RC on Monitoring and Modeling

I started blogging because I saw scientists losing arguments to obfuscators and specifically largely because I saw RC coming off as arrogant and overly casual. Far be it from me to take any credit, but I’d like to take note of the current RC article, which is extremely elegantly put together, and in which the provocations are being handled deftly.

The article is in response from the latest noise from the Climate Audit folks. It absolutely demolishes their silliness; as usual they start with a nitpick and try to blow it up into a showstopper. Realclimate puts the whole thing in appropriate context very effectively.

Some very interesting conversation about the nature of GCMs ensues, and I hope to have more to say about it. After all, some people have me listed as a “science blog”, and it’s time I delivered some substance where I have some expertise.

Meanwhile, please note another aspect of the converstaion, the money double bind.

Many of the nits being picked are consequences of and adaptations to inadequate and episodic funding, yet the critics claim that the whole business is motivated by overfunding and are constantly applying pressure to scale back. Rather, they should be advocating more funding for more data, better data, and more contemporary software engineering practice with extensive maintenance and software infrastructure.

So we are being yelled at for not doing things more carefully and transparently and with better data and easier replicability, but all of these things are expensive. Yet the same people doing the yelling are convinced we are getting too much money.

Of course, the expectation that the big picture will be overturned at this point is silly. There is admittedly no point spending more money to pay people to find a different answer unless the truth is actually different than what we’ve been saying for almost thirty years now (including several correct predictions!)

We still have a lot to learn, some of it with policy implications, but it’s pathetic that people are still trying to make the “no such thing as AGW” case, and ridiculous that they accuse us of lying for the money and the proof is that we haven’t spent more money on the problem.

To those reading from America, happy 4th y’all!

Peak Oil Explained

Thanks to the anonymous poster who pointed me to Quark Soup, which seems to maintain an excellent compendium of timely science links. I’ve blogrolled it and intend to follow it. I also won’t be shy about adding a few words about some of the more interesting links. (For instance I note the irrepressible Matt Huber appears again, this time on a story of making use of CCSM a little less painful. Boy, there’s a timely issue for me. But that wasn’t even my favorite link of the first batch I saw.)

I always appreciate when people manage to boil the essentials of complex issues down to a few words. I’m not sure that is what lit crit people mean by framing, but it’s what I mean. Quark Soup points to a fine example which appeared in this The Independent story about peak oil:

According to “peak oil” theory our consumption of oil will catch, then outstrip our discovery of new reserves and we will begin to deplete known reserves.

Colin Campbell, the head of the depletion centre, said: “It’s quite a simple theory and one that any beer drinker understands. The glass starts full and ends empty and the faster you drink it the quicker it’s gone.”

Dr Campbell, is a former chief geologist and vice-president at a string of oil majors including BP, Shell, Fina, Exxon and ChevronTexaco.