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Saturday, November 30, 2013

More Judith Curry craziness: wants grant money to do study on climate without considering human-caused greenhouse gas emissions

by Sou, Hot Whopper, December 1, 2013

Anthony Watts blog at WUWT is tending to the really boring nutty right now so I popped over to see what was happening at Judith Curry's blog.  She's decided to go all out in favour of politicians putting limitations on scientific research.  Apparently, Nebraskan lawmakers are wanting scientists to prepare a report on "cyclical climate change" but telling them they are not allowed to consider any human influences on climate.  Judith finds it "strange" that any scientist would object to such limitations. (Archived here.)

Here is the advert for the study:

The advertisement looks innocuous, but apparently some lawmakers in Nebraska won't permit the scientists to take into account any human factors.  In other words they are putting political limitations on science.

Here is a report about the farce in a local news service:

The request says researchers “should consider 'cyclical climate change' to mean a change in the state of climate due to natural internal processes and only natural external forcings such as volcanic eruptions and solar variations.”
The use of the term “natural” would rule out the primary cause of the climate changes that have occurred in the last half-century: humans.
The issue of “cyclical” climate change was successfully amended into Haar's bill by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha, a Republican candidate for governor.
McCoy on Tuesday elaborated on his opposition to using state tax dollars to study man-made climate change: Humans aren't capable of influencing climate patterns.

CFACT bought into the issue, writing (archived here)

A few weeks ago, Nebraska lawmakers called for a wide-ranging study of “cyclical” climate change. Funded by the state, the $44,000 effort was to be limited to natural causes – not additional speculation about manmade effects. Amazingly, University of Nebraska scientists are not just refusing to participate in the study, unless it includes human influences. One climatologist at the university’s National Drought Mitigation Center actually said he would not be comfortable circulating a study proposal or asking other scientists to participate in it; in fact, he “would not send it out” to anyone. The director of the High Plains Climate Center sniffed, “If it’s only natural causes, we would not be interested.”
Their dismissive stance seems mystifying – until one examines climate change politics and financing.

CFACT went further, writing this nonsense:

None of these Nebraska scientists seems reluctant to accept far larger sums for “research” that focuses solely on human causes; nor do professors at Penn bearprotestsState, Virginia, George Mason, or other academic or research institutions. They’re likewise not shy about connecting “dangerous manmade global warming” to dwindling frog populations, shrinking Italian pasta supplies, clownfish getting lost, cockroaches migrating, and scores of other remote to ridiculous assertions – if the claims bring in research grants.
As if scientists determine the results of their research before they do it. CFACT isn't interested in facts.  They prefer to make stuff up as long as it's congruent with their aim of trashing the natural environment as fast as their little legs can carry them.

The Texas State Climatologist and Professor of Meteorology at Texas A&M University, John Nielsen-Gammon has written about it in the Houston Chronicle. What John is saying is that one of the scientists who refused to bid for the funds studies drought.  He is an expert in drought. Just drought.  Not drought from only natural causes or drought from only human causes, just drought. Period.  He wrote:

Knowing who these Nebraska scientists actually are, this [CFACT] article is simply sickening.  It goes on like this for a while, bringing up Galileo, Einstein, Stalin, and Lysenko, and concludes:
“Nebraskan (and other) researchers must end their hide-bound focus on human causes – and start working to understand all the complex, interrelated factors behind global climate changes and cycles. Government financiers and policy makers must do likewise. Our future well-being depends on it.”
Hey, CFACT, I have news for you: we climate scientists, at Nebraska and elsewhere, are already doing this.  We refuse to be told by politicians to restrict the scope of our scientific investigations.  Some of us feel so strongly about this that we are willing to pass up grant money that comes with politically-motivated restrictions.  And we’re willing to do this even at the possible cost of having our reputations dragged through the mud by the likes of you.
Because, despite our best efforts, some of us get used as political pawns anyway.
By the way, in a footnote, CFACT notes that the same authors will “discuss harassment of CAGW skeptics in a future article”.  Hypocrites.

Judith says John's explanation doesn't "make sense" to her.  Apparently in Judith's world it is okay to put political constraints on the factors that academics can take into account when doing scientific research.  She lives in a strange little world.

What Judith is arguing for is that climate scientists should accept a requirement that they refuse to consider any factors that are associated with all the added greenhouse gases in the air. 

Yep.  Judith Curry is advocating politically constrained "science" if there is any such thing. How could scientists possibly study something if they are not allowed to consider all possible factors?  How could scientists study any weather change without acknowledging that the extra greenhouse gases are affecting climate and weather? Whatever results they came up with would have to be wrong from the start.  They wouldn't be able to use any climate models that included the current level of greenhouse gases, nor allowed for the growth of greenhouse gases.

Judith has put her hand up for the money.  Not only that, she's offered to do a study where she has already decided the results, writing (my bold italics):

JC message to Nebraska lawmakers:  I understand why you want to better understand and predict the natural variability of drought in Nebraska, such as seen in Figure 1 above.  I have been studying climate variability in the high plains, specifically temperature and winds, for a DOE funded study on predicting wind power variability.  For $44K, I would be happy to extend our study to include precipitation and drought, interpreting Nebraska climate variability in context of the stadium wave and including probabilistic projections of extremes for the next two decades. And I am sure that there are other researchers outside the state of Nebraska who would be willing to address this topic also.

Is Judith claiming that Nebraska droughts are caused by her stadium wave?  AFAIK she hasn't even said what causes her so-called stadium wave.   All she's done is say "here's a pattern we think we've found."

It gets worse, with a logic fail from Judith.  In the comments she writes:

curryja | November 29, 2013 at 11:38 am | Reply
Can you look at Figure 1 and deny that there is natural variability? 

The point is not whether there is "natural variability."  The point is that no politician should be putting these sort of constraints on scientific research.  It would be like handing out grant money to study the common cold and telling researchers that they are not to consider any viral causation.  Natural variability is taking place in a world heated up by global warming. There is no pure natural variability any more.  All weather is influenced by the added greenhouse gases. 

You can't just remove greenhouse warming from the equation and say - oh look, this is what the weather would be like without greenhouse gases.  That would be of no value to Nebraskans.  The farmers there want to know what to expect in the future.  What is realistic. Not what would have been expected if we hadn't been adding greenhouse gases to the air.

A responsible scientist would not be able to do the research in good faith.  But Judith Curry would.

If Judith doesn't win the tender, maybe Anthony Watts will find a use for their money.  He could do a review of weather stations in Nebraska and conclude that even if they get more droughts it will be okay, it won't get too hot.  Any extra heat associated with drought can be put down to "Nebraskan UHI disease."

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