Thursday, May 08, 2008

Science reporting that pisses me off

A news release from NCAR that says things like antarctic atmospheric models have run about 1/2 degree C warm:

The authors compared recently constructed temperature data sets from Antarctica, based on data from ice cores and ground weather stations, to 20th century simulations from computer models used by scientists to simulate global climate. While the observed Antarctic temperatures rose by about 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.2 degrees Celsius) over the past century, the climate models simulated increases in Antarctic temperatures during the same period of 1.4 degrees F (0.75 degrees C).

And some of the chill is due to the ozone hole but model errors center on water vapor estimates...

Part of the reason that Antarctica has barely warmed has to do with the ozone hole over the continent. The lack of ozone is chilling the middle and upper atmosphere, altering wind patterns in a way that keeps comparatively warm air from reaching the surface. Unlike the rest of the continent, the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by several degrees, in part because the winds there are drawing in warmer air from the north. The models generally capture these wind changes, although sometimes incompletely.

got turned into this:
Climate models miss mark


If scientists overestimated the amount of water vapor a slightly warmed atmosphere would absorb, it could throw off the entire model.


"The entire model"! The model of what? Just the antarctic or the planet or the whole globalwarminghoax model? That concluding line is not supported by anything in the press release. Was the reporter coached, clueless or calculating on readership? The latter is a hunch that fits the observations: the first comment to the article was this:

"But Monaghan found the models consistently predicted that the continent warmed more than it actually did."

No!!! So, you mean that the Global Warming® models may, just may, be wrong?!? That's not possible because Al Gore (B.A. Political Science, failed out of divinity school) claims that we are all going to die due to extreme Global Warming®.

Thanks D.C. for printing a story that indicates that the models may not be right. We may not be in a "crisis."

Now, let the discussion begin using real science, not based on "models" with exaggerated formulas/predictions.


Why should I feel that I am being baited? Don't I know better? Anyway I like chomping on trolls:

Oh dandy, more bait for denialists. Only a morsel but they'll make a meal. I fault the title of the article for dog whistling to the clowns. Science is not a conspiracy to lord it over the fatuous, the uneducated and those who suffer faith-directed ignorance. It is an approach to knowledge. The approach has changed little since the time of Bacon. The knowledge, the current working set of facts and theories, of any given generation will change beyond recognizability in as little as one more generation...we scientists are OK with that. It delights us sometimes. The fear that "if any of it is wrong then it all must be wrong" is, as it should be, endemic among those with brittle belief structures, but such people should not project the way they operate on to others.

I often explain this as "A fixed truth is usually already broken."

The presumption of a moniker like "enlightenedProf" really ends the argument. Was it too hard to spell "lightened proof"? For the sake of any other readers who are uncomfortable not being on the side of the bully, listen up.

This story would not make the local paper in any other locale. This is a Boulder Colorado paper and there will be some readers whose profession this self styled "prof" belittles. Note that it is those very professionals who came right out with their new findings...probably knowing it will be snatched up by those inexplicable cases with an attitude that science is a plot to destroy the patriarchy or whatever it is thats eating them. Such ignorant blowhards should quit wasting everyone's time. Have they no more constructive way to get attention?
Repeat this: "Approach to knowledge". Get it? Not Truth, not Enlightenment, but good old "knowing how the world works so you don't bust it". Scientists do occasionally go for enlightenment after work. Note that Laurie Snider has to come up with a headline that will draw readers. She has done her job. Note that none of the quotes from the scientists involved portray any alarm or imply the new data upsets the whole enterprise...just improves the model. For those who consider theology or the platitudes of their particular political party to be the only "model" that can be accepted, the concept of adjusting a model is very hard to take in. At any rate, regardless of whether much actually changes in this or that GCM or any other climate prediction model, it won't mask the fact that the antarctic has been losing ice shelf acreage and baring never-before-seen bedrock at a rate above any other point in human history.

EP, you poor fellow, do you have a conspiracy theory that posits thermometers can somehow be in cahoots with the devils and scientists? Or perhaps the evil comes in to the process whenever a matrix of differential equations has more than 665 columns? Have you used a thermometer before? They are very accurate and could be very helpful in proving that you are not running a fever. You know where to put the thermometer?

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