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Fyfe et al. 2016 elevator pitch to the co-authors.

Okay, so my attempt to critique Fyfe 2016, was too long for any of the big boys.  Since I believe I do have something worth presenting to these experts, I've worked on coming up much a shorter crisper version.  (Victor, I sure hope you didn't misread our last exchange I certainly appreciated your comments.  I'm curious to know what you think of this version, should you take the time to look at it.)

March 21, 2017

Elevator pitch to co-authors of Fyfe et al. 2016 - need for clarification 

Dear Fyfe 2016 Co-Authors,

All of you by virtue of being experts of the highest caliber possess a nuanced understanding light-years beyond ordinary citizens, politicians and business leaders.  Belonging within that rarified world you risk being out of touch with how non-scientists, particularly those with hostile agendas, read your papers.  To us Fyfe et al. 2016 offered up a muddled Rorschach test rather than the promised clarifications.

Please give this summary of my previous effort a moment to see if something resonates, or not.  I don’t need a response, all I'm hoping is for you to take it seriously, if only for a moment.
¶10  Understanding of the recent slowdown also built upon prior research into the causes of the so-called big hiatus from the 1950s to the 1970s. During this period, increased cooling from anthropogenic sulfate aerosols roughly offset the warming from increasing GHGs (which were markedly lower than today).  This offsetting contributed to an approximately constant global mean surface temperature (GMST). Ice-core sulfate data from Greenland support this interpretation of GMST behaviour in the 1950s to 1970s, and provide compelling evidence of large temporal increases in atmospheric loadings of anthropogenic sulfate aerosols. The IPO was another contributory factor to the big hiatus. 

Clarify the process so people can 'appreciate' what you're talking about.

Sulfate aerosols reflected the sun’s energy back into space 
before it had the opportunity to be converted into the infrared energy 
that fuels our climate system.  

Thus a cooling trend in the GMST and the global system.
¶11  Research motivated by the warming slowdown has also led to a fuller understanding of ocean heat uptake. … In summary, research into the causes of the slowdown has been enabled by a large body of prior research, and represents an important and continuing scientific effort to quantify the climate signals associated with internal decadal variability, natural external forcing and anthropogenic factors.

Clarify the process …

The heat was moved into the oceans where ~90% of our climate system’s heat resides, thus it was absorbed into the global climate system - even if not registering in the GMST estimate.

Help people viscerally visualize the dynamics.            
Claims and Counterclaims 
¶13  Recent claims by Lewandowsky et al. that scientists “turned a routine fluctuation into a problem for science” and that “there is no evidence that identifies the recent period as unique or particularly unusual”26were made in the context of an examination of whether warming has ceased, stopped or paused. …

What’s the point in picking this bone with the Lewandowsky paper?  

Worst your paper doesn’t acknowledge, the massive disinformation campaign surrounding the recent faux hiatus and how the faux hiatus has been artificially hyper-inflated with a significance it does not warrant.  
¶15  … Just exactly how such changes should be referred to is open to debate. Possible choices …

Why not demand your opponents truthfully reflect what scientists are explaining? 

Why not a bit of moral indignation at the general acceptability of having your information constantly misrepresented and lied about? 
¶18    "Superimposed on this forced anthropogenic response are small signals of solar irradiance changes, cooling and recovery from volcanic eruptions and internal variability.”

A standout sentence.  Build on to it.  Internal variability, that is various vectors of heat transport.  

Come up with some illustrative paragraphs that convey the notion of our dynamic global heat/moisture distribution engine, rather than showing up with a list.
¶21  The big hiatus and warming slowdown periods correspond to times during which the dominant mode of decadal variability in the Pacific—the IPO—was in its negative phase. …

No helpful narrative, instead you repeat and reinforce the “hiatus” dog-whistle 13 times and never draw a clean qualitative distinction between the “big hiatus” (reflection of sun’s rays) and the “faux hiatus” (heat moving away from the surface).

Besides, even more important - Why not point out that no one knows precisely how these numbers relate to future impacts anywaysso why are leaders and the public sweating such trivial deviations?

Bring the discuss back to the important issues, the well understood fundamentals dynamics that are in motion.



  • ____________________________________________________________________________

    Concluding  Remarks  

    ¶22  … Newly identified observational errors do not, however, negate the existence of a real reduction in the surface warming rate… 


    Surface contains ~10% of our climate system’s total heat, the oceans contain ~90%  Nature is all about meanders happening within the constraints of the larger system. 

    For leaders and policy makers, you should be making crystal clear that the deviation was trivial and inconsequential compared to our understanding of the climate system’s response to increasing the planet’s “atmospheric insulation regulator” GHGs, instead this paper fills their heads with “hiatus” and more excuses.


    ¶24  Research into the nature and causes of the slowdown has triggered improved understanding of observational biases, radiative forcing and internal variability. 


    “Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown” never aspires to more than stamp-collecting and inventorying an "interesting scientific problem” - no conceptual connection to the real world was attempted or achieved.  

    Thing is, such a framing is desperately needed to help leaders and citizens better appreciate what is happening to the world around us.

    Perhaps what upset me so, is that rather than helping the public dialogue Fyfe 2016 added confusion and worse it was easily molded into another destructive bludgeon for politicians to batter climate scientists with. 

    Confront the malicious misrepresentation of climate science that’s based on deliberate rhetorical games, designer misinformation, gross omissions, lies, hostile emotionalizing and demonizing with ruthless freewheeling slander and libel.  Thank you for your time.

    Best Wishes and Respectfully yours,

    Peter Miesler

    aka citizenschallenge



    NATURE opinion & comment
    Making sense of the early-2000s warming slowdown

    Nature Climate Change | Vol 6 | March 2016 | Pages 224 to 228

    www.nature.com / natureclimatechange © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved

    John C. Fyfe, Gerald A. Meehl, Matthew H. England, Michael E. Mann, Benjamin D. Santer, Gregory M. Flato, Ed Hawkins, Nathan P. Gillett, Shang-Ping Xie, Yu Kosaka and Neil C. Swart
  • And now I need to drag myself back to the Bates's article.  It'll be interesting to see how it reads after setting it aside for weeks.  The lazy winter days are over, life's getting crowded again.  I have the feeling once I do this Bates Affair I'm going to hang it up for a while.  It's simply too demoralizing.  What I write seems pretty much worthless and life keep conspiring to steal back what little free writing time I manage carving out for myself, so there's little hope of improvement.

    I imagine I'll still try writing though it's intended audience will be me.
  • Hey man, are you OK? As much as your efforts are appreciated, don't work yourself into an early grave. :(
  • Why not?  Our society sure seems to be doing all it can to work itself into an early grave.   B) (safety glasses, don't you know)  
    But, I got a plan, start a blog with myself as the intended audience.  Still gotta get through the Bates shit first - as time and life allows.

    Now what about the above - is it all just a bunch of gibberish?
    (This time around at least I've received acknowledgements from Mann and England.)
  • citizenschallenge said:
    Now what about the above - is it all just a bunch of gibberish?
    (This time around at least I've received acknowledgements from Mann and England.)
    I think a lot of it makes sense, even if it's worded with too much hostility. Framing it as  'this is what you did which is wrong, this is what you should do instead' won't convince people just due to basic psychology. Attacking previous efforts makes people close up to defend themselves, so convincing others to change what they're doing is a major uphill battle from that point on. Scientists are a more rational bunch than the average Man On The Street, but you're still starting at a major disadvantage. It's better to give people a way forward without antagonizing them, and don't try to fix everything at once or you'll overwhelm them.

    My experience with science communication primarily deals with primary/high school children so it might be a bit different there, but I've always found it's quite effective to build on the other side's effort rather than trying to get them to replace it outright. Explain not just how (parts of) their work might fail to convince, but put it into context with the better pieces of their work or with other work that's more persuasive. Could they use more/better graphs to, say, compare the relatively minor slowdown to overall global warming? Show how [reference X] used graphs as a good part of their narrative. Worried about how papers are misrepresented or difficult to spread to a wider audience? Maybe you can point to a newspaper article that did it well as inspiration for how to adjust their writing to it's more engaging to a wider audience.

    I know it sucks that things aren't going well, but we can't afford to burn bridges at a time when we need to stand together. Either way, good luck with Bates and don't be afraid to come up for air once in a while ;)
  • edited March 2017
    There be sludge in that paper. I can certainly imagine a snappier and clearer presentation. (Not that I'm the one who would know how to write it.)
  • edited March 2017
    FlyingDutchman, thanks for taking the time to give that thoughtful response.  
    There are so many facets to the "hostility" issue.

    a)  Witnessing over forty years of backsliding, blatant willful ignorance and disregard for Earth's natural systems that make all possible on this fantastical planet has honed an edge, no doubt.

    b)  It's one of the reasons I've tried reaching out to the informed for feedback - While I actually do have a good family and social life, it's devoid of people who appreciate science and what's going on with climate science, so in that regard it's me and that virtual world on the other side of this computer.  It's not good for development, to be stuck within a single mindscape.  

    c)  If we stick to what I wrote in the above - where is the "hostility".  What was demeaning or intended to be hurtful?  Not to say there's not an edge.  I'm just asking.

    d)  Don't we all deserve a healthy bitch slap once in a while?  Sure has worked for me on occasion (and I'm talking about the receiving end.)

    e)  I've listened to decades of we need to talk nice but look at what kind of talk has gotten itself into the halls of power?  Trump, Bannon, Breitbart, tea baggers, evangelical reactionaries owned and brainwashed by oligarchs.    
    Houston we have a problem here.   

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