Sunday, April 20, 2008

Comments and Truth

Perhaps my favourite title from the peer reviewed climate science papers I listed in my last post was "Gulf Stream safe if wind blows and Earth turns", by Carl Wunsch. I've written about Wunsch before:

The man is Professor Carl Wunsch, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physical Oceanography at MIT, and it's worth pondering his words carefully, not least because he is angry about the way he was persuaded to participate in the filming of the Channel 4 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle.
Wunsch isn't a sceptic. He wrote:
I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component.
But he also wrote:
I am on record in a number of places complaining about the over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts. Thus the notion that the Gulf Stream would or could "shut off" or that with global warming Britain would go into a "new ice age" are either scientifically impossible or so unlikely as to threaten our credibility as a scientific discipline if we proclaim their reality.
Recently, I had a short debate with the pseudonymous blogger Unity, of the Ministry of Truth. It was shorter than I had intended, because of the, um... interesting comments policy at that blog. The first couple of times I commented, my remarks appeared. Then, as I tried to respond to the replies I had first a comment moderation message, then another one, then the message that my comments were filtered out as spam. None subsequently appeared, not the moderated two and not the spam one that was, according to the message, going to be drawn to the site owner's attention.

I'd point Unity to Wunsch's paper, but I doubt the comment would appear. I guess that's one way to win an argument. Or. at least, appear to.

Unity has a specialisation: s/he operates a smoke machine. Vast quantities of words pour out, completely missing the point. The point in this case - and I need to point this out here for reasons that are obvious from the above - is not that systems can be chaotic. Of course they can. It's that this system, the Gulf Stream, isn't likely to tip.

UPDATE: In the comments, Unity insists s/he did approve my comments shortly after I made them. I didn't see them when I checked before writing this post, but Unity seems very honest from what I've seen so I'll accept that, and withdraw my accusation.


Unity said...

I think you'll find that all six comments you left on that post are there in full and have been for several days.

My 'interesting' comments policy, btw, is nothing more than spam karma throwing the occasional false positive and me not being online 24/7 to pick it up immediately.

Oh, and there's no smoke involved... either you understand the implications of chaos theory and nonlinearity in climate modelling, or you don't.

You don't appear to have got it.

Peter Risdon said...

They weren't immediately before I posted this. I checked.

You were approving other comments as this was happening, not offline.

Unity said...


The comments were approved more than a week ago, at around the time that DK made the last comment on the thread (11th April).

Had I left them in the spam trap until just before you posted this then I wouldn't have been able to retrieve them as it runs on a seven day clear down.

In addition, I didn't 'approve' an of the other comments on there as they didn't get caught in the spam trap, so there was nothing to approve in the first place.

Peter Risdon said...

Very well, Unity. If you're insistent I'll accept your word and assume I somehow overlooked the appearance of my comments when I checked. From what I've seen of your work that seems the most appropriate response.

Peter Risdon said...

Hmmm... My last sentence looks like a possible dig. It isn't, it's a compliment.