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Friday, February 28, 2014

Gavin Schmidt & Co have been reconciling climate models and surface temperature observations

Sou | 2:23 AM Go to the first of 30 comments. Add a comment

Gavin A. Schmidt, Drew T. Shindell & Kostas Tsigaridis have a new article in Nature Geoscience (open access).  What they've done is estimate the impact of actual measures of solar, volcanoes and ENSO on a CMIP5 ensemble.  They found that this reduced the recent difference between models and observations a whole lot.

What they found in particular was the the models most likely overestimated the cooling from the Pinatubo eruption in the 1990s, making the models too cool and, when observed solar radiation, volcanic eruptions and ENSO were factored, in the models are pretty close to observations.

Here is the figure from the paper. Click to enlarge it.

Figure 1: Updated external influences on climate and their impact on the CMIP5 model runs.
a, The latest reconstructions of optical depth for volcanic aerosols9, 10 from the Mount Pinatubo eruption in 1991 suggest that the cooling effect of the eruption (1991–1993) was overestimated in the CMIP5 runs, making the simulated temperatures too cool. From about 1998 onwards, however, the cooling effects of solar activity (red), human-made tropospheric aerosols (green) and volcanic eruptions (pink) were all underestimated. WMGHG, well-mixed greenhouse gases.
b, Global mean surface temperature anomalies, with respect to 1980–1999, in the CMIP5 ensemble (mean: solid blue line; pale blue shading: 5–95% spread of simulations) on average exceeded two independent reconstructions from observations (GISTEMP Land–Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI)6, solid red; HadCRUT4 with spatial infilling7, dashed red) from about 1998. Adjusting for the phase of ENSO by regressing the observed temperature against the ENSO index11 adds interannual variability to the CMIP5 ensemble mean (dashed blue), and adjusting for updated external influences as in a further reduces the discrepancy between model and data from 1998 (black). The adjusted ensemble spread (dashed grey) clearly shows the decadal impact of the updated drivers. As an aside, we note that although it is convenient to use the CMIP5 ensemble to assess expected spreads in possible trends, the ensemble is not a true probabilistic sample.

It's going to get hotter

The authors conclude the following, which won't come as news (or welcome news) to HotWhopper readers (my bold):
We conclude that use of the latest information on external influences on the climate system and adjusting for internal variability associated with ENSO can almost completely reconcile the trends in global mean surface temperature in CMIP5 models and observations. Nevertheless, attributing climate trends over relatively short periods, such as 10 to 15 years, will always be problematic, and it is inherently unsatisfying to find model–data agreement only with the benefit of hindsight. We see no indication, however, that transient climate response is systematically overestimated in the CMIP5 climate models as has been speculated, or that decadal variability across the ensemble of models is systematically underestimated, although at least some individual models probably fall short in this respect.
Most importantly, our analysis implies that significant warming trends are likely to resume, because the dominant long-term warming effect of well-mixed greenhouse gases continues to rise. Asian pollution levels are likely to stabilize and perhaps decrease, although lower solar activity may persist and volcanic eruptions are unpredictable. ENSO will eventually move back into a positive phase and the simultaneous coincidence of multiple cooling effects will cease. Further warming is very likely to be the result. 

Anthony Watts hasn't picked up on this paper yet, but I expect he will sooner or later.

For the record, this is a link to the March 2014 special issue of Nature Geoscience "Recent slowdown in global warming".

Gavin A. Schmidt, Drew T. Shindell & Kostas Tsigaridis, Reconciling warming trends, Nature Geoscience 7, 158–160 (2014) doi:10.1038/ngeo2105 Published online 27 February 2014

97% agree

Sou | 12:15 AM Feel free to comment!

Another 97% for you.

That's all.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

715 new planets orbiting 305 stars just like ours

Sou | 11:10 PM Go to the first of 8 comments. Add a comment

With science deniers like Roy Spencer and Anthony Watts losing it. After all their slimy innuendos over the years these nutters have the effrontery to play the victim, with Roy Spencer even going to far as to imply climate science is causing world poverty.

Anyway, rather than getting spattered by the muck they are throwing about, I thought I'd treat HotWhopper readers to something exciting and uplifting.

Let's look to the stars.  Or I should say, to the planets. From NASA:

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on. 
Image Credit: NASA

NASA's Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly-verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

"The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds."

Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process. Now, scientists have a statistical technique that can be applied to many planets at once when they are found in systems that harbor more than one planet around the same star.

To verify this bounty of planets, a research team co-led by Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., analyzed stars with more than one potential planet, all of which were detected in the first two years of Kepler's observations -- May 2009 to March 2011.

The research team used a technique called verification by multiplicity, which relies in part on the logic of probability. Kepler observes 150,000 stars, and has found a few thousand of those to have planet candidates. If the candidates were randomly distributed among Kepler's stars, only a handful would have more than one planet candidate. However, Kepler observed hundreds of stars that have multiple planet candidates. Through a careful study of this sample, these 715 new planets were verified.

This method can be likened to the behavior we know of lions and lionesses. In our imaginary savannah, the lions are the Kepler stars and the lionesses are the planet candidates. The lionesses would sometimes be observed grouped together whereas lions tend to roam on their own. If you see two lions it could be a lion and a lioness or it could be two lions. But if more than two large felines are gathered, then it is very likely to be a lion and his pride. Thus, through multiplicity the lioness can be reliably identified in much the same way multiple planet candidates can be found around the same star.

"Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates --but they were only candidate worlds," said Lissauer. "We've now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds."

These multiple-planet systems are fertile grounds for studying individual planets and the configuration of planetary neighborhoods. This provides clues to planet formation.

Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun's habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.

One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.

"From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small and their orbits are flat and circular -- resembling pancakes -- not your classical view of an atom," said Jason Rowe, research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and co-leader of the research. "The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home."

This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.

The findings papers will be published March 10 in The Astrophysical Journal and are available for download at:

The histogram shows the number of planets by size for all known exoplanets. The blue bars on the histogram represents all the exoplanets known, by size, before the Kepler Planet Bonanza announcement on Feb. 26, 2014. The gold bars on the histogram represent Kepler's newly-verified planets. Image Credit: NASA Ames/W Stenzel

The histogram shows the number of planet discoveries by year for roughly the past two decades of the exoplanet search. The blue bar shows previous planet discoveries, the red bar shows previous Kepler planet discoveries, the gold bar displays the 715 new planets verified by multiplicity. Image Credit: NASA Ames/SETI/J Rowe

There's a good presentation from NASA's Kepler team here as a pdf file.

The big plus about this article is that you don't have to read any dross from the WUWT comments :)

WUWT Sticky: Patrick Moore yearns for the "good old days" 500 million years ago

Sou | 9:59 AM Go to the first of 22 comments. Add a comment

"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago..."

Affirmation from a born again denier

"When modern life evolved over 500 million years ago..." So a bloke by the name of Patrick Moore said to his patron, Senator James Inhofe.  Anthony Watts thinks so highly of Patrick Moore's dumb, boring, tired repetition of out-dated denier talking points that he made it a sticky (archived here).  (Patrick Moore for those who've never heard of him, is apparently a "born-again denier" who says he was associated with Greenpeace in its early days, back when he was a hot-headed youth.  He left Greenpeace a couple of years later when he decided to become ideologically conservative and forsake environmental activism for the scientific illiterati.  Since then he's been trading on his "born again denier" status.  Update: I've put some related links in a comment below.)

What's happened in the last 500 million years...

Young earth creationists think modern life was created out of nothing 4,000 years ago or whenever.  Patrick Moore says modern life evolved over 500 million years ago therefore rising CO2 is not a problem.

How does Patrick Moore know what little he knows?  My guess is that it's because he read something that someone wrote about something that someone wrote about something that someone wrote about something that scientists discovered.  It's pretty obvious that Patrick Moore himself doesn't read science.  He reads hearsay of hearsay of hearsay from science deniers.

I don't know what archaic peat bog the Republican denialati dug him up from, but I wonder if Patrick Moore knows that quite a lot has changed in the past 500 million years.  For example, does Patrick Moore know it took another 150 million years before the first vertebrates appeared on land?  Does Patrick Moore know that around 250 million years after his 500 million years ago, 95% of life on earth became extinct?

Does Patrick Moore know that the very first "modern" mammals didn't appear until around 450 million years after his "500 million years ago"?

Does Patrick Moore know that it took around 480 million years after his 500 million years ago for our first ape-like ancestors to appear?

Does Patrick Moore know that it took around 498 million years after his 500 million years ago for our first Hominidae ancestors to appear?

Does Patrick Moore know that modern humans first appeared around 499.8 million years after his 500 million years ago?

Does Patrick Moore know that if CO2 were to reach the levels today that it was when the sun was much fainter and the earth was much younger, we'd all become extinct? Does he care? Or is he more interested in selling his science denial book?

Patrick Moore has told some US committee that he's written a science denying book.  Well, woopy doo.  Science denying books are plentiful but you won't learn anything about the natural world from them.  All you will learn is how some humans delude themselves.  How they'll rattle off a series of denier memes like CO2 is plant food, a warmer world is a better world, we're heading for an ice age, CO2 doesn't warm the world, warming is good for you etc etc.

What I can't understand is why Anthony Watts would make such a silly, empty denier speech a "sticky".  It's not even ground-breaking denial.  It's old, tired and worn out denial.

The equivalent of a Young Earth Creationist

Nor can I understand what makes a US government committee interested in denier rants from someone just because he got on a boat with some Greenpeace activists thirty years ago and decided that life wasn't for him.  He's not a climate scientist, that's obvious.  He's not even the sort of science denier the WUWT claim to be.  (WUWT-ers have been scrambling this week claiming they accept the greenhouse effect and AGW, they just reckon it's all stopped happening all of a sudden for no reason.)  Patrick Moore isn't one of those deniers, he's a greenhouse effect denier. The equivalent of the young earth creationists.

Pygmalion fail

If you want to read what Patrick Moore said, the WUWT archive is here.  It's not interesting. It's not eloquent. It's not got anything new.  It's not sophisticated.

It made me think of My Fair Lady.  As if Fred Singer spent a few weeks with Patrick Moore and tried to teach him some basic denier memes.  But Patrick Moore wasn't as astute as Eliza.  He couldn't be mistaken for anything but another ignorant puppet who's been trained in denial, and not very well trained at that.

When it came to his big occasion, all Patrick Moore could remember was that CO2 has been higher in the past and CO2 is plant food therefore we can keep burning coal.

Anthony Watts is worshipping a caricature, a statue of a denier and not even one of his creation.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Taxpayer-funded fake sceptics - public confession time

Sou | 8:20 PM Go to the first of 3 comments. Add a comment

Seems that not only will Australian taxpayers be forking out for adaptation and recuperation instead of mitigation, now we're paying science deniers.  The Institute for Public Affairs - arguably Australia's number one climate science denial machine, gets subsidised by taxpayers in all sorts of ways.

It's used the taxpayer-funded ABC as its own personal free publisher and public relations organisation.  It gets a free pass on paying taxes.  And anyone who sends it money gets a tax deduction for doing so.

This, mind you, is a right wing lobby group that rants and raves about government overspending, government subsidies and urges small government.  You'd think the last thing it would be doing is wasting our hard earned tax dollars.  But no.  Apparently it's a matter of "do what we say not what we do".  They survive with the help of taxpayer's contributions and tax breaks.

Now it's got a new scam going.  On the back of a who's who of science denying shysters, the IPC is threatening offering to publish for all the world to see, the names of anyone dumb enough to send them $400 or more to chop down trees to make door stops - or loo paper if you're extra tough.

It looks as if they can't get a publisher to pay for their trashy book so they have to resort to panhandling. You can read all about it here at Renew Economy.

I can't wait to see who are the most disreputable among the Establishment, who are willing to tattoo their names on the backside of such disreputable ratbags as Andrew Bolt, James Delingpole, Donna Laframboise, Mark Steyn,  Nigel Lawson. "Jo Nova", Jennifer Marohasy, Richard Lindzen, Anthony Watts, Ian Plimer, Bob Carter and other climate science deniers from Australia and around the world.

Not even wrong ...

Sou | 9:13 AM Go to the first of 12 comments. Add a comment

Time is limited (again), so just a couple of short reports of the latest at WUWT.

Sleazy Tim Ball has an article (archived here) claiming that all weather forecasts are worse than they were 50 years ago.  He's wrong.  Weather forecasts 50 years ago were okay to a point - maybe two or three days ahead.  Now they are pretty good up to even seven days ahead.  The use of computers and satellites has made a huge difference.

Tim started with a quote from Richard Feynman.  Deniers love to quote Richard Feynman.  Tim mumbled something about blaming inaccuracy on a lack of weather stations downwind.  He jumped about between short term weather forecasts, medium term weather forecasts and long range climate projections. Tim doesn't understand the difference between weather and climate and doesn't have a clue about boundary conditions.  Oh, and did I say he's just another wacky conspiracy theorist and greenhouse effect denier?  (Given Anthony Watts touts himself as a one-time tv "meteorologist", I'm surprised he tolerates Tim slinging off at his profession.  As surprised as Anthony allowing Tim as a "slayer" author being on his blog because Anthony has banned other "slayers".  Tim Ball has some hold over Anthony but I can't figure out what it is.   Maybe there's a higher up in the denier hierarchy with lot of clout who is telling Anthony he's got to give the nutter Tim Ball space on his blog.)

Then there was another "not even wrong" article where a denier complained how a Reddit moderator didn't allow them to ask Michael Mann if he had stopped beating his wife "yes or no" - or the equivalent (archived here).  Honestly - these science deniers are just so.o..o...o.. dumb and gullible.  They'll lap up anything that people like grubby Tim Ball writes and not believe clear and credible science that is corroborated by dozens of different independent teams of real scientists.

From the WUWT comments

Not much worth writing about.  The usual "agenda21" conspiracy theories and "they can't predict weather so how can they predict climate":

Robertv says:
February 25, 2014 at 11:23 am
Agenda 21 Be afraid be very afraid. Humanity is in big problems but not because of the weather. Climate never was a problem.
If only the weather would be our biggest problem the world would be a better place to live.
They know who we are and they know where we live while we talk about the weather.

Lil Fella from OZ probably wakes up every morning not knowing whether the sun has risen or not and says:
February 25, 2014 at 12:30 pm
They can’t predict the weather. Therefore they cannot be accurate on climate. Simple!

And brown-nosing Anthony Watts fanboi dbstealey with his complete and utter disregard for facts.  Was I clear enough?  He's a mod at WUWT and knows full well that WUWT censors comments and Anthony Watts bans people and has done so for years.  Yet you'll often see him writing guff like this and worse without batting an eye:

dbstealey says:
February 25, 2014 at 9:13 am
The moderation here is light years ahead of blogs like Reddit. WUWT posts comments that conform to this site’s Policy, even when they are derogatory. That makes for heavy site traffic, because readers like to see a back-and-forth discussion with all sides presented.
Reddit needs to rein in it’s moderators. The questions Anthony asked were straightforward and pertinent. Readers would very much like to see Mann’s response. Running interference for Michael Mann only makes Reddit an enabler, like buying another drink for an alcoholic.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Scottish (Fake) Sceptic: A legend in his own lunchtime but no survey expert

Sou | 10:21 PM Go to the first of 32 comments. Add a comment

Results are out - see below.

Anthony Watts has an article up by/about Mike Haseler (archived here), who going by uknowispeaksense is regarded as a "legend in his own lunchtime".  What he isn't is a true sceptic, though that's what he's called his blog, and I'm not even sure that he's Scottish.  (Then again he also calls himself a climate scientist though from his own blog, the closest he's got to anything remotely related to climate science is designing precision temperature controllers and who knows what they were used for!)

What is clear is that he is tied up with another shonky organisation that call themselves (or their blog at any rate) the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum.  Mike describes himself as "Chairman".  According to the blog there are six on the committee.  They had a bit of a natter one day and decided that with six people they could form a club, from the look of things.  (I mean, if three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of Alice's Restaurant and walking out. They may think it's an organization.**)

Anyway, like the ScottishSceptic blog, the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum blog is just another dime a dozen anti-science blog.  (The third most recent article on the blog is promoting Murry Salby of all people!  You can see an archive of their home page here if you're curious about them.)

A month or so back Mike Haseler asked fellow fake sceptics to complete a survey.  According to UKISS, he did the rounds of various science denying blogs in the UK and the USA. A month later and he's got some preliminary results.

Mike reckons he got 5,000 responses, so he managed to get as far as reading the respondent count.  He also managed to process some of the questions, but he reckons it will take him a year to write a report.

It's pretty obvious that Mike Haselaar doesn't design or analyse surveys for a living.  Still, to take a year, even part time, to write up the result of a 21 question survey, of which most were just demographic questions and of which only two were open ended (including the last "any other comments" question) probably means he hasn't got a clue what to do with the responses.  Nevertheless, he's going to try to get some funds from the "guvmint" he so despises to tide him over while he tries to figure it out.  He wrote to Anthony Watts:

Given the huge number of responses and detail of questions a full assessment will take up to one year to complete. 
Do you reckon he's going to go through each response one by one?  Or what?  Weird that the number of responses is a factor in writing up the results.

What about the "detail of questions"?  Well, all but two were tick the box questions so that would take no time at all to analyse.  In fact he should by rights have prepared the analytic framework before he asked people to respond, as part of the survey design.  He should have already set up the crosstabs or whatever he was doing. Then all he needed to do was plonk the numbers in.  If he wanted to do any fancy analysis on the basis of the initial results he could still do that.  But a year? Sheesh!

Now normally if a person wanted someone to pay for something they'd write up a proposal and pitch it to the prospective funder.  You wouldn't write a mickey mouse survey that has no apparent design, is filled with loaded questions and pitched to the scientific illiterati and then say "it's all too hard to analyse and will take me a year, how about some dosh!"  But that's exactly what Mike Haselar is doing.  He wrote to Anthony Watts that he's:
... looking to rub shoulders with the politicians in the hope of scrounging more public money...

Oops - nope.  I accidentally (on purpose) got that from one of his articles when he was writing about something else.  I'll try again.  What he says about his twenty-one question quiz:
This is a huge commitment from an organisation that has no outside funding and is reliant on one full-time volunteer (Mike Haseler). We will therefore be approaching the Scottish and UK government with a view to obtaining funding to complete the analysis.

A huge commitment? Uknowispeaksense has the survey here.  See for yourself.  It's a short quiz with only one six-part question about climate.  (The rest are mainly demographic questions and voting preferences etc. although there is a strange question which I'll get to shortly)  The vaguely climate sciency question was simple in the extreme, or I should say simplistic.  Mike prefaced the survey asking people to "Please say if you agree or disagree with the following statements" and then proceeded to give them three more choices. So he couldn't even get the simplest question straight.

Anyway, here is the one and only climate question.  Feel free to complete it.  I'll let it run for a while and let you know the results FWIW :)

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Mike had one other question that was, well I don't know what he was trying for with this one.  I think he may have been trying to figure out the extent to which his respondents had a tendency for conspiracy ideation.  Maybe you can figure it out.

What he did was offer a number of statements about a flu epidemic and wanted people to put them in order from most trustworthy to least trustworthy.  In case people didn't understand what he wanted he put the question another way and told them their highest ranking should be at the top and the lowest ranked at the bottom.   Then, because he still wasn't sure his readers would understand what he wanted, he tried a third time, telling them the highest ranking should be at the top etc.

Here it is, thanks to UKISS. Click to enlarge it.

Source: scef via uknowispeaksense

All the statements except the top one provide a source for the information.  What do you reckon Wondering Willis Eschenbach would put up the top :)

Anyway.  That's it.  Just goes to show that despite their scorn of guvmint and guvmint-funded research, some fake sceptics have no hesitation in putting their hands up for taxpayer funding.  And it just goes to show why fake sceptics have such a hard time getting research published.  Some of them are so hopeless they can't even design and analyse a simple little survey on their lonesome.

As for Mike Haseler - given his history, I'm waiting for him to come running crying "copyright" and "libel" and "sue".

PS If you want to know Mike's preliminary results, you can read them in the WUWT archived article here.



Results - 97% agree

Okay - the survey has run long enough. The numbers are actually just survey respondents so they don't necessarily reflect the readership of this blog.  Having given that caveat, I'll extrapolate the results to HotWhopper readership anyway.  It makes life more interesting :)

  • 3% of HotWhopper readers are science deniers of the "sky dragon slaying" type.
  • 3% of HotWhopper readers aren't aware that burning hydrocarbons results in CO2 - or maybe they aren't aware that coal and oil are hydrocarbons or maybe they don't know how a lot of electricity is produced or maybe they don't know that most motor vehicles run by burning petrol or diesel.
  • 3% of HotWhopper readers don't know that earth has warmed, rather a lot actually, and rather quickly.
  • One HotWhopper reader says climate doesn't change naturally.
  • 15% of HotWhopper readers don't agree that CO2 will cause catastrophic global warming, 68% agree that it will and 17% are "neutral", though I can't tell what proportion of that 17% took "neutral" to mean "don't know" vs "neither agree nor disagree" vs "I'm not saying".
  • 97% of HotWhopper readers understand something about CO2 and greenhouse gases and climate.  Now that number seems awfully familiar.

We don't want a RICO investigation sez WUWT. What are they afraid of?

Sou | 10:25 AM Go to the first of 15 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts clearly doesn't want a RICO-style investigation of organisations that peddle climate science denial.  I don't know what he thinks will emerge, but he's obviously very much against shining a light on the behind-the-scenes activities.

Which organisations he is protecting he hasn't said.  I don't think it's his own.  He's just a bit player.  His blog is just one of the many outlets used by professional climate science deniers.

Today he's got an article up (archived here) complaining about a barely heard short comment by Naomi Oreskes in an hour long you tube video.  I doubt Anthony would have heard the comment itself.  He has a hearing problem.  I don't.  Yet I couldn't quite make out the words that Naomi spoke.  Anthony wrote: I want to highlight Naomi Orekses and Suzanne Goldenberg, who seem seem to like the idea of having climate “deniers” arrested under RICO act for thought collusion... 

Arresting climate (science) deniers for "thought collusion"?  That's not what Naomi Oreske's said.  Or not as far as I can make out.  Here is the video in full.  Her suggestions about RICO-style investigations is almost at the end.  At the 1:12 mark or thereabout.


So who was it who alerted Anthony to the video and to the comments.  Would it have been an organisation that funds or is funded to promote climate science denial?  Climate Depot for example, which seems to act as a clearing house for all things anti-climate science. Or was it an enthusiastic amateur who spends all their time poring over you tube videos and blogs for comments that can be twisted and used out of context.

Here is an explanation of the RICO Act from Wikipedia:
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization. The RICO Act focuses specifically on racketeering, and it allows the leaders of a syndicate to be tried for the crimes which they ordered others to do or assisted them, closing a perceived loophole that allowed someone who told a man to, for example, murder, to be exempt from the trial because he did not actually commit the crime personally.
RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970). RICO is codified as Chapter 96 of Title 18 of the United States Code, 18 U.S.C. § 1961–1968. Under the close supervision of Senator John Little McClellan, the Chairman of the Committee for which he worked, G. Robert Blakey drafted the "RICO Act," Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, signed into law by Richard M. Nixon.[1]While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.
Beginning in 1972, 33 States adopted state RICO laws to be able to prosecute similar conduct.

I'm not from the USA and am by no means an expert in law, let alone US law.  However to claim that the RICO Act, which was signed into law by Richard Nixon and adopted by 33 states, is akin to Nazi domination in pre-War Germany seems to me to be a little over the top.

Also, for people at WUWT to think that dumb deniers like them would be prosecuted under the Act is incredibly naive.  I mean it looks to me that it's people like them that the Act was designed to protect.  Most of them are the ones being hoodwinked.  They are the victims. Anthony Watts isn't a victim.  He's a stooge.  He's one of the low level lackeys who embarked on his crusade against science for ideological reasons as far as I can make out. Funded organisations, like the Heartland Institute use him and people like him as freeby public relations arms.

I gather that the RICO Act was used to prosecute people who deliberately hid the facts about tobacco.  The Heartland Institute allegedly had strong links to the pro-tobacco lobby.  I came across this comment by A Physicist at Judith Curry's blog.  The comment included a comment that Anthony Watts deleted from his blog, which was speculating that this letter from Edward J Markey to the Heartland Institute was in preparation for a RICO investigation into Heartland Institute, when it emerged that they were funding a deliberate campaign aimed at subverting education in climate science.

Will the RICO Act ever be used to investigate funded campaigns to spread disinformation about climate science?  I wouldn't be surprised if it were.  Not this year.  Not next year.  Maybe in the early 2020s.

A lot of cyberspace this past few days has been devoted to fake sceptics and contrarians arguing that free speech means people are free to defame, libel and slander and try to ruin the reputation of climate scientists.  I take it from the WUWT reaction to Naomi Oreske's short comment that these same people think that free speech also gives organisations the right to manufacture propaganda designed to mislead the general public about climate science.

Science deniers live in a very strange world.  Not the one I want to live in.

As an aside, Anthony is surprised that a normal person doesn't know what CAGW stands for.  That's an acronym that took me ages to work out.  It's only ever used by climate science deniers and would only be understood by them or people who frequently visit their underworld.  It stands for "catastrophic anthropogenic global warming".  Although some of the less educated deniers seem to think the "A" in CAGW stands for Anthropomorphic :)

As another aside, and in keeping with Roy Spencer's recent outburst, later in his article Anthony quoted a passage by AlecJC (whoever that is):
Some commentators on WUWT have likened this little scene to Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda in the 1930s, and I’m inclined to agree. 

Climate science deniers are a weird mob.

PS Anthony used his article as an excuse to post an image stolen from the SkS private website.  Someone from the SkepticalScience crowd obviously decided to make a joke out of the tedious allegations from science deniers.  Fake sceptics were constantly referring to SkepticalScience as "Nazis".  Rather than let the endless namecalling get to them they had a bit of fun - Monty Python style.  In private - at least until Brandon Shollenberger broke into their private files and stole their images. Fake sceptics aren't predisposed to laugh at themselves so they don't understand how letting off steam and turning around the nasty name-calling and making light of it can be therapeutic.  (Some of the best television comedy series of the 1970s were the English poking fun at themselves, the English.)

From the WUWT comments

I don't have time to sieve through the WUWT comments, you can wallow in them in the archive here if you're interested.

Here are just a few of them.

Richard Drake says he agrees with the parallels with Nazi Germany:
February 24, 2014 at 9:39 am
I totally support you in the line you take on this Anthony and the historical parallels you rightly draw.

Tamara says, after Anthony pointed out Naomi Oreskes is Jewish:
February 24, 2014 at 9:39 am
Another parallel: Oreskes is an “educator”. Training the Hitler-youths of the future?

Roy Spencer says:
February 24, 2014 at 9:59 am
good summary, Anthony.

Dr Norman Page says:
February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
It is a sad commentary on the intellectual zeitgeist of many of our great universities when someone of Oreskes limited capacity for independant data based critical thinking and penchant for propaganda can be employed as a Professor.
We see similar politically correct scientific and communications departments and groups at Yale and Columbia.

Ric Werme says smiling is a crime and winter snow means global cooling - or something like that:
February 24, 2014 at 10:13 am
Watch the video: The RICO quote is about 1:12:30 in the video. Note that none of the panelists blinks an eye at the suggestion. They are all smiling after Oreskes finishes.
I skipped around that video some yesterday, all three were smiling nearly all the time, it seemed a self-satisfied sort of smile between friends rebuilding their common worldview.
I don’t know when the video was made, but apparently it was snowing outside at the time, so their worldview likely needed some rebuilding.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Willis Eschenbach goes for Andy Revkin and misses, but rallies a lynch mob at WUWT

Sou | 11:15 AM Go to the first of 27 comments. Add a comment

This is a story so often told about how a climate science denier, in trying to play "gotcha", got "gotcha'd" himself.

Willis Eschenbach is a self-confessed climate science denier

Today Willis Eschenbach (archived here, later update here, later update here and latest here) had a shot at Andy Revkin for an article about climate science deniers.  He didn't like the word "deniers" probably, though what he wrote was:
I went over to Andy Revkin’s site to be entertained by his latest fulminations against “denialists”. Revkin, as you may remember from the Climategate emails, was the main go-to media lapdog for the various unindicted Climategate co-conspirators. His latest post is a bizarre mishmash of allegations, bogus claims, and name-calling. Most appositely, given his history of blind obedience to his oh-so-scientific masters like Phil Jones and Michael Mann, he illustrated it with this graphic which presumably shows Revkin’s response when confronted with actual science:
"This graphic" being a photograph of a sculpture, showing two of the three wise monkeys, Mizaru and Kikazaru.  Notably Iwazaru is absent from the photo.  Hobbyist science deniers will refuse to read the science or look at what's happening in the world around them.  They'll refuse to listen to scientists.  But just try to get them to shut up!

Credit: Andrew C. Revkin

As you'll have read above, Willis has his nose still buried in the trough of stolen emails, wishing there was something in there that showed his view of science and scientists was correct.  There isn't. Willis obviously sees himself as a climate science denier or he wouldn't have written what he did.  He doesn't like allegations made by other people, or name-calling, but in that short paragraph count the terms:

  • media lapdog
  • unindicted
  • Climategate
  • co-conspirators
  • blind obedience
  • oh-so-scientific masters
  • etc

And does Willis seriously think that that Andrew Revkin is denying the actual science Willis is constantly denying?

Willis Eschenbach passes number lookup but fails arithmetic

Thing is, Willis' next comment was about the "about me" section - which looks like it hasn't been changed since 2010 and even then the bit that Willis objected to was probably written earlier.  The bit that Willis objected to was this:
By 2050 or so, the human population is expected to reach nine billion, essentially adding two Chinas to the number of people alive today. 

Willis doesn't know anything about climate science but he can check population numbers.  He wrote:
Revkin’s error is not insignificant. From the present population to 9 billion, where the population is likely to stabilize, is an increase of about 1.75 billion. IF Revkin’s claims about two Chinas were correct, the increase would be 2.8 billion. So his error is 2.8/1.75 -1, which means his numbers are 60% too high. A 60% overestimation of the size of the problem that he claims to be deeply concerned about? … bad journalist, no cookies.

Willis might have the current population numbers correct.  I haven't bothered to check.  However he isn't correct when he talks about "a 60% overestimation of the problem".  He used the wrong denominator. Anyway, he got away with that at WUWT.  He might have come across as more credible if he'd acknowledged that the "about me" was written years ago and would have been correct at the time.   All he's showed is that it's probably the first time he's read that blurb at Dot Earth, and that he's not good at working out percentages.

Willis Eschenbach fails reading comprehension

Willis also might have avoided looking like an idiot if he hadn't made a big blue of an error himself.  In his very first paragraph he wrote about "his latest fulminations", meaning Andy Revkin's.  But Andy didn't write the article Willis took exception to.  Andy said quite clearly that the article was written by David Victor of the University of California, San Diego.  He even tweeted Anthony Watts, who could have corrected Willis' article, but hasn't.  (One has to scroll down the WUWT comments to see this moderate response from Andrew Revkin.)

Why bother with what a climate science denying hobbyist says?

Willis Eschenbach could have come across as more credible in a small way, he could have avoided looking like an idiot.  Then again, who takes seriously a man whose hobby is climate science denial?

The article at Andrew Revkin's blog is about climate science deniers including those like Willis who've taken it up as a hobby.  David Victor makes some good points and some that I don't completely agree with.  It's a solid article though and worth reading if you're interested in people's view of what makes a climate science denier tick.  (It's in fashion at the moment.  William Connolley at Stoat wrote a good article about the same subject just a couple of days ago.)

As one might have predicted, it brought all the ratbag climate science deniers who, by their comments, showed the accuracy of what David Victor wrote.

From the WUWT comments

Andrew Revkin has a reputation for being a moderate in the "climate blog wars".  Sometimes he comes across as a "lukewarmer" though I think he's been giving the science a better hearing of late.  I'm no longer a regular reader of Dot Earth so I can't really say.  So Willis' attack didn't get universal approval from the band of deniers at WUWT.  Nevertheless he manages to rally a lynch mob to verbally attack Andy Revkin and anyone and everyone who accepts climate science and wants a future for the world. Latest archive here, with Willis Eschenbach showing his true (murky) colours over and over again in the comments.

Addendum: With what Anthony Watts is allowing in the comments (eg here), plus his recent article on Mark Steyn, I almost get the impression he is angling to be named in a defamation lawsuit. Or daring one. Maybe he's seeking fame and notoriety or maybe he's feeling left out and ignored by anyone who counts. Or maybe he figures he's safe because he cries poor so often.
Sou 8:45 pm 23 February 2014 AEDST

Eric Barnes says:
February 22, 2014 at  
Alan Robertson says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:03 pm
The sad part of it is, Andrew Revkin is one of the least worst of the alarmists.

Chad Wozniak says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:06 pm
Revkin is a perfect illustration of who the REAL denialists are: the alarmists who ignore the new Holocaust caused by carbon policies (33,000 dead from hypothermia in the UK last year, 2 million Africans dead from starvation thanks to the ethanol program).
@Charles Battig – this is also the program proposed by der Fuehrer’s witchcraft advisor, John Holdren, except that he wants to knock the population down to 1 billion.
Global warming alarmism is MASS MURDER. Global warming alarmism is GENOCIDE.

pokerguy sums up Willis Eschenbach well when he says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:29 pm
“…particularly when he is nothing but a pathetic PR shill for bogus science and disingenuous scientists …”
Seems that everyone you disagree with is a contemptible slime, Willis. I disagree with Revkin on just about everything, and marvel at his apparent credulity in climate matters, but on a personal level he’s never struck me as anything but sincere and well meaning. For a warmist, he’s quite willing and open to discuss opposing points of view.

Roger A. Pielke Sr. says (is he also having a dig at Roy Spencer?):
February 22, 2014 at 12:31 pm
Willis – I strongly disagree with you on your post. While I do not agree with all of Andy’s views, he is one of the most objective and open journalists in the mainstream media. He has provided a much needed forum for debate.
I have no idea why you choose to attack him when there is plenty of science to discuss and analyze.
I also prefer that WUWT not post personal attacks on anyone. This only demeans the website which is otherwise an outstanding forum for a much-needed debate on climate science which is not available at most other venues..
Roger Sr.

b4llzofsteel is no friend of Willis' either and says:
February 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm
Well said Dr.Pielke. Eschenbach is the last person to judge over other persons, while Revkin is certainly pro AGW, he is one of the more moderate people in the discussion.

Andy Revkin (@Revkin) says:
February 22, 2014 at 1:01 pm
Thanks, Roger.
And a note to Willis Eschenbach about carelessness (I agree that my 2007 population math – there from the first day of the blog – badly needs updating; leaving it up unchanged this long was careless).
Despite repeated references to David Victor in the introduction to the Denialism post, you somehow missed that it was the text of a lecture by him at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
All of the assertions you complain about are his.
This is a guest post – kind of like yours here at WUWT.
I’m sure Anthony doesn’t agree with everything you wrote. I don’t agree with everything David said. But it’s important in open forums to air a range of views.
As for your lapdog references, etc., sheesh….
(Accidentally posted under an unrelated WordPress ID a minute ago.)
[Thank you for the response. If so, to maintain traceability and accountability, should the "unrelated" item be deleted? Mod]

dp says:
February 22, 2014 at 1:05 pm
This is 2014 and he is talking about conscripting the people of 2050 to our vision of future needs. That is the equivalent of our being handed a world designed by the futurists of 1978. If one could bring the most brilliant of minds forward from 1978 to today that person would be a babe in the woods around our contemporary technology and the way time has change our world. Nobody would listen.
Mr. Revkin – you sir are an imperious ass and a moron today and you would considered the same in 2050 should any of your vacuous screeds survive.

Max Erwengh is over-optimistic when he says he knows that Willis could do better:
February 22, 2014 at 1:17 pm
Sorry I really don’t see the sense of this post. He made a rule of thumb estimate, and it is a quite acceptable approximation. So, no matter if it is silly to be a afraid about rising population or not, the calculation is fine. And guess what, natural science is all about approximations (ye of course not that silly ones about population growth), we don’t do pure science which applies only to mathematics.
Back to the topic, this is just a very disturbing ad-hominem attack. I know you could do better.

cynical_scientist makes some observations on the use of the word "denier" and variations (see here) and says:
February 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm
What I find most interesting about Revkin’s article is the language. He consistently uses “Denialist”, “Denialism” instead of “Denier”, “Denial”. And it isn’t just Revkin doing it – most of the people he quotes are doing it too. This looks to me like yet another orchestrated language shift along the lines of global warming –> climate change –> climate weirding –> etc. It is bizarre the way they keep switching language. Who decides these things?
Anyway, as people do not speak of Holocaust denialists or Holocaust denialism, this looks to me like an attempt to hide their tracks and make the smear less obvious. The new language is close enough to the old to still be offensive. But the slight distance gives plausible deniability so that if someone takes them to task over the use of the D word they can pretend we are too sensitive and it is all just a coincidence.
(I suspect this is headed for the moderation queue due to use of the D word.)

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Habitat of Denial: Polyploidy weeds out the illiterati plants at WUWT

Sou | 2:40 PM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

This time Anthony decides to mock a scientific paper with a "Friday Funny" (archived here).  The paper is a comparing diploid and polyploid populations for a number of different species of plants.  The scientists found that "more often than not, polyploids shared the same habitats as their close relatives with normal genome sizes."  They concluded that the general wisdom, that polyploidy conferred an advantage in helping plants survive new extreme environments, may be wrong.  Their conclusion:

“This means that environmental factors do not play a large role in the establishment of new plant species and that maybe other factors, like the ability to spread your seeds to new locations with similar habitats, are more important,” said Glennon.

You can read about the paper here at The University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.  Or if you have a subs, you can get the paper here at Ecology Letters.  Supporting info is downloadable.

Selective breeding for climate change

Anthony Watts is missing the point of the research when he writes:
Apparently, all that work in selective crop breeding won’t overcome ‘climate change’
Selective breeding is done to express particular attributes to better suit the environment in which a plant is to be grown.  It is a deliberate selection.  There are limits to the conditions any particular plant species can thrive in, even with genetic modification. So in future, some crops will no longer be able to be grown profitably (or at all) in regions where climate changes. In that sense, selective breeding won't overcome climate change in many locales.  But it will help in others where the changes are not too extreme.

Polyploidy and agriculture 

Anthony displays his lack of research skills as well as his ignorance of agriculture and plant research when he writes:
I’m thinking they’d test this on actual crops, like corn, wheat, soybeans, or the like, crops we consume and that are important to economies. That would make sense, right? But then, I remembered that this is about ‘climate change’, where nothing makes much sense anymore.

Does he realise that "actual crops" are highly domesticated and there aren't too many populations of "wild" modern varieties of "corn, wheat, soybeans or the like".  And although there may (or may not) be polyploid populations of the progenitors or wild relatives of modern "corn, wheat, soybeans or the like" growing alongside diploid populations, for the purposes of the study itself, it doesn't matter what species were studied.

Anthony's ignorance of plant science and agriculture is one thing.  He is also lazy and didn't investigate the research itself.  Anthony decides that the researchers only studied one plant species, Larrea tridentata (creosote bush).  He was wrong.  The scientists studied several different species directly.  In addition they did a literature survey of several other species, which they documented in the supporting information.

Whether the researchers are likely to be correct in their conclusion or not, I'm not in a position to judge.  It's obvious that plants must be able to spread seeds to new locations if the species are to survive beyond a change to their original habitat. The extent to which those new locations must have similar conditions to the ones the original population had is the question and the point of the research.  These scientists propose that the habitat must be not too different and their research supports that conclusion.

The implications for agricultural crops is that there is a limit to what selective breeding can do in regard to developing varieties resistant to climate change.  For example, large changes in rainfall patterns, total rainfall, temperature (frost days, excessive heat) etc will be too much for some crop species even with selective breeding.  So some cropping areas will probably revert to grazing or different crops.  Some pastoral areas will get even drier, requiring a reduction in the stocking rate (or none at all). Other areas may get more and better rainfall allowing more productive pasture species and a higher stocking rate - depending on the soil.

The Diploid/Polyploid Fake Sceptic doesn't thrive outside its normal habitat

Are the various Fake Sceptic Spp. diploid or polyploid or are there both?  What happens to the denialiati when they try to leave their habitat?  In my observations of the occasional specimen that strays onto a science blog, these Fake Sceptic Spp don't thrive outside their normal habitat.

From the WUWT comments

Most of those commenting are just boasting about how they place no value on scientific research (but they are willing to reap the benefits).  Archived here.

vigilantfish says let's go for rational solutions. Does he mean the rational solution that these wheat farmers in WA have opted for?:
February 21, 2014 at 6:12 am
Gee, I wonder how wheat crops will fare when the climate ‘changes’? Oh, wait… different varieties have already been bred to grow in a wide range of climatic conditions.
I guess we’re too stupid to be able to continue using rational solutions. Actually, given the recent focus and conclusions of so many scientIFic studies, perhaps, worryingly, we are becoming that stupid. Aaargh!
Ljh disputes the relative stability of the climate of the Cape Region of South Africa and says:
February 21, 2014 at 6:26 am
The claim that the climate of the Western Cape has been stable for hundreds of thousands of years is absurd. The tiny, but phenomenally rich, floral kingdom found there, is presently the recipient of winter rainfall brought by the westerly wind belt shifting north and kept dry by prevailing southeasterly trade winds in summer. At the end of the last Ice Age it received exclusively summer rainfall with a period in between when it received both, all within thirteen thousand years.

Scientists don't agree with Ljh, for example this paper refers to climate stability since "sometime after the beginning of the Pliocene", which began about 5.3 million years ago (my bold italics):
Species richness in the Cape Region is hypothesized to have resulted from the presence of a complex mosaic of diverse habitats and steep ecological gradients against a background of relatively stable climate and geology after the mediterranean climate was established there sometime after the beginning of the Pliocene. A local or ecological mode of speciation may have been more important under these conditions than allopatric speciation.

MamaLiberty says food crops can grow in "almost any climate imaginable".  Mama's heading off to do some farming on the top of a mountain in the Antarctic interior after trying her/his hand in the Simpson Desert  (excerpt):
February 21, 2014 at 6:31 am
...As for food crops, all that is really necessary is abundant and low cost energy to deal with almost any climate change imaginable. Green houses and subterranean farms would be effective almost everywhere. The climate hysterics insist on attempting to pour two quarts of liquid into a one quart container – and call it “science.” 

Patrick doesn't know the difference between weather and climate and says:
February 21, 2014 at 6:50 am
Creosote bush? I used to live in the High Desert area of Southern California where the creosote bush thrives in summer daytime temperatures exceeding 115F while dropping to about 70F at night. Now, that’s climate change!

Big Don makes a valid point but he didn't understand the research did look at plant populations in different locations and examined the climatic differences.  In other words, they did what he suggested.
February 21, 2014 at 7:04 am
I don’t understand how the conclusion of the study was reached. If the polyploid and diploid variants of a given genome were living in the same environment, wouldn’t you expect them to resemble one another? What would be the driver for one plant to morph into something else? Wouldn’t it be a better experiment to look for species in neighboring, yet contrasting environments (Mountain tops vs. low valley at the base, for example) to see if there are polyploids that have similar genomes, yet have quite different adaptations?

I wonder if Robert W Turner uses groundwater for irrigation? He says:
February 21, 2014 at 7:45 am
Right, we were thinking in Kansas of switching out wheat for coffee in preparation for climate change but then remembered we don’t live in the same fantasy world as these clowns.

TonyG might not recognise the truth in what he writes when he says:
February 21, 2014 at 12:19 pm
If it gets any warmer, our crops won’t be able to handle the heat. They’ll burn up, we won’t have as much food, and we’ll all starve.
If it gets cooler, they won’t be able to take the cold. They’ll freeze, we’ll have shorter growing seasons and the crops won’t grow as well, and we’ll all starve.
So I’ve been told.

Pathway seems to not be aware of the famines and the consequent loss of life in the Little Ice Age. Nor is he aware that we are heading for a much greater change in the climate than the relatively small drop in temperature that caused the Little Ice Age when he says:
February 21, 2014 at 12:34 pm
Because we are onmivors we adapt our food sources to survive. During the depth of the Little Ice Age european culture moved from cereal crops to tubers and increase their live stock inventory and got along just fine. Human occupy every niche on the planet. A one or two degree increase in temperature, especially at the poles is not going to make any difference in our survival.

AndyG55 didn't even get as far as the location of the University and says:
February 21, 2014 at 1:52 pm
“Although her study examined plant species from North America and Europe only, she is looking forward to testing her hypotheses using South African plants.”
Been to North America, toured looking forward to her taxpayer funded trip to South Africa. 

Kelsey Glennon. Evidence for shared broad-scale climatic niches of diploid and polyploid plants. Ecology Letters, 2014 DOI: 1111/ele.12259

Goldblatt, Peter. "Floristic diversity in the Cape flora of South Africa." Biodiversity & Conservation 6, no. 3 (1997): 359-377. DOI 10.1023/A:1018360607299

"Insects are invincible!" sez the WUWT illiterati

Sou | 11:51 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts (archived here) has found another scientific paper to mock.  This time it's about a study of insects and weather extremes.  He wrote the following headline and lead-in, with his normal dog-whistle "claim".

Claim: Extreme weather decides distribution of insects
Another modeled result, extrapolated all the way from 10 common fruit fly species to everything else in the insect world.

The press release on includes the following (excerpts):
Most terrestrial animals experience temperature variation on both daily and seasonal time scale, and they are adapted to these conditions. Thus, for a species to maintain its existence under varying temperature conditions there are two simple conditions that must be met. Firstly, the temperature should occasionally be such that the species can grow and reproduce, and secondly, the temperature must never be so extreme that the population's survival is threatened.
In temperate climate for example, there are many species which are adapted to endure low temperatures in the winter, and then grow and reproduce in the summer. In warmer climates, the challenge may be just the opposite. Here, the species might endure high temperatures during the dry hot summer, while growth and reproduction mainly occurs during the mild and wet winter period.
The result was discouraging for all 10 species.
"Climate change will result in fewer cold days and nights, and thus allow species to move toward higher latitudes. However climate change also leads to a higher incidence to extremely hot days and our model therefore predicts that the distribution of these species will be reduced to less than half their present distribution"says Johannes Overgaard.
"In fact, our predictions are that some species would disappear entirely in the next few decades, even when they have a fairly wide distribution that currently covers hundreds of kilometers," adds Ary Hoffmann.
"Although none of the 10 species studied are normally perceived as either harmful or beneficial organisms for human society, the results indicate that distribution of many insect species will be changed dramatically, and it will probably also apply to many of the species that have particular social or commercial importance ," ends Johannes Overgaard.
Read the full article here.

Anthony hasn't made it very clear as to why he is mocking the paper.  That he is mocking it is clear.  His headline leads in with the word "claim".  As in journalism, "claim" means that the reader isn't meant to "believe it".  Anthony doesn't believe any science that is related to climate change.  He prefaces almost every press release he reports with the word "claim".  It's his way of getting his scientific illiterati stirred up to reject science.  Any and all climate science for starters.  He gives a free pass to his articles about the sun.

Now the only clue for why he wants his readers to not "believe" this claim is his short opening line: "...extrapolated all the way from 10 common fruit fly species to everything else in the insect world."  Perhaps Anthony doesn't think Drosophila are suitable species for scientific research. Perhaps he thinks they don't share characteristics with other insects.  (One wonders if he thinks that when one conducts research on mammalian research on species other than humans, it is not legitimate to make inferences to humans.)

The thing is, I reckon it's not only legitimate to conclude that if some Drosophila species are sensitive to extremes of weather, then it's likely that many other insects are also sensitive to extremes of weather.  Not only that, it's likely that many plants and other animals will be sensitive to extremes of weather. It's even likely that human settlement will be curtailed by extremes of weather.

From the WUWT comments

Here are some examples that illustrate the limited imagination and cognition of Anthony Watts' band of scientific illiterati (archived here).  I think lots of people regard WUWT as a safe place where they can show off their ignorance and get praised for doing so.

The illiterati have it bad. A.D. Everard is so traumatised by scientific research that she screams when she reads about it:
February 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm
I’m just going to go away and scream now…

p.g.sharrow isn't aware of the previous five major extinctions and has probably never studied insect evolution:
February 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm
After surviving hundreds of millions of years, Environmental disasters of epoch dimensions, insects are going to be threatened by a little change in climate conditions?!? More BS. The level that passes as scientific research is disappointing. pg

Sharmishtha Basu sums up the attitude of the illiterati to scientific research in general and says:
February 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm
how many care?

dp doesn't understand the research and goes off on a wild tangent of weird nonsense about gene modification and funding and cranks and says:
February 20, 2014 at 10:16 pm
The argument appears to be genetic changes occur in insects as a result of random episodes of extreme weather, what ever that might be. So then it should present no problem at all to identify in the laboratory those genes that are modified by controlled environments pushed to +/- extreme conditions at carefully contrived intervals. The only other thing to determine is what is the rate and sign of weather extremes in a specific region is needed to genetically modify insect genes and then prove that the probability of that happening is reasonable and probable.
I’m thinking this is going to need a *lot* of funding and that is why the idea is being floated. No coulda/woulda/shoulda crank idea is worth discussing if there isn’t a funding bounty involved.

Tom Harley knows nothing about insect life cycles and didn't bother to read the article to learn anything about it. Tom also confuses diurnal temperature with seasonal extremes affecting the life cycle and says:
February 20, 2014 at 10:17 pm
So 1C or 2C rise in a hundred years is going to have a major impact on flies that live in a range in excess of 20C daily. Agreed PG Sharrow, it’s just nonsense.

martin brumby thinks that insects can "adapt", presumably by evolution, in a matter of years, no matter what the conditions.  He hasn't a clue about evolution and can't have heard about the past five major extinctions because he says:
February 20, 2014 at 10:21 pm
These psyentists are either breathtakingly incompetent or breathtakingly dishonest (or maybe both). So insects are no longer capable of adaptation? How many species went extinct during the warming period which ended in 1998. (No, REALLY extinct, not just according to some fraudulent X-Box ‘model’).

ntesdorf says "who cares about Drosophila or Lepidoptera or Hymenoptera, when Isoptera and Blattodea will survive".  Maybe one day he'll learn that insects don't procreate by snacking at picnics and that many insects don't enjoy extreme heat :
February 20, 2014 at 10:45 pm
Anyone who has been on a picnic in Australia knows that all sorts of flies can handle any weather and any temperature condition in the search for food. Anyone who has tried to eradicate cockroaches knows that they will be around millions of years longer than we will. Anyone who has battled with termites knows that the termites will just laugh at climate change as they have already installed air conditioning in their home mounds. This study was carried out by people who should get out more and acquaint themselves with how the Earth and its inhabitants are equipped and work.

george e. smith wonders why tropical butterflies aren't all over Antarctica and says (excerpt):
February 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm
Insects barely live long enough to experience weather, let alone climate. So how could they possibly react to climate change. 

Patrick says "we know" insects are invincible, immortal, the world's super-heros:
February 20, 2014 at 11:21 pm
10 species? 10 species???! Really? How many species of insects are there? We know flies can been drawn up into the upper atmosphere on currents, freeze, fall, unfreeze and start happily doing what they do. More utter rubbish from Autralian “scientists”. BAH!

Johannes Overgaard, Michael R. Kearney, Ary A. Hoffmann. Sensitivity to thermal extremes in Australian Drosophila implies similar impacts of climate change on the distribution of widespread and tropical species. Global Change Biology, 2014; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12521

Friday, February 21, 2014

Roy Spencer's Dummy Spit shows his lack of education

Sou | 1:11 PM Go to the first of 43 comments. Add a comment

Roy Spencer has spat the dummy, blown his top, ranted and raved and fulfilled Godwin's Law (archived here - h/t Dumb Scientist).  Roy Spencer has decided to object to the term "denier" to describe him, writing:

When politicians and scientists started calling people like me “deniers”, they crossed the line. They are still doing it.
They indirectly equate (1) the skeptics’ view that global warming is not necessarily all manmade nor a serious problem, with (2) the denial that the Nazi’s extermination of millions of Jews ever happened.
Too many of us for too long have ignored the repulsive, extremist nature of the comparison. It’s time to push back.
I’m now going to start calling these people “global warming Nazis”.

If I understand Roy correctly, he is agreeing that he doesn't think global warming is "necessarily all manmade" and saying that he doesn't think it is a serious problem.  In other words he denies the science - and is sexist, too.

Global warming isn't all "man" made.  It's likely that more than 100% of the current warming is because of human activity.  "Made" by men and women. And it's definitely a serious problem and going to get worse if we don't do something about it.

Roy Spencer doesn't just deny the science, though, does he.  He fudges charts to try to make it appear that model projections are more off than they have been in reality.

Under-educated Roy Spencer

Roy has signed up to the illiterati, equating what he calls over-education with fascism.  Here is what he wrote:
This authoritarianism tends to happen with an over-educated elite class…I have read that Nazi Germany had more PhDs per capita than any other country. I’m not against education, but it seems like some of the stupidest people are also the most educated.. 

Now Roy is from the USA.  Americans don't speak the Queen's English. They speak a dialect known as American English.  (Australians, by contrast, speak Strine.)  Not only that, but Roy's from Alabama, which is not probably considered the home of elite US society and is arguably not the first place one would equate with a quality education.  So he can perhaps be excused for not understanding the Queen's English.

So let this Strine-speaker educate American Roy Spencer on the definition of the word "denier" in the Queen's English - using the Oxford Dictionary:

In the interest of full disclosure, I joined the Oxford logo onto the Oxford definition rather than post the entire web page.  You can view the definition here on the Oxford Dictionary website.

A prominent denier of climate science

If Roy Spencer was, for a change, being brutally honest about himself.  If he was arguing that he doesn't admit "the truth of a concept or proposition that is supported by the majority of scientific or historic evidence", then he is a climate science "denier".  He's tried his best to rise to prominence by touting himself as a climate science denier to the Republican Party in the USA to such an extent that he was invited by them to present to a committee of the US government, arguably because of his denial.  So he could even be referred to as "a prominent denier" in climate science denying circles in the USA.

If you want to read Roy's dummy spit - go here.  It's not the sort of thing you'd expect a climate scientist to write.  It's not even the sort of thing you'd expect to read on a snark blog, like HotWhopper. It is the sort of thing you'll find every day on the more extreme anti-science websites.

PS Roy's article didn't make the cut at WUWT - or not yet that I've seen.