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September 20, 2013

ClimateGate 2.0? Emails Show US Government, Other Governments Lobbied Scientists to Downplay or Delete Evidence That Atmosphere Hasn't Warmed for 15 Years from Upcoming IPCC Report

The Science is Settled.

But don't ask how the Science got Settled. That's like asking how a cow got turned into a hamburger. You don't want to know. It's ugly.

AP show the U.S. and other governments pushed scientists preparing a new UN climate report due out next week to omit or downplay evidence that the earth’s atmosphere has stopped warming for the past 15 years.

From the wire - “Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10 to 15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries. The U.S. also urged the authors to include the ‘leading hypothesis’ that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.”

Ahem. Why are government bureaucrats telling Scientists what they think the Science should be? Isn't the whole point of the "Consensus of Scientists" line that Scientists have come to these conclusions based on nothing but Science?

That article -- more of a round-up than a full article -- links to this fuller one.

STOCKHOLM – Scientists working on a landmark U.N. report on climate change are struggling to explain why global warming appears to have slowed down in the past 15 years even though greenhouse gas emissions keep rising.

Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show there are deep concerns among governments over how to address the issue ahead of next week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


The IPCC report is expected to affirm the human link with greater certainty than ever...

Let me just quickly say: "Of course."

... but the panel is under pressure to also address the recent lower rate of warming, which scientists say is likely due to heat going deep into the ocean and natural climate fluctuations.


Germany called for the reference to the slowdown to be deleted, saying a time span of 10-15 years was misleading in the context of climate change, which is measured over decades and centuries.

The U.S. also urged the authors to include the "leading hypothesis" that the reduction in warming is linked to more heat being transferred to the deep ocean.

Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for any statistics. That year was exceptionally warm, so any graph showing global temperatures starting with 1998 looks flat, because most years since have been cooler. Using 1999 or 2000 as a starting year would yield a more upward-pointing curve.

Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for skeptics.

Belgium wanted to play games with the start date. Hide the Decline 2.

As far as the US' insistence on the Ocean Gobbles Up More Excess Heat Than We Realized Hypothesis -- first, this is, by their own terms, just a hypothesis. This is a mere speculation offered up to account for the complete failure of their models, supposedly nearly flawless, to predict a 15 year span of no increased heating despite rising CO2 levels.

So there's so much hidden in this. First, they don't want to admit that part about "our models failed and now we're thrashing about throwing out off-the-cuff speculations."

Second, they don't want to admit that their models -- so perfect, so accurate that we should make multitrillion century long policy decisions based on their outputs -- now require supplementation by a brand-new untested, unproven speculation.

Third, throwing in an easy off-the-cuff speculation to a supposedly perfect model means the model as a whole -- the model plus the speculation -- now has the provenance of just the speculation. That is to say, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If the theory-- supposedly a theory in the scientific jargon of an all-but-uncontestable demonstrable truth -- now relies, critically, on a new speculation, then the entire system is now just at the level of a speculation.

Fourth, My God. My old chemistry teacher used to joke about the Finageler's Constant one would add to any experiment when one's experimental results departed from the expected ones. "Just add the Finageler's Constant," he'd chuckle. "Or subtract it. Whatever it takes." (Note: He was kidding. He was actually calling us out for being in the habit of doing this.)

But this is what "Science" is now doing -- eh, just toss in the Finageler's Constant. Sure our vaunted models failed spectacularly, but if you grant us this new Finageler's Constant, they sort of look okay.

Fifth. After being told that it didn't matter that the models had no idea how to account for the effect of clouds -- an enormous moving part in any model of the geosphere -- and so would be assumed to have no effect at all, we're also now being told that it's No Biggie if they also don't know how to model the behavior of the Oceans.

What? Your models perfectly predict the interaction of sun, cloud, and ocean, except you never bother to look at the variation in the Sun's solar output, you just assume for mathematical convenience that Clouds don't matter at all, and now you add to this that the Oceans might have some Mystery Properties you were hitherto entirely ignorant of?

You don't understand the Sun, the Clouds, and now The Oceans, and you're telling me that apart from these niggling concerns, you understand all that there is to understand about the Earth's combined atmosphere and hydrosphere?

Can you tell me what you do know, and what you are able to accurately model, apart from these minor "Let's assume they do not vary" factors of Sun, Cloud, and Oceans?

One could understand if they couldn't account for some small-ball factors in all of this.

But The Ckufing OCEANS?

That doesn't seem like a minor factor to me, guys. Sort of seems like something important enough that you should have researched its properties long before even announcing your Pet Theory.

Yeah you're all right. You guys sound like you know exactly what you're talking about.

Certainly you don't sound like high school juniors who just got caught out by their teacher for adding in the Finageler's Constant. No, nothing like that at all.

Thanks to @rdbrewer4

It's Gets Better:

AllenG writes...

Wait. The ocean absorbing more of the heat would lead to higher ocean temperatures.

Oh it's better than that, guys. Because there is no measurable elevation of ocean temperatures. (Or, I should say, no elevation that can explain the missing Global Warming, anyways.)

So what they speculate is that the heat falls down to the bottom of the ocean where it can't easily be measured. Like it winds up sequestered beneath a thermocline or something.

That's this Finageler's Constant -- the ocean's warming up, sucking up this excess heat, but it does so in such a way that it can't be measured.

Could this be true? Ehhh... sure. It's possible. Doesn't seem likely, but whatever, sure, it's technically possible there are hitherto unknown "ocean belts of heat transport" which move excess heat to the bottom of the ocean, safely hidden from scientists' thermometers.

But many things could be true, for God's sakes. Science isn't supposed to be a matter of "eh... I dunno, maybe the ocean secrets away the excess warming so we can't see it? Yeah, go with that!!!"

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posted by Ace at 01:56 PM

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