Monday, January 17, 2011

Dessler e-mail to Spencer on 1/17/11


Correlation does not prove causality. Period. I honestly cannot
believe you want to argue this point. The fact that you do lays bare
the intellectual bankruptcy of your “clouds cause climate change”
hypothesis. It’s now evident that there really is no actual physical
evidence to support it.

In science, correlations allow you to construct hypotheses, which then
must be tested with physical arguments. The history of science is
littered with the corpses of high r squared correlations that fooled
people into assuming causality. I’m afraid you’re another victim.

I would NEVER assume correlation proves causality. My cloud feedback
calculation is supported by a firm causal link: ENSO causes surface
temperature variations which causes cloud changes. This is supported
by the iron triangle of observations, theory, and climate models.

As to your comment:
“After all, the Southern Oscillation Index is an ATMOSPHERIC index,
and for you to claim that changes in the trade winds DON'T cause a
change in cloud cover, which can in turn affect ocean temperatures, is
treading on thin ice.”

Of course changes in trade winds can change clouds.

But what causes changes in the trade winds during ENSO?

It’s the changing SST distribution. Get it? Surface temps drive clouds. QED.

Thanks for this interesting discussion. Believe it or not, I think
we’ve actually reached closure. I have no more questions for you.

To the reporters/bloggers on this list: I would encourage you to
write/blog about this exchange. I think that this was an unusual and
frank exchange of views that people would be interested in. FYI, I’m
also archiving these e-mails on my previously dead blog,


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