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Monday, September 22, 2014

310,000 people are wrong and Bob Tisdale is right?

Sou | 9:51 PM 10 Comments - leave a comment

Last weekend, all around the world people gathered to urge action on climate. In New York City the gathering was estimated at 310,000. You can read more in the New York Times, where it got a front page spread.

The climate action rallies got under the skin of WUWT. So far there have been five different articles about them.

Today at wattsupwiththat, Perennially Puzzled "Bob Tisdale" decides that all these hundreds of thousands of people have their priorities skewed. Why? Because he looked up a UN survey.

Bob's headline was like something from The Onion:

More Than 310 Thousand People with Skewed Priorities Flood New York

People for climate from around the world

Sou | 2:37 AM 10 Comments - leave a comment

From around the world

There are more photos - click read more

Sunday, September 21, 2014

WUWT quote of the day from Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger

Sou | 8:43 PM 11 Comments - leave a comment

Seen today. Chip Knappenberger (half of the Pat'n Chip denier duo of the Cato Institute) is quoted in a copy and paste at WUWT:

...there are a lot more cases of non-extreme weather than there are of extreme weather.


Ain't that obvious? Nuts for brains!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

More on John Cook in Bristol, what WUWT won't tell you

Sou | 8:03 PM 60 Comments - leave a comment

Earlier I wrote a short article about the presentation John Cook gave at Bristol University last night. His talk had the title:
Dogma vs Consensus: Letting the Evidence Speak on Climate Change

I figured you might be interested to know that you can now download the presentation from I believe it's a slightly cut-down version.

Source: John Cook Bristol Presentation
John used a mixture of science, humour and serious thought-provoking examples. Of course, he threw a couple of curved swinged? swung? lobbed? some cricket balls along the way, from the look of the presentation.

Understanding the science

To illustrate how valuable are public meetings on climate change, one thing John commented on was how few people can explain the greenhouse effect. In his presentation, he said that earlier this week he gave a talk elsewhere and had one person who could explain it, and they had an American accent. I gather from a tweet, at his Bristol talk it was someone from U Bristol who was able to explain it to the audience.

A taste of Bristol

I made a video of some of the slides in John's presentation (with permission), so you can have a taste even if you weren't able to be there to hear him speak. The slides include how the greenhouse effect works as well as showing evidence that scientists who know about climate agree on the cause of global warming. I included some Obama pics, which will annoy the fake sceptics :) The last slide is about the U Queensland course - details below.

Click on the square in the bottom right to view full screen, or click the YouTube logo in the bottom right to watch on YouTube.

Here are some photos of the Bristol event, courtesy of Katy Duke:

Credit: Katy Duke
John doesn't just hop on the stage and then disappear. In the photo on the left, he is charming someone in the foyer before his presentation began.

John took questions from the audience. In the photo below, everyone is listening to the question. Katy reported that question time was dominated by questions from "sceptics", which John answered with science.

Credit: Katy Duke
The person in the middle of the picture didn't put his hand up to ask a question at all, which must have dismayed the people who paid for him to attend.

Denial tactics and how to deal with them

John Cook showed some of the tactics of deniers and disinformers. The slide in photo below is Slide 30 of his presentation.

Credit: Katy Duke

Here it is again:

Source: John Cook / Bristol Presentation

John Cook isn't fazed by the sort of nonsense illustrated in that slide. He often says that it's data. John's research interest is science communication with a particular emphasis on neutralising disinformation. In one part of his presentation he explained how it's not just rebutting denier myths that can suffer the backfire effect, it can happen to disinformers when they spread disinformation, too.

Source: John Cook / Bristol Presentation

Unfortunately I wasn't at his talk, so I don't know exactly what John said. However he often cautions that care needs to be taken to avoid the backfire effect when it comes to communicating science and debunking denier myths. I can understand that the same principles would apply to deniers.

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial - A new course at UQ

If you're interested in the subject of science denial and how to combat it (and what HotWhopper reader isn't interested), you can enrol in a course at the University of Queensland.

Source: John Cook / Bristol Presentation
You can audit the course for free, or you can enrol to obtain a certificate. Classes start on 10 March next year and run for seven weeks.

Highly recommended.

The WUWT Report of Bristol

Finally, this set of tweets and the one shown below are the closest that Anthony Watts has come to reporting the event so far. [See update below.] He didn't ask a single question. There's nothing at WUWT yet, still. Maybe Anthony is nursing his head after a heavy after-talk get-together with the denier gathering (it's only 10 o'clock the morning after in the UK).

Anthony was ushered into the event protected by lots of other fake sceptics, so he can't even boast about how brave he was to venture into a public lecture with normal people. He wasn't all on his little lonesome this time.

As I said in my previous article, I'm not convinced that the people who paid for him to attend will think they got value for money.


Anthony has just now this minute, posted his report of the Bristol event (archived here). It is muted, almost congratulatory, considering Anthony's usual stance toward John Cook and He was taken aback by John Cook coming up to him before the presentation, writing:
We chatted about travel, family, and other pleasantries, and I found him to be pleasant and reserved as well as treating me with courtesy. Such types of meetings face-to-face are quite different from what one would expect to see in written commentary or blog chatter. There was no hint of condescension between either of us and we left on pleasant terms.

From the WUWT comments

None yet. The WUWT article has just this minute appeared. I may check back later and post a sample.

Here's an archived copy of the WUWT article, with lots of comments, for anyone who's interested.

John Cook's brilliance in Bristol and the sound of silence at WUWT

Sou | 12:23 PM 5 Comments - leave a comment

I see that John Cook's talk was very well received in Bristol. By all accounts he gave his usual brilliant presentation.

I'll write more when I can. As you can guess, the topic of communicating science is of great interest to me, as a blogger who tries to demolish disinformation. I learn a lot from John Cook.

One thing that's interesting is that a prominent global warming "skeptic" blogger was in attendance (see bottom RHS of top photo above). He was followed out of the lecture by a strange crocodile entourage of 13 blokes, I've been told :)

Deniers stunned into silence

Anthony had his trip paid for by his readers, but so far not a peep from him.  Not a tweet, no WUWT article at the time of writing this article - some hours after the end of the lecture. I hear he didn't even put up his hand to ask a question. And not for want of prompting from his fans.

Below is a record of Anthony's tweeting frenzy while at the Bristol talk. A big fat zero!. (Click to enlarge.)

After the lecture, Anthony Watts and his mates went off to drown their sorrows at a local pub. I don't know if his backers will be disappointed or if they had no expectations.  I didn't see any complaints about his similar failure to deliver when they paid him to go to #AGU13, so they are probably not very discerning about where they spend their hard earned dollars - as long as it's not to help mitigate global warming.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Remember the weather at Rutherglen? BoM was right all along, of course!

Sou | 6:31 PM 79 Comments - leave a comment

Do you recall all the kerfuffle a short while ago about the temperature record for Rutherglen? (Graham Readfearn wrote about it at the time, too.) It was pretty obvious to anyone who looked at the data that something changed a few decades ago. The record was adjusted - I should say, straightened out. It was corrected because the data record showed there had been a change at the site.

It didn't stop disinformers kicking up a stink complaining the data had been adjusted and not just adjusted but adjusted "up".. They even roped in Graham Lloyd at the Australian.

Well, they got what they wanted only it's not what they want, I suspect. A diligent BoM researcher did a lot of digging. A lot more than I did. (I only made a couple of phone calls and looked at some BoM data and other stuff on the internet.)

While deniers were chastising BoM for not having someone on hand to hop in a time machine, go up to the research station and look at where the weather station was in the 1950s, one of their people was busy doing the next best thing. Getting records from various different archives.

You can read the result of their efforts here. It's a beautiful little glimpse into history.

Oh. Needless to say, there is very strong evidence, I'd say incontrovertible (don't you love that word) evidence of a station move before 1966. And indications of a change in the weather station in the 1970s. As BoM states:
The need for the adjustment made to Rutherglen data for the period prior to 1966 was determined from an objective statistical test that showed an artificial jump in the data during this period.
While it is not necessary to have supporting documentation to justify correcting a statistically determined artificial jump in the data, it is of interest that the change at Rutherglen is very likely associated with a change in the location of the weather station.

Graham Lloyd will no doubt have an article in tomorrow's Australian, profusely apologising to BoM and chastising Jen Marohasy, Bill Johnston, Anthony Watts and other deniers for (further) besmirching the reputation of the environment section of The Australian.

Don't you think?

[Update: for the answer, see below. Sou: 19 Sept 14]

Congratulations to the scientist at BoM who went above and beyond the call of duty. That is such a lovely account, not just of the history - with photos and maps and records, but an illustration of how back in the 1950s weather was weather and weather stations were used for weather, not climate so much. This example also demonstrates that the science works. That the statistical tests are robust.

It also illustrates how difficult the task must have been for people like Phil Jones and his colleagues at CRU in the early days, trying to put together a climate record of the entire world - on a shoestring budget. They would not have been able to visit every weather station in the world even if they had the funds. They would have been painstakingly putting together a record of the world's temperature trends, based on handwritten records of weather stations all over the world. And all the people in weather bureaux everywhere who've entered data from hand written records into computers. The mind boggles just trying to imagine the humungous task that people have quietly gone about doing back over time, without complaint and without the honour and glory bestowed on them that they deserve.

If you're not careful, you'll find your blood pressure rising, thinking about how carelessly and callously deniers accuse these people of "getting it wrong", cherry picking one example out of hundreds - and deniers don't even get that right as this example shows.

You'll notice, no doubt, that despite all the aggravation heaped on BoM without any reason for it, BoM responded without a trace of snark. Scientists are gracious people, aren't they.

Unlike bloggers:)


For Billy Bob, disinformer and uber conspiracy theorist. He wanted some information to eyeball. He is one of those people who thinks that a single station at a single site is representative of the entire world. If it hasn't warmed in Rutherglen then it disproves global warming is the gist of Bob's argument.

A single site will show much more variability than a region. A region will show much more variability than a continent. A continent will show more variability than a hemisphere. Global land only surface will show more variability than the entire global sea surface. The global land and sea surface combined will show least variability of all. Averages tend to smooth.

Some places in the world are cooling. Some show no overall trend at all. The vast majority of places on earth are warming, as evidence by the large rise in global surface temperature. At Rutherglen research station it has been getting warmer recently.

I have plotted the max daily temperature for Rutherglen for two periods - the entire history and the period since 1966 (after the break in data). Note these past few years in particular, and how warm even the coolest years were, compared to the past.

Data source: BoM

Data source: BoM

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Judith Curry picks a cherry in her motivated recycled denial

Sou | 10:09 PM 45 Comments - leave a comment

UPDATE: (Note - I'm going through the video at the moment and making updates. I'll let you know when I've finished. Done.)

Judith Curry: "we are fooling ourselves to think that CO2 control knob really influences climate on these decadal or even century time scales,” (See update below)

Judith Curry has dived deeply into denialism. On her blog she has promoted an article about her by Marc Morano (infamous for his role in the "swiftboat" attack on John Kerry) on his CFACT blog, writing:
Marc Morano has written up a summary that includes some of the discussion [link], although I’m a bit puzzled by the headline.

If the headline is the only bit she's "a bit puzzled about", one assumes she endorses the rest. The rest includes a lot of twaddle such as:
“Even on the timescale of decade or two, we could end up be very surprised on how the climate plays out and it might not be getting warmer like the UN IPCC says,” Curry noted.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen. All other things being equal – yes — more carbon dioxide means warmer, but all other things are never equal,” she emphasized. 
And in response to someone who observed that snow packs are lessening and glaciers are disappearing and the world is changing so quickly "right before our eyes", Judith came up with some trite denier nonsense (Video 38:30).

She said: "Climate is always changing." Oh my!

As a scientist she should have said something like this, "Yes,  Inertia toward continued emissions creates potential 21st-century global warming that is comparable in magnitude to that of the largest global changes in the past 65 million years but is orders of magnitude more rapid."

Judith gave a plug to "what she happens to think" based on nothing at all, nothing she's published and nothing anyone else has published, and she contradicts known science, opining that "the anthropogenic effect is about half of what the IPCC says". (Video: 50:05) But the IPCC science is based on tangible observations and measurements, not random "I thinks" of a disinforming blogger. Gavin Schmidt rebutted Judith's gut feel very well. (Good scientists use their brain for thinking, more than their gut.)

Remember when Judith Curry said, less than a year ago:
I have long stated that scientists advocating for public policy can lead to distrust of scientists and their scientific findings.

She's recanted, with a vengeance. Not only is she advocating public policy, she's putting herself forward as an economic and governmental relations "expert", too, despite her warnings that when scientists advocate it can lead to distrust (my bold italics) Video at 1:06:48:
Relying on global international treaty to solve the problem — which I do not think would really solve the problem even if it was implemented – is politically unviable and economically unviable. 
Actually, I don't think that picking this out the way Marc Morano did gave justice to the context. I disagree that a global agreement is politically and economically unviable (think Montreal Protocol) and I'd go further to saying it's essential. If she'd said it's not by itself sufficient I would have agreed. However, Judith was also arguing for local initiatives here. She talked about being "stuck between a rock and a hard place" and "trying to find new ways of approaching the problem" like "regional, local, experimenting kind of approaches". (Which are already happening.) She doesn't want any more investment in climate models.

On the other hand she misrepresents the broad scientific findings, implying there is equal weight between the opinions of a small minority of contrarians and the findings of the majority of scientists. Notice how she slips in a policy dot point at the bottom, too. An issue that is not just for physical scientists but for economists and others to address:

Judith Curry misrepresenting the broad scientific consensus. Source: Video at 10:59

She also attacks Cook13 (video 11:10), a rigorous study of the actual literature supported by a survey of scientists who published that same literature, and says it was "deeply flawed" based on no evidence whatsoever. It wasn't. Judith just makes a bald statement. What a rotter. Parrotting a mantra of deniers like Marc Morano, Anthony Watts and Christopher Monckton (what company does Judith keep these days, one wonders). And she complains about being alienated. Is it any wonder? Her sole "evidence" are "two recently published" opinion surveys, which she doesn't identify, but which obviously lumps in non-expert with expert opinion and claims there is a lower "consensus" than 97%.  I'm guessing that one of them was the survey of American meteorologists, where a lot of weather forecasters, tv announcers and so forth, were not familiar with climate science. The other might have been the survey by Bart Verheggen et al with the "al" including John Cook. Which interestingly found that disinformers like Judith Curry get a disproportionate time on the airwaves compared to honest scientists. She neglected to mention other studies that all find that almost all scientific papers on the subject prove or build on the knowledge that humans are causing most if not all recent global warming.  Probably more than all, because some of what we pollute the air with (some aerosols) has a cooling effect.

If you need convincing, read this, which Marc highlighted up top and repeated in the main text (my bold underline). I couldn't believe what I read, so I checked. Yes Judith really did say out loud in front of lots of people. (Video 51:09):
“We just don’t know. I think we are fooling ourselves to think that CO2 control knob really influences climate on these decadal or even century time scales.” 

Judith has swung away from science and into utter nuttery. She is reported as saying:
We get called ‘deniers’. This is a very sad state of affairs,
Update 2: In the comments below, Joshua has pointed out that Judith has (very slightly) wound back her ridiculous statement above, writing in the comments: "This was an unscripted response to a question. Should have been ‘dominates’ not influences".  That's still absurd. Three points. Does she really need a script to remind her of the difference between "dominates" and "influences"? Secondly: Look at the chart below and tell me, what else could possibly be dominating the rise in temperature of the past 65 years. Why are temperatures today not the same as they were in the 1950s, 1960s or even 1970s? Thirdly: read Gavin Schmidt's response to Judith's denialism. Sou 21 September 9:32 am AEST.

Back in May this year, Judith admitted that on a "skeptic/orthodox" spectrum she had shifted from a 7 (mainstream scientist end) to 3 (denialist). Her dive into denialism has shifted further. Here is the updated graphic:

A sad state of your own making, Judith.

Sou Thurs 18 Sept 2014

Judith Curry spoke to the much-reviled George C. Marshall Institute yesterday. She spouted her usual nonsense (pdf here). You know the sort of crackpottery she comes up with these days. Having read her article, I bet most of the audience fell asleep while she was talking. It was boring, tedious and wrong.

My prediction was a bit off. She didn't spatter her handout with "wickeds". There was only one mention and that was "wickedness".  Not a single monster or stadium wave washed across the text. And she didn't mention Michael Mann once - or not in her written blurb anyway.

(Update: It wasn't in her handout, but in her talk she did talk about Marcia Wyatt's stadium wave, and there were lots of "wickeds" so I wasn't so wrong after all.)

I was right about some things though. There were 16 "uncertainties" or variations of same. Twenty-one IPCCs, full of disinformation. Her claims about the IPCC are nonsense needless to say, as Gavin Schmidt explains. And she doesn't want to reduce CO2 emissions. Her close to closing para was:
Motivated by the precautionary principle to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 16+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales. Even if CO2 mitigation strategies are successful and climate model projections are correct, an impact on the climate would not be expected for many decades, owing to the long lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere and thermal inertia driven by the ocean; solar variability, volcanic eruptions, and natural internal climate variability will continue to be sources of unpredictable climate surprises.

Utter rubbish. Judith does believe in the precautionary principle when it suits her. When there's a 30% chance she'll be inconvenienced, Judith advocates shutting down a city. When there's a 100% chance that the world will suffer serious hardship, Judith doesn't want to lift a finger.

Judith wants the world to get hotter and hotter and hotter. What does she care? She will, though.  She mightn't get swamped by rising seas if she stays inland but she's young enough to feel the real heat when it comes.

By the way, if that passage looks familiar it's because you've read something like it before, in Judith's testimony to the  US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works back in January this year.
Motivated by the precautionary principle to avoid dangerous anthropogenic climate change, attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob on climate variability on decadal time scales.

She's recycling the lies she told to the US Government. Isn't there a crime in that somewhere on the books? Does she think she's covered herself by using the word "may"? How many decades does she think it takes for CO2 warming? It's already been happening for decades. You'll notice that she added a year for some reason. Why would that be?

Cherry picking classic

Will you look at that. Sixteen years ago is 1998, the year of the super El Nino. The classic denier cherry pick. Craig Rucker of CFACT would be proud!

Data Source: NASA GISS