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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shock, horror at the title of a play

Sou | 3:29 PM 17 Comments - leave a comment

Some of the denialati are pretending to be up in arms about the provocative title of a play: "Kill Climate Deniers" (archived here). According to the Canberra Times, the play, by Aspen Island Theatre Company, is "about a group of heavily armed eco-activists who break into a major Australian institution and hold the occupants hostage".

Talk about theatre. Without bothering to find out what the play is about and based solely on the play's title Anthony Watts exclaims: "Why would government fund what amounts to a sanctioned hate crime disguised as “art”? This is just bizarre."

He quotes Australia's right wing blogger Andrew Bolt: "The Left is the natural home of the modern totalitarian – and of all those who feel entitled by their superior morality to act as savages."

Remember, this protest is from a bunch of people who accuse climate scientists of fraud and worse, and who staunchly defend a person's "right" to compare a scientist to paedophiles under the guise of "free speech".

Andrew Bolt and WUWT's next protest will be staged against Bill O'Reilly for his book about Killing Jesus. Then they'll attack John Grisham for writing "A Time to Kill". After which they'll go all out animal lib and attack Harper Lee.

From the WUWT comments

Most of the denialati are outraged, for a change accepting the "denier" label. Not all of them though.

Pat Frank
September 30, 2014 at 4:41 pm
The Aspen Island site doesn’t have a synopsis of their plot. Maybe the play is a biting satire about frenzied greens and rhetorical excesses. I know it’s a low-probability option, but we wouldn’t want a no-information rush to judgment.

September 30, 2014 at 5:20 pm
Agree with Pat. We don’t know what it’s about yet. They describe the island as “mounted by an imperial organ”. It might turn out to be a wry exposition of crowd mentality and populist dogma 

Gary Pearse  
September 30, 2014 at 6:24 pm
In Australia? No its real. 

And from someone who calls himself Genghis!
September 30, 2014 at 5:10 pm
This is Hate Speech pure and simple. They should be arrested, tried and put away for good.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Stars, the universe, significance and perspective

Sou | 8:41 PM 7 Comments - leave a comment

Every now and then I muse about philosophical notions and ponder our significance, and insignificance, in the context of the universe. (I'm old enough to still feel a little ripple of shock every time I remember that Earth's population has trebled in my lifetime.)

Bert from Eltham posted a link to one of his images, which got me thinking again. This is a small version of his photograph of the Small Magellanic Cloud. Click here to see Bert's full-sized photograph (9MB).
Credit: Bert from Eltham
Thanks, Bert, for helping me keep things in perspective as I muddle through life on this tiny rock called Spaceship Earth.

In a similar vein, late last year I was inspired by the Carl Sagan lecture from AGU13, which I managed to locate on YouTube. Among other things, David Grinspoon described four kinds of planetary change. Particularly compelling were his categories 3 and 4, inadvertent change and intentional change.

If you watch it, I suggest the YouTube website version (it's a bit bigger), or better still in full screen mode, by clicking in the bottom right hand corner. You'll need to set aside about an hour to see it all, or 50 minutes if you skip the questions at the end.

I'll finish with the quote David Grinspoon provided towards the end of his lecture.
We hold the future still timidly, but perceive it for the first time, as a function of our own action. Having seen it, are we to turn away from something that offends the very nature of our earliest desires, or is the recognition of our new powers sufficient to change those desires into the service of the future which they will have to bring about?
J.D. Bernal, The World, the Flesh & the Devil;: An Enquiry into the Future of the Three Enemies of the Rational Soul (1929)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Some sciency questions, plus a note on etiquette

Sou | 4:08 AM 80 Comments - leave a comment

Update 2: see below for Anthony's excuses.

Update: see below for Anthony Watts' "report" of Professor Mann's Bristol lecture.

Some sciency questions

I added a note about the new stadium wave paper at the end of my last article. I do have some question for readers. On page two of the paper (subs req'd), when talking about their pattern searching, the authors write:
Following Tsonis et al. [2007], Wyatt et al. [2012] considered a network of climate indices associated, geographically and dynamically, with different climatic subsystems, and used an objective filtering method to isolate secular multidecadal variability within this network during the 20th century. On top of a uniform linear trend, they identified an oscillatory-looking wiggle with a common multidecadal time scale, but with different phases across the different indices of the climate network, thus manifesting a signal that propagates in the space of climate indices. The authors termed this propagating signal the “stadium wave,” reflecting a speculation that it dynamically originates in the North Atlantic and spreads over the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere via a hypothesized sequence of delayed dynamical feedbacks. However, search for the stadium wave in a suite of simulations by multiple global climate models only returned stationary, in-phase signals [Wyatt and Peters, 2012], in sharp contrast with the observational analysis of Wyatt et al. [2012].
There were a few questions that popped into my mind when I read that. Perhaps a reader can help out and explain the scientific jargon:
  • What is a network of climate indices?  
  • What is the difference between an objective filtering method and a non-objective filtering method?
  • What does an oscillatory-looking wiggle look like?
  • What does a non-oscillatory-looking wiggle look like?
  • What makes an oscillatory-looking wiggle distinguishable from an oscillatory-looking waddle?
  • How much space is required for climate indices?
  • How do you tell the difference between a dynamic origination and a non-dynamic origination?
  • What is the difference between a dynamical feedback and a regular feedback?

Thanks in advance, all you science aficionados.

A note on etiquette

On a separate topic, I notice that Anthony Watts is feeling a bit put upon that people have noticed that he doesn't have what it takes when it comes to the crunch. (That's non-science jargon for, well, you can guess.)

Anthony, full of bravado and egged on by his adoring hangers-on, jumped on a plane paid for by those same adoring hangers-on, full of promise to put those supposed miscreant scientists on the spot and ask them some hard-hitting questions.

When Anthony arrived, he found himself confronted, in person, face to face, by the three people in the entire world who, out of all the scientists he rubbishes, he has probably spent more time viciously attacking and telling lies about than any others. (See here and here and here and particularly here for the background.)

Anthony went to water.

Cowed by the reality that there he was, in a university of all places, a place that doesn't just like knowledge it actually creates knowledge. The very antithesis of Anthony Watts' world. Not only that but he was in a foreign country, surrounded by people who not only spoke a different language, they knew a lot more about climate science than he ever could hope to know.  And to top it off he discovered the lectures were being recorded on video. Anthony probably had visions of Paul Nurse and James Delingpole. Cowed, he shrank into his chair and could barely wait until the ordeals ended.

Tail between his legs, he slunk back to his Californian basement, turned on his computer terminal and mumbled: "I only went to watch." Which didn't faze his hard-core supporters, who assured him "You're the man!"

Well, that was too much. Being mocked even by his hard-core supporters. With a monitor shielding him from his nemeses, his cyber-self finally donned the bravado he is known for, he strode over to Facebook and bravely wrote: "May I ask a question?"

He was feeling up again. No longer worried that he might have to look someone in the eye.

Buoyed by his courage at being able to venture into the lion's cyberden, he boldly took a snapshot. Next visited Twitter and boasted to all and sundry that his bravado had returned, now that he didn't have to face anyone in person. Now that he could hide behind his monitor, getting lots of retweets and replies of support from supposed friends and allies. ("That means I must be right" thinks Anthony.)

Now Anthony wasn't invited into the personal log of this scientist. He barged in uninvited. Needless to say he was swiftly and politely shown the door. And just so you know:
If you have a habit of making false, inflammatory, and/or defamatory statements about climate scientists in public then, no, you're not welcome at this facebook page. There are other outlets for you in that case. Thanks!

(Just so you know - it's the same here at HotWhopper.)

Anthony is satisfied. He breathes a sigh of relief. Order has been restored and he didn't even have to think up a dumb question. Saved by etiquette. He is once more king of denialism. He has shown his fans that scientists refuse to debate fake sceptics. He is the Man. (Oops!)

The few climate bloggers who noticed the exchange might have thought of Anthony and his charade: "What a bunch of mindless yobbos".

The rest of the world thinks - umm, nothing. If asked they'd say "Who? Who is Anthony Watts? Oh, you mean the rugby player/bikie/boxer? Not his style."


Anthony Watts has finally written his "report" of Dr Mann's presentation. Showing two things. First: Anthony Watts is incapable of writing a report. Secondly, his fans wouldn't know a report if they tripped over one and are easily pleased. His "report" is nothing more than a collection of photos of Dr Mann's presentation, with very short comment/description underneath.

With no hint that he understands the meaning of intellectual property, under one of his photos he wrote: "I wonder if he got permission from Accu-Weather to use that graphic?" One may ask, "I wonder if Anthony Watts got permission to post all Dr Mann's slides". (In response to a question about this, Anthony claimed it is "fair use". I'd question that. One or two slides maybe, to illustrate a point. But not all of them with barely a word of analysis. I've not linked to the WUWT page or an archived version for obvious reasons.)

And again, with no hint of duplicity he claims, about a photo of Dr Mann's own child: " I don’t think children should be used as props.". This the day after Anthony himself stole a photo of a mother and child to persuade his readers to sign up to a fake religion's repulsive "declaration"! (h/t CM)

Update 2: The gutless wonder - excuses, excuses

Anthony Watts admits he's a gutless wonder (archived here, latest update here). In the process describes his paranoid conspiracy ideation, among other things.

First he tries to foist the blame on Michael Mann claiming he has a "record of hostility". WTF! It's Anthony Watts who hasn't let up on defaming Dr Mann and telling lies about him and his work.  (Didn't he realise when he made the booking that Michael Mann would be there, to answer his "many questions"?)

Next he blames Professor Lewandowsky. [Edit: Just for being there, mind you. Not for anything he did or didn't do there.] Yeah, it's all his fault - not! Remember Anthony's fake bravado when he boasted he was "Headed into ‘Lew-world’" and begged for money? What happened?

Anthony's still behaving exactly as I described above. Words like worthless, slimeball and cowardly come to mind.

He confesses he wasted his readers' money and got it under false pretences, but no-one's asked for a refund, yet.

Anthony was too chicken to admit that his "big brave question" to Michael Mann on Facebook was nothing more than:

"...will you take my question now?"

.h/t Raoul :)

From the WUWT comments

Anthony's sycophants supported him, boosting his fragile ego, muttering stuff like of course you did the wise thing, oh wise one and I see now you did the right thing. There was one person who had sufficient independence of mind to buck the trend. Velcro wrote:
September 28, 2014 at 10:54 am
The venue was the venue. Nothing Mann could do about the separation between podium and audience. Seems to me that the sceptic community criticise the warmists for not being prepared to debate, yet on this occasion, when there was the opportunity to question, we sceptics passed up the chance. I would have been inclined to ask something like ‘ do you attach any significance to the fact that if one plots annual global temperature against year for the past 18 odd years, one gets a horizontal line? And if you don’t then why not?

This is for Velcro. And this, too. And don't forget this from Gavin Schmidt.

Finally, one slipped by the mods - for everybody, from tz
September 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm
The Mann-o-sphere v.s. Kochtopussy.

Anthony Watts can't help himself. Was he born a liar?

And finally finally, for anyone who has fallen for Anthony's fairytale that he "booted me off WUWT for being overly disruptive". He didn't. He banned me over a fairly mild tweet. This "clueless female eco-nut" who is "isolated, lonely" and petless or is she a "crazy, nasty,spiteful witch" posted only about 30 comments in four years at WUWT, none of which could be described as "overly disruptive" by any stretch of the imagination. Some of my mild comments annoyed Anthony and Smokey/DB Stealey, for some reason. Too sciency I expect. (I'm wondering if Anthony thinks any blogger who ridicules others, be they anti-science or pro-science, must be isolated, lonely and petless.)

[Update to an update: No-one at WUWT commented on what I write but there are lots of theories as to why I write. The latest theory is that I have a all the hallmarks of being a child abuse victim. (Deniers apparently cannot fathom why people would poke fun at their anti-science efforts and pseudo-science and replace it with science. First time I've heard "alarmism" blamed on child abuse though. Is this intended as a milder form of Steyn-abuse?) Sou 29 September 2014]

Nor was I ever kicked off any discussion board for being overly disruptive. (When Anthony wrote in the plural, he was using what passes for blog licence on disinformation blogs. There is no plural. There is only one other instance that he is referring to.) However it wasn't for disruption. I was scarcely ever even modded on that share trading website (a site where deleting comments is the norm, not the exception). They just decided they didn't want a woman in their 'men only' club, after she once commented on the misogyny prevalent there - still, going by the comments here. Much like the way Anthony Watts soon bans almost everyone who prefers climate science to pseudoscience.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

To be certain sensitivity is still uncertain...

Sou | 4:31 PM 15 Comments - leave a comment

This is a follow-on from my earlier article about a new paper on climate sensitivity. It isn't a critique or analysis of the paper itself. Maybe other people will look at the work and how it differs from other sensitivity analysis. This is more about the reaction in the deniosphere with some of my meandering thoughts rolled in. I've been in two minds about whether to publish this because there are no firm conclusions. It's rather long-winded and a bit repetitive. But I don't feel like spending any more time editing it down. You can make of it what you will.

As you may know, the denialati are all over a new paper in Climate Dynamics by Nic Lewis and Judith Curry, who have taken a shot at estimating climate sensitivity. You can download a pre-publication pdf version here, together with supplementary information zipped here, courtesy Nic Lewis.

It's not at all odd that deniers would latch on to it when you think about it, even though the WUWT crowd variously "believe":
  • Climate change isn't happening
  • Climate change is always happening
  • If the world is warming, it's not because of CO2 (ie climate sensitivity to CO2 is zero)
  • There is no such thing as a greenhouse effect. The world is warmed by magic.
  • The world is cooling
  • We're heading for an ice age
  • The increase in CO2 is not caused by humans (ie burning hydrocarbons doesn't release CO2)
  • Atmospheric CO2 hasn't increased

One reason I say this isn't surprising is because even though the paper suggests the world is about to get a lot hotter, the authors argue a likelihood, or at least a possibility, that the surface may not get quite as hot, with a doubling of CO2, as a lot of other research suggests. This paper suggests that when CO2 hits 560 ppm later this century, Earth will at first be somewhere between 0.9°C and 2.5°C hotter than it was in the mid-1800s. And even if we stopped adding any more CO2 to the atmosphere at that point, temperatures would continue to rise, settling at between 1°C and 4°C hotter as the system approaches medium term equilibrium. None of which is by any means comforting. While these numbers extend almost to the same range as stated in the latest IPCC report (1.5°C to 4.5°C), it goes below the lower end of the IPCC most like range and doesn't hit the high end.

That's not quite an apples to apples comparison though. Lewis and Curry were looking at "effective" climate sensitivity which is not quite the same as equilibrium climate sensitivity. The difference as far as I can make out is as follows. "Effective" is on a centennial time scale whereas equilibrium is on a millenial time scale. "Equilibrium" refers to after the ice sheets stop melting and maybe even after the ocean circulation has stopped responding to climate change. The deep ocean circulation has a cycle of around a thousand years. Ice sheets can take several millenia to settle down after a climate forcing.

So all in all, the difference between Lewis and Curry and other estimates is one of a few tenths of a degree at most.

"No no no" don't adapt - shout the alarmed at WUWT

Sou | 3:08 PM 3 Comments - leave a comment

I know you were probably under the impression that science deniers want to adapt to and not mitigate global warming. Well, it turns out that many of them don't want to adapt either. They seem to be opposed to building a resilient society. Or maybe they just don't want the government to play a role in helping communities build resilience against natural disasters.

Today Anthony Watts copied and pasted a press release from Reuters about how the US Department of Homeland Security is looking at ways to build resilience in the context of climate change and natural disasters (archived here). This includes "regional efforts to assess resilience of infrastruction and judge where gaps in adaptation and preparedness may be".

As you probably know, climate change has long been recognised by the Pentagon as a national security issue. A recent report from a military research organisation found that it poses a severe risk to national security. (Same goes for Australia, despite the stance of the current government.)

Guess how the readers at WUWT reacted to the notion of a resilient USA? Yep. Lots of people are dead against adaptation and preparedness.  Not only do they not want to minimise the risks associated with climate change, they are against towns and cities and rural areas preparing for and adapting to what it is bringing. Read on for a sample:

Evangelical Deniers: The poorest and most vulnerable and the lowest of the low @wattsupwiththat

Sou | 1:12 PM 17 Comments - leave a comment

You know how Anthony Watts on occasion has criticised other people for using photoshopped images or "fake" photos to illustrate a point, while at the same time faking images of his own. Well, he's done it again. This time pinching a photo from a company bringing cleaner energy to Africa (and South America), to argue that his readers should instead pollute "poor people" out of existence.

Compare and contrast - WUWT touting dirty energy (and religion), while using a photo about how a company helped a family in Rwanda move to cleaner cooking! (Scroll to the bottom.)

Today WUWT and CFACT (archived here) are touting support for the pseudo-religious cult, the Cornwall Alliance. (I've written about that organisation before.) The WUWT article has the headline:
Protect the poor – from climate change policies

The CFACT chap boasts that in seven years, the Cornwall Alliance has managed to attract a 150 people, stating that: "More than 150 have already signed the declaration." and urges WUWT readers to "Sign the declaration" of the Cornwall Alliance.

If you look back at the WayBack Machine, what that means is that 1350 people must have retracted their signature sometime since 22 September 2008! What's surprising is that this bunch of cranks got "1,500 individuals" to sign it in the first place. I'm not so surprised that 150 of them stuck it out. There will always be cranks and charlatans in the world. [Correction: KR has pointed out that this hypocritical cult is promoting a new document, pretending to care about poor people while promoting fossil fuel industry interests. Sou. 27 September 2014]

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Judith Curry vanquishes her uncertainty monster

Sou | 3:52 AM 25 Comments - leave a comment

Wonderful news just announced. Judith Curry has vanquished her uncertainty monster. She did it with the help of UK financier (retired), Nic Lewis.

Judith and Nic sat down and puzzled over the challenge for a bit. Then they decided to tackle the monster head on. They've announced their victory in Climate Dynamics.

Not only has Judith killed off her uncertainty monster, she's done an about face on her George C Marshall / op ed of just a couple of days ago. She's announced that the impact of all our waste CO2 can indeed be detected - not just on centennial time scales but on decadal time scales, or at least on multi-decadal time scales.

Here you go. According to Judith and Nic, using an energy balance approach and after much protesting of climate models:
  • Median ECS** is, with very little uncertainty, equal to 1.64K (1.05 to 4.05K at 5-95%)
  • Median TCR is, with almost no uncertainty left at all, 1.33K (0.9 to 2.5K at 5-95%)
**ECS is defined as "effective climate sensitivity", on a shorter time scale than equilibrium climate sensitivity.

Oh, and if you're a retired financier, it's okay to publish reviewers' comments.

One more thing. The IPCC is now back in Judith's good books. She even says she uses forcings from the IPCC's AR5 WG1 report. (What would they have done if Judith had succeeded in disbanding the IPCC. Horror of horrors. That uncertainty monster would still be roaming snatching unwary climate scientists.)

Wonders will never cease!

Here's the archive of the WUWT article, which was personally sent to Anthony Watts by the host of his extraordinary dinner, Nic Lewis. Here's the link that Nic provided to his and Judith's brilliant new paper, which has in one fell swoop solved all the world's ills.

PS If I come across as a mite sarcastic, put it down to my being quite underwhelmed by the swings and roundabouts of the past week at Judith's place.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hockey sticks drive deniers nuts...

Sou | 10:12 PM 7 Comments - leave a comment

Deniers really are nuts, you know. Apparently over at the Auditor's blog there is some fruitcake obsessing over the cover of an annual report. Not a peer reviewed publication. Not a scientific record. Nope. An illustration. A graphic. A drawing. A conceptual illustration. A piece of artwork.

Thing is, all they are showing is that scientists aren't just careful with their research, they are super-careful even when just producing an illustrated cover for an annual report. Scientists carefully documented where the data came from, what it related to and exactly what data was where. And the annual report itself described all this as well as references to the scientific papers on which the illustration was based. Read it and wonder (my bold underline italics):

All over, almost before it started. Michael Mann and what WUWT won't tell you

Sou | 7:31 PM 27 Comments - leave a comment

Update - see below. The WUWT report is now up.

I know that after my last article you'll all have been expecting a new conciliatory tone from Anthony Watts. Well maybe some of you were. Okay, fair enough. No-one was. And it looks as if no-one was wrong. Just as I was able to report some of John Cook's lecture where Anthony Watts, who was paid to attend, failed. Now I can report a bit more about Michael Mann's Cabot Institute lecture in the Victoria Rooms at the University of Bristol yesterday. Anthony hasn't even bothered to write one article about it, or not so far anyway. The lecture was called:

The Hockey Stick and the climate wars - the battle continues

Victoria Rooms, Michael Mann Lecture venue Credit: Katy Duke

Anthony Watts meets some scientists - "Extraordinary" sez Anthony

Sou | 2:26 PM 21 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts got to meet some real scientists this week. His trip to the UK wasn't a complete waste of his fans money.

(Anthony ostensibly went to the UK to attend talks by John Cook and Michael Mann. He wrote a substance-free "report" of John Cook's talk and so far hasn't written anything about Michael Mann's talk. Nor did he ask either of them any of his "many" questions. Nor has he mentioned anything about any presentations. The people who paid for his trip could be forgiven if they felt diddled.)

Despite my scepticism, I don't want to spoil any goodwill that may have been created this week, so I'll try to be careful. I might not always succeed, so be warned.