ReefMagnet, SV Third Day and others,
So, I live my life, when not on the water, in front of a computer. As such, it is generally a nice distraction to be involved with threads on CF because staring at Fortran and numbers all the time
is a challenge. But threads like this are disruptive and I'd THOUGHT I'd learned to tune them out. But, hearing stuff like this from folks I'm likely to run into on the dock
broke my will.
Here's the deal: Climate modelers and climate scientists (and NO. NOT AL GORE) are NOT in the business of conspiring to make BS smell like roses. How do I know this? Because I'm a researcher at an oft-named institution and spend 50% of my time working with climate models and the other 50% at sea measuring things to test the models.
In fact, right-this-minute, I'm able to write this message because a large statistics script I wrote is cramming thru model data and it gives me a few minutes of time to sit back and stretch.
What do I (we) NOT do? We don't spend all of our time scrambling to make bad work look good and create excuses for data or results. Ever. If something is tested and it doesn't look right, we ask "why", do the best job we can of answering that, and then ask our peers to assess if our work holds water and conforms to the scientific method. Making up excuses and hand waving and conspiring and politics and religion and all that? There's no damn time. Between work and sailing, and maintenance
and yard work. There's no WAY I could do that and keep a straight face, nor could my colleagues.
Science is competitive: If I WERE to try to publish BS with perfume on it, and it got attention, what do you think would happen? Well, another scientist with similar credentials to mine would be MORE than happy to point it out in a most grandiose way with the result that MY credibility is knocked, as well as that of my co-authors. That is bad. And the one who caught it would be lauded as a true peer capable of holding us all to account.
So am I worried about people with political agendas finding faults? Nope.
"But you don't know how all the rest of the scientists do & behave". I am deeply
involved in this at high levels. Not gloating. It is what it is.
What DO we do? We work to find out what is wrong with our models, why, what it means, and how to fix it. The models represent, to a large degree, our ability to take as much of what we understand about the Earth system and use a (-giant-) computer to help us (1) find gaps in the knowledge, and (2) test what the current
state-of-the-science is able to say about how the parts
respond to one another, and most importantly (3) try to constrain the uncertainty. The last one is likely the most important.
What else do we do? We work to make BEST use of observations, and feed back to those who design experiments and take observations on what we can use, and what their data mean within a Global context.
That paper that SV Third Day pointed to? It was using observations to help constrain the validity of model output by addressing what is one of the two most important remaining parts
of Earth system models that STILL NEED WORK: The heat exchange between the different parts of the Earth. Namely, the ocean and atmosphere. THIS IS WHY THAT PAPER WAS IN A HIGH PROFILE JOURNAL. Because it dinged an important nail on the head
. And not in ANY way because it invalidates models or undermines the integrity of the science. THAT interpretation is 199% the work of media intermediates who want clicks and attention and they're really good at that.
That the authors of the original paper (which I'm sure was NOT read by Mr. Day) found that observations of heat transfer are able to explain recent 'wiggles' in the global mean temperature and that this transfer is not currently well accounted for in climate models. WE KNOW THIS. WE NEED FOLKS LIKE THESE GUYS TO HELP US SORT IT OUT (yes I'm raising my voice, just a little). I'm glad they did.
If what they found is reproduced (which is an important step in the scientific method), then folks like me can go into the Fortran in these models and figure out how to better represent the observations in a way that will reduce the uncertainty (See? Uncertainty. It matters.)
Now, the thing about our work getting attention outside of science is the presence of a single
People will always interpret it almost exactly the way they want to and will spout it out like gospel as soon as they can form a complete sentence.
Why does this happen? I'm not totally sure, but I think there are two reasons:
1) Non-scientists are not able to extract proper context from a research
article so there's no way to truly evaluate the meaning of snippets of text. This is a problem. It is recognized.
2) The folks who transmit this into to the public NEED the agenda to maintain the attention of their intended audience.
Posting figures and links and posts to things on forums
like this does little more than indicate where you get your information. That's all. This thread has not been a debate.
Lastly, I hold my colleagues at NOAA and NASA and similar institutions in the highest regard; and am continually stop-in-tracks impressed with their integrity and how talented and capable they are as scientists and engineers. To project
your agendas or politics onto them in such a way that calls this into question (as has been done here) is so thoroughly misguided that I instantly lose the ability to take you seriously and have an instant sense (only for an instant) of wanting to grab your hair and rub your face in all the parts of your lives that rely so heavily on how good they really are just to humiliate you.
... but then I come to my senses and realize that all of this is hard to understand. And ultimately we can only fall back on what we believe. And if you've let your beliefs be preyed upon by characters with ill intent, then I feel sorry for you. And beyond that, I'd still rather be on the water. And I still love being around boats and people who like boats, so I make a point of NEVER discussing what I do lest it take away from any of that.