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Friday, July 25, 2014

The tipping point - out of control...

Sou | 4:04 AM 2 Comments - leave a comment

A previously unheard of 1,500 people per million ...

You dreaded this moment, but it looks like it has finally come. We've passed the tipping point...

The fact that the very existence of global warming somehow remains a topic of contention demonstrates that the density of these skeptics has spiraled out of control,” McCarthy said, citing data from the report showing that the concentration of the most ardent deniers recently reached a previously unheard-of 1,500 people per million. “While the U.S. remains the planet’s largest producer of climate change skeptics, countries halfway around the world are suffering environmental destruction from the actions of these people who refuse to acknowledge the threat of extreme weather conditions and rising sea levels. The effects of these outspoken deniers are truly global in scope.”

Read the full story at the Onion.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brendan Montague tells of the Las Vegas denier festival from the inside

Sou | 7:16 PM 7 Comments - leave a comment

I've only just got around to reading Brendan Montague's account of the denier festival in Las Vegas. If you missed it - here's a link to the article.

Some snippets as tasters:
...The hundreds of sceptics around me not once questioned the bizarre, the illogical, the poorly constructed claims that swirled in front of our eyes. This parody of science was a deadly hybrid of 1970s Open University programmes and sub-Cirque du Soleil....
...Delingpole has written off one of the most influential climate studies as “ludicrous, comedy” and claimed its author, Professor Michael Mann at Penn State University, has “little discernible talent”. But during our confrontation he confirmed he had never interviewed Mann, never read his book and never read any of his scientific papers. I was dumbfounded. ...
...I buttonholed Joseph Bast and asked whether he had indeed chosen Vegas as a brilliantly daring provocation to his critics. The spin of the roulette wheel reminded me at least of the madness of sub-prime mortgages and credit default swaps that plunged millions of Americans into penury. Was it social commentary? “No”, he said. “The rooms were cheap”.... 

Read the full article here.

Watching the weather for 84 years and the petty peeves of Anthony Watts

Sou | 11:57 AM 24 Comments - leave a comment

Anthony Watts has an article about Richard G. Hendrickson, who is being honoured by the NOAA for watching the weather for 84 years. That's a very long time. Richard Hendrickson is now 101 years of age. He's been reporting weather at Bridgehampton, New York for the USA COOP network since he was just a lad of 18.

Congratulations, Richard. That's a long time of continuous service.

Richard Hendrickson is aware of global warming

The reason I'm writing this, apart from congratulating Richard Hendrickson, is because WUWT readers might be interested in the fact that he is concerned about global warming. He (or the journalist) might confuse the stratosphere with the troposphere, but he did say in a 2008 interview with the local paper:
We have polluted the stratosphere and because of that we have had warmer weather in the summer and milder weather in the winter and the potential of having heavy precipitation in the summer time increases– if not more rains, maybe they will be a little heavier than they have been in the past – you’ll notice your basement floods a little easier, your roof might leak a bit.
We are in a period in the cycle of global warming. We have polluted our stratosphere with our big factories and it will happen.

Adjusting data for time of observation

Anthony is determined to spoil Richard's celebration by complaining about how the weather station is not ideally sited and blames NOAA. Then he complains about data being adjusted. His headline (archived here, latest update here) was:
I wonder how this dedicated weather observer feels about having his readings adjusted by NCDC?

Anthony leaves that question for readers to wonder. He doesn't say that whether or not the readings have in fact been adjusted.  Apparently it's sufficient to ask the question.

Anyway, I checked some of the records from NOAA. For the Bridgehampton weather station, the time of observation wasn't recorded until the late 1940s. Then up until May 2008, the observations were taken at 8:00 pm. From then till now they were taken at 8:00 am. So I think that Richard Hendrickson would be quite comfortable with the data being adjusted to allow for the change in time of observation, if nothing else.

Anthony Watts' petty peeve

One more thing. Anthony is most irate that the Director of NASA's GISS, Dr Gavin Schmidt, doesn't spend all his days and nights sitting at a computer terminal entering data for individual US weather stations in the NOAA's COOP network. I wonder does he know the scope of NASA's work? Does he know, for example, that NASA gets data from NOAA? If he is concerned about the GHCNV3 data, why does he complain about NASA and not about NOAA?
…NASA GISS run by Gavin Schmidt, can’t seem to find the time to get their data set current for Bridgehampton, as seen here, only going to 2012. You’d think Gavin could tear himself away from Twitter long enough to at least get the data updated, especially since this man is so dedicated to the task.

This is from the NASA web page:
Q. Does GISS deal directly with raw (observed) data?
A. No. GISS has neither the personnel nor the funding to visit weather stations or deal directly with data observations from weather stations. GISS relies on data collected by other organizations, specifically, NOAA/NCDC's Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) v3 adjusted monthly mean data as augmented by Antarctic data collated by UK Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and also NOAA/NCDC's Extended Reconstructed Sea Surface Temperature (ERSST) v3b data. 

Does Anthony Watts, weather station watcher extraordinaire, not know that little fact? Apparently not. Anthony Watts isn't just a spoilsport and wet blanket, he is an ignorant spoilsport and wet blanket. He doesn't hold a candle to Richard G. Hendrickson or Gavin Schmidt.

Update: From the WUWT comments

Anthony has pledged "More on all this in a later post." Will this be another broken promise? A couple of people pointed out to Anthony Watts that GISS uses NOAA data.

I also see that in addition to the change in time of observation, there has been a station move. Nick Stokes says, quoting Jim:
July 23, 2014 at 9:17 pm
jim says: July 23, 2014 at 9:08 pm “Absent any location or observer specific reasons for the GHCN adjustment of the recorded data from this observation site, the GHCN adjustments are just destruction of observation data.”
Why not try to find out, then?
The first thing you’ll find is that data is undestroyed. In fact, it is graphed in the page you refer to, which shows what is on the unadjusted file. And as the head post indicates, you can get the original docs on line.
But in fact if you look at the adjustment history, there is just one sustained change in the early 1980′s. And sure enough, the metadata tells you there was a station move around that time.

Added by Sou at around 3:30 pm AEST 24 July 14

Latest WUWT archive here, in which HW is quoted (paraphrased) :) 10:42 pm AEST 24 July 14

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

James Risbey and co: Another perspective on surface temperature observations and climate models

Sou | 12:13 AM 39 Comments - leave a comment

The new Risbey paper that so puzzled Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale and caused them to make public fools of themselves yet again, was not an evaluation of climate models. It wasn't an evaluation of model's ability to emulate ENSO. The research was answering the following question:
How well have climate model projections tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature?
Their answer was:
These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale gets it wrong again

Bob Tisdale writing at WUWT (archived here) gets so much wrong in his article about the Risbey paper that it would take several articles to demolish every item. I'm not about to go to all that trouble. Let me just list a few things he got wrong:

If I had to pick one mistake out of all the mistakes Bob made, apart from not understanding basic thermodynamics and conservation of energy, perhaps Bob's biggest mistake is that he thinks CMIP5 climate models are designed to model day to day and year to year real world weather for the next several centuries. They aren't. That's an impossible task. It would mean being able to accurately predict not only random weather fluctuations but also every action that could affect weather. Such as how many aeroplanes are going to be flying where and when. Where and when the next volcanic eruption will be and how energetic it will be and what will be the composition of the stuff that blows out of it. How the sun will vary over time. Plus being able to find a computer of a size, and people to code, every single possible present and future interaction between the air, the land, animals, plants, the oceans, the ice, clouds, rivers, lakes, trees, the sun and outer space.  Humans are good and computers are powerful, but not that good and not that powerful. It's not just random fluctuations and disturbances in nature. We also affect the weather. Scientists model climate with those big computer models, not day to day weather.

I've written more below about the difference between models that are used to make weather forecasts and models used for climate projections - with some examples and links to further reading.

Climate models and natural internal variability - if in phase it's pure chance

Before talking about any of the hows and whys of Bob Tisdale getting it wrong, let me follow up my article from a couple of days ago and talk more about the Risbey paper itself and climate models in general. If you want to read more about climate models, I recommend the article by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

The abstract and opening paragraph of Risbey14 is important to understand if you are wanting to know what the paper is about. In particular these sentences:
Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations.

Climate vs weather

The bit I put in bold italics is what this paper is all about. Some people wrongly think that climate models designed to make long term projections should also reflect natural internal variability happening at exactly the same time as it happens in reality. Why they have that expectation is anyone's guess. As you know, even weather forecasts that are primed with the most recent weather observations can only predict weather a few days out at most before chance takes over and they head off in all sorts of random different directions. Climate models that don't have recent observations plugged in, but rely on physics, will include natural variability but that random natural variability will only occasionally be in sync with reality and then purely by chance. It's the effects of long term forcings like increasing greenhouse gases that are evident in climate projections and that's what we are most interested in from them. In other words, long term climate models are for projections of climate not weather.

How realistic are climate model projections?

The Risbey paper was looking to see if climate model projections were overestimating warming or not. It took a different approach to that taken by other studies. Other studies have looked at the question from different angles. Stephan Lewandowsky has explained three previous approaches in his article about the Risbey paper. You can read about them there, there is no need for me to repeat them here.

I will repeat the following from Stephan's article though, because it's a point that science deniers ignore. Observations remain within the envelope of climate model projections. As Stephan showed, this is illustrated by a chart from a paper by Doug Smith in Nature Climate Change last year.

Source: Smith13 via ShapingTomorrowsWorld
The chart above shows three things. First that the overall trend is up. It's getting hotter. Secondly observations are within the envelope of model projections. Thirdly that over time temperature goes up and down and doesn't go up at a steady pace. The bottom part of the chart is the trend per decade. It goes up and down but has mostly been in positive territory since 1970.

Predicting weather and climate

The Risbey paper sets the scene by describing the difference between a climate forecast and a climate projection, then the difference between weather variability and climate. It describes a climate forecast as attempting to take account of the correct phase of natural internal climate variations whereas climate projections do not.

Apart from any practical considerations, there are good reasons for this distinction. For climate projections looking ahead from decades to centuries, it doesn't matter much when natural internal climate variations come and go on a year to year basis. The interest is in the long term overall picture. For the next several decades and centuries, the interest will be in how much surface temperatures will rise, how quickly ice will melt, how soon and by how much seas will rise and where they will rise the most etc.

Even for projections over decades, we are most interested in regional climate change. Not interannual fluctuations such as ENSO variations so much as long term changes in the patterns of rainfall and temperature. ENSO affects weather. It will happen without climate change. The more important questions for the long term are things like: Will a region be getting wetter or drier? Will it be subject to more or less drought? Will the annual pattern of precipitation change, which will affect agricultural production, water supply management, flood control measures?

Climate models aren't yet able to be relied upon for projecting regional patterns of climate change with great accuracy but they can provide a guide.

The point is different models are adapted and used for different purposes. There are models used to predict short term weather. Some forecasts are fully automated (computer-generated) and others have human input. They are only useful for looking ahead seven to ten days. They are good for guiding decisions on whether to pack an umbrella, plant a crop, be alert for floods or scheduling construction tasks.

There are models that are constructed or adapted to make medium term weather forecasts, like those used by the Bureau of Meteorology to predict ENSO looking out over a few weeks to months. They are useful for making farm management decisions, utility companies making decisions on water storages (store or release water from dams), putting in a rainwater tank if it looks as if the next few months will be dry etc. They are forecasting weather not climate.

Then there are models adapted or constructed for longer term regional outlooks and models developed to look at the world as a whole.

Energy moves around between the surface, the ocean and the atmosphere

Climate models are used for more than just surface temperature. It's surface temperature that probably gets most attention in the media and on denier blogs. The world as a whole is warming up very quickly. Different parts of the system heat up at different times at different rates. Sometimes the air heats up more quickly than others. Different depths in the oceans heat up at different rates at different times too. Ice melts, but not at a steady pace. All that is because all these different parts of the system are connected. Heat flows between them. Anyone who goes swimming will have experienced the patches of warm water and patches of cold water in lakes, rivers and the sea. Just as heat is uneven on a small scale, it's uneven on a large scale.

I know some of you will be wondering why I'm taking readers back to climate kindergarten. Well if you read some of the comments to the previous article you can guess why. And if you manage to wade through even a part of Bob Tisdale's article at WUWT and the comments beneath, you'll get an even better appreciation.

CMIP5 projections are based on climate models not weather forecasts

All that is a prelude to the Risbey paper. It was looking at whether or not the recent global surface temperature trends are any different to what can reasonably be expected from model projections, given natural internal variability in the climate.

So the first thing to understand is that the CMIP5 climate model projections used by the IPCC will not generally model internal variability in phase with that observed over the model run. They do include internal variability but it's a stochastic property. It's purely a matter of chance when any model will show an El Niño spike or a La Niña dip in temperature for example. Whether a particular spike or dip lines up with what happens is pure chance. Sometimes a model run will be in phase with the natural variability observed and other times it won't. It's not important. Over time the natural internal variability cancels out. It's the long term trends that are of interest here, not whether an El Niño or La Niña happens at a particular time.

The Risbey approach

I call it the Risbey approach because James Risbey from Australia's CSIRO was the lead author. However I believe it was Stephan Lewandowsky who came up with the idea to take a look. Stephan thought it would be interesting to see what would be the effect on observations if the modeled natural internal variation was in phase with those observed.

Recall the point about climate models incorporating internal natural variation, but not necessarily in sync with when it happens in reality.  So what the team did was to look at windows of fifteen year periods and scan for model runs that were most closely aligned with observations, taking ENSO as the main measure of internal natural variability.

From the perspective of interannual internal variability, the factor that affects surface temperature as much or perhaps more than any other is ENSO. El Niño warms the atmosphere and La Niña has a cooling effect on the atmosphere. What happens is that heat is shifted between the ocean and the air. If there was no global warming trend, the surface temperature would go up and down with ENSO, leaving a long term trend of zero. (I've written a long article about ENSO, which includes references to good authorative sources.)

This brings us to the opening paragraph of the Risbey paper. On a short time frame, to see if models are reasonable, one needs to look at models that forecast. In other words, models that include natural internal variation that is in phase with what actually happens. Short to medium term forecast models do this by initialising them with the most recent observations or incorporating of the latest observations.  Most climate projection models are independent of recent observations. They are based on physics not live readings of what is happening. So if they happen to be in phase with internal natural variability at any time, it will only be by chance.

If you want to allow for natural internal variability and compare models with observations, one way you can do that is to look at model runs that happen to have a period of natural internal variability in phase with observations for the period of interest. That's what the Risbey team did.

Risbey14 looked at individual model runs and compared them with observations. For each fifteen year period they selected the model runs that were in phase with real world observations in relation to ENSO. They started with 1950 to 1964, then 1951 to 1965, then 1952 to 1966 etc. After selecting the models most closely aligned with ENSO phases observed for one fifteen year period, they moved up a year and looked at the next fifteen year period and so on. As well as that they were able to select, for each fifteen year period, the models that were most out of phase with ENSO.

Here is a conceptual visualisation of what they did:

Don't take too much notice of the actual data. It's a composite CMIP5 with GISTemp. And I'm not suggesting they eyeballed like that. They didn't. The above is just to get across the concept of what was done. In practice, the researchers selected model runs on the basis of their similarity in timing with real world observations of Niño 3.4 and related spatial patterns of sea surface temperature in the Pacific. [Correction: Stephan Lewandowsky has advised that during the selection phase they didn't look at the spatial patterns beyond Niño 3.4, which makes sense in the context of Figure 5 discussed below.] The image above is just so you get the idea that they looked at fifteen year periods starting with the period from 1950 to 1964.

The meaning of "Best" and "Worst"

That leads me to the discussion of "best" and "worst" that you may have read about and that Bob Tisdale got so wrong.

The research was not evaluating models. There is labeling on Figure 5 in the paper, which uses the words "best" and "worst". However there is no suggestion that the four "best" models are in any way superior to the four "worst" models in terms of what they are designed to do, which is future projections of climate. The word "best" denoted the subset of model runs in any fifteen year period that were most in phase with observations for ENSO. Conversely the word "worst" denoted the model runs that were least in phase with ENSO observations.

The paper compares the spatial pattern of temperature variation for the period 1998 to 2012. It compares models most in phase with the ENSO regime with observations as below. The real world observations are on the right: (click to view larger size)

Source: Figure 5 Risbey14

It also compares models most out of phase with the ENSO regime with observations:

Source: Figure 5 Risbey14

The point being made was that the model runs most in phase with the real world ENSO observations had a "PDO-like" spatial pattern of cooling in the east Pacific. Look at the above charts close to the equator near South America.  In the top left hand chart, while not as cool, the overall pattern is closer to the observations on the right. In the bottom chart, the warming is smudged all over and it doesn't show the cooler east Pacific. Figure 5 showed that the model runs most out of phase showed a "more uniform El Niño-like warming in the Pacific".

Bob Tisdale was thrown by the word "best" and "worst". He also seemed to think the climate model runs should have been identical to the real world. He's wrong because he doesn't understand what CMIP5 climate models are for or how they work. As the paper states, when you select only the model runs in phase for the period, you get much closer spatial similarity, not just a closer match for the surface temperature as a whole. When you lump all the climate model runs together, the multi-model trends average out the internal variability. Models will cancel out the effect of each other when you lump them all together, because on shorter time scales, it's only by chance that some have internal variability in phase with the real world.

When it comes to "best" and "worst", the paper was only referring to the extent to which selected model runs were in phase with the real world. There is no suggestion in the paper that any one model was any better as a model than any other. The research was not an evaluation of climate models. In fact, different models were in and out of phase in different fifteen year windows. Just because by pure chance a model run was in phase with ENSO over a particular time period did not mean that same model run was in phase with ENSO in other time periods.

Models will go in and out of phase with the real world over time. That randomness is intrinsic to climate models. The models are designed to respond to forcings like increasing greenhouse gases and changes in solar radiation. They exhibit internal variation too, because the physics is built in. But it won't generally be at exactly the same time as it happens in the real world. (If there were long term models that could do that, then most weather bureaus would be out of business.)

Now, if you have a large enough sample, then in any fifteen year period some model runs will line up pretty well with natural fluctuations in the real world. Just by chance. So if you want to see a short period of time, like say the last fifteen years, you can see if any model runs line up with ENSO over that period and if they do, how close are they overall to global surface temperature observations.

That's probably the nuts and bolts of the paper. Comparing all model runs for a short period like the last few years won't tell you a whole lot about whether the models are realistic or not. That's because individual model runs won't necessarily be in sync with the real world in regard to natural variability. They are expected to reflect the dominant climate forcings but not the exact timing of ENSO for example.

By looking just at model runs that just happen to be in sync (by chance), you can see how much they vary from the real world observations. This study showed that once you allow for the fact that models won't be in phase with natural variability, then the models are even closer to real world observations. I'll finish with the two figures showing trends, that Stephan had in his article. The one on the left is from the "in-phase" model runs compared with observations. The one on the right is those least "in-phase" compared with observations. As always, click to enlarge.

Source: Risbey14 via Shaping Tomorrow's World

Further reading:

Acknowledgement: Thanks to James Risbey for answering my naive questions so promptly. Thanks to Stephan Lewandowsky for describing the work so well. Any mistakes in this article are mine. It wasn't checked by any of the paper's authors before publication. Since then, I've made one correction, thanks to Stephan L. And thanks to all those who made available a copy of the paper so I could write this article - RN, AS, JR and SL.

Note: updated with more links to WUWT. Sou 11:14 pm 24 July 2014

James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes. "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase." Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2310

Monday, July 21, 2014

No fatal blunder: Matching climate models with ENSO matches observations.

Sou | 4:30 AM 89 Comments - leave a comment

Update 2: I've now written the promised article. You can read it here. And you can click here to see the previous HotWhopper article on the subject.

Update: The devastating rebuttal is out (archived here). It is, as expected, not devastating at all, unless you were under the mistaken impression that Bob Tisdale understood climate models and global warming. If that were the case - be devastated. It's not a rebuttal either. All it is is Bob Tisdale missing the point and contradicting himself a few times in the process. He seems to think that the authors are dividing models into "good" and "bad". By my reading, he's missing the point. What the authors were doing is providing further evidence that the so-called "pause" is the result of natural variation (see below).

Anthony's own promised rebuttal hasn't appeared. I wonder if he was hoping that Bob Tisdale would let him appear as joint author? You can read the archived WUWT article here if you want to. I've got other things to do so won't be able to rebut Bob's rebuttal for a while yet (see PS below).

While I'm away, if anyone can send me a copy of the paper I'd be grateful (sou at I've emailed the authors, which is a bit hit and miss and/or it may be a while before they see my request. Got it now, thanks.

We're waiting for pseudo-science journalist Anthony Watts to write his "denier-blog-peer-reviewed" rebuttal to the new Risbey & co paper, describing the fatal blunder they think they've discovered. In the meantime, here is what looks to be the essence of the paper as described by Stephan Lewandowsky. (I'm not as clever as Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale because I don't have a clue what the fatal blunder could be.)

First the abstract to the paper in Nature Climate Change (my paras):
The question of how climate model projections have tracked the actual evolution of global mean surface air temperature is important in establishing the credibility of their projections. Some studies and the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report suggest that the recent 15-year period (1998–2012) provides evidence that models are overestimating current temperature evolution. Such comparisons are not evidence against model trends because they represent only one realization where the decadal natural variability component of the model climate is generally not in phase with observations.
We present a more appropriate test of models where only those models with natural variability (represented by El Niño/Southern Oscillation) largely in phase with observations are selected from multi-model ensembles for comparison with observations. These tests show that climate models have provided good estimates of 15-year trends, including for recent periods and for Pacific spatial trend patterns.

Stephan described how in order to compare models to observations, they "must be brought into phase with the oceans. In particular, the models must be synchronized with El Niño – La Niña". He described three approaches to doing this, which have already been published, including one that I've written about here. He then goes on to describe this new analysis:
The fourth approach was used in a paper by James Risbey, myself, and colleagues from CSIRO in Australia and at Harvard which appeared in Nature Climate Change today.
This new approach did not specify any of the observed outcomes and left the existing model projections from the CMIP5 ensemble untouched. Instead, we select only those climate models (or model runs) that happened to be synchronized with the observed El Niño - La Niña preference in any given 15-year period. In other words, we selected those models whose projected internal natural variability happened to coincide with the state of the Earth’s oceans at any given point since the 1950’s. We then looked at the models’ predicted global mean surface temperature for the same time period.
For comparison, we also looked at output from those models that were furthest from the observed El Niño - La Niña trends.
The results are shown in the figure below, showing the Cowtan and Way data (in red) against model output (they don't differ qualitatively for the other temperature data sets):

Stephan posted these charts - click to see them enlarged:

He wrote:
The data represent decadal trends within overlapping 15-year windows that are centered on the plotted year. The left panel shows the models (in blue) whose internal natural variability was maximally synchronized with the Earth’s oceans at any point, whereas the right panel shows the models (in gray) that were maximally out of phase with the Earth.
The conclusion is fairly obvious: When the models are synchronized with the oceans, they do a great job. Not only do they reproduce global warming trends during the last 50 years, as shown in the figure, but they also handle the spatial pattern of sea surface temperatures (the figure for that is available in the article).
In sum, we now have four converging lines of evidence that highlight the predictive power of climate models.

You can read Stephan Lewandowsky's full article here - it's worth it.

Now what problems Anthony Watts and Bob Tisdale think they have found is still a mystery, which we will unravel in due course. I can't fathom what it could be.

I wonder if they both think that all climate models should mimic natural variability in synchronisation with what is observed? That would be an unrealistic expectation, though it would be nice to have. It would also suggest that they don't understand climate models. My favourite description of models is provided by Scott K. Johnson at Ars Technica.

I'll add to this article once Anthony has written his devastating rebuttal :) Meanwhile, try to get your head around what Anthony finds "of interest". His brain is positively addled with conspiratorial ideation. He added this to his earlier article, where the paper describes the contributions from the various authors:
of interest is this:
J.S.R. and S.L. conceived the study and initial experimental design. All authors contributed to experiment design and interpretation. S.L. provided analysis of models and observations. C.L. and D.P.M. analysed Niño3.4 in models. J.S.R. wrote the paper and all authors edited the text.

And this will amuse:
The rebuttal will be posted here shortly.
PS I've now got two three copies of the paper - thank you very much RN and AS and JR. I'm on the road today, and won't get a chance to sit down and write about Bob's ramblings before tomorrow. Same goes for comments. I'll be able to delete dumb comments, but won't have time to repost them to the HotWhoppery until tomorrow. (That last is just in case any little mouse thinks of playing while the cat's away ...)

Sou 11:24 am AEST 21 July 2014

James S. Risbey, Stephan Lewandowsky, Clothilde Langlais, Didier P. Monselesan, Terence J. O’Kane & Naomi Oreskes. "Well-estimated global surface warming in climate projections selected for ENSO phase." Nature Climate Change (2014) doi:10.1038/nclimate2310

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Has a "climate journalist" discovered a major blunder?

Sou | 1:04 PM 12 Comments - leave a comment
Update 2: I've written two more articles about this. The main one is about the paper itself and points out some of the errors made at WUWT. The other was an interim follow up to the release of the paper.

Update: the Risbey paper is out (h/t Steve Bloom) and can be accessed here at Nature Climate Change, but you'll need a subscription. Stephan Lewandowsky has been good enough to write about it on his blog.

Sou 3:53 am AEST 21 July 2014

We'll have to wait and see. Anthony Watts thinks he has found a "major blunder" in a new paper (archived here). This is the same Anthony Watts who was described by his good friend, Willis Eschenbach, as (paraphrased):
Even if Anthony had a year to analyze and dissect each piece...(he publishes on his blog, he couldn't tell if it would)... stand the harsh light of public exposure. 

This same Anthony Watts writes:
As a climate journalist running the most viewed blog on climate, I have been graciously provided an advance copy of the press release and paper Risbey et al. (2014) that is being held under embargo until Sunday, July 20th. I am in the process of helping to co-author a rebuttal to Risbey et al. (2014) I think we’ve spotted a major blunder, but I want to check with a team member first. 

If Anthony Watts is a climate journalist he hides it well. Anthony is hopeless at the job. He posed as a journalist to get a free press pass to AGU13, but the most interesting thing he "reported" was that he could hear the sound of smirks. The rest could not be described as "journalism" by any stretch of the imagination.

This is the same Anthony Watts who had so much difficulty Googling "James Risbey, CSIRO" and clicking on the first item in the list, writing:
Hello Dr. Risbey,
At first I had trouble finding your email, which is why I sent it to Ms.Oreskes first. I dare not send it to professor Lewandowsky, since as we have seen by example, all he does is taunt people who have legitimate questions.

This is the same Anthony Watts who thinks dumb questions are "legitimate".  Anthony doesn't like being "taunted".

Clarification: In case you thought Anthony had been "graciously provided" with a copy of the paper by the journal Nature or one of the authors, you'd be wrong. He said he was emailed a copy by a "journalist". (My guess is the so-called "journalist" is someone like Steve Milloy who blogs junk science.) Sou: 7:45 pm AEST 20/7/14

If you're interested, the question that Anthony posed was related to climate models and the simulation of "spatial patterns of the warming and cooling trends in sea surface temperatures during the hiatus period". There was a special issue of Nature Geoscience this March, which had a number of articles relating to global warming over the past few years. And there've been other papers, such as this one by Yu Kosaka and Shang-Ping Xie in Nature.

Getting back to Anthony's question - he said he wants to "check with a team member first".  But that claim is contradicted by the fact that he was so excited that he might have found "something wrong" that he preempted any reply by writing about it on his blog.

True to form, Anthony doesn't wait for the answer, but posts about his "cleverness" on his blog. That's the point. He doesn't care about the answer. All he cares about is that a question at WUWT, any question, no matter if it's dumb or on the ball, is fodder for dumb deniers to claim AGW is a hoax.

We'll have to wait and see if Anthony Watts and perennially puzzled Bob Tisdale have accidentally been right this time. Since we don't yet know what the paper is about (though we can take a stab at guessing the general topic), there is insufficient data to come to any conclusion.

From the WUWT comments

Brad says:
July 19, 2014 at 9:58 am
Very well written!! Nothing “extra” added, simply asking a question.
It will be interesting to see if you get a response, or the release gets pushed back.

Anthony's response to Verity Jones is more evidence that he is not a climate journalist. Otherwise he'd be well aware of the fact that Stephan Lewandowsky and Naomi Oreskes are not climate modellers. Verity says:
July 19, 2014 at 10:06 am
I was going to ask if you were sent the supplementary data that so often accompanies papers published in Nature, but it is unusual for papers relying on separate supplements to refer the reader to them, so I am supposing this is not an oversight of the sender in this case. Very well handled.
REPLY: I asked the journalist if an SI was included, and none was listed. Still such an important label of the best and worst models, central to the claim of the paper, surely would not be relegated to the depths of an SI. – Anthony 

At the time of archiving there were 130 comments. So many strong opinions about a paper that has not yet been released from the embargo. About a paper of which no-one but Anthony and Bob Tisdale know the subject. About the authors of the paper, and about Anthony's cleverness and astuteness as a "climate journalist".

Whether the Weather

I hope James Risbey doesn't mind my copying his little rhyme, which most internet sources attribute to John Ruskin:

Whether the weather be fine 
Or whether the weather be not 
Whether the weather be cold 
Or whether the weather be hot, 
We'll weather the weather 
Whatever the weather 
Whether we like it or not.

And I've got my own version: 
Some of us will weather the weather, 
some of us will end up under the weather, 
some of us are totally over the weather and, 
whether we like it or not, 
some of us won't weather the weather at all.

Sou 4:29 pm AEST 20 July 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On speaking plainly or the political correctness of deniers at WUWT

Sou | 8:56 PM 8 Comments - leave a comment

Deniers don't like to be labelled deniers. It makes them squirm and wriggle. They feign offence when someone writes that they are sick and tired of climate science deniers bagging scientists and peddling disinformation.  The are quite comfortable with the accusation they are bagging scientists and peddling disinformation, but they object to being called a denier.

Political correctness denier-style

For example, Bob Bolder, while proclaiming to one and all about how he rejects climate science and all evidence on which it's based, writes how he wants to disagree with a definition, but insists on changing the definition so that he can disagree with it:
July 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm
C Lang says “I would categorize a climate science denier as someone who dis-regards the peer-reviewed scientific literature when forming opinions about climate change.”
Who disregards, we disagree there is a huge difference.
Debating the conclusions is not denial its science, peer review does establish something as fact it establishes something as worth of debate and investigation. AGW is a theory that is being put forth to explain observations in nature. Almost no one here dismisses anything out of hand they investigate the data and the conclusions and challenge the results and the evidence is more and more on the this side of the debate anyway. AGW may prove out in the end but the models that the theory is based around and the conclusion derived there from clearly are at odds with observed fact.
I will and do listen to anything that AGW supporters say but more and more it is becoming dogma and not science and unfortunately the bias is all too obvious and this brings into question the motives of the these people and why they fear to be questioned and debated.
If you want to use labels on the subject choose balanced ones like Supporters of the theory and Non-supporters of the theory.

He prefers to be referred to as a "non-supporter of the theory". He likes euphemisms. He's striving for political correctness.

That's just one example. There are many more. It's weird, isn't it.

More denier word play

Then again, the average WUWT-er doesn't understand the difference between a prediction and a projection. For example, if I claim that tomorrow WUWT will post another denier article I'm making a prediction. If instead I said that, subject to the internet being alive and subject to Anthony sitting at his computer, he will post another denier article I'm creating a scenario. That's more like a projection than a prediction. If the requirements aren't met, then I reserve the right to change my claim.

IPCC projections are based on scenarios - or pathways as they are now. If we continue to burn fossil fuels as if they are going out of style, then certain things will happen - temperatures will rise by x degrees, sea level will increase by x metres over a specified time period etc. If we stop burning fossil fuels, then the projection is different.

A projection is like a prediction but has constraints. It's got "what-ifs" built in. Deniers don't like that because all they are interested in is trying to find fault with the science. If ice is melting faster than expected, then deniers can point to that fact and claim the science is wrong. AGW is happening even faster than the science predicted or projected. Well, that might be a bad example because I don't think I've seen any deniers use that particular argument.  You get the point though.

Deniers think that using the word projections is a trick that scientists use so they can avoid saying they were wrong about something. But that's wrong. A projection can be wrong.

Twisted reasoning, warped thinking - How Interesting.

I'll leave you with this comment from AlexS, who says:
July 19, 2014 at 12:57 am
C Lang “I would categorize a climate science denier as someone who dis-regards the peer-reviewed scientific literature when forming opinions about climate change.”
Ah… so Einstein was a Physics denier. That would been very helpful.
And funny how suddenly being judgmental started to be okay.
But i see that you follow Lysenkism.

For some weird reason he's equating one of the world's most famous physicists with climate science deniers, who haven't contributed a thing to the field of climate science.

Next he complains about a straightforward definition implying a value judgement and he seems to object to the definition on those grounds. Where is the logic? What is his reasoning? Is he trying to argue that a person who disregards peer-reviewed scientific literature when forming opinions about climate change is "not" denying the science? That somehow despite disregarding the peer-reviewed scientific literature they are actually taking it into account? Twisted thinking at its best.

The last two lines are good, too. It's judgemental to define as science deniers people who disregard science but it's not judgemental to accuse an individual of following "Lysenkism" (sic)?

I think "how interesting" would be the polite response, or perhaps "I hear what you say" :)