Perlwitz before Swine?

No, I’m not labelling climate skeptics swine, but one might assume that Jan Perlwitz thinks of skeptics as swine.  That said…

Jan P Perlwitz of GISS/Columbia University has been commenting civilly on the Open Letter to Jon Stewart – The Daily Show and on the Comments on the Nature Article “Climate Change: The Case of the Missing Heat” threads here at Climate Observations.  I’ve opened this one as a continuation of those threads and to centralize those exchanges.

To start the ball rolling here, I’ll present responses to one of Jan’s comments that I received via email.  The responses are by Harold Ambler of Talking About the Weather.  Many visitors will recall Harold from his guest posts and comments at WattsUpWithThat.  Harold is also the author of the book Don’t Sell Your Coat: Surprising Truths About Climate Change, available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

The comment by Jan to which Harold is replying is here at January 20, 2014 at 6:17 am.

The changes I’ve made to Harold’s comments are bracketed, and they were simply to replace pronouns, etc. with names.


Perlwitz:  Bob, one can criticize something or exchange arguments or polemics in blog posts and blog comments, but at the end, they don’t matter. It’s all just opinion .

Ambler:  If blogs represent a departure from science, then what is [Jan] doing visiting [Bob’s] blog?

Perlwitz:  They do not provide any scientific evidence.

Ambler: [Bob’s] posts are always rife with scientific evidence; brimming with it; [Jan] is, at best, attempting to appeal to authority here.

Perlwitz: Anyone can point out flaws in the models.

Ambler: Ad-hominem; [Bob’s] not a scientist; rather, just someone in the “anyone” category; so, again, why is [Jan] engaging with [Bob]?

Perlwitz: All models have deficiencies. They always will have, since every model is based on idealizations. Perfect models do not exist. The only perfect model would be an exact copy of Nature.

Ambler:  Straw man; no skeptic has ever said that models need to be perfect, or perfectly mimic nature.

Perlwitz:  The real question is whether the features of the models that are deficient are essential for the scientific questions you want to answer.

Ambler:  Inability to model ENSO means inability to contend with climate, period; minimizing this doesn’t work.

Perlwitz: Answering this question requires a little bit more than just pointing out the presence of a flaw.

Ambler:  Pointing out the multiple, layered insufficiencies of models is different from “pointing out the presence of a flaw”

Perlwitz: As for the multi-decadal variability. Are you talking about simulating the exact chronological succession of the multi-decadal variability or the statistical properties of this variability?

Ambler:  Models’ failure to hind-cast ENSO, the AMO, and the PDO means that they are by definition distorting and misleading; one cannot contend with the climate system without “solving” short, medium, and long-term ocean cycles.*

Perlwitz: On what scientific papers is your statement based that the models can’t simulate this?

Ambler: [Jan’s] defensiveness (and wrongness) is best captured here; [Jan] cannot supply a paper indicating that models have a reasonable grasp on ocean cycles and thus demands that [Bob] supply one that shows they can’t; [Jan] has no leg to stand on.


*For me, that comment by Harold Ambler is a keeper.  I suspect you’ll see it appearing in my blog posts in the future.

For those joining the discussion, please be civil.

Note: I should be able to moderate comments from time to time while I’m at work, but, still, it may be a while before your comment appears on the thread.


About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in CAGW Proponent Arguments. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Perlwitz before Swine?

  1. kuhnkat says:

    “Ambler: [Jan’s] defensiveness (and wrongness) is best captured here; [Jan] cannot supply a paper indicating that models have a reasonable grasp on ocean cycles and thus demands that [Bob] supply one that shows they can’t; [Jan] has no leg to stand on.”

    So Ambler is saying Perlwitz is a mental paraplegic??

    Somewhat harsh, but, possibly appropriate. Bias cuts the legs from your ability to judge.

  2. Bob Tisdale says:

    kuhnkat says: “So Ambler is saying Perlwitz is a mental paraplegic??”

    I don’t believe your interpretation of what Harold wrote is correct. Please keep it civil.

  3. Brian H says:

    The essence of AGW argumentation: Prove the negative (models and hypothesis fail).

  4. harkin says:

    Almost every time a warmist is caught throwing (wrong) guesses around as fact, they sooner or later end up painted into the corner and drawing the “prove the negative” card. It’s becoming rote.

  5. Bob Tisdale says:


    PS: See the exchange between Jan and I on the thread here.

  6. Brian H says:

    Fave example: Prove you’re not the Queen of the Space Unicorns in disguise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s