Monday, August 31, 2009

But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown

I'm amused to see Roger Pielke Jr playing the Galileo Gambit regarding his (Klotzbach et al) paper:
Had Michael been blogging around the time of Copernicus, he would have explained to his readers that the world is in fact flat, and that Copernicus guy must be wrong, because Michael and all of his Ptolemian friends said the world was flat, so those saying differently must be wrong because they do not jibe with his "coherence network."

Of course Roger wants to talk about politics and tribes, but I'd rather talk about science which is where this disagreement properly resides (IMO). Just to recap briefly:

Pielke and Matsui 2005 claims to have investigated the effect of temperature trends "such as due to increases in the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane" on the lapse rate at night. However, they do this by applying a heat flux to the bottom boundary of the atmosphere. This is not how GHGs (or indeed any of the main climate forcings) act. Thus, their result, cited by Klotzbach et al as: "Monitoring temperature at a single height will produce a significant warm bias when the atmosphere has warmed over time [Pielke and Matsui, 2005]" is simply not valid, and there is absolutely no basis for this belief.

Roger also adds:
"Will Michael's or James' critiques of our work appear in the peer reviewed literature? Of course not (because their critiques are off target and simply wrong)."
Well, that's a hostage to fortune if ever I saw one. I will simply remark here that Myles Allen said similar things not so long ago, and I'll have a blog post or two to add on that particular topic shortly :-)

Roger Pielke Sr has also weighed in again, although I really wonder how he expects to benefit by keeping on going on about this. His persistent appeals to his own authority are somewhat undermined by his error of confusing a downwelling forcing at the land surface with a direct warming of the base of the atmosphere. His self-published email to me contains the following:

The P&M paper just looked at the issue as to whether if there was less loss of heat at night out of the top of the boundary layer, even if the loss was the same, would the vertical distribution of the heat loss be uniform between strong and windy nights?

I can't make much sense of the apparent contradiction in less loss of heat at night out of the top of the boundary layer, even if the loss was the same, but a bigger issue is why he claims to have looked at changing the heat loss at the top of the boundary layer when he clearly changed it at the bottom. The distinction is absolutely crucial, and anyone with any sort of knowledge of geophysics knows that thermally stratified fluids can behave very differently when heated from the top versus the bottom. It's a surprising error for an expert in boundary layer meteorology to make. I have emailed him directly and look forward to his explanation on this point.

As for their complaints about tone, well motes and beams come to mind. Not to mention pots and kettles.

13 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

Mere pots and kettles are child's play for RP Jr., as he has conflated geocentrism with flat Earthism.

Tim Lambert said...

Jeepers, Pielke can't even get his history of science right. Ptolemy did not say that the Earth was flat -- he had a round Earth at the centre of the universe.

Dirk said...

The distinction is absolutely crucial, and anyone with any sort of knowledge of geophysics knows that thermally stratified fluids can behave very differently when heated from the top versus the bottom.

Nicely written.

At least you did not "(play) to the chorus" (Jr.) or "are...so contemptuous in your tone" (Sr.). I was half expecting you to title this particular "weblog" (sic) as "Does Roger Pielke Sr. truly understand boundary-layer physics?"

bigcitylib said...

Also, I'm pretty sure Galileo's problems were with the church and not his fellow scientists. Kepler had already written, and G. did not immediately take up his theories. I've heard G.s astronomy described as a "clean up" operation in the establishment of Kepler's astronomy (maybe in Kuhn).

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

RP's post didn't say anything about the earth being flat. Neither did he mention Galileo. Seems like it is a neat rhetorical trick to say that he did.

James Annan said...

Nicholas,

The quoted text including "the world is in fact flat" is directly taken from the post at the link.

I also suggest you read the Wikipedia page I linked at the top of my post. "Galileo Gambit" is a generic term, and I believe it applies accurately to the quoted text about how I am "Ptolemian" in my attitude to Pielke's work (Copernicus, in the analogy).

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

Perhaps he changed his entry. It reads "Had Michael been blogging around the time of Copernicus, he would have explained to his readers that the world is in fact at the center of the universe, and that Copernicus guy must be wrong, because Michael and all of his Ptolemian friends said the world was at the center of the universe, so those saying differently must be wrong because they do not jibe with his "coherence network."

I did read what was at the link, and my comment was targeting not just the original post, but the various commenters, who were going on about Galileo.

On a more substantive level it seems to me that since the RPs have published a paper the burden on a response is something more than a couple of quick comments. It has been my experience when two knowledgeable groups are essentially saying that the other doesn't understand at all that they really aren't talking about the same thing.

Steve Bloom said...

NN, RP Sr. notes down in the comments that he changed the text.

I doubt that anyone here is interested in persuading you to change your views about RP Sr. and co-authors.

Steve Bloom said...

Correction: The first RP should be Jr.

James Annan said...

I don't think that RPSr doesn't understand at all, I do think he is clearly wrong on a specific scientific point which I've tried to explain in fairly simple terms (viz: GHGs don't warm the base of the atmosphere, and this is a critical component of the results of PM05). There is ongoing email discussion which I hope will prove fruitful, at the very least in clarifying the precise basis of our disagreement.

Chuck said...

Why is there no Tycho gambit?

Nicolas Nierenberg said...

James, I just read the article where the link went. Tough to keep up.

Anyway I look forward to reading the result of the email exchange.

Steve, if you aren't interested in changing views, or at least getting to the bottom of the differences, then I don't understand the point of the blog at all.

Hank Roberts said...

Robert Park on Galileo:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_cBkbdLQJPmM/RsSCYZoJgMI/AAAAAAAAAHA/K3SPENoWf-o/s1600/red_sky_ufo3.jpg