Science With “97% Consensus” and “99% Certainty” Sees 0% Of Its Scientists Willing To Bet On It!

About 10 days ago a press release by the Alfred Wegener Institute gave readers the impression that the Arctic sea ice would keep on melting. In response I sent e-mails to the two scientists cited in it, Marcel Nicolaus and Lars Kaleschke, and asked if they would advise a bet on it. I even posted my bet here.

My proposed bet: mean September sea ice for the period of 2017-2022 will be higher than the September mean for the period 2007 – 2012.

Not surprisingly I got no response.

I also sent versions of that e-mail to other institutes, some having a chronic habit of sounding alarm when it comes to global sea ice. My e-mail:

Dear —–

I’ve read with great interest the latest AWI press release on global sea ice.

One easily gets the impression the experts believe the Arctic sea ice trend will continue its downward trend over the coming years. This surprises me. Myself I think the Arctic will actually recover over the next decade or two. I’m convinced enough to bet $1000 on this. I believe that the average September sea extent for the years 2017 – 2022 will be greater than the mean September 2007-2012 sea ice extent.

Would you advise me against making such a bet? Would you bet? Surely the science can provide a probability here. Your short comment on this would be very much appreciated.
Kind regards

Pierre Gosselin

The following scientists/institutes were sent the e-mail:

1. Marcel Nicolaus, AWI
2. Lars Kaleschke, University of Hamburg
3. Stefan Rahmstorf, PotsInstitute
5. Dirk Notz, Max Planck Institute
6. Leif Riemenschneider, Max Planck Institute
7. Rebecca Rolf, Max Planck Institute
8. Frank Sienz, Max Planck Institute
9. Peter Wadhams, University of Cambridge
10. Dr. Andrey Proshutinsky, Woods Hole Institute
11. Anders Levermann, Potsdam Institute
12. Mojib Latif,

Those who replied are printed in bold, and I’d like to thank them for taking the time to respond, particularly Dr. Dirk Notz and Dr. Andrey Proshutinsky. They both took the time to provide a real reply, see here and here.

Three of the 4 replying advised against betting the Arctic would melt, warning there is too much natural variability involved. Dr. Andrey Proshutinsky even hinted that the Arctic may in fact just do the very opposite.

Mojib Latif also sent a brief reply advising against a bet, citing “natural decadal variability”. He wrote:

I don’t bet. There is of course natural decadal variability which superimposes the long-term downward sea ice extent trend, but this decadal variability is hard to predict.”

Lisa at the NSIDC also sent a reply, providing two links: here and here. Scientists at the NSIDC also declined to bet.

The other eight scientists did not even reply. It seems some like shouting from the rooftops the sky is falling, but suddenly get real quiet when asked to put money on it.

In summary, no one expressed any interest in accepting the above bet and not one even advised anyone to accept it. Result: From a science with a “97% consensus” and “99% certainty”, 0% of the scientists are ready to bet on it.

Three of the 4 scientists who did reply say it is not possible to predict the Arctic sea ice over the next 8 years (yet many scientists claim that predicting the Arctic 50, 100 or 200 years into the future is 99% slam dunk?).

Of course we can understand scientists’ reluctance to bet on Arctic sea ice. But on the other hand why are so many of these scientists insisting that the rest of us bet our modern prosperity on their models being right (when obviously they themselves don’t even trust them 8 years out)?

It all smacks of a sham to me.


20 responses to “Science With “9720 Consensus” and “9920 Certainty” Sees 020 Of Its Scientists Willing To Bet On It!”

  1. BobW in NC

    Pierre – you say “It all smacks of a sham to me.” Hmmm… Let me think about that for a moment…

    Yeah… Yeah… Hmmm… OK, I agree and agree absolutely!

    Now to be serious—what frosts and frustrates me is that those who are agitating for us betting our modern prosperity on their claims, appear to be exempt from the regulations they promulgate and will never (?) be held accountable for their failure.

    When will this whole fraud sink under its own miserable weight???

    I am now off my soapbox.

    1. Jimbo

      9. Peter Wadhams, University of Cambridge

      I find it interesting that Professor Peter Wadhams did not respond. This is because he has said that the Arctic WILL be ‘ice-free’ no later than 2016.

      Read his quotes HERE.

      Surely he should have taken you up on your bet and made a quick $1,000. Only someone unsure of himself would refuse to respond.

  2. Stephen Richards

    Well done Pierre, the snivelling little cowards don’t have the courage to defend their own science.

  3. Henning Nielsen

    “There is of course natural decadal variability which superimposes the long-term downward sea ice extent trend ”

    Indeed? And how long is this “long-term” trend? More than three decades?

    The ups and downs of Arctic sea ice are well documented. No need to expect anything different in the future than we have seen during the 20th century.

    When reality goes against them, alarmists fall back on excuses like “long-term trend”.

  4. George Lord

    Pierre, as you may be aware, the way that one can verify that WWE and other professional wresting is not a real sport is that you can’t bet on it in Vegas. Same goes here.

    Just think how much money we could have made betting on Al Gore’s predictions.


  5. EnergiewendeUberall

    Because climate denier have a history of dishonesty… the bet will lost and still you dont pay.

  6. DirkH

    Der Spiegel reports: gilded flags can be used for renewable electricity production.
    (so can cats; but that’s another story; one which scientists will surely tackle in the future)

  7. DirkH

    Der Spiegel again, reports about a solar cell that produces H2 from H2O; by a Swiss researcher who has been experimenting with “artificial photosynthesis” for years; he used to use pigments, but has now found anorganic materials which promise a longer lifespan and a higher efficiency; claims 12%. Behaviour of the cell not entirely understood yet.
    Looks like early days, but this might actually become something feasible.

  8. handjive

    The woozle gives you a mention.

    “This is even dumber than NoTricksZone, who want to make loadsamoney betting on sea ice – but only as long as they don’t win too much, and only if they can bet with scientists.”

    But, like his fellow travellers, won’t put his money where his mouth is.
    The concept of a ‘sportsmans bet’ is obviously alien to the woozle, as he thinks $1000 is significant.
    Hint: It’s not the money, Dr. Connelly. (for a Doctor he is)

    PS: ‘woozle’:

    1. DirkH

      Whatever that is. Is it famous? (No I didn’t click the link)

      1. DirkH

        Ok I did. I see. I thought “Woozle” is another famous wikipedia editor.

        1. handjive

          Clicking on that link might give Dr Connelley (for a doctor he is) something meaningful to do.
          A definition of wizzles is needed.

  9. ArndB

    M. Latif says : “There is of course natural decadal variability”.

    Recently Semenow & Latif tried to explain the early Arctic warming (ETCW during 1920-1940), in: The Cyrosphere (2012, 1231-1237), by “investigating the sensitivity of Arctic winter surface air temperature to sea ice during 1875-2008 by means of simulations with an atmospheric general circulation model (+ SST and sea ice concentration), producing as featureless result.” Thus internal multi-decadal fluctuations is the potential candidate to explain the ETCW in the Arctic.”
    Latif et al mentioned nothing about the sea ice extent briefly before ETCW started as referred to in a previous comment (NTZ, 28. Sept. “Of the Arctic’s…”): “Ocean currents impact the Arctic” is a matter that could have been much better understood if the extraordinary winter temperature jump in the Arctic since winter 1918/19, which subsequently heated the Northern Hemisphere until winter 1939/40 had been explained since long. One reason could have been the extraordinary sea ice extends in the North Atlantic in summer 1917, the only case since 1900; more at: .

    Referring to “natural decadal variability” and “multi-decadal fluctuations” can be read as: I do not know.

  10. Mark in Toledo

    would love to see William Connolley take the bet….after all this is small change to him according to what he said. Why not take the easy money? My guess is that he is a coward and knows that we have little idea what to expect between now and 2022.

  11. Alfonso

    Thanks Pierre for portraying how “certain” these people are about their knowledge, and showing also that there are some serious scientists that come clean and talk about the unknowns.

    I sure would take you on a bet if you attempted to contradict something that I knew for certain through my research. So, why don’t they do it?

    handjive, perhaps you will enjoy this recent episode about “Connelly’s” workings

    Have fun


  12. Alex B

    Pierre, send your betting invitation to the Norwegian Bjerkesenteret. Last week there was another alarming piece about the Arctic sea ice on the weather site where a scientist of the Bjerkesenteret was quoted. He had been in Actic waters several times and had noticed that the ice had become quite rotten :).


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