Saturday, August 5, 2017

Improved Air Quality at Low Levels over Western Washington as Smoke Pours in Overhead: It Won't Last Long

The three dimensionality of the atmosphere over the Northwest is well-illustrated this morning, as cool, relatively clean marine air pushed into western Washington overnight, while smoke moved in overhead from fires in eastern WA and British Columbia.

The visible satellite image this morning says it all.  Low clouds cover the ocean, with some of them pushing inland to Olympia and through the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Smoke covers eastern Washington and British Columbia and is pouring westward aloft over Northwest Washington and the Cascades.



To get an idea of the vast differences in local air quality (actually amounts of small particles in the air), here is plot from the wonderful Forest Service Airfire web site.  Green is good air quality, red is bad, and yellow is marginal.  Most of western Washington is now enjoying decent air quality near the surface due to the marine air intrusion last night.    Eastern Washington and BC are bad news.  On the right you can view plots at individual stations.  Big improvements in Seattle, Portland, and the coast.  Lots of smoke at Twisp and Ellensburg in eastern WA.


As I noted, the three dimensionality of the atmosphere is critical for understanding what is happening now.    Consider the winds and temperatures about Sea-Tac Airport over the past day (see below, time height cross section of winds and temperature, temps in °C, heights in pressure, 850 is about 5000 ft).   You can see shallow southwesterly winds bringing in cooler air (14C, 57F), while northeasterly/easterly winds are aloft.  We actually have an inversion right now above us, with temperatures warming with height until about 900 hPa (about 3000 ft)

The low level air is clean and cool, while the easterlies aloft are laden with smoke.   The smoke aloft is what is radically reducing the solar radiation reaching the surface and giving the sun's light a reddish color.  The smoke we are seeing is now partially domestic, with a major fire in the NE WA Cascades.

If you want to escape smoke, go south of Olympia or head to the coast.

Now the bad news.  Today is the good day for air quality around Puget Sound.  The onshore flow will weaken today and daytime mixing will bring the smoke down to the surface.  Tomorrow (Sunday), the winds will be more northerly, which will lessen the inland movement of clean Pacific air and bring more smoke down from BC.

Global Warming 

There are a number of folks that are claiming that this smoky/warm period is a sign of global warming.   I believe that many of them are seriously stretching the facts and trying to simplify a complex situation.  I will blog about this issue during the coming week, but consider the following:

1.   Most forest management experts agree that the major issue is the past mismanagement of our forests.   This includes suppressing natural fires, leaving slash and dead material on the forest floors, changing the density of the east-side forests, and much more.   Some global warming activists are happy to ignore this.
2.  Wildfire is a natural part of healthy forests in our region.
3.  The replacement of natural grasses by fire-prone foreign species has greatly increased grass fires.

4.  Increasing human pressure and fire initiation (fireworks, campfires, arson) has enhanced fires.
5.  The meteorological situation of this event is not one of uniform warming, but localized warming during the last month due to anomalous high pressure over our region.  The weather has been COOLER THAN NORMAL over the the high plains.  There is NO reason to expect more high pressure in the future under global warming.

Human-induced global warming has warmed the region about 1F so far, which is MUCH less than the 15-20F temperature anomalies associated with this event.

More later.


35 comments:

Bruce Kay said...

From at least one study, which tends to jive with others, climate change is suspected to be one factor along with others:

Abstract

We used a database capturing large wildfires (> 405 ha) in the western U.S. to document regional trends in fire occurrence, total fire area, fire size, and day of year of ignition for 1984–2011. Over the western U.S. and in a majority of ecoregions, we found significant, increasing trends in the number of large fires and/or total large fire area per year. Trends were most significant for southern and mountain ecoregions, coinciding with trends toward increased drought severity. For all ecoregions combined, the number of large fires increased at a rate of seven fires per year, while total fire area increased at a rate of 355 km2 per year. Continuing changes in climate, invasive species, and consequences of past fire management, added to the impacts of larger, more frequent fires, will drive further disruptions to fire regimes of the western U.S. and other fire-prone regions of the world.


And I'm sure Cliff will agree, that one degree F in warming sure has a profound effect for one lousy degree F! If you still doubt, just go ask the Pine Beetles....

Garrett Roach said...

I've seen forecasts of low pressure moving in mid-end of next week and clearing a lot of this out. Do you agree?

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics) said...

Hi Cliff,

Thanks for supporting the truth, at least up to your last sentence. Your anomaly map for the USA tells it all: this is a localized event, centered in the Pacific Northwest. Localized events are hardly global warming events.

Even though you are a meteorologist and not a forester, you seem to understand the basic problems with our forests like a pro. Thanks for taking the time to learn this subject too.

As to one degree F of warming since 1945 or 1900, that too is easy to defend. But attributing it to man-made CO2 is a bridge too far. With natural climate variations clearly producing that level of warming/cooling and substantial negative feedbacks that keep our climate system reasonably stable, you have no clear relationship to carbon dioxide and an even further stretch to MAN-MADE CO2.

If you would keep to clearly verifiable science and avoid great leaps of faith, I would sing your praises everywhere.


Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
Corbett, Oregon USA

BobZybach said...

“Wildfire is a natural part of healthy forests” only if you believe humans are a part of nature — which most forest modelers do not seem to understand.

The Douglas Fir Region produces some of the largest, fastest-growing, most voluminous, and valuable forests in the world. The Oregon Coast Range portion of the Region epitomizes these characteristics due to its topography (“too steep to develop”) and proximity to the Pacific Ocean (“lots of water during the growing season”). In 1912 a USDA government report by geographer Fred G. Plummer titled “Forest Fires: Their Causes, Extent and Effects, with a Summary of Recorded Destruction and Loss,” provides a listing of “Historic forest fires” in the US and Canada. Of the 20 “Great Fires” listed from 1825 through 1910, four are listed for Oregon and all four took place on the Oregon Coast Range.

Plummer also correctly points out that wildfires are either started by people or lightning — there was no record of volcanic eruption-based fires at that time. The Oregon Coast Range rarely ever has lightning, and when it does it almost invariably is accompanied by heavy rains — not fire. All of these wildfires were caused by people. That process has been going on for more than 10,000 years and helped shape the Coast Range into extensive stands of even-aged mostly Douglas Fir forests that the first European and American explorers described and sketched.

Forest wildfires are natural if people using fire on a daily basis in their proximity is natural.

Question: What the heck is a “healthy forest?” This is certainly not an adjective that can be quantified. It is a personal value determination that should have no place in rational discussions of forest management and/or wildfire mitigation. Basically it is a term recently employed by the environmental movement to rationalize the consistent failures of their utopian (if you don’t like people) “non-declining even-flow naturally functioning ecosystem” mythology.

Bob Zybach

BobZybach said...

Bruce:

The 1984 - 2011 period is characterized by a number ("the large majority") of wildfires emanating from federal lands due to the advent of Wilderness, EPA, ESA, and the Environmental Law industry. These fires were clearly predicted by myself and several others more than 25 years ago. They are a direct result of passive management decisions on federal lands and have absolutely nothing to do with Global Warming, Climate Change (other than seasonal), Climate Disruption, or any other rationale for these failed policies. The record is clear. Pine Beetles not involved.

Bob Zybach

Bruce Kay said...

Bob, I just presented the abstract for one paper that suggests otherwise and I've seen others. You are in conflict with them, not me but not by much as far as i can tell. They cite numerous factors but unlike you, they also cite global warming which I'm glad to see Gordon accepts, even if he doesn't accept the majority expert view that it is CO2 driven.

I don't debate the details because I, like most people who follow this forum and in this country and on this planet, lack a functional skill in either forestry or climate science. I just trust the science, as described by the consensus opinion.

Yeah I know.... crazy eh?

Gordon Fulks said...

Thanks for your comments Bob.

You should point out that your specialty is forest ecology and that you have a PhD from Oregon State University. That may not be something you are proud of today, with all the utter nonsense coming from OSU. But all of us with good educations are aghast at what has happened to objective inquiry in academia.

My school, the University of Chicago, has lots to atone for too. But at least the current President has taken a strong stand against the political correctness enforced elsewhere. And Princeton University has adopted the 'Chicago Doctrine.'

David Young said...

I agree with Bob. In the physics building at Univ. of Colorado at Boulder are old photographs of the flatirons area in the 1880's. There are no trees. Today moderate sized ponderosa pine forests dominate the area. That change is due to active fire suppression. Thus, the fires that do occur are more severe. Given all the other factors affecting wildfires, it strains credulity to try to find the signal from a so far very weak warming trend. Likewise for droughts. IPCC can't find a global warming signal there either.

Sean Mooney said...

Here's a question. If local temps have risen 1F, wouldn't that suggest that glacier retreats should average about 300 vertical feet in elevation? That's about the elevation of 1F. Haven't glacial retreats over the past 50 years been more dramatic than that?

David Chuljian said...

The interaction of forests and fire is a complex phenomena depending on variables such as people, land use patterns, the history of the forest stands involved for the past century, climate change and rainfall patterns, forest management, and political appointees of agencies, to name just a few obvious factors. Everybody seems to want a single smoking gun, but that's not how multivariate problems work. The 19 th century was the wettest in the past millennium in America, so a book written in 1912 may not be very predictive, not to mention that much has changed in all the variables I listed I in the 20th century (which was atypically dry for the millennium). Blaming it on climate change, or forestry history--neither really helps solve anything. We are here, it's hot and dry now--what do we do about it? The climate isn't going to cool off even if everybody drives a Prius and buys carbon to offsets fot their trips to Europe. We need forests and their low carbon footprint wood products. Let's get to work figuring how to protect them, and skip the blame games. Disclosure: I own forest land and manage for production of wood products. I don't want to see my forests burn.

bwseattle said...

Cliff, thanks for your perspective. What do you think of this study, suggesting that climate change is one (but only one) of the reasons why the wildfire season has been longer and more intense in recent decades? "Climate Change Blamed for Half of Increased Forest Fire Danger" https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/11/science/climate-change-forest-fires.html?_r=0

Organic Farmer said...

Well said Cliff.
----
While poor forest management practices is a major contributing factor for many fires, I am not seeing it as something to "blame" in the current BC fires.

It is my understanding the burning areas are mostly grass, sage and scattered timber. So another words, fresh young tinder.

Personally, I think one needs to look at our record wet season last fall, winter and spring, as the fuel for the BC fires.

Yes Rain causes a healthy crop of fuel tinder. (PS. Fires also started by lightning, not high pressure!)

If anything we can thank the dome of high pressure for reducing lightning potential in Washington and Oregon.

I am concerned Washington and Oregon will be ablaze yet this summer, the first time a low pressure disturbance moves through with a little rain and alot of lightning.

By the way, I doubt we would be able to "blame" global warming for the even bigger fires of 1958 in BC...

Certain groups in society need to stop making global warming the scapegoat for every weather anomaly we experience. It only makes matters worse.

AnneScott said...

I think there are so many other factors and climate change is certainly one of the factors. The problem is how much weight is climate change as the cause for the massive fires all over the BC Interior this year. It's very difficult to answer this question. Some of the other factors suggested include a very wet spring this year which helped some of the foliage on the forest floor to grow considerably larger than normal thus adding to the field available, increased human usage of the backwoods (many of the BC fires were human caused) and the main factor I believe is the past mismanagement of the forests including fire suppression that created massive amounts of deadfall and snags on the forest floor. As far as drought as a factor I don't buy this. Many of the areas of BCs southern interior are extremely hot and dry during the summer as a norm similar to East of the Cascades.

Bruce Kay said...

Organic Farmer - rest assured, the greater mass of BC fires are not merely grass, sage and scattered timber. As for how climate change factors into the season, perhaps we should wait at least until the end of the season before drawing conclusions. Might be a few months of this yet and the same goes for Washington state.


One study here illustrates the difficulty in guessing ahead how things can play out. These guys figure that pine beetle kill may actually decrease fire intensity:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/pine-beetle-infestations-reduce-wildfire-severity-study-1.3561655


What is far more confidently believed, which clearly Bob misconstrued in my original statement about the effects of 1 degree of global warming, is that Pine Beetle infestation which is rampant throughout BC, is linked to global warming in the decreasing lack of extreme cold in winter killing off the pine beetles. Sure, that isn't certain either.....

but it is probable, as concluded by the majority expert consensus opinion

J B said...

I spent 16 years as a professional wildland firefighter in California. I have personally seen fire morph from a wild and erratic beast that is somewhat reasonable to fight, to something dangerous, explosive and downright extraordinaire. Yes, we all know mismanagement and the invention of Smoky the Bear was a tragidy for the west. And we know the urban interface only continues the problem. But fire managers and policy makers (it least in California) have come to the realization that the climate has changed and it has changed for the worst. There is no room for skepticism when it comes to yearly staffing plans. Aircraft and Ground Crew operations are now budgeted for hotter spring and fall weather. Fire seasons are declared sooner and last longer. SoCal stations that used to be staffed just for the summer are now staffed year round for the anticipation of winter Santa Ana events (that would only cause an impact in the fall)

2 months ago I talked to a division chief for CALFIRE. He has been around fire since 1988. He said
"Josh, you should have seen the fire extremes last summer. I have never seen anything like it. It was Armageddon. Before the fire started ( one of many) it was so hot that your boots stuck to the pavement. Not just for a week like old times. But weeks on end...over and over triple digit heat. It just wore you out. Then she (the fire) started and was explosive from the start. Ripping manzanita from the ground and it was all you could do to keep your cool and be safe..."

Climate Change is a factor for the state of California and how they fight fire. To say otherwise would be dishonest to fire managers and firefighters. Call it what you want, natural sun cycle, sun spots or climate change, natural or human. I just know what I have seen as evidence.

Daniel Mathews said...

I followed the link to the AirFire air quality maps. Thanks for the tip! The one they are showing right now (dated 19:21 on 08/06, which I think must mean 11:21 this morning) seems to be contradicted by today's MODIS image from around the same time, particularly in a long strip of green (clean air) from Neah Bay to Port Townsend to Bellingham. This area looks terrible in the satellite image. The discrepancy must be the surface-vs-high difference that Cliff's post describes

Daniel Mathews said...

Bob Z, I share your interest in the question of what the coast range fire regime would be without anthropogenic fire. I'm perplexed by your diatribe about "healthy forests." The term is promoted by industry (e.g. Healthy Forest Initiative) more than by enviros. Yes it is a value judgment, but if there's anyone questioning those values (low levels of deadly pests and diseases, lower mortality rates, higher growth rates) it would be certain environmentalists. What about you, do you share them? And I see nothing irrational about paying attention to them.

Mike Saltz said...

Cliff, even if the average temp increase isn't huge (ie not close to the 15-20' higher temps right now), does not the warming of the planet create more extreme weather events? In other words, while the overall climate has not warmed more than 1 or 2' F in the past hundred years, doesn't this potentially lead to more extreme hurricanes, heat waves, etc. in places? I do realize it's impossible to look at one weather event and blame climate change.

Placeholder said...

Climate Change is a factor for the state of California and how they fight fire. To say otherwise would be dishonest to fire managers and firefighters. Call it what you want, natural sun cycle, sun spots or climate change, natural or human. I just know what I have seen as evidence.

Either that, or the consquences of chronic, long-term forest mismanagement are coming home to roost.

BobZybach said...

Bruce: Thanks for your comments. I don't think I misconstrued your statement about pine beetles and some kind of incremental Global Measurement of temperature somehow affecting their abundance. I sincerely doubt such a relationship exists. In the 1890s a serious bug outbreak occurred in NW Oregon that was followed by the 1918 Cedar Butte Fire and then the "6-Year Jinx" Tillamook Fires of 1933, 1939, 1945, and 1951. In the late 1940s and early 1950s a serious bug kill affected hundreds of thousands of acres of Oregon Coast Range forests that followed the 1770 and 1868 wildfires in present-day Coos and Douglas counties. Over the next few decades Weyerhaeuser systematically cleared the older trees and bug kill from the property and no wildfire followed. In 1993 I was quoted -- with a map -- on the front page of a Salem, Oregon newspaper regarding the beetle-kill along Highway 20 at the Cascade summit. My point was that the area was likely to burn in a wildfire if not treated first. It went untreated due to lawsuits and in 2002 the B&B Complex burned a 90,000+ area that exactly mimicked the 1993 map.

Daniel: I'm not sure I believe in "fire regimes" UNLESS they are conducted by people. Nature is just too chaotic and disorganized, dynamic, and unpredictable to create or maintain such concepts. In the 1980s and 1990s the concept of defining "healthy forests" was taking place in academic and political circles. I thought they should be measured by infant (human) mortality, absence of warfare, safe and comfortable lives, but you think they should be measured by pests, diseases, (tree) mortality, and "higher growth rates." Our numbers will be different because our perspectives and personal values are different. Even though we may both be accurately describing the same place -- the four blind men and the elephant story. I was a strong supporter of the Healthy Forest Initiative when it was first being proposed. The term was promoted by government officials for political reasons. Industry probably put the idea in their head. It ended up being a bunch of government bureaucrats attending meetings, tours, and seminars in different locations and then declaring success before it ran out of money and folded.

Yana Way said...

Not great right now in Bellingham. Sunday, 9:25pm

RLL said...

Monday 6:24am, sun rising about the color and brightness of a spectacular Mars. I could look at it continuously, although I can almost see it brightens as it rises higher. The red reflection across the inlet is also memorable. I will try to post the picture.

Bruce Kay said...

We will see Bob. Either way, there is no reason for drawing claims of certainty on changes in climate or changes in bugs, considering the timeline of evidence and the fact I am talking about bugs and climate above the 49th parallel while you are talking about the same below it.

I got an idea - what do you say we lay a friendly wager on the outcome for a decade from now, based of course on a consensus expert opinion, something we can both respect?

I'll ante up 100 bucks (USD or CAND whichever is higher) sez that global warming is both largely driven by man caused GHG and it was a considerable factor in BC pine beetle infestation currently happening. You can bet against that if you like....

BobZybach said...

Bugs are bugs, Bruce. This is such a tenuous theoretical string that I will bet that it will remain impossible ten years from now to establish any logical link between anthropomorphic CO2 and/or methane, beetles above the 49th parallel, and the current wildfires in BC. I suspect the bugs to fire step is pretty legit, but "global warming largely driven by man caused GHG" is unlikely to be proven by then. I hate acronyms and actually had to look up GHG, but this statement is still open to debate and is highly likely to remain speculative and unproven for decades to come. $100 on "consensus expert opinion" is all right, but "something we can both respect" might be problematic. Still: August 7, 2027, you're on!

J B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J B said...

@Placeholder

Yes, it is coming home to roost big time. Jim Hill and Frederick Weyerhaeuser lobbied congress to put pressure on the USFS and other land management agencies to declare war on wildfire. Fire was the enemy in the uneducated mind of big timber and early foresters. Even today, especially in Oregon, timber companies squeeze as much product as they can per acre. Reprod (reproduction stands) are thick as molasses where the available canopy fuel load is prime for long range spotting and external fire conditions.
I remember when a fire chomped through a 30yr old reproduction stand of Western White Pine. It was just outside of Sierra City or Verdi. 1994 I believe. The fire created its own damn cumulonimbus (pyrocumulus). I swore I saw some hale come out of that smoke column. Air was rushing in past me towards the center of the fire. Like a giant suction hose. Dust , needles and limbs all rushed past me like someone opened up the airlock in a Alien Movie.

Bruce Kay said...

Bob, assuming Cliff Mass is still running this blog, and we're both following it, you're on. Considering that the consensus ( cliff will corroborate that) does now agree with AGW, you can send me 50 bucks right now and if things change, I'l send it back. Promise.

You seem to have some degree of cynicism for consensus expert opinion. Considering the fact that you yourself are at best, competent only in a peripheral specialization, how exactly do you propose that you can provide a better judgement? This is the essential problem with all of us. We all do know something, perhaps even some significant technical insight such as the physicist above who also doubts AGW, but in the end both of you lack the skill to frame your specialist skill and conclusions in a skill domain outside of your specialty.

You no doubt are aware of professional ethics, such as the broadly accepted ethic of refraining from offering professional opinion on subjects you have no proven competency in? Do you think there is some substantive justification for such an ethic? For instance you being a Forester (I'm guessing here) would not offer your skills as an expert witness in court to offer opinion on climate science. You simply would not do it and if you did, you would properly be raked over the coals for it, both in court and by your professional association ethics committee.

Like it or lump it, the best expertise is the domain expertise and if they can actually provide a solid consensus amongst themselves, that is better yet. Everything else is guessing at best, wilful and deliberate incompetence at worse.

BobZybach said...

Bruce:

FYI -- and let's suspend this discussion until the 10 years are up -- I do not believe in "consensus" science at all. Otherwise the earth is still flat and the sun and planets and other stars revolve around it. Consensus is for politics, not science. As Einstein pointed out, it only takes one person to prove him wrong -- not a majority vote!

Also, I am a forest scientist, not (just) a forester. My specialty is historical ecology -- the role of humans in the environment through time. Most of my research focus has been on forest wildfire history in the Pacific Northwest over the past 15,000 years. Changing climate, and documented consequences, definitely plays a role in my studies.

Not sure where you're going with your supposed "professional ethics," but I would advise dropping that line of attack. It's just plain dumb and irrelevant. Sounds like something a lawyer might have drafted for a professional society of some sort, but definitely not any kind of universal decree. Check back in 10 years.

Bruce Kay said...

No I insist.... I get the last word. I've heard all this "science isn't consensus" red herring before, along with a few others. The point, which clearly escapes you is that the spherical earth theory became consensus after all the expertise fought it out, not the incompetents, which when it comes to climate science, includes forest scientists whatever the hell that is.

The professional ethics aspect is entirely relevant and I stand by my words. You would be slaughtered in any theatre of war where you had to demonstrate skill in climate science, that is, where you need to demonstrate validation. You know trees, maybe some bushes too, possibly if you specialize you might have some insight into bugs. If you are "not sure" where I'm going with the professional ethics, I hope that clears it up although honestly, I just repeated myself.

You forgot to ask for my address

Placeholder said...

Isn't it interesting that the AGW cult, which once lectured people that weather isn't climate, now desperately seizes on every departure from average to push their religion?

Christina Wilsdon said...

Placeholder, there is no such thing as an AGW cult nor is it a religion. And if you read Cliff Mass's post, you would see that "every departure from average" is NOT used to explain climate change.

Placeholder said...

Christina, your cult constantly cites departures from average weather as proof. This change is something I started seeing about five years ago. I had been a moderate believer in AGW, mainly out of a respect for conventional wisdom. But this reversal on climate vs. weather is what caused me to wipe the slate clean and take a much closer look.

There was a brief tornado swarm in 2012 in the Midwest, and yout AGW cult pointed to it as proof of global warming, not pausing to note that there had been a prolonged tornado drought, including in that very year. Which is the opposite of what your cult had predicted, by the way.

The same has happened on the hurricane front, but that didn't prevent the Worldwide Church of Global Warming to point at Hurricane Katrina and the "Sandy" storm that hit New Jersey as proof of your religion. If we now return to a more normal hurricane pattern, your cult will be there, blaming a normal hurricane pattern (which will look like a surge because we've been at such a low point for so long) on your favorite cause.

The last straw for me was in nthe winter of 2014 when your cult invented a new term -- "polar vortex" -- to describe the Canadian and Arctic cold fronts that normally hit the northern Great Plains, Great Lakes states, and Northeast every winter. That's when I hopped into the deep end of the pool and did my own research. It doesn't take all that long to realize that this is a classic mania right out of Mackay's famous book about manias.

If I were to take the AGW crowd at face value (a big "if"), their fundamental error was in embracing a single hypothesis too early in the game. If I were to be more cynical, I would suggest that science, integrity, and rigor never mattered to begin with. In reality, I think we have a mixture of politics, religion, groupthink, and careerism at work, probably in equal doses.

http://tinyurl.com/multhypo

One thing is clear to me: The AGW hypothesis failed quite some time ago, but its followers won't admit that they were conned. You never will, because you have too much invested in it.

You are trying to scare us, while being completely dishonest about "weather vs. climate," not to mention ignoring the train of failed predictions, and outright manipulation of historical temperature data. Sorry, but your cult is desperate, and in its bitter clinging to the religion has taken to ever-crazier, more unhinged pronouncements.

None of this is working.

Bruce Kay said...

How exactly can anything at all be "clear to you" if you are entirely lacking in skill Place Slipper?

Try this. Examine both the written description and the accompanying graph in the following link:

https://confrontingmediocrity.net/2013/08/31/you-probably-dont-know-what-youre-talking-about-you-only-think-you-do/


I was going to send this to Bob, in exchange for the 50 bucks he owes me, as I think it would be very interesting to see where he, a person who has some professional scientific skill set, would place himself on the graph in terms of expertise in climate science. My guess, considering his professed expertise in Forest Ecology, he could at best place himself somewhere in the first third, if he is honest about the true distinction that exists between forest ecology and climate science.

The importance, as anyone can plainly see, is that a persons confidence in judgement (that is, an intuitive feeling of skill) is perhaps at its greatest deviation from reality, as shown by true measured skill. Although there are many reasons a person with some technical skill and knowledge might attempt to impress less skilled people, to a great degree they actually believe the illusion of skill themselves. They are convinced that because they have some computational and intuitive ability that can be enlisted to form a coherent narrative, it must be true, forgetting entirely the vastness that they know nothing about.

This is true for practically all adult males ( you will note that very few females boldly parade their incompetence with the same confidence on any internet forum) so perhaps you might find this interesting too. If you also are honest, you will by a statistical probability of damn near 97%, place yourself no higher than the leading quarter and that is being generously optimistic.

This is a really great exercise, as it really illustrates how pervasive the Dunning Kruger effect is and how completely sub conscious the self deception is. It is also quite humbling, if in fact you value such a thing, when considering the implications for incompetent judgement in anything, not just climate science.

Placeholder said...

You can do the stereotypical arrogant liberal thing and declare anyone who doesn't follow your cult to be stupid. It's all you crowd really has left, given that the evidence is stacked up against you.

This flies in a self-reinforcing bubble like Seattle, but increasingly not in other places. Oh, by the way? Have fun with your city-funded heroin shooting galleries. Yep, you people are very, very smart.

Placeholder said...

By the way: There is no such thing as "climate science." Your cult has invented the term to get university grants.