This spat is quite delightful. The scientific community has not quite woken up to the reality that many new ideas are going to be published first on the internet to establish priority and to expose them to an initial peer review. They all can be improved on by work and editing, but they are there.
Regardless, there are no two classes of people, those permitted to have an idea and those not.
In this case, the internet has bared a prime example of intellectual dishonesty that was simply intentional. It is no different that thinking you are a better human being because you have a bit of money in your jeans.
A true scholar must abhor the idea of not crediting an idea that he is working on.
This has been going on for several days the culprit is getting roasted by his peers.
A major part of scholarship is to chronicle work and contributions by others. This is important because an informant’s context is often very critical in later review.
Scholarship is today devolving to virtual teams of informed participants who access each other through the internet. It is allowing scholarship to be super efficient and it is allowing other informants to be involved. The fact that brainstorming the issue provided a new insight to Mr. Schmidt to build into his paper was a benefit of the internet to Mr Schmidt. It is only honorable to give a passing nod at least for the idea. And it strikes right at the heart of the scientific method which depends on the trustworthiness of the observer(s).
Update: Prominent Scientist Again Challenges Schmidt on Climate Models!
Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes slammed RealCliamte.org’s Gavin Schmidt on Janaury 29, 2009: See: Prominent Scientist ‘Appalled’ By Gavin Schmidt’s ‘lack of knowledge’ – ‘Back to graduate school, Gavin!’ – Climate Science Blog
On February 4, 2009, Tennekes posted a follow up report on Schmidt’s scientific views. Tennekes is a scientific pioneer in the development of numerical weather prediction and former director of research at The Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, and an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes. Tennekes is featured in U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Tennekes wrote on Feb. 4: “I understand that Gavin Schmidt was upset by my essay of January 29. [...] So why should one base climate policy on forecasts made by climate models? Curiously, Gavin’s text is conceptually vague. He should be able to do better. It is up to you, Gavin. I am waiting.”
February 4, 2009
Dissecting a Real Climate Text by Hendrik Tennekes
I understand that Gavin Schmidt was upset by my essay of January 29 . I admit that I neglected to mention that I responded to his long exposition of January 6 on Real Climate. The part of his text that deals with the difference between weather models and climate models reads:
“Conceptually they are very similar, but in practice they are used very differently. Weather models use as much data as there is available to start off close to the current weather situation and then use their knowledge of physics to step forward in time. This has good skill for a few days and some skill for a little longer. Because they are run for short periods of time only, they tend to have much higher resolution and more detailed physics than climate models (but note that the Hadley Centre for instance, uses the same model for climate and weather purposes). Weather models develop in ways that improve the short term predictions, though the impact for long term statistics or the climatology needs to be assessed independently. Curiously, the best weather models often have a much worse climatology than the best climate models. There are many current attempts to improve the short-term predictability in climate models in line with the best weather models, though it is unclear what impact that will have on projections.”
What to make of this? I will dissect this paragraph line by line.
“Conceptually they are very similar……”
In practice, they are. However, as I have argued time and again, this apparent similarity is a serious defect. A crude representation of the ocean is all that is needed for a weather model, but in a climate model the ocean should share center stage with deforestation and other land use changes.
“Weather models …use their knowledge of physics to step forward in time.”
What Gavin leaves unsaid here is that most of the physics in a weather model deals with the atmosphere. Also, most of the physics is parameterized and the reliability of the parameterizations continues to be debated. I don’t want to pick nits, else I would query how models can possess knowledge of any kind.
“This has good skill for a few days…….”
Yes, Gavin is aware of Lorenz’ butterfly. He fails to state, however, that the average prediction horizon of weather forecasts is comparable to the lifetime of synoptic weather systems. I would not mind this omission, were it not for the fact that the (unknown) prediction horizon of climate models is determined in part by the life time of circulation systems in the ocean, such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Since weather models and climate models are conceptually similar, one must expect similar predictability problems.
“Because they are run for short periods of time only……”
The logic in this sentence is inverted. The development of weather and climate models is driven by the desire to employ the latest supercomputers available. It is conceptually a small matter to fill these computers with parameterizations operating at higher resolution. My interactions with Tim Palmer of ECMWF (see my weblog of June 24, 2008) focused on his claim for Seamless Prediction Systems. His advocacy boiled down to a quest for a computer facility that could run climate models at the resolution now feasible for weather models. I submit that no conceptual progress can be expected if the modeling community fails to reconsider the architecture of their software.
“Weather models develop in ways that improve…….”
This line ends with the need to independently assess the impact of model improvements on long-term statistics. I agree with the need, but not with Gavin’s off-hand way of letting this problem pass by without explaining how such assessments can or should be performed. Throughout this text Gavin avoids matters of methodology. That, to me, misleads all readers who are not professionals themselves.
“Curiously, the best weather models…….”
At this point, a Dutchman would say “Nu breekt mijn klomp” (now my clog breaks). Gavin Schmidt is a professional climate modeler, but he appears surprised that the climatology of weather models is inferior. Of course it is. Weather models deal with the atmosphere, climate models with the entire climate system.
“There are many current attempts to improve the short-term predictability …….”
Climate modelers are responding to public opinion and have chosen to develop “seamless” or “unified” prediction systems. The present skill of seasonal forecasts is marginal at best; why should the public and their governments have confidence in forecasts many ten of years ahead? Conceptually, this is indeed a crucial question. It cannot be answered by increasing computer power. Gavin admits as much:
“….. it is unclear what impact that will have on projections.”
So why should one base climate policy on forecasts made by climate models?
Curiously, Gavin’s text is conceptually vague. He should be able to do better.
It is up to you, Gavin. I am waiting.
« Kevin Trenberth on El Niño - A Tracking Of The Evolution Of His Perspective On This Issue Since 1997
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2009 8:11 PM
Subject: Update: Gavin Schmidt demands Pielke Jr. Pull Critical Blog!! - Schmidt "Uses terms like 'slander' and 'abuse'"
[Note: My last email alert on the unfolding Gavin Schmidt comedy show is now posted here: http://hallofrecord.blogspot.com/2009/02/remember-antarctic-warming-that.html - Real Climate does not appear to like criticism. Real Climate’s Eric Steig, like Schmidt, has also been recently throwing phrases as “fraud” and “libel” after receiving critical analysis of his work. See: First Author of ‘Antarctic Warming Paper’ Claims Libel - http://co2sceptics.com/news.php?id=2670 ]
Update: Gavin Schmidt demands Pielke Jr. Pull Critical Blog!! – Schmidt "Uses terms like 'slander' and 'abuse'" – February 4, 2009 – By Roger Pielke, Jr.
Excerpt: Gavin Schmidt at NASA has just now written an email to the director of CIRES and the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (but not to me), where I work at the University of Colorado, demanding that we take down this post and extend to him an apology. If Gavin wants, he is free to respond on this blog. I have not posted his email, though if he wants, I’d be happy to post that up as well. He does use terms like “slander” and “abuse.” I think my comments in the posting are are a fair representation of the pickle Gavin has gotten himself into. When will these guys learn that bullying and bluster is not going to win them any respect or friends?
Piekle Jr. added: “Gavin got caught out. I feel bad for the guy. But writing screeds to my superiors at the University won’t help him move past this episode. He should just say ‘whoops, my bad, learn and move on.’”
Gavin Schmidt’s Demands
February 4th, 2009
Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.
Gavin Schmidt at NASA has just now written an email to the director of CIRES and the Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (but not to me), where I work at the University of Colorado, demanding that we take down this post and extend to him an apology.
If Gavin wants, he is free to respond on this blog. I have not posted his email, though if he wants, I’d be happy to post that up as well. He does use terms like “slander” and “abuse.” I think my comments in the posting are are a fair representation of the pickle Gavin has gotten himself into.
When will these guys learn that bullying and bluster is not going to win them any respect or friends?
This entry was posted on Wednesday
[Best reaction to Real Climate’s Schmidt’s latest activities: Schmidt’s Antics Prompts Laughter From Scientist ‘“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?” ]
Alert: Real Climate Woes: Pielke Jr.: 'Gavin Schmidt admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre' – February 4, 2009
Excerpt: This is not a hypothetical example, but a caricature of real goings on with our friends over at Real Climate . . .Due to an inadvertent release of information, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt (a “real scientist” of the Real Climate blog) admits to stealing a scientific idea from his arch-nemesis, Steve McIntyre (not a “real scientist” of the Climate Audit blog) and then representing it as his own idea, and getting credit for it. (Details here and here.) In his explanation why this is OK, Gavin explains that he did some work on his own after getting the idea from Steve’s blog, and so it was OK to take full credit for the idea. I am sure that there are legions of graduate students and other scientific support staff who do a lot of work on a project, only to find their sponsor or advisor, who initially proposed the idea, as first author on the resulting paper, who might have empathy for Gavin’s logic. […] But lets be clear, in science, the ethical thing to do is to give full credit to the origination of an idea, even if it comes from your arch-enemy. Gavin’s outing is remarkable because it shows him not only stealing an idea, but stealing from someone who he and his colleagues routinely criticize as being wrong, corrupt, and a fraud. Does anyone wonder why skepticism flourishes? When evaluations of expertise hinge on trust, stealing someone’s ideas and taking credit for them does not help.
Gavin's "Mystery Man" Revealed - by Steve McIntyre on February 4th, 2009
Excerpt: On Monday, Feb 2, Gavin Schmidt explained some "ethics" to realclimate readers as follows: [Response: People will generally credit the person who tells them something. BAS were notified by people Sunday night who independently found the Gill/Harry mismatch. SM could have notified them but he didn’t. My ethical position is that it is far better to fix errors that are found than play around thinking about cute names for follow-on blog posts. That might just be me though. - gavin] As readers know, I was interested in who was the scientist that, unbeknowst to me, had "independently" identified the problem with Harry - a problem overlooked by BAS, NASA GISS for a year or so anyway; and a problem which had been missed by his realclimate coauthors, Steig and Mann, during their preparation of Steig et al 2009, and which had been missed by the Nature peer reviewers. And remarkably this had been "independently" identified just after I had noted the problem at Climate Audit and Climate Audit readers had contributed ideas on it, even during the Super Bowl. Yesterday, I inquired about the identity of Gavin's "mystery man"? Today (Feb 4) the British Antarctic survey revealed the identity of Gavin's "mystery man". It was… GAVIN.
Schmidt’s Antics Prompts Laughter From Scientist ‘“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?”
Reaction By Climate researcher Dr. Craig Loehle, formerly of the department of Energy Laboratories and currently with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvements, who has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers.
“How am I supposed to get any work done when I am laughing so hard?”
Report: Error in Antarctic Warming Paper? Warming trend 'arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together' – Australia’s Herald Sun – February 4, 2009
Excerpt: But Steve McIntyre, who did most to expose Mann’s “hockey stick”, now notices a far more embarrassing problem with Steig’s paper. Previous researchers hadn’t overlooked the data. What they’d done was to ignore data from four West Antarctic automatic weather stations in particular that didn’t meet their quality control. As you can see above, one shows no warming, two show insignificant warming and fourth - from a station dubbed “Harry” shows a sharp jump in temperature that helped Steig and his team discover their warming Antarctic. Uh oh. Harry in fact is a problematic site that was buried in snow for years and then re-sited in 2005. But, worse, the data that Steig used in his modelling which he claimed came from Harry was actually old data from another station on the Ross Ice Shelf known as Gill with new data from Harry added to it, producing the abrupt warming. The data is worthless. Or as McIntyre puts it: Considered by itself, Gill has a slightly negative trend from 1987 to 2002. The big trend in “New Harry” arises entirely from the impact of splicing the two data sets together. It’s a mess.
Read this link and this to see McIntyre’s superb forensic work. Why wasn’t this error picked up earlier? Perhaps because the researchers got the results they’d hoped for, and no alarm bell went off that made them check. Now, wait for the papers to report the error with the zeal with which they reported Steig’s “warming”.
Prominent Scientist ‘Appalled’ By Gavin Schmidt’s ‘lack of knowledge’ – ‘Back to graduate school, Gavin!’ – Climate Science Blog – January 29, 2009
By Atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, a scientific pioneer in the development of numerical weather prediction and former director of research at The Netherlands' Royal National Meteorological Institute, and an internationally recognized expert in atmospheric boundary layer processes. Tennekes is featured in U.S. Senate Minority Report Update: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims
Excerpt: Roger Pielke Sr. has graciously invited me to add my perspective to his discussion with Gavin Schmidt at RealClimate. If this were not such a serious matter, I would have been amused by Gavin’s lack of knowledge of the differences between weather models and climate models. As it stands, I am appalled. Back to graduate school, Gavin! [...] Gavin Schmidt is not the only meteorologist with an inadequate grasp of the role of the oceans in the climate system. In my weblog of June 24, 2008, I addressed the limited perception that at least one other climate modeler appears to have. A few lines from that essay deserve repeating here.” [...] From my perspective it is not a little bit alarming that the current generation of climate models cannot simulate such fundamental phenomena as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. I will not trust any climate model until and unless it can accurately represent the PDO and other slow features of the world ocean circulation. Even then, I would remain skeptical about the potential predictive skill of such a model many tens of years into the future.
[Note: for more analysis of the warming partisans at Real Climate, see these links from Israeli Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv’s website: “The aim of RealClimate.org is not to engage a sincere scientific debate. Their aim is post a reply full of a straw man so their supporters can claim that your point ‘has been refuted by real scientists at ReaClimate.org.’” Shaviv, who calls the website “Wishfulclimate.org”
noted that the “writers (at RealClimaet.org) try again and again to concoct what appears to be deep critiques against skeptic arguments, but end up doing a very shallow job. All in the name of saving the world. How gallant of them.” ]
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Inhofe Staff
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) Inhofe Staff