Author: Iowa Climate Science Education

Heavy snowfall in Tehran

16 Nov 2019 – Heavy snowfall blanketed the streets of north Tehran on Saturday, causing traffic chaos and forcing the closure of schools, authorities in the Iranian capital said.

Crews of municipal workers were battling to clear roads and pavements in parts of the capital, where snow began falling at the start of the morning rush hour and continued through the day.

The backed-up traffic prevented the use of snowploughs and forced the municipality to deploy staff to clear the snow by hand, he said.

Thanks to Argiris Diamantis for these links

The post Heavy snowfall in Tehran appeared first on Ice Age Now.

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November 16, 2019 at 04:31PM



Reposted from

By: Chris Morrison

November 13th 2019

It’s been a busy few days for the BBC’s Matt McGrath drawing attention to Professor Mickey Mouse’s view that the “climate emergency” is real while finding time out of his hectic writing schedule to pocket a 100,000 euro “award” from a climate activist outfit.

The group called the BBVA Foundation gave the money to McGrath for his “extraordinary capacity” to communicate complex environmental issues and science. McGrath added that he defended the primacy of specialist journalism “that draws on sound scientific sources” in an era of fake news.

Presumably that’s his view of the lefty eco drivel press release he subbed last week claiming that over 11,000 scientists were predicting “untold suffering” from the forthcoming climate emergency. Not that the piece lasted long on the BBC’s anti science web page, once it became common knowledge that the Mouse had signed along with Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore and Professor Araminta Aardvark from the University of Neasden (Private Eye: passim).

The statement published in the journal BioScience was also notable for the lack of actual scientists that signed. Any cursory look at the signatories with librarians, teachers and government inspectors gives more the impression of a petition from activists with a strong personal and often economic interest in promoting the so-called New Green Deal.

Of course McGrath and his fellow BBC activists like Roger Harrabin fit well with this crowd.  In July McGrath wrote his usual measured piece for the BBC entitled “Climate change: 12 years to save the planet? Make that 18 months”. Headlines like this no doubt delighted the BBVA Foundation judging panel which included two government press officers and a number of “climate” journalists.

Of course some may question the wisdom of people who think of themselves as independent journalists receiving huge sums of money from the people they are supposed to be writing about. But that pass was sold years ago in some sections of the media. “Specialist” journalists routinely receive awards as in banking/insurance/ holiday homes Journalist of the Year. The giver gets to bung them a nice drink while the receiver swanks about as “award winning”, often removing any trace of the sponsor’s name in the self promotion.

Nevertheless the scale of McGrath’s libation is truly impressive. One might even call it an extreme event, necessitating the provision of numerous places of refreshment and large standby facilities to rush replenishments from brewer and distillery alike.

And so the remorseless climate emergency nonsense rolls on bankrolled and promoted by a huge subsidy-hungry Green army looking to profit from unimaginable societal and economic change. Any attempt to discuss the science is howled down. The BBC and the Guardian are at the forefront of mainstream media in the UK in promoting the ludicrous “carbon free” narrative. Almost every press release promising Armageddon is given prominent billing however preposterous the source.

Earlier this year, for instance, Roger Harrabin reprinted a number of false extreme weather claims from the left wing Institute for Public Policy, citing a report co-written by a researcher whose only previous job experience was working as a volunteer for an Edinburgh “equality” charity!

But at least the writer in question was a real person, unlike Hogwarts and Neasden’s finest!

The lack of rigorous scientific reporting has been partly responsible for the growth of increasingly unhinged climate hysteria. Extinction Rebellion started life as an anti-capitalist fringe group but got lucky by promising billions will die unless we remove the only efficient fuel we have within seven years. If you are all-in on climate and species catastrophe, you are hardly in a position to question the loonies propaganda and methods.

The Greta Thunberg episode is even more bizarre since the kid knows nothing about the science of climate change other than what adults have told her. The historian David Starkey noted his week that the Middle Ages were full of child saints and intelligent people like Michael Gove prostrating themselves … “and it is frankly mad”.

Little or no mention is given to any climate narrative that might hint at a more nuanced or objective discussion. For instance, the news that the Thames flood barrier had only been raised nine times in the past five years – a record low for that period of time going back to the 1980s – was ignored presumably on the grounds that it cast doubt on the glad tidings that the Greenland ice sheet is about to come crashing through Londoners’ front room any time soon.

The sacking of Dr Susan Crockford and Professor Peter Ridd for querying polar bear extinction and Great Barrier Reef destruction by their respective universities in Canada and Australia is barely mentioned. Hundreds of scientists telling the recent UN climate conference that climate models are not “remotely plausible as policy tools” were ignored, presumably because the sacred models provide the all important forecasts for the upcoming climate fireball.

This whole Armageddon fantasy is little more than an insult to the intelligence. It uses unreliable computer models of a chaotic atmosphere to predict risible claims of runaway global warming while closing down any reasoned scientific debate. It uses children to promote its anti-human, reactionary message. It is a deranged middle class fixation using dodgy unproven science to clamp down on continued human progress and ingenuity and condemn millions to a lifetime of poverty, disease and early death.

Please send 100,000 euros to:

Your correspondent, Chris Morrison (Chris Morrison Journalist of the Year)

Please follow Chris on Twitter @CMorrisonEsq

via Watts Up With That?

November 16, 2019 at 04:27PM

New Video : Ice Doesn’t Lie – NASA Climate Scientists Do

New Video : Ice Doesn’t Lie – NASA Climate Scientists Do

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November 16, 2019 at 02:08PM

Climategate And Post-Normal Science

Guest Post by Michael Kile,
It was an important moment in the Climategate saga. Yet few remember Jerome Ravetz’s damning critique of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU) posted on
WUWT in early 2010.

Ravetz is an eminent American philosopher of science and an Associate Fellow at Oxford University’s James Martin Institute for Science and Civilisation. (Personal web page here; Oxford pages here and here.) For much of his career he has been challenging claims of scientific objectivity and developing a concept of “post-normal science” (PNS).

We can understand the root cause of Climategate as a case of scientists constrained to attempt to do normal science in a post-normal situation. But climate change had never been a really ‘normal’ science, because the policy implications were always present and strong, even overwhelming.  Indeed, if we look at the definition of ‘post-normal science’, we see how well it fits:  facts uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent.  In needing to treat Planet Earth like a textbook exercise, the climate scientists were forced to break the rules of scientific etiquette and ethics, and to play scientific power-politics in a way that inevitably became corrupt.  The combination of non-critical ‘normal science’ with anti-critical ‘evangelical science’ was lethal. (J Ravetz, WUWT, 9 February, 2010)

Some environmentalists had been using Ravetz’s PNS concept to drive a looser – more subjective – approach to decision-making under uncertainty, urging greater use of the so-called “precautionary principle”, a “principle” of pseudoscience, not genuine science.

The late Stephen Schneider (1945-2010), then Stanford University professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and editor of the journal Climatic Change, was one of them. He was also an IPCC lead author. Schneider advised other lead authors how to deal with uncertainty in a climate context in the IPCC’s Third and Fourth Assessment Reports.

The management of uncertainties is not just an academic issue but an urgent task for climate change policy formulation and action…Various vested interests may inhibit, delay, or distort public debate with the result that “procrastination is as real a policy option as any other, and indeed one that is traditionally favoured in bureaucracies; and inadequate information is the best excuse for delay (Funtowicz and Ravetz, 1990)”. (AR4 WG III section 10.1.5: Robust decision-making)

When The Royal Society published a commemorative volume of essays in 2010, Seeing Further – The Story of Science and The Royal Society, it included one by Schneider: “Confidence, Consensus and the Uncertainty Cops: Tackling Risk Management in Climate Change.” At the time, he was struggling (as the IPCC still is) to deal with what he described as the “significant uncertainties” that “bedevil components of the science”, “plague projections of climate change and its consequences”, and challenge the traditional scientific method of directly testing hypotheses (‘normal’ science). His solution was ambitious: to change ‘the culture of science’ by developing a language that would convey the gravity of the situation “properly” to policy makers.

As climate uncertainty was (and is) so intractable — and incomprehensible to the public — Schneider introduced the rhetoric of risk management – “framing a judgement about acceptable and unacceptable risks” – and pseudo-probability. While he claimed he was “uncomfortable” with this “value judgement” approach – he was even “more uncomfortable ignoring the problems altogether because they don’t fit neatly into our paradigm of ‘objective’ falsifiable research based on already known empirical data.”

Schneider proposed a new subjective paradigm of “surprises’ in global climate scenarios, one with “perhaps extreme outcomes or tipping points which lead to unusually rapid changes of state”; while admitting that, “by definition, very little in climate science is more uncertain than the possibility of ‘surprises’.”

This was a pivotal moment. Schneider had smuggled a contrived “language for risk” into the IPCC; one derived from his personal (and the IPCC’s) “value frame” and that was adopted in subsequent reports. They now had, he wrote triumphantly, “licence to pursue risk assessment of uncertain probability but high consequence possibilities in more depth; but how should we go about it?” How, indeed?

Schneider’s 2010 Royal Society essay concluded: “Despite the large uncertainties in many parts of the climate science and policy assessments to date, uncertainty is no longer a responsible justification for delay.” Yet how can one seriously argue the more uncertain a phenomenon, the greater is the risk to humankind?

Needless to say, it took Schneider a long time to “negotiate” agreement with climate scientists on precise “numbers and words” in the Third Assessment Report cycle. “There were some people who still felt they could not apply a quantitative scale to issues that were too speculative or ‘too subjective’ for real scientists to indulge in ‘speculating on probabilities not directly measured’. One critic said: ‘Assigning confidence by group discussion, even if informed by the available evidence, was like doing seat-of-the-pants statistics over a good beer.’”

Over the next few years – and many beers later – “confidence” in the key IPCC findings came to be expressed in a “calibrated language” all its own, one that can lull a credulous reader into believing a show-of-hands consensus- quantified with bogus precision – is superior to mere opinion. From its latest SR:

Each finding [in this Special Report] is grounded in an evaluation of underlying evidence and agreement. A level of confidence is expressed using five qualifiers: very low, low, medium, high and very high, and typeset in italics, e.g., medium confidence. The following terms have been used to indicate the assessed likelihood of an outcome or a result: virtually certain 99–100% probability, very likely 90–100%, likely 66–100%, about as likely as not 33–66%, unlikely 0–33%, very unlikely 0–10%, exceptionally unlikely 0–1%. Assessed likelihood is typeset in italics, e.g., very likely. This is consistent with AR5 and the other AR6 Special Reports.

Additional terms (extremely likely 95–100%, more likely than not >50–100%, more unlikely than likely 0–<50%, extremely unlikely 0–5%) are used when appropriate. This Report also uses the term ‘likely range’ or ‘very likely range’ to indicate that the assessed likelihood of an outcome lies within the 17-83% or 5-95% probability range. (IPCC SR Ocean and Cryosphere, 24 September, 2019, page 4)

Ravetz was quick to post a response to set the record straight.

I would like to defend myself against a charge that has been made by various critics. This is, that I personally and intentionally laid the foundations for the corrupted science of the CRU, by providing the justification for Steve Schneider’s perversion of scientific integrity. First, there is no record of the guilty scientists ever mentioning, or even being aware, of PNS during the crucial earlier years. Also, shoddy and corrupted science in other fields did not wait for me to come along to justify it. My influence is traced back to a single footnote by Steven Schneider, citing an essay by me in a large, expensive book, Sustainable Development of the Biosphere (ed. W.C. Clarke and R.E. Munn), (Cambridge, University Press, 1986). PNS first came into the climate picture with the quite recent essay by Mike Hulme in 2007. That was a stage in his own evolution from modeller to critic, and came long after the worst excesses at CRU had been committed. I should say that I do not dismiss conspiracy theories out of hand, since some of them are correct! But this one really does seem far-fetched. (J Ravetz, WUWT, 12 April 2010, Debate and post-normal science

According to Ravetz, the relationship between scientists and policy-makers has changed; the technocrat ideal of the nineteenth century is dead. We have entered what he calls a “post-normal” age, where science too has become “post-normal”. It no longer speaks “value-free” truth based on impartiality and objectivity. So-called “consensus” advice cannot be considered the objective truth. How do we prevent the self-interested exploitation of uncertainty in such an age?

For Schneider, and presumably the IPCC, it seems to have been by adding “quantitative modifiers”, or phrasing all conclusions in a way to “avoid nearly indifferent statements based on speculative knowledge.”

“We have to offer up scary scenarios,” he said, “make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have…Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.” For Ravetz, this was PNS in action.

In February, 2010, Ravetz posted “Climategate: Plausibility and the blogosphere in the post-normal age” on WUWT. He later released other essays, most of which were ignored by alarmists and the MSM.

What I say may be shocking to some [readers]. I argue that the ‘global warming’ campaign can be best understood as yet another of the Wars that have characterised politics in recent years….Now the evil empire of choice is Carbon, intended to be vanquished by an infinitely corruptible system of bureaucratically defined payments for non-existent transactions. (J Ravetz, Oxford Magazine, 2010)

Ravetz kindly agreed to elaborate further on Climategate and its possible implications for science. Several extracts from his 9 February 2010 WUWT critique are followed below by his answers to my questions.

How could the illusions persist for so long until their sudden collapse? The scientists were all reputable, they published in leading peer-reviewed journals, and their case was itself highly plausible and worthy in a general way.  Individual criticisms were, for the public and perhaps even for the broader scientific community, kept isolated and hence muffled and lacking in systematic significance.  And who could have imagined that at its core so much of the science was unsound?  The plausibility of the whole exercise was, as it were, bootstrapped.  I myself was alerted to weaknesses in the case by some caveats in Sir David King’s book The Hot Topic; and I had heard of the hockey-stick affair.  But even I was carried along by the bootstrapped plausibility, until the [Climategate] scandal broke. (J Ravetz, WUWT, 9 February, 2010)

MK: Is it accurate to say you were sympathetic to the alarmist case on climate change until Climategate?

JR: Yes, I saw climate change as another sort of evidence of humanity’s disruption of the ecosphere; my reaction was, “why not this too?”  I was aware that the more lurid predictions of the alarmists of the 1960s (population bomb, resource depletion, etc.) had not been realised; but there is quite enough of alarming developments otherwise.

MK: Could you describe in more detail why you now consider so much of climate science “unsound”?

JR: In my latest essay, Climategate: the unravelling and its consequences, I distinguish between Climate Science, which is fully aware of complexity and uncertainty, and the ‘CAGW’ (Carbon-based anthropogenic global warming) science of the small group that fed directly into the IPCC.  That is becoming increasingly exposed as unsound, thanks to the critics on the blogosphere.  The ‘Nature trick’ is the most egregious case, but there are others.  Some now assert that the temperature records have been systematically distorted in order to produce an apparent rise – the simple method was to progressively delete the stations from cooler places.  And now Arctic ice is growing in extent; and it seems that its decrease was more due to patterns of winds than to warming air.

The deeper problem for CAGW science is to show that there has been a sudden significant unprecedented rise in temperatures, over a long enough period to count as ‘climate change’ and not just cyclical variability.  Removing the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age was essential for that programme.  The very varied, uncertain and scattered field data did not really add up.  And the models were exposed in 2000 as giving any prediction you liked, depending on the assumptions and conventions.   The propaganda has always displayed anything warmer as evidence for climate change, and anything cooler as a temporary shift in the weather.  After a while that loses plausibility.

To have a political effect, the extended peers of science have traditionally needed to operate largely by means of activist pressure-groups using the media to create public alarm. In this case, since the global warmers had captured the moral high ground, criticism has remained scattered and ineffective, except on the blogosphere.  The position of Green activists is especially difficult, even tragic; they have been extended peers who were co-opted into the ruling paradigm, which in retrospect can be seen as a decoy or diversion from the real, complex issues of sustainability, as shown by Mike Hulme.  Now they must do some very serious re-thinking about their position and their role.” (J Ravetz, WUWT, February, 2010)

MK: Has there been any reaction from Green activists to your assessment of their position on climate change post-Climategate as “especially difficult, even tragic”?

JR: None!  But I have not been in touch with Green activists for some time.  You may have seen that there was a posting on the Greenpeace website (since taken down) that called for direct action against the enemies of climate change.  I have personal memories of people who had committed themselves to a cause, political or religious, and then found it extremely difficult or quite impossible to admit that they had been badly mistaken.  So – one might say – just as the very varied and complex cause of militant Socialism was appropriated by Stalin, so has the official Green movement been appropriated by Al Gore.  And those who identified with the good cause are then trapped.

MK: Were you surprised by the conclusions of the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report on Climategate released on 31 March 2010?

JR: Not in the slightest!  What were they supposed to do?  The ruling orthodoxy (as expressed by Lord Robert May) is still CAGW; so how could an official body cast doubt on it?  But many will remember how the talking heads of science and medicine were assuring the public that British beef is safe, even for years after the cat ‘Mad Max’ had come down with Mad Cow disease.  Their problem is that the longer they hold onto the party line, the more they lose credibility with the public.

The examples of shoddy science exposed by the Climategate convey a troubling impression.  From the record, it appears that in this case, criticism and a sense of probity needed to be injected into the system by the extended peer community from the (mainly) external blogosphere.

The total assurance of the mainstream scientists in their own correctness and in the intellectual and moral defects of their critics, is now in retrospect perceived as arrogance.  For their spokespersons to continue to make light of the damage to the scientific case, and to ignore the ethical dimension of Climategate, is to risk public outrage at a perceived unreformed arrogance. (J Ravetz, WUWT, 9 February, 2010)

MK: Do you expect the University of East Anglia’s new Scientific Assessment Panel to conclude, as you have done, that Climategate has exposed troubling examples of “shoddy science”?

JR: I would be astonished.  You may know the dictum of the historian Lord Acton:  power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  My version of that is ‘responsibility corrupts, and responsibility without power corrupts absolutely’.  Those who are required to reassure the public that quite obvious bad things never happen, are trapped most tragically.

To the extent that the improved management of uncertainty and ignorance can remedy the situation, some useful tools are at hand.  In the Netherlands, scholars and scientists have developed Knowledge Quality Assessment methodologies for characterising uncertainty in ways that convey the richness of the phenomenon while still performing well as robust tools of analysis and communication.  Elsewhere, scholars are exploring methods for managing disagreement among scientists, so that such post-normal issues do not need to become so disastrously polarised.

MK: To what extent do you believe your suggested tools for improving management of uncertainty and ignorance could remedy the situation now confronting climate science?

JR: The tools are there, for such a time when the political will is there.  We are now seeing a stirring of critical thinking about the ‘science’ of finance (and more generally economics), and important people are reminding their colleagues that uncertainty and ignorance must be respected.  It is possible (I can say no more) that if the present crisis over Climategate matures to the point of confrontation, then in the aftermath there could be a more sophisticate, respectful and might I say humble approach by leading scientists to the complex problems of our age.

And what about the issue itself?  Are we really experiencing Anthropogenic Carbon-based Global Warming?  If the public loses faith in that claim, then the situation of science in our society will be altered for the worse. There is very unlikely to be a crucial experience that either confirms or refutes the claim; the post-normal situation is just too complex. The consensus is likely to depend on how much trust can still be put in science.  The whole vast edifice of policy commitments for Carbon reduction, with their many policy prescriptions and quite totalitarian moral exhortations, will be at risk of public rejection.  What sort of chaos would then result?  The consequences for science in our civilisation would be extraordinary. (J Ravetz, WUWT, 9 February, 2010)

Michael Kile

14 April 2010


Funtowicz, S O, & Ravetz, J R, 1990, Uncertainty and Quality in Science for Policy. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic.

Moss, R.H. and Schneider, S.H., 2000: Uncertainties in the IPCC TAR: Recommendations to lead authors for more consistent assessment and reporting. In: Guidance Papers on the Cross Cutting Issues of the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC [eds. R. Pachauri, T. Taniguchi and K.Tanaka], World Meteorological Organization, Geneva, pp 33-51

Ravetz, J R, 2010a, Climategate: The unravelling and its consequences. Oxford Magazine, Eighth Week, Hilary Term.

Ravetz, J R, 2010b, Climategate: Plausibility and the blogosphere in the post-normal age. WUWT, 9 February 2010, Climategate plausibility and the blogosphere in the post-normal age

Ravetz, J R, 2010c, Willis, epidemics, rough-tumble debate and post-normal science. WUWT, 12 April 2010, Debate and post-normal science

Ravetz, J R, 1986,” Usable Knowledge, Usable Ignorance: Incomplete Science with Policy Implications. In Clark and Munn, (eds.), Sustainable Development of the Biosphere, New York, Cambridge University Press, pp 415-432.

United Nations, 2007, Climate Change 2007. Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC),

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November 16, 2019 at 12:32PM