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Friday, September 12, 2014

Perennially Puzzled Bob Tisdale surfs the surface at Florida Keys

Sou | 1:30 PM Go to the first of 60 comments. Add a comment

Update: For the benefit of new WUWT visitors, I wasn't banned from WUWT for troll behaviour. I was banned for being a "clueless female eco-nut", because of an innocuous tweet. (In four years I only made about 30 comments at WUWT, mostly polite and on topic.) Click here to read about it. I'm not alone. WUWT is intolerant of anyone who accepts science.

Also, don't fall for the typical paranoid conspiracy ideation you may have read at WUWT. 7DaBrooklynKnight7 has never been banned, and what he, not I, suggested was his parting comment is not lost forever, it was moved to where super-silly comments often go - to the HotWhoppery :)

Unlike WUWT, I rarely disappear comments completely and have had to ban very, very few people, and only then for extreme behaviour. Click here for the comment policy. (Also unlike WUWT, and the shameless double standards of it's various anonymice like the "Bob Tisdale's" of the world, I respect people's right to privacy and prefer to focus on the science.)

Sou 28 October 2014

Perennially puzzled "Bob Tisdale" is a one trick pony. His trick is sea surface temperature. Or so he pretends. He's no climate expert. He's not a climate scientist. He's best known at WUWT for his dabbles in ENSO.

Today "Bob Tisdale" wrote an article at WUWT (archived here) that he claims disproves practically everything in a recent paper about coral reefs. Not just any corals, the paper was specifically about corals in Florida Keys. Thing is, Bob Tisdale didn't bother reading the paper much less try to understand it.

Bob has no excuse for not reading the paper. It's open access and you can read it here. The title of the paper is:

A Century of Ocean Warming on Florida Keys Coral Reefs: Historic In Situ Observations

It was reporting research done by scientists at the US Geological Survey and elsewhere with a team led by Florida-based marine biologist Ilsa Kuffner.

Bob wasn't interested in the paper. He wasn't interested in the fact that it was a report based on in situ observations. He probably isn't at all familiar with the reefs around Florida Keys. Just the same he took it on himself to decide that the research should have instead been about:

One Hundred and Forty Three Years of Gridded Sea Surface Temperature off the Coast of Florida using HadISST

Deniers toss out direct measurements, preferring homogenised estimates

Bob didn't want the scientists to use site-specific data, or temperature under the sea surface where the corals are. Data painstakingly collected from specific locations over decades, using thermometers, calibrated data loggers and precision thermographs.  Data carefully analysed by qualified experts over weeks or months. Without filling in gaps in data, and where the researchers discarded the small amount of data that couldn't be corroborated.

That sounds like just what deniers clamour for, doesn't it. You'd think they'd be singing the praises of the researchers. Recall their horror at gaps in climate data being infilled by estimates based on surrounding regions. Recall the perennial protests from deniers at climate data being homogenised to correct for calibration errors, station moves, breaks in the data.

Not this time though. Nope. This time they want massaged, combined, "manipulated" data estimated from multiple sources. Bob Tisdale didn't want a bar of actual direct observations using thermometers and precise measuring instruments on site. Instead Bob trotted off to KNMI Climate Explorer and got different data. He preferred gridded data estimated from combining observations from ships, from buoys, from satellites, with data gaps filled by interpolation. He wasn't interested in the temperature changes of the coral reefs themselves. He was only interested in the temperature of the thin skin of the sea surface - averaged over a wide area well beyond the corals the scientists were researching. Yet leaving out some of the area that the researchers did cover.

Bob spent a few minutes plotting HadISST surface temperatures of the ocean far afield. He then triumphantly pronounced the months of dedicated detailed scientific research about coral reefs in Florida Keys was dead in the sea water (so to speak).

But it's Bob who is wrong and woefully so.

(This article is very long. If you're on the home page click the read more to see what the paper is about and the reaction of the fake sceptics and resident pseudo-science disinformer, Bob Tisdale, at WUWT.)

Reported trends in coral reefs near the Florida Keys

First the paper itself. It's about the warming of waters in reefs in Florida Keys and the recent and potential impact on different species of coral that live there. There's a press release published at USGS. It's quite short so I'll copy it here in its entirety.
Late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several decades compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Researchers indicate that the warmer water temperatures are stressing corals and increasing the number of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae.  The corals can starve to death if the condition is prolonged.
“Our analysis shows that corals in the study areas are now regularly experiencing temperatures above 84 F during July, August and September; average temperatures that were seldom reached 120 years ago,” said Ilsa Kuffner, a USGS research marine biologist and the study’s lead author. “When corals are exposed to water temperatures above 84 F they grow more slowly and, during extended exposure periods, can stop growing altogether or die.”
The new analysis compares water temperatures during two time periods a century apart at two of Florida’s historic offshore lighthouses – Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, off Miami, and Carysfort Reef Lighthouse, off Key Largo, Florida. The first period included data from 1879 to 1912, while the second period spanned from 1991 to 2012. Temperatures at a third area, a reef off Islamorada, Florida, were also monitored from 1975 to 2007.
“What’s interesting is that the temperature increase observed during this recent 32-year period was as large as that measured at the lighthouses spanning 120 years,” said Kuffner. “This makes it likely the warming observed at the lighthouses has actually occurred since the 1970s.” 
The study indicates that August is consistently the month when Florida’s ocean temperatures peak. In the analysis of recent decades, average temperatures for August have been at or very close to 86 F.  At Fowey Lighthouse from 1879 to 1912, the average August temperature was just 84.2 F. Temperatures this August at the same location, though not included in the study, averaged 87 F. 
Coral bleaching is currently underway in the Florida Keys, highlighting the real-time impact that warmer ocean temperatures are having on reefs. Corals can recover from bleaching if the waters cool down within a few weeks, but mortality usually ensues if corals remain bleached longer than a month or two.
The study, “A century of ocean warming on Florida Keys coral reefs: Historic in-situ observations,” was recently published in the journal Estuaries and Coasts and is available via open access.

Deniers protest, again

Anthony Watts already had a shot at badmouthing the research with one of his "claim" headlines (archived here). That means that his readers aren't supposed to "believe" it. Bob Tisdale didn't "believe" it. Exactly what didn't he believe? Well he didn't believe that the water the corals live in has got any warmer. But that's not what his article was about. His article was about sea surface temperatures as compiled in HadISST in the general region of the research and beyond.

It looks as if he didn't even read the paper, he just looked at the pictures. (I bet he loves comics.) Bob completely ignored the detailed ocean and underwater temperature data provided by the researchers in three excel spreadsheets. He barely mentioned the word "coral".

Bob Tisdale ignores multiple cautions

The researchers themselves were discussing the temperature that the coral itself is exposed to. As they write in the introduction, which if Bob hadn't been so rushed to condemn them on the strength of a dogwhistle from Anthony Watts, he might have read (my bold italics).
Having remotely sensed temperature monitoring from space has greatly improved predictive capabilities, allowing for real-time detection of temperature anomalies and early warning of bleaching events (Hu et al. 2009; Eakin et al. 2010). Caution is advised, however, when attempting to derive local, absolute patterns in SST from regionally and globally synthesized satellite data products, especially in nearshore waters typical of coral reef ecosystems. Satellites that measure the temperature of the “skin” of the ocean are unable to measure ambient temperature at depth and thus cannot fully represent the subsurface environs inhabited by reef organisms (Castillo and Lima 2010). Moreover, coral reefs are exposed to significant thermal variability across a range of temporal and spatial scales (Leichter et al. 2006). The shallowness of nearshore waters makes them responsive to heat exchange across the air–water interface (Pitts and Smith 1995) and, in the case of the Florida reefs, to the tidally driven effects of unusually hot or cold, very shallow (2–3-m deep), inland-bay waters (Roberts et al. 1982).

Caution is not something known to deniers. They throw it to the wind in their attempts to paint all scientists as careless at best, or outright scoundrels pulling the wool over dumb deniers eyes. Yet it's Bob Tisdale who is careless at best. Or is he an outright scoundrel, pulling the wool over dumb deniers eyes. The paper also states further down:
Given the discrepancies among satellite-derived data, gridded data products like HadSST1, and in situ data (Leichter et al. 2006; Castillo and Lima 2010), we propose that in situ data are best for calibration of paleoproxies, especially for shallow, nearshore waters in subtropical regions.

Bob doesn't care for science, he knows which pictures he likes

One of the pretty pictures that Bob looked at was Figure 2. He wrote:
My Figure 1 is their Figure 2. It shows the sea surface temperatures measured at two lighthouses in the Florida Keys during two periods: recent multidecadal periods and multidecadal periods about a century ago. There’s obviously some missing data…a lot of missing data.

What Bob probably meant was that there were years when data wasn't available. There's more. He wrote:
Hmmm. That’s odd. Why would they fail to illustrate most of the data? Could they simply have cherry-picked two time periods—per lighthouse—so they could make alarmist claims about coral reefs? Notice how there are different periods shown for the two lighthouses. Odd.:

Oh. No. It appears that Bob thinks that there was data available that "wasn't illustrated".  That's not the case. The paper clearly identifies the sources of data at the sites they were interested in.  Not only that, but they go to the trouble of providing that very same data as supplementary information, in three Excel spreadsheets. You'd have thought deniers would jump at the chance to look at actual data. You know how they complain that papers published before the days of mass electronic storage don't have "data and code online" for them to play with. Well this time there was all the data they could want - but Bob doesn't just ignore it completely, he decides to use different data that isn't as fit for purpose.  The data the scientists provide as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets are:

  1. Ocean temperature data collected by lighthouse keepers in the Florida Keys from tables published in Vaughan (1918).
  2. Underwater temperature data collected by J. H. Hudson and J. S. Anderson from a selection of sites in the Florida Keys.
  3. Ocean temperature data compiled from the National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) observation site at Fowey Rocks Lighthouse (FWYF1).

Bob claimed that they "failed to illustrate" most of the data. He's wrong. Not only did they illustrate the data, they provided it so he could play with it himself. But he wasn't interested in the data.

Bob failed to mention the very lengthy section in the paper that described the data itself. In fact, of the 4,530 words in the paper (not counting tables, figures or acknowledgement), the researchers devoted 1,473 (32.5%) to discussing the data and how it was analysed. And that doesn't include comments about it in the Results and Discussion sections.  They explained at length and in more than one place their reasons for using the data that they did. Bob ignored all that. Or maybe he just couldn't be bothered to read it. Or maybe it was beyond his comprehension.

In the early years, the temperature was most likely measured using buckets dropped in the water. The people who took the measurements way back when, could scarcely have been more different than the denier blogger who posts as "Bob Tisdale". The paper states:
...the men employed as lighthouse keepers were educated, highly skilled, and rotated duty stations and schedules multiple times per year (Dean 1998), making bias in any certain direction unlikely. 

Bob Tisdale doesn't match up on any of these counts and particularly not the last one. As for more modern records, the paper describes underwater temperature loggers being used from the 1970s, and thermographs from 1990.

Bob Tisdale doesn't have a clue

Bob mentioned and pasted Figure 2 from the paper, showing the data series from the different sources. He saw a gap in years and decided it should have been filled in. :

Figure 2: Time series of monthly mean water temperature taken by lighthouse keepers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (Vaughan 1918) and by fixed sensors at the same locations a century later. No supporting evidence for the Fowey data in the shaded portion (1902 and 1903) could be found in air temperature data for Miami or Key West, so these data were eliminated from the statistical analyses as a conservative measure. Dashed lines are for visual reference, marking the upper and lower boundaries within which coral growth is generally optimal. Source: Kuffner et al (2014)

Denier inconsistency and double standards

There is one thing that deniers are consistent about - inconsistency. Another is double standards. There wasn't any comparable data that the researchers found. But what does Bob care about that? For him, any old data will do. It doesn't have to be comparable. He'd be happy to splice and dice the site-specific measurements with gridded data from HadISST. And yet on the very same day at WUWT there were more moans and protests when fifteen years ago the WMO did that as a cover illustration (archived here). Not a scientific paper - just a bit of artwork. I'm referring to the WMO putting a chart on the cover of its 1999 annual report, which linked temperatures from a paleo reconstruction with the instrumental record. And that was data that was comparable. Talk about incomprehensible inconsistency!

Multiple sins of omission from Bob Tisdale

Bob committed multiple sins of omission. Not just ignoring the direct observations used by the researchers. For example, he failed to illustrate Figure 3. That might have demonstrated the point the researchers were making better to the chart-illiterate readers at WUWT. You'll soon guess why Bob chose to omit it. It shows up the differences more starkly.

Figure 3: Comparisons of mean water temperature for two multi-decadal time periods from the turn of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries at a Fowey Rocks Lighthouse and b Carysfort Reef Lighthouse. Error bars are ± 1 SE, where n = the number of years with three or fewer days of data missing for that month. Dashed lines are for visual reference and correspond with temperatures known to be stressful (29 °C) and very stressful (30 °C) for many coral species.  Source: Kuffner et al (2014)

Bob decides to ignore all the research and site-specific observations and opt for using HadISST. The HadISST data series is derived from a mix of data sources, including ships, buoys and satellites - with gaps in data being interpolated. I guess Bob didn't want to use carefully collected local measurements because why let facts get in the way of a good denier yarn. Bob chose HadISST because he didn't want site specific data. He also chose it over his alternative, HadSST which gives 5x5 grid coverage. HadISST has 1x1 coverage, which at Florida Keys would be around 110 by 111 kilometres.

Bob ignores multiple warnings

Now not only is Bob opting for a coarser data set, which probably won't capture the temperatures affecting the reefs. Not only is his preferred data giving temperature averaged over a much larger area at the surface, not at the depth of or in the specific location of the corals. Not only did he ignore the warning in the paper itself. Not only did he discount the careful measurements taken on site. He's ignoring the fact that the paper describing the Hadley data sets itself carries this warning:
Care must be taken when using HadISST1 for studies of observed climatic variability, particularly in some datasparse regions, because of the limitations of the interpolation techniques, although it has been done successfully [Sheppard and Rayner, 2002]. It is recommended that the noninterpolated SST data set HadSST [Jones et al., 2001] be used alongside HadISST1 for climate monitoring and climate change detection studies, as was done in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [Folland et al., 2001a].

When it comes to monitoring sea level, you may recall how deniers want to use the measurements taken on site. They don't trust much else. When it comes to monitoring temperature, deniers want to ignore data that's been "tampered with" - ie corrected after collection. But in this case, because deniers want to pretend that coral bleaching doesn't happen, the world isn't warming etc etc, they decide to ignore the careful measurements taken on site over the years. Data that is much more appropriate when considering the actual reef. Deniers decide that this time around they prefer data that's been "tampered with". Data from multiple sources, with gaps interpolated.

Deniers will grab hold of anything they think will support their position.

Bob ignores the locations and chooses his own area of sea

Another thing is that the area that Bob reported was mostly outside the reef not on it. Bob says in the text that the data he used was 25N-26N, 81W-80W, but all his charts show the area from 24N-25N, 81W-80W. Compare the area of sea surface temperature Bob "analysed" to the spots where actual measurements were taken from, including below the sea surface. I've shown both areas for Bob, there's probably not much difference given the dataset he used. This diagram is from Figure 1 of the paper. As always, click the image to enlarge it.

Annotated from Figure 1. Map of South Florida and the Florida Keys shows the location of several historic water temperature datasets (arrows). Also shown are reef areas where extensive sampling of live corals for growth studies occurred in the 1970s and 1980s: Key Largo (Hudson 1981b), Looe Key (Hudson 1983), and Biscayne National Park (Hudson et al. 1994). Coral growth data from these publications are summarized in Fig. 5. Source: Kuffner et al (2014)

Whether Bob's data was from the top or bottom, it seems to me that direct measurements taken right on the reefs, and below the surface, would be much more relevant to this particular research. Much better than Bob's average estimates, taken over a large area and only for the surface of the sea. And not covering at least one of the sites the researchers looked at. I'm with the scientists on this one, not the deniers at WUWT.

Now Bob, not having read the paper (or not understanding it, which has the same effect) put up his charts of averaged, interpolated HadISST sea surface temperatures - mostly annual averages, and said:
Yet, somehow, we’re supposed to believe manmade greenhouse gases are causing harm to the coral in recent years.

And then complained that the scientists singled out the weeks and months when the corals were most at risk of bleaching events. Duh!
Further to this, Kuffner et al. (2014) focused on August, which is the warmest month of the annual cycle in sea surface temperatures for the Northeast Florida Keys. And they listed sea surface temperatures (thresholds) that were stressful (29 deg C) and very stressful (30 deg C) to the corals. Curiously, the Kuffner et al. (2014) Figure 2 (my Figure 1) shows that sea surface temperatures are above the 29 deg C stress threshold nearly every year, even back in the late 1800s. It even showed that there were occasional excursions above the 30 deg C very-stressful threshold in the early data.

Yes, Bob. But if you'd read the paper you'd have seen that it's more than that. They wrote:
The timing of bleaching episodes observed in the Florida Keys between 1989 and 2005 was well explained by maximum monthly mean SST and by the number of days that water temperature was above 30.5 °C (Manzello et al. 2007), and the frequency of bleaching events reported increased over this time period (Oliver et al. 2009).

By using the coarse interpolated data, Bob didn't capture the days where the water temperature the corals themselves were exposed to was above 30.5 degrees. It's not clear if he even looked at maximum temperatures or if he only looked at the mean.

Scoundrels aren't interested in science

Scoundrels like Bob Tisdale aren't interested in science. They are only interested in belittling science and stirring up deniers. They pretend they have some expertise, when in fact they have none at all. Not only that, but they act as if they know it all. Yet what little they do know comes from those very same scientists who they ridicule.

The paper itself is much more nuanced than Bob Tisdale's ridiculous article. It asks as many questions as it answers. It also describes the different impacts on different corals of other changes in their environment - not just water temperature changes.

Bob seems to be convinced that the coral bleachings in recent years can't be from warmer temperatures because he says it hasn't warmed. He's not offered any explanation for what could possibly be causing the bleaching that's happening right now, according to the press release.

From the WUWT comments

Most of the deniers aren't the least bit sceptical of the tripe they've been fed at WUWT. And to think that Anthony Watts called Michael Mann "misleading". The king of the world's most read most misleading climate blog is pointing the finger at someone else. Hard to credit the cheek that deniers have. Some of them even claim to be "skeptics". What a load of tosh!

September 11, 2014 at 6:58 am
Every one of these Alarmist reports which can be easily debunked and/or shown to be blatant cherry picking reminds me of a funny show on Animal planet “Finding Bigfoot”. They become more convinced that Sasquatch exists every week , they spend millions of dollars looking for proof, yet they never produce any credible scientific evidence. Bigfoot and Global Warming follow the same belief system.

Chuck L should know by now that there is no peer review required at WUWT
September 11, 2014 at 7:00 am
It is appalling that crap studies like this pass peer-review and get published.

Ralph Kramden wouldn't know good science from bad, but it doesn't stop him bad-mouthing good science.
September 11, 2014 at 7:27 am
Good job Bob. Definitely exposes the “Ocean Warming Affecting Florida Reefs” study for what it is, a load of cr@p. But they will probably still get a government grant.

JohnWho is a fake sceptic, who laps up misinformation at WUWT without question.
September 11, 2014 at 7:31 am
Wow! Just wow!
Are they really being this blatant? 

Dire Wolf is only too willing to believe rubbish from fake "experts" like Bob Tisdale
September 11, 2014 at 7:39 am
I am amazed at the utter ham-handedness of the attempt to hide falsifying data. To create graphs screaming to be investigated… it boggles my mind.
Thank you Bob for this concise and devastating critique. Sadly (as my wife constantly points out) it is the study, not the critique, that will make it to the mainstream media.
There used to be a concept of honor and shame in science. Someone caught falsifying or grossly manipulating data would have been shunned in a past age. I wonder how or if we can ever bring that back. Still, thank you for fighting the good fight. 

Russ R. takes another sip of WUWT-flavoured koolaid and blithely says:
September 11, 2014 at 7:46 am
Cherries Flambe for the Kool-aid drinkers. The title of the press release is all that matters to the true-believers. Any data that is included, is just further proof, of what they already know. 

Charlie A can't be bothered following a link to find out for himself. He's a lazy fake sceptic.
September 11, 2014 at 8:04 am
Did the authors of the paper explain why they picked just those periods to analyze?
Did they claim the data was unavailable? 

Ilsa B. Kuffner & Barbara H. Lidz & J. Harold Hudson & Jeffrey S. Anderson, "A Century of Ocean Warming on Florida Keys Coral Reefs: Historic In Situ Observations", Estuaries and Coasts, 2014, DOI 10.1007/s12237-014-9875-5

Rayner, N. A., D. E. Parker, E. B. Horton, C. K. Folland, L. V. Alexander, D. P. Rowell, E. C. Kent, and A. Kaplan, "Global analyses of sea surface temperature, sea ice, and night marine air temperature since the late nineteenth century", J. Geophys. Res., 108(D14), 4407, doi:10.1029/2002JD002670, 2003


  1. That was fast Sou. Well done to you and all your research staff.

    1. He he :)

      I'm a bit miffed with my research staffer. She got 3/4 of the way through the article and then the lazy sod went to bed. Claimed she was "tired". Pffft.

      She didn't finish writing till she got up today.

    2. Yeah well, if I were you, I'd take her aside and give her a good talking to.

    3. Be careful there: alienate your staff and she might hand over a map of the secret IPCC bunker at Alice Springs to WUWT and then our plans for world domination will come to nothing.

  2. As an aside, on the WMO cover art issue, I see denier-land is celebrating catching out Professor Mann in a 'lie' in his fraud action against Mark Steyn. Mann (or his lawyers) stated that

    The “misleading” comment made in this report had absolutely nothing to do with Dr. Mann, or with any graph prepared by him. Rather, the report’s comment was directed at an overly simplified and artistic depiction of the hockey stick that was reproduced on the frontispiece of the World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the Status of the Global Climate in 1999.41 Dr. Mann did not create this depiction, and the attempt to suggest that this report suggested an effort by Dr. Mann to mislead is disingenuous.

    The 'gotcha' being that the Climategate mails show DR Mann was sent the graph and he lists it on his CV. Wonder how this would play out in Court...

    "M'Lord, further evidence of the Dr Mann's lack of integrity is that he says he had nothing to do with the misleading WMO figure when in fact he lists it on his CV!"

    "If I may, M'lud, my learned friend is apparently unaware of the convention in academia that if an article uses data prepared by a researcher, then that researcher is frequently listed as a coauthor, even if they were not primarily involved in the production of the article. "

    "And is that the case here? Did the authors of the graph use data from a Mann study?

    If I may crave the court's indulgence, Exhibit A is the acknowledgements for the figure, it states

    '(Sources of data: P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa and T.J. Osborn, University of East Anglia, UK; M.E. Mann, University of Virginia, USA; R.S. Bradley, University of Massachusetts, USA; M.K. Hughes, University of Arizona, USA; and the Hadley Centre, The Met. Office).

    I see, so Professor Mann was not ultimately responsible for the figure, although it made use of some data generated by him

    Exactly so, My Lord

    Then I would request counsel to refrain from wasting the court's time in future.

    1. But he listed the figure in his CV.

    2. You have to replace all the "m'lud"s with "your honor". This suit is being pursued in the US. No wigs.

    3. In a similar way (but without the associated status), I've listed a few places where my blog's been featured (on the About page), but that doesn't mean that I write for or control the content of Slate or Think Progress.

      It's something to be proud of to have your research featured on the cover of a 50 year celebratory Annual Report.

      BTW the hockey stick is alive and well. I think a lot of deniers are still under the illusion that global warming isn't happening. Dumb as.

    4. If a data provider is on a paper, this person is also responsible for the entire content of the paper. Maybe less than a first author, but in principle you own the entire content of every paper you are on.

      In this case it was not about authorship however, but a mention on a CV, that does not make you responsible for that publication.

  3. The figure IS on his CV - along with workshops, press conferences, book signing sessions and every article he was ever a 'co-author' of, even when his contribution was limited to supplying the data. Anyhow, don't take my word for it:

    "Mann was not ultimately responsible for the WMO 1999 figure"

    - Steve McIntyre

    1. "every article he was ever a 'co-author' of, even when his contribution was limited to supplying the data."

      That's completely standard operating procedure in the scientific community. If your name is on the author list, you are a co-author.

    2. No more questions Your Honour.

  4. hi sou, if you would, please show that tisdale's graphs are wrong. he's real excited the sea surfaces in that region of the keys haven't warmed in 80 years. thank you.


    1. Let me have a go. As a quickie: how about looking at GISS temperatures, comparing 30 years means 1919-1949 with 1984-2014.

      Of course, there's no cherry picking there and I've used 30 yr means to minimise the effect of short term variability to show the real trend so I guess that's not how Bob would be doing it. But the Florida keys do show a +ive anomaly of >0.2C even though its a good deal less than the gobal average of +0.52.

    2. You can change the smoothing radius to 250 km and then the south Florida anomaly increases, although it doesn't separate land from sea. Of course, (a) the paper's authors are correct that SST is not a great way to measure subsurface T, and (b) the best way to prove them wrong would be to get the raw ocean temperature data, carefully process it, and report the results in a peer-reviewed journal. That's unlikely to happy, though, is it?

    3. Ooh! I choose (b). Zing, PL :-)

    4. thank you for your efforts, millicent. but that does not prove tisdale's graphs are wrong. therein lies the problem. he has data to support what he says. it might be different data than what was used in the study but it still is data. we try to call it cherrypicking, but really is not. the data shows most of the warming in the florida keys happened before the 1930s. this is not good.


    5. Bob's charts are irrelevant. They do not "prove" what he claims. He is not reporting the changes in the environment of the coral reefs. He was looking at temperatures on the thin skin of the ocean surface, including ocean far from the coral itself and not at all at the depth of the coral.

      Did you not read the paper? Did you not read the article? Did you not understand either / any / or? If you have more questions, feel free to ask them. But before you do, read the paper and the article again and, if I've misunderstood your red herring, then explain what it is that you are having trouble with.

    6. sou, please don’rt be mad. i only asked a question. i’m here to learn from you. yes i read the papers you suggested and i read both articles, yours and tisdales.

      i don’t want to seem argumentative, but the hadisst data is not only sateliite data. they also use data from ships and buoys and those are deeper than the skin. and they only used satellites in the hadisst since the early 1980s. before then, hadisst is from only buoys and ships.

      according to the rayner paper you provided they also adjust the satellite data with data from ship inlets and buoys, like the buoys at the reefs, to take care any biases from the satellites sensing the skin. i checked that knmi website and the average august sst from the fowey rocks and carysfort reef buoys (for 1991 to 2012) is the same (29.9 deg c) as the august sst from the hadisst for the coordinates used by tisdale. please check my work.

      one last thing. i also checked that knmi website and they have more sst data. there’s one from noaa that does not use satellites in recent years. the noaa ersstv3b, for the florida keys, the sea surfaces have cooled sinse 1930.

      that’s why I’m confused. that’s why I ask questions. i’m not seeing what you’re seeing.


    7. There is nothing quite as pathetic as a concern troll.

    8. Yeah, concern trolls are nasty beasts. Whiny and obstinately refuse to understand what's written. Refuse to look at the site data provided in the excel spreadsheets. Refuse to understand that smearing averages over vast tracts of ocean surfaces is very different to measuring temperature directly at the site. Refusing to understand that the SST in HadSST and HadISST means sea surface temperature, not at a point, certainly not in the shallow waters of the reef itself, but averaged over 110x111 sq km of open ocean in the case of HadISST.

      (I don't know that Argo buoys are useful for research of this nature. They cover a 3x3 array, coarser than HadISST and they move around. They are for a different purpose than monitoring conditions on a specific coral reef AFAIK. In any case, they weren't even proposed till 1999 and there reached a deployment of 3000 in 2007. Wouldn't have been much use in this case.)

      I've dealt with another troll today elsewhere. A tone troll in that case. Life is too short.

    9. Sou,

      There's a type of spam/hack/prank going around where you write "this is a story about X" and the prankster sends a tweet or reply to the effect " hey, can you tell us all about X?"

      Brooklyn's first post was in that category. Handle as you see fit, but I favor a warning and then banning.

    10. I take your point, Grenville. My response was more for lurkers who aren't familiar with the subject and still figuring it out. If Brooklyn is sincere, then he/she is doing an excellent imitation of a denier troll.

      I figure that lurkers may not be as attuned to the subtleties of trolls, as we who've suffered the same tactics for years and can recognise them straight off.

    11. sou, i am not a denier. i am not a troll. but i have been lurking here for a while. and I will tell you one thing for sure, i am not feeling welcomed here. why is someone who asks you a question classified as a troll?

      i examined the site data provided by the authors of the study, as you requested. it is sea surface temperature data. i examined the hadisst data. it is sea surface temperature data. the average august values for the two reefs for 1991-2012, as I mentioned before, are precisely the same as hadisst at 29.9 deg c.

      to me looks like tisdale's graphs are relevant. and that concerns me.



    12. 7DaBrooklynKnight7, you are "labelled a troll" because that is how you are behaving. Just like a concern troll (look if up if Googling isn't beyond you). You are also behaving like a typical science denier.

      You refuse to accept what is written in the HotWhopper article. You refuse to accept what the scientists wrote in their report. You just keep repeating the same thing over and over again and give no indication that you've read or understood any of the replies that people have gone to the trouble of giving you directly.

      That's what trolls do.

      In addition to concern trolling, you've engaged in borderline Tone Trolling (look it up), when you whine in response to a comment from me "sou, please don’rt be mad".

      Understand better now?

      If you seriously don't know why averaging estimated temperature of the thin skin of the ocean over 110km x 111km is different from temperatures actually recorded (not estimated) at specific locations, including below the sea surface, then I can't help you.

      I suggest you find a Grade 2 primary school teacher to give you some personal tuition in basic arithmetic. Then find someone who'll sit down with you for a series of lessons about coral reefs, coral bleaching, sea surface temperatures, and other related topics. I don't offer remedial arithmetic services or personal tuition in climate science and oceanography for dummies. You'll have to go elsewhere.

    13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    14. 7DaBrooklynKnight7,

      I'll see your 'wow' and raise you one. Bob Tisdale is a crank. He thinks ENSO *causes* global warming. All you can do in response to that is shake your head and laugh at his tl;dr screeds. If you can't see past that, then you have no business chastising Sou.

    15. @7DaBrooklynKnight7

      Maybe this might make it easier to understand.

      Say, I have a pot on water on a stove in a house. I measure the temperature using an thermometer. It starts out at 20C and in about 20 minutes it is now 100C. The water on stove has warmed up right?

      Now say some retarded denier disagrees with the measurements, and takes thermometer measurements in all of the rooms. They are all 20C and have been so for a couple of hours before and after I boiled the water. Look he says. See, the pot on the stove hasn't warmed. The data says so.

      But what you have done is taken the average temperature of the house, not of a point location on the stove, which is what I have done. They are completely different!!

      No no, he says, I carefully examined the data, and it says 20C and hasn't changed. Therefore you are wrong. Ha ha ha.

      You're an idiot, I say.

      Now don't be rude, you are not making me feel welcome he says

      Tone troll. Get lost.

      Now do you see what a fool Bob is, and how much of a bigger fool YOU are for not seeing Bob's foolishness. Sou explained it very well in her original post, but for some inexplicable reason the plain obvious wasn't apparent to you and Watt's loyal followers. Every time some dumb denier wanders onto this site, they always seem to make a complete fool of themselves. These aren't hard concepts to grasp. Even a 5th grader could explain it.

    16. @Dave

      Not quite a complete and accurate picture Dave. It is not "takes thermometer measurements in all of the rooms". It is "takes thermometer measurements in all of the rooms in the house next door".

      You have to be careful you do not misrepresent the work. :)

      (By the way - good post. Even 7DaBrooklynKnight7 should be able to understand that.)

    17. Yep, Great analogy, Dave and Jammy. Can I add a bit too.

      They didn't just read thermometers in the neighbouring houses. What they did was fly a drone over one house, with a thermal sensor and read the temperature. Then they read thermometers that were in the bedroom and kitchen of a second house. Then they got an infrared camera and shot a picture of a third house and estimated the temperate from examining the photograph. There was no way of getting the temperature of the fourth house, so they assumed that it was the somewhere between the temperature of the second and third house. They averaged measurements of all four houses, including the interpolated one and said, 'hmmm, we estimate the temperate at an average of 20 degrees Celsius. The pot of boiling water must be 20 degrees too."

    18. Ha ha, very good Sou. By any chance did they confuse Celsius and Fahrenheit anywhere? That would round it off nicely.

      Strangely this analogy works very well for me and makes it a lot clearer.

    19. "When calculating the temperature everywhere but where we need to measure it, we found that it warmed by only 0.1 C (32.18 F). This paper is total alarmist fraud."

    20. Sou: "What they did was fly a drone over one house, with a thermal sensor and read the temperature."

      really? when was the last time any "sceptic" went out and actually gathered their own data? more realistic would be endless mitherings about how electronic thermostats are consistently biased high, and that the scientists were probably too tired from rolling in their piles of money to read the LCD correctly. oh, and admonishing them for having the temperature set too high -- Anthony Watts has his set to 18, doncha know.

    21. For the benefit of new readers looking for the deleted comment, you can find it where it belongs, in the HotWhoppery :)

    22. That comment did not deserve deleting and reflects poorly on your judgement.

    23. Bog-standard tone-trolling. Boring. Next.

  5. You'd have thought deniers would jump at the chance to look at actual data. You know how they complain that papers published before the days of mass electronic storage don't have "data and code online" for them to play with. Well this time there was all the data they could want - but Bob doesn't just ignore it completely, he decides to use different data that isn't as fit for purpose.

    When we published a validation study of homogenization algorithms that remove non-climatic changes from climate station data, the climate dissenters often asked me for the data.

    When I told them were they could find it, they suddenly lost interest and in the best case promised to look at it some time in future. Has not happened in the last 2 years.

    People that are interested in the advancement of science would behave very, very differently.

    1. Of course they lost interest. They were hoping that you wouldn't be able to provide the data, and then they could claim nefarious intent and 'data hiding', which to a denier is just another excuse for their Morton's daemon. They don't ask for the data so they they may try and replicate the result, which is why any normal scientist would ask for the data. Nooo. They ask for the data to further confirm that scientists 'just make stuff up'.

    2. Dave : They weren't hoping Victor couldn't provide the data, they knew that he couldn't. When he did, they went away until they knew it again (which wouldn't take long). The process creates an instinctive aversion to raising the matter with him again. fnord :)

  6. I see your point about using in-situ measurements. I do believe, however, that you make a slight misrepresentation of what the authors state. The authors argue that the in-situ measurements are good for calibration purposes. That is an important statement, and should not be overlooked.
    That statement says that there is a connection between e.g. the HADISST and the local temperature. That also means that Bob's point about when warming occurred is crucial to the interpretation of the causes of the warming. The authors of the paper have stated that the warming of 1878-2012 can be fully accounted for by the warming of the much shorter period 1975-2007. According to HADISST that statement is incorrect, regardless of local measurements being suitable for calibration purposes, and regardless of the fact that the local measurements tell the local story of how the corals are dealing with local temperatures.
    Field measurements is a tricky thing, and one should take great care in not overstating the meaning of what is measured. If you take the authors at their word, you must aknowledge the connection between the in-situ measurements and the HADISST. If you claim that HADISST is something different altogether, then you should address that issue with the authors beacuse you are in disagreement.
    Regards, Anders

    1. I "must" do nothing of the sort.

      I am pointing out that HadISST is too crude a measurement to indicate anything much about what is happening in specific coral reefs. If HadISST were considered useful, the scientists would have used it. It provides a continuous record after all. However it doesn't say much about what was happening on the reefs where the corals are growing.

      Bob was effectively arguing that the coral bleaching and other changes that have been observed in the coral population has nothing to do with the temperature of the environment the corals were growing in. He bases this not on any knowledge he has of coral reefs (which is probably zero). Not on any understanding of oceans or marine science (which is probably less than zero). Nope, he makes his claim based on his charts of the average surface temperature of the ocean over an area way beyond where the coral reefs are located. He effectively says that the people who carefully recorded the temperatures on site were wrong.

      He effectively says that the marine scientists who have spent their lives studying coral reefs don't know what they are talking about.

      Bob says all this because he wants to reject that fact that humans are causing global warming. Plus he wants to sell his "books". Bob Tisdale is an armchair crank who mines the work of others, picking the bits he likes and rejecting what he doesn't like. He then re-packages this into pseudo-science claptrap and sells it to whoever is mug enough to buy it.

      Bob Tisdale is just another science denier. One of the nutty crowd that hang about conspiracy theory websites like WUWT.

    2. Thank you for answering. I disagree with you, though.

      It is true that HADISST is not directly interchangeable with the in-situ measurements. At the same time, it is true that the in-situ measurements are related to the HADISST. Since you have not argued on that point I take it that you agree with me.

      This means that the HADISST provides the reference into which the in-situ measurements should be interpreted. That is what Bob Tisdale is arguing.

      When you look at the story told by HADISST it is clear that the bulk of the warming happened in the early 1900s. Thus the authors are not correct in saying the the 1975-2007 period accounts for the observed warming of the area. That is the main argument of Tisdales post. There is not a single place in his post where he argues that the in-situ measurements were wrong. He rather says that they were not put in the proper frame of reference. That is quite another issue, which you seem to have missed.

      It is actually quite clear that when you look at the presented in-situ measurements compared to the longer HADISST they are in agreement, i.e. they show similar patterns.

      It is also clear that the area has had several periods of warm temperatures at and above what is generally thought to be stressful for coral reefs. It is reasonable to assume that the local in-situ measurements would be elevated accordingly during thos times. It is absolutely reasonable to wonder why coral reefs seem to have endured this in previous times without dire consequences. It may be that nature is quite robust, after all. The authors of this study have presented observations, they have discussed and argued on hypotheses related to the issue. Theirs is a contribution in the quest for Truth, but it is not itself Truth. It is very important to remember that.

      Bob Tisdale does not argue that coral reefs are not stressed by high sea temperatures. I do believe there a lot of studies showing that they in fact are. What he does argue, though, is that there is a) no reason to believe that manmade global warming is to blame for the situation at these reefs and b) it would be interesting to know how the coral reefs have endured periods of stressful warmth in previous years. To me those are reasonable arguments with regards to this study.

      On a final note, if your arguments are good, they are good. Drop the mud-dragging stuff. It comes off as juvenile insecurity on your part when read by adults trained in engineering and science.

    3. >What he does argue, though, is that there is a) no reason to believe that manmade global warming is to blame for the situation at these reefs

      Yes, that's a given. Bob Tisdale is a greenhouse effect denier. He doesn't "believe" that greenhouse gases keep Earth warm. He rejects 200 years of physics.

      and b) it would be interesting to know how the coral reefs have endured periods of stressful warmth in previous years.

      Sure. If there were records the scientists would have used them Did you even read the paper? Are you a greenhouse effect denier too? The scientists weren't making any claims other than what the data showed. Unlike Bob Tisdale, they weren't stretching anything. They were simply reporting what they found based on observations.

      Thing is, the scientists were comparing periods for which there *were* records.

      The HadISST charts Bob put up showed small changes in average SST and there they showed that recent years (around the turn of this century) have had the hottest SST in the record. Don't be distracted by the lines that Bob drew. Look at the charts themselves, not what Bob wants you to see, but the actual data. However that's not very relevant to the paper that is being discussed here.

      The data the scientists used was specific to the sites in question. If you've ever swum in a lake or river (or reefs in the sea), you'd know that there are parts that have temperatures very different to the average.

      I know you want to "believe" that an armchair pseudoscientist can "prove" that scientists don't know nuffin'. If you think Bob has a case to argue, ask him to publish it. He won't. He says he's not even game to post a comment here for fear of it being deleted. I can't see him being game enough to attempt to compete with real scientists. He's only good for denialist and conspiracy theorising blogs like WUWT, where he can command some adulation from the 8% dismissives. Though not everyone there is a fan (think Wondering Willis, who is a competitor not an ally).

      Bottom line is that warmer reefs will bring changes to the reefs. And as global warming continues to kick in there will be many coral reefs that will be affected. They are getting a double whammy. Hot spells will bring more coral bleaching events. Acidification will alter the habitat as well. Some species will not thrive and may not survive.

      Deniers don't want to hear about that. Fisher folk will be interested. Marine scientists will be interested. There are a lot of people who are interested in this sort of thing. There are a few people who are signed on members of the illiterati who think that knowledge is a waste of time. (Many of them would rather make crude sexist remarks than discuss science. That's a subject they are more at home with.)

    4. On a final note, if your arguments are good, they are good. Drop the mud-dragging stuff. It comes off as juvenile insecurity on your part when read by adults trained in engineering and science.

      Oops I missed your obligatory tone trolling. HotWhopper is for demolishing disinformation - and enjoys poking fun at dumb denierisms.

      If you don't like snark then go elsewhere. There are plenty of good science blogs around. You could try WUWT - oh, perhaps not. Not if you want to avoid the juvenile and less so if you are interested in science. (People there don't even pretend to discuss science.)

    5. Again, thank you for replying. I gather that we agree that the HADISST provides a reference for the in-situ measurements. The authors had these records, but did not use them to this end. That is a choice they made, which is OK but is also debatable. The authors argue that warming will make changes to the reef, which is also OK and in line with the findings from other sites around the globe. The question is of course if these changes are for the better or worse, and how the reefs will handle the changes. The paper has a pretty good discussion chapter, where they discuss the different stressors for reefs. They do touch upon the fact that the current temperature records show that the reefs are not affected by colder temperatures, but only briefly. It is known that cold water is a definite and strong killer of reefs, while higher temperatures are known to be causing bleaching which normally causes shifts in the predominance of coral types on the reef. Thus it is arguable that the reefs are better off with higher temperatures. The authors touch upon this, but do not follow through on this line of argument, focusing rather on the possible (and speculative) detrimental effects of higher SSTs and less alkaline seawater.
      The authors mention in the discussion chapter that there is much to learn when it comes to how coral reefs handle higher SSTs, while there is good knowledge on the lethality of cold waters. They speculate on the combination of warming SST and less alkaline sea water, but point out that the effect of this is not currently known well enough to conclude on the future of these reefs. As good scientists, they point out that further research is needed. I have no problem with that.
      The authors do make the connection between anthropogenic global warming and warming of the sea around these reefs. The temperature curves they show do not in my mind provide compelling evidence to this end. It is an argument, and should be treated as such. That is why the use of HADISST provides a frame of reference that is useful.
      There is more to be said, but I will stop there.

    6. No, we do not agree anything of the sort. You are the one who is trying on the dumb line taken by "Bob Tisdale". He is wrong, plain and simple. For reasons the scientists themselves have explained. (You don't need to take my word for it.)

      I haven't bothered to read Bob's latest so-called article, but I did see one of his comments. He seems to be denying even that there was in situ underwater temperature records - from one metre to five metres depths in various sites in one set of data.

      As I indicated in my article (and since you've bothered to read the paper you're rejecting, you will have seen the same) - the scientists spent a lot of the paper talking about the data itself.

      I don't understand why you aren't interested in what they *did* find and are so intent on "believing" an anonymous quack on a conspiracy theorising anti science blog, like "Bob Tisdale" or whatever his name really is.

      Look, if you want to claim the inside temperature of your living room is the same as the average of the temperature on the top of the nearest mountain range in winter, be my guest. It makes no sense to me.

      Of course the scientists know the world and the oceans are warming. Who doesn't know that? Even a greenhouse effect denier like Bob Tisdale doesn't deny that the world is heating up a lot. He just denies that it's because of CO2. He's a science denier - not to be trusted on anything scientific.

      Anders, I'm assuming you are a science denier arrived here from WUWT. Would that be right? You're wasting your breath here if you think you'll make any converts to some anti-science crusade you might be on. HW readers in the main are too well educated in science.

    7. To be more accurate, "He then re-packages this into pseudo-science claptrap... with graphs..."

      Gobs and gobs of misaligned graphs with insignificantly short trend lines, nonsense interpretations, and blatant cherry-picking. Because, as Bob says:


      I kid you not, he actually said that. Facepalm...

    8. Yes. He draws lots of lines everywhere though they are quite meaningless.

      Bob specialises in one thing and one thing only. He's taught himself how to extract sea surface temperature from KNMI Climate Explorer and he judges everything climate with SST. If he was asked to explain gravity or photosynthesis he'd start with a chart of monthly sea surface temperatures, draw some random lines, then probably claim it proves that gravity and photosynthesis don't exist and that scientists don't know nuffin' :)

    9. KR, thank you very much for the link.

      I was wondering why you posted it. You disagreed with Tisdale's position, and admitted to not understanding something. Ric Werme and Tisdale replied to you, explaining, but you didn't acknowledge their replies or attempt to counter their arguments.

      I still can't figure out why you would post that for everybody to read.


    10. Seriously? ha ha ha

      Are you saying that you agree with "Bob Tisdale" that:


      Perhaps you agree with "Bob Tisdale" that one needs to remove all the warming areas because ...ummm...they make it look as if the world is warming (when of course all that's really happening is that the world is getting hotter - globally that is, not in Bob's spots that aren't warming as fast as the spots that are warming fastest).

    11. Sou, Tisdale did not "remove all the warming areas". In that post, every ocean basin is represented from the start of the data in 1955. See the map:


    12. Sou, PS: I didn't say I agreed with Tisdale. I was saying that KR should have replied, and because he didn't, it seems silly to post it.


    13. Okay. I don't agree but you're entitled to nitpick if you want.

      Personally I found KR's observation highly relevant, although I already know Bob's a greenhouse effect denier and a quack. I mean it wasn't as if it was a mistype by "Bob Tisdale" - he shouted it to the world. He's a weird one.

    14. @Breakfast

      Much of Tisdales (mis)analysis is based on cherry-picking - SST's only, or perhaps 0-700 meters, ignoring 0-2000 and abyssal changes, looking at ever tinier portions of the ocean, and claiming significant trends with time periods far _far_ too short for anything but noise.

      Which makes his "USING A GLOBAL DATASET TO REPRESENT GLOBAL WARMING IS MISLEADING" (yes, caps in the original!) statement just hilarious - claiming that his absurd cherry-picking is the One and True Way.

      As to replying to Tisdale, that's been done at great length in multiple threads on WUWT as well as good discussions on Skeptical Science. His claims don't hold up, wholly ignoring conservation of energy, spectroscopic data, and the entirety of the data in favor of finding tiny regional portions of the sea and timeline that seem to support his claims.

      But given his statement in the thread referenced above, I just had to laugh - Tisdale makes no sense, cannot be convinced of his errors, and I just didn't bother for yet another round. Why did I post that? Because for anyone at all familiar with the data and with basic statistics, it's hilariously wrong. If you can't see that, I would suggest you do some reading...

    15. @Breakfast

      Side note: In that thread I did _not_ (contrary to your post) state I didn't understand something about Tisdales article. I understood completely, as a claim that cherry-picking data represents for him The True Path, and I was simply pointing out that cherry-picking is nonsense.

    16. KR: See Purkey et al – 2014 – “Relative contributions of ocean mass and deep steric changes to sea level rise between 1993 and 2013”. There was an article about it over at SkS by John Abraham. Link to preprint:

      See their Figures 1 and 5. Purkey broke the oceans into basins and small parts of the Southern Ocean. It’s commonly done. The reasons for doing it are pretty obvious, but they escaped you on that WUWT thread. For some reason, you thought it was funny that Tisadle had done the same thing.

      Would you call out Purkey et al for cherry-picking for showing no mass contribution to sea level in the South Pacific, and in the South Pacific portion of the Southern Ocean, and in the Indian Ocean?

      I’ll stand by my earlier statements.



    17. Don't pretend to be thick, Anonymous. KR was commenting on Bob's idiotic claim that: "USING A GLOBAL DATASET TO REPRESENT GLOBAL WARMING IS MISLEADING"

      That's all. If you can't see the ridiculousness of that statement or what is wrong with it, then do as KR suggested and read up on statistics.

      If you want to write about something else, feel free. But don't go putting words into the mouths of other commenters. There is nothing wrong with looking at changes in different parts of the ocean, and KR didn't ever say there was.

      "Bob Tisdale" on the other hand, has on several occasions tried to hide the fact that global warming is real or at least to downplay it. Some examples:

  7. Maybe someone more knowledgeable can check, but I think I once heard that the ocean sea surface temperature datasets are biased near the coast. The ships get larger and larger and thus stay further away from the coast nowadays. That artificially makes the measured temperatures cooler than they used to be.

  8. Clearly there is an increase in temperature shown by Figure 3, Kuffner et al (2014) But what is the increase due to?
    Classically the nearby Turkey Point nuclear power station which is clearly causing problems for the coral as reported for the nearby Biscayne Bay corals.


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