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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Denier weirdness: Anthony Watts tiny brain explodes when hit with science, and he fails economics, finance and accounting 101

Sou | 6:49 AM 9 Comments - leave a comment

Poor little Anthony Watts is having a hard time coming up with interesting things to write about. Maybe it's just the fact that I've been very busy lately, but WUWT is looking very tired and uninteresting to my way of thinking.  Today Anthony does what all good deniers do - he moans about science.

How dare scientists report what has happened!

This time he's up in arms about the fact that scientists have looked very closely at what has happened to global surface temperatures over the past few years, compared it with climate models and found that there is not a lot of difference in the end. The reason is that natural variability, mainly ENSO, has kept the heat in the oceans and hasn't released big chunks for a few years. Climate models aren't designed to mimic every little interannual variation in synch with the weather. Their projections are for longer term trends. As well as that the observations haven't been keeping up with the rapid warming in the Arctic. Add in aerosols and the slightly dimmer sun and what do you get? The models are pretty good.

Anthony is furious that scientists would report this sort of thing. What he's complaining about is a new letter in Nature Geoscience, by Markus Huber & Reto Knutti who did a review of recent work on global surface temperatures. They looked at some of the work done a little while back, where models outputs were reviewed to take account of actual observations (or estimates) of aerosols, volcanoes, solar radiation and ENSO. They also looked at the work of Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way in regard to Arctic temperature trends. They put it all together and came up with what many other scientists have figured - that the models aren't that different to observations once you take all these factors into account.

Well, that was all too much for Anthony's tiny brain to absorb. He can't cope with reality. He's dead against the idea of bringing what's actually happened into account. This is what he wrote (archived here):
This quote from ETH Zurich is actually from another just published post, but it is so grating, so anti-science, that it deserves its very own thread to highlight it.
Here it is:
If the model data is corrected downwards, as suggested by the ETH researchers, and the measurement data is corrected upwards, as suggested by the British and Canadian researchers, then the model and actual observations are very similar.
This is like saying:
If we take all our economic projections for performance as suggested by our financial models, and correct it downwards, and at the same time, if we take all of our revenues and expenditures that are in the red, and adjust them upwards, out company will be on track and our investors will be satisfied.
Except, people go to jail for that sort of thing.

Anthony Watts is no economist, finance expert or accountant

You can tell that Anthony's never looked at a balance sheet and that he hasn't a clue about any of economics, finance and accounting. What does he get wrong? First of all, he's got economics mixed up with finance mixed up with accounting. And you don't have "revenues and expenditures in the red". You're "in the red" if you're bank balance is negative (you've got an overdraft) or your current liabilities exceed your current assets. And one doesn't make economic projections from financial models. You can make financial projections from financial models.

But it's worse than that. Anthony's got it all back to front. If companies don't issue updates to the stock exchange when their circumstances change, well that's when directors can go to gaol. If they try to hide the fact that things went awry in their financial projections and they are suddenly blessed with a much bigger profit or have suffered a huge loss, then they will get into strife.

Thing is, anyone who is monitoring what is expected against what has happened is doing the responsible thing by reporting it. If a financial projection is based on an expectation of high sales because of a upturn in the economy, and then there's a financial crisis - then the projection needs to be revised.

About the paper

If you want to read about the paper that so muddled Anthony's already muddled brain, you can read it at Nature Geoscience if you've got a subs or otherwise have access. Or you can read the press release at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich.

From the WUWT comments

As expected there are gasps and shrieks of indignation that anyone would examine what has actually happened in the world over the past few years. What cheek those scientists have. How dare they look at the data. That goes against everything that deniers hold sacred.

Frank K. is appalled that scientists would report their findings and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:10 am
This is the most perverted use of the word “corrected” I have EVER seen. Just stunning…

David Johnson is speechless but not wordless and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:20 am
I am speechless.

 JohnB wonders what all the fuss is about and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:28 am
A bit of context…
The “downward correction” is to account for the predominance of La Nina over recent years.
The “upward correction” is to account for bias due to lack of arctic temperature stations.

PeterB in Indianapolis doesn't understand that the science was based on what actually happened and says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:28 am
So basically, if we make sh*t up to match what we think is the “right answer”, then we can finally demonstrate that our answer is right! 

grumpyoldmanuk says:
August 19, 2014 at 9:36 am
“Except, people go to jail for that sort of thing.”
Not if they are Chairing a Central Bank they don’t.

Nor if they go by the name of Matt Ridley and chair a bank called Northern Rock.

Louis Hooffstetter says:
August 19, 2014 at 11:23 am
JohnB says: A bit of context…
The “downward correction” is to account for the predominance of La Nina over recent years. The “upward correction” is to account for bias due to lack of arctic temperature stations. Unreasonable?
John, John, John… We can’t adjust the models. They are based on sacrosanct laws of physics. To adjust them would be to “deny the science”. Surely you don’t want to be called a denier.
As for the temperature data, it has been adjusted enought already (way more than enough actually). So here’s what we do: Throw out the adjusted temperature data and use the satellite temperature data instead. Compare that to the unadjusted model outputs and see what you get.
Report back to us to let us know how that works out.

Louis, I'll go one better. Rather than throw away good data, let's compare four temperature data sets, including two satellite measures of the lower troposphere and two surface data. They are remarkable only for their similarity.

Data sources: NASA GISTempMet Office Hadley CentreUAHRSS

All the rest of the comments are much the same. Deniers don't want to see scientists reporting what has actually happened. They can't bear to lose one of their favourite faked memes that "all the models are wrong". They are all in a tizz because the models are most likely pretty right after all.

PS Maybe Anthony's mind hasn't been on his blog because he's putting the final, final, final finishing touches on his brand new "getting older every day" paper that has yet to see the light of day. Go comment about that at Stoat :)

Huber M, Knutti R: Natural variability, radiative forcing and climate response in the recent hiatus reconciled. Nature Geoscience, online publication 17 August 2014, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2228

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Denier weirdness: The weight of the atmosphere is pressure cooking Ferd Berple at WUWT

Sou | 6:09 AM 15 Comments - leave a comment

For you to ponder - seen at WUWT, in the comments to an article in which Anthony Watts was downplaying the current extreme drought in California. (Arguing it was worse 700 years ago so why worry?).

ferd berple says (quoting someone or other):
August 18, 2014 at 12:02 pm
the effect of increasing the concentration of the two main GHGs, water vapor and carbon dioxide, from about 303 to 304 molecules per 10,000 molecules of dry air would not be measurable.
due to partial pressure law, increasing CO2 by 1 molecule will tend to reduce H2O by 2.4 molecules, all else remaining equal. Otherwise the increased CO2 would increase the mass of the atmosphere, increasing the surface pressure, making it harder to evaporate water, until such time as the same weight of water failed to evaporate, bringing the weight of the atmosphere back into equilibrium.
Since the molecular weight of CO2 is 44, and the molecular weight of H2O is 18, it takes (44/18) = 2.44 molecules of H2O to equal the weight of 1 CO2 molecule. What is interesting is that this would yield a negative H2O feedback of 2.4, which almost exactly balances the 3 time positive water feedback assumed by climate science. Since the H2O will tend to come out of the atmosphere more rapidly than temps will rise, it could well be that partial pressure law causes a net negative feedback.
Which would explain why the models are running hot. They fail to allow for partial pressure law to reduce H2O in their calculations, as CO2 increases.

Usually deniers talk about CO2 being so small it can't have any effect. Ferd takes a different tack. He's run this argument before, that CO2 pressure is so great that it presses on the sky's walls and floor and ceiling and stops water evaporating :) (Shades of our friend, Mack!)

Double Dunce Award: WUWT gets it wrong when it claims the LA Times was wrong about Missouri streamflows

Sou | 3:23 AM Feel free to comment!

Today one of the WUWT regulars got a spot in an article at WUWT. It was about a very detailed study of streamflows in the Missouri River Watershed, which can be downloaded here.

Findings support a climatological forcing for the upward trends

The study noted significant changes over time. There was an upward trend in streamflow in some regions and a downward trend in others. The nature of the upward trend lends support for climatological forcing.  Other work identified that the downward trend is at least in part because of groundwater pumping. In the trend analysis at the end of the report, the authors wrote:
Either upward or downward significant trends in annual, monthly, and seasonal streamflow were pervasive within three watershed regions: downward trends in WR1 (upper Missouri River), upward trends in WR3 (Great Plains and Central Lowland physiographic provinces and Niobrara River), and downward trends in WR5 (Kansas River watershed). A comprehensive analysis of cause of trends is outside the scope of this report. An increase in diversions or consumptive use of water during the study period, however, could not result in upward trends in annual streamflows over broad regions, such as WR3. All seven HCDN streamgages in WR3 have upward trends, which supports a climatological forcing for the upward trends. Although not examined in this study, an increase in consumptive use because of groundwater pumping has been identified as a contributing factor to the downward trends in WR5 (Wen and Xunhong, 2006).
Downward trends in WR1, the upper Missouri River, were significant throughout this region and even on main-stem streamgages below reservoirs, such as streamgages 06177000 and 06185500 (map numbers 20 and 21, respectively) in WR1 and streamgage 06342500 (map number 53) in WR2. Two out of eight HCDN streamgages had downward trends, streamgage 06278300 (map number 32) and streamgage 06298000 (map number 40), whereas the remaining HCDN streamgages had no significant streamflow trends. Future studies could examine the forcing factors of these observed trends in streamflow, the watershed effects and potential long term consequences.

Now compare that with what was written at WUWT (archived here). To start with, Anthony wrote the article based on a comment by one of his fans, Joel O’Bryan, who has had quite a few of his comments quoted here at HotWhopper. He tends to make really dumb comments and gets very worked up about climate science.

Word search vs reading the words

Joel did something a bit unusual for a science denier, he went and checked the paper after reading a report in the Los Angeles Times. Well, he obviously didn't actually read the paper. What he did was do a search for the word "climate". I guess that's why he missed the Synthesis of Trends, which was just above the Summary at the end of the report, because it used the word "climatological", not "climate".

Monday, August 18, 2014

Another con job: the Galileo Movement put their hand out for Patrick Moore in Australia

Sou | 6:16 AM 37 Comments - leave a comment

Is Australia becoming a breeding ground for science-denying con men?

You may have heard (or not) of the "Galileo Movement" in Australia. It's a very small "organisation" of two rather nutty Queenslanders, Case Smit and John Smeed, who can't even understand what their own people are arguing. I think it probably still only numbers those two people plus a few hangers on.

As an example of how dumb they are, they couldn't accept that one of their mob were spouting a lot of anti-semitic conspiracy theories as part of a very garbled (to the point of incomprehensible) nonsense a year or so ago. I'm talking about the screed from Malcolm Roberts which Graham Readfearn wrote about, and which prompted journalist Ben Cubby to ask:
how does one critically analyse a pile of horse shit?

Australia's home grown deniers aren't up to the job?

You'd have thought this pair would be happy enough with seeing the opinions of Australia's resident supposed business leader turned fruitcake, Maurice Newman, occasionally plastered all over The Australian newspaper. Or the various efforts of people like Ian "iron sun" Plimer and Bob "agnostic" Carter. This mob have sponsored Christopher Monckton to tour Australia in the past. Christopher's latest visit was notable only for the absence of its coverage in the media.

Setting their sights low

This time the Galileo duo are angling for another small fish, Patrick "not a founder of Greenpeace" Moore. He's some Canadian who spends much of his time promoting golden rice. When he's not doing that he spends time rejecting climate science, if the fee is right, apparently.

The "value" of science denial - $100,000

I doubt too many people in Australia have ever heard of the chap. He seems to be a pseudo-environmentalist for hire. His fees are big. He's charging the Galileo Movement $100,000 for a short trip to Australia. (It rivals the ten minute video that went absolutely nowhere, by which some chap in Perth fleeced a bunch of deniers from all around the world of their hard earned dollars.)

Anthony Watts is lending a hand by putting the latest scam on his blog (archived here), which invites his readers to send their big fat cheques to Australia.

What are they paying for? Well, the article is short on detail. Apart from telling everyone that they need $100,000, the only details about what people will get for their investment are:
Rather than lecturing to the “converted”, the principal purpose of this visit is for him to meet with opinion leaders in the media, politics and business to convey a rational environmentalist’s views on why policies instituted because of the “catastrophic climate change” scare need to be realistically addressed.
Cheques can be deposited in the National Australia Bank account of the Galileo Movement Pty Ltd.

Sounds like a right lark. No details. No indication of who he'll be meeting with or why. No objectives other than to "convey" views. As if deniers' views aren't already well known. All zillions of them :)

I can't imagine who they'll manage to line up to meet with Patrick Moore. Maybe he'll find a couple of politicians willing to put up with his company in exchange for wine and pasta. You never know, Patrick might sell them some of his golden rice.

Anyway, I wonder how peeved Christopher Monckton is right now. He had to traipse across the country from one mediocre gathering of doddering old deniers to another, staying in who knows what lodgings along the way.  I don't know what he earned from his trip, but it wouldn't have been the most pleasant journey. More like a hard slog for any entertainer and especially so for someone who's no longer a spring chicken.

And along comes Patrick Moore. He manages to get someone willing to pay $100,000 and gets the high life. He can probably spend most of his time feasting in sumptuous surrounds. All he has to do is entertain a few bored politicians and anyone else who's willing to be taken out to dinner.

From the WUWT comments

It took a little while before any comments surfaced. Are they struck dumb? Are they a bit shy after the video fiasco? I've popped back in to see if they've hooked any suckers. (Archive here, latest archive here.)

davidmhoffer is the first to comment and says:
August 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm
Seems a bit steep?

Johna Till Johnson says:
August 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm
You might let him have a share of your big oil money. :-) That plus $5 could get him a cup of coffee at Starbucks…

John piccirilli says:
August 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm
100k is a bargain if it can help stop the not so green machine which
Spent a 100k of taxpayers money as I wrote this. Goon luck MM

outtheback says:
August 17, 2014 at 12:59 pm
Sadly “believers” are not likely to come as their mind is made up and Dr. Moore is viewed as a heretic. No conversions will take place.
A few fence sitters and the rest are going to be people who like/need confirmation of their thoughts and findings.
I venture to guess that not too many politicians want to be seen with Dr Moore. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Antarctica and rising seas, plus querying Holocene temperature trends

Sou | 2:44 PM 6 Comments - leave a comment

Worrall's up with that?

I was beginning to think that Anthony Watts had sold off his blog to Eric Worrall, who is a nobody, just another also-ran denier who comments a lot on various blogs. He is big on opinions and very short on knowledge. (Most of his articles are shallow and silly. I've written about them on occasion, like here and here and here.) I was starting to think that because of a rash of nothing articles by him filling up the daily WUWT quota. Turns out it's just that Anthony has been travelling or working or something or the other, and his normal workforce wasn't coming up with anything he could blog. Except for Tim Ball. But he's a complete write-off and I've already spent way too much time on his conspiracy theories.

Given that WUWT has been so boring the past couple of days, I'll write about two new science papers instead.

Antarctic melt will raise sea level by 1 to 37 cm this century

First there's a new paper from scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), which estimates sea level rise this century from the melting of Antarctica. If you were hoping for an estimate to the nearest centimetre, be prepared to be disappointed. The research team came up with a range from one centimetre to 37 centimetres this century. That seems not terribly helpful until you learn that the upper limit is quite a bit higher than what was projected in the latest IPCC report. From
For the first time, an international team of scientists provide a comprehensive estimate on the full range of Antarctica's potential contribution to global sea level rise based on physical computer simulations. Led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, the study combines a whole set of state-of-the-art climate models and observational data with various ice models. The results reproduce Antarctica's recent contribution to sea level rise as observed by satellites in the last two decades and show that the ice continent could become the largest contributor to sea level rise much sooner than previously thought.
"If greenhouse gases continue to rise as before, ice discharge from Antarctica could raise the global ocean by an additional 1 to 37 centimeters in this century already," says lead author Anders Levermann. "Now this is a big range -- which is exactly why we call it a risk: Science needs to be clear about the uncertainty, so that decision makers at the coast and in coastal megacities like Shanghai or New York can consider the potential implications in their planning processes," says Levermann.
The scientists analyzed how rising global mean temperatures resulted in a warming of the ocean around Antarctica, thus influencing the melting of the Antarctic ice shelves. While Antarctica currently contributes less than 10 percent to global sea level rise and is a minor contributor compared to the thermal expansion of the warming oceans and melting mountain glaciers, it is Greenland and especially the Antarctic ice sheets with their huge volume of ice that are expected to be the major contributors to future long-term sea level rise. The marine ice sheets in West Antarctica alone have the potential to elevate sea level by several meters -- over several centuries.
According to the study, the computed projections for this century's sea level contribution are significantly higher than the latest IPCC projections on the upper end. Even in a scenario of strict climate policies limiting global warming in line with the 2°C target, the contribution of Antarctica to global sea level rise covers a range of 0 to 23 centimeters.

Right now the contribution of Antarctica to sea level rise is minimal. This paper shows that could change in the near term. Going by other studies that's pretty likely. I've written before about a raft of studies that came out a few weeks ago, particularly looking at West Antarctica - here and here and here.

Was the surface temperature rising or falling in the Holocene?

Another interesting paper was challenging the prevailing view that global surface temperatures were falling during much of the Holocene. The question is referred to as the Holocene conundrum, which I've never heard of before. Maybe you have. The paper was by an international team of researchers, with the lead author being Zhengyu Liu from the Nelson Center for Climatic Research and Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Some excerpts from
Writing in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences today, Liu and colleagues from Rutgers University, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, the University of Hawaii, the University of Reading, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the University of Albany describe a consistent global warming trend over the course of the Holocene, our current geological epoch, counter to a study published last year that described a period of global cooling before human influence.
The scientists call this problem the Holocene temperature conundrum. It has important implications for understanding climate change and evaluating climate models, as well as for the benchmarks used to create climate models for the future. It does not, the authors emphasize, change the evidence of human impact on global climate beginning in the 20th century.
"The question is, 'Who is right?'" says Liu. "Or, maybe none of us is completely right. It could be partly a data problem, since some of the data in last year's study contradicts itself. It could partly be a model problem because of some missing physical mechanisms."
Over the last 10,000 years, Liu says, we know atmospheric carbon dioxide rose by 20 parts per million before the 20th century, and the massive ice sheet of the Last Glacial Maximum has been retreating. These physical changes suggest that, globally, the annual mean global temperature should have continued to warm, even as regions of the world experienced cooling, such as during the Little Ice Age in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries.
The three models Liu and colleagues generated took two years to complete. They ran simulations of climate influences that spanned from the intensity of sunlight on Earth to global greenhouse gases, ice sheet cover and meltwater changes. Each shows global warming over the last 10,000 years.
Yet, the bio- and geo-thermometers used last year in a study in the journal Science suggest a period of global cooling beginning about 7,000 years ago and continuing until humans began to leave a mark, the so-called "hockey stick" on the current climate model graph, which reflects a profound global warming trend.
In that study, the authors looked at data collected by other scientists from ice core samples, phytoplankton sediments and more at 73 sites around the world. The data they gathered sometimes conflicted, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere.
Because interpretation of these proxies is complicated, Liu and colleagues believe they may not adequately address the bigger picture. For instance, biological samples taken from a core deposited in the summer may be different from samples at the exact same site had they been taken from a winter sediment. It's a limitation the authors of last year's study recognize.
"In the Northern Atlantic, there is cooling and warming data the (climate change) community hasn't been able to figure out," says Liu.
With their current knowledge, Liu and colleagues don't believe any physical forces over the last 10,000 years could have been strong enough to overwhelm the warming indicated by the increase in global greenhouse gases and the melting ice sheet, nor do the physical models in the study show that it's possible.
"The fundamental laws of physics say that as the temperature goes up, it has to get warmer," Liu says. 

I wonder who wrote that last sentence? Press releases often put words into people's mouths without their knowledge.

I expect the other paper they are referring to is the Marcott study, which was a detailed estimate of global surface temperature trends for the entire Holocene. I don't know what the reaction is from the rest of the paleo community. If you come across comments on the paper, or (informed) blog articles about it, I'd be interested to see them.


Richard Telford has a blog article about the Zhengyu Liu paper, at his blog Musings on Quantitative Palaeoecology. (H/t Steve Bloom).
[Sou  - later in the day on 16 August 2014]

A. Levermann, R. Winkelmann, S. Nowicki, J. L. Fastook, K. Frieler, R. Greve, H. H. Hellmer, M. A. Martin, M. Meinshausen, M. Mengel, A. J. Payne, D. Pollard, T. Sato, R. Timmermann, W. L. Wang, R. A. Bindschadler. "Projecting Antarctic ice discharge using response functions from SeaRISE ice-sheet models." Earth System Dynamics, 2014; 5 (2): 271 DOI: 10.5194/esd-5-271-2014

Zhengyu Liu, Jiang Zhu, Yair Rosenthal, Xu Zhang, Bette L. Otto-Bliesner, Axel Timmermann, Robin S. Smith, Gerrit Lohmann, Weipeng Zheng, and Oliver Elison Timm. "The Holocene temperature conundrum. PNAS", August 11, 2014 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1407229111

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sack Australia's biggest laughing stock, Maurice Newman! His denier wackiness is resurrected at WUWT

Sou | 7:17 PM 95 Comments - leave a comment

This year, April, May and June were each the hottest April (tied), May and June on record according to NOAA. You'd not credit it if you believed the nonsense from science deniers.

Maurice Newman is probably Australia's most "senior" deluded denier. I've written about his nonsense before - here and here. I don't expect he's the oldest denier in Australia but he's the highest ranking denier who advised the Australian Government. He's also one of the wackiest deniers. A right ratbag - assuming he actually believes the rubbish that pours out of his mouth.  Eric Worrall happily copied some of his idiocy at WUWT (archived here).

I say pours out of his mouth because Maurice is of an age and background that makes me doubt he knows how to use a keyboard. And goodness knows when he last put pen to paper, except to sign his name. He'd be of the era of secretaries of the typist kind, and failing that of dictaphones.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

King tides, storm surges and rising seas are anathema to WUWT

Sou | 7:51 PM 3 Comments - leave a comment

WUWT has an article about a paper in Geophysical Research Letters last month (archived here). The paper was called: "Sea level anomalies exacerbate beach erosion", which is self evident, given that in most places (but not everywhere) sea levels are rising relative to the coastline. (In some places the land is rising more quickly than the sea, so effectively sea level can fall in some places even while globally seas are rising.)

The lead author was a PhD candidate, Ethan Theuerkauf from the Institute of Marine Sciences at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He's had quite a few papers published on similar topics. I don't know if he's been awarded his PhD yet, but he's been publishing for several years now.