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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Serial disinformer Vincent Gray flounders in rising seas at WUWT

Sou | 6:28 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment


Anthony Watts, denialist blogger at wattsupwiththat.com has copied and pasted another disinformation article, this time by Vincent Gray from New Zealand (archived here).  Vincent Gray is writing at WUWT about sea level and gets lots and lots wrong.  Which is to be expected.  Vincent Gray has devoted the past few years to his new career of climate science disinformer.

Anthony Watts seems to think he should be shown respect because he's getting very old.  Vincent Gray is a climate science denier going back a few years now.  He founded the science-disinformation organisation "New Zealand Climate Science Coalition" back in April 2006 back when he was a sprightly 84 year old. Here is a bit of background on him from Wikipedia:

Credit: Vincent Gray
SourceWikipedia
Vincent R. Gray (born 1922, London) is a New Zealand-based chemist, and a founder of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition.
Gray has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Cambridge University after studies on incendiary bomb fluids made from aluminium soaps. He has had a long scientific career in the UK, France, Canada and China working on petroleum, plastics, gelatin, timber, paint, adhesives and adhesion, coal, and building materials with well over 100 scientific and technical articles, patents and chapters in books. In New Zealand, he was the first Director of Building Research and later, Chief Chemist of the Coal Research Association.[1][2] He has also published many articles and reports, seven in peer-reviewed journals. 

Some bits Vincent Gray got right...


What does Vincent say that's wrong?  It would take a lot less space to write about what he said that was right.  Here's an example of what he got right:
Chapter 13 of the IPCC 5th WGI Report claims that sea level will rise by an amount between 0.26 to 0.97 metres by 2100 according to which of their new scenarios actually happens
Vincent has given numbers from bottom of the "likely" range of the highest mitigation scenario, RCP2.6, to the top of the "likely" range of the no mitigation scenario, RCP8.5.  This is discussed on page 13-47 of the AR5 WG1 report.  The "likely" ranges are given as 0.4 metres for RCP2.6 and 0.73m for RCP8.5.  So even if we manage to reverse global warming this century (RCP2.6), seas will continue to rise as the earth system moves towards a new equilibrium.

Vincent goes through a few basics by way of introduction.  He is correct that for most of us land-dwelling organisms, it's the height of the sea relative to the land that's of most interest.  But that's about as far as "correct" goes in Vincent's article.

Vincent refers to the rather nice map from the UK's Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL).  You can click on the map to see the local sea level changes for different coastal locations as measured by tide gauges.  PSMSL recommends only using RLR (Revised Local Reference) data for time series.

So Vincent Gray got a couple of things right...but it's not long before he gets it horribly wrong.

Sea level is rising around the world


I won't go through everything that Vincent Gray wrote.  I'll just select a few of his "wrongs".  Vincent put up Figure 13.23 from page 13-117 of the IPCC report.  I took my own snapshot as below.  Click to see the larger version:

Source: IPCC AR5 WG1 page 13-117
Figure 13.23: Observed and projected relative net sea level change (compare Figure 13.20) near nine representative coastal locations for which long tide-gauge measurements are available. The observed in situ relative sea level records from tide gauges (since 1970) are plotted in yellow, and the satellite record (since 1993) is provided as purple lines. The projected range from 21 CMIP5 RCP4.5 scenario runs (90% uncertainty) is shown by the shaded region for the period 2006–2100, with the bold line showing the ensemble mean. Colored lines represent three individual climate model realizations drawn randomly from three different climate models used in the ensemble. Station locations of tide gauges are: (a) San Francisco: 37.8°N, 122.5°W; (b) New York: 40.7°N, 74.0°W; (c) Ijmuiden: 52.5°N, 4.6°E; (d) Haldia: 22.0°N, 88.1°E; (e) Kanmen, China: 28.1°N, 121.3°E; (f) Brest: 48.4°N, 4.5°W; (g) Mar del Plata, Argentina: 38.0°S, 57.5°W; (h) Fremantle: 32.1°S, 115.7°E; (i) Pago Pago: 14.3°S, 170.7°W. Vertical bars at the right sides of each panel represent the ensemble mean and ensemble spread (5–95%) of the likely (medium confidence) sea level change at each respective location at the year 2100 inferred from the four RCPs 2.6 (dark blue), 4.5 (light blue), 6.0 (yellow), and 8.5 (red).

Vincent makes the claim in relation to the above that:
Every one of these actual measured sea levels have shown no sign of change for at least ten years, yet all the projections claim that this settled behaviour will suddenly change to an upwards level of around half a metre by the end of the century.
No sign of change for at least ten years, he claims.  He's wrong!

Being naturally skeptical of people who have a history of lying, I checked.

Here are charts from the source that Vincent seems to have recommended, PSMSL.  I've managed to plot all but one of the locations he referred to when he said that seas weren't rising.  I couldn't find a recent series for "Bay of Bengal".  I'll leave it to you to decide just how many of the "every one" Vincent got woefully wrong.  As always, you can click the animated image for a larger view.

Data Source: PSMSL

Why Vincent decides on ten years to make a judgement is anyone's guess.  But even looking at a mere ten years of data there are only three of the above charts that Vincent chose for which it could be argued there is no perceptible rise since 2002.  For some of them the recent rise is very large.  And in all of them the seas are rising inexorably over time.

The temperature rise will be greatest in the Arctic


Vincent writes the contrary:
All the models assume that any temperature rise will be least at the poles and greatest at the tropics because the water vapour feedback is lower at the poles..They do not mention Antarctica where the ice is currently increasing
He's got this one back to front.  Models don't "assume", they project.  Models don't indicate that the temperature rise will be greatest at the tropics, they indicate that the temperature will rise most in the Arctic, which is what has been happening.  Here is how the IPCC projects temperature to change in different parts of the world as the world heats up.

Source: IPCC AR5 WG1 Chapter 14 page 14-144
FAQ 14.1, Figure 1: Projected 21st century changes in annual mean and annual extremes (over land) of surface air temperature and precipitation: a) mean surface temperature per °C of global mean change

The chart above indicates that most of the Arctic region will heat up by two degrees or more for every one degree increase in global average surface temperature - except for an area just south of Greenland. The land will heat up more quickly than the oceans.  The Antarctic will rise just a tad more quickly than the average surface temperature - and land areas in the tropics will heat up more than average, but not as much as the Arctic.

You'll have noticed that he got it wrong  about the Antarctic, too.  Sea ice in the Antarctic hit a record high this winter but sea ice doesn't affect sea level.  And on the continent ice is melting.  There is a net loss. Melting ice in Antarctica is estimated to be adding 0.59 ± 0.20 millimeter a year to global sea level. Any accumulation in the east is more than offset by the melting in the west and on the peninsula.


No measurements?

Vincent writes:
There are no measurements of temperatures on ice anywhere, on ice caps, oceans or glaciers. In all cases there are other influences.on their behaviour. In the Arctic it is the temperature of the ocean and the behaviour of the ocean oscillations.
I don't know what he's going on about here.  What does he mean by saying there are no temperature readings or records on ice or in the oceans.  Of course there are.  Denier Don Easterbrook will be very upset with him for telling that lie!

The temperature of the ocean influences temperatures on land in lots of places.  Extra hot oceans are being blamed for Australia's run of broken heat records over the past year.  Thing is, what's causing the oceans to get warmer?  It's all those extra greenhouse gases!


The ice in the Arctic is "growing" because it's winter, dummy!

Vincent writes:
The ice in the Arctic is beginning to grow now
Of course it is.  The Arctic is heading for winter.  But ice in the Arctic is on a death spiral.  Even science deniers should know that:



Getting back to sea level projections


Sea level projections rely on estimates of how quickly the ice sheets in Antarctica and the Arctic will melt.  And how quickly glaciers all around the world will melt.  But particularly the ice sheets on Greenland and in Western Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula.  If the ice sheets melt faster than expected then seas will rise more quickly, needless to say.  As it is, the ice will melt no matter what we do and the sea is going to rise a lot more than half a metre in the next few centuries.  What we can control is how much hotter the earth will get, which will determine to some extent how fast these ice sheets melt and probably how much of them melt.

The IPCC report states on page 13-108 that:
The total sea level commitment after 2000 years is quasi-linear with a slope of 2.3m °C–1.
So over millenia, seas are expected to rise more than ten metres if the global surface temperature rises by 4.5°C.  And that sort of temperature rise is definitely on the cards the way we're going.

If all the ice were to melt, seas would rise about 70 meters - but that's over thousands of years, not decades. However seas may well rise by more than a couple of meters sometime in the next couple of hundred years - if not sooner then later.  This will spell a lot of trouble.  Not just for people who live on the coast but for the world as a whole.


From the WUWT comments


The comments are archived here with the main article.

Go Home is a lateral thinker and says:
October 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm
Once the seas get too high, we just need to start sequestering water in the antarctic. Problem solved. Probably cheaper than trying to slow the oceans rise by cutting co2.

Mike Smith is not at all sceptical about what Vincent writes and says:
October 30, 2013 at 7:05 pm
The models say the sea levels are rising. So, where’s the missing water? Hiding in the deep ocean?
Lyle's comment could be a Poe:
October 30, 2013 at 6:31 pm
Seems to me that measuring sea level a lot like measuring your altitude while jumping on a trampoline. A host of factors come into play in addition to those mentioned such as volcanoes on land, volcanoes at sea, erosion and kids skipping rocks

Hockey Schtick is a conspiracy theorist (as if you couldn't tell from the cyber-name) and writes (excerpt):
October 30, 2013 at 6:14 pm
No problem, just “upjust” the data:
Satellite sea level data has been “adjusted” upward by 34% over past 9 years alone

Mike is battling to sublimate his scepticism, but merely "thinks" without checking so his scepticism loses.  He says he "agrees with the overall thrust":
October 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm
The author appears to be making the case that we should only look at recent tide data (the last ten years) as this is the most accurate and coincidentally agrees with his point that CAGW is overblown. Since global temperatures have been static for 17 years it would be expected that thermal expansion of the ocean would also tend to become static over the last 17 years (with some lag). This seems to be a somewhat circular argument not withstanding the overarching difficulties of obtaining accurate data in the first place. I agree with the overall thrust of the piece but the evidence as presented doesn’t really support it one way or the other.

Paging Norman Page - another "ice age cometh" to WUWT

Sou | 12:36 AM Go to the first of 23 comments. Add a comment


Norman Page is a doctor.  Not a climate science doctor.  A petroleum geology doctor I believe.

Norman Page tells Dr Pauchari to use Google (early 2008)


In January 2010 Norman Page posted the following email he said he sent to Dr Pauchari, Chair of the IPCC, back in April/May 2008.  He suggested to Dr Pauchari that he "Google" to see what is happening with the climate.  He got a response to a previous email but not the one below.  Archived here - my bold and italics and hyperlinks:
Dr Pachauri
It is a month since my first e-mail and I thought I might draw your attention to a few more articles of interest.It is clear that temperatures correlate much better with the Pacific Decadal Oscillation ( Controlled by solar activity) than with CO2 levels. Google - PDO cooling -and look at Easterbrooks graphs and comments.. Also google - Jason satellite cooling - for a discussion of the current situation.
Google -- ball UN structures - for an anlysis of how the IPCC came to distort the science for political ends. You are obviously in a better position to judge Ball's position than I am ,but what he says looks very plausible to me.
In the meantime Solar Cycle 24 continues to fail to appear making the cooling predictions more and more likely.
I do hope you will soon feel that you can speak out publicly on these matters in the near future to perhaps forestall damaging actioThank you for your careful consideration of my original e - mail.A useful discussion of the IPCC forcing and feedback factors can be found by googling - pielke monckton guest -
Best Regards Norman Page

Norman Page predicts a cooling spell - in January 2009


In January 2009 he wrote (archived here):
The Sun is entering a quiet phase - possibly a Dalton minimum - and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is now in a negative phase. Both of these facts suggest a possible 20 - 30 year cooling spell during which cooler temperatures could produce shorter growing seasons and a serious drop in food crop production.

Twenty four months later 2010 was declared in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society to be the equal hottest year on record with 2005.


Norman Page today says the scientists don't know nuffin'


Norman continued on his merry way predicting all sorts of catastrophes, of the cooling kind.  His latest effort is today at WUWT (archived here), and he writes:
In the AR5 Summary for Policymakers the IPCC glossed over  the developing cooling trend in global temperatures and so lost the last vestige of its scientific credibility and any claim to be a source of useful guidance on future climate trends for policymakers. 
What cooling trend, you may ask...



Norman waffles on about models, showing he doesn't have a clue what he's talking about.  He tosses everything he can think of into the mix: cosmic rays, neutrinos, it's the sun, CO2 is too small to have an effect.  If there's a denier meme out there Norman's latched onto it.  At one stage he writes:
The simplest working hypothesis for forecasting future climate is that the change in the temperature trend from warming to cooling in 2003 (Figs 6 and 7) marked both the change in the PDO phase and the peak in the 1000 year cycle.
He wanders around saying that nights are colder than days and winters are colder than summers and making similar profound observations.  He summarises his "findings" a couple of times.  Here's his final summary, ending with a warning that a Little Ice Age may be imminent:
  1. Significant temperature drop at about 2016-17
  2. Possible unusual cold snap 2021-22
  3. Built in cooling trend until at least 2024
  4. Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2035 - 0.15
  5. Temperature Hadsst3 moving average anomaly 2100 – 0.5
  6. General Conclusion – by 2100 all the 20th century temperature rise will have been reversed,
  7. By 2650 earth could possibly be back to the depths of the little ice age.
  8. The effect of increasing CO2 emissions will be minor but beneficial - they may slightly ameliorate the forecast cooling and help maintain crop yields .
  9. Warning !! There are some signs in the Livingston and Penn Solar data that a sudden drop to the Maunder Minimum Little Ice Age temperatures could be imminent – with a much more rapid and economically disruptive cooling than that forecast above which may turn out to be a best case scenario.
Norman finishes by writing an out clause:
 If there is not a 0.15 – 0.20. drop in Global SSTs by 2018 -20 I would need to re-evaluate.
Here is that prediction.  It's not the most extreme by a long shot:




Good to see that Anthony Watts isn't neglecting other climate nutters.  He's been relying on stodgy but reliable in denial Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale a bit too much.  Too boring!  WUWT needed livening up and who better but an "ice age cometh" veteran, Dr Norman Page.


From the WUWT comments


Norman attracted quite a few conspiracy nutters (archived here), for example, Txomin says:
October 29, 2013 at 10:06 pm
UN global control over the World and National economies…?


Eve says, mysteriously:
October 29, 2013 at 11:02 pm
What the ICPP an governments have done is to drive everyone from the north to the south. Those that have legs, that is. Leaving for the Bahamas. Will chat with you later about how much cheaper it is to not have to heat your house.


albertalad says he cannot fathom how CO2 can have super powers:
October 29, 2013 at 11:51 pm
You touched on CO2 – as you know nitrogen and oxygen make up fully 99% of the atmospheric gases with all the other trace gases making up the final 0.01%. How in any sane universe can a tiny trace gas like CO2, as the IPCC and other AGW believers claim, so completely control the world’s heat content? That is insane. Illogical. No where near possible – yet they claim such super powers for CO2. Why can’t we defeat this ridiculous concept? Their entire warming fantasy is based on CO2. Everything.


Henry Galt is a regular at WUWT.  He is a conspiracy theorist of the 'climate science is a hoax' variety and says much the same thing each time IIRC:
October 30, 2013 at 12:35 am
Now all we have to do is find some investigative journalists to start the truth ball rolling. Ethical politicians will read about the contortions the IPCC scientists have gone through to produce their robust projections and command some honest judges to duly process the team and their cause.
Oh, and the UN, NGOs, formerly respected academies and societies, government departments, windmill farmers, PV fiefdoms, carbon traders, chief scientists, activist organizations, ecoloonies and uncle Tom Cobbley and all will soon see the error of their ways, awake to the murder and damage being committed worldwide in the name of their beloved environment, fold their tents and bother the rationalists no more.
There is no /sarc tag. There is despair in my soul.
There are a number of oxymorons in my first paragraph and millions of morons in my second.


Jean Parisot is under some illusion (delusion?) or other, maybe thinking that developing countries would all be developed if not for climate science and says:
October 30, 2013 at 12:52 am
The Treasury decision infuriates me. It is one thing for we, the rich and comfortable, to delude ourselves and pursue asinine energy policies. But, for us to deny developing economies the access to the cheap energy that they desperately need, is morally vacant.


Scarface doesn't know the simplest thing about the world and says (my bold italics):
October 30, 2013 at 1:34 am
“g) I noted that CO2 was about 0.0375% of the Atmosphere and thought ,correctly as it turns out, that it was highly unlikely that such a little tail should wag such a big dog.”
Exactly the reason I stopped believing one word of the warnings about Global Warming.
Up to that point I thought that CO2 was about 15% of the air, based on the alarming news! When I started to look things up for myself, I turned into a skeptic and will be one until proven wrong.


RMB says those silly scientists ignore the fact that water can't get hot because of surface tension.  RMB has never dipped his or her toe in a body of water:
October 30, 2013 at 1:35 am
The key to the fact that the models don’t work is dead simple, they ignore surface tension. If you attempt to put heat into water through the surface you will find that the heat is rejected. Radiation penetrates surface tension, physical heat does not. There is no such thing as climate “sensitivity” to co2 because of this simple fact. I would recommend that everybody try getting heat through the surface of water using a heat gun, the complete rejection of the heat tells the story. In short radiation yes, heat no.


Rob gives a conventional WUWT response and says:
October 30, 2013 at 2:19 am
Excellent perspective!


herkimer isn't counting the days but says (excerpt, my emphasis):
October 30, 2013 at 5:43 am
...Now that it has been clearly shown that during the last 16.8 years rising levels of CO2 do not raise global temperatures... 


Greg Roane seeks clarification and asks, very politely:
October 30, 2013 at 5:56 am
Dr. Page, thank you! One small question, for clarity: Conclusion 1 states “…Within that time frame however there could well be some exceptional years with NH temperatures +/- 0.25 degrees colder than that.”
.
Is it possible to be both + and – 0.25 degrees colder? Or do you mean “up to 0.25 degrees colder” instead?
.
Thank you sir.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Denier weirdness at WUWT: Anoxic oceans, socialism and a deficit of CO2

Sou | 1:49 AM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment


See addendum below for more muddle-headed thinking by richardscourtney.



There was fun and games at WUWT today, with an event that occurred 93.9 million years ago somehow morphing into a lot of to-ing and fro-ing about socialism in the twenty first century (archived here).

What first caught my attention was this comment from Pippen Kool who quoted richardscourtney and wrote:
October 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm
richardscourtney says: “atmospheric CO2 concentration has reduced to dangerously low levels for the survival of plant species. Hence, an unprecedented extinction event induced by lack of atmospheric CO2 is a real possibility for the first time in the history of the planet”.
Good one. Are you trying to get your comment on the hotwhopper site?

How could I resist?

Richardscourtney is a self-appointed playground monitor at  WUWT.  He's also a "scholar" of the Cornwall Alliance, which rejects climate science and takes an alarmist stance on climate mitigation.

Being of a religious bent, I suppose richardscourtney thinks it was nothing short of a miracle that plants thrived during most of the Holocene prior to industrialisation, given that CO2 was almost 30% less than it is today.

Richardscourtney doesn't just think that it's low levels of CO2 that will lead to extinctions, it looks as if he rejects this chemical reaction (update: I could be wrong here - see addendum below):

hydrocarbon + oxygen ---> CO2 + H2O

Richardscourtney writes this non sequitur - twice for good measure:
The AGW-scare is based on the hypothesis that the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration since the industrial revolution results from emissions of CO2 from human activities.
If the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration since the industrial revolution results from volcanic and/or biological introduction of sulphide to the ocean surface layer then the entire AGW-scare is refuted. And the paper under discussion says that sulphide variation in the ocean surface layer does alter concentrations of O2 and CO2. October 29, 2013 at 1:33 am and October 29, 2013 at 6:11 am

So that takes us back to the paper that prompted Anthony Watts to write the headline:
The big stink 93.9 million years ago – blame CO2
The paper apparently describes how a deficit of oxygen and surfeit of hydrogen sulphide in around five per cent of oceans led to a major extinction of marine life.  The reason the WUWT-ers take such exception to the research is because it mentions high levels of CO2 in the context of a warmer atmosphere and oceans. The oceans lose oxygen as they warm.  (They'd normally lose CO2 as they warm, too.  But these days there's just too much of it in the air so the oceans are absorbing about half our waste CO2.)

The press release stated:
“Today, we are facing rising carbon dioxide contents in the atmosphere through human activities, and the amount of oxygen in the ocean may drop correspondingly in the face of rising seawater temperatures,” Lyons said. “Oxygen is less soluble in warmer water, and there are already suggestions of such decreases. In the face of these concerns, our findings from the warm, oxygen-poor ancient ocean may be a warning shot about yet another possible perturbation to marine ecology in the future.”
Now that goes against all that WUWT-ers hold sacred.  Forget oxygen deficits, it's the CO2 reference that got the mob riled.  CO2 is plant food after all.  It can do no harm.


How about socialism and CO2?


The socialism diversion started with the second comment in the thread, from R Taylor and went on for dozens of comments:
October 28, 2013 at 3:06 pm
Wilful misinterpretation of cause-and-effect between temperature and CO2, from temple priests of the Church of Socialism.

That got richardscourtney going, because he reckons he's a socialist.  This in turn prompted dbstealey (aka Smokey) to write in sympathy (excerpt):
I am not a Socialist. But I think most Socialists have their hearts in the right place. The problems come in when evil schemers try to take power for their own self aggrandizement. October 28, 2013 at 8:14 pm

The thread is a crazy compilation of mixed up politics, mixed up ideology, lots of pseudo-science and multiple accusations of trolling.  The last is almost all by richardscourtney, who falls back on "troll, troll go away" every time he comes across someone writing anything remotely resembling real science.  Here's the link to the archived article again.


Addendum.  Richardscourtney's non-explanation for rising atmospheric CO2


Richardscourtney, in a wonderful example of doublethink, rationalises his assertion that human activity may or may not be causing a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide in a long comment at WUWT - comment archived here (time stamped October 29, 2013 at 9:16 am).

His first piece of evidence is that he got a paper published in E&E - which is about on par with  his claiming to be an expert reviewer for the IPCC.  Both may be true and neither says anything about his credibility in climate science (although it would be fair to say that if one publishes in E&E then one probably does not have much credibility as a climate scientist):
In our two 1995 papers we considered all the available evidence (sadly, there is not much) concerning the behaviour of the carbon cycle. One of those papers specifically assesses whether the data can determine a natural or an anthropogenic cause of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration as measured at Mauna Loa since 1958.
(ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) ).

His next piece of evidence is an assertion.  That's it.  He doesn't explain how the carbon cycle speeds up so much.  Probably because it hasn't.
We determined that the dynamics of the natural sequestration processes can cope easily with ALL the CO2 emissions both natural and anthropogenic of each year. From this we determined that rise is not accumulation of part of the anthropogenic emission (as is asserted by e.g. the IPCC and Ferdinand).

Next he acknowledges that the evidence doesn't match his conclusion and asks why not:
But the natural sequestration processes do NOT sequester all the CO2 emissions (both natural and anthropogenic) of each year. If they did then there would not be a rise. This leads to the important question; i.e.
Why don’t the natural sequestration processes sequester all the CO2 emissions of each year when their dynamics indicate they can?

To try to figure out why not, he says he built a model.  That's right.  A WUWT-er used a model to test his hypothesis:
We addressed this paradox by modelling the system behaviour with six different models three of which assumed a natural cause of the rise and the other three assumed the anthropogenic emission was the cause of the rise.
All six of ourmodels each matched the empirical data of the atmospheric CO2 concentration for each year to within the stated measurement accuracy of the Mauna Loa data. Thus, each of our models is better than the Bern model used by the IPCC because the IPCC uses unjustifiable 5-year smoothing to get its model to fit the empirical data.
This match occurs because – according to each of our models – the total CO2 emission of any year affects – and is affected by – the equilibrium state of the entire system. Some processes of the system are very slow with rate constants of years and decades. Hence, the system takes decades to fully adjust to a new equilibrium.
I don't know what he was going on about with his five year smoothing.  Nor can I follow his conclusions:
This leads to a direct answer to your question. The anthropogenic emission cannot directly add to rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration because the rate of that rise is limited by the rate constants in the processes of the carbon cycle. But the anthropogenic CO2 may possibly be the cause of the rise because the addition of anthropogenic CO2 may have caused the change in the equilibrium of the carbon cycle which is providing the rise. However, that possible cause is only a possibility. The six models which each provide that indication are three models which each assumes a natural cause of the change and three which each assumes the anthropogenic CO2 emission is the cause of the change.

I think he is trying to argue that pouring gigatonnes of CO2 into the air each year can't add to the amount of CO2 in the air.  But then again maybe pouring gigatonnes of CO2 into the air each year can cause the amount of CO2 in the air to increase.  And he's taken a 50:50 bet on the subject.  This muddle-headed interpretation is supported by richardscourtney writing:
Hence, the only factual statements that can be made on the true cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration are
(a) the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have an anthropogenic cause, or a natural cause, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes, but
(b) there is no evidence that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a mostly anthropogenic cause or a mostly natural cause.

In other words, richardscourtney is none the wiser after building his models and writing papers for E&E.

Nevertheless, he continues to argue that adding billions of tonnes of CO2 to the air each year can't possibly add billions of CO2 to the air each year (and have half those billions of tonnes of extra CO2 absorbed by the ocean).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Denier weirdness: Bob Tisdale is "especially" stubborn in his denial

Sou | 9:44 PM Go to the first of 17 comments. Add a comment


This is a follow-on from my previous article.  It shows the extent to which some people suffer confirmation bias - and deny facts.

I've written about this disability before - here and here, which featured Bob Tisdale too.

When I read some of the comments to my last article it prompted me to go and re-read Tamino's article as well as Bob's article. Veritas6053 asked a question of another commenter and answered it:
why are you not asking Tamino the same question when he detrended the data?
it looks as though Tisdale used detrended data because Tamino used detrended data.
btw, detrending is done all of the time. NOAA's AMO index is detrended N. Atlantic SSTa data.
So I went back to Tamino's article to see why he detrended the data.  It was for the same reason as Bob gave in his article (archived here).  They both detrended the data to determine whether or not 1990 was especially hot.

Here is Tamino's chart using just GISTemp data.  He's circled 1990 in red:
Source: Tamino's Open Mind
Here is Bob's chart (updated archive here), based on an average of five data series comprising two lower troposphere and three surface temperature:

Source: Bob Tisdale at WUWT

Both charts show that 1990 lay above the trendline.  That's not exceptional of itself.  One would expect that roughly half the data points would be above the trendline.

However Bob's chart shows that 1990 was fairly hot, even after removing the trend.  In Bob's chart there were only eight years where the anomaly was higher, out of the 34 data points he showed.

Tamino's chart also shows 1990 was hot even when the trend is removed.  Tamino stated that 1990 was "10th-hottest departure from the smooth trend in the 133-year data record from NASA".

Here again is the chart I originally created when Bob first claimed that 1990 was not an especially hot year:

Data Source: NASA and WUWT!

In other words, all charts show that 1990 was a very hot year for the time.

My chart above shows that 1990 was at the time an especially hot year in absolute terms.  It was the hottest year on record at the time and the 1990 record didn't get broken for another five years.

The charts from Tamino and Bob Tisdale show that it was also an especially hot year even if the warming trend is removed - about equal 9th highest above the trend since 1979 using five data sets (Bob Tisdale) and tenth highest above the trend in 133 years of data (Tamino).

And since Bob Tisdale made much of the fact that there was no ENSO event that year, 1990 can be considered an especially hot year with no help from any El Nino.

Here is how Bob explains his stance in response to someone who pointed out the obvious - excerpt with my bold italics (archived here):
We appear to have different definitions of “especially hot”, joeldshore. Looking at my Figure 8, there are 19 years “hotter than the trendline”. The average positive deviation of those 19 years is 0.078 deg C. For 1990, the difference was 0.068 deg C. Being below the average of the years with the positive deviations, doesn’t make 1990 “especially hot” in my book. If you’re looking for an example of “especially hot”, that would be 1998. October 28, 2013 at 1:04 am
Bob notes that there were 19 years where the temperature was above his trendline.  This is roughly to be expected, given there are 34 years in his series.  Yet he is still trying to argue that despite the fact that 1990 was not just above his trendline but exceeded by only eight other data points of those 34 years, it wasn't "especially" hot.

Bob's argument is that using his averaged data it was "below the average of the years with the positive deviations".  But look at his series again.  There is one year that dragged up that average by a heap.  That was, you guessed it, 1998.  In fact, I think it would be fair to conclude that in Bob's mind, only the very hottest year was "especially hot"!  And this was eight years after 1990 so really, should it even be considered?

Now all that is leaving aside that the world is warming.  The trend matters!  It's getting hotter.  1990 was at the time the hottest year on record and retained that distinction for another five years.  I think Bob Tisdale would like to ignore the trend altogether.

I've got to say that IMO Bob's mammoth and repeated efforts to deny the fact that 1990 was hot seem pathetic, to say the least.

Additional observation: Bob's argument is not dissimilar to fake sceptics arguing that if it's happened before it's not extreme.  A record doesn't have to be broken to rate as "extreme".  All that needs to happen is for the data to be at close to the upper or lower extremities of a range.  Of course if a record is broken it would normally be considered extreme.   Like when 1990 broke all records.  It was not just especially hot, it was an extremely hot year!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bob Tisdale hides the warming and tries out a conspiracy theory at WUWT

Sou | 6:12 PM Go to the first of 26 comments. Add a comment


Did I ever say that Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale can be very long-winded?

If one didn't know better on would mistake today's WUWT article as a Poe.  (Archived here.) But Bob Tisdale is ever so serious.  He didn't see the humour in Tamino's take-down of his antics a couple of weeks ago, and I guess he's been stewing on it ever since.  And as regulars know, Bob has a crush on Dana Nuccitelli, who gets more than a mention.

To cut to the chase, Bob reckons that 1990 wasn't a hot year because, wait for it, he says:

1990 was an ENSO-neutral year, according to NOAA’s Oceanic NINO Index. Therefore, “1990 was…” NOT “…an especially hot year”. 
In Bob's world, if there is neither an El Nino or La Nina, the surface temperature must be normal.  (Tell that to us in Australia!)  The temperature can't lie above the trend unless there's an ENSO event according to Bob.  It doesn't matter to Bob that in 1990 the global surface temperature was above the trend line.  It "was an ENSO-neutral year...Therefore, “1990 was…” NOT “…an especially hot year"!

Did I say Bob Tisdale can be a bit odd?

At this point I can hear some readers say "well, Bob Tisdale might be tedious and a bit odd, but Sou at HotWhopper repeats herself".  And you'd be correct.  Here's a chart from when I wrote about his first attempt, that prompted Tamino and me to respond earlier this month.

Data Source: NASA and WUWT!

The chart above shows 1990 compared to prior years and to the trend, which it lies above.


How Bob hides the warming


Now Bob has a good trick to show that 1990 wasn't warm at all.  He disputes the record and I think he's trying to argue that 1990 wasn't really the hottest year on record until 1995 (which it was).  Here's Bob's "proof".

Source: WUWT of course!

Really and truly.  Bob removed the heat to prove it wasn't hot in 1990!  ha ha ha...

I wonder why he included the years after 1990, which of course over time (from 1995) got warmer because of global warming.  I did say one could mistake his article for a Poe.

(Update: It's been pointed out in the comments that the point of detrending the data is to show how much or how little the temperature deviated from the trend - in Bob's case he wanted to show that some deviations were greater than that of 1990.  But that's not the issue as I discussed previously here.  Tamino showed the same but in his case it was to determine by how much 1990 deviated from the trend, not to see if other years deviated.  The deviation of other years is not relevant.  All that is relevant is by how much 1990 deviated because it gives an indication of how much the model runs were wrongly shifted upwards.

The point about the problems with the display of model runs was twofold.  Firstly: The model runs were all aligned to a single point, which was wrong.  They didn't all converge to a single point in 1990 let alone converge exactly on the observed average global temperature anomaly, and shouldn't have been shown as if they did.  Secondly: that point lay above the trend, which meant that the model runs looked higher than they were in reality.  Both of these combined to make the chart wrong.  So Bob going on and on about whether or not 1990 was especially hot or not isn't the point.  The fact that Bob goes to such lengths is doubly odd given that the heat record broken in 1990 wasn't broken again until 1995.  So it really was especially hot in 1990 - and even more "especially hot" since, as Bob pointed out, it wasn't an El Nino year!)


Bob writes more...


Now for the long-winded observation.  Bob took nearly 3,000 words to say that 1990 wasn't a hot year because it was ENSO-neutral.  This time around.  The first time it took him about half as many words.  Next time will it take him 6,000 words?

(For the curious, this article has 494 words down to the WUWT comments, and 1008 words in total. And I'm not known for being parsimonious with words!)


It's a guvmint plot!


If you're wondering where the conspiracy theorising comes into the picture, this is from Bob's latest attempt to turn 1990 into a year that wasn't hot:

Adapted from source: WUWT of course!


He seems to think that the final draft AR5 report was changed by politicians.  AFAIK it was the second order draft, not the final draft in which the authors changed the chart.  But I could be wrong, because they may have still been doing the model runs up until the final draft.  I don't know. Whenever it was introduced I know for a fact that the "politicians" had nothing to do with it.  The changes to AR5 following the meeting with member governments and observers are listed here.  The chart wasn't changed.  (As you'll recall the chart in the first order draft was flawed.)


I've written enough.  I'll hand you over to some WUWT-ers for their reaction to Bob's tedious, long-winded, serious, boring article :)


From the WUWT comments

Here is a short selection for your edification (archived here).  Just so you know that the scientists are right about being wrong or wrong about being right or whatever twisted logic the WUWT-ers are coming up with today.


François GM has his own conspiracy theory and it's a cute one (my bold italics).  Now this might be a Poe, but who can tell at WUWT?
October 26, 2013 at 4:37 pm
Wonderfully entertaining, Bob. And so much work ….
Amazing how they never thought of disappearing the 1998 temperature peak in the early 2000s when the ENSO-induced warming trend suited their purpose.
Now that the 1998 peak belittles the recent temperatures, they attempt to make it go away by de-ENSOing it. Pathetic. So much deception.

Bill Illis says a whole lot more than this.  I've just chosen enough to give you the gist:
October 26, 2013 at 4:58 pm
1990 was the most neutral year one can get.
The average ENSO value (with a 3 month lag) was 0.03C (certainly Zero in ENSO terms with an impact on the global average temperature of 0.002C).

BarryW is having trouble with his anomalies and says:
October 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Comparing anomalies is ridiculous if you don’t align them to the same absolute starting conditions. It’s like taking a 100 volt signal and saying it matches a 1 volt signal because I can aline them on the oscilloscope. The only thing I can compare is the pattern of the two signals. The real values are not comparable by using anomalies. The only valid comparison here is the trends.

Theo Goodwin makes no pretence at scepticism and says:
October 26, 2013 at 7:14 pm
Great work, Mr. Tisdale. Thanks for keeping us up to date on what I will call Tamino’s childish efforts at misinformation.

Post script - what's in a name?

Incidentally, there's a lot of discussion of Tamino's name in the comments.  A whole lot.  By lots and lots of people, starting with Anthony Watts.  Bob Tisdale doesn't buy into it (not so far anyway) and I'm thinking it's just possible that Bob Tisdale is not Bob Tisdale's off-screen name (July 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm).

I could be wrong and it doesn't matter one iota to me and neither to any HW regular I should think.  But such things seem to be important to WUWT-ers.  If someone knows if it is his name (or not) they might let me know privately or here, because I don't want to go spreading unfounded rumours.  It's just a thought I had when I read that comment of his some time back.  Plus I don't think he's ever referred to me as anyone but Sou (plus adjectives), unlike his host.  So whatever name he goes by on or off the internet, Bob does seem to respect other people's preferences, which is a mark in his favour.


Anthony Watts behaves like a jerk again and whistles his WUWT dogs:
October 26, 2013 at 4:06 pm
@Bob Tisdale.
Don’t give this jerk “Tamino” the benefit of anonymity. His name is [Souredacted out of courtesy to Tamino], he lives in [Souredacted out of courtesy to Tamino].
Use his name when discussing his claims, if he stands behind his work, then he should have any problem with his name being applied to it.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Talking to contrarians. Why do you do it? Or why not?

Sou | 5:06 PM Go to the first of 103 comments. Add a comment


My short and "boring/mundane" article a couple of days ago generated a lot of interesting discussion, some of which related to the hows, whys and wherefores of directly engaging with people who reject climate science.  I hope the people I quote here don't mind my doing so.  Let me know if you do.


What are you hoping to accomplish?


Don Brooks asked a question, which a lot of us ask ourselves whenever we respond to contrarian comments:
...what is it that you're hoping to accomplish by engaging with the contrarians? 

What are your experiences?


K.a.r.S.t.e.N echoes some of my experience in face to face discussions with climate science deniers about science.  Some extracts:
... Being a working scientist in the UK (but not British), I do have the impression that many of my colleagues are fairly open-minded when it comes to discussion with "Sceptics". I admire their patience, but I haven't figured what keeps them going. I started to engage with "Sceptics" more than three years ago, and it took me quite a while to get into the "game". Tried polite, tried snarky, tried ironic ... to no avail in most cases. Went further meeting one of the self-proclaimed "lukewarmers" (twice) in order to figure how they think. Despite the fact that we get along very well on a personal level, it's a hopeless enterprise when it comes to the science. He just wouldn't trust me. That's the point where I finally gave up. I don't see any point in discussing the science with someone who clearly doesn't know the science well enough, but isn't willing to learn (regardless of the reason) at the same time. Hence my strict rule: No science argument with ANYONE who is unwilling to listen, while I can't learn a shred for myself from them in return. Ruthless ignorance! Works very well for me. There are other things than science which we can still talk about ;-). ...

I've had (short) discussions about climate science with people with whom I've worked who reject climate science, including people for whom I have a lot of respect.   I found the same as K.a.r.S.t.e.N.  We are talking at cross-purposes.  I find their thinking process on that topic is emotional, trapped by their ideology or world view or whatever, which makes reasoned discussion impossible.  If I were a climate scientist I would be wary of having any discussion about climate science with a professional disinformer like David Rose or Andrew Montford or Marc Morano.  I would assume ulterior motives based on what they've done in the past.

When it comes to virtual conversations, here is K.a.r.S.t.e.N's comment about "sceptic" blogs:
However, I have to point out one important aspect: I never even bothered to go to a "sceptic" blog to have a "discussion". Rather, I kept engaging in a fairly neutral forum (knowing that at least lurkers will learn something). How some colleagues endure the hostile tone in "sceptic" blogs or on twitter towards mainstream science and scientists is waaaaaaaay beyond me. Based on the experience I had in the past couple of years, I would probably watch the "sceptics" in their "home ground" a while in order to learn more about particular psychological conditions, but I would certainly not waste my time trying to have some sort of reasoned debate. Ideology and reason is mutually exclusice. If other people have a more optimistic point of view in that regard, fine with me. I'm afraid I can't share it. Most importantly, I am not willing to accept the smear and the utter disrespect from many contributors there. Smear and disrespect against the science, the scientist, and, sure enough, myself. Again, if some of my colleagues don't have a problem with it, perfectly fine with me. I do have a problem with it! And they shouldn't be surprised that others have a problem with it too. Disclaimer here: The problem is not with the particular person who makes weird claims, but with their opinion, which I am sure you agree are two seperate things....

What tactics work and do they "really" work?


John Russell also raised some good questions:
...I'm interesting in exploring why some scientists like Tamsin Edwards and Richard Betts have, let's say, a 'working relationship' with contrarian/sceptic/denial websites; while the relationship, both ways, between those sites and scientists like Mike Mann is akin to warfare.
Let's say first that I completely understand why the latter warfare exists. I guess I've been part of it myself as I cannot (I readily admit) keep my cool when dealing with people who are in denial, once they start making snide comments in my direction. For Mike Mann, to read the vitriol heaped on him by people who are frequently uneducated must be unbearable. To me his robust stance is very understandable.
When it comes to scientists like Tamsin and Richard Betts who are willing to engage, I have always admired their willingness to, let's say, 'build bridges' with the bloggers and commenters who create/frequent those sites. I think I understand their tactic and indeed I hope they are successful.
I'll interrupt here to ask Don Brooks question again.  For people who engage with climate science deniers on their own turf, what is it you are trying to achieve and how do you judge whether or not you've achieved it?

John continues:
But it does raise the question as to what gives them the ability to interact with these sites when other scientists cannot/will not. Given their unquestionable scientific knowledge and their input into the IPCC reports they surely must accept that one possible outcome—should the long-term worst-case climate projections turn out to be the most accurate—is a prognosis for society that is, at least, somewhat compromising. I know they won't be drawn on policy as scientists but do they, just as members of society, have concerns and worries about what the future might hold in a worst-case scenario? And if they do, how do they manage to keep civil when dealing with people whose agenda is to play down the possibility of human caused climate change doing it's worst and stall action to deal with it?

In my case, I credit engagement with "contrarians" for learning much of what I have about climate science. (My disposition is such that I have a thick skin when it comes to being attacked.  Got much thicker through lots of flames from climate science deniers.  These days I'm more able to choose whether or not to be civil rather than let my emotions dictate.)  I began discussing climate science on a share trading website, HotCopper, until eventually being banned from there (basically for not conforming to management's right wing extremism).  That led directly to HotWhopper.

My experience with WUWT is known to some of you.  It takes very little for Anthony Watts to ban people.  I speculate (based on observation) that he has an unwritten quota for people who accept science. No more than two at any one time.  Any more and he picks them off and bans them.  It's simply a numbers game with him.  He needs one or two because it helps stoke the flames of denial.  It gives his mob an extra target.  Much more than that and he fears losing control, so he bans people he deems least useful for his purpose.

Nick Stokes is an example of someone who manages to post comments at WUWT and only rarely responds to all the vile comments and personal taunts directed at him, and even then he responds in a calm manner and refers to science.  He doesn't sink to the level of the WUWT regular.

When I thought about it, the reason for my commenting at HotCopper was twofold:

  • Researching comments was a really good way to learn about climate science.  The denier myths provided a focus for my reading.  
  • I figured it would help inform lurkers who were interested in climate science. Not everyone at HotCopper was an extremist science denier, though you would not know that if you went by the comments on the board or by the attitude of the forum moderators.  

I learnt a few things, some to my chagrin.  For example:

  • Lurkers do learn from good comments.  I got some positive feedback from people who said I helped expand their knowledge and prompted them to learn more about climate science.
  • Don't be fooled.  I'd often respond to people's questions and get into a long discussion in which they hinted that they understood and accepted a facet of climate science.  I'd give myself a pat on the back.  But it's like finding mica and mistaking it for gold.  Next thing those same people are back to libelling climate scientists and talking nonsense.  It's like their minds sometimes bend a little to accommodate a rational thought only to have their brain spit it back out again at a later time.  Climate science doesn't fit their ideology so it's rejected. I doubt I made any difference at all to the ideas of hardened science deniers.

So although more than one of my staunchest foes at HotCopper were subsequently complimentary, in private and in public, and said they missed my posts, being "liked" or "admired" is not sufficient to affect the opinions hard-core deniers have about climate.

There are a lot of theories being bandied about in the cognitive science arena, including research by Stephan Lewandowsky and Dan Kahan.  "Talking with contrarians" may or may not do anything to change the mind of contrarians but, depending on the topic, it might make a difference to people who haven't much knowledge of the subject.

I think the best fora these days for public comment are probably the discussions sections of mainstream media or letters to the editor.  As well as adding to discussions on proper climate discussion boards at places like realclimate.org and skepticalscience.com.  Discussions on climate blogs help tease out the details of climate science.  For climate impacts, climate policy and climate solutions there are lots of excellent avenues like ClimateProgress, the Conversation, mainstream media etc.  In Australia two good places are ClimateSpectator and RenewEconomy.

In my view, commenting at niche denier blogs does not provide a lot of "value for money".  I rarely visit them except for WUWT.    Having said that, I'm not suggesting they be avoided.  For example, it pays to keep Anthony Watts' quota filled if only because sometimes normal rational people accidentally stray there  :)


How do you judge success? What works and what doesn't?


Getting back to Don Brooks' question - why do other people engage with contrarians and where?  What do you hope to achieve? What have you found that works and what doesn't? If you don't engage, then is that a deliberate decision and if so, why don't you?

I'm not referring to outlets that are primarily an information resource on climate science.  I'm referring more to people who do more proactive outreach.  Who comment on contrarian/disinformation blogs (eg Judith Curry, CA), science rejecting/conspiracy blogs (like WUWT or Jo Nova or Bishop Hill) or in the mainstream media, or who respond to tweets from hard-core "skeptics".

Finally, if you do engage with contrarians, how do you judge how successful your efforts are?  That question pre-supposes you've got a specific objective for your engagement, so it would be good see the different objectives people have too.  For example:
  • To change people's thinking - that of lurkers or posters
  • To change the "flavour" of a thread - playing the numbers game by inserting posts about science into an anti-science discussion - shifting the "balance"
  • Other reasons.

The biosphere is breathing more heavily! Crazy quote of the day.

Sou | 5:19 AM Go to the first of 16 comments. Add a comment


A quickie today.  Time is short.  Anthony Watts posted a link to a climate disinformation group who've misnamed themselves as the "International Climate Science Coalition". (See this article about them from the Sydney Morning Herald.)  Having a PhD is not a guarantee that you know stuff!  Or probably more accurately, it's no guarantee of scientific honesty.

Ian D. Clark, PhD, Professor (isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology), Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada:

“In fact, much of the rise in CO2 is attributed to increased respiration of the biosphere. Our carbon emissions are minor compared to this natural cycling of carbon. There is absolutely no empirical scientific evidence for the increase in CO2 having affected climate.”

Puffing and panting


I was surprised to find that Ian D Clark is actually entrusted with teaching students at the University of Ottawa. Strange! Academic freedom is one thing, but teaching nonsense?  Does anyone keep an eye on what topics he covers?

The above and other crazy quotes from the anti-science coalition is archived here.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anthony Watts is finally back to his field of expertise, with help

Sou | 11:24 AM Go to the first of 128 comments. Add a comment


See update below




This article isn't about science, it's about behaviour.  It's about blog and twitter spats.  So unless you're interested in blog bickering, don't read on.  It's boring and mundane.

After a hiatus, Anthony Watts has decided to blog in the one area in which he can be called an expert.  Name-calling. (Archived here.)

From what I can gather, a UK dendrochronologist called Robert Wilson in a lecture referred to a recent paper (?) by Michael Mann as a "crock of shit".  This was picked up on a the website of a UK denier Andrew Montford (archived here).  It might have been left there except that someone drew it to Michael Mann's attention and he responded in a tweet, using the word "denier", which he later deleted and retracted saying he'd wait for confirmation.  The confirmation came from Robert Wilson in a comment on Montford's blog, but Michael Mann didn't retweet his deleted comment.

The only reason I'm writing about this is to comment on the behaviour of scientist Tamsin Edwards.  It's not unexpected, given her previous behaviour.  (I smell curry.)

Tamsin put on her concern troll hat, or was it her "scientist police" hat.  However, she didn't direct her concern trolling comments at Robert Wilson, who made the "crock of shit" statement and confirmed it in a comment on the UK denier blog.  No. She got stuck into Michael Mann.  And she didn't just do it on twitter, she did it on Montford's denier blog (saying she was "so shocked") and then again at Anthony Watts science denying blog.

So much for her holier than thou sermons to climate scientists!

(IMO, Michael Mann is kinder to Tamsin Edwards than she deserves.  Maybe he tweeted this before she entered the fray at WUWT.  Or maybe he sees some of himself in her outspokenness, though not in what she says or whose favours she courts.)

Climate scientists are under a perpetual spotlight.  I don't think there is any other scientific group whose every public utterance is dissected and misinterpreted and blown up out of all proportion by the denial machine and regurgitated year after year.  It's not fair but life isn't fair.  Robert Wilson's comment in a lecture is one thing.  He used an unprofessional turn of phrase but I'm sure worse comments have been made in public in all fields of science.  However, he didn't need to repeat it on a denier blog.  And Tamsin Edwards definitely didn't need to buy into it and certainly shouldn't have picked sides the way she did.  And while Michael Mann's reacting was understandable and justifiable, it pays to pick your battles.

Back to science soon.

Update

I've just seen that Tamsin Edwards tweeted that she thinks I unfairly represented her views but didn't elaborate.  That may be so, I cannot tell.  I only commented on the facts of the matter and what happened in sequence.  People can judge for themselves.  In any case, I wasn't writing about her views so much as her actions and how they are taken in all the different quarters but especially in the deniosphere.  I find it hard to accept that she could still be so naive after all this time (especially given all the feedback to her from more experienced climate scientists).

(And FWIW, Richard Tol has adopted the language of the scientific illiterati, with its very limited vocabulary.  I doubt that will come as a surprise to anyone who follows the personalities in the climate blogosphere.)

Sou 22 Oct 13 6:59 pm AEDST

Sea ice: Out of the mouths of WUWT-ers

Sou | 3:06 AM One comment so far. Add a comment


Thought I'd post a few of the comments from WUWT.  These are from justthefactswuwt's article about global sea ice (archived here).  No, I'm not going to comment on the fact that justthefactswuwt thinks that the world has "stopped warming".  Well, maybe I'll just show one of the charts he uses as evidence, with my own notations as an animated gif. I suggest clicking on the chart for the larger version because it's very wide:

Adapted from Cryosphere Today

From the WUWT comments


Contorted thinking from Robin Hewitt who says (excerpt, my bold italics):
October 21, 2013 at 6:45 am
I rather hope the ice does not stick around. If we get a big ice anomaly year then that puts up the average ice cover that all subsequent years will have to match. The sceptics get one chance to thumb their noses at the catastrophists and then have to pay for ever more.
I think Robin is saying that even if the ice didn't melt as much one year, it's on a downward spiral in the medium term.


David in Cal has never heard of coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation climate models.  I wonder what he'd say if he learnt about the earth system models, which include not just the ocean and the atmosphere but biogeochemical cycles like the carbon cycle, the sulphur cycle, and ozone.  David in Cal writes:
October 20, 2013 at 10:52 pm
To say that extra heat is hiding in the oceans is to admit that all the climate models are wrong. After all, no climate model specifically includes heat moving into and out of the oceans (as far as I know.)


DR thinks the greenhouse effect is old hat and says:
October 20, 2013 at 10:28 pm
Funny how the Warmastrologists want to change what was actually predicted when this all came to the forefront. When things didn’t work out as predicted, they simply make it up as they go along. The “greenhouse effect” was all the rage back then. Today they’d just wish it would go away because it just ain’t happening the way we were told it would.


MrX says "they always come back baffled" but I'm guessing it's not for the reason he thinks:
October 20, 2013 at 8:28 pm
Jimbo says: October 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm I kept trying to explain to Warmists that most sceptics are fervent proponents of climate change. The climate always changes.
——————
YES! I do the same. It’s amazing how much I get asked “What? You don’t believe in climate change?” And I always respond back, “Climate change is a skeptical position. Of course I believe in climate change. Unprecedented and catastrophic global warming is your side’s position. If it isn’t unprecedented, then it’s happened before (aka climate change) and it’s natural and not catastrophic. Nothing to worry about.”
They always come back baffled and completely confused about their own position. Sometimes they’ll throw a word in about not liking the fact that used “global warming” or some other nonsense. But they never know how to argue against the fact that it can only be climate change if it’s not unprecedented.


How's this for logic and understanding?  RACookPE1978 goes for a "cool - cool" argument:

October 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Chris B says: October 20, 2013 at 8:33 pm So the argument that, a decade of reductions in Arctic Sea Ice Extent indicates we are on the verge of Dangerous Warming, is unsupported then?
True. The false arguments about Arctic amplification – the fears that a continued loss of Arctic sea ice from its current extents is dangerous – ARE unsupported and ARE wrong.

The numbers show that, additional loss of arctic sea from today’s sea ice extents from mid-August through mid-April cause more loss of heat from the newly exposed ocean areas than can be absorbed from the sun. More Arctic ice loss from today’s levels means more cooling in August, September and October. More snow on the land surfaces around the Arctic as well..

On the other hand, the INCREASED Antarctic sea ice at minimum AND maximum extents all year DOES reflect more heat energy and DOES cause increased cooling of the planet.


There's a heap more convoluted thinking going on in that thread.  If you're bored you can read the archived version here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Wagging the tail of the ocean at WUWT

Sou | 7:25 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

Today some very basic climate science.  Philip Mulholland has written a long article for Anthony Watts' denier blog, wattsupwiththat.  It's all about carbonate ramps. But I'm not going to write about that.

What I picked up on was this statement that Philip makes at the end.  He writes (archived here):
In the argument of which comes first: atmospheric carbon dioxide levels or warm ocean water, the geological evidence is unequivocal: The “oceanic central heating effect” dog wags the “atmospheric greenhouse gas” tail.
First of all, there is no argument that I'm aware of.  It's all in Philip's mind.  In the past when earth climate was forced, say, towards a warmer global temperature by something other than CO2, then the oceans got warmer and released carbon dioxide, which made the world warmer still.  This kept going until something happened.  For example, when the forcing stopped then the system eventually came to equilibrium, with a new global surface temperature. The oceans, having given up CO2, would have been less acidic (and warmer) after the change than before it.

This time around we are the ones adding CO2 to the air.  The increase in CO2 is not coming from the oceans it's coming from burning fossil fuels and deforestation and similar activities.  Atmospheric CO2 acts just the same as it always has since forever.  It makes earth retain more heat and get warmer.  Because of the very high amount in the atmosphere, the oceans are absorbing more CO2 than they are releasing to the air.  The partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is so high that on balance, the oceans are increasing the uptake of CO2 even as they warm.  If we weren't adding all that CO2, and earth were warming by some other forcing then the oceans would have released CO2.  But physics shows they can't these days, because there's already so much CO2 in the air that the oceans are absorbing it.  Eventually a time will come when we stop adding more CO2 to the air than can be absorbed by the oceans.  The oceans and atmosphere will both be warmer than at present but this time the oceans are more acidic than before industrialisation, when earth was cooler, not less acidic.

I don't know whether or not Philip thinks that burning fossil fuels doesn't produce CO2.  I'd find that hard to believe because he says he had scientific training and works as a geologist.  Similarly, it's not clear whether or not Philip is referring to the present as well as the past. It may well be that he intended his article to refer only to the past.

Doug Mackie at Skepticalscience.com did an 18 part series on ocean acidification a couple of years ago.

This brochure from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology discusses the greenhouse effect.


From the WUWT comments


Peter Miller is a conspiracy theorist of the "climate hoax" type and says:
October 20, 2013 at 11:58 pm
Doug Proctor, I agree with you about how geologists are a very sceptical group of individuals.
However, a caveat is needed; this only applies to those in the private sector. Geologists in the government sector are much less likely to be sceptic, for the very simple reason that there are obvious employment consequences if they express anything other than alarmist views. And that is the nub of the problem, CAGW is the fantasy of government, or quasi-government ‘scientists’.

Michael Moon got jumped on quickly for taking on the role of the grammar police, when he wrote:
October 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm
“A vist that, even now, I consider to have been the best field study trip of my entire geoscience career.”
Am I one of only four people on this site who attended and completed high school? Could we please have a verb in this sentence?
And, seriously to all, “its” and “it’s” are two far different words, could maybe the moderator make these posts somewhat readable? How about Spell-Check, Bueller, anyone?
That being said, hot water, cold water, salty and not-so-salty, lots of oxygen and maybe a little less oxygen, NO ONE among the great unwashed voters could possibly CARE LESS, how is this helping to undo the savagery of Gore-Hansen-Schmidt-Nuccitelli? And that clown with the column at NYT?
This is POLITICS, kids, not science. Science left the building quite some time ago.

I think I know what Michael was getting at, but is he aware that "consider" and "to have been" are verbs?  Did he mean to spell "visit" wrongly? It was spelt correctly in the main article. And what do you think of Michael Moon's own grammar and punctuation?

I confess I enjoyed the response to Michael Moon from  Keith DeHavelle, though I can't agree with his third last verse:
October 20, 2013 at 10:41 pm
I have to chuckle, Michael Moon
You hit your own ‘submit’ too soon
For in your blast of snarky slices
You’ve written several comma splices
Since punctuation gives you grief
Use semicolons for relief
And of the first of sins you note
You’ve missed a verb in what you wrote:
“And that clown with the column at NYT?”
But here’s a larger point: Go light
When dishing a grammatic slight
This might be politics to you
But science must be kept in view
We’re not just ranting and vote-getting
And this you seem to be forgetting:
This is the world’s best science site
We show the skeptic side is right!
And if you think it’s crucial here
(Though education I hold dear)
An institution’s just one tool
I never did complete high school
I had two jobs and needed three
The time for school eluded me
So that diploma’s out of reach
My college time was just to teach
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Anthony Watts and his pseudo-science from the Heartland Institute

Sou | 4:23 PM Go to the first of 4 comments. Add a comment


I've already commented on the ridiculous "Not the IPCC" report with it's "CO2 is plant food" and other tired denier memes.  Anthony Watts is pushing it again today in an article on his denier blog, WUWT, written by four of the more vocal science rejectors: Fred Singer, Bob Carter, Willie Soon and Craig Idso.

Remember those names if you've never heard them before and triple check anything they say before accepting it.  They are all science disinformers.  It's what they do.

I don't have time to go through all their long article and it's too long for HotWhopper in any case.  Suffice to say that despite the title Anthony Watts gave it, it's neither scientific nor a logical critique.  If you put on your critical thinking cap you can see for yourself just how dumb this foursome thinks WUWT readers are. (Archived here.)

Here are a couple of examples under their heading of "IPCC retreats".  The IPCC extracts are in italics, the science deniers' words are not.  Bolding and italics is mine.


The Medieval Climate Anomaly was regional not global


2. “Continental-scale surface temperature reconstructions show, with high confidence, multi-decadal intervals during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950-1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the late 20th century” (SPM-4).
What the Heartland Institute science deniers wrote: IPCC-related scientists have previously argued that the magnitude of the late twentieth century global warming exceeded that of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP). The notorious “hockey stick” featured in the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report, and still visible in the Fourth Assessment Report, appeared to erase the MWP from the historical temperature record by showing little temperature change for thousands of years followed by a sharp rise in the twentieth century.
Climate scientists know that the Medieval Climate Anomaly was regional in nature.  The IPCC statement is not in any way a contradiction of previous work.  Science rejectors are assuming that their readers will miss the words "in some regions".  Since the only people who take any notice of these ratbags are other people who reject science, they are probably correct in their assumption.   BTW I've discussed the Medieval Climate Anomaly a few times, for example here.


"It's the sun" is wrong, but the sun can affect climate


6. “The reduced trend in radiative forcing (between 1998 and 2012) is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle” (SPM-10).
What the Heartland Institute science deniers wrote: This statement marks the first time the IPCC has acknowledged that solar factors may play a determinative role in short-term climate variability.
This is a critically important concession to the views of the many independent scientists who have concluded that solar effects play a bigger role in controlling climate than does CO2 (NIPCC, Chapter 3).
The claim of the disinformers that the IPCC hasn't discussed solar radiation before is ridiculously wrong and so easy to check.  Just do a word search for the word "solar" in any of the past reports and you'll see that these disinformers are telling a bald-faced lie when they write:  This statement marks the first time the IPCC has acknowledged that solar factors may play a determinative role in short-term climate variability.

There is no "concession".  These disinformers are making up stuff.  All IPCC reports discuss the role of solar radiation on climate.  How do these so-called scientists think the greenhouse effect works? Magic?

There's a good article on realclimate.org about attribution, which includes charts from previous reports so you can see for yourself about what is attributed to solar radiation.  Here's an animation of charts from the 1995 SAR and the 2001 TAR reports:

Source: RealClimate.org / IPCC



Below is just one example of what these pseudo-science quacks have described as "misleading or untrue" statements from the IPCC.


Many observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented in decades to millenia


2. “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s many of the observed changes are unprecedented” (SPM-3).
What the Heartland Institute science deniers wrote: This statement is doubly untrue. The post-1950 warming shown by the Hadley record is of about the same magnitude and rate as the known natural warming between 1910 and 1940, and is therefore not unprecedented.
Here's the full statement in the Summary for Policy Makers (page SPM-3).
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased (see Figures SPM.1, SPM.2, SPM.3 and SPM.4). {2.2, 2.4, 3.2, 3.7, 4.2–4.7, 5.2, 5.3, 5.5–5.6, 6.2, 13.2}
The IPCC report states that many of the observed changes are unprecedented - and note what the Heartland Institute employees left out.  The lying foursome say that's a lie because they reckon that they've found one thing that isn't unprecedented.  A prime example of a logical fallacy, which I'm sure HotWhopper readers, even some of the science deniers among you, will recognise.

The IPCC listed some specific observed changes that are unprecedented over decades to millenia.  And they've provided some figures to illustrate this as well as referred readers to the relevant sections of the reports. Here's just one example: it's hotter than ever in the modern record:

Data source: NASA


The denier foursome have cherry picked some changes that they argue are not unprecedented as if that negates the observed changes that are unprecedented.  They reckon there were some parts of the world that didn't warm as much as others.  Well, whoopy doo.  That doesn't mean that GLOBAL warming isn't happening.  I wouldn't mind betting they got a lot wrong even with their examples, but I can't be bothered checking because it's irrelevant.


Enough is enough


I've wasted enough time on these nincompoops.  If you want to see how much more idiotic twaddle they write, check out my take down of their ridiculous Executive Summary of their latest effort for the Heartland Institute's Not the IPCC report, or read this archived WUWT article and check their silly claims for yourself.