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Friday, July 31, 2015

Surface temperature is not so different from models

Sou | 2:19 PM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

There's a new paper out in Geophysical Research Letters, which looks at global surface temperature. This time the purpose is to compare the observations with climate models. What's interesting is that the authors picked up something that I didn't know about, though scientists probably did. The surface temperature reported from climate models isn't the same as the surface temperature reported as observations. Almost, but not quite.

When an apples to apples comparison is made between climate models and observations, then one third of the discrepancy disappears. Here is a chart from Kevin Cowtan that illustrates this. (Read on below for further explanation).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Irony alert: The Open Atmospheric Society, Openness and Transparency

Sou | 5:14 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

Earlier this month, the Open Atmospheric Society, after months of secrecy about itself, finally called for nominations to its board. Investigations by a HotWhopper reader, FLWolverine, revealed who is formally behind the organisation. As most of us guessed,  it's the creation of Anthony Watts who runs a conspiracy theory and climate science denial blog WUWT. His co-founder is Joe D'Aleo. They registered the OAS in Nevada back in July 2012.

Seems that the OAS enjoys irony. Today Anthony announced (archived here) that the OAS has joined with organisations like the AAAS, AGU, AMS and others to become a signatory to the Transparency and Openness Promotion (TOP) Guidelines of the Centre for Open Science. As stated on the COS website, organization signatories are:

  • Expressing their support of the principles of openness, transparency, and reproducibility
  • If relevant, encouraging associated journals to conduct a review of the standards and levels for potential adoption.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How David Middleton mixes up his lizards at WUWT: hot vs cold climates, eggs vs live birth

Sou | 9:51 AM Go to the first of 18 comments. Add a comment

David Middleton thinks he's hit gold at Australia's ABC (archived here). What he's hit is amber. He should have heeded the warning. David wrote about an article that describes how a team of scientists, led by Dr Emma Sherratt of UNE, looked at lizards fossilised  in amber, from the Caribbean.

Amber means "stop"
(and think)
The ABC article (not the WUWT article, so much!) is about a paper in PNAS, which has this to say:
An unresolved question in ecology is whether the structure of ecological communities can be stable over very long timescales. Here we describe a wealth of new amber fossils for an ancient radiation of Hispaniolan lizards that, until now, has had a very poor fossil record. These fossils provide an important and previously unavailable perspective on an ecologically well-studied group and indicate that anole lizard communities occurring on Hispaniola 20 Mya were made up of the same types of habitat specialists present in this group today. These data indicate that the ecological processes important in extant anole communities have been operative over long periods of time.

This video is from Emma Sherratt, showing her amber-fossilized lizards - beautiful. Something you won't see at WUWT:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scary Movie

Sou | 11:43 PM Go to the first of 35 comments. Add a comment

Here's something to entertain. I don't live in the USA so am completely impartial on this score. Not quite. What I mean is, I have no say in the matter. However I'll make a pact ...

...if you do live in the USA, ple..e..e..ase don't vote for any of the GOP's not a scientists (or any "not a scientist" for that matter), and I promise I won't vote for any Australian denier politician.

More here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

New Hansen discussion paper is online

Sou | 5:12 AM Go to the first of 46 comments. Add a comment

In case you missed it, there's a new paper by James Hansen and lots of other people which is generating quite a bit of interest. It's not been reviewed - it's in the "for discussion" category at EGU's inter-active open access journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. That is, it's not had the final peer review. (See comment from Xavier Onassis below.) That's an interesting model for scientific publication in itself. There are not many journals that do this.

I haven't read the paper yet, and even if I had, the paper is quite long at 32 pages not including references and figures (61 pages in total). My articles are long enough as it is. Plus I'd like to wait and see what comments it attracts in the journal itself. Maybe over time I'll write about some aspects of it as shorter articles, rather than attempting to give a view of the whole. From what I've heard, it's a paper that will challenge people - scientists and policy makers and the general public, with lots of food for thought.

Bob Tisdale's latest conspiracy theory about ocean heat

Sou | 3:30 AM Go to the first of 7 comments. Add a comment

Today Bob Tisdale has found a new conspiracy theory that he's promoting (archived here). It's much the same as all the others. From his ergonomic computer chair in his basement (is he that advanced?) Bob decided that another group of scientists must be fudging the data. Problem is, Bob doesn't understand the data or how to use it, let alone how the scientists analysed it.

A warning that this article is long. I enjoyed writing and researching it. The paper this article is based on is a great example of the sort of effort and thinking required to scope out and quantify the changes we're bringing about. Which is of critical importance IMO.

Progress in determining changes in ocean heat content

The paper Bob doesn't like this time is by Dr. Lijing Cheng  from the International Center for Climate and Environment Sciences in China, and co-authors Jiang Zhu and John Abraham. They have been looking to improve the record of heat content of the top 700 m of the ocean. The paper is called: "Global upper ocean heat content estimation: recent progress and the remaining challenges". As the title suggests, the paper describes recent progress in this regard, and the challenges that remain.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A mammoth "oops" moment at WUWT

Sou | 7:23 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

In another rather silly article at WUWT, Eric "eugenics" Worrall (archived here) misrepresents a paper just published in Science Express. Thing is that Eric agrees with at least some of what the paper says, so in order to claim that "scientists don't know nuffin'", he makes out the authors say something different.

The paper was by a team of scientists led by Professor Alan Cooper from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA at the University of Adelaide. It was a study of megafauna, using ancient DNA, radiocarbon dating and geological records. What the researchers found was that it wasn't so much cooling that was behind the extinction or reduced populations of large animals, it was periods of rapid warming. After humans populated more of the world, their hunting, combined with rapid warming, were most likely the main contributing factors to the extinction of these large animal species (such as mammoths).

Model at the Royal BC Museum in Victoria (Canada). Source: Wikipedia

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Stop the presses! Anthony Watts has mentioned the Californian drought - then does a Tisdale

Sou | 2:19 PM Go to the first of 49 comments. Add a comment

OMG! Anthony Watts has mentioned the Californian drought (archived here). You know, the one plaguing his home state. True, the mention was buried in an article he wrote about El Niño. Still, it's worth celebrating. So what I've done is put together an animation of California drought status, starting in July 2006. I've put in the charts from US Drought Monitor for July and December - that is, two per year in July and December, from 2006 through to the latest chart in July 2015:

To put this momentous event (Anthony mentioning the drought) into perspective, here are some facts and figures from the animation and the US Drought Monitor archives:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Denier Weirdness Plus: How stolen comments stoke a huge outbreak of paranoia at WUWT

Sou | 7:32 PM Go to the first of 88 comments. Add a comment

Today the deniosphere has provided yet another example of the crazy and paranoid conspiracy thinking that underpins all of climate science denial. WUWT deniers have wrapped up their paranoia together with one of the other constants of denial - defaming people.  The criteria for conspiracist ideation includes assuming people have "questionable motives" at best if not "nefarious intent".  That is consistent with the incessant defamation you'll find on denier blogs. It doesn't take much for conspiracy theorising deniers to jump from assuming nefarious intent to assigning nefarious intent and screeching "fraud" and "fakery".

This little episode also comes with a less constant but occasional feature you'll see from deniers - that of wishing people dead.

Update: See below for a comment by John Cook on the Skeptical Science facebook page.

Fake experts

One of the five telltale signs of science denial is calling on fake experts. Anthony Watts at WUWT keeps very strange company and looks to some very odd people as his fake experts. For example:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Latest ENSO report - El Niño is getting stronger

Sou | 11:24 AM Go to the first of 10 comments. Add a comment

The latest ENSO wrap up from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology indicates that the El Niño is likely to continue to strengthen, with trade winds weakened or reversing.

The 2015 El Niño continues to develop. Weakened (or reversed) trade winds have resulted in further warming over much of the tropical Pacific Ocean. All key ENSO ocean monitoring areas have been more than 1°C above average for 10 successive weeks—two weeks longer than the record in 1997. The eastern tropical Pacific is now at or exceeding +2°C. In the atmosphere, the past week has seen the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) drop to around -20, the lowest values of the event so far.

Warning to the bandwidth challenged - one of the files below the fold is rather large (just under 1 MB).

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