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Saturday, March 1, 2014

Merry-go-round with shonky Steve Goddard and slayer HockeySchtick1

Sou | 9:49 PM Go to the first of 24 comments. Add a comment

I've spent a bit of time last night and today on twitter.  I don't make a habit of engaging with wackos on twitter because science deniers are nuts when it comes to science (by definition).  Also, because Twitter isn't the ideal forum for discussing science - though it's excellent for finding out about new papers and articles.  It's like jumping from horse to horse on a whirling carousel.  Fake sceptics can make your head spin while they leap from topic to topic without taking a breath.

If you thought that WUWT was full of utter nutters, WUWT articles appear almost sane when compared to the weird out there in cyberspace.

Cold hobby horse

As I recall, my foray into tweet-weird started with one of the nuttier nuts, "SteveSGoddard", who replied to my tweet about the new paper by Gavin Schmidt and colleagues.  Steve (not his real name) claimed:

Look, I agree the 70s were pretty cool.  I spent some time in London hobnobbing with some muso's and artists who were pretty cool.  That was after spending time in the USA and Canada, meeting some really cool people as well.

However I was easily able to show he was wrong about the 1970s.  Strictly speaking you could argue that the seventies were one of the eight coldest decades of the twentieth century.  In fact they were the eighth coldest of ten decades in the twentieth century, being beaten by seven colder decades before them and only being colder than two decades - the eighties and nineties. I was able to show this by generating a chart from GISTemp, which took only a few seconds:

Data source: NASA

Steve didn't dispute my chart, but he followed up his silliness by tweeting this "chart":

I have no idea where he dug it up from.  You'll no doubt have noticed that his chart stops in 1970 for some reason.  It looks like it's meant to be global surface temperature anomalies. You'll also notice that doesn't show the rise in the rate of global warming after 1970.  And it was nothing like any surface temperature chart that I'd ever seen.

The USSR hobby horse

Steve then resurrected an old chart.  Steve didn't say where it came from but it turns out that he copied it from a 1982 paper by Alan Robock, based on data collated by scientists in the USSR up to the late 1970s (see below for the reference to Vinnikof - I can't find the paper online).
Source: Robock (1982)

The problem was that Steve's chart was based on northern hemisphere only, extrapolated from land to sea surface and even then the records only covered less than 60% of the NH land at best, (and only between 17.5N and 87.5N), with early records only covering about 8% of the surface according to Bradley and Jones 1985 .  It was a good effort for the time and studied by others who were putting together a set of global temperature records.  Compared to what is available today - well all I can say is that The Auditor would be in clover if a climate scientist today put it forward for serious consideration today.  (The Auditor doesn't usually bother taking down science deniers like SteveSGoddard as far as I can tell.)

Data source: NASA

Sky dragon hobby horse

Steve Goddard eventually got bored and stopped responding.  I guess he didn't like his silliness being broadcast beyond his normal audience of science deniers.  However another wacky science denier took over.  This one goes by the name of hockeyschtick1.  Now hockeyschtick1 is another a gish galloper and wandered all over the place in his/her denial of science.  Over time it became apparent that s/he is a "slayer" and doesn't accept the greenhouse effect.  Hockeyschtick1 at one point tweeted:

Given that hockeyschtick1 has heard of Henry's Law, you'd have thought s/he would be asking themselves why the oceans continue to absorb a lot of the extra CO2 we are emitting, what with the partial pressure from CO2 increasing.  But no.  Hockeyschtick1 couldn't manage to concentrate long enough for that, quickly moving to arguing that nitrogen is causing global warming.  At least that's what it appeared to be.

The nitrogen hobby horse

The argument moved along the lines that nitrogen has built up so much that its pressing on the hard wall surrounding Earth.  I say this, because hockeyschtick1 suddenly started tweeting about nitrogen with this:

The pressure hobby horse

Then jumped to pV=nRT as if our atmosphere is surrounded by a dome made of some impermeable substance close enough to the surface of Earth that it's causing an increase in pressure.

It reminded me of a comment on WUWT by ferd berple, who reckoned that CO2 is causing the 1 atm at sea level to rise so high that it's stopping water from evaporating from the oceans.  He wrote:
If you add CO2, then the atmospheric pressure goes up and it is harder to evaporate water, so water vapor decreases, restoring the original pressure. This leads at best 0 warming as you add CO2.

In that case, too, Earth would have to be surrounded by an impermeable dome close to the surface that restricted the movement of gas molecules and caused an increase in atmospheric pressure at all levels as CO2 was added to the air.  The fact that CO2 has gone from 280 ppm to a mere 400 ppm, which would hardly make much of a difference in the total number of molecules in the air, isn't a barrier to ferd's theory.  The fact by far the bulk of the atmosphere is nitrogen and oxygen didn't dissuade ferd berple.  You can see the similarities with hockeyschtick1's theory of pressure from an increase in a trace gas being enough to cause global warming.  Here is one of hockeyschtick1's tweets, for example:

Now you'll also notice how ferd berple and hockeyschtick1 depart from the normal fake sceptic's stance of "it's only a trace gas how could it affect Earth's temperature".  Not only do they seem to be arguing that a trace gas can't affect earth's temperature while at the same time arguing that it can, they seem to be arguing that an increase in a trace gas can have a huge impact on atmospheric pressure, or at least that's ferd's argument.

The solar hobby horse

The gist of it seems to be that nitrogen is causing global warming.  When I asked how nitrogen caused ice ages, I was told that it was the sun that caused ice ages.  When I suggested that this would mean very high climate sensitivity, hockeyschtick1 said that s/he argues for low sensitivity.  I didn't get to ask what is causing global temperatures to go up now.  Hockeyschtick1 doesn't accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas so maybe s/he is arguing that it's the increase in CO2 pressure - minute though the increase in CO2 is by comparison with other atmospheric gases.  Goodness knows what hockeyschtick1 thinks happens when water evaporates.  That can cause big shifts in atmospheric pressure!

Anyway, hockeyschtick1 jumped to another argument - that a drop in solar activity can cause global cooling. Which would be fair enough.  It could, all other things being equal.  But it takes more than a small shift and remember, hockeyschtick1 argued that climate sensitivity is "trivial". And anyway, despite a drop in solar activity, Earth is still warming.

So is it nitrogen?  Well, since nitrogen isn't a greenhouse gas and since Earth isn't capped by an impermeable dome and since the sun is less active at the moment while Earth is still heating up - ...

At around this point while I was trying to work through the endless maze of hockeyschtick1's weird thought processes, I was told:

Thing is, hockeyschtick1 didn't block me on twitter, so I don't know what s/he meant by a "permanent ban".

The merry-go-round goes round and around

If your head is spinning by now, just imagine what must be going on in the heads of the "anything but CO2" crowd like the SteveSGoddards,  ferd berples and hockeyschtick1s of the world.

Now because I don't follow hockeyschtick1 on twitter, I didn't notice all the other discussions going on between him/her and other people.  I've since looked at hockeyschtick1's tweets and see that s/he was having numerous discussions with a whole lot of different people all at the same time.

I've decided that riding a merry-go-round is a similar experience to swapping tweets with a fake sceptic, but riding a real merry-go-round is a lot more fun.

Bradley, R.S. and Jones, P.D., 1985: "Data bases for isolating the effects of the increasing carbon dioxide concentration. Chapter 3, in: Detecting the Climatic Effects of Increasing Carbon Dioxide", MacCracken, M. and Luther, F. (eds.), U.S. Department of Energy, Washington, D.C.

Robock, Alan. "The Russian surface temperature data set." Journal of Applied Meteorology 21, no. 12 (1982): 1781-1785.

Vinnikov, K, GV Gruza, VF Sakharov, AA Kirillov, NP Kyvyneva, E Ya Ran'kova (1980) "Modern changes in climate of the Northern Hemisphere", Meteor. Hydrol., No. 6, 5-17


  1. I've been having a fascinating discussion with the Hockey Schtick which has gone something like this (and I am paraphrasing in case there are any accusations of mis-representation - i.e., this is my interpretation of the conversation).

    Me : why is the surface 33K warmer than it would be in the absence of greenhouse gases?

    THS : You can calculate the surface temperature from the lapse rate and the effective emission height (33 K = h x dT/dz = 5km x 6.6 K/km).

    Me : How do you determine the effective emission height

    THS : You get that from the surface warming and the lapse rate (h = 33K/[-g/Cp]).

    Me : But, then where does the 33K come from?

    THS : That comes from the lapse rate and the effective emission height?

    Me : Okay, but how do you get the effective emission height?

    THS : That comes from the surface warming and the lapse rate.

    Me : But, how are you getting the surface warming?

    THS : .....

    etc, etc, ... and round in circles we go.

    1. Sounds about right - ha ha. At least you got some of your questions answered, even though they were circular loops. With me, HS asked a lot of dumb questions as if they somehow disproved the greenhouse effect.

    2. Have you guys watched Idiocracy.

      What *are* these electrolytes? Do you even know?
      They're... what they use to make Brawndo!
      But *why* do they use them to make Brawndo?
      Because Brawndo's got electrolytes.

      Trying to talk with denier twits is exactly the same. They also love playing whack-a-mole, where they will continue to come up with a crazy meme, get whacked, not bat an eyelid, and then pop up with yet another crazy meme, even if it contradicts a previous meme. Then after playing this game for a while, getting whacked dozens of times, if YOU seem to make a mistake in their eyes, they will jump up and down like they've just got a field goal, claiming that they've won. Totally ignoring that they have already been severely whacked. It's how they play their silly version of the game. After all, they are denying the laws of physics and a mountain load of research.

      They are silver-tongued idiots, but idiots is what they always will be.

      "Don’t argue with idiots. They’ll drag you down to their level then beat you with experience."

  2. Goddard's also tweeted a graph which he said was from the National Academy of Sciences in 1975.

    It was (from Appendix A, p148) but Goddard had removed the caption which indicated that it was the Soviet Temperature Series to 1959 (Budyko)

    When I pointed out that he was "hiding the caption"

    he claimed "Hide the caption? Obviously that is from a different document, you moron."
    and in a follow up tweet "No one "hid the caption" Take your paranoid meds It is a screenshot from Science News vol 107 "

    I am still waiting for a link to "Science News vol 107" LOL.

    The fool is not even a particularly good liar.

    Here is a post from his blog that contains the screenshot of the Budyko graph (including the caption) and a note that indicates that it comes from the NAS report.
    Archived here

    1. I'm thinking "SteveSGoddard" must be getting on in years. In that web post of his he talks about "As late as 1981, NASA’s James Hansen knew about this cooling" as if it were yesterday, instead of thirty four years ago, before more than half the people on earth were born (and when temperature records were few and far between).

      Maybe that's why he's so stuck in the past. In the "good old days" when a frost was a frost and came often and hard. Not like now when we're lucky if we see one decent frost a year - at least not where we live.

  3. AndThenTheresPhysics had a long, patient and civil discussion with The Hockey Schtick on a new blog "Global Warming Solved". Longer, more patient and more civil as I could have done, but to no avail what so ever. Dozens of comments. Thus I do not think the question will be solved on twitter.

    That new blog is interesting. It belongs to the family Connolly. They have also set up a new "scientific" journal and submitted 8 of their own manuscripts to that journal. That the Connolly's thus will have to judge the reviews and decide whether to publish their own article in their own journal, is no problem for The Hockey Schtick. When I pointed THS to that, it got a little unpleasant. Another pal review case for the auditor, in theory, naturally.

    1. I wonder if they'll contribute to Anthony Watts and chums' new book on climate change lies?

    2. AndThenTheresPhysics latest post makes clear that without radiative transfer the "theory" of THS is missing a datapoint and cannot compute the atmospheric temperature profile.

    3. Vitaminccs, no idea. The Connolley family makes a good effort to debate like scientists and already corrected a few of their mistakes. It might thus be possible to talk to them. For now I would not put them into one corner with WUWT, THS and Goddard.

    4. Depends what their agenda (if any) or ideology is...

      Will be interesting to see whether the book WUWT will help write will be in agreement on the facts, and therefore whether the authors have accepted some sort of *gasp* consensus.

      I jest, of course, because we all know that the book will be f****** s*** regardless of what they write.

    5. I also expect some funny stuff.

      Did I understand it right that different authors will write different chapters? Would be nice if they could at least avoid taking conflicting positions. Does CO2 cool, warm or do nothing? Is pal review good or bad? Will the book be reviewed? If the climate ostriches want to be taken seriously, they should first sort out internally what their non-IPCC position is.

  4. Sou: "I have no idea where he dug it up from."

    Its from the Newsweek April 28 1975, an article that deniers think is the equivalent to an IPCC Assesment report as a summary of the science. ht tp:// is one of many places hosting a copy.

    1. I should add that the graph is tagged "Fenga and Freyer" - that is not a scientific reference, F&F was a graphic design company that operated from 1947 to 1980 (?), and supplied a lot of Newsweek graphics at the time.

  5. I have only once found myself arguing in real time with a climate change denier. It was a bizarre experience as the guy just trotted out his favourite denialist memes as quickly as he could, and did not care in the least that they were easily debunkable: he just continued spewing out ever more of them..

    Until that moment I had always thought that the vast majority of climate change deniers must be paid shills. So I did learn one thing: there are plenty of people out there who are so mentally deficient they will construct an alternative reality in order to rationalise their irresponsible polluting lifestyles, and they really don't care how ridiculous they have to make themselves to continue doing it.

    Oh, and the conversation started when I made a disparaging remark about Jeremy Clarkson.

    1. Odd, I thought the whole point of Jeremy Clarkson was to give us someone to make disparaging remarks about. I thought that was basically his modus operandi.

  6. OT: Sou, I just came across a blog I was surprised to have not seen before. I notice it's not on your blog roll, or AFAICT on those of the other climate blogs I frequent. Is it legit?

    1. There are no new posts since quite some time. The comments on the last one suggest some rather unpleasant responses.

    2. 4 months or so, yes, but with some prior history of intermittency. The pushback is no surprise.

    3. An omission on my part, Steve. Yes, it's legit and, together with WatchingTheDeniers, is one of the best blogs showing up "JoNova" for what she is.

  7. The Hockey Schtick guy is a complete idiot, pandering to other complete idiots. His so called 'proof' that the greenhouse effect is minuscule used the moist lapse rate!!! So it already includes the greenhouse effect of water vapour. What a dick.

    Deniers never get the full picture. And trying to explain to them were they have got it al wrong is pointless too. They prefer the dark world of conspiracy theories where Hansen has orchestrated the corruption of the temperature record and Mann has hidden the MWP.

    "SteveSGoddard" is also just as stupid. He has a so called 'reverse' hockey stick using data from the Briffa 1998 paper. The graph that "SteveSGoddard" misrepresents is tree ring width data, not temperature, but the same paper show's that after about 1960, the tree ring growth rate diverges from the temperature record, which was the crux of the entire paper!! So either "SteveSGoddard" is wilfully misrepresenting, or wilfully stupid.

  8. I’ve seen something similar previously posted by someone else, or maybe it was the same person?

    “Would the lower troposphere warm alone from pressure if the Earth ‘s atmosphere was 100% N2?”

    Looking through the blog posting it is stated by somebody that:

    “The surface temperature is thus solely a function of gravity, atmospheric mass, atmospheric heat capacity and has no relationship to radiative forcing from greenhouse gases.”

    They are claiming that the effect of gravity causes the 33 K warming that as seen on Earth. That’s good to know at least, if the Sun goes out tomorrow we would never reach absolute zero at the surface of the planet.

    The PV=nRT post is also one I have come across before. It is clear that here they are talking about the introduction of CO2 into the atmosphere, which then results in some change to the equilibrium.

    So we are pumping CO2 into the atmosphere, what then is the net change? Well it depends upon the number of moles of gas (n) that change in the system. Given that CO2 is formed by the direction combustion of atmospheric O2, then there is no not change in the number of moles (n). The reduction in atmospheric O2 has been shown. However, there are other effects that need to be considered as well. The biosphere will take up CO2 and re-gas O2 – therefore no net change in the figure n. We know that a large proportion of CO2 is absorbed in the ocean. So as a result of oceanic uptake of CO2 there is a net loss of gas molecules in the atmosphere, i.e. reducing n.

    Therefore, if n is reducing, either the pressure P and/or Volume V must also be reducing if the Temperature T remains constant.

    Now what was he saying about pressure changes again?

  9. Almost every assertion here is baseless. There is no actual scientific evidence the oceanic CO2 is ours, heck there is actually no empirical evidence the CO2 increase is us however convincing the correlation is, CO2 emissions are also not measured but factored in sales and no one even knows how much Nature creates and consumers, so many assumptions, stop making unsupported links. According to NOAA themselves there is NO evidence of ocean acidification either.

    1. Anon - you place yourself squarely in the camp of the ignorati. I'm not going to bother to recite the refutation - just go tread What is causing the increase in atmospheric CO2? at SkepticalScience.

      Of course it's easy to believe humans are not responsible for atmospheric CO2 if you IGNORE ALL THE EVIDENCE.


  10. I believe the recent C02 released by humans burning fossil fuels have a different atomic signature to naturally occurring C02

    So pretty easy for climate scientist to work this stuff out (obviously harder for bloggers)


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