference to the Wegman Report in this section of Dr. Rapp's book. Perhaps it was simply one of those ten or twenty careless errors. But remember the rules, direct quotes must be indicated as such. In something of this sort it is very important to provide a complete record which Eli will endeavor to do so as to be as fair as possible to Dr. Rapp. On page 2 of Dr. Rapp's book and page 13 of the Wegman Report, we read
Tree Rings – A cross section of a temperate forest tree shows variation of lighter and darker bands that are usually continuous around the circumference of the tree. These bands are the so-called tree rings and are due to seasonal effects. Each tree ring is composed of large thin-walled cells called early wood and smaller more densely packed thick walled cells called late wood. The average width of a tree ring is a function of many variables including the tree species, tree age, stored carbohydrates in the tree, nutrients in the soil, and climatic factors including sunlight, precipitation, temperature, wind speed, humidity, and even carbon dioxide availability in the atmosphere. Obviously there are many confounding factors, so the problem challenge is to extract the temperature signal and to thus distinguish the temperature signal from the noise caused by the many confounding factors. Temperature information is usually derived from inter-annual variations in the ring width as well as inter-annual and intra-annual density variations. Density variations are valuable in paleoclimatic temperature reconstructions because they have a relatively simple growth function that, in mature trees, is approximately linear with age. The density variations have been shown empirically to contain a strong climatic temperature signal. Two values of density are measured within each growth ring: minimum density representing early wood and maximum density representing late wood. Maximum density values are strongly correlated with April to August mean temperatures in trees across the boreal forest from Alaska to Labrador, Schweingruber et al., (1993). Both tree ring width and density data are used in combination to extract the maximal climatic temperature signal.

The Cclimate signal is strongest in trees that are under stress. Trees growing in sites where the climate does not limit growth tend to produce rings that are uniform. Trees that are growing close to their extreme ecological range are greatly influenced by climate. Climate variations that strongly influence annual growth increments. Two types of stress are commonly recognized:, moisture stress and temperature stress. Trees growing in semiarid regions are limited by water availability, and thus variations in ring width reflect this climatic moisture signal. Trees growing near to their ecological limits either in terms of latitude or altitude show growth limitations imposed by temperature and thus ring width variations in such trees contain a relatively strong temperature signal. However, the biological processes are extremely complex so that very different combinations of climatic conditions may cause similar ring width increments. Tree growth and carbohydrate production by a tree in one year will precondition the tree for strong growth in the subsequent year so that there is a strong autocorrelation in the ring width time series. Photosynthetic processes are accelerated with the increased availability of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, hence, it is conjectured that ring growth would also be correlated with atmospheric carbon dioxide. Robinson, Robinson and Soon (2007) and Idso and Idso (2007) provide data and references that indicate that plant growth is stimulated by increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, particularly at warmer temperatures. There is some evidence that long lived, 1000 to 2000-year old pine trees have shown a sharp increase in growth during the past half century. Other examples are provided by Robinson, Robinson and Soon (2007). In addition, oxides of nitrogen are formed in internal combustion engines that can be deposited as nitrates that also contributeing to fertilization of plant materials. It is clear that while there are temperature signals in the tree rings, the temperature signals are confounded with many other factors including fertilization effects due to use of fossil fuels in the 20th century.

Wider rings are frequently produced during the early life of a tree. Thus, the tree rings frequently contain a low frequency signal that is unrelated to climate or, at least, confounded with climatic effects such as temperature. In order to use tree rings as a successful temperature signal successfully, this low frequency component must be removed. This is typically done by a nonlinear parametric trend fit using a polynomial or modified exponential curve. Because the early history of tree rings confounds the climatic signal with low-frequency- specimen- specific signals, tree rings are not usually effective for accurately determining low-frequency, longer-term effects. Once there is reasonable confidence that the tree ring signal reflects a temperature signal, and then a calibration is performed using the derived tree ring data and instrumented temperature data over the (comparatively recent) period during which actual climatic temperature measurements were made. The assumption in this inference is that when tree ring structure observed during the recent instrumented period that is similar to tree ring structure observed in the past, both will have correspondingly similar temperature profiles (Beckman and Mahoney, 1998). However As pointed out earlier, many different sets of climatic conditions can (and do) yield similar tree ring profiles. Thus tree ring proxy data alone is not are unlikely to be sufficient to determine past climate variables. See Bradley (1999) for a discussion of the fitting and calibration process for dendritic-based temperature reconstruction. (Mann, Bradley and Hughes, 1998).

As Soon and Baliunas (2003a, b) pointed out:

Long quote from S&B placed here

Despite these repeated warnings and cautions by a number of scientists, paleoclimatologists have used tree rings widely and repeatedly to infer past temperature variations, although the variations from investigator to investigator are large (Esper, et al., 2005 a)

Anon. (N) provides further details on the use of tree ring proxies.
Eli reports, you decide. The Bunny invites others to continue this audit.

Vote Early, Vote Brian

Is what Dad Rabett used to advise. Eli knows that there are a number of Rabett Run readers who live and vote in the California Santa Clara Valley Water District where Brian Schmidt is running for a position as a commissioner. Brian is the owner operator of the Backseat Driving blog. You can find more information at his website Brian for Water.

Eli would like to encourage those who live in the district to vote for Brian who has consistently demonstrated that he is both sensible and knowledgeable.

Oh Canada as wrong as you can be

Eli prefers climate disruption to climate change or global warming because while the drivers are global, warming, acidification of the oceans (Eli is a physicist AND a chemist, actually either a chemical physicist or a physical chemist depending on where he is working, so don't try the nonsense about it starting from a slightly basic point) etc., the effects are and will be local. Many countries have commissioned reports to try and understand what the local effects will be, and many officials are trying to work this out on their own. For example, John Nielson Gammon, the Texas State Climatologist, who recently told USA Today that Texans should expect temperature of 46 C in the near future (that's 115 F for the blighted folk who don't talk Celcius. Be thankful, Eli could have put it in Kelvin, the only absolutely correct temperature scale.)

Eli and the bunnies of course know that you should always follow the link and certainly follow the links on the link back to the original. And, of course, then you should figure out which axes are being ground. There begins our story. Over at Deltoid, Eli saw a comment by Holly Stick, a real blog scientist.

A different approach is being taken by a new report on how warming may affect parts of Canada. It talks about "climate prosperity," as in having benefits as well as harmful effects for Canada.

The link was to the Globe and Mail, a Journal of Mild to Severe Denial, sort of the Daily JPANDS, but hmm, Eli said to himself foolishly, looks like the Harper government is taking hold, and Steve Mcs friends out there on the tar sands are digging in and the Rabett foolishly passed on, to find a comment by Jeff Harvey, who knows ecology, being an real ecologist and not a blog ecologist
That report you linked above contains so many elementary scientific flaws that I have lost count. Its clear that few qualified biologists and ecologists contributed to it, otherwise many of their so-called 'benefits of a warmer climate' would have to be scrubbed.

For instance, much of Canada is dominated by acid soils in which coniferous forests predominate. How exactly will croplands expand into areas with totally inadequate soils? These soils take hundreds of years to be generated and maintained by their endemic biota; we will not suddenly experience a shift in their properties over the course of the next 50 years.

Moreover, biomes are already shifting polewards, but, given the unprecedented rate of warming, there will be clear pheological constraints imposed as different species successfully (or unsuccessfully) move northwards at different rates. Many less motile organisms - such as soil biota - will certainly not be able to keep up with more motile aboveground fauna. Furthermore, dietary specialists will suffer much more than generalists. Under this scenario food webs will unravel, given that most ecosytem processes emerge on the basis of tightly networked interactions over fairly large scales. Once some species begin diappearing from food chains, then we can expect systems to become much more prone to collapse. And, of course, species adapted to cold environments will be forced to advance even furhter north than they are now, and many will be pushed well beyond their thermal neutral zones and will become extinct.

On all accounts the rapid rise in temperatures at higher latitudes spells ecological disaster. If these changes were gradually occurring over the space of at least a millenium, then I would be more cautiously optimistic. But we are talking about less than 100 years, in systems that have already been seriously reduced by a suite of other human actions. This is not enough time for us to expect systemic adaptation and adaption amongst component species and communities.

The authors of reports like this are being, in my opinion speaking as a population ecologist, wholly irresponsible. Given that our understanding of the processes regulating the assembly rules and functioning of ecosystems are still rudimentary, I find it takes remarkable hubris for anyone to assume that such a large scale experiment on complex adaptive systems that sustain us will generate benefits that may counter the costs. We are stumbling along blind in the dark, and thus arguing that the rate of warming currently occurring in Canada will have benefits is like arguing that driving at 150 kph on a windy, rain-soaked road makes sense because we will reach our destination more quickly. Its the sprint of folly.

That motivated Eli to follow the Globe and Mail link, and what he found was what he expected

Study seeks silver lining in climate change's clouds

As the global environment warms through the course of this century, the Canadian climate will change in both bad and good ways, according to a new publication from the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

In fact, the study urges Canadians to start talking about what it calls “climate prosperity” along with climate change.

“There are risks to climate change, clearly, but there are also opportunities,” said David McLaughlin, president of the NRTEE. That does not justify abandoning efforts to mitigate global warming, he said. But climate change “is happening, and we can deal with it, and we can gain from it.”

The article lists what would happen in Canada for global temperature changes of 2, 3 and 4 K
If temperatures rise by 2 degrees C

Hello to
  • more cod north of the 60th parallel
  • some crop yields expanding by 40 per cent
  • a shorter winter road season
  • a golf season that expands 7 per cent to 20 per cent
Goodbye to
  • Prairie crops, as risk of desertification increases by 50 per cent
  • healthy Great Lakes, which will suffer from less oxygen, lower water levels and fewer fish
  • water, as the runoff in South Saskatchewan River basin declines
  • spring skiing, as the ski season in southern Canada decreases 15 to 25 per cent

Remember that Canada is pretty far north and temperature changes driven by increasing greenhouse gases have been observed to be much higher at high latitudes in agreement with modeling which predicts such an amplification above the global level, but there was also a link to the handout given to the press by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and something called the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Up in the left hand corner was the summary:

Widespread Impacts, some positive, most negative are expected across Canada as climate change brings increasing temperatures and changing moisture levels
and a great graphic (trust Eli) which if you click on the image below and then click when the magnifying glass appears, you will be able to read.

The Catastropic Stuff?

With a regional temperature rise of 2-4 C

  • 50% of the mass of the Western glaciers go west and some just go.
  • the ecology of the Great Lakes is disrupted as oxygen levels fall
  • water wars with the US, won't that be fun
  • at 2 C heatwave deaths double at 4 C there is a large increase in cardio-respiratory deaths as air quality plunge
  • farms and timber threatened by disease and drought (already happening)
Eli, being a somewhat untrusting bunny suspects that this National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy might be your local chamber of commerce in drag, and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society might be like glossy mag publishers, but the important news for our Canadian hares is that (from 350 or Bust)
To generate a national conversation on the impacts of climate change and potential solutions, the two organizations are hosting a series of panel discussions with leading Canadian experts over the next two weeks. The first will take place today from to 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Regional sessions will take place in Halifax on Oct. 13th, Montreal on Oct. 14th, Toronto on Oct. 18th, Vancouver on Oct. 20th and Saskatoon on Oct. 21st.
You might want to give Jeff a plane ticket.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Stop the blogs!

In an article appearing on line in USA Today, Dan Vergano writes:

GMU spokesman Daniel Walsch confirms that the university, located in Fairfax, Va., is now investigating allegations that the Wegman report was partly plagiarized and contains fabrications. . .
Many bunnies will miss the significance of this. When a formal research or professional misconduct complaint is received, universities are required to open an inquiry. This is a less formal procedure, usually conducted by administrative personnel with or without academics taking part. it is very confidential. Only when the inquiry finds strong evidence of misconduct is a formal investigation opened. In this regard what Penn State did with respect to charges against Michael Mann was exceedingly irregular. First, they opened an inquiry without a formal complaint (which can be anonymous) on the basis of the uproar fed by friends of Judy (and no one else). Second they published their report, something that can be done but usually is not. Third they started a formal investigation without the inquiry finding grounds for it. This resulted in the second report. Eli should note that Prof. Mann agreed to these procedures. His co-author, Ray Bradley is not a happy camper either.
"Clearly, text was just lifted verbatim from my book and placed in the (Wegman) report," says Bradley, who is also one of the authors of the 1999 Nature study. In response to earlier concerns raised by the Deep Climate website, Bradley says he wrote a letter in April to GMU, noting the possibility of plagiarism and demanding an investigation of both the 2006 report and a subsequent, federally-funded study published by some of Wegman's students. "Talk about irony. It just seems surreal (that) these authors could criticize my work when they are lifting my words."
Many thanks to John Mashey and Deep Climate who have brought this academic misconduct to light.

More from the front

Eli hears that GMU has been sitting uncomfortably on a nuclear bomb for five months. Radar Rabett informs us that it was launched from peace loving Amherst MA. Further incoming is expected shortly from the Netherlands and suburban Washington, DC.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


UPDATE: John Nielson Gammon provides additional information and links to source materials for his estimate that summer temperatures in Texas will be ~115 F

Now what could possibly be as annoying as Drudge's siren hailing the latest development in the Wegman scandal? As all the folks at Rabett Labs know, George Mason University has been, shall we say, tardy in coming to grips with the plagiarism scandal surrounding Edward Wegman, his colleagues and his students. Not only has the Wegman report to Congress been shown by Deep Climate to have large plagiarized sections, but the gang that couldn't copy straight stated conclusions that were in direct contradiction to those of the sources they were copied from. Some of the source, as John Mashey has pointed out, were not sources, others simply were not.

But there is more, John Mashey and Deep Climate have now presented strong evidence that some of Wegman's students plagiarized large sections of their doctoral theses.

But still, GMU does nothing. Why? Well some, not Eli he hastens to add, might think it has to do with funding from the Koch bros. and such? Still you can only keep the cork so long in the bottle, and Eli hears that it may pop. Perhaps Ken Cuccinelli might start to pay attention.

UPDATE: A large explosion can be found here. Rumor is that the splatter is spreading

And oh yes, Michael Mann has an op-ed column in the Washington Post

We have lived through the pseudo-science that questioned the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer, and the false claims questioning the science of acid rain and the hole in the ozone layer. The same dynamics and many of the same players are still hard at work, questioning the reality of climate change.

The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.

He doesn't much respect Ken Cuccinelli either.

But there is more, John Nielson Gammon thinks it's gonna get real hot in Texas

Texas A&M University atmospheric sciences professor John Nielsen-Gammon said recently that models he's analyzed show temperatures rising as much as 1 degree each decade, meaning that by 2060, temperatures around the state would be 5 degrees hotter than now.

Every region of the state will become warmer, although East Texas is expected to be less affected than the rest, he said. Temperatures have been rising since the 1970s, which was the coldest decade in Texas' recorded history, he said.

"Decade by decade it's been getting warmer," Nielsen-Gammon said. "From here going forward, if temperatures keep rising as the models project they will, it will certainly be in large part due to global warming."

Two unusually warm summers — in South Texas in 2009 and North Texas this year — are signs of what's ahead, he said.


Population and climate disruption

The answer about how population decrease is occurring and how it will allow us to deal with climate disruption and other problems from Hans Rosling

Zero point

Lately another version of who got the zero point has broken out with Craig Loehle feeling free to slip the recent Ljungqvist proxy reconstruction free of its moorings and move it up to his version. He then claims that they "match". Zeke Hausfeather has a pretty good take on this, and frankly Loehle's claim is not very impressive. Tamino points out that you can't simply shift the Ljungqvist data up or down without breaking it free of it's thermometer surface temperature calibration. Shifting both together would push the recent part of the Ljungvist reconstruction WAY UP THERE. However, Eli takes this opportunity to call the bunnies attention to an article in EOS by David Chapman and Michael Davis of the University of Utah where they joined several proxy reconstructions to the IPCC projections under various scenarios, setting the zero at right now. That, my friendly hares, is scary. As they say

Having the temperature history of the past thousand years displayed together with various future scenarios of a warming climate (Figure 1) provides the benefit of both hindsight and foresight simultaneously and makes the warnings of climate scientists ever more persuasive. Seeing where society is headed in terms of where it has been may help policy makers worldwide choose a sensible path into the future.
Eli would rather bet the carrots on sea ice.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

For RayP

Eli finds one of the weirdest sites on the INNERTUBES, Where Fun Comes to Die, devoted to slogans for the University of Chicago. Among the best

That's all good and well in practice, but how does it work in theory
Somebunny should paint that one on Steve Levitt's door. And here is one you can use at your burrow
The level of hell Dante forgot
UPDATE: But wait dear readers, the view from Lakeside is, well winter is coming and hell, AKA Chicago, will freeze over although Eli has it on good authority that a fire breathing Rahm will melt much snow this year. Ray P himself sends Eli a missive

Dear Eli,

I am touched by this attention to the amusing and stimulating environment in which I work. Of course, all this nonsense about U. of C. students not having fun is a carefully cultivated front to disguise what a rip-roaring good time we have here. For example, think of Kuviasungnerk, the only Inuit-themed college festival in the Lower 48, where barely dressed students in the middle of winter gather to do exercises on the icy shores of Lake Michigan. Or Scav hunt (described by one of our vaguely francophone students talking to the Consul Generale of France as "une espece de chasse au poubelle," where students vie to find treasure guided by clues drawn from Sumerian poetry and cyclotomic polynomials. Or, from personal experience, I can recount a few years ago when I went to My table at the Div School cafe, and somebody had left a green foam rubber dummy right where I usually sit! I went to displace this heap, when what did I find but it came to life and expressed surprise! As it turned out this wasn't a foam rubber dummy at all, but a math student in green body paint, who had been on an all-nighter doing algebraic topology homework, but was trying to get ready for rehearsals of the Halloween Play, which was Goethe's Faust Part II (the one with all the stuff about the Phoenician gods (Cabiri) who live in clay pots). What fun! You don't get that at U. of Oklahoma. We put it on the T-shirt, but it's really an injustice that we came in behind Oral Roberts University as a party school. I won't even mention the raucous revelry over an amusing variant of random matrix theory I've heard late into the wee hours at the Reg.

But please do keep it secret. We wouldn't want people to come here for the wrong reasons.