10 April 2012

Slides from my "Wag the Dog" Talk

Due to a large number of requests I am posting up the slides from my talk yesterday - Wag the Dog (here in PDF). Since my commentary doesn't accompany the slides, the slides alone might be unclear or confusing, so please use the comments to ask questions.

Also, do have a look at these interesting comments over at Dot Earth, especially from Marty Hoerling (NOAA) and Mike Wallace (U of W).  Here is Wallace:
By exaggerating the influence of climate change on today’s weather and climate-related extreme events, a part of our community is painting itself into a rhetorical corner...

I’ve become convinced that many of the editors of the high impact journals are inclined to cast opinion pieces as salvos in the ongoing war between climate change believers and skeptics.
Such comments reinforce the optimistic tone of my talk ... though some of my senior colleagues expressed their view in the discussion that followed that they were not so sanguine. Time will tell, and I'll watch with interest from the vantage point of a scholar studying sports governance ;-)


  1. Regarding Tobis' comments:

    "As applied to the climate system, consider it a plausibility argument: the more rapidly and extensively the system is disturbed, the more we would expect that unexpected behaviors will emerge, and the further from expectations they will be."

    When expectations are that expected behaviours are to become unexpected, the most unexpected behaviour, the one furthest from expectations, is the currently expected behaviour. It would therefore appear that the SREX report, by showing nothing is unexpected, is the most unexpectedly extreme outcome possible! Perhaps so extreme it prompts some scientists and media (the ones intelligent enough to understand how unexpected its expected extremes are) to deny their very existance! They hope to prevent a calamitous public by continued exhortation of the comforting existance of expected unexpected extremes!

  2. Hoerling and Wallace do a woodshed number on the Rahmsdorf Nature paper. Tobis supportive comments do not make sense and do not address the absence of an analysis of the relevant data sets that Hoerling and Wallace highlight.

  3. Roger I'm surprised that you didn't mention Wegman for your plagiarism slide. Given your involvement in climate blogging, I'd have thought that this would have been an obvious candidate.

    while predictable, the lack of attention paid to the Wegman issue by you and other contrarian bloggers is nevertheless disappointing.

  4. Regarding Wallace's remarks, the late John Sawhill, while the President of the Nature Conservancy and a year or so before his death, said that the environmental community needed to heed the lesson of the boy who cried wolf. What he meant (I think, he didn't spell it out) is that if global warming actually were to become the monster that some still think it might become, no one will believe them after all the hype. And Sawhill was talking about the hype of a decade ago, not the much larger amount we see today.

  5. -4-Marlowe Johnson

    Thanks... sorry to disappoint. Churchill did trump Wegman, who I discussed here:

    I followed up on the outcome of the Wegman investigation and sanctions (such as they were) via Twitter, FYI. Thanks.

  6. Was an audio or video recording made?

  7. -6-jzulauf

    No, we don't have this capability (yet -- working on it!) .. Thx!

  8. Hi Roger. Just seeing if I can muster the techno-competence to post a comment. Your site is being discussed at Lucia's Blackboard...