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CERN 'gags' physicists in cosmic ray climate experiment

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Silver badge

Bad science, indeed

>consensus science is bad science if the consensus shuts down investigation and innovation.

Which is what the denialists have been doing for the last ten years; shutting down NASA's data-gathering efforts, shutting down EPA's investigation of pollutants, forcing politicians to adhere to the ignoramus's consensus.

The denialists are the modern Lysenkos - hammering home dodgy 'science', because it fits better with the favoured ideology.

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Silver badge

Evidence

>we have lots and lots of evidence to back up the consensus regarding medical treatment

Actually, no we haven't. 'Evidence-based medicine' is a relatively recent phenomenon. A large chunk of our regular medical practice relies on habit/instinct, and has not been tested scientifically.

On the other hand, climate science has produced acres of evidence.

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Happy

"On the other hand, climate science has produced acres of evidence."

"On the other hand, climate science has produced acres of anecdotes."

There. I fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Expert, Anecdotes, Fixed.

"On the other hand, journalists have produced acres of anecdotes."

There. I fixed it for you.

El Reg journalists are NOT scientific experts. Are we clear on that? Do we understand why debating climate science here (when such debate is allowed) is about as unscientific as your average church coffee morning?

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WTF?

Understanding the process

What has consensus science got to do with it? If I get cured I don't care if it's a witch-doctor - go figure. Most surgery is born of past experimentation not science

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Coffee/keyboard

The politics of science!

Just when we all thought the Church was backward when they 'suppressed' the observations of Copernicus and Galileo. It seems the IPCC is the new Religion and continues in the excellent tradition of those who would challenge their version of the Truth.

Pollution of the planet is wrong, agreed.

Climate changes, and always will.

Carbon dioxide is essential to life on the planet.

The IPCC have assisted in the creation of a new commodity and the world is now trading quite literally in thin air. Chicken little must be laughing his little socks off!!!

No one expects the Spanish inquisition, least of all in the scientific community in this day and age. So much for progress!?

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FAIL

Re: The politics of science!

"Just when we all thought the Church was backward when they 'suppressed' the observations of Copernicus and Galileo. It seems the IPCC is the new Religion and continues in the excellent tradition of those who would challenge their version of the Truth."

Oh yeah, that Dan Brown was right on the money, the Vatican and their antimatter bomb and everything. Oh, and CERN having that spaceplane? The DG must have hushed that up as well.

Sheesh!

"Carbon dioxide is essential to life on the planet."

I believe the oil companies were saying this quite a bit before they realised that there's an army of gullible people quite happy to say it for them. Nobody's advocating removing all carbon from the planet.

Sheesh!

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The Spanish Inquisition????

No one expects the SPANISH INQUISITION! Wink Wink Nudge Nudge, know what I mean?

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Silver badge

"Carbon dioxide is essential to life on the planet."

Low level are necessary but high levels are lethal - the argument is about the middle ground.and it's possible consequences.

It's rather like saying iron is a good thing full stop but not mentioning that swords, guns and tanks are built from it

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Happy

Or, in other words

Carbon dioxide IS essential to life on this planet, but 'more' does not not necessarily mean 'better'.

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Coffee/keyboard

Please stop trotting out this nonsense.

I was happily reading through the comments, staying on a even keel until this old chestnut was wheeled out:

"Carbon dioxide is essential to life on the planet."

So what? How is that relevant to *anything*? did you sit there in front of the Japanese tsunami footage smugly opining: "Ah yes, well water is essential to life on the planet".?

Whether something is essential to life is irrelevant.

It's nearly up there with:

"Climate changes, and always will." Yes, and as we know large climate changes have historically caused mass extinctions. So...?

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FAIL

UM no

studies have shown that CO2 has been a great deal higher (in some cases as much as 3 times current levels) in the past when life (mammalian and reptilian and aquatic) was very abundant so limiting it at a time when geologically speaking the earth is starved for CO2 is ill advised at best.

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Stop

and

have you seen just how mucj money bp & shell give to greenpeace; wwf; CRU ?

CO2 is plant food - basic O level biology. Climate has always changed. Climate is a chaotic system. And; if you build a model assuming CO2 is the most important variable (even though you have no idea what variables there are; how they interact over what time period) it should not surprise you when all the model results show CO2 as the most impotent variable.

Meanwhile real world data continues to falsify the CAGW hypothesis.

And how much CO2 are they advocating removing ? Any that is beneficial to man for starters. They have this strange idea that a snapshot value of the dynamic climate is the 'right' mix - dispite the fact that CO2 has been over 1000 ppm in the past and at less than 140 ppm plants stop working.

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Stop

hate to break this to you but

yes it does !

More CO2 is inordinately beneficial to plants (more crops for less water just for starters). Humans are comfortable all the way up to (and beyond) 1000ppm. Plants thrive best at 5000ppm (but by then humans and most animals are in serious trouble). SO more does mean better - lots more may; however; be too much of a good thing.

So at a mere 350ppm we are starving the plants and we can comfortably increase CO2 for quite a long time.

And if CO2 does warm the climate - consider this little problem :

Does man thrive where it is warm or where it is cold ? Ask yourself why the Viking colony on Greenland managed to get established; and then what killed it off.

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More importantly...

...why did the Norse settlers call Greenland 'Green'?

Could it be that it was once a green and verdant land? And then it got covered in snow...

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Silver badge

Less importantly

>why did the Norse settlers call Greenland 'Green'?

As propaganda, selling a godforsaken outpost to gullible settlers.

Even at the 'peak' of the so-called Medieval Warm Period, Greenland was only marginally less miserable than it is now.

It didn't end because the climate cooled again. It ended because Inuits drove the settlers out, by hunting the same food.

This is a classic example of denialists trotting out the same old garbage, no matter how often their lies are debunked.

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Flame

They're not climatologists.

As the article states, this is only a single input into climate modelling. Particle physicists weighing in directly on Global Warming would be inappropriate, since they wouldn't understand the details of the various climate models this data will go into.

Hopefully in the coming weeks and months we'll see how this affects our view of the climate.

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Pint

Wouldn't understand?

That's rich. You think that particle physicists would have a problem "understanding" climate models???

You obviously don't know any particle physicists (I do) and are completely deluded.

The reason the particle physicists are getting into this is because they can, they have the funding and availability of very expensive, very sophisticated experimental facilities and because there is some very interesting real science to be discovered.

Stay tuned, the real scientists are about to weigh-in on the matter, and unlike the "climatologists" they will produce falsifiable science upon which we will be able to make quantifiable predictions.

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Manufactured Outrage

Of course particle physicists aren't too stupid to understand climate models. However, they won't have the full appreciation of all the details as that takes time and effort, time and effort they'd rather spend on particle physics.

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Go

Hey Dave, why don't you read this

Go to the CERN website for the CLOUD experiment.

Locate the link for the proposal for the CLOUD experiment from 2000 (over 11 years ago!!)

Read at least the first two chapters.

Having done so, you will immediately recognise why you statement is bullshit, and how exposed your ignorance is.

I encourage others to extend their grasp of the importance of CLOUD by reading the proposal.

philip

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 1432

Particle physicists don't automatically know everything about all science. I heard Brian Cox the other day saying that a cold can be cured by an antibiotic - he was rather swiftly pounced on by Ben Goldacre...

The point is that there is far more than just one area of knowledge involved in climate science, off the top of my head there are:

Environmental Physics

Environmental Chemistry

Electronics (obtaining data)

Engineering (design of data gathering equipment)

Quantum Physics

Cybernetics (Feedback system)

Maths / Statistics

Computer Science

Meteorology

No one person can understand, which is why you should be suspicious of any one person who thinks they can. This is exactly the reason that CERN tell their scientists to toe the company line and not speak out of tern. They do the same with LHC output as well.

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Silver badge
Headmaster

Re: They're not climatologiststs...

Ah yes, those noted core elements of science: Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Climatology. Wait, what? Climatology is only recently a booming field and is actually populated by scientists from all disciplines? So why declare that particle phycists explicitly doing climate research, with the goal of learning more about how the climate works, are not "climatologists" just because they happen to come from a Physics background.

Do you think, would you prefer, that climate science was somehow its own branch of science distinct from Physics, et al? That's not going to work.

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Anonymous Coward

@Harmony

I think you misunderstand, it's not that Particle physicists aren't needed in climate science, they are needed and they are involved. The point is that they aren't the be all and end all, they don't have the requisite experience in all of the fields, no-one can, it's too complicated. Particle physicists involved in climate science are however, certainly going to be a better people to ask about climate science that those who aren't. Hence CERN telling their guys not to make public judgments on subjects that they don't have experience in.

There is a lot of people working in their specialist areas and then discussing their work and its implications with people in other areas. They then come to a consensus (oh, noes!) as to what they think is actually happening.

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Happy

and...

you forgot geology and paleontology - the major strands of evidence that the baseline temperature is controlled by CO2 levels which other effects (Milancovich cycles etc dance around).

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Silver badge

Re:@Harmony

Although they may not be a master of all fields I would happily wager that most physicists at CERN have a greater grasp of mathematics, statistics, modelling, time-series analysis etc than most of the climate science monkeys out there whose experiments and modelling outputs cannot be reproduced. Mainly because that reproducibility is at the core of what they do.

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Anonymous Coward

@Mark 65

Why would you wager that?

Ok Physists are a subset of climate scientists, so it's highly unlikely that they would understand it better but even if Physicists did understand, say, modeling better than other climate scientists they still aren't going to understand the inputs of the outputs without the other scientists.

Just look at the discovery of DNA - Crick and Watson were rubbish at x-ray christalogrophy, they could interpret the images to a certain degree, but they couldn't make them they had someone else (whose name iludes me) to do that for them. DNA is far simpler than climate science.

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knew it

i just knew it.

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Silver badge

Alternatively

Couldn't the message just be read as 'publish the results in as accessible way as possible, the interpretation will come later'?

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Go

Publish

Actually, one of the original papers on the matter was rejected for publication for unknown reasons.

CLOUD came afterwards, and will validate that and other research, hopefully resulting in real science. You can expect the CLOUD experimental results to be published - I can hardly wait!

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Headmaster

Home of CLOUD

http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/research/CLOUD-en.html

For the interested reader, the background is covered here in the CLOUD proposal.

http://cloud.web.cern.ch/cloud/documents_cloud/cloud_proposal.pdf

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Black Helicopters

Any credible scientist...

...will acknowledge that correlation does not equate to causation. If there is something here, it should be validated before anyone jumps to conclusions.

Besides, it is all actually a covert strategy of the pro-AGW camp. For years now, the anti-AGW crowd has been contesting the accuracy of historical temperature records. To accept cosmic rays as a temperature driver, Anti-AGW-ers will need to endorse the proxy temperature records and them 'Bam!', cosmic rays will be discredited .

The Anti-AGW group will be forced to acknowledge the temperature record or look foolish, jumping back and forth between arguments of convenience to defend their position.

Don't get sucked in. Demand verification of cosmic ray causation before jumping on the bandwagon.

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Any credible scientist

will acknowledge that causation implies correlation and therefore correlation is a good place to start investiagations.

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Bronze badge

nice idea, but..

"To accept cosmic rays as a temperature driver, Anti-AGW-ers will need to endorse the proxy temperature records and them 'Bam!', cosmic rays will be discredited ."

Nope. Sensible sceptics accept the value of some proxies like the isotope ones used to create the graphs shown. Other proxies, like ones using wooden thermometers made from bristecones or sediments used upside down and where they can't be calibrated are already pretty discredited. CLOUD may just add aditional verification to previous CCN experiments and provide a mechanism that may explain part of climate change.

CERN's position is pretty reasonable given all they should be doing is publishing the results and data from their experiment. Climate related conclusions would then be up to other scientists to figure out.

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FAIL

No, actually

Go read the CLOUD proposal, where the science is discussed in detail, and your ignorance will be cured.

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Happy

I agree with your sentiment...but

The flying spaghetti monster web site has a lovely correlation chart between 'bad shit happening' and 'the reduciton in the number of pirates'. Would a 'credible scientist' therefore start investigating the reduction in pirates?

Correlation != causation, you must find the mechanism instead

Having said that, I'm actually on your side in this :-)

And I can;t wait until they un-gag the real scientists.

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Silver badge

Sir

@John211

That's a really bad example mate, if the pirates were indeed the ones causing all the 'bad shit happening' then this would be a credible line of investigation. If it turned out to be true you would never know, because you've discounted it as bad science.

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WTF?

So that's OK then...

- pro-IPCC results are to be (over-)interpreted, but if they question the concensus then you should just cut out the conclusion section from the paper.

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While we could do with a bit more reticence on the predictions,

the gag order is definitely politics intruding into science. But then that isn't anything new in the AGW arena.

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Happy

Shouldn't that be

Cosmics Leaving Outdoor Droplets - CLODs

seems more appropriate for the politcally correct bias

Just saying....

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Anonymous Coward

Perhaps its time to do it properly...

Maybe a few top-notch particle physicists can move into the climatology area and sort out a new model based on correct data and ignoring the assumptions put out by the AGW and non-AGW crowds. After all, its got to be easier than the unified theory...

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Gold badge

Re: After all, its got to be easier than the unified theory...

I'm not sure about that. To a particle physicist, climate science probably looks like a many-body problem.

"Many" in this context means "larger than two" and such problems are "Hard" in the sense of "starts with being fundamentally insoluble and goes exponentially downhill from there". I rather suspect that such people would inject a much-needed dose of rigour and caution into the whole debate, so I'd welcome their input, but I wouldn't expect them to come up with better theories.

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And,

while particle physics may be arcane and a true lair of the boffin, the underlying equations are converging equations, not the divergent ones of chaos theory.

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@Tom

"the underlying equations are converging equations, not the divergent ones of chaos theory."

Nit-pick, they're only converging once you've renormalised away all the pesky infinities.

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Happy

@Ken Hagan

In Jon Bentley's "Programming Pearls2 there is an example of a many body problem studying the formation of galaxies. The researcher involved knocked the run time from 1 year on a big PDP down to 1 day (same PDP + numeric processor)

The trick is to *prove* that the approximation you used to get the problem small enough and fast enough *preserve* the validity of the simulation afterward.

I would expect physicists to use fewer fudge factors, document their work a hell of a lot better and quantify their error bands a lot better. I'd also expect them to be a lot more pro-active in finding ways to *eliminate* the fudge factors and quantify them in terms of stuff you can actually *measure*.

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Holmes

The kind old Sun would know.?

The main reason I think AGW is junk science is because they have downplayed the Sun's PREDOMINANT role in anything climate. Let me remind you that the Sun is one massive entity - slight changes there have enormous effects elsewhere. It really is simple the Earth hardly retains any heat without cloud cover. Oh and the clouds are not CO2.which is a pitiful fraction of the Earth's atmosphere.

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Headmaster

CLOUD

"clouds" (aka water vapour) are the predominate greenhouse gas (>95% of the combined effect)

The CLOUD experiment (and the less precise predecessor experiments) suggest very, very strongly that cosmic radiation influences, very directly, and in a scientifically measurable and verifiable way, the creation of clouds.

When the physicists get done extracting the real science, we will have the basis for measuring something where a sound theoretical prediction can be made - and seeing if the measurements support the science.

There is a very real chance that CLOUD will find the CO2 AGW "concensus" wanting, and wanting rather badly.

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Anonymous Coward

"clouds" (aka water vapour) are the predominate greenhouse gas

water vapour is I think, but clouds are not water vapour they're water droplets (hence the need to nucleate)

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fyi

clouds are made of condensed water vapour

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Joke

clouds

"clouds are made of condensed water vapour"

I thought clouds were made of servers in data centres... wait, am I on the right website?

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As long as the data gets out...

Any analysis can be labeled 'slanted'. The most important thing is for the data to get out to the scientific community. Short term advantage could fall to politically-connected action groups, but proper data always stands the test of time.

Over time, short term agendas usually get priority-sorted.

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