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Bastardi's Wager

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-all-a-matter-of-degrees dept.

Earth 672

DesScorp writes "AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi has a challenge for climate scientists. He wants one or more of their rank to accept a bet about temperature trends in the coming decade. Bastardi is making specific predictions. 'The scientific approach is: you see the other argument, you put forward predictions about where things are going to go, and you test them,' he says. 'That is what I have done. I have said the earth will cool .1 to .2 Celsius in the next ten years, according to objective satellite data.' Bastardi's challenge to his critics — who are legion — is to make their own predictions. And then wait. Climate science, he adds, 'is just a big weather forecast.' Bastardi's challenge is reminiscent of the famous Simon-Ehrlich Wager, where the two men made specific predictions about resource scarcity in the '80s."

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672 comments

real science (2, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882622)

Hypothesis followed by observation... admittedly, it cannot be repeated, but it is, at the very least, a step in the right direction. All too often people let their emotions / politics / media-lust get in the way of doing actual work towards understanding the planet we live on. Is it showmanship for him to do it this way? Sure. But at least it is showmanship with a useful point.

Re:real science (4, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882670)

And what is that useful point? To inject more politics and bullshit into the scientific process? I'm sorry, but despite what these oil-company backed think tanks say, there is no global scientific conspiracy to force you back into the dark ages and to live like vegan hippies.

Re:real science (2, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882918)

All I've seen of late is rhetoric on both sides. Yes, the data for climate change is available to any who look at it, but we could use some popular media group paying attention to that data instead of blasting one side or the other as if there's a grand scientific debate going on. By focusing on a bit of showmanship by Bastardi, the media might actually start paying attention to real data (because it would heighten interest in the "debate"). And helping people actually learn is not a bad thing.

Re:real science (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883134)

There is no real debate. The people who actually know the science are largely in agreement about the conclusions. The "debate" being spoke of is faux debate stirred up by people from think tanks funded by oil companies. It's about as meaningful as fundy wackos going on about how there is large debate over the legitimacy over the theory of evolution.

Re:real science (2, Insightful)

J Story (30227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883332)

There is no debate?! Didn't you read the article? The guy gets paid big bucks because he has a habit of correctly predicting weather, not because he's on a government-funded or "Big Oil" gravy train. If there's no debate, then the global warming high priests will be all too happy to take up his wager.

Re:real science (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883378)

Did you look at who was publishing it? The National Review is like the neo-con weekly gazette.

Re:real science (1, Interesting)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883354)

You're right. There is no debate. No legitimate scientist believes in global warming as a condition caused by human activity and there's very little evidence of warming at all (in fact there's a lot of historical evidence that we're entering a cooling period). The fact that people blame oil companies for this type of thing would be funny if it weren't so stupid.

You need to do a little reading outside of the NY or LA Times son...

Re:real science (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883392)

no mod points but well said...

Re:real science (4, Interesting)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883160)

The fact is the debate would be too boring for anyone to care. If there is a warming trend or a cooling trend (and there's no clear evidence either way, face it...) we're talking about a temperature change so small no one not using this as an excuse to get more funding for something or get (re-)elected cares. That's why it's so insane. Those that want to embrace the whole "Climate change" insanity couldn't care less about the climate (Hello Al....) they just want power over others and money to do as they please.

THIS HAS NEVER BEEN ABOUT SCIENCE OR CLIMATE (any more than traffic tickets are about public safety)!! WAKE THE HELL UP!

Re:real science (1, Interesting)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883208)

there is no global scientific conspiracy to force you back into the dark ages and to live like vegan hippies

Well, without the massive amounts of petrochemicals that are used to make fertilisers, there won't be any vegans. Ecologically speaking we can't afford to keep burning oil or pouring it into the ground. Once the oil's gone, it's going to be a mixture of livestock and arable farming, and we'll be all the better for it.

Re:real science (1)

Korin43 (881732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883326)

So we won't have to the resources to grow enough vegetables to eat, but we will have the resources to grow enough vegetables to feed livestock which we then eat?

Re:real science (0)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882692)

And all we'll find out is if their ability to predict short term climate changes is accurate. This will tell us nothing about long term changes.

Re:real science (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882928)

This is where the geologists come in, yes? Climatology is a pretty varied field of study. We go from meteorologists claiming this as their field (acknowledging the ongoing discussion about this very thing below) to paleontologists...

Re:real science (4, Insightful)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883018)

"All too often people let their emotions / politics / media-lust get in the way of doing actual work towards understanding the planet we live on.

And THAT, my friends, are the truest words I've ever heard uttered regarding this debate.

Re:real science (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883096)

If it cannot be repeated, what use is it?

Re:real science (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883140)

The problem is that politics could directly get in the way of this bet and of the science. Climate scientists are arguing (rightly or wrongly) that absent any change in policy the earth will warm some amount. But China, the US, the EU and India could all tomorrow wake up and change policies, and they might already have changed polices from when the predictions were made, which changes significantly the outcome.

Even if you try and bake in new policies to the models, you run into the problem of predicting compliance. I don't think any climate scientist included a housing bubble and bank collapse, or a tunsian protest in their climate predictions, but all of those things have significantly effected the outcome.

The Simon-Ehrlich Wager, as mentioned in the post is a good example of a lot of factors that have nothing to do with the core topic changing the outcome considerably. Oil prices, reagenomics, computerization all significantly altered metric of the bet.

Climate change says dumping more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than it can absorb is probably bad, and will lead to increased temperatures. But there's a natural reactive cycle to that (plant growth factors basically) and there's a political effect as that lot come on board. And then there's all the other random crap that happens in the world. In all of the last 3 centuries there have been major transformative wars in the second decade (admittedly the 1700's I'm thinking the war of spanish succession, and the ascendance of russia which were partly first decade, and the napoleonic wars extended a long time), another of those could radically reshape the geopolitical landscape and basically throw every climate model out the window. That doesn't mean we shouldn't take action, but if governments actually do something about climate change, the climate scientist would (probably) lose the bet.

A testable prediction? (1)

FriendlyPrimate (461389) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883270)

How is this even a testable prediction? Even if the temperature does decrease by .1 or .2 C over the next decade, that doesn't mean the long-term trend isn't still up. And if you read the article, he also argues that the methods for measurement are not reliable. So even if the temperature DOES rise over the next decade, he'll just argue that it's because the methodology for measuring it was wrong.

And this guy's arguments are bizarre. He claims that the climate is a stable system that resists change, and has a steady-state equilibrium. Excuse me...ever heard of ice ages? We had one not too long ago. We've also had recent periods where it's been much warmer than it is today (Younger Dryas for example). If anything, that shows that climate is HIGHLY susceptible to change.

And For The Record... (5, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882626)

For the record, meteorologists are not climatologists. This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

Re:And For The Record... (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882686)

Or a physicist building a bridge.

Re:And For The Record... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882814)

For the record, telling engineers that they have no business making bets with their physicist "betters" is likely to get you laughed at by both engineers and physicists.

Re:And For The Record... (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883266)

That's a bit different. Engineers have to have a pretty good handle on at least classical mechanics in order to do their jobs, and as such, it doesn't seem too unreasonable for them to win sometimes.

But, with climatology versus meteorology there's very little overlap there. Meteorology is focused on what's going to happen in the next year if even that far out. Whereas climatologists are looking at what things are likely to be like decades down the road. A time period of only a decade is hardly something that they'd be concerned with. Indeed if we were looking at only a single decade of climate change it would have to be a pretty drastic change to mean much of anything.

Correct (3, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882838)

meteorologists are not climatologists.

That is correct. Meteorologists are not foolish enough to pretend they understand climate well enough to predict what the climate will do for the whole earth over an extended period of time.

They are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

Re:Correct (5, Insightful)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882890)

They are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

Meteorologists. Weather predictors. The guys who have been the butt of accuracy jokes for hundreds of years. Are judged by results. That, that right there? That is an interesting position to take.

Re:Correct (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882900)

Meteorologists don't predict climate at all. They're weathermen, not scientists, and the scope of their predictions is entirely different.

Apples and oranges, but of course faux skeptics like yourself would like to muddy those waters, eh?

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883048)

They're weathermen, not scientists...

Mmm-hmm nothing beats pure unabashed self-confident ignorance XD

Re:Correct (4, Insightful)

Galactic Dominator (944134) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883040)

The day climatologists perfect the science is the day meteorologists will be able to give forecasts with extraordinary accuracy. Meteorologists ride on the coattails of climatologists success.

Re:Correct (1)

Nemesisghost (1720424) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883246)

And is that any different from the parent's assertion that meteorologists are to climatologists as engineers are to physicists?

Re:Correct (4, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883272)

The day climatologists perfect the science is the day meteorologists will be able to give forecasts with extraordinary accuracy. Meteorologists ride on the coattails of climatologists success.

It's rather the other way around. Meteorology models were around before climatology models were. And accurate climatology models won't help meteorology predictions at all. Climatology knowledge is at the wrong time scale to help with weather predictions. It's like claiming that you'll be able to drive precisely and without error because you know exactly how far it is to your destination.

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883080)

They are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

Seriously?

Re:Correct (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883124)

Bullshit. They are wrong more often than right. They are the butt of jokes for this very reason.

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883132)

They [meteorologists] are also actually judged by results instead of claiming any result obtained verified what they were claiming.

Are they? I've often wondered if anyone actually does keep score on the accuracy of weather predictions...

Re:Correct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883318)

I can't predict the flip of a coin. I can predict that if you flip a (fair) coin 1000 times, you'll get about 500 heads, 500 tails.

Re:And For The Record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882990)

For the record, meteorologists are not climatologists. This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

So... climatologists don't have to be held to account for their forecasts. That's why they can simply make projections 1000 years hence and feel no compunction for truth or accuracy. I'm going to change my career right now!!!!

Re:And For The Record... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883060)

I have no idea what "held accountable" means. They make predictions based on data and models. That's what scientists do.

I wouldn't change your job quite yet. I'm sure there will always be a need for burger flippers.

Re:And For The Record... (1)

pottymouth (61296) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883012)

Or a Slashdot poster imagining that anyone cares about their opinion... Oh, yeah, damn....

Re:And For The Record... (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883042)

This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

Oh be realistic now. No engineer would try to discredit himself in such a manner. ;)

Re:And For The Record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883202)

For the record, meteorologists are not climatologists. This is little different than engineers imagining themselves as physicists.

No, the so called climatologists are meteorologists who are to ugly for television. if want to know about climate ask a physicists or a chemist. ;)

Re:And For The Record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883290)

Actually this is a very good analogy.

Engineers frequently need to make predictions and estimations whose outcome will harm or affect people in their daily lives. Sweeping generalizations are not an option.

Physicist are free to make sweeping predictions, even to the point of publishing entire books without having to have a single shred of evidence or proof. And when wrong about one point or another, the keen minded physicist adapts his theory to fit the data-- patting himself on the back for being so open to the discoveries of pure science. All the while barely contributing to the state of science as a whole.

Admittedly, there are some great physicists out there, but they are hardly akin to the "climate scientist" who make the doomsday predictions with which we are so continually inundated. Likewise, engineers thankfully have a better track record than meteorologists-- bridges don't typically come with a "60% chance of stability"....

Re:And For The Record... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883404)

I've worked at startups that had both physicists and engineers on the same product team and you're absolutely right, engineers are not physicists and should never pretend to be. BTW, I'm an engineer. Each looks at the world/problem in completely different ways. What is "good enough" for the engineer to ship product is not necessarily good enough to pass a physicists need for a rigorous proof. And justifiably, good enough is all you need to ship most products most of the time. Otherwise all products would be too expensive and take too long to develop.

Similarly for meteorologists, no credible climatologists will make climate change predictions measured in the time span of one decade. Climate change predictions are on the scale of 100 years or more. Betting on the next decade is a straw man argument. I remember seeing Bastardi on the Colbert Report face off against a climatologist. His only weapons were talking loudly and sounding like a pompous fool. As for the accuracy of weather reports lately, they seem more and more inaccurate every year. Maybe their models need to account for changes in underlying assumptions due to climate change?

"objective" (3, Insightful)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882640)

Would have to precisely define "objective satellite data" to a specific measuring methodology, technology, and sensitivity.

Re:"objective" (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882708)

Yeah.

This is just going to boil down to both of them showing each other the evidence they collected, no doubt in their own methodology, and someones going to say it went up by 0.1 celcius and he's going to show it went down by 0.1 celcius, and they've both got stacks of paper to prove it.

Set some actual parameters for this wager and it might actually be interesting, as it is, its just the same old BS thats been happening all along.

Re:"objective" (2)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883120)

Yeah, there are actually a couple of satellite temperate datasets commonly in use already. UAH and RSS I believe. Most likely any agreement would just be to use one of those datasets.

Re:"objective" (2)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883146)

Would have to precisely define "objective satellite data" to a specific measuring methodology, technology, and sensitivity.

Indeed, this is a very tricky point: can Bastardi and the hypothetical person who takes the bet agree on what data set is objective?

In general, one of the main arguments of the climate-change deniers have been to claim that the data is wrong. If they don't believe the data up to now, why would they accept it as accurate to settle a bet? And, more to the point, even if they do agree on the data now-- well, Exxon-Mobil is not going to stop funding attacks on the science and there will -- you can bet on this-- be many more attacks claiming that the data is wrong, fraudulent, inaccurate, measured in the wrong places, and so forth. So, when the bet does get settled, why would we think anything is settled? Why do we think he won't just say "well, yes, I did paid off because I said I would, but nevertheless I don't believe that data."

Sea level more important (2)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882676)

I'd be more interested to see if sea level rises follow the 67% average acceleration figure, or trend towards the more ambitious 300% that thas been bandied about. Or just stay constant.

Kind of a sucker bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882688)

The problem with betting on small inspecific variations is you can often fit the data the prediction as many have on both sides of the fence. Rather than arguing over degrees I think we need to examine if there have been changes. Given the weird weather patterns that have been happening worldwide there's little doubt there's been change. The likely cause is all that is being debated. See which model matches best what is happening in the world and odds are that's what we are facing. I'm not taking a side here just saying let common sense rule the day rather than playing a sides game.

Re:Kind of a sucker bet (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883036)

There has been and always will be change in the weather patterns as long as there is weather.

Re:Kind of a sucker bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883374)

That's some insightful shit right there.

Oh, and also -- fuck you too.

Once again, climate != weather (5, Informative)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882722)

As Dr. Pope of the UK Met Office pointed out years ago, events on the timescale of 10 years are "weather"-order fluctuations, not climate. Anybody who (cough) actually bothers to read the literature knows that the annual variation and the 10-year variation are much bigger than the averaged 100 year variation and so frequently go contrary to trend.

So this is a meteorologist who studies short-term phenomena claiming to be better at short-term prediction than people who study long-term phenomena. Wowee, zip de-doo. If a climatologist accepts his bet and loses, what does it prove? That a climatologist isn't a meteorologist, and I think we knew that already.

Re:Once again, climate != weather (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882820)

So....why do the climate scientists keep citing specific decades if 10 years isn't long enough for it to be climate? Why are the 2000's cited as the hottest decade and called evidence for global warming if it's too short a time period to be used for that? You can't have your cake and eat it too. The use of decades as evidence of climate has been pretty consistent for most climate related papers.

Re:Once again, climate != weather (5, Informative)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882894)

Because stating that 2000's was the hottest decade is comparing that decade to the 1980's, and 1970's, and 1960's, and 1950's, etc. Those periods of time are more than 10 years long. The global average temperature has been warming for 40-50 years.

Re:Once again, climate != weather (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882852)

Nah, 10 years is getting to the climate scale. If the average temperature over the next decade is lower than the average temperature of the previous decade by as much as 0.1 degrees C (as Bastardi is predicting), then that would come awfully close to a refutation of the idea that the earth is warming.

However, I that won't happen. I'd love to take up Bastardi's wager, but I'm not a climate scientist and so I don't know if the bet is open to me.

Flatlander (2, Interesting)

Tancred (3904) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882730)

Another weatherman who thinks what he's doing is climatology. He's a little like a 2D character in Flatland that doesn't understand 3D. I hope someone takes him up on his wager, as long as there's a disinterested 3rd party to judge the result and hold the cash.

Re:Flatlander (1)

agbinfo (186523) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882932)

He's a little like a 2D character in Flatland that doesn't understand 3D.

Is this a reference to Gamow's One, Two, Three... infinity? In that case, Gamow showed ways for the 2D character to imagine 3D. There might be some hope for him yet.

Re:Flatlander (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883250)

He's a little like a 2D character in Flatland that doesn't understand 3D.

Is this a reference to Gamow's One, Two, Three... infinity?

No.

It's a reference to Flatland. [wikipedia.org]

Re:Flatlander (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883336)

The problem is that if he gets lucky and wins the bet, that will be viewed as a sign of validity to the nutters out there that don't believe that climate change is happening and will likely be severe in the future.

That's not science. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882748)

The sample is way too small to conclude if either position was correct by chance or because it's actually the right idea. This challenge is like the ubiquitous "security" challenges: "Hack our system and get a pittance! See, nobody hacked our system, so it must be secure." By that standard, we could just as well call Nostradamus a scientist. Being right about something is not enough to support a theory.

I am confident this thread won't become a flamewar (4, Funny)

mykos (1627575) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882762)

I have faith in the civility and objectiveness of slashdotters, even on climate change issues.

Re:I am confident this thread won't become a flame (3, Interesting)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882802)

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/anomalies.html [noaa.gov]

I like to go where the science is being done, rather than the claims from either side on what I should think based on a dare, er, I mean bet. Not a dare, a bet. That's so much more scientific. ;)

Re:I am confident this thread won't become a flame (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883050)

Check out the list of "adjustments" made to this data.

While I'm sure the intentions were good, making a ton of adjustments to data based on a bunch of formulas and best-guesses is *not* a good scientific process.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/ushcn/ushcn.html#QUAL

Re:I am confident this thread won't become a flame (4, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883384)

You really should be linking to NASA [nasa.gov] as well. They're the other major body that studies climate change. And it's likely one of the reasons why it's always being targeted for budget cuts by the GOP. A lot of what NASA does is keeping tabs on changes going on our planet from space.

Honest and for true? (1)

Hartree (191324) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882822)

Indeed. I also believe in Santa Claus.

(Yeah, I'll admit that it's the fat guy down at the mall in December, not one at the north pole with magic reindeer.)

Re:I am confident this thread won't become a flame (3, Funny)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883022)

It better not become a flamewar. Considering flamewars effect climate change it will influence the results.

Re:I am confident this thread won't become a flame (1)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883052)

Well good luck with that retard!

=P

Missed the Issue (3, Insightful)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882764)

The Earth gets hotter, the Earth gets cooler.

But do WE have an impact on this variation. That is the question.

Re:Missed the Issue (4, Insightful)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882858)

Even before we ask that question: if the earth gets both hotter and cooler, does it matter?
Who cares if we have an impact if it doesn't matter?

Re:Missed the Issue (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883112)

The hundreds of millions of people who live in areas that will become inundated by the sea this century if temperatures rise a few degrees think it has an impact.

Re:Missed the Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883224)

What about all those people 10,000 years ago that were inundated by the sea when the glaciers melted. I have seen scientist state that they believe the persian gulf was a valley back then. Granted it was probably Atlantian caused Global Warming that caused the end of the last ice age.

Re:Missed the Issue (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883330)

People will not be inundated by the sea. Areas where people live will be inundated by the sea. The people will move. Of course 10000 years ago people didn't build elaborate structures on beaches and we didn't have a worldwide economy, so it wasn't nearly that big of a deal. This century, the lost infrastructure could cost many billions of dollars.

Re:Missed the Issue (1)

instagib (879544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883364)

While this would be a big problem, the effects on humanity of an ice age would be much more catastrophic. I'm wondering what the political reaction on news of a cooling earth would be.

Re:Missed the Issue (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883206)

But do WE have an impact on this variation. That is the question.

And the answer is yes. We know how much carbon man has put into the atmosphere, and we know the physics of how that leads to global warming. The measured increases in global temperature are corroboration that the physics is right.

Re:Missed the Issue (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883316)

You probably meant to answer the great-grandparent rather than me.

That Bastardi! (2)

defaria (741527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882774)

That Bastardi!

Re:That Bastardi! (3, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882856)

Once was plenty.

Re:That Bastardi! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882912)

What, did he kill Kenny or something?

Climate is what you expect... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34882836)

Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.

Re:Climate is what you expect... (4, Insightful)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882950)

It's more like: climate is a probability distribution and weather is the specific outcome measured. If I have a fair coin, I can say that 50% of the time it will come up heads and 50% it will come up tails. I cannot say what the result of any particular flip can be, however. This is why it doesn't make sense to claim, "We can't even predict the weather 10 days from now, so how can we predict the climate 10 years from now?" One thing is a specific measurement (hard to predict) and the other thing is a probability distribution (easy to predict).

Climate 'deniers' fall into 4 broad categories (0, Troll)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882870)

1. Those that know the climate is getting warmer, but think it is not related to man's actions and that therefore man is incapable of fixing the problem. They won't bet you.

2. Those that know the climate is getting warmer, but are being paid to say otherwise. They won't bet you.

3. Those that are too stupid and too poor to have any money to bet. They can't bet you.

4. Those that are too stupid but by shere chance have cash. These people will most likely not have enough money to pay off the debt when it comes due (but just wait, they assure you, as soon as a certain nigerian transaction is complete, they will be able to pay you off). If they by random luck have money then, they won't remember the bet/will deny they ever made it. They won't pay you.

Zero chance of getting your money back.

What a coincidence... (5, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882888)

...that he would offer this wager after the warmest year on record. A more reasonable wager would be on whether or not 2020 will be above the historical average for the past century. Smart money says "yes".

Re:What a coincidence... (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882926)

mod parent up.

I hadn't even thought of this connection but I think you nailed it.

Re:What a coincidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883072)

http://autonomousmind.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/far-from-being-the-warmest-year-on-record/

also the coldest winter... so. there's that.

Re:What a coincidence... (1)

BStroms (1875462) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883194)

It's certainly one of the warmest years on record. However, if you go by the satellite records he wants to use in the first place, that title is still held by 1998.

In metorological circles he's known for hype (1)

bobbutts (927504) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882906)

Claiming that all Joe Bastardi ("JB") cares about is accuracy is ludicrous. He is known to hype more than any other weather forecaster. From what I've observed, his main motivations are 1. Ego 2. Profit

Re:In metorological circles he's known for hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883186)

And his ego is as big as it gets.

What odds is he giving? (1)

snsh (968808) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882916)

If he's gives 1:1000 odds then maybe he can convince Richard Lindzen to take that bet and put his money where his foot is.

One data set (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 3 years ago | (#34882976)

One wonders if the guy knows something about the trends in that one data set that make him confident enough to make this wager. It'd be much more interesting to see him suggest a statistical analysis of multiple lines of evidence, the way the real scientists (and, to their credit, the reputable skeptics) have been doing it.

Old saying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883058)

If you argue with a fool, you end up looking like one.

Whichever side of the debate one falls... (1)

ScientiaPotentiaEst (1635927) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883066)

... it must be admitted that the man is prepared to put his money where his mouth is.

Lose / Lose Wager (2, Interesting)

burnin1965 (535071) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883070)

Doesn't a wager normally involve an ante?

If Bastardi wins the wager what does he gain, karma points? There will be big wins all around for individuals, businesses and governments.

If Bastardi loses the wager he loses what? It appears if we wait and Bastardi turns out to be wrong we will be behind by one more decade on addressing the issue and a heavy price will be paid by everyone.

And while he has some valuable points as far as the accuracy of climatologists making predictions his analogies seem a bit off.

He claims they are using recent trends but does not define "recent" while the trends I have seen go back several decades or centuries. In geologic time centuries are recent trends but is this what he means? I suspect not because then he questions the use of data in longer trends.

And in another analogy he compares a 0.06% change in your weight form 175.0 lbs to 175.1 lbs over a decade to a 0.6% increase in global temperature from the mean of around 57.563 F to 57.923 F. While the increase in temperature over a decade doesn't look significant his comparison is off by an order of magnitude and that is ignoring the irrational comparison of the complexities of an individuals body weight to that of global temperatures.

Anyhow, it is good to bring up questions but this wager and some of the comments seem rather dubious.

Actually, it's not a big weather forecast. (1)

dmauer (71583) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883078)

Climate science is very different from meteorology. Sure, they utilize a lot of the same data, but the models have little to do with one another. The fact that Bastardi is making this stupid claim is a pretty big red flag with the words "PANDERER TO IGNORANCE" written on it.

Average Temperature (3, Interesting)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883130)

The only thing I've not really been able to figure out from the entire climate discussion is what is meant by "average temperature" in the first place.

The idea of taking some temperature measurements at various geographic locations and then averaging those values doesn't seem to make much physical sense to me, because there is no meaningful method by which to perform an average. Consider using an "area based average." This sounds reasonable: put your measurements in some regular grid, assume the temperature varies continuously between those points, and compute an average. I would argue that's a terrible method, because temperature is not a continuous quantity: if you put two temperature probes any distance apart, there is no meaningful way to estimate the temperature variation between those points. It could be linear between them, it could be nonlinear such that the temperature is higher between the two points, it could be nonlinear such that it is lower between the two points.

I am much more willing to look at other parameters which do have a better "average" information content. Sea level, snow cover (both max and min amounts, as well as time spent at those amounts) because those are inherently continuous phenomena that are not subject to interpolation errors.

Actually, a question and it may actually convince me to accept the concept of "average temperature": do thermal satellites have the capability to do a true area-continuous temperature measurement?

I have other questions as well, for instance, is average temperature really the critical parameter or is it median temperature? Actual max vs actual min? Is it something more related to the square of the deviation from the mean ("signal power")?

I have a hard time believing that an area-average temperature is an adequate parametrization of climate. Or, perhaps what I'm asking is, what climate effects are actually correlated so strongly with the mean temperature (how statistically significant is that correlation)? And how geographically dependent is that correlation?

Re:Average Temperature (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883204)

The main effects correlated with mean temperature are melting of ice and thermal expansion of seawater, both of which raise sea level. If sea level rises by a few meters, hundreds of millions of people will be displaced. Another problem is that seasonal snow and ice will melt more quickly in areas that depend on that water over the summer.

Whatever you think of it (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883178)

Whatever you think of it's relevance for the theory of AGW, Bastardi has made a specific prediction and challenged anyone to take him up on it. If those climatologists who are believers in AGW are true scientists they should be able to make a specific prediction that we can come back to in 10 years and either say, "Way to go, your prediction is correct" or "Sorry, back to the drawing board on your theory, your prediction is wrong."
The last major AGW prediction I can recall was that England would not have snow in winter any more. Of course, now that England has had a very snowy winter, those same AGW guys are telling us, "Well, yes, that is what you can expect from Global Warming." I would put a lot more credence into the latter statement if they had told us we could expect a snowier winter in England instead of telling us that England would be getting less and less snow every year.

Re:Whatever you think of it (1)

bunratty (545641) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883230)

Please show me where a climatologist predicted "England would not have snow in winter any more". I haven't seen it.

Re:Whatever you think of it (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883386)

It's the chief problem. People don't seem to know the difference between weather and climate. Well, I think some of those who try to make this fallacious point do, but they are lying bastards.

I agree with some of what he says (4, Informative)

PingXao (153057) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883190)

I like how Bastardi is not grinding any political axes. What he says sounds logical. If you look at the wikipedia entry on him there's mention (but no link) of Bastardi's long-range forecast for this winter, that was released by AccuWeather last October. It has already been shown to be very far off the mark of what has happened the last couple of months. So this guy's track record isn't any better than any other "weather man".

AccuWeather isn't above trying to aggrandize themselves, either. They tried to get the government to close down the National Weather Service and halt the distribution of weather satellite data to the public a few years ago.

Climate science is just a big weather forecast... (3, Informative)

Captoo (103399) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883210)

Saying that climate science is just a big weather forecast is like saying that newtonian physics is just a lot of quantum mechanics. Doing 5 day forecasts isn't enough to qualify someone to forecast climates. Yeah, it may help, but it's not enough.

I bet there would never be an agreement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34883286)

There would never be an agreement on how to even read the numbers after 10 years, so nobody would ever concede loosing the bet after the 10 years. Yes they would come up with terms now, but a technicality would appear between now and then. Such as: Why yes satellite averages, but since a new one was added in 2011 yadda yadda yadda.

and if it does (0, Troll)

airwedge1 (1768544) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883358)

And if it does get cooler, Obama will make a victory speech that his administration was the reason.

Fiddle While Rome Burns (0)

wdhowellsr (530924) | more than 3 years ago | (#34883380)

The reality is that long before climate change destroys what we know as the modern world, it will crash and burn because of policies unrelated to climate. The United States throws out more food each day then can feed the entire world. The amount of garbage we produce is so great that it has already created thousands of square miles of floating debris in the world's oceans. If you take the top five most famous proponents of Climate Change, their combined daily carbon footprint exceeds literally thousands, tens of thousands, or more likely millions of third world families.

Nothing will ever change unless there is money to be made. Al Gore is a millionaire because he has heavily invested in industries that would benefit by the theories on Carbon Dioxide as a pollutant. Personally I’m comfortable in saying that this world is screwed either economically or politically long before the oceans rise at all.

It reminds me of a comment that Charles Manson made to Geraldo Rivera when he was asked about being crazy. He said, "I was crazy when it meant something." Hypocrisy has become so common that it doesn't mean anything anymore.

If you had no electricity for a week, how screwed would you be? Just saying.
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