• Please keep all posts on the Rittenhouse verdict here: Rittenhouse Verdict. Note the moderator warnings in the thread. The thread will be heavily moderated with a zero tolerance policy for any baiting, flaming, trolling or other rule breaks. Stick to the topic and not the other posters. Thank you.
  • This is a political forum that is non-biased/non-partisan and treats every person's position on topics equally. This debate forum is not aligned to any political party. In today's politics, many ideas are split between and even within all the political parties. Often we find ourselves agreeing on one platform but some topics break our mold. We are here to discuss them in a civil political debate. If this is your first visit to our political forums, be sure to check out the RULES. Registering for debate politics is necessary before posting. Register today to participate - it's free!

WSJ: Confessions of a Computer Modeler

LowDown

Curmudgeon
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
14,185
Reaction score
8,767
Location
Houston
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.

And we know for certain that's exactly what the climate modelers are doing. Why? Because all the models agree with each other, and they are all wrong! Like 45 West Point cadets who got caught cheating on an engineering exam, their answers are all wrong in the same way.

When I presented the results to the EPA official in charge, he said that I should go back and "sharpen my pencil." I did. I reviewed assumptions, tweaked coefficients and recalibrated data. But when I reran everything the numbers didn't change much. At our next meeting he told me to run the numbers again.

After three iterations I finally blurted out, "What number are you looking for?" He didn't miss a beat: He told me that he needed to show $2 billion of benefits to get the program renewed. I finally turned enough knobs to get the answer he wanted, and everyone was happy.

That's how it's done.
 

longview

DP Veteran
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
32,700
Reaction score
10,599
Location
Texas
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Conservative
Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.

And we know for certain that's exactly what the climate modelers are doing. Why? Because all the models agree with each other, and they are all wrong! Like 45 West Point cadets who got caught cheating on an engineering exam, their answers are all wrong in the same way.

That's how it's done.
They said the warming was a result of feedback, I guess they were right,
just not the type of feedback they were thinking of.:mrgreen:
 

Mithrae

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
5,703
Reaction score
2,620
Location
Australia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.

"After earning a master’s degree in environmental engineering in 1982, I spent most of the next 10 years building large-scale environmental computer models. My first job was as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency. I was hired to build a model to assess the impact of its Construction Grants Program, a nationwide effort in the 1970s and 1980s to upgrade sewer-treatment plants.

The computer model was huge—it analyzed every river, sewer treatment plant and drinking-water intake (the places in rivers where municipalities draw their water) in the country. I’ll spare you the details, but the model showed huge gains from the program as water quality improved dramatically. By the late 1980s, however, any gains from upgrading sewer treatments would be offset by the additional pollution load coming from people who moved from on-site septic tanks to public sewers, which dump the waste into rivers. Basically the model said we had hit the point of diminishing returns.

When I presented the results to the EPA official in charge, he said that I should go back and “sharpen my pencil.” I did. I reviewed assumptions, tweaked coefficients and recalibrated data. But when I reran everything the numbers didn’t change much. At our next meeting he told me to run the numbers again.

After three iterations I finally blurted out, “What number are you looking for?” He didn’t miss a beat: He told me that he needed to show $2 billion of benefits to get the program renewed. I finally turned enough knobs to get the answer he wanted, and everyone was happy.

Was the EPA official asking me to lie? I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he believed in the value of continuing the program. (Congress ended the grants in 1990.)
"


Was LowDown lying about the nature of this article? We have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he believed this really was about 21st century climate modelling around the globe.
 

Visbek

Stuck In The Circle
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
20,093
Reaction score
13,786
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Other
Article is behind a paywall.

Can models be tweaked? Of course. However, climate scientists differ from some other modelers, in that they actually publish their assumptions and tweaks to various models. If you want to know why someone came up with a particular result, you find that out by reading the papers they released, which typically include extensive discussions of the mathematics used to adjust the model.

For example, about 3 weeks ago you posted a link to an article about increases in rainfall over the 20th century. The paper didn't just include the math, it included Matlab code.

You, uh... do actually read the papers you cite on this site, yes? :D
 

LowDown

Curmudgeon
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
14,185
Reaction score
8,767
Location
Houston
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.

"After earning a master’s degree in environmental engineering in 1982, I spent most of the next 10 years building large-scale environmental computer models. My first job was as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency. I was hired to build a model to assess the impact of its Construction Grants Program, a nationwide effort in the 1970s and 1980s to upgrade sewer-treatment plants.

The computer model was huge—it analyzed every river, sewer treatment plant and drinking-water intake (the places in rivers where municipalities draw their water) in the country. I’ll spare you the details, but the model showed huge gains from the program as water quality improved dramatically. By the late 1980s, however, any gains from upgrading sewer treatments would be offset by the additional pollution load coming from people who moved from on-site septic tanks to public sewers, which dump the waste into rivers. Basically the model said we had hit the point of diminishing returns.

When I presented the results to the EPA official in charge, he said that I should go back and “sharpen my pencil.” I did. I reviewed assumptions, tweaked coefficients and recalibrated data. But when I reran everything the numbers didn’t change much. At our next meeting he told me to run the numbers again.

After three iterations I finally blurted out, “What number are you looking for?” He didn’t miss a beat: He told me that he needed to show $2 billion of benefits to get the program renewed. I finally turned enough knobs to get the answer he wanted, and everyone was happy.

Was the EPA official asking me to lie? I have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he believed in the value of continuing the program. (Congress ended the grants in 1990.)
"


Was LowDown lying about the nature of this article? We have to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he believed this really was about 21st century climate modelling around the globe.

Is Mithrae deliberatly lying about the article cited in the OP, implying that it's not about computer modeling of the climate? I suspect that she is since she clipped that part of the article from what she pasted in her post.
 

LowDown

Curmudgeon
DP Veteran
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
14,185
Reaction score
8,767
Location
Houston
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Libertarian
Article is behind a paywall.

Can models be tweaked? Of course. However, climate scientists differ from some other modelers, in that they actually publish their assumptions and tweaks to various models. If you want to know why someone came up with a particular result, you find that out by reading the papers they released, which typically include extensive discussions of the mathematics used to adjust the model.

No, not really. They typically have not published their computer code and only talk about parameters in vague terms. It's hard to figure out exactly what they have done.

People like myself who have actually looked at the code for certain models such as the GISS Model E have been saying for a long time that these models have dozens of fudge factors built into them that can be tweaked. It has been remarkable the way that the various models have all been made to agree with each other at least in terms of average global temperatures even if they don't agree in anything else. There has got to be a lot of "tweaking" going on. And, as the author cited in the OP says, that's not science, it's advocacy -- producing a pre-determined output.

Besides which, the models are all wrong. It's time to start trying to figure out why rather than trying to defend them. That horse is long dead.
 

Mithrae

DP Veteran
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
5,703
Reaction score
2,620
Location
Australia
Gender
Male
Political Leaning
Liberal
Is Mithrae deliberatly lying about the article cited in the OP, implying that it's not about computer modeling of the climate? I suspect that she is since she clipped that part of the article from what she pasted in her post.

It's about computer modelling of the US freshwater, sewerage and treatment system :roll:

The fellow believes that his experience with the EPA in the late 1980s can be extrapolated through to the present, right around the globe, and to every field of science.

Oh... wait... no, he only targets modelling of Earth's climate, not modelling of planetary and galactic gravitational fields, modelling of stellar dynamics, modelling of evolutionary processes, modelling of building's structural strength and seismic activity... Maybe all of those are just money-grubbing schemes too. They must be, 'cos the EPA allegedly did it in the 80s.

Mithrae is a dude, by the way. Comes from an ancient Indo-Iranian deity
Mithra - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Visbek

Stuck In The Circle
DP Veteran
Joined
Nov 28, 2011
Messages
20,093
Reaction score
13,786
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Other
No, not really. They typically have not published their computer code....
Which "they?"

And when "they" publish an article about possible modifications to a climate model, do "they" simply make an arbitrary declaration? Not that I've seen. Usually they will recommend a change based on a particular phenomenon, and then run models based on past data, to see if it fits the actual observations better.


People like myself who have actually looked at the code for certain models such as the GISS Model E have been saying for a long time that these models have dozens of fudge factors built into them that can be tweaked....
So, wait. First you say no one publishes the code. Now you've seen the GISS Model E code? And I assume you started with this....http://www.giss.nasa.gov/tools/modelE/ which includes the code, a reference manual, and several papers on its development?

And why hasn't anyone -- such as, a person like yourself -- run the code without the alleged fudge factors and tweaks?


It has been remarkable the way that the various models have all been made to agree with each other at least in terms of average global temperatures even if they don't agree in anything else.
This is what "agreement" looks like?

Global_Warming_Predictions.png
 

flogger

DP Veteran
Joined
Jun 8, 2012
Messages
17,214
Reaction score
4,105
Location
Wokingham, England
Gender
Undisclosed
Political Leaning
Undisclosed
Last edited:
Top Bottom